The Gospel According to Trees - Part 2
From the opening pages of Genesis to the last page of Revelation, trees or derivatives of trees feature
prominently as trail markers, outlining the story of God's creative and redemptive love. At the center of the tree-filled garden where God placed Adam and Eve were two notable trees. Adam and Eve are invited to eat freely of the Tree of Life, partaking of God's own eternal life; a life of truth, beauty, love, goodness, justice and righteousness. But God warns them not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, lest apart from God, they become subject to decay and death. Created by God’s own hand and enlivened by His own breath, we were designed for life together sustained by God. When our oldest ancestors succumbed to the serpent's temptation to pursue knowledge, wisdom and life apart from God, the results were tragic.
Afraid and ashamed, Adam & Eve hid behind the very trees, where they used to walk with God. They tried to cover their shame with fig leaves, “undressing” the very trees they were charged to keep and “dress”. God finds them and announces the catastrophic fruit of their choice. Their relationship with God, creation and one another was fractured and distorted. In a painful but necessary act of love, God evicts Adam and Eve from the garden and cuts off access to the tree of life, safeguarding creation from an immortalized sinful humanity.
We still feel the pull to seek life apart from God. We experience the brokenness of sin in our own relationships and perpetuate brokenness through our own self seeking instincts. We read about and live through horrific tragedies, we battle diseases and mourn the death of those we love. We know deeply, the world is not as it ought to be. Our instinct is to blame causes "out there". But much of what we see in the world is a reflection of the sin that exists in our own hearts. We pursue some form of salvation through technological advancements inhabited in metal and synthetic materials.
Despite our ever increasing knowledge our world exists in a cycle of brokenness. We cannot save ourselves… Yet God’s grace abounds. Just as God sought Adam and Eve while hiding in shame, God seeks us out. Along with the pronouncement of sin’s curse, God promises redemption. In Genesis 3:15 God pronounces that Eve’s seed will defeat the seed of the serpent, crushing its head. While God has to evict Adam and Eve from the garden, God promises to meet our need of a Savior to overcome our sin and reunite us with His tree of life.