"God's Love in the Old Testament" - Chapter 13



Chapter 13: "Banning Mankind from the Garden (2)"




Chapter 13 – Banning Mankind from the Garden (2)


So the LORD God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken. After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life (Gen 3:23,24)



Contents of Chapter 13

13.1 The Consequences seen in Adam and Eve

13.2 The Consequences of the Fall seen in God's actions

13.3 The Exclusion from the Garden

13.4 Why God can't stay with Sinners

13.5 The Ongoing Outworking of the Exclusion from the Garden

13.6 Summary-Conclusion

13.7 A Closing Analogy




13.1 The Consequences seen in Adam and Eve


Continuing straight on from the previous chapter, we need to observe the immediate consequences of Satan's activities in leading Eve astray, how that affected her and Adam. The following are the things that can be seen:


a) Self-consciousness


Gen 3:6,7 . She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.

  • They were suddenly aware of their naked state and sought to change that.
  • They sought to change the state God had left them in although there was nothing wrong with it!
  • Somehow the act of rejecting God's directions, made them very self-conscious and made them feel that God's provision is inadequate.


Note that self-awareness is not sin, but that our self-centred and self-serving acts and attitudes (which are godless) are sin, and lead us to consider we want more than God has provided. We become discontented and think we know better than God!


b) Fear


Gen 3:8-10 Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden. But the LORD God called to the man, "Where are you?" He answered, "I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid."


Something that is so often missed here is that Adam and Eve did not realise God's love for them (which we noted in the previous chapter) and therefore, because of their failure, they acted negatively to His presence.

I venture to suggest that if Adam and Eve had come to God and said, “We've completely blown it, we did what you told us not to do, please forgive us” then forgiveness would have been immediately forthcoming, but they didn't because they didn't yet realise that God loved them – despite the fact that He had provided so wonderfully for them.
Adam and Eve could have sought God's forgiveness - but didn't!


Adam and Eve didn't realise how much God loved them - neither do we!
Instead of this, Adam and Eve hid from God because they were afraid. Why? I suggest that something in them felt that they would be punished for their rejection of God's directions. Again this emphasises that they did not yet appreciate God's love for them. He would much rather they said sorry than get embroiled in worries about what punishment should follow!


Now this is a crucial thing to observe: we don't need telling it but deep down every one of us has a sense of justice that says that wrongs need righting and wrongs need punishing. We see it in children's behaviour and we see it in adults.


From what we have seen so far, this is how Adam and Eve felt – but not necessarily how God felt, because God brings mercy and grace to the equation! Moreover, God has already decided how He will deal with the problem of each person's sins, including those of Adam and Eve!


We need to reiterate this again and again, that which we saw in earlier chapters: God gets no pleasure in the death of anyone from sin; He'd much rather they repented and turned back to Him and come into a new relationship with Him so they can receive His goodness and blessing. Love wants to give!


c) Blame


Gen 3:12 The man said, "The woman you put here with me--she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it." Then the LORD God said to the woman, "What is this you have done?" The woman said, "The serpent deceived me, and I ate."

  • Adam blames Eve and Eve blames the serpent.
  • Adam even has a slight dig at God: “The woman you put here …”
  • Neither of them takes responsibility for their actions; they really need to grow up!

An Aside: God has it all in hand

We need to remember what the whole Bible teaches, that even before God created anything, He knew what would happen and made provision to deal with the problems of Sin and sins, by His own Son, Jesus Christ, coming and taking our punishment on the Cross. Consider the following verses showing God's Activity BEFORE He created the world:
God knew beforehand what would happen and had planned accordingly


Jn 17:24 you loved me before the creation of the world

  • Jesus was with God the Father in loving relationship before Creation

1 Pet 1:20 He was chosen before the creation of the world

  • They agreed Jesus was the means of salvation.

Eph 1:4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world

  • They agreed how we would come, who would come.

Rev 17:8 The inhabitants of the earth whose names have not been written in the book of life from the creation of the world

  • They saw who would not come to Jesus.

Rev 13:8 the Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world

  • They agreed Jesus would die for our sins.

