Ghosts of the Garden Revisited

INTRODUCTION

    Adam and Eve and all of creation were originally made good.  However, once Adam and Eve ate the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, everything changed.  The presence of God’s Spirit left us, we became disconnected from God.  Sin has made us shells and ghosts of what were supposed to be.  When you look at the state of humanity today, we are living as mere shadows and ghosts, of the kind of people we were in the Garden.  But Christ came to redeem us from being Ghosts of the Garden of Eden, and he came to restore our fellowship with the Father, to reconcile us, and to restore us to the kind of people we were always supposed to be.  

     People sometimes look for answers to questions that Genesis is not trying to answer.  Yet the text does not cease to be the Word of God simply because it is limited in what it tells the reader; it need not be exhaustive in order to be true.  Put simply, the author of Genesis writes to celebrate the fact that God made the world, not to explain the details of how he made it.  Traditionally Genesis was thought to have been written by Moses.

To our TEXT….

So Genesis opens up with the Creation of the world, and the creation of Adam and Eve.  A mysterious figure known as the serpent ends up in the garden in this chapter as well.  Genesis doesn’t tell us who he is or where he comes from.  However, he contradicts the Word of God that was given to Adam and Eve….God gives them one instruction, one rule and one rule only, and that is not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.  They disobeyed that command; first Eve listened to the serpent’s lie that if they ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil they would be like God, and that they wouldn’t die, and then Adam followed Eve’s rebellion and ate of the fruit.   This set all of us on a collision course with sin.  Chapter 3 describes the consequences of Adam and Eve’s actions. 

Genesis 3:15-24New Living Translation (NLT)15 And I will cause hostility between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring. He will strike your head, and you will strike his heel.”16 Then he said to the woman,“I will sharpen the pain of your pregnancy, and in pain you will give birth.  And you will desire to control your husband, but he will rule over you.”17 And to the man he said, “Since you listened to your wife and ate from the tree whose fruit I commanded you not to eat, the ground is cursed because of you.  All your life you will struggle to scratch a living from it. 18 It will grow thorns and thistles for you,  though you will eat of its grains. 19 By the sweat of your brow will you have food to eat until you return to the ground from which you were made. For you were made from dust, and to dust you will return.”   

      God tells the serpent that he cause hostility between his offspring and the offspring of the woman.  He would strike the head of the serpent and the serpent would strike his heel.  The woman would experience pain in childbirth.  She would desire to control her husband but he would rule over her.  The ground would be curse for the man and he would have to toil and sweat for his food.  And they both would return to the dust. 

     So they were banished from the comfort and ease of life in the Garden. They were banished from the presence of God.   The serpent was a real animal, but it also represented Satan, so we can say that evil and demonic forces are the offspring of the serpent. Every human being born came from Eve; we are all the children of Eve; however, because Eve’s sin separated all of us from God, only Christians are considered to be God’s children today.  Understand that as true believers who are sold out to Christ, we will experience hatred and hostility.  Many will see the contrast between their lives and yours, and they will hate you. [SPIRITUAL DEFIBRILLATOR] BUT! God promised us that some would listen! He promised us souls! They are Ghosts of the Garden; they just don’t know it. 

 If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world.” C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity 

 Pop Singer Brooke Fraser, also a worship leader at Hillsong, responsible for writing “Hosanna, Man of Sorrows” and “What A Beautiful Name,” has a song called C.S. Lewis Song based on this concept of drawing lost people in and helping them find their identity. We need preach the Gospel to them to bring them back to life, to literally regenerate them, like Paul says in Titus 3:5. 

