It may be difficult to imagine but I invite you try to envision being present with Adam and Eve in the heart of the Garden of Eden. Feel the cool breeze on the skin of your arms and face. See the bright colours of the flowers. Touch the fur on the backs of the animals that were created to enhance your life experience. Smell the richness of the fresh soil and herbs. Now bask in the presence of the One who called you into existence to be His friend. Are you enjoying your experience? Genesis 2:16-17 tells us that God instructed Adam by saying to him “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If you eat its fruit, you are sure to die.” As the story unfolds, we learn the sad truth that our first parents decision to explore the tree which led to death and the consequences has been felt worldwide ever since.
Today it is as though we are living in an environment opposite of Eden. You and I are surrounded with trees, belief systems and lifestyles, that lead to death and we’re told to eat from the one tree that promises life; that tree is Jesus Christ. Each day we are faced with choices and it seems that each generation is more bombarded with ideas that lead away from the principle of life than the generation before. For example, solicitations to indulge in unhealthy practices constantly abound. In addition to that, relationship practices that are contrary to the biblical blueprint of marriage have led many of us to question our beliefs in this area. How should we spend our time and money? Or what religion should we join if any religion at all? Every day we are faced with choices beyond the Garden of Eden that will determine our destinies.
Jesus said “wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction and many people are travelling that path because straight is the way that leads to life and few will follow it.” Matthew 7:13. When we think about the Garden of Eden, the road to life was broad. They were only cautioned to avoid eating from one tree. After sin entered it is as though the paths switched. Beyond the Garden of Eden we are faced with temptations and invitations that are sometimes difficult to navigate no matter what we believe to be right and wrong. The knowledge of evil has infected us all. We have tasted the sting of death and the agony of sickness. We know the fear of perceived danger and hurt of relational disappointments; all of this is knowledge that God didn’t want us to experience.
The true beauty of Eden was that it was where God met with His friends and the beauty in our experience beyond Eden is that God has made Himself available to continue to meet with us. “…He will send you another Helper, to be with you forever.” John 14:16. Jesus said that He is “the way, the truth and the life” and rather than finding Him, He searches for us. John 14:6. By choosing to trust in Him we choose to eat from the tree of life which restores from the sickness brought on by the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Though we are surrounded by forbidden trees, He promises to guide us one step at a time.
Father in heaven, please help us to choose life one moment at a time and teach us to navigate in world which is much different from the one You created in the beginning. In Jesus’ name, amen.