Biblical “Perspective” from Ratatouille – Part II

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Saturday, October 18, 2014 0 comments

by Nathan Buck

Make sure to read my previous blog post here to understand the context for today’s post.

In order to unpack the situation with Adam and Eve, we need to realize their choice was about relationship. You cannot have relationship without the choice not to. And the choice to break relationship always has consequences. I believe there was a real Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, but I also believe the tree was a metaphor for relationship with God. To choose to eat from the tree was to break relationship with God, and to embark on a life journey apart from His presence. The journey apart from God would experience the limitations and brokenness of what it is to live separated from God’s life sustaining and preserving presence and power – natural life, and natural decay. We even learn through Eve in Genesis 3:1-5 that this tree is at the center of the garden – the center of their “world” and relationship with God.

Let me answer last week’s questions with more questions:
Do children have the same choice in regard to relationship with their parents? Is the choice to obey a parent based on a child’s understanding of consequences, or on trust? Does a child’s lack of knowledge about something harmful make it any less dangerous or deadly? Does the child’s lack of experience make it “right” to disobey their parents?

When we bring this closer to home in our experiences as parents, or our own experiences as children growing up, we can begin to realize that lack of knowledge or lack of “perspective” doesn’t change the nature or consequences of a choice. Even in the U.S. justice system it is held firmly that ignorance of the law is not a defense for breaking it. For Adam and Eve, their lack of knowledge should have provoked questions – what is evil? What is death? Why is this tree in the middle of the garden if we are not supposed to eat from it? We don’t know if they did. The point is, regardless of what they understood, they chose to step out on their own, based on believing a lie offered by a creature they had no relationship with. Instead of testing the serpent’s words or asking God to explain, the desire for the experience overwhelmed their trust of their Father/Creator. They not only took the counsel of a stranger, but they decided for themselves to go against God’s caution and used their freedom to choose their own path.

That moment is repeated again and again and again in human history – right up to this very moment, and probably for yourself already today. We are constantly tempted to rely on our reason, experience, and wisdom to make choices, and to discern what is true. Individual perspectives and experiences have so fractured or damaged our sense of what is true, that we now consciously and subconsciously believe that truth is relative and each person gets to define what is “true for them.” It is in this altered state of hallucinogenic self-absorbed reality that we need an earth shattering dose of perspective.

Why? Because there are still things that by definition are good and bad. There are things that by context are good or bad. And there are things that by intent are good or bad. Without perspective we cannot always see what is truly good or truly bad. For example, a young man tells a young woman that she looks pretty in a dress, even when he didn’t think it looked good on her. It was a lie, but it made her feel good. So was it evil or good? Then that young woman decides she is going to wear that dress to prom, and she enters with tremendous confidence, only to be deflated instantly by laughs and sour faces. She sees the same young man turn and hide his face. She is so depressed she runs out in to traffic and commits suicide. Again, was his lie good or bad? It made her feel good, but set up the circumstances for her suicide. What if he had told the truth from the beginning? What if she lived? What if she still committed suicide? How do we sort out what is right and wrong, good and evil, righteous or sinful?

Now apart from being overly simplified and exaggerated, the example should make clear that no matter how much experience we have, no matter how much knowledge or insight we have, we do NOT have a perspective like God’s. We cannot see eternity, and we cannot see the ultimate result of our actions. We can only trust that God does, and trust that His way of living takes into account every situation from eternity past, to eternity future. Only God can see it all and only God can know good and evil from a perspective that He can always lead to what is good. We can only know good and evil from inside the experience of good times that make us dance, and bad times that unravel our soul. Unless we choose to trust that God has already seen what is yet unknown to us, and has given us a moral bearing, an absolute truth that will take us always into what is good. This is not always what feels good, but always what IS good for us and for others.

In the movie Ratatouille, Anton Ego comes to give his perspective and ends up having his perspective rocked to the core. He is forced to realize his assumptions were not only wrong, but prejudiced and imprisoned him from enjoying what he loved most – creatively delicious food. Adam and Eve broke relationship and chose not to trust God, because they chose to accept a perspective that did not trust the One who sees everything clearly. They lost perspective even further and fell into the chaos of limited human understanding. Today, we continue to choose our own way, from our limited perspectives, and we constantly see the fallout of the consequences in our society and culture.

It’s your turn to decide. Is there absolute truth? Does God have a perspective that is trustworthy to follow and will bring us constantly into what is good? Can you trust Him to show you the best way forward, even when you may not understand anything about where you are or what’s going to happen? If even one principle that God taught or commanded holds true for all people, at all times, in all places – then is that an absolute truth? Are you willing to test His Word and find out?

After all, if there is no absolute truth, then no one can absolutely deny its existence. The very denial itself fails because of limited perspective.