What is the nature of the Father?
I have lived with a subconscious doubt that the father truly loves me, it’s time to put it to rest, the Fathers nature is Love, but do we trust that?
In Genesis 3 we have what we refer to as the fall, where our primary focus has been on our nature and how we fumbled pure connection with the father, resulting in disconnection. What if the primary focus of this chapter was not our demise, but rather the father’s nature in the midst of rebellion?
Let us start with the New Testament truth that the Father is like Jesus.
He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.
My Favourite author, Brennan Manning, Puts it like this:
“Have you grappled with the core question of your faith, which is not ‘is Jesus like God?’ but ‘Is God Jesus-like?’ do you comprehend that all the Attitudes, Values, qualities, and characteristics of my Son are mine; and he who see’s Jesus sees me, His Father.-Brennan-
Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made.
He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You[a] shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” 2 And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, 3 but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.”
This is the Hebrew word (Mut)- It occurs 850 times throughout the Bible in this context it means to die both spiritually and physically. Before this word was placed here in the story, the man had no experience of either consequence, spiritual or physical Death. It is important to note that this was not a threat but a reality. The fact of death, life, sin, sickness and even separation were all in existence pre-fall, but we were not aware of them, in fact, they were the father’s responsibility, we had no knowledge of them.
4 But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. 5 For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
It is important here to note that the deception was based on our reality at present “you will become like Him”, this was the very thing Satan had wanted in heaven before we were created in God’s image.
God in his wisdom bypassed this jealousy in us by making us like Him, interesting that the seed of doubt placed by Satan was the same lie that he believed. Also interestingly Satan had complete free will in heaven to make that challenge to God. In itself, this is a picture of the nature of our father wanting a relationship (Without the basis of freedom there will not be a real relationship).
(ra’)– Meaning evil: in this context, is something that stands in contrast to holiness, so we have to define holiness to understand its context. To understand holiness we need to look no further than our dictionary.
(Tob)– Meaning goodness; this word denotes a sense of moral-spiritual virtue
Again, these things were in existence before man became aware of them, this denotes that God was responsible for the knowledge of such things. They were His responsibility and had no application to us (unless we eat of the tree of knowledge).
6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise,[b] she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. 7 Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths.
Consciousness occurs- they were naked beforehand, and they came to a realisation of such after. This is a very important thing to be placed before their encounter in the garden with God.
Nakedness- (Erom) is the word Nakedness which refers to (and this is the definition in the Hebrew dictionary) their shame-filled perception of their nakedness (nakedness was an evidence of consequence when taking the responsibility of the knowledge of such things out of Gods hands).
With this we see God explain the curse of the knowledge of good and evil, tilling the ground, pain in childbirth (it is important to note these were not punishments but actually a part of the realisation of such knowledge). We will see later in verse 14, God never said, “I curse you because you have done this”, but He does say, “Because you have done this”. This is spoken with the connotation of explanation as to what is happening to them, imagine how they must have felt at that moment of understanding.
8 And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool[c] of the day, and the man and his wife hid from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden.
They hid from the presence of the Lord. Before this moment the reality of the ability to be out of His prescience did not exist, they were not hiding from anger, but from a feeling of separation due to their apparent nakedness.
9 But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?”[d] 10 And he said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid.”
(Qara)– Meaning called out; this could be better translated to Cried out giving the connotation of a God longing for connection not punishment of behaviour but understanding with a desire to rectify.
11 He said, “Who told you that you were naked? (my note: Shameful) Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” 12 The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.”(blame shifting due to his mistrust of God) 13 Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”
Commanded- (sawah) charge or command, with this context Gods commandments, were not restricted to the content of the mosaic covenant, where ever we find a pre-mosaic commandment we find it within the context of His purpose for us in relationship, Like in Gen 3:11- this takes us back to the inception of deception, it was a relational statement placing the tree of knowledge there for them. God did not have to do that. However, according to the relationship between God and Satan, as described in Ezekiel, without free will there is no relationship. If we believe that the tree was a test of our will, then we are risking missing His heart. Let me ask you this? Is manipulation within Gods Character? Of course not, if Jesus Is the exact imprint of who God is then we must define this Genesis account of rebellion with How Jesus responds to the product of it. Simply put, “Go and sin no more my Child, you have encountered Love today respond to Freedom in Love, and you will live out what you have been made, Righteous”.
