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Have any of you ever experienced an earthquake? We have had few recently apparently during the period that Qudrillia were drilling over near Blackpool. I can’t say I really noticed them, but I do remember about 30 years ago I was driving through Blackpool and I felt a bump as if my car had gone over a large pot hole, I got out and could see nothing, on the car and the road appeared smooth. When I got home, I heard it on the news that Blackpool had had an earthquake that day. However, if you live in Southern California or Japan your experience of an earthquake might be very different. Sometimes things can be destroyed to such an extent it seems impossible that they can ever be returned to normal again.
It seems to me that that's something that could be said of the garden of Eden experience. Adam disobeyed God and that act of disobedience was like a spiritual earthquake, it devasted things to such an extent that as Paul says in Romans 8 that since then, “the earth groans to be redeemed”. On top of all of that he and Eve were thrown out of the garden of Eden and God put angels in charge so that they could not get back in. Maybe the questions in Adams mind at that point was, “can this ever be fixed, can things ever be re stored”?
I think that’s a fascinating question, so let’s pick up the story after God has pronounced judgment on Satan, Eve and Adam. Earlier in Genesis chapter 3 we have been told in detail about Satan's temptation of Eve. We have also been told how Eve and Adam succumb to that temptation and what occurred as a result of what happened.
If you're following the flow of the chapter then verse 20 really seems out of order. Why did he say that suddenly, why is that in here at all? If we back up a few verses, we heard last week the text telling us; “To the woman he said, “I will make your pains in childbearing very severe; with painful labour you will give birth to children”. Please note earlier God promised that Eve would bear children, but by the time we get to the verses we are looking at today, they still have not had any children. Adam knew was that his God had promised that he was going to have children. Furthermore, back in verse 19 God said to Adam, “By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return”. All Adam knows at this point is that somewhere between the promise he gave Eve and his eventual death He and Eve was going to bear children. By calling her Eve the he is giving her a name that means giver of life. What Salvation really comes down to is just believing the promise of God. Salvation is nothing more than being fully convinced that what God promised he is able and willing to do. So, the first thing that happens in this passage is we see by naming his wife Eve, Adam demonstrated he believed God
Then a second thing that happens is in verse 21 when “The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them”. They were naked when they disobeyed the Lord, they realized they were naked, so the Lord himself clothed them. They had already tried to cover themselves by clothing themselves with fig leaves back in verse 7. Adam wouldn’t have thought to use an animal skin because he had never seen anything die because up to this point. So, they sewed fig leaves together and they covered themselves with. They may have been warned about death, back in verse 17 they hadn't seen it or experienced it yet.
Many, many Bible teachers make the connection that God clothes them with an animal skin. Which means for the first-time death arrives in the creation story. There had to be the shedding of blood to cover this situation. What a very clear picture of Salvation. Jesus Christ was the Lamb of God who took away the sin of the world and when we trust Christ we too are clothed with the very righteousness of God.
This passage beautifully illustrates there are always 2 options for anyone who falls short and sins before God.
1 You either sow fig leaves and try to cover yourself.
2 Or you get clothed by the skin of an innocent animal
Either you try and cover yourself as a response to your failure and sin, or allow God to provide His covering of the righteousness. It seems to me that most people think that you get to heaven by being a good person being religious or being righteous. That's what many people think, and what I'm telling you is that this passage tells us the exact opposite is the case. You can amass all the good works you want too but that currency is not going to buy you forgiveness of sin, or access to heaven. I's just not going to do it.
Imagine you took monopoly money and decided to take it to your bank and try and pay it in. Suppose you went to the bank and pushed the Monopoly money through the window and said, “put that in my bank account”. The monopoly money may do you great benefit on the monopoly board, but it isn't going to do one thing for you at the local bank. It’s the same with good works. Don’t get me wrong, doing good things will help you live a better more meaningful life. Doing good things is the right way to live your life, and people may even benefit from your good works – which is a good thing. It might even help you stay out of jail, if you choose to do good things, instead of bad things. However, in the economy of God that “good stuff” isn’t going to do anything to pay the designated penalty of sin because the penalty of sin is death. There are always only two ways people try and pay the penalty of their sin and they are both illustrated for us here in this passage. You either going to sow fig leaves together and try cover yourself with good works, or you believe God's promise and get covered by the skin of an innocent one who dies in your place and pays the death penalty on your behalf.
There is one other part to this passage we are looking (Gen 3: 22-24) God drives them out and he put a guard at the entrance so they can’t get back in. As a matter of fact, he saw to it that they couldn't get back in. He places Cherubim’s at the entrance to the garden and a flaming sword which turned every way to guard the way of the tree of life. As sinners if they ate the tree of life and lived forever then the implication is that they would have lived forever as sinners. But God had a better plan - a much better plan. Gods plan is to ensure that the penalty of sin being death is met. In God plan sin can be dealt with, death can come, but there can also forgiveness and resurrection to a new and perfect life.
I began by asking if once humanity had been kicked out of the garden does that mean that the Paradise is not regain able. Genesis chapter three indicates that man's relationship with God can be restored but his residence in the garden is permanently blocked. On the one hand Adam believe God and he was clothed with the righteousness of Christ. In that sense his relationship to the Lord was restored but he was excluded permanently from entering the garden again and eating of the tree of life. What happened to Adam profoundly and permanently affected the human race right down to this day. What Adam did that day has affected us all because now we are all born under the power of sin. Some will object to that and say but that's not my fault. I wasn't there when Adam sinned, I didn’t do that - I didn't even vote for Adam. However, the bible teaches that if had we been in the garden then we have done the same thing as Adam did that day.
Can we have a relationship with God? Can the image of God be re-stored in humanity? Can we ever get back to the garden relationship with God? What about Paradise, can be Paradise regained? If you get to the end of the book and get down the last chapter in the bible, it tells us the answer to that question. The end of the bible the book of Revelation describes a new heaven and a new earth where there would be no longer a curse upon redeemed human beings. According to revelation the last book of the bible the tree of life will again be there. (Rev 22: 1-3)
In short paradise is regain-able you cannot read Genesis 3 and understand it in the context of the whole Bible without relating it to Revelation 22. Paradise was indeed lost in Genesis chapter 3 However in Revelation chapters 21 and 22 we witness Paradise restored. In the meantime, whilst we remain outside the garden, we are called simply to serve him and till the ground and prepare the ground for harvest. I think in a simple sense he is saying keep occupied with the work of the kingdom until I come again. We work, and we wait for his coming. We're going to have a garden given to us that's even better than the garden
Do you watch the news and are you of the same opinion that I am that things are getting worse and worse? We're not just waiting to see what happens in the Conservative leadership election. We're not just waiting to see what happens in the next Brexit debate We’re not waiting to see what the consequences of the laws they pass or don't pass. We as Christian are waiting paradise to be restored. Keep your eyes on Him and keep working for the Lord. This ought to change our on everything. We're going to have a new heaven and new earth and new Jerusalem with a new garden, with a tree of life where we can live forever.
What once was great has fallen and stands in ruins. Humanity now stands in ruins. Sin and rebellion ruined us. However, there is hope because by surrendering your life to God is like asking someone to move in and beginning the work of rebuilding and restoring you. When you trust Jesus Christ, God by His Holy Spirit moves in and as that you cooperate with him the Lord slowly begins to rebuild you completely in His likeness. Paradise is truly regain-able through Christ and it's a whole lot bigger and better than we could ever imagine.