by Kristen C. Strocchia
“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.” Genesis 3:22-23
Ever notice that God talks to Himself? And He calls Himself us [Genesis 3:22]. Plural. The triune Godhead eternally existent. Yet even though man was created in God’s triune image–body, soul and spirit–with the purpose of attaining eternal life, also notice that God didn’t automatically create man with immortality.
Ever wonder why not?
Just think of all of the superheroes that mortal men have created in the 20th and 21st centuries. Each one has a Godlike quality, that piece of immortality that–when combined with a sense of compassion and justice–makes a superhero a superhero. Not to mention that adults, and especially elderly adults, will often say things like, “It seems like it was just yesterday,” or “My mind feels a lot younger than my body.” And the like. That’s our eternal soul talking to our intellect, testifying to the truth of God’s Word. We were made to live eternally.
But receiving the gift of eternal life through faith alone by grace alone, is all together different than being immortal. None but God exists infinitely. We all have a beginning and an end. None but God is indestructible and immutable, that is unchanging. We can all be destroyed, and we change throughout life and will be changed again one day in the twinkling of an eye [1 Corinthians 15:52].
God could have just told Adam, “Hey don’t eat from the tree that will make you immortal.” *Hint. Hint. Wink. Wink.* But as much as God loved the man and woman He created, He wanted them to enjoy freewill and not respond like computer programs or animals that are trained and/or leashed. He wanted us to choose Him, to love Him, the way He first chose and loved us.
And it broke His heart to have to bar the way to the tree of life. To have to run the man out of the garden that He’d prepared especially for him. To send him back to the earth from which he was taken but which was now a cursed wilderness.
In His infinite wisdom, however, God knew before He even created man that for man to truly operate in freewill, he would have to be allowed to choose for himself whether to obey or disobey God. He would have to choose for himself between the knowledge of good and evil–and the death and destruction that it brings–and the tree of life.
And only after man had chosen of his own freewill, could he be offered eternity. Because God could not allow a man and woman full of the knowledge of both good and evil, wielding the power of death and destruction over all His beloved Creation as well as themselves and their fellow man–their own family–to live forever. That would have been to create a supervillain rather than a superhero.
So it is today. Six-thousand years after our exile from Eden, God is still offering us eternity. But this time through a second tree of life. The cross of Christ. Do you recognize God’s grace in your life? Have you accepted by faith His gift of eternal life? Are you a born-again superhero?