"And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, 'Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.'"
Genesis 2: 16,17 (King James Version)
"Lesson's From Eve's Life"
"We who live beneath a sky still streaked with the smoke of crematoria, have paid a high price to find out that evil is really evil."
"The hardness of God is kinder than the softness of men, and His compulsion is our liberation."
C. S. Lewis
All this week, we have been studying about Eve – the first woman. She is called by some the "mother of us all." As we have reviewed her life; we have looked at Eve's garden home – Eden. We have found out more about Eve's mate – Adam. We spent a day – sadly I might add – trying to better understand Eve's hurt – the beguiling act that seduced Eve into folly and death.
Thankfully we found out that an Almighty, Loving Creator – God our Father – stepped forward, when the unthinkable happened, with a plan so comprehensibly kind – that it was meant to rescue even the meanest and most vile person on earth.
This brings us to our lesson for today. The greatest lesson to come out of the Garden of Eden. And it is this lesson God wanted Adam and Eve and you and me to understand.
If you will again read the quote that begins our "Inspiration" today, words penned by the thoughtful C. S. Lewis, I find that his description of God really puts the focus where it should be in the "Eden Story." Out of the tragedy that we call sin, God gave us a glimpse into "His compulsion" as C. S. Lewis calls it. The apostle Peter put it even plainer: "God is not willing that any should perish."
For you and me, this is the grand lesson of Eden. God could have left the disobedient Adam and Eve to die – period. He could have walked away and said, "You thought you wanted wisdom – now you have it! Knowledge of good and evil. You are on your own." But God didn't do this! It is because God knows something about you and me that we still don't like to admit-- we can't fix ourselves. We can't save ourselves. We can't lift ourselves out of the pit alone. We can't! But God can! And it is "His compulsion" to do so because His nature is absolute, complete and total love. He can't walk by even one of His children, and leave them forgotten without putting Himself on the line, with everything He's got, to save every wayward child. Even when it meant sending His Son to show us that the serpent really was a liar. Sin does cause death and disobedience does bring separation from God. And separate from God, I can't live. In the words of Dag Hammerskjold, who himself searched and found the all-encompassing love of God:
"We die on the day when our lives cease to be illumined by the steady radiance renewed daily, of a wonder, the Source of which is beyond reason."
Ask me whether I can understand the lengths God would go to in saving me from the poison of sin, and I will tell you, "I can't understand." But we can believe and accept, which as we will see in upcoming weeks, was exactly what many of Adam and Eve's offspring chose to do – right down to this very day.
But there is one last thing I would be remiss if I didn't mention about the Eden story. God not only promised a Saviour but He delivered on His promise! Then He added that "something extra!" He promised that a day would come when there would be a "new tree." The apostle John calls it the "Tree of Life." In Revelation, in giving us a portrayal of God's heavenly kingdom, this is what John wrote: "And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. And there shall be no more curse"… (Revelation 22: 1-3, K.J.V.).
There it is! In the last book and last chapter of the Bible, we are promised that the curse that came from Adam and Eve's fall in Eden – will be broken. And that – dear daughters and sons of Eve – is the "compulsion" of God, to break the curse of sin in your life and mine. This is why, I believe with all my heart, that my loving Father, when He created Adam and Eve, planted a seed in their hearts. Jean Paul Richter describes it this way: "God is an utterable sigh, planted in the depths of the soul." That seed when watered everyday will blossom into the beautiful life God has planned for each of us. For God, still today, continues to call His daughters and sons back to their Eden home – the home our Father originally created for us.
"Sin is not hurtful because it is forbidden, but sin is forbidden because it is hurtful."
"My spirit has become dry because it forgets to feed on you."
St. John of the Cross
"My Lord, I have nothing to do in this world but to seek and serve You; I have nothing to do with a heart and its affections but to breathe after You; I have nothing to do with my tongue and pen but to speak to You and for You and to publish Your glory and Your will."
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus