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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Hit the Road Jack... But You Can Come Back Later: Taking Responsiblity

We are at the Garden of Eden. Eve has been successfully deceived. Adam has, who knows? God has shown up and flushed them from their hiding place. And, everyone is pointing fingers at everyone else for blame.

God's clearest word to them was one of condemnation, but He does not leave them without hope. Because God is love, both in the Old Testament as well as the New.

I know many people have trouble with this concept, especially in the Old Testament, but His very nature is to love, nurture and protect us, as any parent would do.

The practical lesson here is that when we are correcting people or showing them the errors of their way, we must remember to give them a way out, a way back. Have you ever seen someone or been that someone, or been that someone, who is so beaten down that you didn't know how you were ever going to face people again?

When we criticize people, we must leave them dignity and something to look forward to. Our goal in this process is not to completely break their spirits, but to show them some light at the end of the tunnel.

Everything in life has a cost or penalty; a price that must be paid.
Eve is told that she must endure the pain of travail and submission to her husband, and Adam must work and struggle to make his living in a now-hostile environment. 
Man along with his toil, is now condemned to return to dust, will one day rise above it, for the gate to the tree of life is not locked forever, but guarded by the angelic cherubim with flaming swords(Ezekiel 1:10).

In spite of the fallen state of man which necessitated his removal from paradise, there is still hope for him in the grace of God. His nakedness is covered by God himself, an act which symbolizes God’s forgiveness.
To be forgiven by God does not spare them or their descendants from the consequences of their sins upon the earth. But by the grace of God, they may find forgiveness even while they are paying the penalty for their thoughtlessness.

Here is the symbolism: The use of animal skins in clothing Adam and Eve implies that there must be death, perhaps even an animal sacrifice, to cover sins.
Here is the grace: Man deserves to die for this thoughtless and sinful deed. If you and I were God, we'd probably "poof" them away and start over with a new batch. You know, Earth project v2.1. But we are not, thankfully.

God does not allow the evil to defeat his good purpose for us. A way will later be found to get man back into that garden and back on track. A way will be made to reconcile us, bring us back into relationship with God. This section of Genesis does not tell us how.

It remains for the New Testament to tell us and show us that Jesus has fulfilled this passage. In him man has finally conquered Satan (Revelation 12:9).


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