The serpent was clever, more clever than any wild animal God had made. He spoke to the Woman: “Do I understand that God told you not to eat from any tree in the garden?” The Woman said to the serpent, “Not at all. We can eat from the trees in the garden. It’s only about the tree in the middle of the garden that God said, ‘Don’t eat from it; don’t even touch it or you’ll die.’” (MSG)
This was a very clever snake. God had placed the first human beings in a wonderful garden and given them freedom to enjoy it. With just one restriction. The exact nature of the restriction is not as important as the fact there was a restriction. The man and woman could not do simply as they pleased, but God had certainly not put any onerous burdens on them.
The snake played on the fact that God was trying to restrict the first humans. God was somehow getting in the way of their rightful freedom. In fact, God knew that true freedom could only be experienced within his given boundaries. The snake took Eve’s eyes off the freedom and on to the restriction. Interestingly, the woman had made God’s restriction even more severe with the reference to not touching the tree: this was not part of God’s original command. So even at this point, human beings don’t seem to understand God’s commands!
If we view God’s commands as mere restrictions on our desires to do our own thing, then we will be frustrated and rebellious. We will see them as hindrances to fulfilment. In fact, they are the key to fulfilment. Freedom is to be had not in doing as we please but in doing as he pleases