“You are free to eat from any tree in the garden, but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.” Genesis 2:17
God’s request from us was not an extraordinary one, nor an unfair one. He had given us everything. He had planted the most wonderful, beautiful garden imaginable, lush and green and alive. He gave it to us to use, to enjoy, and to take care of. And He Himself came to be with us every evening. There was one single condition. Do not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Everything was good. Humanity and God lived together in harmony and openness and love. Man and woman lived together in harmony and openness and love. Yet a love that is not freely chosen is no real love at all. There had to be a choice. So among all this beauty and harmony God also gave us the possibility of disobeying Him. There was one way to defy God: by eating of the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. And so refraining from doing so meant choosing to obey God and submit to Him, to love Him with all one’s heart and with all one’s soul and with all one’s mind. It was bliss. But we chose the one door that would separate us from God forever. And in that moment, everything broke. Our relationship with God was broken; we hid from the One who loved us and had so shamelessly lavished his blessings on us, who had given us everything and had not even spared Himself from giving us our own free will so we could truly love Him back – but we threw it all back in His face. We know that we are broken creatures in a broken world. We chose separation from God and are now slaves to sin. But God, in his great mercy and love, has given us the chance to choose Him again. He has given us a way to be united with Him and with each other again. There is only one way: Jesus Christ, who is the tree of life of which we must now eat to be restored to the way we were meant to be. We screwed everything up by turning our backs on God, and yet He gives us the chance to choose Him again. Our first disobedience destroyed everything and made us slaves to sin, but Jesus’ obedient act of sacrifice on the cross restored everything and freed us from sin, once and for all. But the work inside us is not yet complete and it won’t be until God recreates the heavens and the earth. So choosing God is a decision we must make every single day, every single moment even. We constantly need to renew and nourish our relationship with Him so that it doesn’t go stale. He knows that we are not able to love Him with all our heart and with all our soul and with all our mind. But He loves us unconditionally. Let us persevere in choosing God all the time, and one day we will be united with Him and with each other forever.