In our mid-week Bible study, I was reminded of something I had just read in a book earlier in the week. People sometimes wonder why the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil was placed in the Garden of Eden. (Genesis 2, 3) It occurred to me that since God is the Creator and Sustainer of everything in the universe, there is no material thing we could give Him as an act of worship. All we can give Him is the one thing within our power to withhold from Him; our willing obedience. With the placing of the tree in the garden, there was the opportunity to willingly obey, or to withhold obedience. Without such a choice, there was no way for Adam and Eve to express love to God in any objective, meaningful way. Sure they could have said, “I love you.” But, those words are meaningless without actions to back them up. This is confirmed by Jesus’ words, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” (John 14:15)
Another issue that came to mind is the circumstances Adam and Eve were in. It is common for us to blame our circumstances for our sinful choices. If I could only feel God’s presence in my life, I would be better able to resist temptation If I only had more of this, or less of that, etc… However, the account of Adam and Eve’s fall in Genesis 3 shows this is nonsense. No other human being before Jesus walked in closer relationship to God, unspoiled by sin, than Adam and Eve before the fall. They had all they needed and all they could want. Yet, they still sinned. If we think we would make better choices than that, we are fooling ourselves.