I was watching a debate between Michael Shermer and John Lennox the other day on YouTube. At the end of the debate, a member of the audience asked a very difficult question. Though I really like John Lennox and I think he is a very thoughtful and intelligent man, I did not think he answered this question particularly well. I thought I might try to do better myself.
The question that was asked at the debate went as follows:
Why would you choose to worship a creator God who forbade man to actually eat from the tree of knowledge (which you) have obviously eaten from because you are a rather knowledgeable man. Why would you choose to worship this sort of deity who would have kept you dumb?
Dr. Lennox did his best, but his answer was limited by an understanding of theology which I think is rather inadequate. His answer was long and rambling and he mentioned what God had done for him and the fact that Satan was trying to deceive mankind into believing that we would be better off without God. Truthfully, it was painful to watch such a brilliant Christian apologist at a loss for words. This is especially case when the answer is very simple.
As I have stated in other essays, I believe that created beings are inherently evil. That is to say, I believe that created beings are inherently incapable of keeping God’s perfect standard of love without God’s help. According to my theology, God knew that Adam would disobey the command not to eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge. The command was not an attempt by God to keep human beings without knowledge, the command was a demonstration that human beings are incapable of keeping even the simplest commands perfectly and that we therefore need the love, forgiveness and grace of Jesus Christ.
If we read the Bible, we find that God has offered human beings three different modes of interaction with him at different times. These are:
- Be completely childlike by not eating of the fruit of the tree of knowledge.
- Keep God’s law perfectly making up for any transgressions through the bloody sacrifice of animals.
- The grace and forgiveness purchased by Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary for all those who will accept him as Lord and Savior.
To me, it is perfectly obvious that only one of these modes of interaction was ever intended to be permanent.