Good & Evil
by haRold Smith
Jerusalem, Israel

"And the Lord God planted a garden toward the east, in Eden [which means delight]; and there He put the man whom He had formed (framed, constituted).

"And out of the ground the Lord God made to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight or to be desired--good (suitable, pleasant) for food; the tree of life also in the center of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of [the difference between] good and evil, blessing and calamity.

"And the Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to tend and guard and keep it. And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, you may freely eat of every tree of the garden; But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and blessing and calamity you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die." Genesis 2:7-17 (Amplified)

There is a tendency among believers to view life as though it were a page from a book that has a line drawn down the middle of it with one side labeled "God" and the other entitled "the devil." In our mind, everything that happens to us we consider to be "good" is placed under the heading of "God"; and everything that happens to us that is considered "evil" or "bad" is placed under the column that is headed "the devil." When the "good" things happen, there is reason to praise God; and when the "bad" things happen, we begin pray for God to make them quit. God is good, the devil is evil; and since God would never allow anything bad to enter our life, it only makes good sense to partition them out, to make a clear distinction between the two - right?

Good & Evil By developing this type of mindset, according to the scripture above, we are embracing death.

That tree in the garden was not called the "Tree of Knowledge." The name on the tree was the "Tree of Knowledge That There Is A Difference Between Evil And Good." Before Adam and Eve ingested the fruit of that tree, to them, there was no distinction between what was good and what was evil, what was blessing and what was calamity - IT WAS ALL JUST GOD�.and it was all good because He is good. We are not talking about sinful evil here, because sinful evil emanates from the heart of man, not the heart of God. Rather, we are referring to calamitous evil, those things that come upon us that are out of our control - tribulation.

It was in this place of paradise, this place called "delight," that God and man dwelled in rich harmony. God was in control of everything that happened to them and they were in a place of trust that everything happening to them was formulated in the heart of God. Because they had no knowledge that calamity was something to be viewed as abnormal, everything was just a blessing.

"I form the light, and I create darkness: I make peace, and I create calamity:
I the LORD do all these things." Isaiah 45:7

The transformation that occurred upon partaking of the fruit of that tree only happened internally - in their minds. Nothing else changed that day except the way they perceived God to be. Externally, everything else remained the same - God was still on His throne. A simple act of disobedience, however, caused them to step away from that trust they had in who they had experienced God to be and to view Him differently. They moved from the kingdom of light into the realm of darkness and, since light and darkness cannot occupy the same space at the same time, they were forced out of the presence of God.

What Jesus does as the "last Adam" (I Cor.15:45), is to make it possible for us to re-enter that place of "delight", the kingdom of light, the presence of God. By embracing all that He is, we are allowed the opportunity to walk with Him, to experientially recapture that place of trust. And it truly is a place of delight. Everything Adam and Eve needed was within reach. They lacked nothing. God was their all in all, their source for everything. He was delighted in them and they delighted themselves by trusting in Him. A place our spirit longs to re-occupy.

Good & Evil The "warfare" that we are engaged in is not external, but internal (II Cor.10:3-6 - Amplified). The battleground for us is in the same place as it was for Adam and Eve - in our mind about what makes God good. The battle is to return to that place of delight, that place of trust in the Lord that will not let anything we see or feel or hear to cause us to waver from the true knowledge that says, for believers, He will cause everything that happens to us to ultimately be for our good - our spiritual benefit. (Romans 8:27, 28 - Amplified)

As believers, we put ourselves in a dilemma when we don't truly understand who God is and what He is after in our lives. God is first and foremost concerned with our spirit - the condition of our heart. Everything else - let it be said again, Everything Else - is secondary and expendable because in the scheme of eternity, He knows the only thing that will last is the spirit. So, we pray, "Lord, fashion me into your image," and expect that to be some magical, ethereal process. God says, "OK," picks up His shaping tool of tribulation (John 16:33; Hebrews 5:8; Acts 14:22) and goes to work on us. When we become displaced, uncomfortable or inconvenienced (because we only see God as a "blessing" God) we begin to cry out for it all to stop. Since He won't overstep our will and, being the gentleman that He is, He says, "OK" and relents. We interpret this relenting as a reinforcement of the power our prayer has over externalities and start the process all over again. By our actions, we declare ourselves to "know" what is better for us than He who created us.

It is when we mentally only perceive the "good" side of God instead of experiencing the whole of Who He is that we fall into deception over externalities and begin to convince ourselves that we can walk with one foot in light and one foot in the world. The world deceives itself into believing it can enter into a place of security by control. It tries to place a "buffer" between itself and calamity to insulate itself from the reality that it really has no control. We have seen in recent years how the world's "buffers" collapse and those who have trusted in them are left wanting. There is much more of that to come in increasingly greater intensity.

The world's template for success cannot be laid over the realm of the spirit as they conflict with one another - they are mutually exclusive. God wants to prosper us, but He knows that if the lust in our heart and the determination to do it our own way hasn't been sufficiently dealt with first, that prosperity will only result in death - a place outside of His Presence, the same as light causing the darkness to retreat. Consequently, since we live in a different realm than the world, God uses the world to bring externalities to bear in our life that will cause us to seek His Face in the spirit realm. His way is to change us in the middle of the circumstance, not to remove them from us.

"Delight yourself also in the LORD, and He shall give you the desires of your heart."
Psalm 37:4

So then, just how do we return to that place of "delight" today? The heart of the answer is found in Isaiah 58:13, 14: "�to honor Him (by) not going your own way or seeking or finding your own pleasure or speaking with your own [idle] words, Then will you delight yourself in the Lord�."

Our hope lies in the truth that He IS a good God, that He DOES have our best interest in His heart and, if we will relinquish complete control of our lives to allow Him pre-eminence, we will begin to see the rest of that verse in Isaiah 58 start to manifest itself in our life:

"�then will you delight yourself in the Lord, and I will make you to ride on the high places of the earth, and I will feed you with the heritage [promised for you] of Jacob your father; for the mouth of the Lord has spoken it."

This article only addresses how we should deal with the tribulation that just comes upon us individually. Jesus travailed on our behalf - and is calling us to do the same for others�.but that is another chapter.