It began at a tree


IMG_1719I often wonder what pre-sin freedom felt like. The complete and total peace of love, community with God, and the joy of simply being. The not worrying about waking up with bed hair or bad breath or crusty eyes because self-consciousness didn’t exist. Swaying to the twisting, twirling dance of truth. Knowing and accepting and saying, “It’s enough. You, God, are enough.”

Did Eve wake up that morning—you know the one where it began—fully rested and meander, naked and unashamed, through Eden’s canopy-lined pathways to discover Adam had prepared a breakfast feast? Did she laugh as Adam juggled figs? Did she put a daisy behind her ear and hum a God-kissed melody? Did she bask in the warmth of the young sun? Were the colors Crayola bright and the sounds Dolby clear?

I wonder how often she passed the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Was it shrouded in darkness? Did she even notice it? Or did she so completely and totally trust God that the tree meant nothing and just living with Him, for Him meant everything?

As she pushed her way through the garden of life-giving branches and ran her fingers through their vibrant leaves, did she see the slithering serpent or hear him? Did he frighten her or was she merely curious about him? As he spoke to her, planting sinister seeds of doubt, did he grin?

Did the sin-seed sprout inside her, causing her to see the tree in the middle of the garden differently? Or did her lack of faith and trust transform the way she saw the tree?

Her once harmonious, stable life was thrown off kilter by an inharmonious tree.

Genesis 3 tells us that, to Eve, the tree’s fruit looked delicious. Fruit she had seen every day with no desire to taste. Because God was enough.

But the wild and shrewd serpent whispered poison into her ears and Eve suddenly had a craving for the fruit’s wisdom.

Sin disguised as delicious, wisdom-giving fruit.

Sin began in the middle of a garden. Sin began at a tree.

The tree that meant nothing changed everything.

Years later, God sent us a Savior, One who survived the serpent’s venomous promises and Whose eyes remained focused on a tree. A tree in the shape of a cross. A tree where sin—Eve’s, Adam’s, yours, mine—would be pierced, crushed, beaten, and whipped into Jesus. A tree where He, carrying the full weight of our transgressions, would be hanged, suffer and die. For sin. All sin. Sin that began at a tree.

The reconciliation had to happen where it all began.


18 thoughts on “It began at a tree

  1. Heather, your words are beautiful. Enough to place me right there in the garden. And I found myself wondering as you did about pre-sin. And thinking it still happens. Except now we call it something like “bursting someone’s bubble”.

    The love I have for another. Then a mutual friend tells me some spicy secret about them. The joy we get from something simple. Until someone says its carbon footprint” is horrendous and how can anyone enjoy …

    Each time it is “knowledge”. Each time it is “now what do I do with this?” Each time I have to process something, and that very process so easily diminishes a simply joy. And adds a burden. The more knowledge, the more burden. And around and around.

    If Eve had turned around and said “I don’t care. I choose not to care. I choose freedom here. I choose not to be a slave to knowledge.”

    Seems to me that is what we are faced with each day. That same tree. That same whisper. And that same choice.

    Thank you. That has been a wonderful meander through your words.

    • I’ve been sitting on your words all weekend, reflecting on the majestic way God weaves His Word in and out of each of us. I never thought that we are each Eve in the Garden, facing the tree daily. But I see it so clearly now. Each outstretched hand of the unknown carries with it the possibility of knowledge and sin.

      It makes me think of that ridiculous saying, “It’s an acquired taste.” Something people utter who watch the contorted mouth and watering eyes of their friend’s first taste of sushi or beer or liver. Why would we WANT to acquire a taste for something that doesn’t settle on our tongues the moment we taste it? Perhaps it’s that way with sin. Perhaps initially we have the “I don’t like this” look on our face when we sample it, but the onlookers laugh and assure us we will grow to like it. The more we taste it, the less repulsive it becomes. Oh how I wish I was strong enough to see the sin offering and say, “No thanks. I have everything I need. God is enough.”

      Thanks, Paul, for your insight and for inspiring me to linger in the Garden awhile longer.

      • Have to say it was your picture that prompted the thought. You have a knack of doing that! 🙂

        And your comments here brought to mind “growing up.” How we “mature” as Christians. We learn to be restrained (bite our lips), learn to be thoughtful (bite our lips), accept we do not know enough yet (bite our lips and agree), but we are coming along nicely (you don’t know as much as me yet), we are not ready yet (you are not ready yet).

        “It’s an acquired taste” – maybe that also applies to the “appropriate way” of growing up and maturing.

        Got me again!! 🙂

        Thank you.

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  3. Heather ~ I just loved, loved, loved how you painted your story of the trees. So beautiful and the insight of an artist. Thank you and will be following to enjoy what else is in Heather’s head. Love, Love, Love…did I say Love.

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  5. It’s amazing how you can read a common/popular story and its uniqueness still glows to remind us that new revelations are ever before us. I was wondering, while reading this beautiful post, about the other creatures. Did they talk too? If not, then why was it easy to accept the serpent talking.

    • What a wonderful observation! Thank you so much for stopping by and for your insight. I love how God’s Word is alive and that it, as you so eloquently put it, “still glows” with fresh revelations. I like to imagine complete harmony in the Garden and have often wondered about Eve’s encounter with the serpent. I wonder if this was the first time he spoke to her. She didn’t seem surprised by him at all. She didn’t rush to Adam’s side and ask him to “take care of it”. What a thought. To exist without fear.

      Thanks again for visiting. Hope to see you again soon!

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    • Thank you so much for visiting, Ellie, and for such an encouraging comment! God has planted several book seeds in my head and heart. I am waiting for His gentle tap to know which one to nourish. 🙂

      Have a blessed day!

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