2 Tim 1:9 This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time

  • They agreed God's grace would be given us when we responded to Jesus

Tit 1:2 eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time

  • They agreed He would give us eternal life

This tells us that none of what happened in the early chapters of Genesis took God by surprise. He knew that by giving man free will, sin would follow and there had to be a plan to deal with it. That doesn't stop all the things happening but it does help us see it wasn't all out of control.

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13.2 The Consequences by God's Actions


So those are the main ways Adam and Eve responded, but there's also another side to this. We need to see what God then did. We see that God does not simply walk away and leave them.

Yes, we have just seen that He knew it would happen and had a long-term plan to deal with it, but there are short-term or immediate consequences that have to be lived with. He imposes ongoing consequences.
There were CONSEQUENCES to their acts


Now we aren't told why He imposed the things He did and so we are left to speculate on the grounds of what we have seen previously about His intentions. Remember, if the Bible tells us that He is loving and good, we perhaps need to view what happened through those lenses rather than those of critical antagonism.


d) Changes in Respect of the Woman


Gen 3:16 “To the woman he said, "I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing; with pain you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you."

  • The judgment is twofold.
  •  First of all it is about childbearing and second, it is about relationship with husband

i) Childbearing

“I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing; with pain you will give birth to children.”


Now, in respect of this, commentators usually point out that the word used for ‘pain' in this translation isn't usually used to mean physical pain but more anguish or toil. This isn't God imposing a physical pain but, we will see, when He separates Himself off from the couple (which is what the original complaint we are investigating is about) it means that He Himself is no longer close and the woman will go through the nine month process without the comforting help and encouragement of the Lord being there (which up until then they had experienced all the time, every day).


The Bible shows again and again that the Lord is always there when He is called for by us – but He does wait, so often, for us to call; that is part of our responsibility and the respect He has for that. He puts our futures in our hands! So what we have here is God declaring that, because of His absence (which has not been stated yet), there is going to be a much higher level of anxiety about the process. Why should He do it like that?

Well again and again we have seen previously that part of God's corrective processes has been to bring man (or woman) to their senses and back to God. He is constantly working to restore their relationship with Him. Part of that, we learn, is to value His presence and to desire it, recognising our need of Him.
God's imposed consequences seek to draw mankind back to Him


That often only comes when we find ourselves in circumstances that try us. Childbirth is the classic instance and, we suggest, produces a desire to cry out for God's help and comfort beforehand, and to give thanks to Him afterwards. Both bring about relationship.


ii) Marriage Relationship 

“Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.”


The design for ‘marriage', as seen and stated in Genesis 2:24, is that a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.” As one writer aptly put it, referring to the old translations of this verse, it is all about ‘leaving' and ‘cleaving'. Again commentators usually comment that the description of ‘one flesh' actually means a oneness that goes far beyond simple physical oneness. God's design for the marriage relationship is that there should be harmony, unity, equality and oneness.


The separating off of God from this couple, that follows later, thus leaves the man and woman on their own to make their own decisions. The first decision, of course, could have been to call for God's help, but in the absence of that, they are left to work out things themselves. (After all, we like doing that!)
In trying circumstances our first option is to call on God


Now a woman's menstrual cycle tended, usually in the past at least in the absence of drugs, to leave her feeling weak and vulnerable, a prey to being dominated by the man – as history has so often shown until modern times. Yet when her period is over the woman still desires her husband. There is within them, therefore, a potential for stress.


The best way would be for them to call on the Lord for Him to come and help, which is what He would do if asked, (bringing wisdom, counsel, support, encouragement help etc.) but part of the sinful propensity is for human beings to be self-centred and to work, reason and struggle on their own without reference to God. This is what ‘godlessness' means.


Nevertheless, the design in the divine plan appears to be to put us into a vulnerable place of potential stress so that we come to our senses and call on God, and seek to have our relationship with Him restored. THAT we suggest, is what is behind God's strategy, for nothing else ‘fits' and if we say God is being spiteful, that goes against everything else we have learned about Him in these chapters. That is only the cry of the shallow thinkers!


We have stated again and again that God's intent is to draw man back into relationship with Him and it is interesting to note that once that has happened through the New Testament experience of conversion – of salvation through Jesus Christ – then there is restored in Christian thinking an equality in the marriage partnership (e.g. Gal 3:28) even though the responsibility for it before God remains with the husband (see Eph 5). Eve, the purpose of this is to get you to call out to God and to desire the relationship be restored.


e) Changes in Respect of the Man


Gen 3:17-19 "Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground.”


