One of the mantra’s of the Lenten season and one of the most humbling statements of the Bible comes at the end of one of its most well known stories, the fall of man. The story of how Adam and Eve got kicked out of the Garden of Eden.
There is a lot of interpretation and retellings of this story that cloud or minds. The story itself is much different than what we think it is. There is a serpent a man, a woman, and a tree. The serpent tells the woman to eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil and she does and then she gives some of the fruit to her husband and he eats it. Then they become aware of their nakedness and feel shame.
Later on God is out for a stroll in his garden and they hide from him. When God finds them he asked what they’re doing and they tell him of their shame. At this point God knows what has happened because otherwise they wouldn’t have the ability to feel shame. God then levees curses on the serpent, the woman, and the man. The serpent will crawl on the ground and eat dust, the woman will experience more pain during child bearing, and the man will toil in the ground and eat bread.
The fascinating thing about all this is that the tree the fruit comes from is the tree of knowledge of good and evil and upon eating from that tree it is stated that humankind become more like God, aware of good and evil. The price for this awareness is the pain of childbirth and the hard work of growing crops. Two things essential to the survival of humankind.
God then locks the garden behind an angel and a flaming sword out of fear that humankind will eat of the tree of life and gain eternal life as well as the knowledge of good and evil. For you see having the knowledge of good and evil make humanity like God in that regard but we are dust and to dust we will return. We do not have eternal life. Our lives are finite and full of toil and pain.
How man prayers are requests for rest? Rest from the hardships of life. I know I need rest from my toil and my children. Humankind took on knowledge and the price of that knowledge were the hardships of life and the feelings of shame that come with those hardships. We are human. We work hard, suffer pain, and feel shame. That is the human condition. We are dust and to dust we will return.