Thursday, May 31, 2012
PARADISE LOST & FOUND
“I could never live in paradise, she said. I don’t look that good naked” --Brian Andreas
Genesis relates the event of mankind’s creator placing Adam and Eve in a garden of perfection with possibly symbolic trees of eternal Life and a Knowledge of Good and Evil at its center. Religious art has portrayed the fruit of knowledge as an apple, but the symbolism is really what’s important. I love the image of our Heavenly Father walking with them through the garden in the cool of the morning. There’s a great old gospel song that beautifully paints a word picture of the experience, In the Garden. Those first immortal human beings could partake of all the bounty in this perfect garden except the one which could open their eyes to both the good and evil that already existed, including the fallen angel Satan; the rebel, accuser and tempter. Perhaps sin could be considered our willful or free will disregard of God’s will for his children. It would seem that the fallen angel had already introduced this condition into creation.
So the fallen angel tempted Eve who in turn tempted Adam to partake of the knowledge of good and evil, which opened their eyes to their nakedness and loss of innocence. That same childlike innocence can be observed when a young child runs butt naked through a room full of startled adults with absolute joy and openness! And there is a distinction between them wanting to be like God and be God. It would seem that when we humans set our own standards or acquire them from the culture around us, we are attempting the latter which can spell trouble for our lives. This act against God’s will could have been anything really, but it separated them from a perfect relationship which they immediately recognized as wrong and they hid from Him. The consequence of this free will choice emanating from our natural condition was banishment from this paradise of perfection, loss of immortal life, increased pain of childbirth, painful toil for survival and a cursed, broken environment for a testing ground.
The consequences of that first act of human disobedience have caused subsequent generations of that first marriage a whole lot of grief. I guess we can’t be too harsh on ol’ Adam and Eve, however, as that sinful nature was knowingly endowed in all of our DNA from the get go. But God did promise in his judgment that the offspring of this woman would crush Satan’s head—which happened three days after the cross, affirming Jesus’ power over sin and death. And that divine act paved the way for forgiveness of all human sin and a restored paradise.