I have always struggled to understand the Christian creation story. It seemed like a truth that was just out of my grasp. It just did not make sense, but I think that was because I was too focused on subtle little details of the story instead of the overall meaning behind it. I wanted to know why if we ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil do so many people not know the difference between right and wrong. It would seem like the story did not apply to the way people are. However, I think that the tree represented the fact that we, upon eating of it, were given the capability to choose good and/or evil. At the end of the day, it helps to view the whole story as a symbol of this choice and its effect on human nature and his/her position in the universe today. Thus, it does shed light on (wo)mankind’s struggle with himself, with doing the right things for the right reasons and his/her relationship with God. Another thing to consider is the fact that God is not gender-limited. It is a matter of convenience to talk of Him as Father. In fact, he is both mother and father to all of creation. Anyway, this established, let us return to the creation story, and then fast forward to Jesus, who is the Son. When Jesus died on the cross, and then rose from the grave, He became the tree of life for us to eat. If you remember, the tree of life was the other tree forbidden to us that we never had a chance to steal from God. Here, in Jesus, we are given another chance and it is almost as if God has said, alright go ahead I love you too much to keep it from you. Besides, Jesus earned the tree of life for the rest of humanity, believe it or not. That was how amazing the Savior was. He earned the tree of life for humanity, and then became it on the cross, and then, as if this was not enough, He gave us eternal hope by springing up out of the tomb!
Going back to the original story in Genesis – We fell because we did not trust in God and His provision for us. We wanted more and we wanted it for ourselves. Thus, we, through our blatant selfishness and disregard for God and His decree, brought the curse of sin and death into the world, forever cursing ourselves and creation as a whole. You might ask why would God allow that to happen but that is the nature of love. God loves us so much he lets us go off by ourselves. Isn’t that what parents are supposed to do eventually? Anyway, He provided Jesus as a way back to Him and it is all to prove that God is boundless in the end. The whole struggle of life and death is to bring glory to God and to reveal Himself and His true nature to the world.
So, back to Jesus and the cross – God came down personally to earth from heaven in the form and person of Jesus to give us what previously had been forbidden to us – eternal life. Jesus through his wondrous life and love as a human earned us a partnership with God and eternal life. He reconciled us with God and made our love for Him deeper than it could have been had we not fallen. That is the purpose of the fall.
So Jesus commands us to drink His blood and eat of His flesh. The Bible declares this as a hard lesson. However, think of it this way. He, Jesus, is the tree of life that we were not allowed to eat of in Eden. But there He is on the cross shedding his mortal blood and we are to drink of it, because it is the fruit of life, as is His flesh. This is a hard lesson, but in light of Eden it makes perfect sense. Of course it does, this is God’s story, not ours, though through Jesus’ sacrifice, we have been brought into righteous partnership with the King of the Universe. Jesus’ sacrifice secures for us, as He promised the thief along side Him, a place in paradise – a new Eden.