In a previous chapter we saw that a ‘curse' is simply a bad or negative decree of God. So what does that mean here? We aren't told specifically how this works and so again we have to speculate – but let's do it through the lenses of love rather than hostile criticism.


Did God make the ground ‘go bad' in the sense that we might use when we speak of chemicals being spilt and harming and polluting the land, or was it something completely different? Our tendency in these things is to be too narrow in our focus.


Consider instead, what had been the situation up until this point? Up until now Adam and Eve had eaten randomly from whatever fruits of plants there were – and there was a tremendous variety, remember. We have already seen Adam and Eve trying to make themselves clothes because they were no longer content with God's provision. They have already shown a streak of independence from God in giving way to the serpent's suggestion. It is probable that, left to themselves, they will no longer be content to take randomly from what is there but they will order plant growth and will till the land to produce more of what they like and ignore the rest.


God could bless the ground and help it not grow thorns, but He's going to let them have their own space and get on, on their own, so that perhaps, just perhaps, as they are struggling with the fields, they will call out to the Lord and come back to Him so that He can bless them.
Godlessness is failing to call on God for His help


There have been some amazing examples in modern times of Christians around the world who have caught hold of this and sought God for His blessing on their endeavours with amazing results. Adam, the purpose of this is to get you to call out to God and to desire the relationship be restored !


f) The couple clothed


As we move towards the climax of this section, there is one more thing that God does – He properly clothes the couple:

Gen 3:21  The LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them.”


Prior to this, they had been clothed in fig leaves which they had sown together. Now there is something simple but highly significant here. Theologians usually major on the fact that this involves God taking the results of a life given to clothe them. Forgive me if, for space sake, I don't elaborate on that but simply say that Bible scholars also suggest that is a picture of the life that will one day be given for the salvation of mankind, that of Jesus Christ, dying that we might eventually be clothed in righteousness.


Whatever else this is, it is an act of caring on God's behalf. They want clothing? Right, we'll give them proper clothing. God cares. God is not turning his back on this couple. This is an act of caring.
Clothing the couple was an act of caring by God


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13.3 The Exclusion from the Garden


And so we arrive at the climax of this account: the couple are sent out of the Garden. The Garden of Eden, we might say appears to be the portal through which God makes His appearances to Adam and Eve on a daily basis, the place where the tree of blessing is located.

It may be for this reason primarily, that the couple are put out of the Garden, for the presence of God and the blessing of God are to be taken away from them and they are to be refused the access to Him which they had previously enjoyed, but we need to examine the details of the story to understand the deeper mysteries that are here revealed.
Exclusion from the Garden meant removal of the presence and blessing of God


Gen 3:22-24   “And the LORD God said, "The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever." So the LORD God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken. After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.”


Note, from this account, the following:

i) The action: the LORD God banished him from the Garden of Eden”

ii) The means: “he placed … cherubim and a flaming sword … to guard the way to the tree of life.”

iii) The reason: “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever."

We need to consider this in more detail. There are two things we need to consider: the knowledge that is being referred to and the tree of life that is referred to.
Knowledge of sin robs us of God's 'life'


The reference to ‘knowledge is the easier part. Through the Fall, Adam and Eve had come to experience evil. They now knew what it was by experience. It wasn't merely something they had been told about. They experienced it. We should note in passing that when God says “like one of us, knowing good and evil” He means that He knows what evil is, because He understands the difference – even though He has never committed it and thus never ‘experienced' evil. Adam and Eve ‘knew' it by experience.


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13.4 The Life of God


But there is also reference to the “tree of life” and it is worth struggling to understand what this refers to. Now we must admit that this is not spelt out and so it is largely speculation but I believe what I am going to suggest makes sense. See what you think.


Previously we are told there were two significant trees in the Garden of Eden:


Gen 2:9   In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.


The prohibition was only in respect of the second tree:


Gen 2:17 “you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.”


They had already taken of that second tree. Now, by means of their exclusion from the Garden, God wants them to be prevented eating from the first tree, the tree of life. Why?


