He gave us free will so we could have the joy of choosing Him over ourselves.peacedove said:Well, I admit I'm a sinner.... but God created me a sinner. Why did God create one tree that Adam and Eve couldn't eat from.... the tree of the knowledge of good and evil? Why did he create the serpent that enticed Eve to eat the apple? Doesn't God know everything... he's all-powerful right? So why?? Feel free to tell me to shut up and join a Bible study at any time. :?
The scene in the Garden is the same scene we each face every day of our lives -- the choice of whether we will obey God and do what is right or disobey God and do what is pleasing to us in a world without God.
I truly believe that each person who has ever lived knows deep inside somewhere that there is indeed an Elusive Lover who loves him or her with a passion beyond all understanding.
I was an atheist/agnostic until I was 35, but I always felt that there was "something going on" in the universe that was just beyond reach.
Anyway, what critics and condemners of religious belief do not know -- and have difficulty accepting even when they are told -- is that belief in God is not primarily based on the acceptance of principles or ideas, but rather the relationship with a real Person. It is a hard concept to get one's head around -- I know, because I was an unbeliever for a long time. I know what the world looks like without God. I know what religious talk sounds like to a person who doesn't believe. I was one for a very long time. But underneath my experience, in the crevices and spaces of perceived reality, there was always a Presence. What it was I never knew.
Once, and this is so ironic, my mother, who was a devout atheist and never missed an opportunity to make fun of people who believed in God, particularly in our mainly Jewish city, one day took my older sister and me one Sunday afternoon to a place called "The Spanish Monastery." This place was literally a Spanish monastery from the 12th century that William Randolph Hearst had purchased in the Twenties. For various reasons, it didn't get reassembled until the early Fifties. It must have been 1956 or so when my atheist mother took my sister and I to this "tourist attraction."
It was there, in that place, that I had my second transcendental religious experience, where God became quite real to me, although I didn't believe in any "God" and the experience was just a very tangible sense of being touched by "Something" that was unexplainable but very real and very smart. My first experience had been at age 4 at a pre-kindergarten place I went to. A child who grows up without any religion in the home, however, just internalizes these isolated experiences and doesn't really understand what they relate to or mean on any level. Twenty years later, after college, some kind of quest began, and I was 35 before coming to faith. The whole process probably took 15 years or more.
My point being, as I said, that I know what the "no God" mind is like. It's really no different from the mind that believes in God. I happen to think that the same sense of there being "Something" -- something quite beautiful and loving -- exists in all people, but that sometimes people are afraid of admitting it.
Knowing t hat "Something" is the thing that brings us the joy that God wants us to have and is the reason for God's giving us free choice.
It's the joy of coming HOME to a place we've never been and cannot conceive of but that occurs somewhere within us where we are called by name.
All believers know is that the Hebrew scriptures and the Christian scriptures help illuminate what is happening to that person at the hands of the "Something".
Utter mystery, utter beauty, utter love, we are permitted to freely pursue the love that beckons us, or leave it and go our way. Either road that we choose is fine with God. He won't stop calling us and giving us the opportunity to pursue the "Something" within us that we've developed both a love and a hate relationship with.
We are all the same! There are not "spiritual" people and then "unspiritual" people. We are of the same family and we share the same human traits. The primary one is that we have the "receiver" within which we can "receive" God. He is closer to us than we are to ourselves.
I am rambling. Why? Well, I've been going through old threads in the Spirituality forum and making comments when I see something interesting. Maybe it IS possible for me to talk about God and yet not drive other people crazy. Maybe, but I'm not sure.
Your question, peacedove, attracted my attention because... well, I don't know why, but it did. I hope you don't mind it being resurrected, as it were.