The Loss of Eden
As we presented in our prior posting, Christian love requires freedom of choice. This has been demonstrated over time as God’s love has from the very beginning offered man choices, even when they resulted in a loss of the relationship with God, as was demonstrated in the Garden of Eden. Without choice there can not be love and therefore, preventing another from leaving a relationship is slavery, which is the opposite of love. All of this information has to give us much to contemplate in our own relationships.
God loved the angels as well and as a result they have the same freedom of choice as we do. In fact, this freedom was exercised by Lucifer and his angels who chose to leave God because they wanted to be equal to Him.
How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, You who weakened the nations! For you have said in your heart: ‘I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation On the farthest sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.’ Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol, To the lowest depths of the Pit. (Isaiah14:12-15)
It was by this freedom of choice that the fallen angels came in the form of the serpent to deceive man into a relationship of evil with him.
And He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you that you should not eat?” Then the man said, “The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate.”And the LORD God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”So the LORD God said to the serpent: “Because you have done this, You are cursed more than all cattle, And more than every beast of the field; On your belly you shall go, And you shall eat dust All the days of your life.” (Genesis 3:11 – 14)
As a result man lost his dominion over the Garden as well as the earth. Man and his wife were cast out of the Garden by God.
Therefore the LORD God sent him out of the garden of Eden to till the ground from which he was taken. So He drove out the man; and He placed cherubim at the east of the garden of Eden, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life. (Genesis 3:23 – 24)
The devil being the victor took dominion and ensured that there were lots of evil choices to prevent man from reestablish a relationship with God. In essence he kept man enslaved to his bondage.
So this is how man fell from the grace of God. The road back to the Garden has been a long and tenuous journey for man. Initially, man had no knowledge of evil and as a result did whatever pleased him. God’s first attempt to reestablish a relationship (covenant) with man initiated the rules of behavior that man would have to follow to regain a relationship with God. This came in the form of the Ten Commandments as well as the laws associated with the Tabernacle and the priesthood.
But as it turned out, man could not refrain from doing evil and as a result lost the opportunity to live in covenant with God. As it turned out, man could often follow the letter of the law but missed the intent of the law that required his heart to change and for love to flow out of his life. It was for this purpose that God send His Son Jesus to the earth. To communicate the truth that comes form the heart of God and to defeat the evil bondage of the devil, such that men once again choose to seek God and enter into a covenant relationship with Him, such that one day he could walk again in the Garden of Eden with God.
How Jesus accomplished this will be the subject of our next posting.