the sufferings of this world – Part 1

— In the Beginning – The Human Heart

God created man in His image, male and female, and set them over a perfect environment. The ground produced abundantly without thorns and briars. The weather was perfectly regulated. A canopy above filtered out any harmful radiation coming in from space. Some scientists believe that the canopy above was crystalline structure of frozen water vapor. It may even have had a pinkish glow. The earth was watered by springs bubbling up from below and in the early day, a mist covered the ground. The animals were not carnivores and were subject to Adam and Eve.

Adam means “red earth” or “the ground.” His name was a reminder to Adam from whence he came. Eve means “life,” “living,” or “life-giver,” so-called because all human life comes through women. God created Adam and Eve as a pair. They needed each other to be complete. Each had their purpose and abilities. God set them in this beautiful garden to manage over and prosper it.

We do not know how long Adam and Eve were on Earth before they chose to defy the Creator. He provided everything they needed for their complete comfort and joy. Everything was theirs and subject to them. Everything was perfect. In all of creation, there was only one simple restriction. There was only one Don’t. “Don’t eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” But they did. They were warned that if they did, they would immediately know right from wrong and be subject to death, both physical and spiritual. From time immemorial that defiance has stained the human soul. We see that same defiance in ourselves and in our children almost from the very moment of their birth. Born rebellious, we covet from the youngest age and defy authority. Kids test their parents at every turn. The words “do not” and “no” spontaneously generate the will to resist. It is simply this: I want it my way. I want what I want when I want it.

Rather than remaining pure and innocent, Adan and Eve desired in their hearts to know good from evil, thus making us all responsible for our actions and accountable to God. Eve may have taken the first bite of the forbidden fruit, but Adam stood beside her and unhesitatingly took the second. That decision on their part brought the first curse upon both man and earth, causing us to labor and sweat every day for our very existence.

Genesis 3:16–19 (NLT)16 Then he said to the woman, “I will sharpen the pain of your pregnancy, and in pain you will give birth. And you will desire to control your husband, but he will rule over you.” 17 And to the man he said, “Since you listened to your wife and ate from the tree whose fruit I commanded you not to eat, the ground is cursed because of you. All your life you will struggle to scratch a living from it. 18 It will grow thorns and thistles for you, though you will eat of its grains. 19 By the sweat of your brow will you have food to eat until you return to the ground from which you were made. For you were made from dust, and to dust you will return.”

     And so it began. The first cause of pain and suffering was defiance. The foolish choice to do things “my way” rather than “His way.” We want God to be the Genie in the bottle fulfilling our will, granting our wishes, rather than us submitting to Him and His love.

This “self-will” carries over into our families, our communities, and our governments, making life miserable for everyone. Those who are the strongest or have the most authority force themselves, their values, and their pleasures on the rest of us. Evil resides in the hearts of men. It wasn’t created by God. God is love, and the opposite of love is evil. Evil results from the absence of God in our lives, in our communities, in human societies.

1 John 4:8 (KJV) “He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.” 1 John 4:16 (KJV) “And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.”

     In the beginning, the first curse, self-induced, was pushing God out and assuming responsibility for ourselves. Just like we continue to do today. Mankind only wants God to intervene when the things we do run amuck. Otherwise, “stay out of our lives.”

Why is life hard? What went wrong?

“. . . through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death
spread to all men, because all sinned”– Romans 5:12 (NASB).

This is why we explore scripture
~because it matters. It really does.

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