Together in Spirit

Browsing From the Desk of Fr. Mike

Our Relationship with God

After the man, Adam, had eaten of the tree, the LORD God called to the man and asked him, "Where are you?"  He answered, "I heard you in the garden; but I was afraid, because I was naked, so I hid myself." Then he asked, "Who told you that you were naked? You have eaten, then, from the tree of which I had forbidden you to eat!" (Genesis 3:9-10)

For the longest time my thoughts were clouded over by the common understanding that Adam takes the apple that Eve offers him and eats it, and this is seen as an act of disobedience. Instead, it is the moment when humanity loses its innocence. It is the moment which separates humanity from God and initiates the redemptive work of Jesus which will result in his death. There is never a mention of the type of fruit that Adam eats. Genesis 2: 16-17 tells us: The LORD God gave the man this order: You are free to eat from any of the trees of the garden except the tree of knowledge of good and evil. From that tree you shall not eat; when you eat from it you shall die.

No one knows what the fruit of the tree of knowledge looked like, so over the course of time the apple became synonymous with that fruit. In doing so, however, it overshadowed what the fruit contained: the knowledge of good and bad. Before they ate that fruit Adam and Eve would have looked to God to tell them what was good or bad.  Genesis 2:25 tells us: The man and his wife were both naked, yet they felt no shame. It is only after we hear our first reading today that we discover the consequence of eating the fruit of this tree. As Satan fools them into doubting the command of God he challenges Eve to look past God’s warning. Genesis continues: The woman saw that the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eyes, and the tree was desirable for gaining wisdom. So, she took some of its fruit and ate it; and she also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; so, they sewed fig leaves together and made loincloths for themselves. (Genesis 3:6-7).

It is here that we pick up the story in our first reading today.  The proof of their disobedience rests in their realization that they were naked and needed to cover themselves before they met God. The fruit of the tree of knowledge does its work, and Adam and Eve begin to decide for themselves what is good and bad. They no longer depend on God to show them what is good or bad. It is in this context that one can begin to understand the drama of the passion of Christ. Jesus comes to reorient humanity in their relationship with God the Father. He endures the actions of humanity against Him always knowing that He is following his Father’s will. What may seem crazy to us, is our salvation. The early martyrs lived in this understanding also and gladly gave their lives for the sake of following the Father’s will. 



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