Science, Free Will- and the Difference Between "Can" and "Should"
I’m sitting here thinking… maybe the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil was ALWAYS a long game about science… you know little “s” science and Big “S” Science? Science, free will and the difference between “can” and “should”.
The Tree and science
God placed the tree there… it was important. I don’t think it was a test, I think it was always meant to be part of our world. So let’s look at it this way-
The Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil stood in the garden and God commanded Adam not to eat its fruit. He didn’t say, “thou shalt not rest in its shade” or “thou shalt not swing from its branches”… he said “You may freely eat of every tree in the garden except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If you eat its fruit you are sure to die.”. Genesis 2:16-17. We’ve been puzzling over this interaction ever since.
What if the exercise was ALWAYS about knowing the difference between what you “can” do and what you “should” do?
- Today I came across a link to a news report put out on NPR sharing that scientists have succeeded in creating the first embryos that are part human and part monkey!
- We are currently injecting our entire world population with experimental gene therapy….
- We are attempting to change the design of one of the world’s important wild food crops (amaranth) because it interferes with the way we would like to subvert God’s diversity design…
Eve didn’t hear the command directly, so one would assume that Adam told her. And if you have a spouse, you can imagine how the message may have become mangled…When the serpent asked her about it she explained that God had said “You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.” Genesis 3:2-3
The serpent responds “You will not surely die, For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” Genesis 3:4-5
God and Science
I believe that God always wanted us to be scientific… though that word and its connotations only came into being much later. Let’s say this instead, God meant for us to wander the garden, to “name” and categorize all the creatures, to investigate, tend and care for creation. This model of exploring the world of creation is clear to me. Therefore, the false dichotomy of science versus religion is man made and not Biblical in my mind. When I practice science, I find God… and that is exactly what Adam and Eve were created to do in the Garden of Eden… seek God as they wandered his creation. The scientific method is simply forming a hypothesis, observing, testing (yup- totally Biblical.. free will and all) and forming a conclusion regarding the veracity of our original hypothesis.
Eve and the Apple
But, back to that moment between the serpent and Eve. When the serpent asked her about the commandment regarding the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil she didn’t just report that she was not to eat it… she added that she was not to touch it. We don’t see that God had ever said that- and in fact he reiterates when he questions Adam and Eve “Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?” Genesis 3:11… he didn’t say “Have you gone near the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?”
This whole situation is tied inextricably to our free will… something else that was present in the garden. God warned us about what would happen if we ate the fruit, but the tree was very much a part of the garden, part of the design… part of the intention he had for humanity. When Eve ate the apple, she used her God-given free will and did something she “could” do, (meaning it was possible and she was capable) but “should” not have done.
The Difference Between Can and Should
Here are a few important take-aways in my mind:
1. Both Adam and Eve tried to avoid responsibility for their actions… a fault in humanity that continues to this time. Today it goes something like this- “I want to eat fast, processed food (filled with things I haven’t researched but implicitly trust) because it’s easy… the serpent (advertising for Big Food) says it’s safe and healthy and I won’t die” When this inevitably leads to illness, it’s not our fault or responsibility to make change because the serpent (acting now as Big Pharma) says there’s a pill for that- and we won’t die.”
2. From that moment on I believe we had difficulty telling the difference between what we “could” do in science and what we “should” do in science. Yes, we “can” make a bomb that destroys an entire country… it’s really neat technology… but “should” we?
When Eve ate the apple it bore “fruit” in the lives of humanity that we would forever be fighting to reconcile science with God. God is science…. but to practice correctly we must seek him there. The deeper I look into the natural systems around me, the more I find God. I am perpetually in awe. That is the science Adam and Eve were practicing daily… seeking God in the garden.
Big "$"cience and the Consequences
Today, we have separated God from creation and creation from us…. many began to practice “$”cience because when they came to the inevitable end of a question (we simply can’t “know” most of what we assert we do in science.. our scientific dogma is filled with educated guesses) while seeking in disconnected nature they found….. the unanswerable. Those who do not investigate the garden while seeking God, find in the unanswerable only themselves, only “grey matter”. These folks have built a new structure involving dogma and worship and called it big “$”cience. Don’t question it or you’ll get smited!
We are all trapped in the “fruits” of choosing what we “can” do instead of discerning the difference between that and what we “should” do. If we do not seek God in the garden, step AWAY from the snake, and only do the things we “should” do as a result, we will surely die.