What did God say and why did He say it?

There are times my daughter wants to get technical about what I say. She wants to know the strengths and weaknesses of what I have said. Did I really say she could not have a snack, or did I only say she could not have ice cream? Did I really say she could not watch TV or only that she could not watch a certain program?

There are times my daughter wants to know why. I have to tell my daughter it does not matter why, it only matters that I say it must (or must not) be done. She wants to explore why. And if the why is not sufficient to her liking, she feels she can argue her case.

She is only 10 and yet she understands the nature of subtly questioning the command. Such questioning is as old as the Garden of Eden. As Bonhoeffer turns his attention to fall of humanity, he explores the nature of undermining commands. He focuses on two questions: Did God say? And, Why did He sat it?    

Did God say are the words that ultimately undermine God’s word in our lives. These are the words that are introduced by the serpent in the Garden of Eden. They are words that make us question God’s Word. As Bonhoeffer says, with these words “man is expected to be judge of God’s word instead of simply hearing and doing it.” The question attracts us to judge.

Simply by responding Eve has put herself in jeopardy and she does not even realize it. She has become part of the conversation.

Did God really say? Eve responds, ‘Yes He did say.’ The next question is where the serpent really wants to lead the conversation. Why did God say it? This is the question the serpent wants Eve to explore. And since, in her innocence, Eve cannot provide and answer, the serpent provides one. God said it, but He said it because He does not want you to be like Him.

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