“GIVE me liberty or give me death!” cried the American patriot Patrick Henry over 200 years ago. For him, liberation was more precious than life itself. Down through the centuries, millions of people have had similar feelings.
Within the past half century, however, the desire for liberation has taken on new dimensions. Colonial powers have been divested of millions of subjects as these sought and achieved political independence. Social, economic, and even religious movements have been set up to seek liberation from oppression and discrimination, either real or imagined. Never before have so many men wanted liberation from the authority of employers and governments, so many women from the authority of husbands and fathers, and so many children from the authority of parents and teachers. Still, liberation movements are nothing new. In fact, they are almost as old as mankind itself. The world’s oldest history book, the Holy Bible, tells us more. The gist of the story, as found at Genesis 3:1-7, is this:
Shortly after man and woman’s creation, the woman was approached by an angelic creature. His actions betrayed a desire to break free from the authority of his Creator. So it is not surprising that he asserted that what she and her husband needed was liberation. Was it not true, he argued, that God had placed restrictions upon them? But why, he asked, should they not eat from “the fruit of the tree . . . in the middle of the garden”? After all, “the tree was desirable to look upon,” was it not? Indeed!
Break away, he urged, and “your eyes are bound to be opened and you are bound to be like God, knowing good and bad.” How desirable! Yes, liberation from God’s “oppressive” rule was made to appear to be as precious as life itself.
“Give me liberty or give me death!” Adam and Eve got both—to their sorrow and ours! How so?