Missing the Tree (Genesis 3 in Meta-Narrative)

It is no secret, I have a chemical addiction.  I take fish oil for inflammation.  I take CoQ10 for . . .well, honestly I have no idea why I take it.  I wash my hair with an expensive shampoo called Nioxin that is supposed to keep your hair from falling out.  I use a facial moisturizer in the mornings with an SPF of 30 because the sun makes my rosacea flare up.  I take some sort of famotadine tablet every morning or everything I eat makes me miserable.  In the past I have had a prescription for a statin drug to reduce my cholesterol . . .which reminds me of why I take CoQ10.  If I don’t take cholesterol medicine I may die from a heart attack.  If I don’t take CoQ10 I may die from cholesterol medicine.

Before we lost the garden all we had to take to keep us alive was the fruit God offered us on the Tree of Life.  I indicated in my previous post that I’m not sure how it worked, whether we exported it or if we were able to root it in other places on the planet, but it was the fruit of the tree of life that made us live forever.  Tree of Life was the ultimate antioxidant!  When man sinned against God he not only drove us out of the garden, but he guarded the way back to the tree of life with cherubim and a flaming sword that turned every way (Gen. 3:24).  Apparently if any man tried to get back to the tree some angel would go Braveheart on his head.

We desperately miss that tree.

Life since the tree has, ironically, given us the snake oil salesman.  Satan told us that we could sin against God and not die and we are still buying his goods.  Old Westerns are full of the scene of the snake oil salesman offering his miracle liniment on the back of a wagon.  It was a cheap price for the perfect concoction guaranteed to “cure what ails you.”  We think ourselves to be more sophisticated now – au contraire!

We are still enamored with the possibilities of the snake oil salesman.  I give you Oprah and every doctor spinoff show she has brought to us – sorry Dr. Oz, cool show, you seem to be a cool doctor, but we all know behind the curtain of the health care industry is a line of pharmaceutical companies and snake oil salesman competing to get you to pitch their product.  Such is the nature of life in Oz, smoke and mirrors masked by fear.

The next time you are in the grocery store checkout line count how many “garden” variety stories compete for your attention.  On one mag rack we will have the temptation story played out over and over again in the latest affair, scandal, and gossip.  We still like to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil don’t we?  On another mag rack you will see headlines that generally promise the same result “Look Younger”, “Feel Stronger”, “Live Longer.”  Eat this – don’t eat that.  Exercise 10 minutes a day – no an hour – no thirty minutes.  Don’t you want the perfect body!?!?!?  You bet I do – the problem is that I was born with this one and I could drink 100 gallons of Acacia berry from Oprah and my stupid hair will still fall out, my cholesterol will be out of control, and if statin drugs don’t kill me an overdose of CoQ10 probably will!

I miss the tree, don’t you?

As bad as life is in exile, there is some grace from God as we die trying to recover what we lost in the tree.  The reason God blocked our way back to the tree was so that we wouldn’t live forever.  Where is the grace in that?  Think about it.  God is not against us living forever.  What we lost in the tree of life is regained in Christ.  In the Son of God we have what we lost, eternal life.  The point of guarding our way back to the tree of life was so that we wouldn’t live forever like this.  “Like this” meaning in sin.  Who would want to live forever with our deceitful, conniving, rebellious, violent, lewd, manipulative, arrogant, hateful, envious, jealous, narcissistic selves?  We can be great, but we can also be bad.  God didn’t want us to be bad forever.

So God provided a way for us to be redeemed from our sinful selves.  Unfortunately the way to life required death.  How do we not only get life back, but righteous life?  Several things happen at the end of the garden scene that set the tone for the rest of the meta-narrative.

God gave us a glimmer of hope in the curse.  A son will be born of the woman.  Satan will harm him.  He will bruise the heal.  But the son will recover and inflict a defeating blow to Satan.  He will crush your head (Gen. 3:15).  This is the first mention of the gospel.  It is here that the meta-narrative of the Bible finds traction.  We seek a life giving son.  Adam understood this.  As we close the scene on the garden Adam changes the name of his wife to Eve because according to the promise of God, “she is the mother of all living (Gen. 3:20).  God takes animal skin and clothes, or covers, or atones for Adam and his wife (Gen. 3:21).    

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