God created man in his own image and likeness. This is what it says in Genesis. God breathed into the man the breath of life and the man became a person. Then God places the man in a really good environment. Doubly good because all the earth was good but this place was especially good because God arranged this environment full of the best things on earth.
God gives the man freedom to do as he pleases in this pleasing environment. There is a choice though. There are two trees. The Lord warns him that one tree will bring sure and certain death. The other tree speaks for itself. It’s the Tree of Life! So the man has a choice of life and death. And God leaves it at that, one warning about one tree.
The man is friendly with the animals and the birds. He gives them names. Then, surprise! The man is given a companion. She is gorgeous. She is a knockout! She is perfect.
So we see that man is to discover his own nature. God has only done good to them and for them and they can do no accidental wrong. They are not drawn to the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. They also show no particular interest in the Tree of Life. Now the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil is not dangerous in itself. It is just a tree with fruit like many others. It is not poisonous.
Eve says that if you just touch it, you die. But that is not the danger. Only eating the fruit will bring dreadful results.
So, a dragon says the opposite of God. This lie is followed by a pronouncement that this tree holds a benefit to be desired. But what the tree really offers is independence from God. With the knowledge of good and evil, you can make your own choices. You would not need God to advise you. It says that their eyes were opened. To what? They knew they were naked. And they did not like that feeling at all.
A few minutes ago, they were okay with being naked but now they feel uncomfortably aware that they are not connected to anything. Before they felt little of their separate individuality. Now their life ends at their skin. And their skin does not seem to be enough to protect them. They need a covering. They feel different about their environment. And about each other. Eating that fruit held a nasty surprise. And an animal tricked them. That is the first separateness: From nature. The second is separateness from each other. No more flesh of my flesh, bone of my bone. The third separation is realized when the Lord calls out to them. They run and hide.
Did you know “it’s all your fault!”? Everything that is bad is your fault. You think it’s God’s fault? Nope. It’s your fault. And I mean everything bad and anything bad in particular. Why is it my fault? Because your greatest granddad and grandma went the wrong way. “I wasn’t there!” Yes, you were. You were him. You were her. You are Adam. You are Eve. You made that choice. You did it. “No. No. No. I had nothing to do with it!”
You (and I) had everything to do with it. If you were Adam (or Eve), you would have done exactly as they did. How do I know? Because if it could have been different, God would have replaced Adam with you. If a man or woman could have been better choosers than those two, God would have used them. Used you or me. If we could have done better. But we would have done the same. We would have done exactly the same as they did. We would have eaten the fruit just like they did. So we each share the guilt of Adam and Eve. We were them. They were us. So all the bad that came from that decision is your fault, and my fault.
When Cain kills Abel, what does Adam say? He says nothing. He knows it is his fault. The pain that he and Eve feel is their own fault. They know it. But they produce a new hope, another son, Seth. “God has granted me another child in place of Abel, since Cain killed him.” In a sense, Abel has been reborn, as Seth. A new beginning with Seth. And Seth has a son, too.
“At that time, people began to call on the name of the Lord.” The hopeful parents see some of their offspring call on the Name of the Lord. Yes, the third generation calls on God. Do they see their children and grandchildren calling on God as good? Maybe they tell them how God is merciful and gives hope in the face of wrong and suffering. Don’t blame God for anything bad. It’s your fault as if you were Adam or Eve. Be like Seth and his son and call on the name of the Lord, the Merciful One.
While Cain builds his city, Seth and son call on the Name of the Lord. They know more now. They know he is kind and gives help to men. They know he gives new beginnings. Generations followed until Enoch shows up and it says Enoch walked faithfully with God for 300 years. Then he disappeared without a trace. God took him. Enoch was the best man, so far. Abel didn’t have a chance to show how faithful he could be. But as soon as a man, Enoch, showed that he would live on the earth and remain faithful to the Lord, God took him. No explanation. Just gone. Taken. No note. No witnesses.
So, we see the Optimism of God. He knows the first humans will make a terrible choice. But He also knows some people will call on His Name. They will find Him kind and ready to help them. And a few will walk faithfully with God like Enoch. Will you be like Cain and reject the help of God? Or will you be like Seth who called on God for help. Or maybe you will be like Enoch. the man God was waiting for. Will you, like Enoch, live on the earth and remain faithful to the Lord. Do you think God would treat you differently that Enoch? No. He will take you to be with Him forever.