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The Garden of Eden, and After

Where do we start an examination of “truth,” well, at the beginning would be a good place, so let’s go back to Genesis and the Garden of Eden.

The common story of the “beginning” seems to always start and finish with the disobedience of eating the forbidden fruit. That is all well and good, but much is being left out. A few questions need to be asked:

·         Why the test

·         What is the significance of the test

·         Why is the “knowledge of good and evil” a bad thing

·         Why is it important today

Let’s go back to before the eating of the fruit, when things were good between man and God. God walked with Adam and Eve, and there was an open, harmonious, relationship; not like today. Adam, not knowing “evil,” instinctively knew the right thing to say and do, always. He was not distracted with all the mental gymnastics that accompany decision making now.  Answers and solutions flowed easily from a mind uninhibited by contrary thought processes and guilt.  All of nature was in sync and operated according to a perfect order. It was a time that we can only dream about; the stuff fairy tales are made of. Adam and Eve never spent time considering a better life than what they had; trying to imagine a more perfect perfection doesn’t even make sense. They were perfectly content.

In the entire Garden there were only good things, and Man and Woman had every bit of it at their disposal, to enjoy for evermore, and never grow bored, or complacent. Only a single test was required. God did not put any pressure on them outside of a single test.

It is paramount that we understand what happened in the Garden for us to understand all the problems that followed, and to grasp the significance of our predicament today. It is kind of like a math formula; if you get the expression wrong up front the outcome will be wrong also. When things don’t work mathematically it is necessary to go back and see where you erred and make corrections.  Consequently, very much of what we are faced with today, in the church, and in the world, is a miscalculation of the consequences that took place with that single test.

There are a lot of opinions as to why God tested our ancient parents, but the one thing we know for sure is that they failed. Speculation and debates are useless and only allow good debaters to take advantage of those who are not as talented in arguing, and we see this in the world stage at every level; men, governing, controlling, and lording it over those who are considered to be their “lesser.”

The church has missed a very important part of the event that took place in the Garden. The issue of sin is not being minimized; sin is tragic, and will be the reason for the loss of so many souls to the torment of Hell. But, there is something else here that is going virtually unnoticed, and is critical for our successful navigation through the maze we call human life. How do we find our way back to God? How do we determine good from evil, and truth from error?

 The Bible declares that men are “lost.” I went wandering off one time in the desert around Superstition Mountain in Arizona. It was a long time ago. My girls were still very young. I pulled the car over to the side of the road and told Marilyn that I would be back shortly. So with camera in hand and brain turned off I started taking pictures. When I was finished I turned to go back to the car, but to my stark realization, I had become “lost.” I did not know where I had come from, or where to go. I became acutely aware that this was serious, and for an instant an adrenaline rush of fear passed over me. Lucky for me Marilyn had the presence of mind to honk the horn and direct me out of danger. That was a great lesson, and the lesson of the Garden is similar. What men have failed to learn from the Garden lesson is that they are very lost in this world and hear horns honking from many different directions, and have only succeeded in going deeper, and deeper, into a vast waste land, trying to reason-out which horn is theirs.

A human characteristic, which is now an inherent part of our makeup, is this new ability to know both good and evil. But, wouldn’t this be a good thing? Where once we were in harmony with God and His creation, and now we are in such pain, sorrow, and confusion, do you think this is a good thing? It is true,  we do know both good and evil, we just don’t know good from evil; so now what do we do? God has chosen this way to make His offer of salvation; He had a plan.

The whole idea of faith, trust, belief, devotion, obedience, consecration, dedication, sanctification, allegiance, and reliance, is that we would be able to find our way out of this wasteland by being able to distinguish the sound of God’s horn, from all the others. The horn I refer to is the voice of God. This is exactly the problem we now face, the inability to distinguish right and wrong, good and evil, and black from white. Every question has a thousand nuances, and every horn sounds like salvation.

God was clear in His directions on how to distinguish the correct path to follow, so what’s the problem? Human nature is the problem. If the easy path can be the right path also what a blessing that would be, and there lies the problem. When I was lost in the desert I had good reason to be afraid, but being lost in the “world” doesn’t appear that bad. As a matter of fact, most people don’t even consider themselves lost with all the creature comforts they have. Our diversions hide the problem, and the solution.

