Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A Most Wonderful Day in Eden

This evening one of our shepherds led our thoughts in devotion. He had us share what we thought might have been the best day for different people in the Bible. We started with Adam and Eve then Noah, Abraham, Paul and others. One thing he pointed out was how often good and evil come together in the same day. Similarly, the best and the worse appear seemingly back to back at the same time.

I thought, although I did not share it at the time, the worst day for Adam and Eve's life was their most wonderful day in Eden, also. The day on which Adam and Eve stood shivering in their leaf-covered nakedness was not because of the cold. Although they understood the obvious that they had eaten from the tree God had forbidden them to eat I doubt seriously that they understood the full impact and consequences: You will surely die resonated with a distant muffledness in their ears. I picture mirrored exchanges between husband and wife: Eve what have we done? Adam what have we done? Satan, who had succeeded in deceiving the man and the woman, must himself have been at a loss to understand, other than the fact Adam and Eve had disobeyed God, just what did it mean to die. Death was unknown prior to Eden.

I have often pointed out the first mention of the word love in the scriptures is a passage we readily recognize in Genesis 22:

Now take your son, your only son whom you love . . .
itself a portend of the gospel of John chapter 3:

For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son . . .
What turned the worst day for Adam and Eve also revealed the most wonderful thing about that day for them: God loves us. Still. Yes, we have sinned against him. He has cast us out of Eden, but he clothed us and continues to provide for us. Prior to that moment they had about as much understanding and appreciation for the love of God than they had about his stern warning concerning the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

The unconditional love of God is what turned the worst day into the most wonderful day in Eden. It's the same, ancient unconditional love which transforms the sinner who turns in obedience to the gospel message to become a child of God.

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