The Garden of Eden

Reading: Genesis 1-3

"And God saw everything He had made and, behold, it was very good."

It was a beautiful world, clean and pure. God had finished making the earth, sky, sea, plants, animals, birds and fishes and He had made the first man - Adam. God had made Adam out of the dust of the ground, much the same way as you perhaps would make a model out of plasticine.

God breathed into the man's nostrils and the man became alive. Then God placed him in a garden in Eden. We do not know exactly where the garden was but we are told that it was a beautiful garden with plenty of water and with many trees that produced good food to eat. It was Adam's job to tend the garden and care for it.

Sadly, things were not to remain as they were …

In the middle of the garden grew two special trees. One was called the Tree of Life and the other was called the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Adam was allowed to take of the fruit of any tree in the garden, except one! God told Adam that he was not allowed to eat the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.

For a while Adam did as he was told. He cared for the garden and, when God brought all the animals and birds to him, Adam gave them names. But Adam was lonely. He was on his own, unlike the creatures that came to him - both male and female. So God decided to create a companion for Adam to help him in his work.

God made Adam fall into a deep sleep and, while he slept, God took out one of his ribs. From this He made a woman. Now Adam had a companion, a wife, and he called her Eve. It seemed nothing could spoil their happiness. They wore no clothes and did not need any. Whatever they did need they got from the garden God had planted.

Now one of the animals God had made was a serpent, a snake. It was cleverer than all the other animals and God had allowed it to speak. One day, when Eve was on her own, the serpent told her that if she ate of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil she would not die. Instead she would be wise and know the difference between good and evil. Eve knew that she was not allowed to eat of the fruit but, when she saw how good it looked, she gave in to the temptation and ate some of it. Then she gave some to Adam and he also ate of it!

Immediately Adam and Eve know that they had done wrong. They had disobeyed God. They had sinned. They recognised also that they were naked and hurriedly sewed some fig leaves together to make some simple clothes. Then they tried to hide from God.

How ashamed and afraid they must have felt, especially when they very quickly realised that nothing can be hidden from God. God knew what they had done but, instead of saying "sorry" for his disobedience, Adam blamed Eve and said that it was her fault. When God spoke to Eve, she blamed the serpent! But they had all done wrong and they were all punished.

Adam and Eve were banished from the garden. They were told that they would eventually die and that their bodies would turn back into the dust from which they had been made. The ground would grow thorns and thistles and from that moment on they would have to work hard to grow enough food to eat. Animals were killed so that their skins would make better clothes for Adam and Eve and God put an angel at the entrance of the Garden of Eden so that they could not get back in and eat of the Tree of Life.

Not a happy ending! Sadly we are all like Adam and Eve. Ever since Adam first disobeyed God, men and women have continued to do the same. Disobedience to God is called sin and we all sin. We all do things we know to be wrong and yet we cannot seem to help ourselves. That is our sinful nature and we have all inherited it from the first man, Adam, who disobeyed God in the Garden of Eden.

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