I just love the questions that kids ask. When they don’t understand something, they let you know…and often, there questions are our questions, we’re just reticent to ask them.
One of my favorite all time questions was posed by a fourth grader. He asked, “If God didn’t want Adam and Eve to eat that fruit, why did he put that tree there? Wasn’t God, sort of, setting them up???”
Great question—–and it took me a while to be able to answer it, because, well let’s face it, it would have been nice if that temptation weren’t there! And it would be even nicer if temptations weren’t there in my life either!
But, this is how I replied…..
I asked him if he were a robot. Of course, he chuckled and said no. If he were a robot, he would have to obey eveything that I asked him to do. If I told him to run around the room a hunderd times, he would do it. If I asked him to jump up and down for 5 minutes, he would have to do it, and so on….. He would not have the ability to make his own choices because he was programed to obey me.
And then I spoke of God’s love…a love that desires our love in return….a love that is so intense and strong that it is willing to take an enormous risk. It is a FREE love in that it gives us the choice to love back or walk away. It is not a controlling love, a love that forces us to love in return, it is not a ‘robot’ love.
And so….we have a choice! We know which choice God wants, but the choice is ours to make. And that is why that tree had to be in the Garden. If there were no choice, God’s love wouldn’t be free and complete.
It is all gift, really, our free will…..
We are free….free to accept God’s love, or free to walk away, and perhaps the greatest gift of all is….we are always free to walk back into God’s loving and forgiving arms.
After much discussion back and forth….I think that fourth grader understood….and I did as well!