“And the Lord God commanded the man, ‘You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.” Genesis 2:16-17
Yesterday, we talked about the paradise where Adam and Eve lived. The beautiful garden home that God planted in Eden for his precious children. A place where the first man and the first woman were free to eat except from the tree in the middle of the garden.
We’ve come a long way from the freedom we had in the garden. Micehael Pollen, in his excellent book In Defense of Food, recounts a study by University of Pennsylvania psychologist Paul Rozin. “He showed the words ‘chocolate cake’ to a group of Americans and recorded their word associations. ‘Guilt’ was the top response.” (p. 79)
Some people would blame the chocolate cake. Adam and Eve only ate fruit and vegetables, they reason, so to truly recapture what they had in the garden, we need to adopt a vegan diet.
Others would blame the guilt. God wants us to be happy, they would say. Life is too short, so eat your cake and enjoy it!
They’re both wrong.
Cake is not the problem. Guilt is not the problem. Sin is the problem.
Sin is why we no longer live in paradise, and no matter what diet we choose, we cannot eat our way back into the garden.
“When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate it.” Genesis3:6
Oh, Eve. My heart breaks to read this, and not because I blame Eve for my own sinfulness. It’s not Eve’s fault that we make mistakes. No, we ache and struggle and want what we cannot have because sin is bound up in our hearts.
The reason my heart breaks is because I’ve been there.
Haven’t we all?
We see something that looks delicious or we think will make us happy, and self-control goes out the window. We reach out and take because we want, regardless of what God has said.
If you think it’s irrelevant that food is at the center of this battle, you could not be more wrong.
Lysa TerKeurst says, “If the very downfall of humanity was when Eve surrendered to a temptation to eat something she wasn’t supposed to eat, I do think our struggles with food are important to God.” (Made to Crave, p17)
So they are.
But God couldn’t leave Adam and Eve’s sin unpunished. He cursed the serpent, and he cursed the ground. In this new world outside the garden, both eating and relationships would be infinitely more difficult. And we would be a lot more alone. God, in his mercy, made a sacrifice for Adam and Eve’s sin, shedding blood to cover their shamefulness. But He was and is holy, and could not make his dwelling among sinful man.
But thankfully, that is not the end of the story.
This post is part of a 31-day series. A list of all the other posts in this series can be found here.