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separation from God

Genesis chapter 3:


Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, "Did God actually say, 'You shall not eat of any tree in the garden'?" And the woman said to the serpent, "We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, 'You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.' But the serpent said to the woman, "You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both were opened, and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths.


And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, "Where are you?" And he said, "I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked and I hid myself." He said, "Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?" The man said, "The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate." Then the Lord God said to the woman, "What is this that you have done?" The woman said, "The serpent deceived me, and I ate."


The Lord God said to the serpent, "Because you have done this, cursed are you above all livestock and above all beasts of the field; on your belly you shall go, and dust you shall eat all the days of your life. I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring, he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel."


To the woman he said, "I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children. Your desire shall be contrary to your husband, but he shall rule over you." And to Adam he said "Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, 'You shall not eat of it,' cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life; thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return."


The man called his wife's name Eve, because she was the mother of all living. And the Lord God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them. Then the Lord God said, "Behold, the man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil. Now, lest he reach out his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat, and live forever--" therefore the Lord God sent him out from the garden of Eden to work the ground from which he was taken. He drove out the man and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim and a flaming sword that turned every way to guard the way to the tree of life.

Really? A talking snake? A flaming sword? We know, we have doubts too and it sounds implausible. There are a number of mysteries in the universe science isn't able to resolve yet and this part of the biblical story presented to us raises questions we aren't able to fully explain since it is outside the realm of our normal reality. What we are able to comprehend is the implications and the aftermath in the garden and what this tells us about humanity's relationship with God. In Genesis chapter 3, we see God's creation and the garden lost to sin through pride and disobedience. God asked Adam and Eve to obey him about the tree of the knowledge of good and evil; to not eat from it or touch it. If they obeyed, eternal life in the garden with God was their gift. Eventually we see Satan is allowed to enter the garden and tempt them in the form of a serpent. Why would God allow this? We believe God gives us free will to either love and obey him or choose to live life our own way. If he created us as mindless drones who worshiped him, would we truly be in a loving relationship with him? Love is a conscious choice and God wants to give us this choice through free will.


Adam and Eve chose to ignore God's instruction, believing instead the lie Satan told them that they knew what was best and not God. In choosing to ignore his commands they brought sin into the world. After everything God had given them including his warning of what would happen if they disobeyed, they allowed pride to get in the way. Pride is the root of all sin as we elevate and place ourselves in the position of God. We don't have the knowledge of our creator and the ability to see throughout time which is why God asks us to have humility and trust him. When we look back to the story presented to us of Adam and Eve in the garden, if we are truly honest with ourselves, we all would have made the same choice eventually since all of us choose at some point to ignore God's commands, not trusting him to lead our lives. This gives us solidarity with Adam and Eve as the first sinners.


As sin and death entered God's creation we immediately see it begin toward entropy and disintegration. Adam and Eve became transparent, aware of their pride and disobedience. They were ashamed and tried to hide, distancing themselves from God. To understand why this separation was necessary, we need to understand the holiness of God. Out of all of God’s traits, his holiness is dangerous to us as sinners. God is perfect (tome). Anything imperfect in the immediate presence of God cannot survive or must be forced to remain at a distance. The natural properties of oil and water do not allow them to mix. Think of the relationship of God to sin in a similar, yet much more serious, manner. Adam and Eve were forced to leave the garden creating separation from God's presence which was not part of his original design for us. We were made to be in God's presence to flourish. Fortunately for us, God loves his creation and already had plans to restore it and bring order once again.

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