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THEOLOGY > Sin > Man's Disobedience > Outside Eden  


Then Yahweh God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us in knowing good and evil. And now, lest he reach out his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat, and live forever—” therefore Yahweh God sent him out from the garden of Eden to work the ground from which he was taken. He drove out the man, and at the east of the garden of Eden He place the cherubim and a flaming sword that turned every way to guard the way to the tree of life (Gen. 3:22-24).

Because of his sin God drove Adam from the garden, and on the east side of the garden, evidently at the door to the garden, God place cherubim to guard the Tree of Life which was still in the garden. Driven from paradise Adam and Eve had to live and make a life outside Eden.

From a home in the garden planted by God, the couple was banished into the world which had just recently been cursed by God because of Adam’s rebellion (see: Creation’s Groan). They were forced away from the place of fellowship with God into a world associated with evil. According to the New Testament “the whole world lies in the power of the evil one” (I Jo. 5:19), and into this world Adam and Eve were driven. From Eden to outside Eden—what a change of address!

Stung with remorse, harassed with fears, God offended, and their souls undone, they bade farewell to their late blissful abode, and became wanderers on the earth, until their bodies, sinking under the weight of the ills inflicted, should crumble into dust (J. L. Dagg, M of T, 150).

Outside Eden symbolized alienation from God; for them outside Eden signified being cut off from communion with the Creator. They were thrust away because they had incurred His anger at their deed. Additionally, they were cut off from the Tree of Life, the symbol of Divine favor and the means of eternal life. God’s presence was hidden and His blessings were removed. Most tragically Adam and Eve were away from the God who created them; the creature was removed from the Creator.

Outside Eden meant that they were living outside the garden prepared for them by God. It was a garden overflowing with bountiful trees that were full of fruits and nuts; the trees were pleasant to the sight and good for food. Into this garden God had placed the man that He had made (Gen. 2:8). Adam did not choose Eden; it was chosen and even specially created for him by His Creator. A river watered the garden and leaving the garden the river became four rivers. In the land surrounding the rivers the Bible informs us that gold was there that was good, as well as bdellium and onyx stones.

Apparently it was to Adam in Eden that God brought the animals for him to name. And Adam gave names to the beasts of the fields and the birds of the air. Not only was Eden a beautiful and wealthy place to live, but it was a very productive locale, with some of the first work—naming the animals—being accomplished there.

It was also in Eden that Adam received his wife. After creating the woman from a rib taken from Adam the Scripture reports that God “brought her to the man” (Gen. 2:22) and Adam said that she would “be called woman, because she was taken out of the man” (v. 23). Thus the first “marriage” was performed by God in the paradise called Eden, and the institution of marriage was ordained by God (vs. 24-25).

Outside Eden their children would be born, and their offspring would never experience a home called Eden. The children would suffer because of the sin of the parents. For the human race Eden became a distant memory as sin clouded the recollection and knowledge of the former abode of the first man and woman. Today the location is unknown.

Today man is still living outside Eden. And to be outside of Eden is to be living in the place that is cursed, a place of sickness, disease, sorrow, pain, suffering, betrayal, disappointment and death; it is a struggle merely to live. Life is tragic, and for the reflective person there is growing psychological and intellectual anguish as the realization of the tragic nature of life is more and more understood. When one begins to understand the theological dimensions of life’s tragic existence, one becomes pressed down with personal guilt and the realization that outside Eden is not home. We are living in an alien land.

Outside Eden, as well as inside Eden, man is totally dependent upon God; if anything good is to come to man in the world, it will be of God and from God. Man cannot return to nor restore paradise.

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