I was up in my bedroom one evening with the new knife that my parents had entrusted with, and I was cutting a cardboard box. All of a sudden the knife slipped, and I stabbed myself in the leg. Oh no! I’m cut I thought to myself, and our family was just getting ready to leave the house for a school play. I wasn’t sure what to do! I couldn’t ruin our plans, and I’d been cut before, and cuts always heal up, so I thought I wouldn’t worry anybody with it, I’d just put a band-aid on it and go to the play with my family. We went to the play, it ended, I checked my cut, and it hadn’t healed at all, so I started to worry about it. As I worried, and tried to think of how I could fix this mess, I figured that the only way to fix it would be to show it to my dad. When he saw it he scolded me for not showing him right away, and took me to his office to get stitches. I knew I was in good hands when my dad was fixing me up. You see, when I was young, I looked up to my dad like he could do nothing wrong. My dad knew everything about everything. Us kids could ask him any question and he would have the answer. He was the best doctor in town, the best driver. I remember speeding around the corners of the windy road that led to our house in my dad’s sports car, just totally relaxed, wishing he would go faster, because I knew that my dad had it under control. He was the one that, when me and my brother played football, would always be able to go out for a pass, stick his high arms up, and catch the ball…and there was nothing we could do about it. I remember what it was like walking into my dad’s doctor’s office…in the waiting room was a bunch of patients there to see my dad, and all around in the office were all of dad’s employees. I knew that my dad did an important work, and yet when I went into the office building I could walk straight past all the patients and employees, into my dad’s private office and he’d be dressed in his white doctor’s coat, always be happy to see me, and eager to go home. “Oh, I only have five patients left, and then I get to go home with you guys.” He was the one who loved me, and who would stand up for his kids. I admired my dad so much! He was the one who knew everything about sports, cars, politics, finances, and God, and I believed everything that he told me. I had a perfect trust in my dad, and I knew that he delighted in it, and loved the fact that with perfect trust, I admired him.
When Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit in the garden of Eden, they lost all that. They lost that perfect trust that God had created them with. What had God done for them? He’d taken six days to create a world for them, and who knows how long He spent planning it. Genesis 2:8 says that God planted a garden for them! What would a garden be like that God planted. When my friend Abbey was here we went to the botanical garden in San Antonio, and we both agreed that it was a slight taste of heaven, but that’s a garden that man planted. What would a garden be like that God planted? He planted the Garden of Eden for them. The word Eden in Hebrew means “pleasure”. God created a garden of pleasure for Adam and Eve. When God made Eden, He created more than just a functional system…He’s more than just an engineer, but an artist with a lover’s heart. In fact, after God had spent six days making everything that He’d made, during those six days, Gen. 1-2 says that God created…God moved upon…God called…God made…God… divided…God…gathered together…God formed…God breathed, and after those six days, He sat back and said, this is good…the word good has a richer meaning than just good, when God said this is good, He meant, “beautiful, bountiful, cheerful, fair, fine, joyful, kindly, loving, pleasant, wealthy…good” all these are implied in the Hebrew word for good. Creation was good because God had carefully crafted everything for Adam and Eve’s pleasure and enjoyment.
Adam and Eve had that perfect trust in God, and God delighted in their trust. I can imagine God when He was creating the earth thinking in His heart, Oh Eve is gonna love this! She’s gonna love it, she’s gonna love it! It’s so juicy, and fresh! It’s sweet and satisfying. The peach! I’ll put a little fuzz on its skin; I’ll make it yellow, red, pink, and orange, and in the middle of it I’ll put the power for it to create more of itself! Hmmm…I’ll put it on a tree! Eve is going to love this! Oh, and Adam, Adam…I’m going to form him with my own hands…Adam. I’m going to give him the perfect gift. He’ll delight in it, the passion of men, Eve, woman. Read Genesis 2:22-24 (God makes Eve). Adam’s gonna love it, he’s going to love her! I’ve made everything perfect so that Adam and Eve will delight in Me because I delight in them! Genesis 2:25 makes the point that they were naked but not ashamed. They had no reason to find fault, because everything that God had done for them was good, and therefore they had perfect trust in Him.
I can still remember a day when I knew my trust in my dad was gone. Most of the exact words that I shouted at my dad are blotted from my memory, but I remember the gist of the anger. I felt like he was trying to control my life. I had plans for the summer, and I felt like he was intruding on them. “I don’t want to live at home anymore!” I shouted. I want to go to boarding school. I don’t want to live at home anymore. I can’t think of a bigger insult to your parents who have given you their all in raising you. It’s basically saying, “I don’t love you anymore. I want you out of my life.” I don’t know how it happened, but slowly I started realizing that I didn’t think the same way about my dad as I used to. Instead of looking up to him I started seeing only his flaws. The way he acted around my friends was all wrong and embarrassing, the way he treated me was selfish and immature, he was in denial in his relationship with God, he isolated himself from other people, he was no good at sports, he was a terrible driver, and his jokes that I used to laugh at weren’t funny anymore. Somehow that perfect trust that I had for my dad was gone, and I no longer looked up to him. Once it was gone, it wasn’t easy to get back. You see, it seemed I’d been deceived in my youth, and the picture of my dad that I trusted and admired was all a lie. This ate away at my dad. The admiration that he used to delight in, was now something that brought pain and sorrow to his heart. Which perception of my dad was the truth? I was convinced that it was the one I currently held.
