I am in a small Bible study with some other missionary men. We get together one a week and study the Scriptures and pray for each other.
The other night, as we were discussing the merits of the arguments for and against predestination (a conversation I find a little old and tired, but am happy to allow others to initiate), I thunk a new thought.
I believe God gave Adam and Eve a real choice. They were not predestined to eat from the tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. They could have chosen to stay away. They were real humans with a real choice.
However, I also believe that one day, those of us who follow Jesus and are members of the Kingdom of God will be resurrected. And when we are, we will be perfected. The Greek word translated “perfect” can also be translated “complete”. In a way, I think Adam and Eve were placed in the Garden incomplete. They certainly hadn’t sinned yet, but they weren’t perfected. Are you with me so far?
So God allowed the Tempter into the Garden. Why? Because he doesn’t love Adam and Eve? Of course he loves them. God allowed the Tempter into the Garden to “perfect” them, to help make them complete.
You see, when we resist temptation we grow. When we persevere through testing, we develop. I believe that God’s ideal for Adam and Eve was for them to resist the Tempter and grow and develop. Then one day, when they were mature and complete (“perfected”), I think God would have probably removed the tree from the Garden.
I’m sure this thought isn’t original, and there will be plenty of theologians who disagree, but it is what has been noodling around in my head recently.
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:2-5 NIV 2011