My title is not a reference to bovine droppings, but fill-in-the-blank Bible Study workbooks!
My wife made it a goal to teach our daughters the Word during this shut-down. A noble and worthy goal. Several of her friends wanted to study the same materials together, and they picked a series by Beth Moore.
Though I bristle at her women-o-centric presentation, I love Beth Moore and am glad that she’s out there. She clearly loves the Bible, the Christ of the Bible, and wants to help women know Him. Maybe I’m a rebel, but I just cringe at fill-in-the-blank anything!
That said, I’m doing her Bible study, but taking the rabbit trails I need to in order to reach revelation. Maybe I have a slow brain, and I need to look at a questions from multiple angles before I have an opinion? Her readings are centered on Genesis 1:26-2:17 and Genesis 3:1-9 and ask the questions: “Where are you?” and “Where is G-d?”
My process of reading scripture, if I have one, is to invite the Holy Spirit to help me learn what He wants today, and read until something “pops”. That’s it. My internal questions most days sound more like, “Hey Dad, what are You up to today? Can I come along?”
So, back on track, the first thing that bounced in this reading was Genesis 2:5.
“Now no shrub had yet appeared on the earth and no plant had yet sprung up, for the LORD God had not sent rain on the earth and there was no one to work the ground,” *
What did this say to me? That we, humans, planted everything on the face of the earth. I had never noticed that we were made to be planters, horticulturalists, or farmers before today. (Sort of an irony that our Maker and our faith is so scorned on Earth Day when He put us here to make things grow, isn’t it?)
So I kept reading dutifully, blah, blah, blah, the whole text through 3:9. Nothing. Crickets. Then I re-read Genesis 2:16-17 and got bounced again on the noggin by the Counselor.
“And the LORD God commanded him, “You may eat freely from every tree of the garden, but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil; for in the day that you eat of it, you will surely die.” **
Two more coins dropped, and two questions popped into my mind; “What does the Lord mean by “eat freely”? and “What’s so bad about knowledge of good and evil?”
Pondering the first question, I am led to believe that the Master loves sharing! He wants us to explore; climb every mountain and ford every stream. He generously gave us a universe filled with the answer “Yes!”
Yet, within His universe of freedoms there we find one “no”; “you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil; for in the day that you eat of it, you will surely die.” It seems completely illogical at first glance that learning about good and bad, this and that, lightness and darkness could be, (gulp) deadly?
But thankfully, today G-d took me down a different rabbit trail to contemplate the sin before the “original sin”. What was it about Satan’s thinking and heart that ejected him, such a beautiful and awe-inspiring creature, from the presence of the Eternal One forever? What is another word that encapsulates and crystalizes “knowledge of good and the knowledge of evil”? Surely, the King of the Universe does not withhold or resent our learning, contemplation, and exploration of everything, so what is it?
Let’s focus on what He said, rather than on the Serpent’s hissing? ”
“for when you eat of it you will surely die.” Genesis 2:17b
G-d is the great “I Am”. He is the Only One Eternally Present. Therefore, He is the Only One worthy of the name Elohei Mishpat; G-d of Justice! He told us plainly, “You can’t eat this food of judgment or you will die.”
Not to be vain, but for the sake of argument, let’s cross check G-d, ok? Satan begins the cycle of sin in Isaiah 14:14 with a heart of judgment.
“I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.” BSB ***
Look again, friends and what do you see; “I will” and “I will”! Satan’s original original sin is judging: a. That he is capable of knowing good and evil. b. That his assessment’s are more just than G-d.
But he is just the author of the cycle of judgment and counter-judgment. His ejection was the belief that he could rightly divide good and evil APART from the Omniscient One. His logical theorems, postulates, and arguments always fail. Forgive my wordiness, but indulge me an example or two?
- To perfectly assess and judge good and evil, one must have perfect and total knowledge.
- To have perfect and total knowledge, one must be eternal.
- To be eternal, one must not be a creature or creation.
- Therefore, a creature or creation is not eternal, and by definition cannot possess perfect and total knowledge.
- Satan falsely judged Elohei Mishpat based on creaturely, incomplete knowledge of good and evil.
- Satan’s judgement of G-d based on creaturely, incomplete knowledge of good and evil broke relationship with G-d. (This is important. G-d did not leave him. He left the Presence of G-d.)
- Satan’s exit of the Presence of G-d began his practice of the cycle of judgment based on creaturely, incomplete knowledge of good and evil.
- Satan’s practice of the cycle of judgment based on creaturely, incomplete knowledge of good and evil entered the human race through Adam and Eve’s abandonment of Justice.
- Therefore, the practice of the cycle of judgment based on creaturely, incomplete knowledge of good and evil is Satanic, and excludes us from the Presence of G-d.
- Exclusion from the Presence of G-d is willfully practicing the cycle of Death through judgment and counter-judgment based on creaturely, incomplete knowledge of good and evil.
All this long-windedness to say that all forms of human separation started with a rejection of our Kind Judge. In turn, we have accepted the mores of the Enemy, a cruel judge whose false assessments are also based on false information. He is truly the Author of Prejudice! He pre-judged G-d and abandoned the Truth. He strives to teach humanity pre-judgement and the abandonment that any truth exists.
Insofar as we believe the Author of Prejudice and the Abandoner of G-d, we enter into his dominion of eternal co-dependency. We must kill and covet. We must reject love to protect ego. We must constantly remain in “fight or flight” mode because “our will must be done”! Our value is up for grabs because it is not rooted in Elohei Mishpat. We have self-rejected staying in the present through the grace and truth of I Am, and walk backwards over the cliffs of injustice. And that, dear friends, is the B as in B, S as in S of the Enemy of All Humanity!
We heal history because our Messiah believes in doing so!
We overlook and overcome lies and temptations to enact our “street justice” on our enemies.
We practice the Presence of G-d by remaining present to our lives through forgiveness and an acceptance of being a chosen and dearly-loved member of His family.
We remember, record, and bring our offense to the Only One who can take it.
We release the prisoners of the Enemy because we, too, know the horrors of “my will be done”!
We correctly accept that Justice is His, and He will fairly judge all when the game is over because He is the Christ of Post-justice not Prejudice!