There are three wilderness experiences that are absolutely fundamental to the understanding of redemptive history. The first is the wilderness experience of Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden. Most of us are familiar with the story in Genesis 3; there is a provision in the wilderness that of all the trees in the garden "you are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die." This was a wonderful provision, for the two could eat any fruit from any tree in the garden which God had made, with the exception of one tree. But in spite of God's generous provision, the two rebelled in the wilderness. God's word was questioned. "Did God really say, 'You must not eat from any tree in the garden'?" Satan asks. Notice how Satan adds to God's prohibition of eating from the one tree to eating from "any tree" in the garden. Eve gives her own addition to the word of God in responding to the serpent, "We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, 'You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die." Both Satan and Eve wind up making God a stricter God than he has revealed himself to be. How many times have we seen this tendency.
Michael Horton is the J. Gresham Machen professor of apologetics and systematic theology at Westminster Seminary California (Escondido, California), host of the White Horse Inn, national radio broadcast, and editor-in-chief of Modern Reformation magazine. He is author of many books, including The Gospel-Driven Life, Christless Christianity, People and Place, Putting Amazing Back Into Grace, The Christian Faith, and For Calvinism.
Issue: "Preaching Christ" March/April 1993 Vol. 2 No. 2 Page number(s): 29-32
You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that you do not alter the wording in any way, you do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, and you do not make more than 500 physical copies. We do not allow reposting an article in its entirety on the Internet. We request that you link to this article from your website. Any exceptions to the above must be explicitly approved by Modern Reformation (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Please include the following statement on any distributed copy: This article originally appeared in the [insert current issue date] edition of Modern Reformation and is reprinted with permission. For more information about Modern Reformation, visit www.modernreformation.org or call (800) 890-7556. All rights reserved.