Now the truth that comes out in scripture is that all ‘life' is that which emanates from God alone. Without God there is no source of life, so a mere tree is not going to give life.
'Life' comes from God's very presence


I suspect that when most of us think about this tree we tend to think that there were some magical properties about it, so that if you ate of its fruit somehow you would receive ongoing ‘life' – the energy that keeps a person going. It is described as ‘the tree of life' and the promise was that if you ate it you would live for ever.


What I suggest, and is far more likely than the fruit having ‘magical' properties, is that if one of them ‘ate' of that particular tree, they came to where God was and they received and were blessed with His life, which comes with His presence; it was not the tree itself but the Lord who imparts the life. Being in God's very presence means that life is imparted.

If you want to understand this in near ‘material' terms, here is the best I can do for you. Earlier in the book we suggested that 'spirit' is energy with personality.

Whenever God is revealed in His fullness in visions in Scripture we also see reference to His ‘glory' and this refers to an incredibly bright light that emanates from Him. But light, scientists tell us, is energy. Because God Himself is a living Spirit personality, the light that He gives off brings life from Him in the same sort of way that the sun brings life to plants.
God's glory or light imparts His life


When we consider the brightness and the power that flows from God, is it any wonder that the Lord said to Moses, you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live.” (Ex 33:20). Is it that this ‘health warning' was simply that because, even as when we look into the sun we are blinded, so with the incredible power of God, we would be burnt up?


[For the questioner, in the Bible the only times that God is ‘shown' is in a vision; it is only a picture, not the reality. Where God appears to come in human form (as in Eden or to Abraham - Gen 18:1) theologians call this a ‘theophany' which simply means the ‘appearance of God' through a human form, but this is very different from the fullness of God that is revealed through visions (e.g. Ezek 1 & Rev 4)]

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13.4 Why God can't stay with sinners


But that is only one explanation and it refers to any human being who is unable to stand before God's fullness. Yet still I hear the question coming again, can't God stay in the presence of someone doing wrong, when it is in the limited form as seen in the Garden, when His presence is less than the fullness we see in visions?


Well let's note a number of things that go to make up this answer and these are very significant issues for our understanding:


Conflicting Principles

The truth is that God HAD to ban them from the Garden (and keep them from the tree) for there were two conflicting principles at work:

  • the principle that sinning would bring death
  • the principle that the tree would bring life.
When we sin we push God away, we separate ourselves from Him and from His life. Sinning is going contrary to God and contrary to His design for the world. Thus when we sin, it is as if we push Him away.
When we sin we push God away - and His 'life'


But now we just said that God is THE source of life and His life is eternal and unchanging. We also said that life is shared when we are able to be in His presence, even in a limited revelation. We receive life from Him. So, pushing Him away or going out of His presence means going away from the source of life, which results in death, gradual and eternal.

Now Adam and Eve have sinned and there is a separation from God – as seen in their responses to Him, and so death will ensue according to the previous warning and for the reason we have just given. If that situation continues, death ensues, spiritual death and eventually physical death (both from the absence of His presence).
In the absence of God there is absence of  'life'  and death ensues


Obviously they cannot, at the same time, be able to receive eternal life. They are two conflicting things.

The Bigger Picture

Let's consider all this in a different way to catch the bigger picture:


1. God made the world perfect and loves it.
2. He would feel duty bound to step in and prevent misuse of His world.
3. Yet He has designed us with free will and respects that free will and allows us to operate it.
4. If He was here in our midst all the time in the fullness of His presence, He would not be able to stand back and let us make sinful choices.
5. Thus once He gave us free will and knew from the outset that sin would enter our experience, He HAD to step back to give us the space to exercise that free will – even if it entailed sin – so that we learn from our experiences.
6. Similarly there is the issue of justice whereby He would have to step in immediately to bring a halt to the sin and make the individual answer for it now, yet He desires to allow us the learning space and to come to repentance so that the sin and its effects can be transferred to His Son who has come to take it on the Cross.


There are, therefore, two sides to this coin. On the first there is His concern for His world, His need to step in to save it from harm, and His need to step in to hold offenders to account. These are the Creator's duties as a law-upholder (an upholder of the original design).