Have you ever stopped to consider that everything in nature takes the path of least resistance? Water will always run downhill and into the sea. The wind is the same, unless forced into another path. The laws of electricity are governed by an equal reality. The “law of the jungle” is dictated in the same way. Animals push their sick and weak to the back of the herd. Animals will do their business in the open without shame. They will procreate in the open with no regard for onlookers. They have absolutely no consciousness of guilt about destroying other animals, and little concern about the death of a sibling or parent. Humans who display such characteristics are called “animals.” Why? If evolution is the correct answer then why are we infected with all this inner turmoil to “care” about others? Why do we protect our sick and elderly? Why do we take food out of our own mouth to feed the hungry? Why are we tormented with guilt when we lie, cheat, and steal? Are the traits in animals somehow left undeveloped in humans? Are lower animals actually more highly evolved than humans in this sense, and humans still evolving to this higher state of being self-centered, un-caring, and free of guilt?

As we see in all of our surroundings, mankind is very confused in their role on this planet. Our human nature seems to be a composite of natures, a good caring side, and an opposite “law of the jungle side.” It is this law of the jungle side that desires the, go-with-the-flow, I’ll do it my way, path of least resistance, way of life. This way appears to be the right way because it blends so nicely with what we experience in life. But, this way always leaves a lot of baggage behind in the form of guilt, and the common way to remedy the problem is to submerge our hearts and souls into the mire of this depraved kind of “freedom,” and liberate ourselves from conscience. These warring natures are actually clues of how to distinguish which “horn” to listen to.

Here is the part that never makes it to the pulpit, and for some reason, we never hear of; it is the new way of coming to the knowledge of “truth,” and hearing God’s voice outside the Garden; don’t follow your heart or its reasoning. [1]Because of this we have accepted that it is O.K. to have divisions within the body of Christ, that achieving [2]“unity of mind and thought” is passé. Is Christ divided?” Did the Holy Spirit communicate one truth to one denomination and another truth to a different denomination? Or, was truth spread around through so many religions and cults? All the Christian denominations look at all the other religions and say they have missed it, while thinking it is alright for them to pulverize God’s word into so many sects and denominations.

[3]Our “natural” ability to find solutions to problems has been totally corrupted by the invasion of a foreign element–the knowledge of evil– and there is now no way to escape from the wasteland. [4]All of our imagined solutions are only mirages, which lead us further and further away from the “truth,” and into despair. [5]There is only one way out of this house of mirrors, and without help we are doomed. [6]All of the solutions we are faced with today are only different facets of the grand delusion that [7]Eve was offered; and that delusion is the lie that we can be self-reliant; that in and of ourselves, and our own brilliant insight, we can be complete, and make our own decisions.

At this point God steps in. In our minds we would reason that the best thing to do would be to just kick the Devil out of the Garden, but the truth is just the opposite; God kicks us out, and gives us [8]instructions on how to distinguish the sound of His “horn,” or voice. Faith, trust, and belief, are key components of those instructions.

This is all very [9]simple, but has been missed by the majority of people, including Christians. We cannot see the truth because it all seems so illogical to our now impaired ability to reason correctly. Here is the simple God-logic of the situation. [10]Do not listen to the instructions that come from your faulty navigation system—your mind‑‑they will trick you into faulty conclusions, and keep you self-confident, and follow the wrong path.

In the Garden, God told our Grandparents to enjoy all of His creation for their own benefit; nothing was off limits, except one tree; “the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” God told them not to eat of that tree, that if they did, they would die; it would be the beginning of a trip into superstition and despair, which would result in death.

We don’t know how long Adam and Eve lived in the Garden before the “fall;” all we know for sure is that they fell, and they died.

According to the Bible the Earth is the kingdom of Satan and his horde of disenfranchised angles called demons. God obviously had a plan since He created this place of beauty and rest in the middle of a prison planet occupied by evil on all sides. The Garden was a haven in the very center of enemy occupied territory.

Outside the sanctuary of Eden is the chaos of Satan’s dark kingdom. In this kingdom everything is antithetical, pretentious, and counterfeit. Out here, in the world, there are many horns sounding, and everyday more are heard. All of them come with a promise of light and wisdom, showing us a way to god or to become gods. Even as we speak, all of these prognosticators, seers, oracles, soothsayers, esoterics, philosophers, prophets, politicians, mystics, kabbalist, sects, denominations, cults, orthodox and unorthodox, are raising high the standard of truth, with voices sounding ever more as one voice, propagating the religion of the world.  

 In the Garden, beauty, simplicity, peace, and harmony, was obvious; chaos could not be found; everything was “the truth.” Outside, chaos and confusion reigns, and lying is the norm; you will look very hard to find true peace.

