Step #4: Keep out…to keep safe

“So the LORD God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken. After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.” (Genesis 3:23 – 24)

I always wondered why God needed to be so cruel to drive Adam and Eve out of the beautiful Garden of Eden after they have sinned. Couldn’t He have just let them stay on in the garden? But I realize that in this act which seems to us to be harsh and unkind, God is actually being merciful and loving. If Adam and Eve had stayed on in the garden, they could have eaten from the tree of life, which would have granted them immortality. But God knows that being immortal in a state of spiritual death is a far more agonizing fate than being allowed to physically die and be spiritually alive. Therefore, God banished them from the garden not out of anger, or hate, or cruelty, but rather a desire to protect them from being immortal beings — carrying around the taint of sin in them forever. It reminds me of how we sometimes view God’s acts of love as punitive ones, not realizing that they are done to protect us.

Keep out...to keep safe

This passage comes at an interesting time because in my coming GP lessons, we will be exploring the issue of mankind’s age-old quest to stay forever young in our series on the Nature of Modern Society. Over the centuries, we have been looking for the elusive Fountain of Youth to slow down or even reverse the process of ageing. Today, our Fountain of Youth comes to us in small bottles, spa packages and facial masks. And still, the hope of immortality seems frightfully near as scientific advancements in the biomedical field continue to push the boundaries of our earthly lifespans. Yet, as one writer puts it: even if we could live forever, in this day and age, would we want to?

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~ by irwin on June 10, 2011.

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