On the other side there is the fact that He has granted us free will in the hope that we will wisely use His world, and His desire to allow us to exercise it, even if badly, so that we learn and mature. These are the concerns of a loving heavenly Father who feels for the humans He has made.
God steps back to preserve us!


As we observe His actions and word in the Bible we are left concluding that to reconcile the two sides, He steps back and largely holds Himself at a distance, and yet intervening to bring about His plans, made before He even made the world, to constantly work to draw people back to Himself.

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13.5 The Ongoing Outworking of the Exclusion from the Garden

Thus as we read on in Genesis we see Adam and Eve having a family and the outworkings of their family troubles resulting in Cain killing Abel, but even in that we see the Lord intervening with Cain and holding him to account – yet only by banishing him from the family (Gen 4).
God is still there in the background - there for us


It is interesting to note that every time Adam and Eve have children they made reference to the Lord (see Gen 4:1,25). There is not a complete separation.


After this we find, At that time men began to proclaim the name of the LORD,” (Gen 4:26 ) which appears to refer to the second family line through Seth, as against the proud and arrogant line through Cain and then Lamech. Although there was this separating, this line of the family at least is doing what God desired, which was to call on Him.


Later down this line of the family came Enoch (Gen 5:19) of whom there is that brief enigmatic reference: “Enoch walked with God; then he was no more, because God took him away.” (Gen 5:24) Here briefly was a picture of a relationship between God and a man that spoke of ongoing communion (he “walked with God”). Surely this was a picture of what God desired for all men.


Yet overall in the human race this was not so: “The LORD saw how great man's wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time. The LORD was grieved that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain.” (Gen 6:5,6). The result was the flood which we will look at in the next chapter. 


Out of that story we will see Noah who also “walked with God” (Gen 6:9). An ongoing relationship with God was possible but rare. It was many years later that God entered into a relationship with a man named Abram who was to become the father of Isaac who was to become the father of Jacob who was renamed Israel and the rest, as they say, is history.
Ongoing relationships with God were still possible


We're not told why it was so long a period but, in the light of our considerations in chapter 7, about history, it may be that the Lord was waiting for mankind to develop to a certain stage when they would be able to develop further a deeper relationship with Him.


From then on, the relationship was built with a family that became twelve tribes that became a nation through which, as we saw in an earlier chapter, God desired to show Himself to the world.


Although the Lord separated Adam and Eve from Him, that did not mean that He abandoned the human race; far from it. He appears to wait in the wings of the world stage until the time is right and the right man is available for Him to build a relationship that can eventually be communicated to the world, and thus we see the account of Abram.

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13.6 Summary-Conclusion


In this chapter we have seen the following:

13.1 The Consequences seen in Adam and Eve

  • we noted their self-awareness, their fear and their blaming others.

13.2 The Consequences of the Fall seen in God's actions

  • we saw the Lord bringing change to both the woman and the man & clothing them

13.3 The Exclusion from the Garden

  • we saw the ‘knowing' couple banned from the Garden

13.4 Why God can't stay with Sinners

  • we considered the reasons why this had to be so

13.5 The Ongoing Outworking of the Exclusion from the Garden

  • yet we also saw that God's plan for mankind continued



This is an amazing section of Scripture. It reveals to us the weakness and vulnerability of mankind who have been so blessed by God's wonderful provision. Although they disobeyed, God did not bring instant death but allowed them the space of many years to still seek after Him.


The exclusion from the Garden was a necessity for the preservation of mankind. Throughout this history and through the remainder of history the Lord works to draw people to Himself, to restore them to a place where they are redeemed from a life of self-centred failure, to a place of loving relationship with Him. That is the marvel of the Good News, or Gospel, that is eventually made so clear in the New Testament.

Atheists who have little interest in these things simply make derogatory comments about God, yet anyone willing to think about these things in some detail will see that everything God does is with the aim of preserving and then restoring mankind to a relationship with Him whereby He can impart all of His goodness to them.

It is obvious that while we turn our backs on Him and reject Him it is not possible for us to receive of that goodness. It is no more complex that the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-24) leaving his father and going away. In a distant land it was not possible for him to still receive of his father's goodness. It was only when he returned could he enter into the life of the family again and all that went with that.

