“Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” (Genesis 2:16-17)
Our journey has brought us to a junction in the trail. The first sign points in one direction: “The Way of Death”. The other sign states: “The Way of Life”. At first glance our choice would seem to be a no-brainer. But that first path is so very smooth and easy looking; not a rock to be seen. The other path is so rugged looking with rocks to trip over and brush waiting to scratch the traveler. There is also something written under each sign. The first says: “Do whatever seems right in your own mind.” Under the other sign is says: “Follow Me in obedience.”
One of the earliest Christian documents we have is called “The Didache” (Διδαχ-Greek for “Teaching”). It is sometimes called “The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles.” It was likely written before 100 A.D.), containing instructions for the Christian communities. The text is possibly the first written catechism with three main sections dealing with Christian lessons, rituals such as Baptism and Eucharist, and Church organization. It was considered by some of the early Christians as part of the NT. The first chapter begins with these words: “There are two ways, one of life and one of death, but a great difference between the two ways.” The way of life is described in the first four chapters and ends with these words: “Do not in any way forsake the commandments of the Lord; but keep what you have received, neither adding thereto nor taking away therefrom…This is the way of life.” Chapter 5 takes up the way of death by simply going over what things constitute disobedience to the ways of the Lord.
In our reading from Genesis, the Lord gives the first man one seemingly simple command: “Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to tend and keep it. And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”
We know the rest of the story…that Adam failed to keep that one command and death entered the world. God in His wonderful love for mankind has “trampled down death by His own death!” (We will celebrate that wonderful event several weeks from now!) Once again, mankind can choose the way of life or the way of death.
May the Lord help us in our struggle to be obedient as we choose His path for our journey.