 The Word of God, i.e. the Tree of Life, has been reduced to a loosely held set of cultural events and archaic moral recommendations. The Bible has become a muffled sound in a whole concert of horns, all blaring and blending as one synchronized commotion to drown out the one true sound that can save us.

 This is exactly what we should expect if we understand what has happened in Eden. What God has said, Satan has copied, or tried to destroy. God said to Adam, “And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” Gen 2:16, 17. The anti-type of Satan sounds something like this, “my world is here for your enjoyment, take all you want and have fun, and be happy, but there is this one restriction, do not eat from the tree in the midst of my garden, the tree of Life, or you will die.”

 What the Bible says throughout is to live a separated life, isolated from all the commotion outside the Garden; from all the efforts of Satan to tempt and trick us into responding to one of the false sounds of deliverance. We must make a decided effort to ignore the sirens and seductresses of this world by closing off all avenues of assault. Not only that, but we are instructed to not even trust our own thinking. I know this all sounds ridiculous, and that is precisely why very few will heed the warnings, and so many will be lost.

 [11]As the world continues to rumble, and the seas roar, like a woman in labor, ready to deliver, the events that took place in Eden, and after that, should begin to make more sense. The tree of Life—the Bible–that we are advised to not take literally, is our only escape. It foretells of these end time calamities. The religious and political power structures of Satan’s world have diluted the message to a near meaningless book of verbiage. For anyone still seeking the truth, the message is still absolute, and able to lead any who follow to safety, but the trip is not without perils; the Bible is clear on that point also.

 The Bible, the Word, is the “tree of Life.”  When the Bible speaks of mixing two types of cloth together, plowing with an ox and an ass, or adding yeast to dough, it is speaking of the peril of adding or mixing anything of the world to the truth of Scripture; this will never work; it is like adding venom to vaccine, as history has proven.

 By extension we can say: If you think you can do something good for the Lord, you are wrong. If you think you can build or plant a “Church” for the Lord, you are wrong. If you think you can live a good life and please the Lord that way, you are wrong. If you think speaking in tongues, or healing the sick, or even reading your Bible will secure you a seat on the Gospel Train, you are wrong. We had life once, inside the Garden of Eden, but now, outside the Garden, the Lord requires death. Jesus said to follow Him. Where did He go? He went to a hill outside Jerusalem and died, and it is there we are to follow. Dead men do not do anything, they are dead. All our thoughts and good intentions must go; all our aspirations and education, no good; all our lust, desires, and habits along with all of those things, even our devotion to children and spouse, must take their place on the burning altar and be reduced to ashes. Then, and only then, with the faith and belief of Abraham, we know that what we have dedicated to the Lord He is able to raise again from the ashes, to be a vessel for the King’s use, forever, and evermore.

Rom 12:1-2

 “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God — this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is — his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

 

 John 14:23-24

 Jesus replied, "If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. He who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.

 

 This is part of the lost truth of the Bible, and this is only the beginning. There is so much that we are not hearing from the sounds coming from so many religious buildings, with their CEO’s and Sunday morning speeches, and the horns are earsplitting. We have men trained by men to preach the party line; ordained by men, commissioned by men, sent by men, to build something for “men.” It sounds very much like the episode of Nimrod and the Tower of Babel.

 These are the last days of the last days, before the Lord’s return, and truth is at a premium. Solomon instructs us to “buy the truth and sell it not.” Jesus instructs us to sell everything we own and buy “the pearl of great price.” They both speak of “truth” as the most valuable possession that a person can own. There are so few of us who really want to know the truth. We will satisfy ourselves with concession, because it is something we can live with.

 You have to be very careful and See to it, then, that the light that is within you is not darkness.” Luke 11:35

 “Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!”  Matthew 7:22, 23

Many people, and Christians also, simply do not understand the story of the Bible, and throw out the parts that bother them. The Bible is the complete testimony of God; we accept it all or we reject it all, there is no middle ground. Those who did not accept Noah's offer of safety inside the ark perished; mercy had run it course. The Truth is still setting people free.

[2] 1 Corinthians 1:10-13

[3] Revelation 12:9

[4] Proverbs 3:5,6

[5] John 14:6

[6] 1 Corinthians 3:18-20

[7] Genesis 3:1

[8] John 10:27, 12:26; Matthew 16:24; Proverbs 3:5,6; Galatians 5:9; Mark 8:15

[9] 2 Corinthians 11:3

[10] 1 Corinthians 2:1-5

[11] Hebrews 12:27