“Why Did This Happen To me?”
Its a question that gets asked far too often. And unfortunately, it is often coupled with a belief that tragedy, sickness, or death was sent by God. It is like a no-fault religion. A belief system that takes absolutely no responsibility for what happens in life. But as in the natural world, you have cause and effect. In the spiritual world, its called sowing and reaping.
This topic sometimes makes people uncomfortable. The opposite should be the case, especially for Believers. If you are prone to ask these types of questions, or question God, remind yourself of God’s ultimate will for mankind. This can be found throughout the Bible. But let’s look at Genesis 1 to get started – underlining added for emphasis.
God said, Let Us [Father, Son, and Holy Spirit] make mankind in Our image, after Our likeness, and let them have complete authority over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, the [tame] beasts, and over all of the earth, and over everything that creeps upon the earth. (Genesis 1:26 <AMP>)
Mankind was made in the image of God. He was made to fellowship with God. He was made to exercise creative ability like God. He was made to release faith with the spoken Word like God. As God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit exist as one, man is a three-part creation – spirit (heart), soul (mind, will & emotions), and body. God created the Earth and gave mankind dominion. Think about that for a second. This authority was not given to angels, but to mankind! Man is to reign as king over the Earth in partnership with God. (Romans 5:17, Revelation 5:9-10)
Instead of looking at your life, or your own personal limitations, look at God. Look at what He can do. He is your Heavenly Father. Jesus is your example, and you are called to imitate him. NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE! (Matthew 19:26, Luke 1:37)
Christ is not Jesus’ last name. It means Anointed One, or the Anointing. You are a Christian, a follower of Christ. The Anointing, and the Anointed One, is on and in you! And don’t forget, its the Anointing that removes burdens and destroys yokes. (Isaiah 10:27, Luke 4:18-19, 1 John 2:27)
The day God created Adam, all of creation wondered about this copy of God that was to rule the Earth. Copy of God you ask? What does “in our image” or “after our likeness” truly mean to you? Meditate on that for a time. You are a copy of God! Do children look or act much different from their parents? Why would God’s children be any different from Him? But that wasn’t the end of Creation. (Psalm 8:3-9, John 20:17, Romans 8:14-16, Galatians 4:5-7)
So God created man in His own image, in the image and likeness of God He created him; male and female He created them.
And God blessed them and said to them, Be fruitful, multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it [using all its vast resources in the service of God and man]; and have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and over every living creature that moves upon the earth. (Genesis 1:27-28 <AMP>)
When God repeats something, PAY ATTENTION. He is telling you once again, you are made like God. You are empowered to have dominion and exercise authority like God. And most importantly, God has BLESSED you. That is past tense. The Blessing is an empowerment to succeed in everything you do. It is God’s Grace, Favor, Peace, Wisdom, Revelation, Love, and Joy all overflowing in your life to the point that you have more than enough to share with the world! (Deuteronomy 8:18, 1 Samuel 2:8, Proverbs 10:21-22, Luke 2:52, Galatians 5:22-23)
So in a world marked by uncertainty, danger, and death, where did the Blessing go? Let’s go back in time and find out exactly what transpired.
An Undeserved Curse Goes Nowhere
(Proverbs 26:2 <HCSB>)
To understand the present, you need to step back in time for a quick review. God created man in His image, and gave him dominion over the Earth (Psalm 115:15-16). Man promptly sinned, cutting himself off from his Creator, Love Himself. He now had a new spiritual father whose primary goal was to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10). Satan is the antichrist, or in better words, he is against the Anointed One and the Anointing. The devil cannot overpower God, but working through man, who has authority on Earth, he would attempt to thwart God’s plan for reconnecting with His family. Thus begins the epic struggle – but no worries, your Heavenly Father won the war before it even started. (Genesis 3)
The battle started in the Garden. Adam and Eve had everything they needed, including freedom. The whole point of the tree of knowledge was not to tempt them, but to give them a choice to obey, or not. Without choice or freedom, they would just be puppets. True love exists without compulsion. God had created a wonderful world, and then turned it over to His children, who were created in His own image. Together, they would spread that Garden throughout the universe. There was no limit to what they could have accomplished.
