Black and White, Evil and Good, Wrong and Right

In the creation account, we are told God put two trees in the middle of the garden. (Gen 2:9) One was the tree of life, and one was the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. They are central to the garden, probably both physically and metaphorically.

Later we find out from God’s own words that eating of the fruit of the tree that was forbidden gave mankind the ability to know good and evil. (Gen 3:22)

Mankind having reached for and partaken of that pandora changed everything.

They moved into believing they could see what was right and what was wrong, a domain that was to have been God’s alone.

Since then the bible-derived religions have had a propensity to wander into defining right and wrong and making those definitions the be-all and end-all of faithfulness. We call it legalism and moralism and the like.

When Jesus walked this earth, this biggest challenges came from — and were dished out to — those who were intent on defining right and wrong – in service to God of course! “Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar?” and other searches for what was right and wrong, for what was black and evil and what was light and right drove so many of the questions such folk asked him.

Jesus again and again did his brilliant best to open closed bi-chromal minds. An older brother in a parable had done everything right, and in his rightness kept himself out of a heavenly relationship celebration. A younger brother does wrong, and ends up in a celestial celebration relationship. And older brothers cannot see the difference still today. Cannot see it is about relationship, not obedience, not about getting it right. Relationship first, rightness follows as an outcome. Put obedience first, and relationship is wrecked. We see a gracious God as a slave driver and can’t see ourselves driving our enslavement.

What I think I am seeing, especially as we move from so-labeled conservatives clearly and convictedly speaking in black and white right and wrong terms to so-lableled progressives revealing they can be just as oriented to black and white right and wrong, is this: maybe holding to black and white thinking is continuing to eat the forbidden fruit. Just maybe, no matter what side of any issue we are on, we are usurping God, and wrecking relationship, by continually reaching out for that attractive ability of pronouncing what is good and what is evil.

It makes sense to me. And I’m trying to learn to stop it.

Do you think I’m right? LOL

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