Monday, May 7, 2012

The Garden of Eden

Had some interesting thoughts on the Garden of Eden recently, which I am currently exploring.

First, before eating the forbidden fruit, Adam and Eve had no knowledge of evil OR good.
I had always assumed they had no knowledge of evil, but hadn't realised they had no knowledge of good either.
How could they know good, if they'd never experienced anything else? 
You would just think that what you constantly have is IT.

This is true for lots of things.
We never know what good health is until we experience illness.
We never know what wealth is until we experience poverty.
..... or fine weather until it rains for a month .....
..... or a happy marriage until it becomes a nightmare .....
You get the picture.

We only know something is good (or bad) AFTER we have experienced the opposite.
Aussies who return from an overseas trip often comment they didn't realise how good things are here until they had seen the horrible conditions under which so many others have to live.
I am sure Adam and Eve learnt how good things were in the Garden of Eden after they had been expelled and had to work for their food, had to cope with a murder in the family, etc.

Second,  the Garden of Eden may not have been the paradise I first imagined.
Adam and Eve lived in the company of God AND Satan.
They had the choice whether to listen to God or to Satan every day of the week.

While they were listening to God, enjoying fellowship with him, and following his instructions, they had nothing but good.
But as soon as they made the choice to listen to Satan, it all fell apart.

It has occurred to me that maybe the Garden of Eden was not as unlike the conditions under which we live as I used to think.
We live in the company of God and Satan.
We have the choice whether we listen to God or to Satan every day.
Listening to God, living in fellowship with God and following God's instructions is still the way to go.

But let's be honest about this comparison.
Things are harder for us than they were for Adam and Eve,
They did not yet have the sinful nature they eventually passed on to us.
Or did they? 
Was that already built into their DNA that guaranteed their disobedience?
Were they like us in the sense that they could not not sin?
After all, God has said that he has bound everyone over to disobedience (so that he may have mercy on all).

And they probably had fewer sources of evil and temptation around them than we have.
We have so much around us; they only had one snake to deal with.

Third, I wonder how the living conditions in the Garden of Eden would compare with those in the coming kingdom?
At least in that kingdom, Satan is bound.

What do you think?

Blessings, Barry

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