Adam and Eve did not need knowledge of good and evil. They had access to Revelation, a direct line to the Creator Himself, who would have joyfully explained all mysteries to them. Godly Wisdom far surpasses anything man could muster, especially fallen man (Psalm 147:5, 1 Corinthians 1:25).
God gave them one simple command – don’t eat the fruit of one specific tree in the Garden. One has to wonder how often Eve found herself near that tree. Was she staring at it constantly, and wondering what made it so special? That desire was noticed by an intruder. Satan, the Shining one*, who had ruled the Earth** before, and whose rebellion had left the Earth under water and in darkness, now entered the scene. Note how easily she is led into temptation, then into sin, and then shared her sin with Adam. (Psalm 7:14-16, James 1:13-18)
The old serpent asks, in an accusatory tone, “Did God really say you must not eat the fruit from any of the trees in the garden?”
Eve responds that they could eat all the fruit, except from the tree in the middle of the Garden – close, but not exactly God’s Word. She then adds to His words, saying that they cannot eat the fruit from the tree of knowledge, or even touch it, lest they die. The door was open for Satan. Instead of quoting God correctly, she embellished His commandment, and doubted His clear warning. God’s Word can be trusted. It will never fail you. Every commandment and warning from God is for your benefit. God is Love. And Love does no harm.
Satan knew he had her now, “No! You will not die. God knows that your eyes will be open, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
These were the first lies recorded in the Bible. And its no surprise that Satan is known as the father of lies. Note also the words, “that you will be like god”. This temptation has led many people away from their Creator. Eve was made in the image of God, clothed with His Glory, and enjoyed fellowship with Him in the Garden. She could not get any more Godlike than she already was!
The insinuation was that God was holding out on them. The fruit he denied them must have been better than what they already had. And of course, the knowledge of good and evil, this enlightenment, must be much better than Revelation and Wisdom. Does any of that sound familiar to 21st Century readers of this blog? If you know that God will supply all your needs, bless you so much that you can be a blessing, you don’t have to covet or steal your neighbor’s possessions. If you are spiritually connected with the Creator of the Universe, you have the source of infinite Wisdom inside. You can’t get any more enlightened. Its kind of comical. Idolatry comes in many flavors, but it still produces the same results.
The temptation was threefold: Lust of the Body – good for food, Lust of the Eyes – pleasant to look at, and Pride – it would give you knowledge. The corruption of God’s Word was threefold: Omission – Eve left out “freely” making God seem less generous, Addition – could not “touch” the fruit, which God did not command, and Alteration – changing the certainty of death, to a less certain outcome. The same threefold temptation pattern was repeated against Jesus in the wilderness. Remember, Satan can only tempt you with what is common to man, and God will always provide a way of escape – but you must seek it, and take it. (1 Corinthians 10:13)
Note that Jesus defeated Satan by accurately quoting the Word.
– Satan challenged Jesus by saying, “If you are the Son of God (God had just announced it to the whole world in an audible voice at his Baptism), make these stones bread.” Jesus said, “It is written…” – There were no doubts as to who he was, his purpose, and what the Word said about him. (Deuteronomy 8:3, Matthew 4:1-4, Luke 4:1-4)
– Satan took him to the top of the Temple and said, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, God will send the angels to bear you up.” Jesus said, “It is written…” – Jesus knew who he was and did not need to prove it. Satan mingled in some Scripture with a foolish suggestion, hoping to trap Jesus. (Deuteronomy 6:16, Psalm 91:11-12, Matthew 4:5-7, Luke 4:9-13)
– Satan took Jesus to a high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in an instant. He promised to give Jesus the world and all its glory, “If you fall down and worship me.” This was a significant temptation, because through Adam and Eve’s sin, he was god of the Earth. (John 8:44, 12:31, 14:30, 2 Corinthians 4:4) But Jesus said, “Get away from me Satan! It is written…” God had a better plan for reclaiming the Earth. (Genesis 3:15, Deuteronomy 6:13, Matthew 4:8-11, Luke 4:5-8, John 12:30-32, 16:7-11, Romans 5:17, 2 Corinthians 4:3-4)
Notice the similarity of the temptations. Satan is sowing words of doubt and unbelief. Could he make Eve believe that God was somehow withholding something good from her? How could that be if God is Love? With Jesus, all three temptations are anchored by the “IF” question. Satan wanted Jesus to doubt his calling, question the Word, and attempt to fulfill God’s plan for his life in some other way. The underlying assumption is that God did not have the perfect path planned for Jesus’ life. But He did.
