The Palestine Herald, Palestine, Texas

February 9, 2014

INSTANT MESSAGE: Return to paradise

Palestine Herald-Press

Genesis 3: 4- 7 (NIV): 4 "You will not surely die," the serpent said to the woman. 5 "For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." 6 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. 7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.

Why didn't God just make everything wonderful from the start? Why all the suffering, death, frustration and separation? He did. He created us to live in paradise, but paradise was lost. One day it will be restored, but for now we live in a fallen world.

God knew all along that we would choose knowledge over blissful ignorance. We had to. We had to because God didn't create us to be puppets, robots or pets, he created us to be his children.

But the knowledge of good and evil cost us our innocence and it caused a lifespan of suffering, mixed with moments of great pleasure and satisfaction. We live with the hope of paradise – and tastes of it, but the knowledge that we are not there yet.

Satan tempted Adam and Eve and they fell for it. He attacked them where they were most vulnerable and that's what he still does. He never fights fair. Adam should have protected his wife, but failed to do so. Notice the passage says he was with her. Eve should have obeyed what God told her and not listened to temptation. They were equally guilty and they were both cast from the garden of paradise. I'm glad the Bible doesn't end here. Instead it tells us how we can return to paradise by allowing Jesus to remove the curse and restore us to fellowship with God.

The serpent struck Jesus' heal, but Jesus crushed its head. Paradise is ours for the taking, but we can only go back to it by faith.


Autographed copies of Craig's fiction novel “The Dead Peasants File” are for sale at Blaser's Books in downtown Palestine. Harris is the pastor at Brushy Creek and Mt. Vernon United Methodist churches.