6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate. 7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings. 8 And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. 9 Then the Lord God called to Adam and said to him, “Where are you?” 10 So he said, “I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself.” (Genesis 3:6–10, NKJV)
Sin intruded upon the idyll setting of Eden’s fellowship between God and mankind, bringing death, shame and fear. Committing sin produced knowledge of their nakedness, prompting Adam and Eve’s attempt to lessen their shame with fig leaf coverings. Their sin also caused them to experience fear for the first time. Hearing God’s voice heightened their sense of shame, and being afraid because they were naked, Adam and Eve hid themselves. Their leave coverings had not remedied their nakedness, nor did it remove the shame of their sin. Sin causes shame and fear as it separates us from God. Thank God, we do not have to live in the shame, fear and death of our sins. God provides forgiveness of our sins in His Son, Jesus (1 John 5:11-13). In Christ there is life instead of death, fellowship instead of shame, and faith instead of fear.
22 Then the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us, to know good and evil. And now, lest he put out his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever”—23 therefore the Lord God sent him out of the garden of Eden to till the ground from which he was taken. (Genesis 3:22–23, NKJV)
God understands the heights of goodness, and the depths of evil. Sin’s intrusion into the lives of Adam and Eve impacted their knowledge of good and evil. Indeed, before their sin, they had experienced good things from the hand of God. Before their sin, they had trusted God’s warning that evil would cause them to die. But, with their sin, they experienced evil, along with its death. Yet, God’s purpose of man and woman’s fellowship with Him would not be defeated by evil; the promised seed of woman would crush the serpent’s head. This was accomplished in Christ (Genesis 3:15; Galatians 4:4-7; 1 John 3:8). Eternal life is incompatible with evil. Therefore, they were sent out of the garden, and denied access to the tree of life (Genesis 3:24). Could they have understood evil without experiencing it? Yes, just as surely as a child can know the danger of fire from his parents’ warning, without putting his hand into the flame. You do not have to sin to perceive the pain and sorrow it causes. Instead, trust God’s warning against sin, and His offer of eternal life. Evil brings death. Eternal life is in His Son (1 John 5:11).
Then Cain went out from the presence of the Lord and dwelt in the land of Nod on the east of Eden. (Genesis 4:16, NKJV)
Cain murdered his brother Abel, “because his works were evil and his brother’s righteous” (1 Jno. 3:12). As a fugitive and a vagabond, Cain left the presence of God, finally dwelling east of Eden in the land of Nod (“wanderings”) (Gen. 4:12-16). Thus, east of Eden is used as a metaphor for a life damaged by sinful choices, of a life that is lived away from God, needing redemption. Since all of us have sinned, we have all lived “east of Eden,” wandering aimlessly in the darkness and vanity and death of sin. Yet, there is mercy available to us all who have wandered east of Eden. God gave Cain a mark to identify him, lest he be unjustly killed (Gen. 4:15). In Christ Jesus, God’s mercy is offered to the whole world (Matt. 11:28-30). Through His gospel we escape sin’s death and its punishment, and we inheritance eternal life. Stop wandering east of Eden, and come to Christ, by whom sinners are given access to the garden of God (Rev. 22:1-3, 17).