“After sending them out, the LORD God stationed mighty cherubim to the east of the Garden of Eden. And he placed a flaming sword that flashed back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.”
Genesis 3:24 (NLT)
A scene in “Star Trek – The Undiscovered Country” shows Mr. Spock talking to his intended replacement about a painting which hangs in his quarters. That 1961 painting (pictured here) by Marc Chagall is entitled, “Adam and Eve Expelled from Paradise.” Mr. Spock explains to Lt. Valeris that it is displayed as a reminder that “all things end.” Centuries earlier, the world renowned painter Michelangelo had also captured the ancient event when he painted the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. That work was entitled, “The Fall of Man and the Expulsion from the Garden of Eden.”
It strikes me that in literature, art and pulpits across the world, the focus of that tragic day is most frequently depicted from the perspective of man’s loss. I find it fascinating that God’s loss is seldom explored. The truth is, the story of Adam and Eve doesn’t begin with their pain, it begins with their blessings. They are given wonderful, healthy bodies; they are provided an ideal and safe habitat with vegetation, water, animals, fruit and vegetables. They are given each other to love and enjoy. Most of all, they are blessed with a face-to-face relationship with God. In exchange for all of this, man was asked only one thing, don’t touch one of the trees. That’s it! One “no,” and a million “yeses.”
The real story then is not how God kicked Adam and Eve out of the Garden, rather it is about how they kicked God out of their lives. It was not God that rejected them, it was they who rejected God. It was not God’s will or choice that Adam and Eve lose anything, indeed He wanted to bless them even more. Instead, they chose to forego all the blessings and violate the trust that God had placed in them. Man chose to believe the serpent instead of God.
The saddest part, is that all too often, we continue to repeat Adam’s flawed thinking today. We believe that it is God’s responsibility to accept us as we are even as we choose not to accept Him as He is. Every relationship has boundaries that must be honored or the relationship has no foundation. When we reject God’s standards, we reject Him.
The wonderful part of the story is even before man left the garden; God already had a plan to restore the relationship. In Genesis 3:15 we see God’s plan to redeem us from the sneaky tactics of the devil. God would provide another representative for man who would reverse the curse. Yes, it is Jesus, whose birth we celebrate this time of year. Jesus is our way back to God, and has paid the price for ALL of our sin! It’s now a wide-open invitation to come back to God.
The question then is not “will God reject me?” The question is will we accept Him. For 2015 I hope you respond accordingly. Be Blessed!