THE KINGDOM OF GOD: A Serpentine Plot by R. Alan Streett

Experiencing the Kingdom of God in the Here and Now

A Serpentine Plot by R. Alan Streett

From: Heaven on Earth

Next, God issues a warning: “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die,” (Genesis 2:15-17).  God sets limitations on what is best for Adam and Eve.  And Adam and Eve are not immortal beings.  They need to eat or they will die.

Shortly, after God pronounces that all he has made is good, a slithering creature leads a serpentine rebellion against God’s kingdom plans.

Did God say, “You shall not eat from any tree in the garden?”  The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden; but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the middle of the garden, nor shall you touch it, or you shall die.’”  But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not die; for God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil,” (Genesis 3:1-5).

This is no ordinary snake – at least not like any we have encountered.  It has intelligence and communicates clearly with the couple.  It claims that God is holding back something beneficial to Adam and Eve, “for God knows” something they don’t.  He has an ulterior motive.  He doesn’t want them to know what he knows.  They now have to decide whom to trust – God or the serpent.  They need to determine whether God has their best interests at heart when he forbids them to eat from the tree.

Rather than obey the voice of their Creator, they ironically obey the voice of a seductive creature over which they have been given rule and dominion.  In doing so, they relinquish their authority to him.  He gets the upper hand.  The apostle John will later identify the serpent as the dragon, Satan, the devil, and the deceiver who opposes God and his Christ, (Revelation 12:7-9; 20:2).

By default, a kingdom emerges in the garden paradise that rivals God’s own.  From this time forward, another voice will challenge God’s authority over people’s lives.  Humankind will become divided – some will comply with God’s voice, and others will submit to the voice of the enemy.  Two kingdoms exist simultaneously side-by-side – God’s and Satan’s – each one bidding for the allegiance of God’s people.

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