The ripple effect of disobedience

Published 8:51 pm Monday, October 29, 2018

By Myrtle Virginia Thompson

The call for peaceful living is always a call for obedience to rule and order. It is not unlike obedience to God, which requires total surrender to Him. In fact, we can’t have civil obedience without understanding the order God intended for His world. Self will produces disobedience. It says I will not surrender my “rights,” what I think I “deserve,” to any other authority.

There is a fierce battle going on today, but it is not the first time in history. Who will win depends on our understanding the past. We have an enemy. It is not what or who we think it is. It is ourselves, our self will, our desire to rule, have our own way, do our own thing. We may think the Bible is out of date, but the incredible reality is when we read and study it, we find it “telling it like it is.”

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The news today is conjecturing who will win some current battle in politics or the lottery, even exposing struggles involving our personal lives. The Bible warns of the end results when we are self-determined with no desire for God or His control. It is the only record of truth about who and what will be triumphant at the end of life’s race around earth’s track. Our dilemma is trying to solve our problems only to find we have created more. We choose to think for ourselves, but the answers are limited. We indulge ourselves, everything from our appetites, to spending, to sex, then discover a battle on our hands. Therein lies the problem with self-rule.

Let’s look back at the Bible. Everything was perfect and good for Adam and Eve. God Himself set the standards, even told them the consequences if they disobeyed. When that happened, the blame game began. Adam blamed both God and Eve (“the woman You gave me…) Eve blamed the serpent. Each refused to acknowledge personal wrongdoing. It cost them their emotional, social and psychological health and finally, spiritual and physical death. To identify with what happened, let’s retrace the events like it was a daily newscast.

Another “being” in the Garden was able to communicate with Adam and Eve. We know him as a serpent, the deceiver Satan, but not yet the proverbial “snake in the grass,” not consigned to crawling on the ground. In the interest of our newscast, we will call him a “commentator.” He had heard what Adam and Eve were told. He is smooth talking, beautiful and “knowledgeable,” knows what God said. We hear him “interviewing” Eve, “reinterpreting the news of the day” what God had told Adam who relayed it to Eve. The message was simple: a requirement for obedience to God (Genesis 3.) This commentator throws out an idea, makes a veiled promise to Eve. If she listens to him, she will become “wise,” her eyes opened to new things. He was so convincing she accepted what he said. Ahh, the sophistication!

When Eve believed the creature rather than God her Creator she got what the Commentator promised but paid a terrible price. Her experience has passed through the millennia to everyone born. We still experience the penalty of disobedience. What seemed to be exciting turned into dreadful and horrible consequences.

So what was in that fruit Eve and Adam ate? It is unnamed but certainly was not the proverbial “apple.” Within its endemic contents was all the poison confronting us today, lies, drugs, alcohol, even sex. How do I know that? I don’t, but I do know the DNA of every person alive does not lie. Check your genealogy, then take a look at today’s world. The common denominator is self-will and disobedience. Like Adam and Eve, we are naked in our understanding of how evil affects everyone. Biblical truths teach us how to respond to God.

When we insist on self-rule, not wanting God or the Bible nor any control of our ego, we deny ourselves the peace of God which passes understanding. When we attempt to hide lying, confrontation, murder, other sinful and sinister activities, we hope no one ever uncovers our wrongdoing. We forget the Creator God sees even more than our electronic devices reveal.

God came to the rescue. He removed the fig leaves from Adam and Eve. In the place of vegetation, He used the blood and skin of an innocent animal. The picture is made clear in the New Testament. Jesus Christ was the only sinless, innocent One who ever lived. He can provide our covering. He is the sacrificed Lamb of God who allowed His own blood to be shed to pay the penalty. He waits to hear our confession when we change ownership and decide to be obedient to His will.

Myrtle V. Thompson is a 90-year-old retired missionary, educator and writer. Contact her at