So, we bit the fruit . . . then what? We were thrust into a world at war. Paradise was lost. But not forever.
Genesis 3: 21-24 describes it in this way:
“And the Lord God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them.
22 Then the Lord God said, ‘Behold, the man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil. Now, lest he reach out his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat, and live forever—’ 23 therefore the Lord God sent him out from the garden of Eden to work the ground from which he was taken. 24 He drove out the man, and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim and a flaming sword that turned every way to guard the way to the tree of life.”
God is so loving, even in our disobedience, that he covers us–better than we could have managed to cover ourselves. They grabbed a few fig leaves and sewed them together—certainly not the sturdiest or best long-term solution–but God made garments of skin and clothed them. However, the most loving of all acts is that he ensures that the consequences of their sin are not to last for an eternity. By guarding the tree of life, we can’t eat from it and live forever in this terrible state we’ve chosen.
We’ve heard people say that God was so angry at Adam and Eve that He cast them out. Technically, He did. But we don’t see anger in the loving acts He commits here. Adam and Eve made a choice where the consequences led to their expulsion. The same choice we make every day when we believe that we know better than God how to care for ourselves, choosing our way – not His. It’s critical that we understand God’s posture toward man and woman, both in the garden and after their expulsion.
Our view of God, in this circumstance, sets up much of our view of Him throughout our Christian journey. And as we’ll discuss later—our beliefs about God REALLY MATTER!
Imagine what it must have felt like to leave the safety and serenity of the Garden of Eden, Paradise. For example, imagine what it would be like coming home from the perfect Caribbean vacation. Where the water is a turquoise, tepid 80-degrees and the sun kisses our face daily . . . we arrive back home to a Nor’easter that has dropped a foot of snow from the heavens.
Or another example, if you are a Lord of the Rings fan, would be to go from that peaceful hammock on a deserted beach—you know the one we see in the commercials inviting us to this perfect paradise—to being dropped smack in the middle of Mordor. The Council of Elrond reminded us “One does not simply walk into Mordor. Its black gates are guarded by more than just Orcs. There is evil there that does not sleep. The great Eye is ever watchful. It is a barren wasteland, riddled with fire, ash, and dust. The very air you breathe is a poisonous fume.” [i] That’s terrifying for us to think about. Traumatizing for Adam and Eve, the saddest couple that ever lived, having experienced a perfect paradise AND a fallen world.
Our nice little life in paradise was completely disrupted as we had to face total uncertainty—a life we had never known and were not created for. A life in which our relationship with God was severed, our relationship with others was corrupted, our role in dominion over creation was no more. We even fell from ourselves—with every part of our physical, mental, and spiritual being turning on us.
[i] The Fellowship of the Ring, “The Council of Elrond”