Saturday, April 4, 2015

6. Temptation and Testing

Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
I can resist everything except temptation.
--Lord Darlington, Act I. Lady Windermere's Fan (1892) Oscar Wilde.

In Biblical Greek, the word for 'tempt' and 'test' are the same: crisis.

We can understand the difference by seeing the circumstance before us as one that gives us a choice. If the one who is presenting us with the choice is morally ambiguous about it; or if we ourselves are ambivalent about the morals involved; then it's a temptation. Consider the serpent tempting Eve.
If there is no moral ambiguity, but merely a costly assertion of our own moral backbone, it is a test. Consider God commanding Abraham to offer his own son as a sacrifice.

God will customarily allow cause and effect to rule the day, including letting bad people leading us into temptation. We can avoid those problems if we pray--we have reason to believe.

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