Peeling the Apple

Dig way back to your days in Sunday School. Back to when you were just a little tike learning the basics. Where do we start? At the beginning.

Sunday School Question: Who were the first people created in the Bible?

Sunday School Answer: Adam and Eve.

Sunday School Question: What was the first sin committed in the Bible?

Sunday School Answer: When Adam and Eve ate the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil

Sunday School Question: What type of fruit was it?

Sunday School Answer: An Apple

Sunday School Question: How many commands did God give to Adam and Eve?

Sunday School Answer: 1, do not eat the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil

I am not here to bash Sunday School curriculum or the hard working and dedicated Sunday School teachers out there. I am not attempting to topple our primary biblical foundations. I am only encouraging us to dig a little deeper. To see beyond the basics, to explore hidden truths that possess profound power.

Truth- Adam and Eve were the first humans created on the earth. No challenge there- The Bible makes that very clear so we are good so far.

Onto the Apple.- I did not skip the question about the first sin, I am simply going to cover it later.

Truth is, Adam and Eve did not eat an apple from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. How do I know, you ask? Because in Genesis 1:11 The Bible states God made all vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit to bear fruit “according to their kind.”and repeats it in verse 12 “…and trees bearing fruit with seed in them, according to their kind. “We see this law of nature even today. Apple trees produce apples, orange trees produce oranges, and pear trees produce pears. We do not go to a banana tree looking for a mango, because all trees produce fruit “according to their kind.” So what type of fruit did the knowledge of good and evil tree produce… knowledge of good and evil. So does this mean Adam and Eve literally ingested the ability to recognize good from evil? (Just a random thought) All fruits and vegetation were created to provide the body with something. Oranges are high in vitamin C which helps support healthy immune system. Bananas have potassium which aid in heart, muscle, and kidney functions. Carrots have carotene which is good for the eyes. God created the fruits and the vegetation to provide something for the body, the knowledge of good and evil fruit provided one with the ability to recognize good from evil. Only, that was not a fruit God wanted for man to eat. God desired for mankind to live eternally in innocence. God desired that He be all that man needed for knowing what is right.

Now I am going to combine the discussion of the first sin with the commands God gave.

Commands- That is right, God gave more than one command to Adam and Eve.

1st Command-Genesis 1:28- “Be fruitful and multiply, fill the earth.” – God told Adam and Eve to have offspring. Now I have no idea how long Adam and Eve were in the garden or if they had ample time to reproduce from the time they were given this command to the time they were expelled from the garden, but it was a command they were given.

2nd Command- Genesis 1:28- “Fill the earth, subdue it. Rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, and every creature that crawls on the earth.” God gave man authority over the animals. It was the animals who were to listen to Adam and Eve, not the other way around.

3rd Command- Genesis 2:17 “But you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for on the day you eat from it, you will certainly die.” This was not the only command, but it is the only one where God gave a specific consequence.

So what was the first sin? Would the first sin being breaking any of the commands, or just the one with the consequence mentioned- Perhaps it would be helpful to define sin- Sin is disobedience to God’s command. Any time a command is broken, that is a sin.

So was the first sin the actual consumption of the fruit or is there something a bit deeper?

In Genesis 3 we see where the serpent comes and speaks to Eve regarding eating from the trees in the garden. He knows the answer to the question, but he is setting her up. He is hustling her, puts on this image of ignorance, while painting God as harsh and cruel. “Did God REALLY say ‘You can’t eat from ANY tree in the garden?'” (Essentially the serpent is saying, What type of God would place His creation in such a beautiful garden and tell them they can’t eat any of the fruit). She responds they can eat from any tree except the one in the middle, they can’t eat or touch it. In Genesis 2, God’s command is to not eat from the tree, He doesn’t say anything about not touching it. (Side note, I would say as a protection from possible sin, setting up boundaries to not even come close to sin is a good idea, but God’s command was not to eat it, if Adam and Eve had decided to set up that protective boundary for themselves, then that is great, but you can’t quote that part of what God told you). Technically, the laws about not adding or taking away from God’s word have not yet been written, and stating God said not to touch it, doesn’t  technically break one of the 3 commands they were given, but do you really want to risk trying to get into heaven on a technicality? (And just to clarify, lying is not acceptable behavior and just to clarify again, I am not saying Eve was innocent, I am attempting to provoke thought)

