In The Beginning God — Part 9
Driven Out To Be Gathered In
“Then the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us, to know good and evil. And now, lest he put out his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever”— therefore the Lord God sent him out of the garden of Eden to till the ground from which he was taken. So He drove out the man; and He placed cherubim at the east of the garden of Eden, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life.” Genesis 3:22-24
At first glance it may be a bit difficult to find the love for mankind and redemptive plan that God had for him in this passage. Is it love to kick Adam out of the Garden for just one “little” mistake? Besides, wasn’t it enough that he lost his glory? Does he have to be exiled too?
To understand this passage there are several things that need to be considered. With the consumption, the eating, that is the taking into himself the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil Adam opened himself to knowledge he was not created to handle.
He possessed no natural defenses against the cunning wiles of the devil except his obedience to God. Once he forfeited that obedience, the fruit of his error released its substance in his body and his mind. He did gain knowledge, but it was not what he thought it was going to be. Now he knows what sin is and with it he knows what shame and fear are. He never knew any of these things before. The Glory of God surrounding him made him invulnerable to all such things and his life was a continual feast of discovery with God. Now he was learning to die.
Because there was also the tree of life in the Garden, from which he was not forbidden to eat, it would have been possible for him in his fallen state of separation from God’s glory to eat of it and live forever a broken soul in the torment of death but never dying. Living in continual shame fear and regret forever.
But God loved him so much He would not leave him in the condition. But before HE could work the plan of salvation for him He had to remove him from the Garden away from the Tree of Life until such time as the plan of Salvation brought the Tree of Life to be a babe born in a manger who would be the Lamb of God who would take away the sins of the world.
There had to be a sinless sacrifice made for Adam and his descendants and none of them would qualify because they were all marked with the stamp of sin. Only God Himself could provide a sacrifice. Begotten, not created, proceeding from God and being fully God.
Adam was sent away from a place where he had never known hard labor or any such stress and strain, to a place where he was forced to work to secure his food to sustain his life. The initial shock of facing the world as a vulnerable man against the forces of nature in changing climate and weather caprices in a world now sold unto death. You see, all creation was negatively impacted by Adam’s sin. Thorns and thistles came into being from that day. All of nature’s beauty was reduced to rubble, violence and destruction.
Animals that were once his possessions and potential companions had become predators and ravaging beasts. He had to contend with the extremes of heat and cold, of storms and violent winds. In fact, the Scriptures tell us that even unto this day all creation groans waiting for the sons of God to be revealed.
“For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.” Romans 8:22
“For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.” Romans 8:19
The weight of sin is almost incomprehensible when we consider that the sin of Adam affected not only mankind, but also every part of creation. Sin is nothing trivial. It is never a small thing no matter how we try to diminish it in our minds. It cost Jesus His life and that through unimaginable suffering and ultimately separation from God the Father for the sake of His love for us.
When the psalmist posed the question, what is man that you are mindful of him, he had no idea at the time the extent to which God was going to go to express the full measure of His love for man.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16
It was not for revenge or punishment that Adam was driven from the Garden, It was for his eternal salvation and everlasting life in Jesus Christ that he was saved from becoming eternally dead in his sin by eating of the fruit of the Tree of Life while he was still covered in sin.
Now we who are alive in Jesus have this great hope and promise sealed with the gift of the Holy Spirit in us.
How then, ought we to express our gratitude and love to God and our Lord Jesus Christ? How then ought we to live in this present age knowing what great sacrifice has been made for us? How then ought we to be willing to share this great love and hope with others that they too can become sharers in the life of our Lord Jesus and be clothed again in His Glory?
“Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.” 1 John 4:11