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Christians and Gambling–First Initial Post–First Sin

Posted in "foolish" Christian thinking, challenging human thinking, discernment, Lordship, Postmodern, Worship by Sam Hendrickson on 15 February , 2011

(This is a work in progress–unmarked changes will occur as the document matures). Rev A is in place (11:30am 15Feb2011)

Mankind’s plunge into sin began when we[1] entertained the Opponent’s[2] sly question: “Indeed, has God said…?” (Gen 3:1) He then told Eve a bald lie: “You surely will not die.” He first questioned her—casting doubt on whether God’s command should really be understood as God’s command. Second, he told her a bold lie—contradicting God’s authority, and setting Eve up to make herself the authority. Then, he dangled a temptation designed to stir up disquiet in her—thoughts that God was withholding something valuable from her. That God was preventing her from attaining self-fulfillment, and even proper self-actualization. In other words, Satan wanted Eve to believe that God did not want the both of them (“you” etc. is plural) to become all they could truly become—Godlike, having full knowledge and wisdom.

And although up to that point, God was everything to them and they had fully relied upon Him for truth (as they were designed to do)—although their lives were essentially limitless and boundless—they chose to cross His one limit, His only boundary. Think of it! Before them lay a planet (a planet!) of great beauty, discovery, adventure and blessing.[3] Planet-wide there were likely trillions of trees, trillions of bushes, quadrillions of different fruits to eat—essentially innumerable alternatives to sin![4] And, what if He had “limited” them to the Garden only for the time being? Does that leave them wandering around constantly staring at the Tree?

If we understand some of the biblical boundaries for the Garden of Eden, it was possibly as big as the states of California and Nevada combined. It is impossible to be too specific about the size, but its topography is described usingfour rivers—with the idea that the Garden could be described as “vast.”[5] By stating “of all the trees of the Garden you may eat, but of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, you shall not eat” (Gen 2:16 – 17) God pointed out that they had plenty to choose from, and more than enough places to explore and live.

And yet, because Eve judged the tree to be good for food (in complete rebellion against God) she ate. Even though God had given her all that she desired, because she felt a great desire for the fruit (the word “delight” is the same word used to describe sinful lust elsewhere in the OT) she took the fruit and ate. Even though God was supposed to be her Source of wisdom and truth, she looked at eating the fruit as being “desirable” to give her wisdom (apparently supposing God was somehow depriving her of this wisdom—in light of Satan’s tempting words). Again the word for “desirable” can have meanings which point to satisfying selfish desires—like sexual lusts, etc.

So, even though at one time, she had put up a personal rule of holiness for herself (“do not touch the tree”—God had never said “do not touch it”, only do not eat it), she trusted a talking serpent and gave herself over to her sinful, self-centered desires. And Adam ate it with her—possibly (likely?) witnessing the whole conversation (“she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate” Gen 3:6). There is no further record of her (or Adam) arguing with Satan. Instead, in an eerie foreshadowing of our inborn sinfulness in Romans 1:32, she sinned, and dragged someone else into the sin with her.

The Bible’s description of the first sin hearkens with me when I look at gambling. The strong desires attached to it, the response of professing Christians when someone confronts them on the issue–these both seem present at the tree.

These are my initial thoughts–more to come.

 

 


[1] We bear the guilt and propensity to commit Adam’s sin (Romans 5)

[2] “Satan” means “adversary” or “opponent”

[3] The current area of land on the globe is approximately 57.5 million square miles. It is possible, given the description of the Flood waters, (bursting from the depths of the earth, and falling from the sky) that there was even more connected land in the pre-Flood world.

[4] By the way, lest we think otherwise, as Christians, we are in a similar situation.

[5] Doing some research to see if when Moses recorded such statements as in Genesis 2:8 – 14 if the geographic markers are meant to record the geography and topography of the Garden before the Flood, or is Moses saying the Garden was located in the areas where the four rivers mentioned currently flowed (at the time when Moses recorded Genesis)?

 

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