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13.7   A Closing Analogy

Perhaps the following analogy might help shine light on the account of Adam and Eve being banished from the garden:

Once upon a time there was a very wealthy banker who had a son. When the son grew up he married a young woman. The banker wanted to do good by his son and daughter-in-law and so invited them both to work in the bank for a very good salary. For several years the couple worked happily in the bank and felt very fulfilled. One day another young man came into the bank to draw out some money and got into conversation with the young woman.

When he found out who she was he asked, "If you are the daughter-in-law of the banker, why don't you just help yourself to some money whenever you want?"

"Why should I do that," she replied, "I have a very good salary and am quite happy just working here."

"Yes, but you're part of the family; the bank belongs to you really, so it wouldn't matter if you just took some more money. No one will notice, and you deserve it." And then he left.

The girl thought about what he had said and it did seem to make sense, so that evening as they closed up she took a little money from the till. At home she told her husband. He was scandalised at first but as she recounted the conversation with the stranger, he came to see that it seemed quite reasonable.

And so it was that in the coming months the couple took money from the bank, a little at a time, but a little soon began to be bigger amounts.

None of this had escaped the eye of the banker who had known from the start what was going on. He loved the couple dearly and wondered what to do about it. He didn't want to do anything that might result in them going to prison. In  fact the young stranger had come to him and revealed himself as an Inspector of banks, and had demanded justice be done.

Eventually the banker decided to confront the couple in his office. When he challenged his son, he said, "It was her fault; she led me astray." She said, "It was the stranger who came in. It was his fault."

The father was grieved that neither of them would own up and take responsibility for their actions.

The son, seeing the look on his father's face burst out, "If you knew she had taken the money to start with, why didn't you stop her?"

The father quietly replied, "I hoped you would get her to put it back."

"Well why didn't you confront us before we started taking more and more? You could have stopped us!"

"I hoped you would eventually come to your senses and come and tell me about and ask for my forgiveness, but you never did."
"So why are talking to us now," the girl asked.

"Because I realise that this can't keep on and on. It will just get worse and worse for you, and you will ruin the bank and there will be no way I will be able to keep you out of prison. It will irretrievably harm the bank if you keep on. No, I have decided to stop you. I have another small business, a small holding and I am giving that to you, but you will not be allowed in the bank again for a very long time."

"A small holding? But we're bankers, not farmers!" cried the son. "How will we survive, and how is it that we won't end up in prison if you say that the Inspector knows about us?"

"As for survival, you will cope and learn and grow, and I will be there in the background to make sure you're all right. As for prison, I have made an arrangement with him that satisfies him but that needn't concern you."

And so it was that the young couple left the bank and set up on a small holding.

So that takes us to the end of the Genesis 3 account. Obviously in the Bible there is a great deal more that follows but to get to the near end of the story (not quite the end) we have to continue our analogy.

Years passed and the young couple worked on their small farm. It wasn't until many years later that from a passing tools salesman they heard more. In conversation over a coffee after a transaction for selling them some garden tools, he casually asked, "Did you hear what happened with the old banker in town?"

They said no.

"Well, he said, "apparently there had been embezzling going on in the bank and the Inspector found out and demanded justice be done and someone go to prison for it. Well it seems that the banker had had two sons. One of them had left the bank but the other, who had been a partner in the bank, stepped up and said he would go to prison for the crime, even though he had done nothing wrong. The inspector couldn't say anything for indeed the crime was being paid for. Isn't that amazing?"

The couple were devastated. After the salesman had left, they determined to go and see the father.

"Father, is it true what we have heard about my brother?" he demanded of the old man.

The father just nodded.

"But why?"

The old man responded quietly, "Because we both love you so much. The two of you wouldn't have coped in prison. It would have killed you both. Your brother is stronger and he can cope."

Tears ran down the faces of the two. "We are so sorry, please will you forgive us? Please can we come back?"

At last a smile broke out on the father's face. "Of course I forgive you and yes, you can come back part time, but only part time. You are doing a good job with the farm so carry on with that, but you can come back here and have a part to play in the running of the bank any time you like.

A very changed couple walked out the door of the office and were often seen back with the father. Some time later the older son returned and the family was reunited.

Well, there it is. The purists will pick out many failures in this little story, but perhaps it will convey something of the overall truths of what has happened in history. I hope it helped and I hope it conveyed something of the love of the father.



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