What did Satan stand to gain from tempting Eve anyway? If the fruit was an arbitrary test of obedience, shouldn’t God have thanked Satan for having helped him weed out the deviants? Why did God need to test Adam and Eve if He is omniscient? Why test them with fruit of all things?
These are tough questions to be sure. However, when viewed from the perspective of the Controversy between Christ and Satan, these very questions lead to a new understanding of God (and the devil). Sin wasn’t ignited on earth but in heaven. The conversation between him and Eve reveal Satan’s battle cry: God’s laws shouldn’t be followed because they are His way of robbing us of freedom and progress. If that’s what he said to Eve, that must be what he said in Heaven.
God must then allow Adam and Eve to choose between obedience and rebellion. How would He do it? God couldn’t stack the test in favour of obedience i.e. The forbidden fruit mustn’t be rotten or ugly; the forbidden tree must not be too far away; God must not reveal too much of the devil’s strategy (possessing a snake, the mixture of truth and lies). In short, the only reason Adam and Eve wouldn’t eat the fruit had to be because of their relationship with the One who said “Don’t!”
Was the choice of the test arbitrary? Yes. Was the test arbitrary? No. This is the only way God could show that His creatures, given full freedom, would choose Him. God had been accused of refusing to share power yet the Godhead created a couple in their image that in turn created in their image, thus, showing that His government was not built on bribery and death threats but on love.
Yet, a question remained… Could it be that God had surreptitiously inserted software into our brains to keep us loyal to Him? Is that why the beings in heavenly places (Colossians 1:19-21 & Ephesians 3:10) couldn’t see what Satan in his “wisdom” had seen – that all wasn’t good with God? God thus put it to the test… He created two new individuals who hadn’t been present when the accusations were made and gave them a choice.
Food for thought:
The Sabbath seems arbitrary. How do we keep it Holy such that we show our allegiance to God without making Him seem like a tyrant who makes laws just because He can?
[end of part 1]