Most everyone has heard the phrase: ”Curiosity killed the cat.” This is an old idiom, or proverb, to warn of the dangers of unnecessary investigation or experimentation. The earliest printed reference of this original idiom is attributed to the British playwright, Ben Johnson. Ben’s play, Every Man in His Humor, was written in 1598, and was performed by the Lord Chamberlain’s men, and the legendary William Shakespeare.
Though this is a blog, and not a play, I want to make a play on the words of this famous proverb. I am really not too worried about curiosity killing the cat, but I am gravely concerned about curiosity killing the catalyst.
A catalyst is an agent that provokes or speeds significant change or action. It is the propulsion to cause something to expand or explode.
When man was created, the Creator had carefully coordinated a catalyst of the cosmic kind. With unlimited potential in a palatial paradise, Adam and Eve had heaven on earth. Along with fruit trees galore and more pets than you can imagine, these love-birds joined with all creation worshipping the majesty of their maker. They had the love of God, the love of each other and a chance to live forever. They also had unlimited fruit. Well, almost unlimited. Because the Creator wanted His creation to love Him by choice, He put one “Thou Shalt Not Tree” somewhere in the middle of hundreds of “Thou Shalt” trees. It was one little bitty boundary between the will of man and the will of God.
In time, Eve stopped enjoying all the blessings that she was licensed to love, and she became curious about this beautiful boundary. As she lusted after this delicious looking delicacy, she began to talk to herself. Curiosity spoke louder than her conscience, and she asked herself: “If God made it, shouldn’t I enjoy it? It looks good, so it must taste good. And if it tastes good, it can’t be that bad.” As she continued to converse with herself, a serpent spoke out of the bush and joined the conversation. He began his dialogue with a question, and he appeared to have the correct answer.
Then, the talking snake convinced her to go against her convictions and to indulge in her curiosity. Surely, she had misunderstood what God said. As she chose to chew this forbidden fruit, she did not fall over dead. But, she began the process of dying, both physically and spiritually. Yes, curiosity killed the catalyst. As she quickly reflected on the inquisitive conversation with the scoundrel who was now laughing in her face, she realized that he had told her a partial truth. Her eyes were open, but she did not like what she saw…and felt…and would feel. The chance to live forever was capsized by calories that would open her eyes and close her longevity.
Now looking through the lens of life differently, she ran to her husband with a piece of fruit that had taken her peace of mind. I have no idea why Adam listened to the voice of Eve, when he had distinctly heard the voice of God. But, the Bible records no hesitation; Adam ate of the fruit of his wife’s failure. Thus, the fall of woman. The fall of man. The fall of all mankind. This fruit, this fall, this failure would not only change their futures; it changed all of ours.
The curiosity that killed the catalyst brought a curse from the Creator. Although he did not curse Adam and Eve, He cursed everything around them. Sweat, thorns, and birth pains were just a small sample of the sorrow their sin had sown. Their surroundings changed quickly. With catastrophic, catapulting consequences, God escorted them out of paradise and placed guards around the garden to prohibit them from ever going back. They had crossed the only boundary that God had established. As they made their exit, I am sure that Eve noticed that the serpent that she conversed with in a tree was now crawling on the ground. He followed them out of the garden and would harass them until they died the death that he promised they would not die.
Living now outside of the garden and outside of the will of God, Adam and Eve had to accept the new norm. As God said, there was sweat and thorns, as Adam now had to do what God had done for him previously. He left a garden that God had planted to plant his own. From the sweat of his brow, he had to work for the food for his family. Yes, family. Adam and Eve moved on and continued to love each other, even though it was different now. As weird as it was, Eve began to gain a little weight and felt something moving in her stomach. Discomfort set in, and she kept getting bigger. Then, after nine months of this unexplained weight gain and discomfort, Eve began to scream in pain. As she birthed this baby, the pain was named Cain. At this point Eve had no doubt about what God meant when he issued the curse that would follow her for the rest of her life. But, interestingly after the pain, she made a startling confession. She said, I have received a man from the Lord. She acknowledged the curse that He had said, but suddenly remembered who He was and called Him lord. As all of us with children know, kids can help you forget your mistakes and think about your miracles.
It wasn’t long until Adam and Eve were able to give Cain a brother that they would call Abel. Cain and Abel became their new catalyst. They centered their lives around their sons. And, they adjusted to this life that wasn’t God’s will, but would still fulfill his plan. Eden had become a distant memory to Adam and Eve. The garden was only a story that they told their sons.They knew that nothing could change what had happened. There was no going back to what could have been or what should have been.
But then, Adam and Eve received some devastating news. Cain killed his brother Abel. The debilitating, downward spiral of disobedience brought the death the devil said would never happen. Curiosity killed the catalyst, and Cain killed his brother.
Sadly, society has often repeated this behavior of breaking God’s boundaries. Instead of learning lessons from the mistakes of others and gleaning from their gloom, curiosity is still killing catalysts. But, like Adam and Eve, none of us can do anything about the past. Instead, we have to decide whether or not we will repeat this trend? Or, will we let it end with us? You and I have a chance to charter a new course and change the order of this weaved web of disobedience. I have decided that when I am curious about something, I won’t be like Eve. I am going to stay busy enjoying the things that God has assigned for my pleasure, and stay clear of the boundary that has been established as my choice to serve only Him. I refuse to let curiosity kill the catalyst!