Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam

Essential thinking for reading Catholics.

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Why was the Tree there?

That always puzzled me. Why would God make something, stick it into the middle of the Garden and say to Mr. & Mrs. Adam "You'd better not eat it." When I was but a mere lad, I thought this was playing dirty on God's part. But then again, I was thinking like a nine year old* and was projecting what would happen if my mom put a stack of Hershey's Chocolate Bars and then told me not to touch them: She'd walk in 4 minutes later, catch me looking like Bluto with profuse choco-smearage on my countenance and ask "Who ate all the Hershey's??"

Which is kinda/sorta how God found Adam & Eve, with the added cultural component that they were buck naked, no less. I suspect that, had I had gone through the Hershey Scenario as described above and decided to top it off by attiring myself with one of the houseplants** and then blaming it all on some convenient reptile, the result would have been similar, except that the cops would have pulled me over and asked why a 9 year old was wandering around dressed in only a forlorn philodendron.

But what would have been explicit in the Hershey Scenario that is only implicit in Genesis is this: "That [the tree or the Hershey's] was not for you." God didn't put that tree in the middle of the Garden to tempt Adam 'n' Eve, any more than my mom would have filled a candy dish with Hershey's for to tempt my hypothetical 9 year-old self. Things were/are put there for a good reason, and it is wrong to assume that if something is in our sights we are somehow entitled thereto.

Because we are not entitled to a bloody thing. We must always be aware we are privileged, and these privileges are just that...not entitlements. To assume we are capable of being entitled to anything from God is to be so arrogant as to think we can indebt God to us, which would be an embarrassing position to be if one is the Almighty Creator and Ruler of the Universe.

Also, instead of reveling in the eleventy gazillion privileges that God HAD given Adam and Eve, they got all fixated with the one thing that was kept for a purpose different than they wanted. They had peaches, plums, bananas, kumquats, loquats, soursops, star fruits, grapes, kiwis and mangos...but the only thing they wanted was an apple. Which points out our human tendency to ingratitude.

This all points to the wonders of Our Lady saying "yes" to God's call. Our Blessed Mother didn't fret herself with what she thought God owed her, or was ungrateful. Instead, she answers yes, and not just a plain "Yeah, God. Whatever. If it means that much to You...fine." but rather, the Magnificat, which is as beautiful and moving and powerful as any chunk of Scripture this side of the 23rd Psalm.

This just goes to show us that Scripture actually says more than we think it does, and God's wisdom in His revealed word is even more magnificent than we think and why we have to read it, but read it with an eye towards its deeper meaning.

Yours in Christ,

-JMG

* Or maybe a ten year old, I was advanced for my age

** Not such a hot idea, considering my mother's capacity for houseplanticide