Genesis 3:8 says ‘And they heard the voice of Jehovah God walking in the garden in the cool of the day’. That implies a relationship. Makes you think of other times when God came in the cool of the day and walked with them, talked with them, visited. But not this time. This time they hid themselves from Him because they had disobeyed. They had sinned. And with the sin came death, physical and spiritual. Life would no longer be a walk in the garden. Life would be hard.
We think of God’s anger kindled against them, of Him lashing out, commanding a curse on the ground, on their lives. But I think there’s another way to look at it. What if we thought of the curse and death as an unavoidable result of sin, a consequence of their actions? (I know you might be a able to quote chapter and verse that will say otherwise but sometimes it helps to take another look, from a different perspective.)
So we can think of God venting His wrath, hurling lightning bolts, chasing them out of the garden with a fiery sword. Or we could think instead of the anguish He must have felt. His creation corrupted and damaged, separated from Him. No more walking with them in the garden in the cool of the day.
We hear people talk about the Old Testament God and the New Testament God. A God of wrath and a God of grace. The Old Testament God a God of famine and pestilence, of war, of genocide. But I see it differently. I see a God who is trying desperately to preserve His creation. He sets aside a people who are willing to follow. He protects and guides. He saves them from famine. He brings them out of bondage. He gives them a land. He is even willing to wipe entire nations to preserve them, to protect them, to hedge them about.
But yet they drift. They wander. They chase after other gods. He sends prophets. He sends leaders. He even allows them to be defeated and taken into captivity in order to teach them.
He knew all along it would take more. He knew it would take a Sacrifice, a greater Sacrifice than any of us could understand. And That’s what He did. Because He wants a people who will walk with Him in the garden in the cool of the day.
In our search for significance, for meaning to our lives, we imagine that when we get to heaven there will be things for us to do, that we are being prepared for some greater mission. But maybe not. Maybe our eternity in heaven will be nothing more than walking with Him in the garden in the cool of the day.
And that will be enough.