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Our Will--Free To Be Ridden
by Nick Cabbiness

Is it not curious that our primary view of man seems to be taken from those few moments just after Adam ate the deceptive fruit . . . just after having taken and received into himself THE LIE that he could manage, in their proper proportions, good and evil?

Oh, but there’s our man. And even though we see him there crouched behind a makeshift fig leaf, his shame and exaggerated self-consciousness emerging in exact proportion to the glory of the presence he is at that moment LOSING (nakedness indeed!), we dare not let that obscure our view of this god-like creature’s POWER TO CHOOSE. For, had he only aimed that mighty will in the direction it was supposed to . . . well, think of the possibilities! If we could be sent back to just those few moments before that tragic choice was made, yes . . . and we see mighty Adam, the Head of our race, standing between the two trees there in the center of that grand garden looking first to the one tree and then—but no. It isn’t that at all. In fact he seems only to be paying attention to one of the trees, the one . . . called Knowledge. In truth, he appears utterly enamored with it. But wait. His choice. How will he choose if he cannot even seem to survey that there ARE two possibilities? How will he flex now that mighty, God-given faculty, that arbiter of destiny, if he only SEES one tree? Wait. Something’s happening. I see him . . . he’s . . . flexing—good, that means he’s getting ready to choose now, so he must know there is more than one way, that he CAN go the way he’s supposed to . . . if he only WILL. But wait . . . shouldn’t he . . . If he’s really going to choose, shouldn’t he be looking in BOTH directions? Unless . . . unless—oh no. Unless . . . he’s already made his choice. But, if that’s true, then why is he straining so? If he’s already made up his mind, then why do the muscles in his neck look as if they could snap? Adam, look round you. Look the other way! Oh. I see. My Lord—I see. My God, how could I be so blind? He thinks he IS choosing . . . the right way. See the strain. It makes so much sense now. He’s trying to choose . . . THE GOOD. Adam is trying to choose the knowledge . . . to do good. And not do . . . evil. But I can see, it’s hopeless. It’s so obvious now. No will, no matter how strong, could ever choose one without also indirectly choosing the other . . . FOR THEY ARE FROM THE SAME TREE!

Is it not curious that we see the Garden of Eden—and our own lives—in just such a way? As this neutral place between two trees, two poles, two choices, and ourselves free as autonomous beings to take this faculty of choice, with all strength of resolve . . . and AIM! But what, indeed, will we hit?

"The way of man is not IN himself. It is not IN man, who walks, to direct his own steps."