That’s what happened in the garden of Eden when Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit. Read Genesis 3:1 (the Serpent confronts Eve) “Indeed! Has God said”. He’s subtly trying to make God appear as arbitrary, placing restrictions on Adam and Eve for no good reason. Indeed, has God said, subtly insinuating, “I know better than that, everyone knows better than that, you know better than that.” God’s just trying to take away your fun, to steal your enjoyment, to place unnecessary restrictions on you. The serpent twists God’s straight word of truth, misquoting God just enough to make Him seem restrictive, planting a seed of doubt and curiosity in Eve, and in us. Read Genesis 3:2-3 (Eve listens to the serpents “suggestions”) But Eve had listened to the serpent’s deceptions; a seed of curiosity and doubt had been sown, and then, when that seed has been sown he strikes! “You will not surely die!” (from Genesis 3:4) Sin does not hurt you. Anger does not burn inside you. Greed will not consume you. Lust will not entangle you. Pride will not corrupt you. You will not surely die! Laziness will not make you weak. Alcohol will not steal your life. Your parents don’t know what they’re talking about. You will not surely die! You’re fine just as you are, you have no need to grow. Your faith in god won’t change your life in every way. Just pray and read your Bible every now and then, go to church, and leave it at that. You will not surely die! Read Genesis 3:5, “For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
The woman took the fruit…and their trust in God (wwooooshttt) was gone (From Genesis 3:6). You can’t trust a God who’s not really looking out for you. In heaven God wept. Adam, Adam, my son Adam. Eve, Eve, what have you done…just like David after his son Absolom who was seeking David’s life, was killed in battle, David wept for him saying Absolom, my son, my son Absolom, God wept for the lost couple. Adam, Eve.
There are many military operations that the term D-Day had been designated for. D-Day simply means the day on which a military operation begins. But because one of these battles stands out so vividly in history, the term D-Day is now generally used only to refer to it: June 6, 1944; the day when allied forces invaded the beaches of Normandy. Four days after D-Day a German soldier, Franz Gockel wrote to his family describing it. “We shot at everything that moved. The beach was soon covered with the bodies of American soldiers.” Maybe some of you have seen the opening scene of the movie Saving Private Ryan, Hollywood’s vivid depiction of what it was like on that day to be an American soldier who arrived on an armored passenger transport by sea, but when the big armored door was lowered to instantly have hundreds of shots fired at you, and to see the men in front of you fall to their death. 425,000 Allied and German troops were killed, wounded, or went missing in action. Over 53,000 Allied troops were reported as killed, all on one fateful day. That same year, Herbert Hoover made the quote, “Older men declare war, but it is youth that must fight and die. And it is youth who must inherit the tribulation, the sorrow, and the triumphs that are the aftermath of war. Now, 27 war cemeteries hold the remains of over 110,000 soldiers from both sides. To experience so many lost lives on one day is almost beyond our comprehension, but the truth of the matter is that regardless of the loss of life suffered on D-Day, the loss suffered that day in the garden of Eden when Adam and Eve ate the fruit was even greater. It was the beginning and the foundation for every loss, every act of crime, of every violent death that this planet has faced. They didn’t realize the full significance of what it means to cut off trust in God and disobey Him. Because God realized the full significance of Adam and Eve’s act, He wept. Read Genesis 3:7 They saw that they were naked. Their eyes were opened… to evil, to distrust. Their eyes were opened, and they now saw through the eyes of the serpent. Because God knew that they were no longer fully His, He mourned, and He went to see them.
Read Genesis 3:8 (Adam and Eve hide from God) They believed that God was someone who was only looking out for His own good, and when they looked at themselves, at what they had done, that they had betrayed Him, they were afraid! They ran and hid themselves from the presence of God. Trust was gone, guilt, fear, and rebellion sprang up! Then God called them in a way that made them come out of their hiding place. Read Genesis 3:9 (God calls to Adam and Eve) Where are you (a whisper). If He’d have raised His voice or sounded angry, they’d never have come out, but He drew them out with love.
