I find myself on a quest for absolute simplicity and if you can see everything unfold through just one rule then itís easier to grasp both why and what God has done. This article started in 2014 as a continuation of Rules of Paradise, but it seems to capture something about Godís ways that I want to show case in its own right.
Then the Lord God said, ďBehold, the man has become like one of Us, knowing good and evil; and now, he might stretch out his hand, and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live foreverĒ ó therefore the Lord God sent him out from the garden of Eden, to cultivate the ground from which he was taken. (Genesis 3:22-23)
Just before the above verse, God has passed judgement on Adam and declared that Adam will remain mortal. These verses explain why, but as usual, we miss it. Having the knowledge of good an evil meant that Adam could judge. Being immortal would mean that he was free from judgement. Adam would not just be like God, but would be as God. So, do you see it? Do I have to summarise all those places where God declares that He is God and there is no other, or that He will share His glory with no other?
The rule that Adam broke was not so much that he was disobedient in eating, but by gaining the knowledge of good and evil, in order to be like God, he had set himself up as God, and so could no longer live forever. You see, God wanted Adam to live forever with Him as God and Father and throughout the Bible God is seeking to re-establish this relationship. Jesus effectively opened the door to restoring the relationship. Jesus broke the barrier of sin on the Cross. Many other articles in this section build on this. But there is one thing that we need to do in all this. We need to acknowledge Jesus as Lord. We must choose to place ourselves back under God as Farther and Saviour. Whoever acknowledges the Son, acknowledges the Father.
Though Jesus has reconciled us to God and opened the door, the final step through the door requires us to submit to the one rule. That is, to accept Jesus as God our Saviour. Now, for us who have believed, the one rule, the one criteria for entry to heaven, has been passed Ė there is but one God, our Farther.
Isnít that great news? It is, yet almost incredulously, some people question it. Of course, the only real reason to question the rule is that they donít want to be under God but want to be as God. Now, this is how they question it:
They propose that God should not be so proud of His unique position and should tolerate or give mercy to people who, on the whole, are not too bad, but have not accepted Him as God. After all, He is loving and merciful, isnít he?
Now, itís not always stated like that, but that is behind it, and usually there is the insinuation that He is not loving and merciful if He does not behave like that. However, they forget or are ignorant of one very significant thing. God is not there consciously enforcing the rule. This rule is part of the eternal attributes of who and what God is, and of His heaven. The one rule is like the laws of physics in this universe. No one debates that a brick falls to the ground when you drop it.
Remember that the goal is not just immortality, but to live forever with God because everything that is good is with God. Outside of Godís heaven there is nothing but bad. In Godís heaven, His presence is everywhere. To those who have accepted Him as God, His presence is glorious and beautiful. To those who have rejected Him, His presence is terrifying, like a consuming fire. This is because their heart is in rebellion. This is also an attribute of God. In physics, two north poles repel each other, and similarly, two positive charges repel each other. Rebellion is trying to be God and so His presence repels rebellion. God cannot, will not, and need not change. He has done everything through Jesus to open the door to us. Now itís up to us. Will He find in us a heart that has embraced or rejected Him?
The final judgement is not about God choosing who gets into heaven and who does not. The final judgement is where our choice to accept or reject God dictates where we spend eternity. Have you got that? However, there was still the problem of sin. Mankind has been tainted by rebellion from Adam onwards and so barred from heaven. But that is something God could do something about. He sent His own Son to separate us from our sin.
Jesus did not just pay the price for the sin of the world, but he also revealed the Father to us. Jesus revealed the Fatherís love for us: in the miraculous healings; in his rebuke of all forms of religious hypocrisy; in his embrace of all peoples; and finally, in willingly offering himself. That he paid the price to redeem us is fact, but all the rest was to show us the Fatherís love for us so that we would accept Him as God.
Donít make me into a preacher who repeats the same thing over and over, hoping that the penny will finally drop. Can you see how Adam challenged the only immutable rule, and that cost him immortality with God? Can you see Jesus paying the full price? Have you grasped that all you need to do is accept Jesus as saviour; as Lord; and through the Son, so the Father? If you have youíre in! Donít let anyone steal that because it is the purest revelation of God that we can ever hold.
Essential follow-up: Adam lied to Eve provides a must see insight about the first application of the one rule.