If that is not crazy enough for ya, get this. The serpent continues to speak and contradicts God. He says, “No you will not die!” Home girl should have drop kicked his lying tail half way across the garden at that point, but no she continues to listen. At this point, she relinquishes her authority over him, by listening to his lies. God’s 2nd command was to rule over the animals and subdue them. Subdue means- overcome, or bring under control. At the moment the serpent spoke contrary to God’s Word, it was Eve’s responsibility to bring him under control, but she failed to do so. She did not act on the authority which was given to her by God and she did not subdue an out of control inferior being.

I am sure some of you are thinking, “You just said it was okay for Eve to lie” Which is not what I said, but people read what they want. I am not focusing on the serpents actions because he was just a vessel used, I am addressing Adam and Eve’s behaviors to encourage us to think deeper than just the surface level of this story. They gave up their authority! How many times have we done the same thing. God tells us we have faith to move mountains. In Matthew 18 Jesus tells us “Whatever we bind on earth will be bond in heaven and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” God has given us authority to operate in His name and how many times have we relinquished that authority over doubt, or bad advice from inferior beings?

Adam and Eve’s sin did not begin with the consumption of the fruit (not an apple), that is where it led them. Their sin began when they voided their authority by listening to lies. God’s Words are true and the authority He has given us is greater than any lie from Satan. Don’t sacrifice your authority over an inferior being.

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Not a Beggar

There is a song played on the radio and the young lady sings “I’m on my knees, begging you please.” The song speaks of her desire for God to remain with her and not leave her, even when she is a punk sometimes. The song is a fun song with an important message, but I am not writing about the song, I am writing about this one line which was really the only part of the song I heard the first time I heard it. I turned on the radio and heard the line “I’m on my knees, begging you please.” I had no idea to what the song was referring, but I said out loud, “I’m not a beggar.” God gently spoke to me and said, “No you are not.” You see I am a child of the King. I don’t have to crouch at the end of the table, and beg for scraps. I pull up a chair to the table and I can eat freely of all my Father has for me. If I need healing, it is on the table for me. If I need courage or strength, it is already on my plate for me. If I need peace, hope, or an extra dose of love and compassion, it is right there at my fingertips. If I need financial provision, it is there for me. Anything I need, I can pull up to the Father’s table and accept what God has for me. I can even come back as often as I need a refill.  I don’t have to live on yesterday’s blessings, I can come to the table every day, as often as I need to get full. God is a good Father and a mighty King who provides everything I need. I don’t have to beg, I just have to pull up to the table and eat freely.

One of Our Own

This past weekend I had the immense pleasure and amazing opportunity to speak at the Virginia Girl’s Jamboree. Being asked to speak at such an esteemed event is quite an honor. I enjoyed the chance to speak into the lives of these beautiful young ladies. As a part of my introduction, I was honored with prestigious accolades and acknowledgments of past accomplishments, but the statement which made me feel the most loved and accepted and appreciated was when the comment was made, “She’s one of our own.” Now don’t get me wrong, I am an Eastern North Carolina (ENC) girl and that will always be my home state. You may take the girl out of ENC but you can’t take the ENC out of the girl. With that being clarified, there is something to be said about being accepted. I have been in Virginia for only a few years. I was not born or raised here. I am an outsider. I did not grow up at the campgrounds of Virginia, I don’t have Virginia Youth Camp stories or tales to be told. I can’t say, I have known and grown up with anyone who is here. I do not have connections which extend back to the first time we ever met at a Virginia state function. I have only attended 2 years of Youth Camp in Virginia. I have only worked 3 Girls’ Jamborees. I have only attended a few Campmeeting services and I have been to even fewer Ministers’ meetings. I have attempted to connect and become involved as I have been here, but I don’t have memories spanning my lifetime of growing up and experiencing Virginia Church of God state events. I am an outsider (I do not say this in a negative connotation, but as a simple statement of fact). So to be accepted in this amazing group of Virginia Church of God folks, to be called “One of our own.” Makes me feel loved. So thank you Virginia for accepting me and allowing me to be one of yours.