Sometimes it’s hard to feel bad for the muck up Adam and Eve made when they ate the fruit of the forbidden tree. To me, if I only look at Genesis as a historical story, that happened near the beginning of time it’s no wonder I have no feelings of remorse. Perhaps only those of guilt conjured up by a shouty preacher in decades past. However, when I look at this story as an allegory of my own life, well then, now we can delve into the grace and goodness of our God and king.
The allegory, in summary
We are created with several purposes in this life, but the one main element that defines us is our relationship with God. From the relationship with our Maker all good things flow. Creativity, learning, naming, labouring etc.
However, there comes a day when we’re faced with a choice. There before us, lie many options that are suitable. But that one option looks more appealing than any other, we know it’s not right but something in us, sneakier than anything else God created, tells us: God isn’t right about this, you do it your way.
So, after some or no deliberation, we choose this way. Our way. The moment we choose this way, our connection to our Lord and Maker is cut away. Not because God changed in who He is, but because we know that we are naked and our choice has left us as less before God. Now, in a world that offers us many options and things to help us cover a poor conscious we go ahead and take the leaves.
Take a moment to contemplate the practicality of leaves as garments in real life. Think on how long it will last. Think on how well it will cover you when the wind, rain or sun comes.
Then God comes into the picture and asks us: “Where are you?”
The question is loaded with longing to speak to us, to share something with us. All we can say, is: “I heard Your voice and I was afraid because I was naked. I hid myself.”
God’s grace in response to failure
God’s question is actually ridiculous considering that He is omnipresent and all-knowing. He knows where Adam is and what Adam has done, He has seen it all transpire. His questions are there to help us to see where we are and what we’ve done. It also reveals His gentleness. He doesn’t pop over the bush shouting: “Aha! I’ve got you now!”
What’s remarkable is God’s response to man’s failure. In the midst of His judgement on the serpent, God already points to a promise of deliverance from this sneaky liar:
“And I will put enmity between you and the woman,
And between your seed and her Seed;
He shall bruise your head,
And you shall bruise His heel.”Gen 3:15 NKJV
(note the capital letter that indicates that the pronoun is referring to God)
He also tells us exactly what the consequences are of the choices that we’ve made. There are no surprises, and in this we also have the advice and warning of our day to day lives. If you choose to do it your way, you’re going to have a bad time.
Then there is one final piece of God’s goodness in response to our failures.
“Also for Adam and his wife the LORD God made tunics of skin, and clothed them.”Gen 3:21 (NKJV)
I remember the leaves I chose. I remember the poor clothing it turned out to be. I remember how poorly it covered me in wind, rain and sun. God knows this, and provides for those that rebelled against Him. We have the privilege of reading this with the cross being the fulfillment of a promise made eons ago and the covering of leather for our conscious.
To me, the garden and the fall teaches us so much about the character of God, if only viewed from the assumption that God is good and all good things flow from Him. It’s a story that’s applicable to our past, our present and future. Is He not, after all, the same God yesterday, today, tomorrow and forevermore?