Advent: November 30

Genesis 2:15-17,3:21-24

The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. And the Lord God commanded the man, ‘You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.’

The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them. And the Lord God said, ‘The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live for ever.’

So the Lord God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken. After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.

The dots between the first and second paragraphs above mark a jump in the text. They are also the tail of the serpent, who put into the mind of Eve that the fruit was good to eat. Adam ate it, too, and this sealed their fate. You may ask why God placed a tree in the garden that they weren’t allowed to eat from – why didn’t he plant it elsewhere? Eve’s disobedience came before she ate – she agreed to reach out and pick before she ate. Therefore, her sin was in the picking.

A question like the one above may perhaps divert us from the heady mix of truth, story and symbolism that we find in these early narratives. I would ask you to trust what’s written and ask God to make it clearer – it won’t necessarily make logical sense, for God is beyond logic, and it may reside in us as a shrouded mystery, waiting for some revelation. There is more to this story than wondering why God planted the tree within reach.

Once Adam and Eve disobeyed God and discovered good and evil through eating the fruit of the tree they were doomed. Both Adam and Eve knew that they had sinned, and they hid themselves from God. They became ashamed of the nakedness. Paradise was lost. Eternity was for another day.

Could Paradise have been maintained, or were Adam and Eve inescapably doomed to fail?

What happened to the Garden of Eden?

Father God, how often have I decided that I know better than you, or that I can manage on my own. Forgive my pride, my arrogance, my foolishness, I pray. Amen.

Just watch the first two and a half minutes