There was only one rule. “You are free to eat from any tree of the garden, but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for on the day you eat from it, you will certainly die” (Genesis 2:16–17).
“Peach, banana, apricot, mango, cherry, avocado (holy guacamole) … yep! Eat all you want. But the tree in the middle of the garden called the tree of the knowledge of good and evil … nope! Only one rule, and if you break the rule, you’ll die!” Our ancient ancestors obeyed, faithfully submitting to their Creator’s wishes.
Adam had been alone, but God miraculously provided a companion, a partner, a best friend. Together, they worked the garden and played in the perfect environment of God’s glorious creation. The temperature was constant, consistently comfortable… not too hot and not too cool. The wind was only a gentle breeze. The grass was soft, the babbling brooks were cold and refreshing. The lion laid down with the lamb, the deer and the wolf played tag.
Life was perfect. There was no fussing or complaining, no frustration or fear. There were no aches and no pains, no weakness and no sickness, no worries and no regrets. Life was filled with peace and endless joy.
Adam and Eve were in perfect union. Their love was patient and kind. Their love did not envy, or boast, was not rude, or self-seeking or irritable (1 Corinthians 13:4–7).
Their relationship to God was unrestrained, uninhibited, unbroken, and endlessly uninterrupted. The Creator walked with His human creations daily in the Garden (Genesis 3:8). Sounds like Heaven, doesn’t it!
But … you know what happened. Adam and Eve rebelled against God’s authority. Mankind sinned and death entered creation. With death came fear, shame, sadness, worry. Their innocence was stolen. Their relationship to one another was broken and their relationship to God was too.
For the first time, they saw themselves as shamefully exposed, unprotected, naked. Quickly, they had to do something to hide their embarrassment, guilt, shame. They had to make themselves presentable before their Holy Master. “They sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves” (Genesis 3:7). If religion is defined as man’s attempt to be made presentable before God, then the first couple invented religion.
Religion doesn’t please God. Man can never do enough to pacify, placate or please an always-righteous, all-holy God. We’re not worthy to atone for our own sins. It is only by grace that man can be clothed with robes of righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:21).
That’s why God made the first fur coat (Genesis 3:21). A substitute was sacrificed, a lamb died, its blood spilled to atone for man’s transgression. (The Bible doesn’t say it was a lamb, but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t a kangaroo, or a donkey, or an aardvark.)
God’s grace is amazing, on the first pages of the Bible… and on the last.
One day soon, in our heavenly home … the temperature will be constant, consistently comfortable… not too hot and not too cool with a gentle breeze, and a babbling brook, cold and refreshing. The lion will lay down with the lamb, the deer and the wolf will play tag. Our relationship to God will be unrestrained, uninhibited, unbroken, and endlessly uninterrupted.
Life will be perfect…
For this, God didn’t sacrifice a lamb… He sacrificed The Lamb.