I’ve often wondered why we all have to pay for Adam and Eve’s stupidity in the Garden of Eden. It wasn’t our fault what they did, so why should we be penalized for the choices they made?
But along comes the pandemic to help us realize why. It’s because we’re just as stupid as they were. And if that’s taken as an insult, then a quick revisit to what happened in the Garden of Eden Is in order, right?
God offered Adam and Eve two choices: the knowledge of good and evil on the one hand, and “life” on the other. The first choice went the route of experimentation, the second the route of certainty. “Life” meant there’d be nothing humans did that would kill them, which clearly required God’s personal guidance and constant help. But what could be better than being taught and mentored by the one who created them so they never made a mistake that was fatal or even risked injury? This way they were guaranteed absolute safety and they really could “live forever” without risk or danger (Genesis 3:22).
The route of experimentation, however, was full of hazards, like trying to figure out which mushrooms were “good” and which mushrooms were “evil.” Or in our terms today, which medications are “safe” and which ones are risky. It’s like stepping through a minefield, and pity the people who first ate a poisoned mushroom or volunteered for an experimental vaccine to see if it was safe, because what other way did they have of knowing if it was safe or not, other than experimentation?
There’s a garden in England today that’s dedicated entirely to poisonous plants, some of which are so deadly they have a cage round them. Imagine being the first person, then, to try one. Maybe like Eve they see the plant as “good for food and pleasing to the eye,” but it turns out it has serious adverse effects, including a nasty death.
No wonder God advised Adam and Eve not to go that route, and especially when it came to making life choices, because one bad step in the minefield and one’s life becomes a nightmare of troubles. It’s like those who get into extreme sports and break all sorts of bones but recover, which makes them think they’re invincible, only to have those injuries cripple them in later life.
It’s a life of Russian roulette, never knowing if our choices are right for us or wrong, just like taking an experimental drug that offers no proof of long term safety, and no liability for adverse effects either.
But that was the route Adam and Eve chose, believing by this route they would “gain wisdom” (Genesis 3:6). It’s almost laughable if it wasn’t so sad.
And that sadness has continued ever since too, as we blindly stumble from one experiment to another in how we stop a pandemic or prevent global warming, or to see if a drug is safe or not by horrible experiments on animals. And discover that nothing we do works without there being adverse effects, or unknown dangers. What a way to live.
So why don’t we consult God for his help and guidance? But Adam and Eve didn’t do that either. Confronted by the serpent with an alternative to God and they immediately went along with it. No questions asked, no “Eve, my dear, do you think we ought to get God’s input on this first?” Just believe the serpent’s propaganda and don’t even seek advice or ask for evidence to support it.
How sad, and how sad it is that God has the solution to pandemics, global warming and preservation of health, but who today wants to know what God thinks? We’d rather believe we have enough wisdom of our own to save ourselves. No wonder God told the Israelites “Choose life,” meaning trust him, because without his help and guidance we do end up in awful – and deadly – muddles.
But at least we’re left in no doubt that the Garden of Eden story was true, because we’re still in it today, making the same stupid choices Adam and Eve made, and with the same consequences too. But thanks to Jesus the life of certainty in the Garden of Eden is still on offer too.