I was scanning around the web and found your article on the Tree in the Garden.
Some brothers get together for breakfast and fellowship one day a week before work. This week we had both an elder and minister, two deacons, and another brother. We occasionally discuss issues that I would not normally talk about in front of new or weak Christians.
This topic came up as a tangent to a broader topic of defense of the gospel in the presence of great suffering.
The statement as made, "While the Bible often uses the earthly relationships of marriage and children to describe spiritual relationships with God, they really breakdown under close scrutiny."
Question: "Do you love your wife?"
Question: "Would you die for your wife?"
Good so far.
Question: "If you really love your wife, would you allow her to suffer, allow her to be raped, when there is no fault of her own?" Answer: "Hmmm, I see where this is going....."
Goes down into a rat hole.
Question: "As an earthly parent, if you had children, and you built this perfect playroom, would you put a live hand grenade in the middle of it?" Ancillary question: "Would you allow a known, violent, pedophile in the it?"
To your web page: In the paragraph that starts : "The answer is fairly straight forward."
I have difficulty with your answer, here's why. I agree with your premise that God gave man choice. Personally, I think when God says He made us in His image, it is as much about choice as it is about being spirit. Man must make a choice, God already gave him the rule. Apparently Adam and Eve were following the rule until God allows Satan in the Garden. Note: God created everything; Satan is God's devil.
An interesting analogy if you are into mechanical or nuclear engineering.
Brittle fracture is the sudden, catastrophic failure of a substance with little or no plastic deformation (It breaks bad).
To get brittle fracture it takes
1) susceptible substance (man)
2) pre-existing flaw or crack (the rule to be broken - not implying the law as bad, and as you stated without the law no choice exists)
3) a tensile stress (the devil)
You take away anyone of those three, and you don't get failure.
So what would have happened if God had just left it at Adam and Eve and the Tree?
If you have time to reply, thanks for your input! Have a blessed weekend.
The analogies were poorly chosen because they selected topics in which there are strong emotional reactions (rape and child molestation). That means the presenter is looking for an emotional response where there answerer to the question is not thinking things through. When I hear someone trying to use a heavy emotional illustration in what should be a rational discussion, I go on high alert. There is likely to be a flaw in the argument that can't be dealt with, so it is hidden under emotions.
In both the case of rape and child molestation, the victims are forced into situations where actions are taking place against their choice. The scenarios are not ones of free will, so why are they being used as illustrations in a discussion of free will? What happens is that there is a shift in responsibility. The child and the one being raped are not responsible for the situation. But in the Garden, Adam and Eve were responsible. They were not forced into eating the fruit. Satan persuaded them, but the choice was their own. In fact, Paul said this: "And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression" (I Timothy 2:14). Thus God, through Paul, told us that Eve was tricked, but Adam understood that what he did was wrong. Adam and Eve were responsible because of the choices they made. Satan was also responsible for the role he chose to play in the matter.
Which brings us to the second instance of shifting blame, which was a bit more subtle. Yes, God made everything, including Satan, but it is a false assumption to say that God created Satan as evil. This passage indicates that Satan and his angels were created good: "And the angels who did not keep their proper domain, but left their own abode, He has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness for the judgment of the great day" (Jude 6). You can't leave if you were never there. To claim that God created evil is to contradict a simple fact: "Let no one say when he is tempted, "I am tempted by God"; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone" (James 1:13). God did not block Satan from the Garden, but what happened was the fault of those who made the choices: Satan, Eve, and Adam. The attempt was to push some of the blame on God, but there never was blame there.
To ask what would have happened, is merely speculation. We don't have enough information to draw a conclusion about what did not happen.
Thanks for your answer!
You are correct in the heavy emotional overtones in some of the questions. With them it is difficult to navigate with reason when all they feel is pain and lashing out. Trying to pull the emotion that aside, I am stuck with the struggle to explain to someone the existance of Satan in the garden. The argument of the child's play room as a safe and secure environment isn't emotional to me. What most "good" parent might try and provide for their children. Our minister added that man had to have choice because love can't be coersed. I don't see where they don't have choice, however. There was a rule. They seemed to follow it.
But adjusting to your statement: Eve was deceived, but only once an incredibly powerful being, a master liar and deciever, Satan, was allowed in - the grenade if you will.
I do approach God and righteousness from a slightly different, but important perspective worth pointing out.
God does not do what is right (just), it is right (JUST) because God is the one doing it. Read that again. He is completely soveriegn, completely just in his actions. He owes no explanation. Job had it write when question by God, saying he would cover his mouth.
This could add emotion, but is not meant to. If God did something harsh (something someone didn't agree with, whatever) he isn't wrong. He makes all the rules, therefore can't break any of the rules. That being said he won't contradict His nature or His word.
That all being said, you are right in that it is all speculation. There are many unanswered questions that may get answered in heaven, maybe not.
An illustration serves the purpose of explaining a complex idea by giving a parallel to something more familiar. An illustration is not proof because you would first have to prove that the illustration does match the complex idea. Illustrations are also limited to only the parallel concept being illustrated. Thus, you claimed that the incident in the garden was like brittle fractures, but that isn't a proof. Nor can you take other aspects of brittle fractures and then say the incident in the garden must have those aspects either. Illustrations don't work in that manner.
I strongly disagree with the idea that anything God does is right simply because God defines right. That definition leads to arbitrariness. For example, "God, who cannot lie, promised before time began" (Titus 1:2). The point is not that God chooses not to lie or that if God lies it is no longer wrong. Paul is stating that God cannot lie; it is against His nature; it is something He is unable to do. That is because God is righteous. "And I heard another from the altar saying, "Even so, Lord God Almighty, true and righteous are Your judgments"" (Revelation 16:7). It doesn't say that because God makes a judgment, therefore it becomes righteous. What is claimed is that God's judgments are true and righteous. That is all they can be because that is who God is.