The Eden story
Genesis 2:8 - 3:24
'The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.' (Genesis 2:15)
God showed up in person and talked to man, establishing a personal relationship. The almighty designer-creator God of the universe! Almost inconceivable!
The Garden of Eden was a paradise, but not perfect. It needed someone to work it, probably because of some death and dying in the course of nature. And Satan was there.
Major themes of the story
This is introduction to major themes in the Bible.
- GOD. Adam existed outside of the Garden, then God moved him into the Garden to take care of it.
- WORK. God gave Adam his first job: name all the animals and birds in the Garden. Humans were created to rule the earth, and naming is the first step in ruling. Apparently Adam followed instructions and did the job well.
- ENCOUNTER. Talk with God.
- Immediately recognized Eve as female.
- ETERNAL LIFE. There were two trees in the center of the Garden: (1) the tree of life and (2) the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The first was the possibility of eternal life. The second precluded the possibility of eternal life.
- LAW. God gave the first ever divine command (law) to a human, very simple: Don't eat fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Upon receiving a command from God, man became a moral creature – subject to right and wrong, good and evil – and subject to punishment for disobedience.
- FAMILY. God gave Adam a wife, and Adam named her Eve (meaning 'mother'); Adam apparently understood female sexuality because he came from outside the Garden where women were giving birth. God created Eve in a special way – not by way of birth from the womb but by way of cloning (one flesh) from the side of Adam ('rib' means side). [See Origin 1.8]
- INSTITUTIONS. In Eden God established the first of three institutions for ruling (order instead of chaos): marriage, government and church. 'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.' (Genesis 2:24)
- SATAN. Satan (in form of a snake) told Adam and Eve that the reason God didn't want them to eat from the tree is that, if they did, they would become like God, knowing good and evil.
- SIN. Eve liked the idea of becoming like God, and she ate fruit from the tree. Adam liked the idea too because he didn't stop her, and he ate the fruit she offered to him.
- VULNERABLE. 'Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves ... and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden' (Genesis 3:7-8). They were now exposed to God's punishment for the worst sin, ignoring God and wanting to be their own god.
- EXCUSES. When confronted by God for this sin, Adam excused it by saying that Eve ('the woman you put here with me') handed him the fruit. Eve excused it by saying that Satan deceived her. The excuses were inadequate. Adam and Eve had each made their own personal and deliberate choice to disobey God and try to become like Him.
- PUNISHMENT. God's punishment was eviction from the Garden, putting them on the outside where life is difficult ('pains in childbearing ... painful toil ... thorns and thistles ... sweat of your brow ...'). (Genesis 2:14-19)
- JESUS. God cursed Satan and said to him, 'I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers, he will crush your head and you will strike his heel.' (Genesis 3:15) This is a prophetic statement. Eve gave birth to Shem who we now know is in the direct family line of Jesus [see Origin 1.3.3]. Satan will harm Eve's offspring, Jesus ('strike his heel'), at the crucifixion approximately 1,400 year later, but Jesus will ultimately destroy Satan ('crush your head').
- REPENTANCE. Apparently Adam (and Eve and family) repented for their sins because later making sacrifices.
This first story introduces some of the major themes of the Bible: Chosen people ... marriage ... God's law ... desire for other gods ... disobedience ... excuses ... judgment ... punishment ... coming of Jesus ... and missed opportunity for eternal life.
This is just first introduction. Spiritual life. These themes expanded in other parts of the Bible.