30 September 2017

Genesis 3:22-24

"Then the Lord God said, 'See, the man has become like one of us, knowing good and evil; and now, he might reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever.'" (v. 22)

Psalm: Psalm 92



God called to the man in the garden saying, "Where are you?" (Genesis 3:9). The response from Adam was that he had hidden out of fear of God and from the recognition that he was naked.

In a way this question, "Where are you?" is God's perpetual question to human beings, who, from the very start, have insisted on going their own way. Yes, God's creatures insist on going their own way, but as both Old and New Testament Scriptures bear witness, God does not, at any point, give up on them but seeks them out and cares for them.

God went the extra mile to make leather garments for the naked Adam and Eve (Genesis 3:21) having taken pity on them and their paltry efforts to make clothing out of fig leaves (Genesis 3:7).

Yet this chapter also provides an explanation of why human life is not easy or comfortable. The effects of human disobedience, according to Genesis 3:16-17, impact differently on men and women. For Eve and those who followed her, the penalty of disobedience will be the pain of childbirth and for Adam and those who follow him, it will be that work will (at times) become a wearying toil.

Then at the end of the chapter there is a reference about the other tree in the garden, the tree of life.

Adam and Eve seem not to have touched this tree - perhaps they were waiting and would only be tempted to do so when they felt their life coming to an end. God, we read, stopped them from eating the tree of life … and this is hardly surprising. How deeply troubling it would be if people who had declared their independence of God went on living for ever.

To Ponder

  • Do you experience moments when God is seeking you and asking, "where are you?"? What is your response?
  • The tree of life - it seems we are now trying to manufacture the fruits of this tree so that we go on living longer and longer. Do you see this as a benefit or as a problem? Why?

Bible notes author

The Revd Jennifer Potter

The Revd Jennifer Potter is a Methodist minister at Wesley's Chapel, City Road, London. Prior to being appointed to serve there she worked in the Connexional Team from 1996-2002 as the secretary for international affairs.