Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Genesis 2:8-9 and 3:23-24 The Garden

Genesis 2:8-9 and 3:23-24 The Garden
Genesis 2:8-9
And the LORD God planted a garden in Eden, in the east; and there he put the man whom he had formed. And out of the ground the LORD God made to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food, the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

Genesis 3:23-24
therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from which he was taken. He drove out the man; and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life.

We read that God created a garden and placed the first humans there.
What does God want us to have?
Life and life to the full.
That is what God wants. Never stop telling yourself that.

What does this symbolic tree of Good and Evil mean and why is it placed at the centre of the garden?
If the garden means full human flourishing, what stands as the anchor and at the heart of that process?
You need a keen sense of good and evil.

Whose prerogative is good and evil? Not ours.
We don’t, through the power of our minds and wills, determine what is right and wrong. Rather, that belongs uniquely to God.
Do you see what this story is saying?
If God and his criterion grounded in His own mind remains at the centre of your life then it becomes a garden – a place of delight.

Being seduced by the serpent, what have Adam and Eve done by eating of the fruit of the tree?
They have said:
‘We, in our freedom, our minds, our wills now become the criterion of good and evil.
We will decide what is right and wrong.
We will determine the difference between good and evil.

The lie given by the serpent that God is a rival to us has been believed up and down the ages to the present day. This is a lie and flows from the father of lies.

What is the result of eating of the tree?
Expulsion from the garden!

Don’t read it as God falling into a snit. God becoming punitive and irrational.
God has just madly broken His arbitrary law so He expelled them.

No, no.

The Bible speaks of a kind of spiritual physics.
Physics deals with basic laws.
If you do this, that will happen.

Something similar is true with the spiritual life.
When you seize of the knowledge of good and evil, you make your will the criterion of right and wrong, you ipso facto leave the garden.
Not because God is being difficult.
It is just a fact of the spiritual life.

The garden will become a place of lifelessness, aridity, a desert rather than a garden.

Sound familiar?
It should. This is our story. This is the human story to the present day.
The dynamics of this garden are going on all the time, right now.
God holding out life to us and life to the full, but we stubbornly seize at the knowledge of good and evil and make ourselves the ground and criterion of right and wrong and turn the garden into a desert.

It’s true. We know it.

The story doesn’t end there. It culminates in the journey of the Son of God into that desert.
When Jesus begins His public ministry, where does He go?
Into the desert.
What does it mean?
It means He goes into our sin.
He goes to accompany us in this place which we wander and there He confronts the devil.
The devil tempted Adam and Eve and now the devil tempts Jesus and Jesus is standing in the place of our sin.

Friends, here is a question to ask.
• What are you seeking?
• What are you making the centre of your life?
• Is God clearly at that central place?
If not, something else is tempting you – pleasure, honour, power
• Where are you in the desert?

Cling to Jesus, who on your behalf resists, and turns that desert back into a garden

And God bless you.

Source: Fr Robert Barren
This excerpt was transcribed from one of his many audio sermons found on his webpage

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