There was once a woman who really loved her son, who worked hard to make sure he could have the best of everything. She toiled day and night at the hospital to earn that semi-d, that grand piano, to earn the ability never to let money be an obstacle. He wanted that $400 Lego toy? Done. He wanted to try figure-skating? Done. Wanted to play the violin? Done. She only had the best hopes for him.
But maybe he preferred to hang out with his buddies, the ones who taught him how to shoplift and who bought him smokes. You know what it's like to be fifteen. The thrill of doing something you're not supposed to - forbidden fruit tastes sweeter. Or maybe his mum really, really wanted him to do Medicine, but he had a passion for archaeology. Or maybe when he grew older he loved to travel and rarely came home, and she missed him so dearly.
She could have locked him in the house, or tabbed his phone. She could have forced him to take the path she felt was best. She could have forbidden him to travel, taken away his passport. Out of the fiercest love, the kind that fears and fights to protect. But forcing your will upon your child isn't loving the right way. He knew what she wanted for him, but still she let him keep his options open.
She had to put herself aside and say, okay. It'll be okay. Maybe every parent had to lose their kid to the outside world. And there's no point trying to stop them, because they won't see it the way you do, and maybe we all have to learn the hard way. When a parent tries to stop a child that age they just turn their backs on you. It was okay to let him do what he wanted, perhaps to fall and learn - as long as she still had him.
There was once a God with a man He crafted with His own hands. He loved Adam so much, he made him to be like Him. He put him in a beautiful paradise and showed him His own identity - a God of overflowing abundance and creativity, a God of love, joy, peace, faithfulness and more; a God who could give him all he wanted.
There are many ways he could be like God. There was the tree of life. Adam could be immortal, and he and God could be together in communion in that beautiful garden forever. There was also the tree of knowledge. Adam could see what God knew about morality, both sides of the coin. He couldn't have both at once. If he were immortal, he wouldn't know about evil, so God could guide him in the ways of goodness and perfection forever, and while Adam wouldn't know all God knew, Adam could behave sinless like God.
But if the man knew about good and evil, he would have the option of committing evil, and turning evil; and a man with the potential to be evil cannot live forever, for harm of completely uncontrollable negative power. See, even a serial rapist will die one day - he can't terrorise eternally.
I want to keep being with you forever, said God. But I can't do that if you know that there's a flip side to goodness. So you must not choose to take it, because then I will not be able to make sure you will always be good. Let me guide you in all your ways. Choose to depend on Me, and you will have all you'll ever need. My nature is good, and also immortal, and you can only have both or none: be like Me, or not like Me.
God could have not given him the option. But maybe that's never how things work out. Like my dad refusing to let me own Britney and Avril CDs when I was 11. Like NLB removing homosexual books from a children's library in the hopes that children wouldn't be exposed to its reality yet. Maybe God even knew what would happen in the end. Maybe it pained his heart to leave that option open for him, even when he knew it wouldn't lead to good. But what would be the value of Adam's love and obedience if he really just didn't have a choice?