Did God Manipulate Adam and Eve?
An Internet antagonist shouted through his emails that, 'Christians are deceived by God and believe lies about him.' He claimed that God seduced the Genesis A&E—as he put it—into taking the fruit, then evicted them for sinning; just doing what comes natural. God manipulates people, he said. "It's God's fault and not mans."
He'd reacted angrily to a Gospel Song on You Tube, and attempted to dismantle the singers' belief system.
In so doing, he admitted by default, God's existence, but avoided arguing the Almighty's unreality. And he overlooked the issue that satan was the tempter in the garden situation, not God.
An observer replied that in his emails, he had failed the logic and reason test about A&E in Genesis, as he'd begun with an incorrect assumption, and ended with a wrong conclusion. He used the wrong tool to go about his demolition job.
He'd failed the theology test too. He misused the Genesis text.
How much easier it is to be critical, someone said, than to be correct. One time the London Times newspaper asked the question, "What's wrong with the world?" Now, the question is an unfair one; it's unanswerable as it's based on an incorrect assumption. But, a letter to the editor sent an answer. It said, "I am, Sincerely yours, G. K. Chesterton".
Wise and cunning!
As the internet emails boiled over, the A&E critic exploded in his rebuttal with tiresome definitions about abstract word meanings and with unrelated red herrings, then bullied the internet with, "Well, where am I wrong?"
The answer was put in simple logic: 'Begin with an incorrect assumption, and you'll end with a wrong conclusion'.
Then, after one more pitiful exchange, he was done. Like a feather in the wind—blown away. Had no answer; and did not pursue the issue; flattened. Case rested, because, as they say in the classics, criticism becomes transparent under the scrutiny of craftsmanship.
Watching this encounter reminds us of the Christian man who was handed 25cents too much change on a short bus trip. On the way off, he thanked the driver and handed the 25cents back with a happy grin on his face. His integrity stuck firm. "I just thought you miscalculated the fare."
The driver smiled back. "I just thought you were a man from that new church, and I'm thinking of going, so I tested your honesty. Thank you. I'll be there Sunday!"
The passenger grabbed a street pole to steady himself. "I almost sold my Saviour for 25c", he mused. He could have kept the coin and never known the outcome.
If a bus driver can test the integrity of a Christian man over 25c, then the Almighty God of Eternity is approved to check if Adam and Eve could be tested with obedience, too. "Or, in any way He chooses...."
The difference here is that testing is from God with the purpose of our succeeding, learning, and growing; and temptation is from satan with the ultimate purpose of our failing, imposing guilt, destruction, and separation from God for eternity.
St. James tells us that God will not and does not tempt any man. He said so in 1:13.
We know that God tests us, as a pilot checks his plane before he flies it and a mother tastes the food before she serves it.
Satan is the one who tempts. But God has provided a way of escape, anyway. See Cor. 10:31. So even in the tough times, God has given us a way of escape. What a loving God He is? Always giving us opportunity to grow and thrive. So, God is not unjust in dealing with people, or is He manipulative. When you begin with the right assumption about God, you'll usually be led to a correct conclusion.
God's holiness requires that He be just in all His dealings with mankind. Else the attribute of His holiness would not stand the test....
Ruth Graham says that temptation and testing are the two sides of the same coin. She should know; she raised Billy Graham's five larakin children.
In 2006 Barbara Bush wrote that Ruth Graham had been asked whether, as a Christian, she felt she'd been manipulated, and ever contemplated divorce from Mr. Graham. Her joking reply was, 'Divorce? No. Murder? Yes.'
God is no more a manipulator of A&E in Genesis, than that driver was with a passenger on his bus. But He does test us ...
You can count upon that, and depend upon Him, too.
When the Apostle John wrote (#3:18) the words, "Anyone who wants to come to God must believe that there is a God and that He rewards those who sincerely look for Him," he exercised the perfectly correct process of a logical assumption that leads to a correct conclusion.