I was recently asked, “Why did God place the tree in the garden if He knew Adam and Eve would choose to eat from it?” It’s a great question and if we take it further it leads us to also ask, “why God created Satan? or why God allows children to suffer? or why God lets evil people rise to power and destroy so many lives?” Did God create us to live in a world where humanity’s choices would lead to pain and suffering or does His plan offer something more wonderful?
When Adam and Eve were placed in the garden they knew that everything was good. They did not have to make difficult choices to better their daily lives as God provided everything He believed they needed to be content. However, if life continued this way, would their eventual response to His gifts become preconditioned? Would their gratitude become insincere? God wanted more than robotic behaviour and so He introduced choice into our lives. He wanted us to choose Him not because we had to but because we choose His way over all else.
In the 1890’s Dr Pavlov conducted experiments to show how preconditioning could work. He trained a dog to salivate at the sound of a bell vice in response to food before it. He was very successful. However, eventually the dog no longer salivated in response to the meal but to the presence of the Dr. What is not widely published about these experiments is how the dogs suffered horribly. Some had holes cut in their cheek, so the Dr could see if they were salivating. Some were unable to eat, let alone enjoy the food offered because of the alterations to their face. They became unable to choose to enjoy.
We were created as an act of love because God wanted to share His blessing with those who choose to see and accept His love. However, without choice, we could not love or praise God for His wonders because we would not have anything to compare it to. God knew that without choice, Adam and Eve’s response to His gifts could become preconditioned expressions of thanks without true gratitude. He created us in His image and gave us intelligence, senses and emotions to experience His blessings. He wants us to respond to Him from the basis of love, not routine. If God had not placed the tree of knowledge of good and evil in the garden and gave instructions not to touch it, would Adam and Eve ever have faced the choice between trusting God or themselves?
Making choices can be difficult. God has made it possible for us to choose wisely. Scripture offers stories and teaching on choices and Jesus’ earthly ministry reminds us that we can make good choices. If we choose, we can even access the Holy Spirit to assist us to identify good choices without forcing us to make them. But not everyone knows God; many don’t realize or care if they are making poor choices. The MCF wants to help our military community make good choices. We want to help them find Jesus. We want to introduce them to His offer of peace, joy, contentment and a full life while they are on this earth, and an unimaginable wonderful eternity with their creator when they pass on. We want to help them see that some choices they are making are offensive and harmful to themselves, to others, and to the One who created them. We want to help them experience and benefit from God’s blessings such that their hearts will cause them to praise God. We want to help them choose Jesus, because we know it is the correct path. We want to tell them that the desire God has planted in their souls will reveal to them Jesus is the only choice worth making. Join us as we pray and serve our military.