Today's Reading: Genesis 3
This is a chapter most people don't like reading or even thinking about for that matter!
Following the creation of people (Adam & Eve), humans enjoyed a face-to-face, personal relationship with God that was destroyed because of the events of Genesis 3. An agreement was established between God and people in which they were expected to live within certain boundaries in order thrive in their relationship with God. Should they wander outside those boundaries, the relationship would deteriorate to a truly tragic level.
Often this chapter raises questions about why God would set-up Adam & Eve. If God is so good, why did he put the tree there in the first place? If God is all-knowing, why did create a situation in which he knew that Adam & Eve would fail?
The truth is that all relationships have established boundaries. Marriage demands a certain level of fidelity. Friendships require trust. Employment has regulations an contracts. These things are aids in ensuring that everyone is getting the most out of the relationship.
God's desire is that humans would never know anything other than him. That their attention, desire, and allegiance would never be compromised. The best way to be human, is to be human in perfect relationship with the Creator. And so he established limits and boundaries for the relationship to ensure that our desire for God would never be compromised.
But those boundaries were broken sending humanity on a turbulent journey. The relationship was compromised.
God promised Adam & Eve that if they compromised the relationship, they would die. Why would a loving, life-giving, gracious God promise death? That's one of the many difficult questions a passage like this can raise.
But in any case, the perfection of creation was broken, and we are now living under it's curse. In the last post, I mentioned that God's grace is found on every page of this book. And it's here, as well. The relationship between God and people was broken - Adam & Eve were thrown out of the Garden and lost their right to commune directly with God. But at the same time, a promise was made: "I will put enmity between you and the women...he will crush your head, and you will strike his heal." The one responsible for leading the humans astray will be dealt with once and for all. The Church has come to see this as the very first promise of forgiveness, salvation, and restoration.
God also makes clothes for the humans; he doesn't leave them naked. In one may be one of the most powerful statements of God's love and grace found in the Bible, the relationship might be tarnished, but God still cares. He cares enough to continue to provide for and watch over the very people who rejected him.
How often, as parents, have we heard our kids yell us and tell us they hate us? Does our love stop? Do we suddenly stop taking care of them? Neither does God. We are deeply flawed and imperfect people who are still loved and cared for and provided for by the God we are constantly rejecting through our actions and unbelief. He promised forgiveness, and on the cross and by the empty tomb, we have received this forgiveness! Praise God!