And now I’m afraid that exactly as the Snake seduced Eve with his smooth patter, you are being lured away from the simple purity of your love for Christ. [2 Corinthians 11:3 (MSG)]
I often wonder why Eve ate that forbidden fruit and why Adam so foolishly followed suit. Of course, we have the clever, devious and deceitful serpent to blame. He assured Eve that God lied to her. She wouldn’t die if she ate the apple; she’d be just like God with the knowledge of good and evil. But, why did Eve succumb to his temptation?
It certainly wasn’t hunger that led Eve to that forbidden fruit; she lived in Eden where everything was good and all of her needs were met. She already had the knowledge of all that was good so why was she so interested in learning about evil? The serpent, however, piqued Eve’s curiosity. Seeing that lovely tree with luscious looking fruit, she was inquisitive. Why did God forbid that fruit? What would happen if she ate it? What did it taste like? Who would know? What was evil? What was death? What would it be like to have that knowledge? Curiosity tugged at her and she started yearning for what wasn’t hers to have.
Curiosity is a beautiful gift but it can be a double-edge sword. It’s what makes a child explore and ask “Why?” but it’s also what makes him stick a fork in a socket. Curiosity has moved mankind forward in an amazing and awesome way. Without it we wouldn’t have things like the wheel, electricity, solar energy, computers, vaccines, telescopes, or space travel. Curiosity is what makes us wonder what lies beyond and ask what are things made of, how they work, and how they can be used. It’s what makes us ask, “What would happen if…?” As William Arthur Ward said, “Curiosity is the wick in the candle of learning.”
On the other hand, as Adam and Eve learned, curiosity can mire us in sin and sadness. It’s what caused alchemists in China to search for a potion for immortality. Instead of immortality, they discovered that their combination of sulfur, charcoal and potassium nitrate was explosive. The result was gunpowder: something used to end life rather than prolong it. Untamed curiosity can make us vulnerable to the enemy’s attacks. It was curiosity that made Adam and Eve want to taste what wasn’t theirs to enjoy and what encouraged the prodigal son to a profligate lifestyle. It was curiosity that caused David to lust for what wasn’t his to possess and that made the men of Beth Shemesh peek in the Ark at what wasn’t theirs to see. Curiosity asks, “What’s the harm in one taste…one touch…one sip…one try…one time…one look?” Remember, Lot’s wife took just one inquisitive look back at Sodom and it didn’t end well for her.
“Where would we be today if no one got curious?” asked the teacher. “In the Garden of Eden!” answered the little boy. When curiosity leads us to be discontented with the blessings we have, as it did with Eve, it only leads to trouble. When curiosity leads us to be displeased with the wrongs of the world, it is a blessing. Curiosity isn’t a sin—like free will, it’s a God-given gift but, like free will, it must be used with caution. The choice is ours.
Curiosity is a kernel of the forbidden fruit which still sticketh in the throat of a natural man, sometimes to the danger of his choking. [Thomas Fuller]