In trembling hands, the fruit rolled off his fingers and dropped to the ground. The fruit had an overpowering taste that was different than anything he had eaten before. And yet, no sooner had he tasted the sweet juices of the fruit than he was filled with a bitterness that reached deep into his soul. No one needed tell him what had just happened. It was all too painfully clear as a new sensation arose within him. What was it? Though he had never even thought of such a word, “guilt” seemed to be appropriate description of what he was feeling. It seemed to become apart of his innate knowledge of himself. The fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, did indeed impart a deep knowledge. The knowledge itself was of no abstract theoretical type. It was experiential knowledge, yet very lopsided. It seemed to only impart a knowledge of evil. Wasn’t it the tree of the knowledge of good just as much as it was the tree of the knowledge of evil? But of course it was. Every time he had passed this tree and looked upon its fruit and remembered the command of the Lord, he immediately gave thanks for God’s warning, and rejoiced in the abundant beautiful life in the garden. It was the experiential knowledge of good received by NOT eating its fruit.
With that, another emotion flooded his soul, “remorse”, “regret”. His heart tightened as tears tried to well up, yet were choked back by a numbness that encompassed his whole body. His mind was ringing with questions, questions without answers. And yet they all came down to one question, “Why?”. He had always passed the tree without even a desire to touch the forbidden fruit. Then it returned to him. The explanation had flowed smoothly and enticingly from her lips. However, it was hardly convincing. No, it was the look. Standing there, looking into her eyes, he perceived that there was a profound secret she knew and was offering him. He saw what appeared to be an ancient wisdom. Her poise, her lips, her outstretched hand all conveyed the sense of her new found attainment. His protests jumbled in meaningless babble. Deep inside he understood that, if he did not partake he would be forever separated from the one he loved and treasured. What else did he have in this garden, besides her? No sooner had a concern for her arose than another desire commanded his attention. She had been his equal in all things and yet now she had attained a position of superiority. He felt simplistic, subjugated before her knowledge. He saw that this attainment was also now within his grasp as it was now resting in hers. Impulsively he grabbed, knowing full well the reality of the consequences.
Guilt, regret, remorse, another feeling quickly followed. An urge to run, to flee, but from what, from whom? Fear gripped his heart as the security and peace of mind that he had once had was quickly a fading memory. The words “you shall surely die” rang in his ear as the reverberation of a funeral bell. Naked and scared, he stood trembling in the warm tropical air of the garden. He dared not lift his gaze lest his eyes meet hers. Frantic, he scans the landscape for cover–anything to relieve his anxiety.
Entering the thick foliage, he is cognizant of her presence as she follows him deeper into the brush. Why won’t she leave him alone? He turns to see her, a miserable reflection of his own state. Her contorted facial features were far removed from the soft lines that had once so enraptured him. No words are passed as pangs of sympathy well up in his heart. He had a desire to make it better, yet knew that what they had done had been irrevocable. He felt totally helpless. Silently they sat, stitching and weaving together what suitable leaves they could find. The work was frustrating and tedious and the results were far from satisfactory.
Adam had a strong desire to sleep in hopes of awakening from this night mare. His thoughts were shattered as they heard the Lord walking through the garden. They dared not speak and hoped that the Lord would just walk by. However, the Lord spoke. His voice resounded with authority commanding full obedience. The will to resist melted into submission, as Adam stepped out with his wife to confront the inevitable. The feelings of guilt, regret and fear multiplied in the presence of the Lord’s holy light. Doom and despair overwhelmed him. The only thread of hope hung on the note of sorrow and love contained within the voice of the Lord as the ominous judgments were pronounced.
Condemned and forlorn, they left the garden. His shame-filled soul grasped for some ray of hope. His mind continually returned to the words “her seed”. The saying was enigmatic and he could little guess the significance of its secrets. However, instinctively he understood that somewhere in these words hung the hope of all mankind. The hope gave him strength as he gently put his arm around Eve. They walked on to face the strange new world before them. It wouldn’t be easy, but somehow God would make a way. Paradise was lost, yet faith was born.
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