This three word sentence is the oldest question in the Book of God. The snake says:
Hath God said?
Every day the bombardment of media on our ears is this same sentence – we have a choice to listen to and believe what God said or what man and his systems say. What we choose to believe determines the course of our lives just as it did for The First Pair.
It was originally said by a snake whose presence in a perfect place, the Garden of Eden, indicated that maybe there were imperfections to start with, imperfections no one thought would be there. Adam and Eve were not just innocent, they were also gullible. So an enemy showed up and asked a question. They had no idea what an enemy was. All they knew was good.
There are two sides at the very least to any piece of information, truth or fiction. That lies, deception and corruption might be lurking about never occurred to them. They had not been given questions and answers before; in fact they had only been given answers. That is not what we expect – we expect questions to come before answers. They had been told only to obey God in all things. They had no concept of options, of other ways to live, of death or disease, discomfort, jealousy, fear or anger, or what we see on the cat’s face, guilt.
Did the snake ask “What is that animal out there? A rhinoceros?” After all Adam had named all the animals. No, the snake asked the one question which would generate either obedience or defiance to God. The snake knew the consequences to disobedience because he’d already been through his own test and failed.
But now – they have been presented with a question. They will need to think about the answer. What will they answer? Will they obey God their creator or this shifty voice of doubt and option?
A five-year old steals a cookie from a plate in the kitchen. His mother, the legal authority in the home, said not to touch them before dinner. The child is faced with the question – Hath God (the authority) said?
He steals the cookie and is introduced to the concept of personal sin and judgment. As years go by the situations are different; now he is tempted to steal pencils and legal pads from an employer, to steal answers to a tough algebra exam, to steal a girl’s virginity (its called rape) and a thousand other areas where he has seen himself defy what God said.
Millions do this and bring shame and trouble on others. The girl who has a child out of wedlock brings the family into poverty. She may be reacting to the sin of a parent as a child herself. But the piling up of defiance to God’s word continues from generation to generation and the consequences are like the rippling waves of a stone cast into a giant sea of humanity.
It is sin. And it takes a specific, directed effort to reverse the tide of sin-history. The company who fouls the water which results in deformed children throws a stone in the waters of society only known because it involves so many more people, but it is no different from those sins committed by individuals on a daily basis hidden from public view.
Today thousands of years later we, that is the seven billion people now living on planet earth, have this same question. What has God said and what is our response. Thomas Edison’s mother was told her son was too stupid to stay in school. She didn’t believe it. She home schooled him and he later filed over 2,000 international patents for inventions including the lowly light bulb, motion pictures and audio recording. It matters what and who we believe. Mrs. Edison’s refusal to believe the school system changed life for the whole human race.
Teens today can be confused over what gender they are. But what has God said? Patients are told they have a terminal illness. Get another opinion and then find out what God says as well.
We learn later that if Adam and Eve had obeyed God they would have lived as perfect beings in a perfect environment for eternity, never touched by evil or even knowing it existed. But they didn’t, and neither would we had we lived in their shoes. We have the same option today as they had then – to find out what God said and live in that.