14 The Lord God said to the serpent,
Note, Satan was blamed for the action and Gods anger was instantly turned to him.
“Because you have done this,
cursed are you above all livestock
and above all beasts of the field;
on your belly, you shall go,
and dust you shall eat
all the days of your life.
15 I will put enmity between you and the woman,
and between your offspring[e] and her offspring;
he shall bruise your head,
and you shall bruise his heel.”
16 To the woman he said,
“I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing;
in pain, you shall bring forth children.
Your desire shall be contrary to[f] your husband,
but he shall rule over you.”
“I will Surely Multiply your pain?” At this point, you would have a right to ask, but Adam is this not God placing pain on eve for her behaviour? The way I have looked at this is that it was a part of the fruit, they were warned, and yes they disobeyed. In conjunction with the rest of how God responds this does leave us wondering, my understanding is this. They were experiencing what it was to own knowledge, I still feel this is an explanation more than God placing curses, Eve was about to experience what she didn’t know, and up until this point God knew them, and now he is passing that on.
17 And to Adam he said,
“Because you have listened to the voice of your wife
and have eaten of the tree
of which I commanded you,
‘You shall not eat of it,’
cursed is the ground because of you;
in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life;
18 thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you;
and you shall eat the plants of the field.
19 By the sweat of your face
you shall eat bread,
till you return to the ground,
for out of it you were taken;
for you are dust,
and to dust, you shall return.”
This is the picture of God explaining they’re new found knowledge and the consequence of such.
20 The man called his wife’s name Eve because she was the mother of all living.[g] 21 And the Lord God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them.
He clothes them, I picture this moment of protection as if he was about to Send his prized possession the prince and princess to His throne out to war against what has happened in a desperate attempt to Win them back.
22 Then the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil. Now, lest he reaches out his hand and also take of the tree of life and eat, and live forever—” 23, therefore, the Lord God sent him out from the garden of Eden to work the ground from which he was taken. 24 He drove out the man, and at the east of the garden of Eden, he placed the cherubim and a flaming sword that turned every way to guard the way to the tree of life.
Then there is a moment of realisation that God has, it’s like He has an internal conversation with Himself. He has the point of realisation that if the man eats of the tree of life (by the way was readily available while they were in a relationship), they will perpetually be in this state for eternity. So He removes them from the garden in a bid for protection and places an angel to guard the tree of life against us and then sends Jesus (the second tree of life) as another fruit offering. Take of His life or fruit, and you will have freedom from this world, Freedom from the knowledge of Good and evil.
This is what I believe Paul was getting at when he penned this scripture in Corinthians,
2 Corinthians 5:14
For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all. Therefore all have died;
We are not controlled in the sense of puppetry, but we are controlled in our response to His goodness.
In this, we see the Nature of our father in conjunction with the person of Christ. The tree was not a test of our will but a relinquishing of the control of knowledge on Gods part, it was an action that defined true freedom and true love. This has been manipulated to be taken as an action of control. If we believe he tested us and that we failed for Him to murder His son, then subconsciously we don’t trust His motive, due to the connotations that come with this mindset. If we choose to believe what I am presenting, which is a God that is not in control of everything, then we encounter pure love on the basis of freedom. We can reconcile the person of Christ with the Father and believe that they are one in the same, making it salvation through faith and not behaviour. Once we encounter this reality in truth, the behaviour will change anyway. It is not the primary focus, it is the truth of who He is and who we are that leads us to freedom in Christ and through Christ by faith and faith alone.