If Adam had tripped while running around in the Garden of Eden, could he have hurt himself? If, impressed by the birds, Eve tried to fly by jumping out of a tree, would she have injured herself? Or died?
I ask these questions to suggest that Adam wasn’t Superman. Shoot at the Man of Steel and the bullets will bounce off his chest; fire at Adam and he’ll bleed to death.
Eve may have been the apex of creation, but she’s not Wonder Woman.
The first couple was vulnerable, even in the Garden of Eden. Were they defective? God doesn’t seem to think so. He called his creation “very good” (see Genesis 1:31).
What Adam and Eve had going for them was a relationship with God. Although the Lord created them with the potential to suffer harm, He would not allow their vulnerabilities to be exploited. Whether by granting wisdom or getting involved, He would protect them.
Adam and Eve damaged their relationship with God when they sinned. The security they had enjoyed degraded. From that time on, they and their descendants would know pain and difficulty.
“To the woman He said, ‘I will make your pains in childbearing very severe; with painful labor you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.’ 17To Adam He said, ‘Because you listened to your wife and ate fruit from the tree about which I commanded you, “You must not eat from it,” cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat food from it all the days of your life. 18It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. 19By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.’” – Genesis 3:16-19
The frailties of human nature were now exposed. Dangers can destroy us.
But God defends those who trust Him.
“You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, 6nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. 7A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you. 8You will only observe with your eyes and see the punishment of the wicked. 9If you say, ‘The Lord is my refuge,’ and you make the Most High your dwelling, 10no harm will overtake you, no disaster will come near your tent.” – Psalm 91:5-10
The psalmist David was no superhero, impervious to enemy attacks or immune to diseases. He was a shepherd, a warrior, and a king, who put his confidence in God’s power. The Bible describes him as “a man after God’s own heart” (see Acts 13:22).
Jesus Himself demonstrated how the Father looks out for those who are His.
“All the people in the synagogue were furious when they heard this. 29They got up, drove Him out of the town, and took Him to the brow of the hill on which the town was built, in order to throw Him off the cliff. 30But He walked right through the crowd and went on His way.” – Luke 4:28-30
When Jesus had announced that His ministry was launching the Kingdom of God, the residents of Capernaum reacted with outrage. Offended by messianic pretensions they considered blasphemy, they drove Him out of the synagogue and sought to throw Christ off a cliff.
Superheroes can beat back hostile crowds, but Jesus strolled through the mob without abuse. How? Wasn’t He vulnerable? Yes, flinging Him off the precipice could have killed Him. But God covered His Son.
Paul, too, demonstrated God’s ability to preserve His servants.
“Paul gathered a pile of brushwood and, as he put it on the fire, a viper, driven out by the heat, fastened itself on his hand. 4When the islanders saw the snake hanging from his hand, they said to each other, ‘This man must be a murderer; for though he escaped from the sea, the goddess Justice has not allowed him to live.’ 5But Paul shook the snake off into the fire and suffered no ill effects. 6The people expected him to swell up or suddenly fall dead; but after waiting a long time and seeing nothing unusual happen to him, they changed their minds and said he was a god.” – Acts 28:3-6
The crowd misjudged Paul twice. The apostle was neither a murder nor a god. He was Christ’s ambassador and the Lord rescued Him.
In what ways do you feel susceptible to the hazards of this world? Do you wish you were stronger or smarter, so you can better fend for yourself?
Being a superhero won’t help, there’s always kryptonite!
But when you choose to be a disciple of Jesus, you learn firsthand that He is more than enough for you.
“But He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” – 2 Corinthians 12:9-10