It’s funny to me how we sometimes miss the connection between the Kingdom of God and the Garden of Eden. In the beginning of the Book, Adam and Eve were living in a very special relationship with God. They walked in the Garden with Him. I don’t know how long of a time was spent in the Garden before they were expelled, but really it doesn’t matter. The main point behind the story of the fall of man is the fact that people said, “God, I got this”.
God never wanted us to eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, but God loved us, and love shows vulnerability. Therefore, God had to give us the opportunity to trust Him. He made the tree available to us so that we could choose to allow Him to decide what is Good and Evil, thus giving Him our trust. It is significant that God made us naked and said that “it was good”. It is significant because we say that our nakedness is something to be ashamed of, something that needs to be covered. Eating the fruit and our eyes being opened did not reveal to us that God made us in a shameful state. God already declared it to be good. We ate the fruit and declared it bad. This means that the eating the fruit from Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil was in essence us telling God to get off of The Throne of Judgement because it was now our turn to judge what is right and wrong.
I got the quote I put on my senior portrait from a Calvin and Hobbs funny where Calvin was declaring himself dictator of the world. “I alone will choose the good, the evil, and the path to righteousness” shouted Calvin with his wooden sword in the air. I thought it was hilarious! As a child I always loved C&H and had rediscovered them in my senior year. It seemed like a real, “I’m a master of my own destiny” sort of quote, which was right up my ally. As an adult who now believes that Jesus came to be our reconciler, this quote is chilling to me because it speaks to the very heart of the world’s broken state. We have chosen that it is okay to be selfish to an objectively uncertain extent, and this drive for self is what pulls us farther from seeing the Kingdom at hand.
You see, the law came because we thought we knew best. God tried to show us that really, He knows best. The people of Israel asked for a king because they thought they knew what was best. It’s all a repetitive story of mankind believing they know best, while God loves them in their folly. In comes Jesus, who did not come to destroy the law but to fulfill the law. Jesus is the reconciler who Adam and Eve hoped for at the beginning of the story. The one who would open up the gates and allow us back into the Garden for all who believe that that is what He came to do.
So what am I saying? Should Christians stop buying clothes, become nudists and be called garden dwellers? No! Please don’t do that. I would like to suggest to you today that you, the believer in Christ Jesus, are already back in the Garden. However, you now have a daily, hourly, minutely, opportunity to eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil and say “thanks God, I got this”; or to keep yourself off of His Judgement seat and trust Him to be the judge of everything. The Kingdom of God is at hand, and it is coming still. This means we have access to it now and if we stay in it and invite others into it, it will grow. I’m not talking about inviting people to a Sunday service. You should be doing that anyway. I’m talking about inviting people off of the Judgement seat and back into the Garden.
– Curtis J. Perea