“The day you shall eat of the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil you shall die”. Paraphrase. [speculative theology]
The first transgression was the disobedience to God regarding the fruit of the tree. The very act of eating meant they had disobeyed. Disobedience meant guilt and condemnation. The perfect human entity was tainted and then corrupted. There was no return. This was the meaning of “being expelled from the garden”. [separation from God ].
Legally, they were dead. Legally, the poison of sin had entered them and there was no changing that from their perspective. Only God could help them now. The law (the reality of the truth of) sin and death had had its effect and they died once the corruption had overcome the allotted time span of primitive man.
The “commandment” they “disobeyed” was the trigger for that disobedience. The fruit was the act of disobedience itself, and the fruit was the separation of good from evil, the knowledge of which would destroy their “integrity” and cohesiveness in God. Separation from God was the result, the same separation Jesus experienced from God when He was on the cross.
Paul said in Romans 7 “Once I was alive apart from law, but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died.” [The very commandment which was meant to safeguard life, killed him]. Man was given too many options, deliberately. He was always going to sin, because a choice for life could not be made apart from the knowledge of sin.
Paul made quite a discovery in this passage. Under law, He discovered that He could not decide for himself, his destiny. He could not choose to do right, because even when he DID choose it, he could not cause it to become reality. This was because he did not really believe it was true, did not really believe it was possible. In His heart he was already defeated by the inner manipulations of the corruption of his flesh. He believed in his own corruption more than in the possibility of his inner desire to do right coming to fruition. Because after all, his corruption was an absolute reality.
This is the deep problem with man. Unless he actually is able to formulate a concept he can really believe in, he cannot enter into its reality. Jesus said that if a man truly believes that what he asks for will take place, or even has already taken place, then it will be so. This means that a man has to be in a position of really believing that he is freed from corruptive power, and that there is nothing in him that would block the reality of his desired position becoming a fact. That there is absolutely no reason for why it could not happen.
Man cannot “cleanse*” himself from corruption. But he CAN rely on Jesus to do this for him. [He has already done it on his behalf]. He CAN rely on the love of God to cleanse his heart, based on the acceptance of Jesus sacrifice of love, to love, for love. And there is no reason to suppose that this “faith” that receives answers to prayer is any different to the same kind of basic faith that brings a person into salvation in the first place. Believe.
It would seem not a good thing to say that unless we receive answers to prayer, we need to question our faith. But is this the obvious conclusion?
Paul on the island of Malta was able by faith and the power of the Spirit to “shake off” the snake and its poison, but this now brings in the Spirit. But the Spirit cannot be separated from faith, from “the” faith which is faith in Christ. Believers having the Spirit is the natural teaching and understanding that is part and parcel of being a Christian. Many an example is given of the relationship between faith, and prayer being answered.
Trials and tribulations may place some of this into a context of necessary hardship in order for one’s faith to be “tested” perhaps?
But do we see the reality in our lives of the faith we claim to have? Paul says to “examine (test) yourselves whether you be in the faith”. Perhaps it may be a good thing for us to see how accurately we are “following Jesus”? If we, after acknowledging our faith in Him, are still conscious of things that remain on our conscience, should we not then take steps to avail ourselves of the mercy of His forgiveness based on the absoluteness of his sacrifice for us? So as to cleanse that wayward conscience? We need to love, because He first loved us.
[Who is forgiven much, loves much.][ *Their hearts were cleansed by faith]