Satan’s Garden Temptation: Reject being a creature, Yet strive to be like God

 

In the story of the fall, where Adam and Eve gives in to the temptation of Satan, there’s many very deep truths presented by this story which are often easily glossed over or ignored. One simple truth presented by the narrative is that Satan hung that key goodness of “being like God” out like a carrot before the horse (of Adam and Eve).   In seeking to “be like God” by eating the apple (to achieve holiness by some other plan than God’s), they rejected their own innate goodness as creatures  and God’s plans for them to grow in His Love.

We are unsure if Adam and Eve knew about God’s plan for eternal life or not, however, blinded by the evil one’s lies, they came to believe that God had created them in and with anxiety, apprehension, hesitancy and with some concern about the possibility of humanity taking or somehow usurping  God’s power and glory.  But really, how could that ever be?

Buying the lie and now misunderstanding God as the Divine Threat and not as the Divine Love, the prideful first couple followed Satan’s plan in hopes of taking and securing what they now thought was begrudgingly withheld from them: God’s nature.  In doing so, they ALSO disparaged and rejected the giftedness of being a creature, with all of its limitations and realities.

Adam and Eve were like PRIDEFUL, very small children who, aware of their parents’ NATURAL and HEALTHY seemingly endless power and their own limitations as children, mistakenly (and sinfully) can began to undervalue and reject their blessed state as children.

In that child’s mind, sin twists and leads it to misunderstand  that which is healthy and divinely designed to protect and nurture it by nature, the parental-child relationship.  That relationship can now be ALSO experienced as  something that is unhealthy, unequal, unjust and simply a frightening  display of power…

Yet all along, if they had trusted God, they would have eventually found out that God’s plan was to give this gift of Himself to all who completes this earthly journey in faith, hope and love anyway! But how were they suppose to know this? They wasn’t! They were suppose to have faith and trust God, finding out in God’s time and when God wanted them to know about it!

Yet, when Satan tempted them by twisting and lying about Who and What God really is – stressing the differences in His nature, they were woefully unprepared for what that knowledge and experience would do to them! It is like the unfortunate reality of many children nowadays who, via media and internet, acquire the knowledge of human sexuality waaaaaay toooooo early – before they are prepared to utilize it as God intends and in a holy manner. Knowledge, human sexuality, wealth and power, etc., when placed in the hands of unjust, immoral or immature persons, will almost always result in sinful outcomes and more suffering for the greater community.

In their quest to become God like, the first couple God rejected their own goodness of being creatures. They were like our young children pining for the day when they are “grown ups”- an unrealistic day in which they have all the power and no responsibility!   Life just isn’t like that!

Finally, Adam and Eve forgot one of the most important points about our goodness as creatures: we do not have to figure it all out, know it all or get it all right in order to receive our heavenly reward (whatever it is suppose to be)                                                                                             

                         …we simply must to love all as God Loves.

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We are creatures, not gods. By grace, we will become like God, holy in nature, not a god ourselves. Accepting ourselves as creatures means accepting the goodness and messiness that comes along with being human. It means accepting that…

… we are not in control, God is. Period.

… we do not know even half of the answers to our most important questions, but must still press on in this life

… aging and getting old is a good and natural blessing, not a sin

… I must depend on and live in relationship with others, even though often my desire may be otherwise.. and that includes God, too!

… all in life will change and the only thing I can take with me is love

____

May this Lent empower each of us to reject Satan’s original temptation in the Garden to reject our creatureliness and to see it as unholy.  By accepting our creation as good, may we also join our struggles with His on the altar of the Holy Cross.  Joined with His eternal Sacrifice, may we – this Lent – experience that true graced freedom and joy of the creature, who lets God be free to be the God Who Loves and governs all creation!

Author: P. J. West, Jr.

Paul J. West Jr. is a cradle Catholic and native Chicagoan who has ministered in Catholic Schools, parishes and hospitals for over two decades. His current ministries are focused on both hospital chaplaincy and writing. Prior to this, he ministered as an educator for almost twenty five years teaching religion, scripture, philosophy and ethics at four Chicago area high schools and adults at the Chicago Catholic Scripture School. His parish ministry has included preaching, teaching, writing and serving as a Eucharistic minister. Mr. West, who is native south sider, has been married for almost 30 years to Dr. Joy West. They have raised four beautiful daughters who are all hardcore Bears and White Sox fans!!!!

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