Q: Did God Test Adam and Eve’s Obedience in the Garden of Eden? Does God Also Test Our Obedience?

By Adam Lloyd Johnson, Ph.D.

Yes, I believe you could say that God tested Adam and Eve’s obedience in the Garden of Eden. The Bible never says it in those exact terms, or at least I’m not aware of any such description, but you certainly get that impression from reading the account in Genesis.

Ultimately, it was a test to see if they would trust God or not. Obedience flows out of a healthy trust in God. He told them not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If they trusted God that He knew what was best for them, that He told the truth to them, and that He loved them, then they wouldn’t have disobeyed. But instead, they allowed Satan’s trickery to get under their skin, and they began not to believe what God had said. Disobedience was the result.

God does test us also, but remember that there is a difference between testing and tempting. God puts us through trials to test us and mature us, but never to tempt us. James 1:12-17 is important to remember here:

Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death. Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.

The purpose of trials and tests is to mature our faith. If life was always a walk through the park, we would never be stretched to rely on God more and more. But when difficult times come into our lives, we learn to trust God even more as we rely on Him to see us through. See 1 Peter 1:3-9.

As for testing, see also Hebrews 11:17-19 where it says God tested Abraham’s obedience when He asked him to sacrifice his only son Isaac. Testing is more for our benefit than for God’s. It is not as though He’s wondering how much I trust Him, so He gives me a test so that He can find out. He is God and so knows all things. The tests are more for our benefit so we can see how weak our faith really is.

Do you feel God is testing you right now? May God continue to work in your life to strengthen your faith and reliance upon Him. As the hymn says, “There’s no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.” God really does have your best interest at heart; you can give Him your full confidence.

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