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"I have done what is evil in your sight" (Ps 51:4)

Love never ceases. God created humankind out of love with his perfect, faithful and infinite love. It is important that we should always be aware of this. We know that God has created the human being as a free being, and as such with capability to opt for disobedience and rejection of him. But, irrespectively of what man did, God chose beforehand to love him and his love never fails nor ceases: "If we are faithless, he remains faithful- for he cannot deny himself" (2 Tim 2:13). In fact, all God’s creation is object of his love, and the human being in a special way: "For you love all things that exist, and detest none of the things that you have made, for you would not have made anything if you had hated it" (Wis 11:24).

The denial of love. God being love and being good and faithful always, it would be a crazy thing to think of renouncing this love or to rebel against it. But among the creatures that God created free, the angels first and human beings thereafter, there was a possibility of them rebelling against him and of separating themselves from his love. This is what did happen with the fall of Satan and of the other rebellious angels who followed him. The devil was not created perverse, but as a beautiful and good angel, a servant of God. Not withstanding this, Satan started a rebellion, that we call the fall of the angels unfaithful to God: "How you are fallen from heaven, O Day Star, son of Dawn!" (Is 14:12). In these fallen angels something new had happened, that God had not done, as such one that this text mentions: "With an anointed cherub as guardian I placed you; you were on the holy mountain of God; you walked among the stones of fire. You were blameless in your ways from the day that you were created, until iniquity was found in you" (Ez 28:14-15).

Something new had made an appearance in history, the iniquity, the mystery of the evil, and with it the sin or representation of the evil, disobeying God and rebelling against him, that deserved judgment and condemnation by God. These fallen angels were conscious of the consequences of their election. Due to their knowledge, their election became irreversible and changed their nature, to the point of losing that initial nature with which they had been created by God, thus adopting a new one, fully perverse and evil: "And the angels who did not keep their own position, but left their proper dwelling, he has kept in eternal chains in deepest darkness for the judgment of the great Day" (Jude 6).

The command. God had also given to the human being the option between obeying or disobeying him. If God had made him free, it was necessary that man should exercise this freedom to obey God, having the possibility of doing the opposite. God placed upon man a commandment that he should obey: "You may freely eat of every tree of the garden; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall die" (Gen 2:16-17).

We understand that the consequences of the eating of the fruit were serious for it brought death into a world, where it did not exist. But a more serious reason was the fact that God was disobeyed, he being God, he being the Creator of man, the source of love, truth and life. Man had all reasons to respect and love God. In fact man did not sin, but remained in communion with God….. till the Tempter did his apparition, envious of the privileged situation that man enjoyed in friendship with God, that he himself had lost.

The drama. With divine permission Satan approached man, to tempt him, and for this he took the form of an animal, a serpent. Eve listened and believed the Tempter who lead her to eat of the mortal fruit and subsequently to give Adam the fruit to taste (cf Gen 3:1-6). Man and woman did not use the weapons that they had at their disposal:

  • They did not remain in oneness Had they remained united, perhaps it would have been easier not to take a hasty and irresponsible decision. They had shown self-sufficiency and excess of confidence in themselves.
  • They did not use the word of God, source of truth. It would have been enough to remember and to repeat naturally the words that God had spoken to them, exactly as he had said them, to unmask Satan’s deceit.
  • They did not use their authority. Man had been given dominion over the earth, and as such he had the authority to expel the serpent from the garden, when it came to tempt them. In the end, it was man who was deprived of his authority and thrown out from the Eden.
  • They did nor seek God In case of doubt or of need, for they could have asked help from God, whose friendship they enjoyed.

The temptation. It was a process of deceit that lead man to disobey God, inducing them into a separation from God and guiding them into sin.

  • The Tempter used deceit for this purpose. He used part of the truth that God had said, but distorted it, emphasizing what God had forbidden: "Did God say, ‘You shall not eat from any tree in the Garden?’" (Gen 3:1). Eve fell into the deceit when in her answer she continued to emphasize on what God had forbidden, adding on her own the prohibition on touching the tree of knowledge of good and evil: "We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden; but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the middle of the garden, nor shall you touch it, or you shall die’" (Gen 3:2-3). Eve also minimized the consequences of disobeying God, while omitting the warning that they would die "hopelessly".
  • Once the door to deceit was open, the Tempter dared to present directly the lie: "You will not die" (Gen 3:4).
  • The devil was straight in establishing rivalry between man and God, breaking the bonds of their communion and sowing distrust: "For God knows… and you will be like God" (Gen 3:5). Thus he sowed doubt about God’s goodness and about the reasons why God had established that commandment.
  • This was followed by an attractive offer If God was not looking that trustworthy or that good… then in exchange the devil was daring to offer something: "Your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil" (Gen 3:5). Once again acting on deceit, he was offering knowledge and a superior life… without God. The experience that awaited man outside God, was too dramatic so to be described truthfully and to have success in the temptation.
  • This temptation succeeded in focusing man’s attention on a tree, placed in the center of the Garden and divert his sight from God. For the first time, the center was not God, but man was focusing on himself, paving the way to pride, egocentrism and egolatry.
  • The temptation opened way, conceived and begot sin: "So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate; and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate" (Gen 3:6). And it was not the speech of the Tempter, but man himself who did consider within him that he would gain something outside the order that God has established.

The sin. Finally, man and woman trusted more the Tempter than God, and disobeyed God. If they had trusted God they would have not listened to the serpent, nor would have they disobeyed God. By allowing to be convinced by the Tempter they have shown that in their hearts they had separated themselves from God. The responsibility for sin had been personal. And the seriousness of sin consisted in to whom they had disobeyed, against whom they had rebelled. David had recognized this: "Against you, you alone, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight" (Ps 51:4).

New nature. Automatically, while eating from the fruit, man became a sinner, making the sin his, something that God had not done, thus receiving the seed or the nature of sin, something that God had not given him, and which made God exclaim through the prophet Isaiah: "Ah, sinful nation, people laden with iniquity, offspring who do evil, children who deal corruptly" (Is 1:4). Sin nested in man, shattering his communion with God.

A great hope. What could man hope for in such situation? Notwithstanding the great seriousness of the same, while falling induced by the deceit of the devil, the consequences for man were not equal to those for the angels. In man the struggle between the two seeds: the life and the death, remained. Although death has arrived hopelessly, God promised that from the seed of a woman would come the one who would strike the head of the serpent and would bring back the power of life, that is to say he reawakened the hope for salvation from that terrible situation, from the very first moment, when he cursed the serpent: "I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will strike your head, and you will strike his heel" (Gen 3:15).

Questions for sharing:

  • How God’s love is?
  • What sin is?
  • How serious sin is?

 

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