Do you know what the word ‘religion’ means? She asked. I didn’t. And so began our first-ever Bible study session. Religion comes from the Latin root-word ‘LIGARE’, which means ‘to bind’, ‘to connect’. RE-LIGARE, Latin for religion, then means ‘to re-connect’. In other words, religion is God’s plan to reconnect with mankind. A re-connection is necessary when the connection has been broken, which was the case in the garden of Eden when man fell into sin.
If you were walking with your child and suddenly find they’re missing, will you keep walking or will you stop to look around and do your utmost to reconnect with your child? Jessica asked. It took me back to the incident where my son Jan and I got ‘disconnected’ while playing at a Belgian beach when I thought I had lost him, how I searched frantically until I discovered him a few meters away, peacefully building his sandcastle. No parent would lose a child and carry on unconcerned. That’s how God feels about losing us in the garden of Eden; He is forever looking to reconnect with us.
God was clear that they were not to eat of the fruit of knowledge of good and evil, yet we humans tend to see rules as restrictive and unnecessary, while in fact, these are generally for our good and protection. When God gave this instruction to Adam, it was for mankind’s protection. Yes, God created everything, including the tree in question; one can only opine (since the bible doesn’t say) that this particular tree must have been corrupted by the rebellious Lucifer at some point, and God, knowing this, meant to spare us the effect of spiritual death from sin.
On closer analysis, one has to wonder if Eve fully understood the instructions God had given to Adam even before her creation from his rib. We find her here telling the serpent that they could not eat from the tree in the middle of the garden Genesis 3:2, yet there were two trees in the middle of the garden, that of life and that of the knowledge of good and evil. One has to wonder which of the two trees she meant when she said ‘of the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God said we must neither eat nor touch, or we will die’ 3:3. It would appear she didn’t know exactly which of the two it was. Here, Jessica underscores the importance of firmly grasping the word of God so as not to fall into deception. We have to know the truth if we’re going to discern the lie.
Adam trusted Eve and ate of the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Desire had conceived, giving birth to sin (James 1:15), leading to spiritual death, thereby disconnecting their lifeline to the one who loved them the most, the one who had tried to shield them from falling into the very pit they now found themselves in. They were sent away from the garden of Eden to work the land they would eat from. Their sin separated man from God, and God has been focused on reconnecting with man ever since.
Just like we don’t walk around making deals with just anyone, only those we hold in regard, those we consider friends, God, too, wouldn’t covenant with just anyone, he makes his covenants with those he considers his friends. He says in Psalm 89:3 of David ‘I have made a covenant with my chosen one’. While the Bible records the first covenant between God and man as being that of Noah, in a sense, the directive to Adam concerning not eating from the tree of knowledge was God’s first covenant with man, which, grievously and regrettably, man broke.
As I write this, the spirit is revealing this to me: Covenants, once broken, cannot be simply just walked back. A price had to be paid or we would remain separated from God for eternity. We see God remedy this broken covenant in Genesis 3:15, promising that woman’s seed will crush the head of the serpent even as the serpent strikes his heel. Oh the prophetic significance of this verse weighs heavy on my heart the more I understand it -God’s fate was sealed in the personhood of Christ. God had lain his life down for mankind after man had lost his sonship to God. God hadn’t wasted a minute. He hadn’t hesitated to pick man again, even after the weight of that disobedience and how it must have grieved his heart. This is why we call him unchanging God. This is why we call him faithful. This is why God is love.
You see, the purity of God is such that if he communed with us directly in our sinful nature, it would kill us. Remember when Moses went up to meet him for the tablets with the ten commandments, God said to Moses in Exodus 33:20 “you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live.” So God hid him in the crevice of the rock: ‘when my glory passes by, I will put you in a cleft in the rock and cover you with my hand until I have passed by’ v22. God’s holiness, his purity, is such that it would kill us if we are directly exposed to him in our sinful nature, hence the veil in the tabernacle in Exodus 26:31-35.
God sent Adam and Eve away from the garden for their own sake; he left because his purity would have killed us. So he withdrew to save us. Ever since all these events six thousand years ago, God has been trying to reconnect with us his people. Throughout the Bible, we see instances of God asking man to choose him, to choose life, and to reconnect back with him -and we keep breaking his heart. Remember when he sent the flood? God wouldn’t destroy people for nothing, but he wanted a new people, a people that will choose him, a people that will choose life.
In the end, God’s will will prevail, there will be a happy ending for mankind. Revelation 11:15 says: ‘The seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, which said: ‘The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Messiah, and he will reign for ever and ever.’ And Revelation 21:3-4 confirms that God’s original plan will be restored: “And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” In the end, God will have his way. In the end, God will get his glory.