Read Genesis 3:20-24
They could have chosen life.
There were two trees in the middle of the garden: the one they ate from, and the other – the tree of life (2:9). Both are still there while God sentences all creation to suffering. Maybe Adam and Eve can see them as they stand there. Maybe, if they reach out, they can touch them.
So, in addition to all the other good things they had enjoyed, there was the promise of even more. They could have had life that never ended – life like God’s. Instead they chose knowledge like God’s. I wonder whether, if they had chosen life, they would have got knowledge too, and no curse with it.
I wonder if the serpent knew that.
They had been given a choice of life or death. They chose wrong, and now God takes away the other option.
I’m so glad he did! Can you imagine if he didn’t?
Now that all creation suffers, now that the dance is over and life is hard work, how terrible it would be if it went on and on. It would be a forever punishment. So God takes away that choice. “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.”
But before he sends them away he sews them clothes and dresses them – imagine.
Imagine how it feels. Imagine standing there knowing you have wrecked everything he made; feeling naked and ashamed; trying to understand what has happened and why God seems so different, so frightening. And while all this is going on, you notice him doing something new, something awful – killing animals.
It’s the first time you’ve seen death.
What a horrible thing. Now he’s skinning them and doing something with the skins. He’s sewing them together just like you sewed fig leaves a little while ago. Now he’s holding it out to you, the thing he’s made. It’s for you, to cover your nakedness.
You put it on and you cry, knowing what it cost, knowing you don’t deserve it. But you feel better when it’s on, and you know something else: after all you’ve done, even though it was the worst thing you could possibly do, and even though God was angry – he still loves you.
He loves you enough to help you.
He loves you enough to kill for you.
Like a hero.