Eve had a choice. She could believe the Truth, or act on Satan’s lies. Nobody can be forced to sin. And nobody should be surprised that sin has consequences. Eve took a bite of the fruit. At that moment, her world turned upside down. And as so often happens with sin, she wasn’t done. She dragged Adam down with her by sharing the fruit with her husband who ate it as well.
In Genesis 3:6, it indicates that Adam was with her. Meaning, its very possible that Adam heard the entire conversation between Eve and Satan. In Timothy, it says that Eve was deceived, but Adam was not (2 Corinthians 11:3, 1 Timothy 2:14). Adam had been commanded to “watch over the Garden.” He had the authority and power to dismiss this intruder, but for some strange reason, he never did.
Maybe it was love for his now spiritually dead wife, or maybe he was just as tempted, but for whatever reason, Adam ate the fruit. In those few seconds, the Glory of God that had clothed them disappeared, and they were ashamed of their now visible bodies. They were spiritually dead, cut off from God, and totally dependent on their senses and intellect. Where their spirit had once reigned, their soul was now in charge. Love and Faith were replaced by selfishness and fear. And in an ironic twist, when they heard God in the Garden, they hid themselves. Isn’t it sad how sin makes people flee from their Heavenly Father.
Sin caused immediate spiritual death, physical death would come later. God still loved them, because He is Love. But sin is instantly consumed in the presence of righteousness, just like darkness disappears when light appears. God had to deal with His children differently. He had to be merciful, and just. Satan demanded their immediate death, because the wages of sin is death. God also had to keep them from the Tree of Life, because by consuming its fruit, they would have spent eternity spiritually dead, forever cut off from their Creator.
One of God’s first acts of mercy was to cover their nakedness with animal skins. This required a sacrifice, the shedding of blood. Without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness. This same theme will lead you all the way to Calvary. (Hebrews 9:22) And then of course they were removed from the Garden and prevented from returning.
Before their removal, God told them the consequences of their sin. God did not curse them, or the Earth. The curse entered the world because of their disobedience. You can see sin immediately in their behavior – fear instead of faith, lies instead of honesty, and blaming others for their own mistakes. Their relationship with God had changed drastically. Where Love, Faith, Peace, and Joy once reigned, it was now exchanged for selfishness, fear, worry, and sorrow. The Earth was not the same either. Where once it produced bountifully, it was now reeling from the curse. Nothing would come easy for this first couple. But there was a glimmer a hope. A promise of a Savior – the Seed of Woman, that would end the curse. (Romans 8:19-23, 2 Peter 3:13-15)
People read the story of the fall of man and make numerous mistakes that hinder their faith. Here is a brief summary to conclude this lesson:
1. God Did Not Curse The Earth – The curse entered the Earth because of sin. God Blessed man, and never took it back. The Blessing is everything good in life (because God is Good). The Curse is everything evil in life (because Satan is evil). To see a summary of the Blessing (Deuteronomy 28:1-14), and a summary of the curse (Deuteronomy 28:15-68). Quite literally every evil you could imagine comes from sin and the curse.
