This week in my Book of Common Prayer reading I’ve been inspired by a thought. I’m not sure why I never thought of it before, because it’s pretty obvious.
I’m sure you’re thinking, “Spit it out!” by now. Adam was given a test of temptation in the Garden of Eden. He had everything necessary to win his battle. He had the audible voice of God reminding him that he and Eve could partake of every tree in the garden except the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. There was so much generosity in that statement, and yet the Deceiver used it to confuse man into rebellion.
God intended man to live in peace and harmony with Him forever. But He wanted it to be our choice, not forced. Unfortunately, we chose poorly. The Father responded responsibly. He allowed us to make the choice to turn from Him, so He needed to provide a way for man to make a choice to turn to Him. In order to accomplish this task, He needed another Adam. An Adam who would this time say no to the temptations that the Devil would bring his way.
We know from scripture that Jesus was referred to as the second Adam. So the time Jesus spent in the Wilderness was kind of a Garden of Eden do-over. Adam and Eve were tempted with a fruit.
When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Ge. 3:6
First she was tempted with desire for the fruit. It looked good. Jesus was tempted to eat bread after fasting for forty days. He was hungry.
Next, the story tells us that she saw that the fruit was desirable for gaining wisdom. She wanted to be like God. Not a bad endeavor. After all, aren’t we called to be like Jesus? The problem here is that God said that she was already like Him. She and Adam were created in His image. They were taking the serpent’s word above God’s. Jesus was also tempted in this way when He was shown the whole world and Satan said he’d give it to Jesus if He would just worship him. The truth is that all of the world already belonged to the Father, and therefore it belonged to Jesus as well.
Jesus was tempted in all ways, and yet He successfully warded off the enemy by using God’s Word. He was the second Adam. He succeeded and brought life again to the human race. I don’t know why but I never made the connection between Jesus’ wilderness experience and the Garden of Eden before.