The Fall of Man
ADAM. “Where are you?” They say tone is everything for interpretation. It’s not what you say. It’s how you say it. Can you sense it? If ever there was anxiety in the voice of God, it’s right here. This is no question of interrogation. It’s a question of concern and apprehension. I think it’s also the same question that the Second Adam will also ask of God. Oh, He will ask it in a different way and at a different place when He experiences once and for all what the first Adam is experiencing now. And what is that you ask? Separation. It is not like any type of separation that I can describe. It’s almost unutterable… Why have you forsaken me? Why have you left me? It may indeed be a question that God asks of every human being and that every human being asks of God.
God asks it because for however long it was, God enjoyed being with man. God has always enjoyed being with man. God loves the individual. And he loved Adam. He loved Adam more than any of his other creatures. So much so that he gave him a capacity that exceeded far beyond all others creatures.
And one of those abilities was gardening. Adam loved the garden but above all he loved trees. They always started so small and got so big. He was so fascinated with them and would climb every one he could. Swinging from the branches, he loved to throw the fruit at the ground so he could get another tree. The fruit was especially astonishing.
This was a paradise park of unimaginable proportions. Only two trees are named and anyone with an ounce of imagination might suspect that planted here were also trees with other types of powerfully transformational fruit.
And God allowed his creation to be part of the creative process. God would start with a breeze pushing the soil up from the earth. All at once His wind thrust, casting invisible contours creating a shape. Water would spin off of the soil as the wind twisted fibers and limbs out of it. Whole fingers and toes would come together. Legs and paws would revolve on this invisible potter wheel. After each piece of mud clumped together and emerged into one form, man would think up a name of his own choosing and apply it. God breathed and the mud moved.
As time rolled on, God recognized the extraordinary nature at the pinnacle of his creation. Adam was good, so good that regardless of all of the new forms that came from the earth not one was fitting. So God took Adam’s life code and again fused life to it with his breath. Then God gave man a most special honor. It was the ultimate compliment and with it God trusted man more than he ever had. You see God allowed man to name himself. Flesh of flesh, Adam understood that while he would be the strongest of creation, she would be the most beautiful. And Adam named her woman.
Eve like Adam loved the trees. They had together climbed each one. Well, almost each one. There were those two in the center. They were after all just trees. Why, they were like all of the other trees. What was so dangerous? Look they had strong branches as well. Why not?
Curiosity is the life of discovery. Stop questioning life and you’ll die. Never give up on the pursuit of truth. Remember though that curiosity must be paired with good judgment. Curiosity can also be twisted. It can become a muse, and in the longing curiosity is twisted into compromise.
Our first parents as perfect as they were, wandered into indiscretion. Indiscretion is a thief that steals above all else with the eyes. As those who steal the words, thoughts, and purity of others, our parents, both of them together, looked wide-eyed at the fruit as the crafty words of serpent dribbled out. It was as though God had left his mail out on the kitchen table. Just a glance, what harm could come?
After all that God had done. After all of the extraordinary creatures he had made for man, especially the woman, Adam’s response, as the first child is one that all children everywhere have when they first experience knowing good and evil. Adam is afraid. He is afraid of himself and he is afraid of God. It is his fear that motivates his attempt to escape and avoid God from seeing him. Adam hides in the garden because he hears God and knows now that God can see right through him.
In his shame his pride moves him to pass the blame to his favorite. Bitterly, he passes it to Eve. Eve then uses the proverbial line. The devil made me do it. The problem of blame is that Eve has Adam’s life code. She has his DNA and therefore Adam is just like Eve.
Throughout the centuries people have continued to shift the blame on Eve or on Adam when the reality is that this continues our culpability. If anyone of us had been there it would have ended just the same. And in fact we, all of us, have our own gardens both large and small. Each of us, in our personal gardens have good seeds. These are fostered, watered and they will grow. But each of us also has a place where, deeply planted, are the seeds of our own corruption, dark seeds. For some reason these always seems to grow. It’s up to each of us to avoid tasting the fruit of iniquity, yet sadly we all do. Inquisitively we are all drawn to its fruit and in taking the diseased fruits of our corruption we spoil our soil down to the very last root.
Clearly all of us are children of Adam. All of us when given the opportunity will sin. But God would not allow the disfiguration of his creation to separate Him from them. God’s hand would be forced. Man would have to leave paradise. The garden darkened and the trees began to fade. Their branches once full, now broken.
But God loved Adam. Oh see how he loves him. You ask isn’t there some solution? Some sort of remedy for this? So that God could once again have communion with man. God could build another garden. Or perhaps he could make a new contract with man. Isn’t there another way? There would indeed be another garden. It would also be dark. And in it another Adam would ask God the same question only in a different place and at a different time.
With everything we can see about God cursing his own creation, we must also see it as redemptive. Man’s expulsion from the garden saves us from an eternity without God. Whatever you might think about all of the details in the poetic origin narrative it becomes clear that God wants to make sure man doesn’t permanently destroy himself. There are worse things than death. The consequence of expulsion means that man must now toil greatly for what God had originally created for his satisfaction.
So begins the journey of human history both away from God and back to Him. The disease that started in our first parents would spread soon enough so that the condition would bear fruit in the violence of the first-born. Sin always leads to death. So that the sickness that started in our first parents would spread to Cain. This would lead to more and more violence to the point that God began to remove his presence from the earth. We would become desperate. We are and always will be desperate.