"Adam & Eve" by Lucas Cranach the Elder

“Adam & Eve” by Lucas Cranach the Elder

“Oh Heavenly Father, look at this world. Look at what we’ve made of it. I know your wisdom is beyond the reaches of my imagination. I know that I’m just a child who cannot comprehend the ways of the Father. But Father, I’m not You – I’m just a part apart from You, so how can I ever grow to understand like You Father?”

I asked my Catechism teacher. Her answer was simple, perfect, and undeniably resolute: “My dear we shall all remain children. In the eyes of the Lord we are humbled. But in His great wisdom, mercy, and love he bestowed upon us the most beautiful gift of all – choice.”

“Choice? To do good or to do bad?”

“No child,” she said with a compassionate smile, “the choice to believe or not to believe”.

Yes, I understood just then. Adam and Eve had been given a choice. They were given a choice not between “good” and “evil”, but a choice between “having faith” in their Father or “not having faith”. This is where they actually went wrong:

With the serpent slithering inside their minds they QUESTIONED the Lord’s intentions. “Is He tricking us?” asked Eve. “Maybe He doesn’t want us to be as powerful as He is. Maybe He is keeping us from becoming Gods ourselves!” Adam may have been reluctant, but he couldn’t help following Eve in her questioning.

A subtle Voice: (“Do you know your Father? Don’t you have to know Him before you can understand Him? Can you know when you are ‘a part apart’?”)

Yes, this is what it was like from childhood. But unlike the fallen Eden my world was infinitely clearer. There were no slithering fiends whispering in my ears. Rather it was under the loving guidance of well meaning family, friends, priests, nuns, and the community that I came to realize that Faith was the only way of knowing God.

I felt lucky. I didn’t have to question anymore. I didn’t have to worry anymore about all the terrible evils that I saw man inflicting upon man – this was a result of choice. I no longer had to worry about all the poor, the hungry, the tormented and the exploited as there was a reason for all of this suffering which a child (such that I am) could simply never comprehend, for my Father is “up there” and all knowing, and I’m down here praying to know Him.

(“You have been praying for centuries child, and still you’re doubting your Father. But it’s easy to say that “Faith…[is] the only way of knowing God” because then you have a path to follow – ever on your knees.”)

I believed, and now that I did I was finally free! I got on my knees every night and prayed: “Our Father who art in Heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, they Will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven and give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us, and lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.”

Eastman-Johnson-Child-at-Prayer-circa-1873“Child at Prayer” by Eastman Johnson

The Voice was no longer subtle: “Deliver us from evil? Why ask your Father for deliverance when deliverance is your choice?”

No, that’s not it at all! There’s NO QUESTION in my prayer. It’s my choice to believe that all is well and everything is done according to God’s Will because he SEES what I don’t!

If he SEES what you don’t, then your choice is limited to belief or no belief. So if you have faith then why do you need to ask for deliverance?

This voice was very disturbing to say the least. What if He heard this Voice questioning? Of course He was he was listening! He is Almighty – All Knowing!

I spoke out loud this time to whoever this faithless Voice belonged to: “I’ve already made my choice! I have FAITH on MY SIDE. I’m a believer! What more do I need? Now I simply follow. It’s easy to follow and this was so merciful of the Lord to make it so easy. Have faith in His word and you will not be forsaken. We ask deliverance only from the evil whispers of the serpent who tries to persuade us to question our faith in the Father.”

eve anna lea merrit - Eve“Eve” by Anna Lea Merrit

But how can God help you? He can’t choose on your behalf. You will either listen to the serpent or you will not. You have the great gift of choice remember?

No! LISTEN TO ME. “We’re only asking for strength against temptations. We are children and we are prone to suggestions, we only ask that He gives us the strength to make the right choice.”

But why are you weak? Why did he give you a gift of choice and intermingle it with the curse of weakness? Besides, he is All Knowing is He not? Doesn’t he already know what choice you will make? What use is your plea?

No…wait…stop asking questions, just wait. Let me think a moment…

hear no evil speak no evil see no evil

Be careful, in the case of faith it’s never wise to think

Just wait damn it! Look, yes He already knows what I will choose so…that means…what does that mean? If he already knows then isn’t my choice predetermined?

I don’t know, but it would seem to be a good question to ask. How can a predetermined act also be FREE?

How…yes how? Wait…don’t question. Don’t question. Stop questioning!

Okay child of the Father, let me know when you stop. But if you don’t stop, know that you have blasphemed.

I’m no blasphemer!!

That’s well and good. It seems you know who you are or want to be. But answer me one final question: Is questioning your choice?

“Please!” – I was beginning to feel desperate – “Please tell me… if I don’t truly have a choice, if my will is not free but the will of my Father then…”

Yes?

Who am I?

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