Faith was designed into the Garden
Just as a parent parses out knowledge and information to a child, YHVH leads us by Wisdom, within the context of Relationship and Revelation. At least that is my take on it. The context for this is shown in an account from the Garden in Eden:
[Gen 3:8 NKJV] 8 And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden.
Ive had a theory and interpretation of this for years, and it is more ind epth than I cn get into. But the basic idea in this application is that at a certain point of the day, perhaps regularly, YHVH walked around the garden wherein YHVH had placed Mankind. Both Adam and Havah were there. And YHVH called out to them.
This to me implies a lot of things, mostly relationship. There is a familiarity between mankind and YHVH. There is a connection, dialog. YHVH obviously know what is going on, so YHWH is in fact teaching mankind. I would even say shepherding, guiding towards a goal. Parenting comes to mind.
It is in this context that I began to think about faith. And many things in our life, parenting, teaching, correcting, leading etc… all work within the framework of the intedned party to have faith. Not just belief, but actual conviction working through action.
Children often desire immediate remedy to whatever state they find themselves in. Especially when they perceive themselves to have a need or a lack. Many times they want information, or knowledge. It gives them a sense of stability, or even mastery of something that is currently keeping them in a sense of instability.
In some cases it is excitement:
Parent: “Guess where we are going tomorrow? It is going to be so fun!”
Child: “Where? Tell me!”
Parent: “Just trust me, you are going to LOVE IT!”
Child then pesters Parent incessantly.
In some cases, it is trust oriented
Child: “I need X (food, opportunity, object, help, support etc..)”
Parent: “Ill help you with that soon”
Child: “I need X NOW!!!”
Parent: “It is ok, don’t worry, Ill help you. You are actually fine, even though you don’t feel like it. Trust me, you are ok and Ill take care of it”
The temptation is to have immediate satisfaction of desire. The sign of immaturity is the inability to defer gratification. It is perfectly appropriate for a 2 or 3 year old to be “immature”. There are graduated steps of maturity and ability. We expect people to progress through stages and appropriate more ability to defer immediate gratification and resolution to unknowns.
There are many facets of this idea. From fear to excitement, to something new, or something boring. But Im beginning to see that a huge goal of parenting is to guide a child into an ability to trust us, and learn and develop themselves within that process so that they are successful in navigating the unknowns and emerging as authentic representations of their true selves. As they gain mastery and comprehension over themselves, and their interactions with others and the creation, they are able to DO what they BELIEVE.
Faith is Trust Matured
Faith is the ability to trust while the experience of the desire/need is not yet experienced. By faith Abraham was considered righteous.
Abraham was directed to offer his only son over to death. This was not unknown in Abrahams experience. People did this to their gods. YHVH had not given torah/instructions about forbidding child sacrifice. But at the point of this directive, Abraham believed that even if he did what Yahweh directed, the promise Yahweh had made about children and descendants would be accomplished by Yahwehs own power. All Abraham had to do was obey and let Yahweh deliver on Yahweh’s own promises. There was a level of confidence Abraham had that places his actions (not some ethereal mental concept) as the model for everyone.
The Real Kinder(Garden)
Was YHVH always training creation in righteousness that comes from faith? Was the garden in Eden the perfect environment to walk mankind through a series of experiences, perhaps on a daily basis, to progressively teach them the nature and character of YHWH? If so, then was the alternative taking control ourselves of knowledge, information, or some other kind of resolution to a felt need, interest, stimulus or similar instinct? Is there an “appetite” (nephesh?) within mankind that can go beyond what is provided and seek out satisfaction some other way?
Was the eating from the knowledge tree the result of coveting information and understanding of how things work, and being able to avoid walking in daily dependence on relational based revelation? Was Havah encouraged to take control herself over the God ordained and God paced process of development and training in righteousness and have access to knowledge without having to be dependent on Yah?
It appears that way to me….
Climbing over the wall instead of using the gate
By eating of the Knowledge Tree, Havah and Adam circumvented the matrix which allowed YHVH to deliver knowledge via relationship (daily “walking” in the cool of the day?). They were introduced to an alternative (strange, foreign, secret, gnostic?) path. There was something awakened in them (before its time), and once awake, began to rule. They coveted knowledge, and wanted it for themselves. The crafty, shining, most naked one of all, the serpent (nechash) informed mankind that there was far more than what Yah was delivering. In fact, Yah was intentionally holding out on them. It wasn’t that Yah didn’t know certain things, it was that Yah knew FULL WELL and was refusing to share it. The serpent seemed to have first hand knowledge about this. The implication is, and we learn more about this later in scripture, that Yah had withheld these things from the serpent as well!
I know that classic christian thought is that this serpent was “Satan”, a personal and malevolent being, most probably a “fallen angel”. I have heard jewish perspectives that this was simply a snake, and this was just a snake being a snake. They talked with people, and it wasnt sin for a snake to desire these things, but it was wrong for mankind.
I tend to think it was a unique spiritual being, who was the embodiment of what the term “Satan” is, an adversary. There are many “satans”, from actual personal beings to worldwide evil anti Yah mindsets and agendas. Apparently in Israel, prosecuting attorneys are actually called “Satans”.
Regardless of the context one might have for the “satan”, it is the action of mankind that resulted in its own problem. It may have been encouraged, or catalyzed, but it was the action, not the thought, that was the downfall.
It was the DOING of the eating or the fruit from the Knowledge Tree that was wrong. Whatever the motives. But the motives themselves are easily understood as lack of Faith (conviction, belief, assurance, trust) in the words Yah gave.
Adam had to return back to where Adam came from (the dirt outside the Garden). The pattern then repeats itself with the Hebrew children. They had to wander the desert (the dirt) and learn how to walk in dependence on Yahwehs provision. Every time they desired to take things into their own hands, the consequences were essentially death. Either by their enemies, Elohim’s judgements, or by the loss of valuable property in sacrifices.
The result of the covetous action of eating from the knowledge tree resulted in death. And now with more knowledge than YAH parsed out at any given time, mankind had awareness of possibilities and options that bring fear, anxiety or apprehension. The desire to appease the initial response can become so great that humans take actions about options or possibilities without WISDOM directing the flow, quality, and truth of the scenario. By acting outside of, or parallel to, YHWH they act outside of covenant relationship. They use their strength, mind, might, in reality their SELF to LOVE THEMSELVES.
As well, people see opportunities for their desires without understanding the broader impact to anyone or anything else. By taking action on these desires without the guidance of WISDOM, they end up with results at someone or something else’s expense. They essentially forgo LOVING THEIR NEIGHBOR.
This all stems from their lack of Loving YHVH with all their might, soul, strength, mind etc… Loving Yahweh is defined as obeying Yahweh’s commands. It isnt thinking right, it is DOING them. In fact, study the idea of Guarding (Shamar). We are told to guard the commands of Yah. Mankind was told to guard the garden. Learning from Yah, and then guarding what Yah said.
Faith in the Garden
If the thesis is in the right direction, then YHVH was sustaining mankind while teaching them the way things work, how to trust, how to be righteous. As they learned, they were to guard what was told them. Watch over it. tend to it, keep it, treasure etc… Not just the command itself, but the actual outworking of it. For instance, Im not supposed to shamar a Torah Scroll. Im supposed to shamar the instructions of it. it is not a conceptual idea, but a reality.
By circumventing this trust and response to Yahweh, death came. More on that later. A lack of Life is the result of not DOING the instructions.