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John Calvin puts forward a very simple reason why love is the greatest gift: “Because faith and hope are our own: love is diffused among others.” In other words, faith and hope benefit the possessor, but love always benefits another. In John 13:34–35 Jesus says, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Love always requires an “other” as an object; love cannot remain within itself, and that is part of what makes love the greatest gift.
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NetChaplain

The Garden Tree

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Various could be the imaginations of what man’s life might have been without the fall, but I believe one concept may be fairly certain. Man would not have known, nor partaken of God’s Son and Spirit in the presently needed capacity. There would be no need of being one in spirit with the Trinity, for man would then have no need of such union; as a union being “in” one far surpasses merely being “with” one (Christianity – being in God: Judaism – being with God).

 

Surely it cannot be disagreed that God’s purpose for creating was to glorify Himself, and too spacious are the scriptural passages attesting to this truth to include here. It’s my understanding that the greatest of that which glorifies God, after creation, is His attribute of holiness (then love, etc.). I believe Adam may not have been familiar with the meaning of right and wrong until they were “contrasted” with one another, via the commands of that which he may do (Gen 2:16) and that which he may not do (v 17). The same concerns the knowing of God’s holiness via the contrast of evil, similar to the learning of light via first the presence of darkness (and creation was dark before it was lighted – Gen 1:2, 3).

 

My perception of “Our image, after Our likeness” in verse 26 of the Bible’s first Chapter is that “image” refers to what God looks like (head, eyes, ears, arms, hands, etc.); and “likeness” refers to God’s autonomy (thinking, reasoning, choosing, etc.). God desires us to choose Him (Deu 30:19; 1Tim 2:4; 2Pet 3:9), and in so doing He prepares the believer to trustingly endure the infirmities and difficulties which must be encountered via the sin nature, in order to teach us that which is of His holy nature.

 

Therefore, I think this answers to the reason of His foreknowledge and use concerning the pair on the ground choosing to partake of the apple on the Tree (pun, assuming an apple), through their enlightenment concerning “good and evil.” They could not (even today) know of God’s holiness without comparing it to evil, and so the serpent (per usual) brings forth an admixture of truth and error in saying, “ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil”; which is close to the truth that “ye shall be as God, knowing good and evil (which is a likeness of Him).

 

One cannot misunderstand that God foreknew man would partake of the Tree (in His omniscience), and the intent of this article is to assure believers that He’s using everything—from the beginning of the present heaven and earth—to the new heaven and earth, for glorifying Himself, especially in believers, “according to His good pleasure which He has purposed in Himself” (Eph 1:9). Believers are never left to themselves in anything (Jhn 14:16; Josh 1:5; Psa 37:25)!

 

NC

Edited by NetChaplain

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