Two verses particularly stood out for me in today’s passage, “
For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life… But the free gift is not like the offense. For if by the one man’s offense many died, much more the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abounded to many. And the gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned. For the judgment which came from one offense resulted in condemnation, but the free gift which came from many offenses resulted in justification.” (Ro. 5:10, 15-16)
St. Paul takes us to the opening chapters of the Bible. Human beings, made in the Image of God, were created to be in union with God in a Paradise of Delights. We were blessed to partake of all that God had made save one tree, the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.
Now God is not anti-knowledge. He is the one who made us both rational and spiritual. So what is the wrong in eating of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, a knowledge which the serpent said truly would make Adam and Eve like God?
This tree was a tree of discernment between good and evil, of right and wrong, in short, it was a Tree of Wisdom.
And our First Parents were destined to eat of that Tree according to the Church Fathers. But they had to pass the moral test of obedience to God first so that they could handle such a faculty maturely.
They did not obey, they fell. And God’s wisdom in prohibiting the Tree is seen in our lives every day. We are all born into the dysfunctional human family, we all struggle with making choices between good and evil in a fallen state that is cut off from Goodness Himself.
But, even though we were sinners, even though we had become enemies of God, God sent a second Adam to head our race in Jesus Christ.
As seen in the opening chapters of Genesis, God’s intention was that we should “be at play in the fields of the Lord”. St. Irenaeus said that “the glory of God is a man fully alive”. A way of being only possible in a communion of love with God and one another.
St. Paul tells us that the way back to the Garden is opened again. That although all of us have followed the first Adam into a reality that is partially marred by dystopia and dysfunction, any who wish may return with the second Adam back into fellowship with God in a Garden of Delight.