Paradise Lost

[dropcap]In[/dropcap] 1667, English poet John Milton published a set of books written in non-rhyming poetry and they were called Paradise Lost. The theme of these twelve volumes is the third chapter of Genesis and the biblical story of Adam and Eve forfeiting their privileged place in Eden. The fact that our first parents chose to disobey God when their lives were absolutely perfect in every way appears to be an unexplainable mystery until, on serious reflection, we consider the following contributing factors to their unwise choices.
[hr]First, one must consider the INFLUENCE of the serpent. We know from the Genesis account that this creature known as the serpent was “more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made”. (See Genesis 3:1.) That is amazing! In all of the vast creative genius displayed by our God through nature, one animal stands out as the crown jewel of wisdom, cunning and prudent. Behold, the serpent!

Satan chose the best of the best to infiltrate and influence the mind and will of Eve. In Matthew 10:16, Jesus spoke of serpents as being “wise” and I believe He was referring to their multiple defensive and offensive capabilities. II Corinthians 11:3 says, “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.” The word beguiled means “to seduce wholly”. Strong’s Concordance defines subtilty as, “trickery or craftiness”. It is not surprising therefore that Revelation 12:9 would tell us, “And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth.”

Then, we must recognize the SILENCE of Adam as a contributing factor to the loss of paradise for the man and his wife. Genesis 3:6 tells us that Adam was “with” Eve during her conversation with the serpent. I Timothy 2:14 reveals that “Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression”. So then Adam went into sin with his eyes wide open and his mind clearly alert to the clever and despicable words of the devil’s mouthpiece. Thus the sin of the man was more serious than that of the woman.

Adam should have spoken up! He ought to have taken his wife by the hand and removed her from the presence of this voice casting doubt on God and His love and honesty. The Creator had given Adam dominion over every living thing that moved on the earth; thus, he could have taken charge of the situation and ought to have done so. But, alas, he was quiet. This is a dilemma faced by the sons of Adam yet today. In the absence of spiritual manly leadership, breakdowns occur that lead families away from God’s will and into unnecessary pain and suffering.

Before Adam ever met Eve, he was given the responsibility to “keep” the garden, which was also his home. The tree of the knowledge of good and evil was in the midst of their property and it was Adam’s duty to protect himself and his loved ones from yielding to temptation’s lure. Adam failed and the family suffered.

Paradise was forfeited thirdly because of the APPEAL of the temptation. The fruit of the tree appealed to Eve’s appetite for food. It was “good for food”. She must have thought, “Oh my, I can only imagine that the fruit from this tree tastes really good!” Sin is usually packaged in an appetizing way. It was, in the Garden situation, “pleasant to the eyes”. The temptation also appealed to Eve’s intellect. The Bible says that it was a “tree to be desired to make one wise”.

I John 2:16 matches this temptation exactly in its threefold warning. “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.”

A. The lust of the flesh? “The tree was good for food.”
B. The lust of the eyes? “It was pleasant to the eyes.”
C. The pride of life? It was, “a tree to be desired to make one wise.”

 

Adam and Eve chose to seek to satisfy their desires outside of the framework of the will of the LORD and consequently they forfeited paradise.
Finally, Adam and Eve lost their lives because of UNFORSEEN consequences. In Genesis 2:17 God told Adam that the day that he ate of the forbidden fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, he would surely die. The death of which the LORD spoke was the death of a spiritual life and personal relationship with God Himself. But, more was at stake on which Adam had not reckoned. Our first parents also lost their innocence in the transgression. They lost the comforting presence of the LORD and experienced fear rather than faith for the first time. The harmony that they had enjoyed as husband and wife was shattered in the Fall. Sorrow and sweat became a natural part of their daily experience. Did they imagine that their decision would eventually lead to murder and death within their first two sons? I think not. And then there is the fact that our first parents were driven by God out of Eden and forbidden to return.

The devil was successful in ruining paradise for the man and his wife whom God called Adam. Thankfully, a second Adam appeared on earth several thousands of years later and His name is Jesus Christ! I Corinthians 15:45 tells us that Jesus “was made a quickening spirit”. Death came through the first Adam but eternal, everlasting life came through the second Adam.

Milton wrote these words of encouragement concerning our Savior in Paradise Lost:

[quote]“Of man’s first disobedience, and the fruit of the forbidden tree, whose mortal taste brought death into the world and all our woe, with the loss of Eden, ‘til one greater Man restore us, and regain the blissful seat.”[/quote]

Thank the Lord for this greater Man, the Lord Jesus Christ. He alone can restore us to paradise and destroy the enemy of our homes and of our souls. It is by Jesus and through Jesus that we can overcome the devil’s lures and live life victoriously.

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Paul Kingsbury was born in the state of Michigan in 1953. Reared by godly parents and discipled in good churches, Paul came to Christ as a youngster and surrendered to ministry at sixteen years of age. He immediately began preaching in rescue missions, jails, and nursing homes. Becoming senior Pastor of North Love in 1982, Paul Kingsbury continues in that capacity today. Pastor Kingsbury travels extensively, preaching and teaching on marriage, family relationships, discipleship and overcoming addictions and stubborn habits. He is the author of several books. He and his wife have been blessed with twelve children and numerous grandchildren. Honorary doctorates have been given to Paul Kingsbury from Ambassador Baptist College and West Coast Baptist College.

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