Have you ever heard the argument that either God wanted Adam to fail or God gave him an impossible task to perform? Some would claim God foreknew Adam’s failure, so Adam had to fail, because, if God foreknows anything, what he foreknows must come to pass. Some have even gone so far as to say eating of the forbidden fruit was a good thing! They argue that God concluded it was a natural progression of man to desire to know for himself—to experiment, if you will, and decide what is or is not good for him. Is any of this true?
The short answer is: “No!” Of course, it isn’t true! But it is not enough to merely say so, for we are cautioned to be ready with an answer for those who ask. So why isn’t the above so? Did Adam have free will and eat of the forbidden fruit of his own cognizance or did God foreknow that he would do so, making it impossible for Adam not to eat of the Tree of Knowledge? Well, Scripture tells us that though Eve didn’t know the full consequence of her act, Adam did (1Timothy 2:14). He ate of the tree, knowing full well what he was doing. In other words, since he was not deluded, Adam is responsible for what occurred, and God did not foreknow the event!
How could God not foreknow Adam’s rebellion? Doesn’t God know everything even before it occurs? The short answer to this is: “Yes and no!” Scripture tells us that God created what we call time:
(God)…has at the end of these days spoken to us through a Son, who is the pre-destined Lord of the universe, and through whom He made the Ages. (Hebrews 1:2 WNT)
If God created time (the ages), then time does not exist where God is. He has no past, nor does he have a future—everything is present with him (Isaiah 46:10). Adam’s whole life was present before him, though Adam had to live it out moment by moment. In a very real sense, God did not know Adam would rebel until he ate the fruit, because before Adam ate, and after Adam ate and the act of eating itself was before him all at the same moment. It is only when God interjects himself into our history that he speaks of a past or a future, because this is how we understand our lives. We age, but God does not (Psalm 102:25-27). Therefore, Adam, fully cognizant of what he was doing, ate of the Tree of Knowledge. He was not satisfied with the knowledge of God, but he wanted to decide for himself what was good and what was evil, intending to become completely independent of God. In other words, Adam was not satisfied to rule over all creation; he wanted to rule his own life, as well.
Sometimes we think that God must have been watching Adam and waiting for him to sin, and socked it to him the very first chance he got, but this clearly isn’t so. If one considers the fact that Adam was not deluded but knew full well what he was doing (1Timothy 2:14), he had to have planned the whole affair (see: “The Devil, Called Satan, Unveiled!“). He was responsible for teaching his wife, but he told her only what he wanted her to know (Genesis 2:16-17 v/s Genesis 3:3). Adam set Eve up for the fall. Telling her more than what God said, shows he made God out to be a liar. Once Eve saw that she could touch and not die, she believed the lie her husband was saying that God was holding out on them (Genesis 3:5). Once Eve ate and Adam saw that Eve did not die immediately, he assumed it was safe for him to eat, as well (Genesis 3:6).
The point is this: Adam was sinning for quite awhile, thinking about rebelling from God. He sinned by not teaching his wife what she needed to know. He deluded her and lied to her. Ultimately, he murdered her, for, if she hadn’t eaten of the forbidden tree, but ate of the Tree of Life, she would have lived forever. Yet, all this was not considered as grievous as eating of the Tree of Knowledge. Why? Scripture shows God was the Parent of Adam and Eve. As parents we correct our children for things like disobedience, lying and other unacceptable behavior, but this does not separate us from our children. However, if our child rebels against our authority, that is something different. While disobedience, lying etc. acknowledges the authority of the parent through accepting chastisement, rebellion has independence in view. Rebellion cannot be merely forgiven. Forgiveness has no power over rebellion. Had Lincoln merely forgiven the Confederate States of America, we would be two nations today and not one. Reconciliation is needed in the matter of rebellion. Any child who absolutely will not live by the policy of the parent is, in effect, in rebellion and seeks to live by his own judgment. Of course, God could have forced Adam to obey, but this would not have had reconciliation in view. God had to permit Adam to work through the whole scheme of his rebellious heart before any reconciliation could be attempted.
Therefore, we can see in the Scriptures God neither wanted Adam to fail, nor did he give him an impossible task to achieve. God did not foreknow Adam’s rebellion, nor did he secretly approve of Adam’s experiment, any more than a parent approves of, is honored in or proud of his own child’s rebellion. Nevertheless, does this mean that God’s original plan had failed? No, it does not. How so?
(God), …Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things which have not been done, Saying, ‘My purpose will be established, And I will accomplish all My good pleasure’; (Isaiah 46:10 NASB)
God has not changed his original plan. He declares the end from the beginning, and he will establish his desires and bring them to pass. He is able to do as he pleases, because he is willing to pay the price to make it so. God’s original plan cannot be thwarted by man, because God is willing to do what is necessary to make it successful. So, in the last days, before our present age of grace, God sent his Son that in him he could reconcile the world unto himself (2Corinthians 5:14-19). Praise him and lift him up!