This entry is the 3rd part of a series. To visit Act 1 (Before Creation), click here.
Most of us know that when Adam and Eve were first walking around in the garden eating apples and peaches, they knew no sin yet. The Lord would walk in the garden with them and they were perfectly satisfied in His constant company and in the wealth of everything He had given them.
They were living as they were created to be. They never had to worry about meeting their own needs, because God was their complete provision. In fact, the life of God filled them to overflowing at all times…there were no feelings of fear, emptiness, lack, or even unsettledness because they were always full.
The problem was that this incredible way of life didn’t last for Adam and Eve. Instead of being a small part of a vast, perfect fellowship which included God himself, they decided they wanted to break from it and become independent from God.
The Events Unfold
In the garden there was a fruit growing from a single tree. The fruit was one which led to separation. Whether the fruit it is literal or it is used as a metaphor in the story, Adam and Eve decided to eat from it (the Lord had told them they could eat freely from any other tree!) They ate because the Enemy told them lies and Adam and Eve chose to believe him (unfortunately for us, his lies are still around today…)
The Enemy told them they had a chance to be like God if they ate (Gen 3:1-5). So for the first time they chose to doubt the goodness and honesty of the Lord who took care of them.
In that one instance, the perfect trust between God and the people He had made was broken. By eating, Adam and Eve sought for themselves the glory, the fame, and the privilege of being like God. They decided they did not want to be “only” a small part of the glorious, expansive fellowship of Father, Son, Spirit and His people. They wanted power and glory for themselves alone.
Meanwhile, in the Lord’s constant habit of coming down into the garden to be close with Adam and Eve, He came to walk with them (v 8)….
AND FOR THE FIRST TIME IN HUMAN HISTORY, HE COULD NOT FIND THEM.
Adam and Eve had walked away from Him….had even hidden themselves (Gen 3:9-10). There will never be words in any language to describe the Lord’s grief.
As for Adam and Eve, they had once walked around filled to overflowing with God’s life. And now they were hollow, empty shells since they had walked away from Him…their supply. For the rest of human history, Adam and Eve’s decedents would be in constant search of ways to fill the enormous void within themselves:
- Since they no longer looked to God as their supply, they would be filled with fear as they meagerly tried to supply their own needs. In fact, fulfilling their own wants and needs would become almost the entire focus of their lives.
- Since they no longer were raised up in glory with God, they would reach for power, fame, or attention in whatever way they could find.
- Since they were no longer aware of the deep love their Lord had for them and they no longer lived with His constant joy, they would look for love, acceptance, and pleasure anywhere they could find it….Even if it was meaningless or temporary.
Rather than living in the unlimited world of possibilities within the vast, expansive fellowship of the Lord and His people, they would live lives limited to themselves. Because the Lord had placed His image in them, they would still desire to do good (and would do it from time to time to the best of their ability), but the hollow void within them would cause them to remain focused on their own needs. They would even use or turn against one another in order to meet them.
And being cut off from their life source, their actions would lead to death.
The Consequences for Creation
Unfortunately, Adam and Eve’s new life permeated into how they interacted with creation. Before God created them, He gave them a specific calling (one that He has also given us):
“Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” (Gen 1:26)
Notice that God said we must bear His image in order to rule over creation. This is because, if creation is to thrive, it can only be ruled the way that God rules and sustains it…in love, wisdom, and faithfulness.
For Adam and Eve (and for us, their children), creation has become something we can use to meet our own needs. God had never hoped that we would simply use creation (or, more importantly, one another) to meet our own needs.
His intention was that He would supply everything we would ever need and out of our overflowing joy, we would meet the needs of others and would take care of creation in wisdom and love.
Fortunately, the story doesn’t end here. The Lord invites us back! And He often uses His creation to remind us where we came from. (More on this in the next post….)