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Read: Micah 6:6-8 “With what shall I come before the LORD, and bow myself before God on high? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousands of rivers of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?” He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?

I like questions. Questions aren’t bad or wrong. I think it’s important to ask questions and to ponder them. Even with faith, or perhaps especially with faith, it’s important to ask questions. That’s how we learn, and grow, and come to know what we believe and why. God has given us a mind to use; we honor this good gift of God when we use it. So, here we go.

We all know the story, or we think we do, of how sin entered the picture and destroyed paradise. But what is sin? First, let’s agree that sin is: “that which is against God’s will”. So where did sin come from? I know this sounds obvious, but honestly people debate this, even Bible scholars. A common answer is: sin began when Adam and Eve (A&E) disobeyed God and ate from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. They did so because they were tempted by the serpent.

Who is this serpent? And why was it interested in tempting A&E? Many say, “Satan”, but the Genesis story doesn’t say that – it’s two thousand+ years later when the author of Revelation (in the N.T.) says it was Satan (Rev. 12:9). Many Jews wouldn’t agree with that interpretation of Genesis. But let’s suppose the serpent is the devil. Isn’t the serpent “sinning” by tempting A&E? I mean, it seems like sin is ALREADY active and working in creation, if only through the serpent. But what does that say about the fall of humanity or fall of creation? Why did God allow that serpent (devil or not) to be in the garden to tempt A&E? Didn’t God know it would lead to sin and the fall? What is the role of free will? A&E had a choice to disobey, right? They could choose an option contrary to God’s will. Didn’t God know that they would? Does God give us free will? Does God know our future choices? What is the role of Christ our Redeemer in this? Ponder the questions. More next time.

Shalom,

Pastor Rob Nystrom