Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Genesis 2:15-17 Man in Paradise (Eden)

Gen 2:15-17 The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. And the Lord God commanded the man, "You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die."

The Garden of Eden was the Paradise of heaven on earth. The word "paradise" (derived from the Greek word) means "Garden". So, Eden is the picture of Paradise, a garden where God and man are in perfect fellowship and where God provides for a perfect physical and spiritual environment for this intimate relationship. In this perfect environment, God gives Adam only one command: Adam is "free to eat from any tree" (unlimited permission), except one, "the tree of the knowledge of good and evil" (a single prohibition) because "when you eat of it you will surely die."

Paradise in Eden means:

(1) freedom: Adam was "free to eat". He was not placed under restrictive rules and regulations. It was a life of freedom and plentiful good choices. Every choice of fruit in the Garden is a perfect choice--there is no restriction on how what we may enjoy in this Paradise.

(2) pleasure: Adam was free to "eat from any tree." It was a life of not only spiritual communion with God but also physical pleasure. There is nothing more pleasurable in life than eating (sex would come later). Up till that point, Adam was satisfied spiritually, emotionally and physically.

(3) protection: However, there is one proviso: "you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil." Knowledge of good and evil is not necessary for perfect communion with God. God wants us to experience His goodness only, not Satan's evil. So, he protects Adam by forbidding him to eat from this particular tree. Since the fall of Satan from heaven, the Universe was tainted with evil. So long as Adam keeps God's commandment (which is meant to protect and enhance his life on earth), everything was fine.

God gives us commandments not to tie us down, but to protect us from harm. Freedom is not without limit; limitless freedom is license and leads to evil. So, Paradise is marked by (1) God's presence (2) perfect harmony of man with himself and his environment and (3) limits on unrestrained freedom.

God loves us enough to create the perfect environment to let us enjoy our earthly life. We thank God that despite sin, there is so much of joy and pleasure left on earth that only those who do not know God will deny such happiness in this world. If we walk within the limits God has set for us through the Scriptures, there will be much joy and abundance in a life lived under God's rule.

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