Waiting for Eden

Genesis 3: 20-24 Now the man called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all the living.  The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife, and clothed them.  Then the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us, knowing good and evil; and now, he might stretch out his hand, and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever”—therefore the Lord God sent him out from the garden of Eden, to cultivate the ground from which he was taken.  So He drove the man out; and at the east of the garden of Eden He stationed the cherubim and the flaming sword which turned every direction to guard the way to the tree of life.

Eve was not master, but mother over all the living, the one who watched over and cared for everything that blossomed, buzzed, dug, and ran, fostering the best in each.  From the start, before violence and death entered the world, only vegetation was given for food to all, and harmony reigned.  Now harmony and mutual good will be the exception for the world is at cross-purposes first with God and then as a result with one another.  But even so, God wishes our well-being and provides the couple with clothing for protection from the elements of a now harsh world.

Like God, Adam and Eve were now aware of good and evil, but unlike God they found it by participating in evil, a virus that compromised the whole and could only be rooted out with a reboot.  Death and new life was the only remedy.  To live forever in a mind and body and world turned dark would be punishment rather than blessing, and to prevent such a permanent loss of all good to humanity, Adam and Eve were sent out of the garden, blocked from an endless half-life so that full glory might one day be theirs.

The story of the Garden of Eden has provided us with a rich resource for insight, hope, desire, and intention, a nostalgia written into our bones for something much better than we have ever experienced here.  We all somehow know that we are made for far more beauty, delight, harmony, and glory with an internal yearning that draws us towards that light.  As C. S. Lewis said, “If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world….  I must keep alive in myself the desire for my true country, which I shall not find till after death.”

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