    Adam and Eve walked and talked with God as a friend in the Garden.  They were constantly in the presence of God.  While in the Garden, check this out…..nowhere in the first few chapters of Genesis is there any mention of prayer, or fasting, or having to study scripture! Nowhere in the first few chapters of Genesis is there any mention of animal sacrifices.  Why? Well, remember that the Bible is all about Jesus. So Genesis is all about Jesus. When Jesus was on earth with the disciples, they didn’t pray to Him, and they didn’t fast, because they didn’t have to. Fasting is a sign of mourning because we are separated from our bridegroom, Christ Jesus.  Adam and Eve were with their bridegroom, God the Father. Actually, it was possible that Christ was in the Garden with Adam & Eve….I mean, he has always existed according to scripture! I believe that it was Jesus himself in the Garden, who formed Adam and Eve from the dust! In John chapter 5, Jesus took clay and made brand new eyes for a man that was born blind, so he could’ve done the same thing in the Garden thousands of years before with Adam and Eve.  Remember Genesis 2:7  says God made Adam and Eve from the dust of ground.   So the point of all of this is that Christ was very much present in the book of Genesis, even though the book doesn’t just come out and say it.  The need of human beings for forgiveness, and our need for a Savior begins way back in Genesis.  

 People began their collision course with sin in Genesis

     So! In our day to day lives, each time we turn on the news and see crime, political corruption, homelessness, hunger, racism, and all these things, we can remember that the fall of mankind was not the end of the story.  God made garments of animal skin to cover the sin of Adam & Eve, and this would eventually lead to the perfect covering over of our sin, that is, the eternal and perfect blood of the Lamb of God, the man Christ Jesus!! Christ paid our dowry, our bride price, through his blood.  How tragic it is if we only go to Jesus for our own gratification for an hour and a half every week.  How would our spouses feel if we were intimate once a week, and no relationship the rest of the day or the week.  That is NOT a relationship! In Christ, we are no longer ghosts of the Garden…..let us not behave like we are still kicked out and banished from God’s presence! 

 How can we have confidence in God’s love? Because of the mercy that flowed even in Genesis! 

Genesis 3:20-21 (NLT) 20 Then the man—Adam—named his wife Eve, because she would be the mother of all who live. 21 And the Lord God made clothing from animal skins for Adam and his wife.

Adam named his wife in this passage, and called her Havah, or Eve in English, as she was the mother of all living people. And God himself made clothing for animals skins for Adam and Eve.  

Now,  God himself made garments of skin for Adam and Eve, to cover their sins and transgressions.  Notice that they did not kill animals themselves, or even think about covering themselves with animal skins.  They tried to use fig leaves.  Yet God was not satisfied with the fig leaves, which is why he stepped into the situation himself and gave animal skins to Adam & Eve. 

Now, Adam and Eve covered themselves with the leaves from what kind of tree? A fig tree in Genesis 3:7.  Yet later in verse 21, we see God exchanging Adam and Eve’s fig leaves for animal skins. God made the Garden.  He made the Earth.  ONLY he can do those things.  And ONLY he could provide for Adam & Eve’s salvation.   Adam and Eve could not save themselves or cover over their own sins any more than a painting can paint itself.  My Xbox is cool and everything, but I have to press a button and cut on my Xbox for it to work.  I have to use my hands for the controllers to work.  Without my hands, both my Xbox and my controllers are nothing!  Folks, without the hand of God controlling our lives, we are nothing!  We are just Ghosts.   Now check this out.  Adam and Eve sinned, and tried to cover themselves with fig leaves.  I have thought about how Adam and Eve tie into Cain’s murder of Abel.  Why did God accept Abel’s sacrifice and not Cain’s? In Genesis 4, Cain offered God some of the produce of the ground since he was a farmer, and Abel offered one of the firstborn animals from His flock! Could it be that Adam talked to both of his sons about what happened in the Garden? Could it be that Adam told Cain and Abel that the Lord was not pleased with their fig leaves, but covered Adam and Eve with animal skins instead?  It could be possible that God’s Word came to Cain through his Father Adam that only life, only blood can cover sin, yet Cain still offered up fig leaves to God!! We are the same! Since God made us, only God can save us! Only His Son’s blood is pleasing to God! Nothing else is! 

     Let’s suppose that a mass murderer is standing before a human judge.  He apologizes for his crimes and does community service.  The judge may be pleased with the apology and the community service, but the criminal will still have to serve their sentence.  That judge will not be pleased with that community service in relation to the crime committed. God does not overlook our sins just because we try to do good. Why do people think God is unjust because he judges us, but we have perfect faith in flawed, sinful human judges and a flawed, sinful human legal system???!!!

