When Adam became ‘free’

God set before them the ideal of joy which he would give them if they led their lives in the direction he indicated to them. That direction was to be marked by love and obedience to their Maker and benefactor. But our first parents had a person-to-person confrontation with Satan. Satan told them how free he had become since declaring his independence of God. To be self-determining man must surely be able to decide the “nature of the good”—regardless of what God says about it.

Adam saw Satan’s point. “You are right, Satan, I must first decide whether such a God as often speaks to us (1) knows what the ‘good’ for us is, (2) controls history so that he can determine what will happen if we disobey him, and (3) has the right to demand obedience from us. After I decide these issues, and if the answer is ‘yes,’ then I shall obey him. Certainly not before.”

But by taking to himself the right to decide these issues, Adam had already decided them—in the negative. If God is such a one as knows the “good” for us, controls whatsoever comes to pass, and has the right of unquestioned obedience, then man obeys his word because it is his word. Adam, in disobedience, became a “free” man.

– Cornelius Van Til, My Credo (Jerusalem and Athens) p.4-5

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