When God drove Adam and Eve out of the Garden of Eden…it was not to administer punishment…but to bestow grace?
We are all very familiar with the story of Adam and Eve. After God created them in perfect circumstances under perfect conditions, it was not long before a serious problem arose.
In fact, it was the most serious problem the world ever had or ever will encounter.
God provided a literal paradise for Adam and Eve full of anything and everything they could have possibly wanted or needed.
Perhaps the most precious thing God provided them was a relationship with Him that is the envy of all who read these amazing passages.
There is a fascinating aspect of this even that escapes a large number of people. After Adam and Eve’s sin, states that: “they heard the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day”.
What an amazing statement that suggests that this was not a one time event but something that happened pretty regularly…perhaps every day at the same time.
This is the relationship Adam and Eve had with the almighty God of the universe…that He would walk with them in the cool of the day.
But we know…even from this passage…this relationship would soon be devastatingly changed.
Despite the fact that Adam and Eve had this extraordinary relationship with God…despite the fact that they had access to the most incredible world that had ever been created…despite the fact that they lacked for nothing…it seemed not to be enough.
The story is familiar…God grants Adam and Eve amazing freedom and access with one important exception. Though they could eat from any tree in the garden..they were absolutely forbidden to eat from one particular tree…the tree of the knowledge of Good and Evil.
But like most children (they were children of God) they simply could not avoid the temptation. After being lied to by Satan who promised them they would be “like God” if they ate of the forbidden tree…they unfortunately for all us…did just that.
Immediately after…things began to quickly unravel. God clearly began to explain to them the horrible consequences for their actions.
He told Adam that the ground he worked with such ease beforehand would now yield mostly thorns and weeds.
He told Eve that the blessing of childbirth would be cloaked in enhanced pain…and that there would be conflict not only between she and her husband…but between husbands and wives from that point forward.
But the worst was yet to come. Though they had enjoyed a perfect and unfettered relationship with the God of their creation, they (along with every single human being form that time on) would now be separated from God.
One of the saddest verses in all of the Bible is found in verse 24 of Genesis 3. It reads in part… “so he drove out the man” and of course by implication Eve as well. He not only drove them out of their home…Eden…but God placed and angel armed with a flaming sword to keep them from re-entering.
This is of course The Fall. The point at which sin, which began with Adam and Eve…would be passed on to every single human being on the planet from that time on.
And since it is contained within the part of the Bible that clearly outlines punishment for this sin, it would be easy for us to conclude that their expulsion from Eden was also a part of this divine punishment.
But that’s not the case. For just two verses before the one describing Adam and Eve as being ejected from the Garden…God tells us why he did that in the first place.
The answer has to do with a tree…but not the tree you may be expecting. states that the reason God removes Adam and Eve from the Garden is so that they will not eat from the Tree of Life. And what is the tree of life? It is the tree that would have caused Adam and Eve to live forever.
In God’s own words…He says: “Behold, the man has become like one of Us, to know good and evil. Now, lest he put out his hand and eat from the tree of life and live forever….”. Then God goes on to banish them from the garden so that this does not happen.
Do you see what is going on here? If Adam and Eve had eaten from the tree of life…they would have become immortal. In other words…they would live forever in their sinful state…with no possibility of salvation.
So what is actually going on here is that when Adam and Eve engaged in what is arguably the worst sin to ever be perpetrated…when they disobeyed their God…and saddled us with sin from this point evermore…God was already thinking about their salvation.
He was already thinking about Jesus…the Cross…and the empty tomb. He cast them out of the garden because He loved them…and because He loves us. How cool is that?
Dr. Purvis started Growth Project after spending 20 years on active duty as a Chaplain in the United States Navy. After many moves and multiple deployments, he settled in St. Cloud, Florida to do God’s will. A glutton for educational punishment Danny has a BA in English from Carson-Newman College, an MDiv from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary; a ThM from Princeton Theological Seminary; and a PhD in Organizational Leadership from Regent University. He has been married to his wife Kimberly (whom he met when they were 6 years old) for nearly 30 years and they have four wonderful children.