I think I know the story so well and you likely do as well. The story of creation and the Garden of Eden where it all began seems to echo in our memories. And yet, have we paused to take in the details and truth of the significance of those beginning scriptural passages and their impact on us even now?
It is a stunning story!!
It is truly so epic in size and scope that even IMAX would not be able to capture it all. Imagination at its best cannot begin to fathom what it was like when God spoke everything into existence. And it wasn’t just God, the Father. Other passages make clear that Jesus was there with Him and surely the Spirit as well.
The Trinity, in union, One, was present as the pulsating canvas we read about is unfurled across nothingness. What we know for sure is that He looked it all over when He was done and called it “good”!
We also know the Word says He “planted” a garden in Eden. In the ESV, this word jumps out at me. He didn’t just speak the garden into existence, He “planted” it. My mind starts to whirl and consider the plants He chose, the design, and what the size of the garden might have been. What a landscape genius He was!
But He wasn’t finished yet. He stooped down in the dust of the ground and “formed” (I read that handcrafted.) man. We can be tempted to skip over the next few words that say “and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature,” but wait a minute. Look and consider.
In that life-giving moment, man became “one” with “THE” One, the Trinity. Absolutely nothing separated them.
This first man, Adam, is given authority over what the One has created. A few verses later, Eve is created when it is clear there is no suitable helper for him. Nothing separated these two from each other or God. Their union was perfect.
When the scene changes and the crafty serpent appears, do we fully understand what is happening here? In Closer Than Close, Dave Hickman reminds the reader that Adam and Eve have authority over the serpent. Their union with the Father has not been compromised yet.
What a scheme Satan needed to concoct! He had already failed in His attempt to usurp God’s power in heaven and of all things, power was exceedingly important to him. In order to have a ‘kingdom’, he would need to seduce these two, Adam and Eve, into giving it to him. If he succeeded, their union with the Father, God, would be broken, and their union would then be with him. How he must have drooled as he considered that possibility!
And we know his scheme worked for eternity (or he was convinced it had)! He created doubt and seduced them to commit what was truly spiritual adultery. Adam and Eve had been in union, one, with the very Godhead, but in one split moment in time, they gave away that perfect union and authority when they entered into an unholy alliance with Satan. Their decision established what he longed for, a kingdom, as he became the “god of this world” as Paul writes about in 2 Corinthians 4:4.
Dave Hickman describes it this way:
“In reaching up, picking, and consciously biting, chewing, and internalizing the meal, the man and woman broke their union with God and abdicated their authority and power to Satan.”
Meredith Kline has written in Kingdom Prologue:
“Their eating of the fruit was the solemn ceremony of the covenantal relationship they had just entered into with Satan.”
As John Milton describes, truly it is “paradise lost”.
Adam and Eve are separated, divorced from God, after committing spiritual adultery with Satan. As Dave Hickman writes in Closer Than Close, “Divorced from Life himself, Adam and Eve ‘died’, just as God said they would.”
Do we see that? They have suffered a spiritual death, a death they pass on to every son or daughter of Adam.
Are they heart broken? The passage doesn’t say. We do know they hid and were ashamed.
As I linger over the scene after reading it hundreds of times before, the hopelessness of what has transpired pierces my heart in high definition as I recognize what was given and lost and why Satan has the power to be “the god of this world”.
In this short series, I want to take a closer look at another part of this story that changes everything. Please join me over the next several posts as we take another look at what happened in the garden so long ago.