By David Stahl

When we see man and woman in the garden eastward from Eden (Genesis 2:8) it was the best of times and it was the worst of times.  It was the best of times when God would talk with man and even walk with him in the cool of the day (Genesis 3:8).  After God created man He was constantly communicating and communing with man. God has always had a longing in His heart to be with man. God is ever building an eternal habitation for Himself in man (Ephesians 2:22).  So God created man, planted a garden, and put man in it so that man could come to know his creator in a personal and intimate way. Many Christians like to believe the garden was about a perfect place a real paradise for man to frolic in; well it had nothing to do with a life of pleasure and ease Adam had in the garden, but everything to do with man coming to know a holy God, his creator. In Genesis Moses writes, “And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.”  (Genesis 2:15)  The word “dress” (Strong’s #5647) means to labor and work and the word “keep” (Strong’s # 8104) means to guard, observe, and to take heed.  I believe Adam had no easy life in the garden he was working from sun up to sun down. Only the lazy and shiftless would want to believe Adam just played around all day. What would be better than coming to know God? After all God gave Adam and Eve all that they needed to survive, but they wanted more knowledge. Now that leads us to the worse of times for all of mankind. Sadly what Adam went after “knowledge” is what they lost.  In Genesis we read, “And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.”  (Genesis 3:7) The word “knew” (Strong’s #3045) means to gain knowledge and learn to know.  Adam and Eve went after the knowledge to know and learn the things God had already given them and lost the knowledge of God.  Man did not lose salvation nor did man lose the love of God for them, but what man lost was the knowledge of God and his way.  Man lost his way back to the heart of the Father because of sin.  We will read this truth in Romans. Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, 23And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.” (Romans 1:21-23)

And because of this (it is all about the choice we make) God rewarded man with, “Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: 25Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.”  (Romans 1:24-25) Adam disobeyed God, “And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat:  17But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.”  (Genesis 2:16-17)  The death God was talking about was not a physical death, but the death that comes to us when we disobey God, when we do that which God tells us not to do, then we like Adam and Eve (and all who rebel against God’s word), “neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.” Adam had the potential to know God in a way that no other creature created by God could, but because of His disobedience He lost the knowledge of God (who God was intimately to him) and it seems Adam had no desire to gain that back. Adam seemed to be more satisfied with the things God created than God the creator. Adam’s heart seemed to be unworthy and his heart seemed to be filled with a huge emptiness of life’s detractions.  This is so true for all of us.  Isaiah said, “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way;  . . .’  (Isaiah 53:6)  Like Adam when we are disobedient to God (and we know it like Adam and Eve when we are) we lose God’s way and turn to our way.  When this happens (just like with Adam and Eve) our salvation can be lost if we never get back to God and make things right (confession and repentance) with Him and others if need be. At the heart of Adam and Eve’s salvation was the knowledge of God and in the garden they lost this knowledge.  Man now needed God to set up an arrangement, some form of ritual worship by way of sacrifice to replace the knowledge they lost and for 1,000s of years man continued in this tradition until Jesus Christ made His appearance on the scene to be the supreme sacrifice for all of mankind and to be the conduit of the lost knowledge of God and a way back to the heart of the Father.  For this to happen we must come to know the LORD, this is why I say one cannot be truly be saved unless we come to know God. Oh yes God will forgive us of our sins based on the work of Christ on the cross if we believe, but unless we really come to know God, unless we really posses the knowledge of God (who He is and how much He loves us) we will never ever experience salvation as God intends for us.  My friend salvation is far more than just having our sins forgiven.  Jesus prayed, “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. 4I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do. 5And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.” (John 17:3-5) Did you get that?  Eternal life is not living forever, but “that they might know thee the only true God.”  Eternal life is knowing God. For us “eternal life” is finding what Adam lost in the garden, the knowledge of God.   

Many Christians believe God was angry with Adam and Eve and kicked them out of the garden because of their disobedience, but not so.  The Bible tells us why Adam and Eve was driven out of the garden, “And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever: 23Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken. 24So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.”  (Genesis 3:22-24)  In love God drove Adam and Eve from the garden so that they would not eat of the “tree of life” and live forever in this state of the loss of knowledge of God. It was not to punish them and most certainly not because He did not love them.  It was outside the garden that led our way back to the heart of the Father.  It was outside the garden God made a way for man to once again commune and communicate with God.  In the next Chapter we read where God established a way to start to get back the knowledge that Adam lost.  We read, And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the LORD.  2And she again bare his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground.   3And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD.”  (Genesis 4:1-3) Sometime between getting driven out of the garden and Cain slaying Abel God established this process.  Notice God was not angry with man God even talks with man to resolve some man-made problems, And the LORD said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother’s keeper? 10And he said, What hast thou done? the voice of thy brother’s blood crieth unto me from the ground.”  (Genesis 4:9-10)  If God was angry He would not have found time to talk with man nor make a way to restore fellowship, but God loves man very much.  No matter what man does or says God still loves man and will make a way to have communion with man.  This wrong thinking is as bad as some Christians thinking God (the Father) forsook Jesus on the cross because of the sin He took on Himself.  Many Christians believe God could not look at Jesus on the cross in sin so He turned His back on Him, well this does not make much sense because God (all time long) looks at our sin and the sin of the world. God did not forsake His Son Jesus on the cross I believe He was cheering Him on.   God has never forsaken man (and He never will) so most certainly God would never forsake His own Son. Yes it is true on the cross Jesus did say, “My God my God why has thou forsaken me,” but these words come out from a place Jesus has never been before, a place of non-dependence on the Father. Jesus has always been dependent on the Father for everything, but now Jesus finds Himself doing completely what the Father has asked Him to do, His purpose to be the sacrifice for all of mankind.  No longer is the process God established (way back before the fourth Chapter of Genesis) needed to reconcile man back to Himself.  No longer is spilled animal blood good enough as a sacrifice required to restore the knowledge lost by Adam in the garden, because the King of kings and LORD of lords shed His blood once and for all and for all. Jesus became an equal member with the Father in the Trinity.  Paul tells us talking of Jesus, “Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. 9Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: 10That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;” (Philippians 2:6-10) God never forsook Jesus He “highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:” I believe God (The Father) was up in heaven saying that is my Son in whom I am well pleased, die my Son so many may live.  Die well my Son so I can give them a divine power, a hope, so that many people can come to the knowledge of Me again.  Peter tells us, “According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:  4Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.  (2 Peter 1:3-4) God has given us “all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him.” Did you get that?  Through the knowledge of Him!  In other words through the knowledge of God we have “all things” so that we “might be partakers of the divine nature” (who’s nature? God’s nature) so we can “escape the corruption that is in the world through lust.” The more of the knowledge we have of God the more of the worldly lust we will be able to escape. If we lack the knowledge of God like Adam then we shall only know things about earthly life and never come to eternal life which is God’s intention for us.