Thursday, April 2, 2009

Adam's Apple

There are many words or phrases in the English language that is thrown around in conversation not knowing where, when, why, or how it originated. Certain words or phrases even have an important lesson behind it that is often overlooked. ‘Adam’s Apple’ is one such phrase that may not be scientifically proved for validity, but can be taken in a theological sense to teach inquirers about their relation to God.

For the readers who have never heard of an 'Adam’s Apple', Wikipedia defines and illustrates it as the following. The laryngeal prominence—commonly known as the 'Adam's Apple'—is a feature of the human neck. This lump, or protrusion, is formed by the angle of the thyroid cartilage surrounding the larynx.

In the biblical account of creation found in Genesis (Genesis 1, 2), God created Eden on Earth and gave it to Adam and Eve along with every plant and tree to eat from, except one particular tree. This tree was the tree of knowledge of good and evil. God said the day that fruit is eaten from this tree, Adam and Eve would die (Genesis 2:16-17).

With man's creativity in inventing anecdotes, it has come to be said that just as Adam was swallowing the forbidden apple that Eve brought him, God, knowing of his disobedience, called out his name. The apple went only half way down and got stuck as Adam was startled by God's voice. So the lump seen on the necks of men are said to be a reminder of that incident.

Now that we know where the term 'Adam's Apple' comes from, let's investigate what we can learn from the story and try to answer some frequently asked questions. Ever wonder why God planted such a tempting tree in the garden? What is the significance of the tree? Why a tree?

God planted Eden and gave us everything in it for two very specific and important reasons. Creation is meant to support our biological needs (food, water, shelter, etc.) and provide a way to commune with God. The latter is more important than the first as this is our very purpose in life. God provided creation so that we take the gift of earth and everything in it and return it back to Him in love, to commune with Him. When we were formed, he made us in His image so that we love. Love who or what? We are created to love God and all that is from God (creation, persons, etc.). Jesus said the greatest commandment is to love God with all our heart, soul, and mind (Matthew 22:36- 38 ). The second greatest is to love you neighbor as you would love yourself (Matthew 22:39 ). Because we love, we commune with Him and become like Him. In a previous post, 'Why did Jesus come?', we see that Jesus came to earth to reunite us with God, to turn us back to our original purpose. How great is His love that He allows us to become like Him.

Satan knew one thing that Adam and Eve did not comprehend and which most of us often overlook. Satan in the form of a serpent came to Eve and tempted her to eat fruit off of the forbidden tree (Genesis 3:4-5 ), saying that once she does, she will become like God. Here's how Satan deceived and achieved one of his greatest triumphs over mankind. We must realize that God wants us to be like Him! So then why did Satan tell Eve to eat the apple to become like God? He wanted Eve to want to become like God without God. Please notice the importance here. God allows us to be like Him only if He is involved in the process. Eve chose to become like God without God. She placed her trust in something other than Him to become like Him - the apple.

How amazing is it when you think of the story in this light! Although the story dates back to the beginning of time, we still see the sin today. We often look to worldly things to attain happiness - money, sex, power, careers, drugs, etc. We fail to realize the fact that happiness is the ultimate reward we receive when we commune with the Holy Trinity, our original and constant purpose in life.

Praise be to God.

Carlton, C. (1997). The Faith. Massachusetts: Regina Orthodox Press.

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