Sin In The Garden

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Where did sin originate? This question often arises. It is true the word “sin” first appears in Genesis 4:7 in connection with Cain and Abel’s individual attempts to worship God. But the first sinful act preceded that event. The first sin committed by humans took place in a garden – the garden of Eden (Genesis 3:1-6). This garden was most likely located in the territory of present Iraq, at the place where the Euphrates-Tigris river branches out (cf. Genesis 2:14).

Each time I read about the garden of Eden, the man-made garden Isabella Plantation comes to mind. Established in the early 19th century, and located in Richmond Park in south west London, Isabella plantation is of an exquisite floral beauty. Now, imagine the “garden of God” (Ezekiel 28:13). Because God made it, it must have been a site of absolute beauty. The prophets Isaiah, Ezekiel and Joel all mention it in their writings as a place of delight. In fact, the word for “Eden” in Hebrew, the original language of the Old testament, conveys this idea of blissful joy.

 

But sin entered that place which had become the habitation of Adam and Eve, respectively the first male and female God created. It did when the first human couple ate the fruit of a tree in the garden that God forbade them to eat, that is the tree of knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2:17). The serpent, representing Satan or the devil, sneak up on Eve and started talking to her. During the conversation, the reptile caused her to doubt God’s instruction concerning the forbidden fruit, then enticed her to covet it. The devil also convinced the woman that the fruit had the power to make both companions become “like God, knowing good and evil” (Genesis 3:5). At that point, the Bible says, “she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate.” It was pleasant to look upon, good to eat and desired to make one wise.

 

Adam and his wife chose to listen to the serpent rather than continue to abide by what God had said about the fruit. The Lord God had said, "Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die" (Genesis 2:16-17). We learn in the New Testament that a breach of God’s law constitutes sin. John wrote, “sin is the transgression of the law [God’s law, emphasis CC]” (1 John 3:4). 

It is clear that human sin began with Adam and Eve. It came into the world when they freely, personally, and responsibly violated God’s command with a clear understanding of the consequences. With their transgression death also entered the universe. We read in Genesis 5:5 that “all the days that Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty years: and he died.” It is important to note that more than physical death is meant here. Death is described, in the New Testament, as a spiritual condition. Paul said of the Ephesians that they were in time past dead in their “trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1). The reason is that sin separates man from God (Isaiah 59:1-2) and causes him to die spiritually as God is the source of spiritual life (John 1:4).

Consequently, Adam and Eve could no longer have fellowship with God. Because sin is the opposite of the holiness of God as well as His excellent moral character, the Lord would not henceforth suffer to have direct verbal communication with the couple.

 

We should by way of conclusion insist on the fact that God did not ordain man to die. Instead, the Creator put Adam and Eve in a perfect garden to be His companions. There He also put the tree of life, and each time they ate of it, their bodies were renewed in strength so that they wouldn't age and suffer from illnesses and diseases. That was God’s love in action. The great divine love was once again demonstrated when God sent his Son Jesus Christ to die for sin in order to bridge the chasm between Him and man, and thus save humanity from eternal death and damnation.

 

Constant Coulibaly 

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