Paradise Lost

 

Everything was perfect. God’s assessment of all that He had made was that it was very good. The pinnacle of His creation was mankind – they would rule over the earth on His behalf. He created a garden paradise and gave the man the responsibility of cultivating and keeping it. He knew that man needed a helpmate and after creating the animals, He finally fashions a woman for the man who would correspond to him perfectly. God performs the first wedding ceremony, and everything is, well, perfect. Only one restriction. Don’t eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil – violation carried the death penalty.

Not long after the perfect wedding, the perfect couple run into a problem. Walking through the garden together they had strayed a little too close to the forbidden tree. And the serpent begins a dialogue with the woman. He questions God’s goodness and His veracity, claiming that God is holding back. Eating the fruit doesn’t result in death, but in godlikeness. The woman falls for the bait, and her husband, instead of protecting her and stepping in to confront the lies of the serpent,¬†acquiesces and takes some of the forbidden fruit from her hand and also eats. Being image-bearers wasn’t enough. They wanted to be their own gods. And death surely occurs…spiritual, emotional, relational, physical. The man and the woman lose their innocence. Naked and not ashamed becomes naked and very ashamed. They hide from God, and when they are confronted, they quickly begin a spirited round of the blame game.

The serpent, who knew that God was both good and veracious, succeeds in destroying God’s image-bearers. Then God begins to pronounce judgment. He starts with the serpent and ends with the man. All of creation will suffer God’s curse because of man’s disobedience. But don’t miss Genesis 3:15. It’s the key to all of Scripture. It’s the first gospel. It’s the promise of restoration and of a Messiah that will one day come in the Person of Jesus to set all things right. In Genesis 3:15 we see a couple of things…constant battle between those who follow God (seed of the woman) and those who follow the devil (seed of the serpent). We also see that One of these God-followers will arise to crush the devil, but will give up His life in the process. The innocent will have to die for the guilty. And then God provides a picture of this with the animal skins that cover Adam and his wife. In the midst of judgment we see mercy. And so the story begins, and so begins the hunt for the Messiah.

Genesis 3 explains the mess that we are in. When I read that God created a perfect world, that everything was good, I begin to wonder, “What happened?” That certainly is not my experience. Perfect enjoyment of work. Perfect relationship with my wife. Perfect harmony with creation. But Genesis 3 tells me that the good was made bad by my sin. I would have done just what Adam did. When I look at my heart, I’m no different. I, too, have the desire to call my own shots, to be my own god. However, Genesis 3 also tells me that I have hope that the bad will be made good again. That my sin has been covered because the Innocent One died for the guilty, so that I might be reconciled to God the Father who created me. I pray that you may know this same truth.

Until next time…stay salty.

 

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