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FIRST PERSON: Steroids a modern-day tree of knowledge
by Gordon Cloud
Date: Feb 24, 2009

CAIRO, Ga. (BP)--Over the last few days, I have watched as the latest chapter in the steroids in baseball saga unfolds in the person of Alex Rodriguez. Of all the major stars in the sport, he was the one that everyone wanted to believe was clean.

Hopes were pinned on him to eclipse the tainted homerun record of Barry Bonds and restore an aura of integrity to the most hallowed of milestones. Receiving a salary that exceeds the entire payroll of some clubs, to many he almost seemed larger than life. He bears a nickname, “A-Rod” that rolls off the tongue as easily as “The Babe” or “Hammerin’ Hank.”

Alas! How the mighty have fallen!

While mulling over the potential ramifications of this latest scandal I could not help but notice some interesting parallels between steroids and the tree of knowledge of good and evil that brought about the downfall of mankind. Baseball has often been described as a metaphor for life. If that is true, then steroids provide us with a vivid illustration of the depravity of man.

The first step in Eve’s downfall was her failure to honor the ground rules that God had established. This, of course, led to her believing the lie that the tree was not really harmful at all, but that great benefit could be derived from it. Many of those who have indulged in performance-enhancing substances have described a pattern of thought that is eerily similar.

Second, Eve faced the temptation of partaking of something that she came to believe could make her to be more than what she was. The same hubris that arose in the heart of Lucifer causing him to be cast from his celestial position filled her heart and continues to fill the hearts of men today. The lure of steroids aims at the very heart and soul of man’s depraved nature. Athletes believe that by injecting, rubbing or swallowing these chemicals, their strength and abilities will exceed their God-given talents.

Then there was the issue with peer pressure. Imagine if Adam were a baseball star explaining his failure to the media. “I didn’t think anything about it. Everyone on my team was doing it.” There was no one on earth willing to stand up to this sin and say, “No.”

Adam’s and Eve’s attempt to hide their sin was pathetically inadequate. As we listen to the denials and half-hearted confessions of those who have been confronted with their transgressions, we could well imagine them in fig-leaves instead of pinstripes, trying vainly to fit into the background and escape the burden of accountability.

The worst part was the stain that sin left on the lives of Adam and Eve. It forever marked them and all men as being disobedient to God. There was absolutely nothing they could do to redeem themselves in the eyes of God. Only God’s act of providing a sacrifice, first the lambs in the garden and then Jesus Christ, was able to remove the curse of sin.

The actions of Alex Rodriguez, Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and others who have succumbed to the steroids temptations have forever tarnished their lives and legacies. Regardless of their stardom, abilities and achievements, their records will always bear the stigma of having been accomplished by illegitimate means. There is nothing they can do to change this.
It would take an act of God.
Gordon Cloud is pastor of Pine Park Baptist Church in Cairo, Ga.

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