Shame in the Garden

November 16th, 2018 Posted in Uncategorized

It started so well, the relationship between our first parents and God. Each day, the Book of Genesis suggests, God, Adam, and Eve would meet in the afternoon breeze to spend time with each other talking, listening and walking through Eden.

One day, God came as usual, but Adam and Eve weren’t there. So God called out, “Adam/Eve where are you?” And they came out of hiding, wearing loincloths they had made out of fig leaves because they were afraid that God would see them in their nakedness. So God asked them, “Who told you were naked?that is, “Who told you that you should be ashamed of who you are and be afraid to stand in my presence?

What had happened, of course, is that Adam and Eve had disobeyed God’s commandment not to eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, thus breaking the bond of trust and intimacy they had with God. They must have thought the shame they felt towards themselves would be just a pale reflection of the disappointment and anger God would surely feel towards them.

So when God told them they would have to leave the Garden, they might have not been surprised; it’s even possible they had on their own decided they could no longer remain. After all, how could they stay with a God who had been so loving and generous toward them and whom they had disobeyed so callously?

But if that was what they thought (and we think), that only shows how wrong human beings are when it comes to understanding God’s love. We may think God’s response to sin is anger and punishment. But by contemplating Jesus on the cross we might begin to glimpse the amazing truth that God’s response to our sin is not disgust with us or a desire to punish, but, instead, a selfless act of love which God will never go back on, even if we don’t deserve such love or fully comprehend it.

Jesus’ life, death and resurrection show us that we may turn away from God, but God never turns away from us. And if we turn back to God, we will find welcome into a new and everlasting Eden of love and friendship with God, and there will be no more sin or shame.

 

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