Adam and Eve were sentenced to separation from God, hard labor, pain in childbirth, and to return to the dust they came from. There is still mercy in the sentencing that human beings get even in jail. Why? In jail, they have to think and face what they’ve done. This time is still time that they can get right with God! Angola Prison, Baton Rouge, Lousiana 5,000 prisoners, 85 % life without parole, 40-50 are on Death Row. RZIM went there, knives when you check in.  chaplain there changed it. Chapel everyday, Bibles given.  Ravi saw the prisoners lead worship.  One of the prisoners said for the first time in my life I am free, I met Jesus in here, I’d gladly live the rest of my life in this prison.  Pray for my parents, they think they’re free, but they’re really in chains.

 In the beginning God provided a covering for our sin—- 

 Ephesians 2:8-9New Living Translation (NLT)

8 God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. 9 Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.

God kicked Adam and Eve out of the Garden but he never completely left them! And he promised them a way out! Immediately after Adam and Eve sinned, God began the plan of redemption for them and all their children, which is you and I.  So we can rejoice, and our faith can be strengthened by this fact. God’s mercy, his overwhelming, hurricane force grace kept Adam and Eve alive. If God did not give up on Adam and Eve, he we won’t give up on us.  

 Everything we are lacking, Christ possesses.  Not only does his blood cover our sin, but his righteousness is credited to us, it is transferred to us.  He took on the wretchedness of sinful humanity on the cross, while we take on his very nature through faith.  Righteousness of God in Christ Jesus (2 Cor. 5:21). 

So Adam and Eve are banished…and God started the sacrificial system before they even left the garden. But the mercy didn’t stop there…

Genesis 3:22-24New Living Translation (NLT)

22 Then the Lord God said, “Look, the human beings have become like us, knowing both good and evil. What if they reach out, take fruit from the tree of life, and eat it? Then they will live forever!” 23 So the Lord God banished them from the Garden of Eden, and he sent Adam out to cultivate the ground from which he had been made. 24 After sending them out, the Lord God stationed mighty cherubim to the east of the Garden of Eden. And he placed a flaming sword that flashed back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.

     So at first glance, it may seem that God was being cruel in kicking Adam and Eve out of the Garden of Eden.   But the banishment of Adam and Eve from the Garden–was it really as cruel as we might believe? Let’s re-examine our text….

     The tree of the knowledge of good and evil gets all the hype,  but what’s up with the tree of life? According to Genesis 3:22, somehow the tree of life would help Adam and Eve to sustain their immortality.  In fact, the tree of life makes a reappearance in Revelation 22.  In the New Jerusalem, there is a river flowing from the throne of God. Beside the river is the tree of life? The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.  Well, now that Adam & Eve had eaten of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, they had already corrupted their natures.  They were already sinners. SO! If they would’ve eaten of the tree of life after that, they would’ve lived forever in a corrupted state! So kicking them out of the garden was an act of mercy! If they had not died, they could not have been redeemed! If they had not died, Christ would not have died for them!   

Getting kicked out of the garden was good for us – So as you go about your daily lives, remember that God’s mercy triumphs over judgment! All the way back in Genesis, God was providing a means to save us, to redeem us from being slaves of sin and fear, and restoring us to being sons and daughters of God instead of just being Ghosts of the Garden! Remember to apply the blood of Christ to the entirety of scripture. Meaning, when you read Psalms, Proverbs, Genesis, or even Genesis, ask how does it point to Christ, and to his redemptive work on the cross.  We are responsible with going out and showing unregenerate people that life-giving presence of Christ, and showing them how they can get to him.  That is our commission! 

     Some people today do not wish to accept the responsibility for their actions. They blame society. They blame the environment. They blame the schools. They blame the circumstances. They blame a lack of opportunity and lack of education.  But Adam sinned in a perfect environment under perfect circumstances, and perfect conditions. Society is made up of individuals.  It’s not the evil way over in Syria; it’s the evil inside my heart that corrupts the world. But if you surrender to Jesus Christ, you can triumph over it. 

 The issue was that Adam and Eve decided for themselves what is good and what is evil. They put themselves in the place of God. Only God can determine what is good and evil. Much later, God gave Israel a similar choice: “I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life that both you and your descendants may live” (Deuteronomy 30:19).

THE END! 

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