Read Genesis 3:10-11 (God questions Adam and Eve) “Who told you that?” God responded. Who told you that you were naked? I didn’t tell you that. Who told you that? Who told you that you were fat? I didn’t tell you that. Who told you that you couldn’t reach your dreams? I didn’t tell you that. Who told you that? Who told you that you weren’t smart? I didn’t tell you that. Who told you that you weren’t popular? I didn’t tell you that. Who told you that you weren’t athletic enough? I didn’t tell you that. Who told you that? Who told you that you didn’t fit in, that you weren’t good enough? I didn’t tell you that. Who told you that? I didn’t tell you that. Who told you that if you don’t love me I’ll kill you? I didn’t tell you that. Who told you that?
Satan’s whole efforts in getting us to sin are aimed at breaking down our trust in God, destroying our relationship with the Father. Sin isn’t simply breaking a lifeless set of rules written on paper or engraved in stone. Sin is breaking of God’s heart, piercing His living pulsating love, violating His selfless devotion, taunting in His tear-streaked face, “You live for me, but I’m going to live for myself. I don’t love You, so get out of my life.” What is it like to love someone with all the energy of your very life, only to have them despise you in return? My dad knows. I’m sure there are many fathers out there who can relate to what God’s gone through because the devil keeps on doing what he did in the very beginning of creation: breaking down the trust, tearing apart the relationships. In order for Adam and Eve to eat the fruit that God had commanded them not to eat, in order for them to commit that act of disobedience, their trust in God must first have been severed by the Devil’s lies. They exchanged the truth about God for a lie. (Rom. 1:24-25) There was only one way to restore humanity’s trust in God.
I was golfing one day and one of my shots landed really close to a tree. As I was swinging to hit the ball away from the tree, on my follow through the club hit the tree, and snap! The club’s shaft snapped. It didn’t just go back together. I couldn’t just go… “Let me fix that…poof!” No, there’s a process involved in joining metal to metal. You can’t just press it together and trust it will hold once it’s been broken. Just so in our relationship with Christ. Once it had been broken…
There was only one remedy for the situation, only one way to fix the broken relationship and restore the wounded trust. God had to bring them back to the truth about Himself to set them free. Jn. 1 speaking of Jesus says that in Him was life, and that life was the Light of men. The light shines in the darkness and the darkness did not comprehend it. Light makes it so we can see. The truth that Jesus brought us shined light through all the lies that the Devil had created. Jesus made it so we can see God for who He really is. That’s why Jesus said in John 14:6 “I am the way the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father but by me.” We won’t come to the Father unless we know the truth about the Father. The truth about the Father is the way to the Father, and a relationship with Him is life. And that’s all tied up in Jesus revelation of God to the world. 2 Corinthians 4:4 says that the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
This story that I’m going to tell you is not a true story, but you could say that it’s based on many true situations. It comes from the movie American History X. It’s a story that touches close to many real life experiences. Derek’s father was killed trying to put out a fire in a crack house in an African American neighborhood. Derek slowly grew to hate “blacks”, and eventually he was controlled by hatred for minority races, especially blacks. He knew that they used their minority position to take away the rights of the whites, so he joined a group of Neo-Nazi skinheads. One night he heard a noise outside his house, and two African Americans were stealing his truck. He ran outside with his handgun in a fit of rage. The thieves were unarmed, but Derek shot and killed one of them, then at gunpoint made the other one put his mouth on the curb, and when the police were just down the street, he stomped on the young man’s head until he killed him. When Derek went to jail, he tried to befriend other Neo-Nazi types. But he found himself being betrayed by the very type of prejudice people that he loyally supported. He didn’t have any friends, and was miserable. But there was one man who reached out to him, a young African American inmate. Broken as he was, he tried to resist, but slowly this black man earned Derek’s trust. Derek got out of prison after only a short time, but learned that his new friend was locked up for a much longer sentence for merely trying to steal a TV. It struck Derek that the system that he hated so much due to the minoritie’s abuse was really more fair to him than to the minorities. He left prison a new man, only to find his little brother Daniel blinded by the same hatred that once controlled him. Derek shared his story with his little brother and it ended up changing his life. The truth had set them free! It took a young African American inmate to show Derek the truth that there’s good in all races. Derek was once blinded by deception, but a revelation of truth set Him free. In the same way, the truth about who God is as revealed in Jesus, sets us free from the deceptions of Satan, and brings us once again to the faith lost in Eden.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life.” God had to reveal the true character of Himself, of Satan, and of sin. Only by doing so in a powerful and clear fashion could the faith lost in Eden be restored, it could be restored only at the cross. Only here could God demonstrate most fully His true character of love, to win the faith of this world soul by soul. We don’t have it now, but at the cross, God put the pieces of the puzzle in their proper places, so that one day when we see Him face to face we’ll run to Him and not away from Him for we’ll see Him as he truly is. We won’t believe the lies anymore. Jesus paid a high price so we wouldn’t, so that we wouldn’t be among the crowd that hides in the rocks and caves, crying out for the rocks to fall upon us, because we will know Him, and He will know us. It’s an amazing thing that where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, it’s amazing but true!