Debbie Salter Goodwin
The Bite that Changed the World
As the first woman, Eve shouldered responsibility she didn’t sign up for. Her one choice changed the wonderful new world she lived in. It changed ours, too! That’s because choice is not as personal as we like to believe it is. Choice has ripples, and we don’t control the size of the ripples.
We need to stop pointing fingers at Eve because we have made her choice. Maybe not at the tree God said “No” to. Maybe it was a relationship, a work decision, an unethical short cut, a lie. It could be any choice or season of choices that did not bring God’s whole rule to our life and to others.
Think about the context God gave Adam and Eve for learning all the right things about a good and compassionate God. Beauty. Abundance. Each other in one-flesh unity. Companionship with their Creator.
As I studied this story once more for the Bible study I’m teaching, I was struck with the fact that the garden wasn’t the only Paradise they lost. It was their innocent longing for an open relationship with the One Who created them. The real Paradise was about a relationship with God without shame.
Adam and Eve traded their intimate relationship with God for a bite of forbidden fruit, and we did, too.
Our stories are all different, but what we lost in them isn’t. We have learned to live with a distance with God that He grieves. Few outsiders point to the church as a gathering of unity and love anymore. We harbor grievances against God with an underlying detachment. Had we lived in Eden like we’re living now, would we all have been thrown out like Adam and Eve?
But God doesn’t raise His voice like a frustrated parent against us. He did the unbelievable. In the middle of our stories where more than fruit created distance from Him, God reached out in redemptive love. Jesus died to take us back to the Garden. Not a garden of flowers and trees. A garden of pure, unrestricted, intimate relationship.
Adam and Eve couldn’t un-eat the fruit. We can’t un-choose our choices. Instead we choose new. We choose the rescue God sent. We choose to be fully forgiven and wholly loved by a God who longs for garden walks with us.
Are we waiting for Heaven to enjoy such intimacy? Not necessary. God says it begins here, on earth. Our transformed lives are the biggest part of His mission to the world. When we live in full intimacy with God, people notice. Then, we have something to share, or rather Someone!
The Garden and what happened there needs to be a wake-up call for us. If Jesus came to restore life with God, why aren’t we living in that Paradise? What could happen in our families, in our churches, in our neighborhoods if we did?
I don’t know what else to do but to repent of my disobedient attitude. I must embrace the truth that Christ-in-me can make a difference I cannot make on my own . . . not anywhere or with anyone.
So here’s my prayer for Paradise restored through Christ in me!
Pictures: Saya Kimura,