What happens when two trees, humanity, and a serpent meet up in God’s Garden of Desire (a.k.a. Garden of Eden)? Relationships explode.
[This series is related to a spiritual call (started in the early 90s) for me to walk a bridge—from the Judaic camp reaching out to the Messianic/Christian camp and then vice versa—crisscrossing it, realizing and later sharing who and what the real bridge is. Walk with me to discover God’s revelations and passionate plan for our souls.]
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PRIOR THREE-PART SEGMENT ON GENESIS 1:1—GOD’S STORY LENS SERIES: BEGINNINGS WITHIN BEGINNINGS
READING TIME: 3 MINUTES.
THE STORY ELEMENTS
Some say there’s only one reliable way to find out about any relationship: test it to destruction.
There just might be a bit of that in play with this next segment from God’s epic true story (the Bible)—so much so that it seeps down to many levels. Even to you and me today.
Join me on an excavation of sorts, where I’ll use my story editor’s lens to examine a few gnawing questions and various layers of Genesis 2 and 3.
EXCAVATION GAME PLAN:
Part 1. introduce five story elements before we tour the setting—Gan Eden, Garden of Eden
Part 2. venture onward to Eden’s two highly analyzed trees: the Tree of Life and the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil
Part 3. survey key characters
Part 4. sieve through the storyline and conflict as well as any symbolism and unfolding impact—prophetic and otherwise
THE BASICS: FIVE STORY ELEMENTS
SETTING: Garden of Eden. In the exposition (introduction) of any story and also in its critical scenes, the setting often reflects a character’s condition or the polar opposite to underscore the struggle: emotional, spiritual, psychological, physical, circumstantial.
That’s true in God’s narrative where the setting mirrors the co-protagonists’ spiritual predicament. God created humanity for His glory, in His image, to worship Him, honor Him, and enjoy relationship with Him. [Isaiah 43:7 (ESV), Isaiah 43:21 (ESV), Psalm 29:2 (ESV), Revelation 5:13 (ESV), among many, many others.]
Here’s the however part: Adam and Eve are surrounded by a gift—the sensory delights of the Garden of Eden—but are about to confront three elements in that garden: the Tree of Life, the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, and a serpent. All will expose a whole other level of sensory delight hidden within their souls.
CO-PROTAGONISTS: Adam and Eve. Not the heroes we’d expect. They fail and set off a tidal wave of repercussions. But then, not all protagonists win, succeed, overcome.
A well-told story is built on unmet desire and what a protagonist goes through to attain it (or not). Every choice moves the story in one direction or another. This story is propelled by Adam/Eve satisfying the self-desire within.
SUPPORTING CAST: God, as deuteragonist—the second most important character in this story segment—and the antagonist (serpent/satan).
A story’s cast of characters and their individual story threads can add depth when revealing the good, the bad, the indifferent, along with quirks, strengths, weaknesses, etc. A straightforward telling, warts and all.
These real-life beings—deuteragonist and antagonist—couldn’t be more diametrically opposed: our holy, righteous, omnipotent, majestic-in-splendor God and a beguiling, perhaps enticing-to-the eyes serpent whose body is host for the real antagonist, satan, the insidious enemy of God who aids and abets the co-protagonists into committing a significant crime of willful rebellion and disobedience.
TENSION: The co-protagonists’ self-desire had been there, perhaps stirring quietly, subtly, in their souls, undetected, unacknowledged. But now it’s on the rise.
And it’s fueled by the conflict-agitator serpent/satan who is well acquainted with revolt against the Most High God. The physical and sensual delights of the Garden of Desire and the inner me-focus converge.
Adam and Eve reach a free-will choice: Surrender to it or their Creator. Eat or not eat the forbidden fruit. Choose which desire, which voice, they’ll listen to . . . their own, the serpent’s, or God’s.
That underlying dynamic slithers into the crevices of Adam’s and Eve’s souls, pushing the story forward. And in this case, the narrative goes far beyond a chapter in Genesis. Its elements are witnessed throughout the Torah (first five biblical books) and the complete Bible—and will be repeated until the final hour of this age.
CLIMATIC SHIFT: That first bite of a forbidden fruit. It changes everything and everyone going forward.
Things go south fast . . . but there’s an interesting character decision (God’s) that lays the prophetic groundwork for yet another plot twist—one that (surprisingly?) lands us on the others side of His bridge into New Testament territory.
TOUR THE SETTING NEXT: God’s Story Lens: Trees, Serpents, Lies [Part 1b]
PHOTO CREDIT: Tree by water by Nitish Kadam on Unsplash.com