I have related this story before and have gotten a lot of flack for it, sometimes from quarters I never expected! But am relating it again anyway!
I didn't find God (or do my seeking and studying since) in a church, temple, synagogue or otherwise, or even a group, but had been studying world religions, meditation and astrology (which had taken my fancy, the idea of a clock and therefor a clockmaker).. I was sitting at the side of a mountain on a very nice day, when it seemed as though I could 'see' a thought float across the very blue sky and hit me in the head! Yes,
hit me in the head! The floating and hitting was all instantaneous.. What the thought said was "you've been studying about the forces at work in the universe" (astrology) "what of the force that created" (designed) "the universe? and what if that force has righteousness?"
- Immediately it was like a bright light turning on and I thought "God!" and could feel what felt like a familiar yet previously undetected presence... Later, after experiencing for a few weeks, said presence when in the mountains, and feeling it ebb away when we (future hubby and I) went back to town/city, I found a bible tract titled "God's Great Plan of Salvation", took it home and read it 4 times before I understood it, then I prayed, can this be real (this simple, to simply believe in Christ as God's son and the rescue from the unnatural state of death?) - when suddenly the sun streamed through an inch of curtain as it set over the mountains to the west and it filled the off television screen with my exact meditation symbol I had been using, a radiant 8 pointed star, and again the feeling of that warm and loving presence.
- Well many years have passed since then (30+) and about 14 years ago my son, 16 at the time asked me two questions. Now I was a pretty firm and peace filled for the most part believer, but these questions had a profound effect, for altho I answered his questions, I was not happy with my answers, and I am one who simply must know the truth of something when I set my mind to know or discover it. So I prayed for the full answers. And boy oh boy, they knocked my socks of and dang it if they aren't still knocked off!
- His questions were these: "Why did God put the tree of knowing good and evil in the garden?" and "Isn't it great we get to be an farm?" (bit cynical for one so young!) Well the answers actually came back to me rather quickly! You see, we aren't an ant farm at all! And that's the whole problem!
- When thinking ability was endowed (to angel and man) a whole new world (or tree) of possibilities 'came to be'. Because along with thinking ability/rationality, comes the ability to choose. But because God is life, the spark and force itself (what/who else would/could be?) and he's also Perfection (or else he too could not endure) then whenever someone chooses something other than God chooses they become imperfect, the opposite of life, and thus did death(nonlife) come to be. ["Hell" by the way is a mistranslation that should read "the grave".] Since God himself opened this whole Pandora's box by endowing thinking ability/choice, he built the rescue (from nonlife and its cause imperfection) right into everything "from the beginning" - Christ trades with us, our imperfection for his perfection, like a bank loan paid, he paid death for us all (he on the cross a dramatic symbol able to eventually penetrate every psyche).
- Because of the ability to choose, it has come about that everyone suffers, some horribly. Yet God, being life, lives through, suffers and experiences all sufferings which ever occur! Why would he put himself through all that?! Because, he's not creating an ant farm or robots, but a family and an un-breakable paradise, un-breakable because aLL will fully understand good from evil /life from death.
- After I asked my questions to God, he came back with a question, basically asking why did God wait so very long and only create the universe and man and woman after the first bound to occur rebel thought had not only occurred, but had ripened into outright sedition? Didn't he know what would happen? (Referring to the trickery in the garden of Eden with the first parents Adam and Eve). I say waited a very long time, because before the universe, there was 'only' the Father, the Son and the angels; not much to go astray about..
- The answer: Of course he knew what would happen, but wanted all rational creatures, angel and man to take this unavoidable journey/lesson all together at once. Unavoidable, that is, if there is to be rational creatures.. this learning of good from evil.
- Well that's about it. I meet lots of folks who realize "God is love" 1 john 4:8, but many don't realize that he can only be perfect and therefore the 'end' result of all this can only be the best one possible! Oh yes, God and His Great Plan of Salvation is GREATLY underestimated!God bless!