2. God Is Good. Satan Is Evil – If you miss this foundational Truth, it will undermine all of Scripture, and lead to a life of frustration as a Christian. Never, ever blame God for anything evil – sickness, poverty, lack, suffering, or even death. Either directly, or indirectly, everything evil comes from sin and the curse. God gave man a choice, and just to make certain man chose wisely, God tells you to “Choose LIFE! Choose HIM!” (Deuteronomy 30:15-20, Isaiah 5:18-21, John 10:10)
3. God Is On Your Side – It is God’s will that ALL be saved. Let that thoroughly sink into your spirit. Salvation is a free gift. Everyone is invited. But just like Adam and Eve, you have a choice. God will defend your choice all the way to Hell, doing His best to get you to Choose Life. (John 3:16-18, 1 Timothy 2:1-6)
4. You Have A Choice – People don’t want to take responsibility for their situation. Its far easier to blame God, or even the devil when things go catawampus, or evil enters your life. The curse never comes without a cause. It might be because of fear (Job), unbelief or idolatry (children of Israel in the wilderness and as a nation), rebellion (Saul), or as I like to call, “cursing your own fig tree”. If you continually tell yourself and others that you are always broke, always sick, or always a failure, don’t be surprised if those things are continually true for you. Life and death are in the power of YOUR tongue. What you see, hear, and speak determines what you believe. What you believe determines what you speak and receive. For better, or worse, you are the prophet of your life. You can believe and speak God’s Truth, or Satan’s lies. But it is absolutely your choice. (Joshua 1:6-9, Proverbs 4:20-27, 18:21, 26:2, Mark 11:21-26, Luke 6:43-49, Ephesians 4:22-32, James 3:1-12)
5. God’s Word Is Truth – If that is not obvious yet, make it so. God’s Word can be trusted. It is Alive and sharper than a two-edged sword. It is Spirit and Life. The Word of God should be flowing freely from your lips daily. You should monitor your speech, making sure no idle words are released, no lies are spoken, and no evil predictions should come out of your mouth. As Jesus did in the wilderness, for every evil thought from the enemy, you should have an “It is written…” response ready in your spirit. This does not come from memorizing Scripture. It comes from feeding on the Bread of Life. (Numbers 23:19, Psalm 89:33-35, Matthew 12:35-37, John 6:32-38, 17:14-19, Hebrews 4:12-13)
God had to legally work through fallen man, and his delegated authority, to send a Redeemer. At the same time, Satan was doing everything possible to prevent this from happening. Man was stuck in the middle. Once this dynamic is properly understood, the world, especially the Old Testament times, starts making more sense. As you will see from Genesis forward, God is always one step ahead of Satan at every turn. And at each step, He is preparing for Satan’s final defeat.
Deep inside man yearns to be reconnected to His Heavenly Father. But as long as Satan can distract or tempt him, get his eyes away from God, and his ears away from the Truth, Satan can exercise some control over man. And in some cases, even take complete control over an individual. That is the struggle that remains until Jesus’ return at the 2nd Advent.
End of Part 1
*See my post – The Shining One – The Old Serpent, on who really tempted Eve in the Garden.
**Space does not permit a lengthy discussion on the World That Then Was – Lucifer’s Kingdom and the Pre-Adamite world. If you are interested in exploring this topic some more, here are a few verses and questions to get you started. Its not critical to your Salvation to believe this, but it will help you understand much about the struggle between Light and darkness, and answer many questions about the world we live in. See also Notes On Genesis 1:1 & 1:2.
– Look to the original language for Genesis 1:1-2, the Earth became void and empty, covered in water and in darkness, both forms of judgment.
– Scripture clearly talks of a rebellion by Lucifer. This had to take place before the Garden experience, because Satan had already fallen. (Isaiah 14:12-16, Ezekiel 28:11-17, Luke 10:18, 2 Peter 3:5-7)
– The Bible describes a calamity that destroyed the entire social order, leaving the world in darkness and covered in water. The water fled at God’s rebuke. This cannot possibly be describing Noah’s flood because part of the world (Noah’s family, two of every land animal, fish, and vegetation) was preserved, and the water receded gradually and naturally. (Genesis 1:2, Genesis 7, Genesis 8, Jeremiah 4:23-26, Psalm 104:6-9, 2 Peter 3:5-6) Also, note Jeremiah’s description of a devastation where there was “no light.” The Sun continued to shine during Noah’s flood, or else ALL life would have perished, even on the Ark.
– Consider for a moment why Satan is so eager to undermine God’s plan for this planet? Why is his final abode in the Earth? Why does he attack mankind with such fervor? And why would God provide Himself as a sacrifice for mankind? On the latter question consider Isaiah 54:15-17 – God created everything, including the angels that rebelled. He must take responsibility for it all, and judge the world in righteousness. (Isaiah 45:5-10, Matthew 12:40, 25:41, Ephesians 4:7-11, Revelation 12:7-12)
– The Earth was created in the dateless past to be inhabited. (Job 38, Psalm 136:4-9, Isaiah 45:18) Genesis 1:3 forward, is a restoration project.