Kirkepiscatoid

Random and not so random musings from a 5th generation NE Missourian who became a 1st generation Episcopalian. Let the good times roll!



Genesis 3:17-24:


And to the man he said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten of the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You shall not eat of it,’ cursed is the ground because of you; in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life; 18thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. 19By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread until you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”

20The man named his wife Eve, because she was the mother of all living.

21And the Lord God made garments of skins for the man and for his wife, and clothed them.

22Then the Lord God said, “See, the man has become like one of us, knowing good and evil; and now, he might reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever”— 23therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from which he was taken. 24He drove out the man; and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim, and a sword flaming and turning to guard the way to the tree of life.


Here are two images we discussed in EFM this week on the topic of "The fall and the banishment from Eden." They both gave me great pause. I thought back to things in my life where I discovered what seemed idyllic and perfect were not, and I had to deal with the reality of what these things were, that I now had knowledge of good AND evil, not just good.


In the first image, it appears the "big bad angel" is the cause of running Adam and Eve out of Eden--sort of a "get out of Dodge before sunset" image. You can't see any part of the garden in the picture--what "was" is now all cloudy. They are wearing the outfits made of skins that God had made for them before they left. Adam and Eve are expressing both halves of grief--the sadness and the determination to move forward.


In the second image, Adam and Eve are still naked. You can still see the garden--but it is what lies ahead that is dark and cloudy and unknown. They are carrying a large supply of fruit (fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil?) with them. Adam and Eve seem very "juvenile"--Eve has bows in her hair like a little girl, and she is pulling a wagon. They embrace--all they seem to have is each other now. God seems absent in the darkness ahead.


I thought about how in those times we discover our own Edens "aren't perfect." Somewhere along the line, we gained knowledge of evil along with the good. It messed up our notions of the beautiful garden. At first, we often want to blame others for gaining this knowledge. We wish they had never given it to us. The perfect garden "disappears" and we suddenly feel "banished" from the world we once knew. We don't want to accept its loss. We can no longer see the beauty that was there--somehow we feel the new, more troubling knowledge "took it from us."


Then, at some point, we must step out into the unknown, realizing we need more of the same fruit that shook our world, for the journey. In order to be more mature about what lies ahead, we weill need MORE knowledge of good and evil--not less of it. By this time, we might even begin to see a little again of the garden we can no longer inhabit. We become sad to leave it, because what lies ahead seems so uncertain. But ultimately, we all have each other.


I thought about this concept a lot during class. I used to think this story in Genesis was one of rejection and abandonment. But it is not, in many ways. God clothed Adam and Eve in warm, sturdy clothing made of skins. He cared for Adam and Eve, even when he could no longer let them stay in Eden. He allowed them to take a last look at the garden, perhaps in the hope there is another garden like it out there in that dark unknown. He let them take food for the journey. But he made it very clear that they could never go back--only forward.


So it is with the times we are forced to leave Eden in our own lives. But we have each other, and we have the ability to mature and develop fuller understandings of these exiles in the hope we find new gardens, and food for the trip. We have His care, also, even though at the time it may not seem like it. I think about things like when parents have had to let their adult children find their own way, make their own mistakes, when family difficulties arise. They can no longer be enablers. They still love, but it's "tough love." They can never go back to their family life "the way it was."


The Edens we leave in our lives are not prison sentences, even though we may feel that way. they are simply a means in which we recognize we must go forward and never go back.

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Kirksville, Missouri, United States
I'm a longtime area resident of that quirky and wonderful place called Kirksville, MO and am wondering what God has hiding round the next corner in my life.

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