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No one’s unimpeachable

Rosemary Dawson considers everyday ideas that go way back to the 66 books of the Bible

The branches hung tantalisingly near our fence

I ONCE lived next door to some neighbours who had a peach tree in their garden. It produced the most delicious and juiciest peaches I have ever tasted. Sadly, our neighbours weren’t the sharing kind, so I had to depend on windfalls landing in our garden. The branches hung tantalisingly near our fence, but – disappointingly for my children – not quite near enough to reach.

It was a sad day when the tree blew down during a winter storm. No more peaches – but also no more temptation. Humankind has been struggling to resist all kinds of ‘forbidden fruit’ ever since God created man and woman and placed them in the Garden of Eden. The only tree they were forbidden to eat from was the tree of the knowledge of good and evil – but a sneaky snake persuaded the woman to disobey God’s instruction. The Bible says that she ‘stared at the fruit. It looked beautiful and

tasty … She ate some of the fruit. Her husband… ate it too’ (Genesis 3:6 Contemporary

English Version).

Traditionally the ‘forbidden fruit’ has been portrayed in art and legend as an apple, although the Bible does not actually say it

was so. When God questioned the man and woman about their actions, Adam blamed Eve, and Eve blamed the serpent. Their disobedience and deception had dire consequences, bringing sin into the world and destroying humankind’s relationship with God.

One of the hardest things a child has to learn is the difference between right and wrong. Some people find it easier than others. But some grow up never quite understanding or being willing to accept why they can’t have what belongs to someone else – whether it’s a neighbour’s peaches or something far more

serious.God’s solution to this age-old problem was to send his Son, Jesus, who lived a sinless life and, through his sacrificial death on a cross, offered God’s forgiveness to all humankind.

The Bible tells us: ‘Jesus understands every weakness of ours, because he was tempted in every way that we are. But he did not sin! So whenever we are in need, we should come bravely before the throne of our merciful God’ (Hebrews 4:15, 16). There we will find strength to resist temptation and forgiveness for the times we have

allowed our mistakes to take root.

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