There are so many things I am thankful for; my wife, fellowship, a job, family, getting kicked out of the Garden of Eden…
Yes, I am thankful for getting kicked out of the Garden. Sure it was probably the most beautiful place on Earth, plenty of food to eat, running around naked without a care in the world and not having to worry about being mauled by a bear…But we had to go ahead and screw that up, didn’t we? When I say we it comes from the fact that we are as guilty as Adam when it comes to the fall of man.
God gave us one simple rule – “you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil” (Gen 2:17). But as is our sinful nature, we had to follow our desires – not God’s. So there we are, butt naked – ashamed, sinning in front of God and everybody, wondering how we can get out of this mess we’re in. I know – we’ll hide – no, blame the woman – no… blame God.
OK, the jig is up. You sinned and you got busted. What’s the first thing any good parent does? Yep, “you’re grounded” only this time, its literal: “Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life” (Gen 3:17). So you’ve sinned and got caught, were grounded and you feel real bad about it. Now what?
Well most parents tend to take care of the immediate problem; in this case God makes garments of skin for Adam and his wife (Gen 3:21). This way they won’t freeze their little tooshies off while they’re out there working the land. But now comes the best part…they get kicked out of the Garden.
You’re probably wondering why it’s so good to get kicked out of the Garden. In order to understand that, lets back up a little bit, shall we? God said “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” (Gen 2:16-17) Did you catch that? I’ll repeat for you just to be sure… “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” And I’m pretty sure we’re not talking about a physical death but rather a spiritual one. So to see if you’re paying attention…
How many trees were forbidden? (Just the one)
Are you sure? (Yep)
So they could eat of any other tree in the Garden, right? (right!)
Alright, just so long as we’re on the same page.
Now I want to talk to you about tough love, better known as, God’s gracious mercy. 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 forever.” (Gen 3:22) This is the part you need to understand. This is why God banished man from the Garden. Not only that, but he placed cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the Tree of Life. I think He means it. But did you catch it? Did you make the connection? “Lest…he live forever” Now I ask you, what’s wrong with that? Who wouldn’t want to live forever?
“For in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” Not a physical death but a spiritual one. And the only escape from our sinful nature, our spiritual death, is to leave our earthly bodies and be united with Christ. That’s kind of hard to do when you’re immortal. Spending eternity, just the way you are, with your frail little body, your beer gut and thinning hair (and that’s just the ladies – ba-daa-dum). Imagine having to live through all the wars, famines, and droughts, fires that have plagued mankind throughout history. Living day in and day out in a world of unsaved people who have no fear of death, which is often the only thing keeping them in check. I don’t see being kicked out of the Garden as punishment for our disobedience, but as a gift to save us from ourselves. We could easily have toiled in the Garden just as much as outside of it, but no, that wasn’t the point.
We already know that God does things that are in our best interest according to His purpose. We may not like it at the time but we often see how the difficulty and the struggle have made us a better person, a better Christian, later in our lives. Like most of our struggles, we can only see how it is at the time of difficulty and how it goes against what we had planned for ourselves and not for the glory of God. The only way we can stop being sinful creatures is when we join the Father in Heaven upon the physical death of our bodies and our spirit filled hearts. Only then will we be happy, and the Garden of Eden will pale in comparison, and for that, I am eternally thankful for the banishment.