As a consequence of my parents’ choice, my dad ultimately found a good job and was able to provide a modest but stable income for our family for his entire working life.

As a consequence of my parents’ choice, my mother met a school principal who invited her to teach in an elementary school. For more than twenty years, my mother taught fifth grade in an excellent school system.

As a consequence of my parents’ choice, I was able to gain a college education without struggling to pay for it.

As a consequence of my parents’ choice, I was brought up in a solid, loving church where I heard the Word of God on a regular basis. (It took a while for the consequences of that choice to be revealed, but it was an outcome of their choice, nonetheless.)

As I watched, listened, and experienced my parents’ journey, I became intimately acquainted with the reality that choices must be made. I learned that it is impossible to go through life without deciding between the possibilities that wait behind Doors One, Two, and Three. Trying to play it safe by only looking at the Doors of Opportunity and declining to fling one open simply sets in motion a different set of consequences. We cannot avoid making choices; it’s an integral part of being human that goes back to the very beginning of time. God purposefully left choice in our hands. He could have made us little automatons, but instead He chose to give us free will, leaving us with the responsibility and the pleasure of making our own decisions.

The First Taste of Consequences

Eve, of Adam and Eve fame, was the first girl in all of history to make a choice—and the first to face the consequences of that choice. Let’s take a quick look at the drama that played out in the garden of Eden so long ago.

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.’” (Gen. 3:1–3 MSG)

Sounds to me like God had given Adam and Eve a simple, easy-to-follow command with clear and established consequences for disobedience. Unfortunately, Eve moved on impulse rather than thinking twice.

The serpent told the Woman, “You won’t die. God knows that the moment you eat from that tree, you’ll see what’s really going on. You’ll be just like God, knowing everything, ranging all the way from good to evil.”

When the Woman saw that the tree looked like good eating and realized what she would get out of it—she’d know everything!—she took and ate the fruit and then gave some to her husband, and he ate. (Gen. 3:4–6 MSG)

Eve chose poorly and soon discovered she would pay a high price in negative consequences.

GOD said, . . . “Did you eat from that tree I told you not to eat from?”

The Man said, “The Woman you gave me as a companion, she gave me fruit from the tree, and, yes, I ate it.”

GOD said to the Woman, “What is this that you’ve done?” “The serpent seduced me,” she said, “and I ate.” (Gen. 3:11–13 MSG)

Ah, the blame game. Eve had failed in making the most important choice of her life, and Adam had joined in her folly. Each fiasco, but that did not change the consequences: death had come—death to all they had, all they had dreamed of, and all they had relied on. It seemed they had assumed God would always keep them in the manner to which they had become accustomed, but He did not alter the appointed consequences for their blatant disobedience just because they were tempted by the enemy. They still bore the responsibility for their choice.