The story of the fall of Adam and Eve tells us what it means to lose the true center of life, and how when we orbit around a false center we are trapped in the perpetual judgement of others.
The only thing that keeps us from disaster, individually, collectively and even globally is being anchored in a strong center, as is illustrated in the poem “The Second Coming” by William Butler Yeats. Societies survive and thrive only when there are shared beliefs, convictions, narratives, and trusted institutions and sources of information at the center of their society. To the degree a society has lost this center it is diseased and it will experience escalating conflict.
As God’s society, his holy people, we were meant to orbit God, to look to God for our ultimate source of life, worth, significance, security and peace. In doing this, each of us becomes a unique complementary center where we uniquely reflect the loving, beautiful character of God. God creates us humans to receive and reflect to others and to the whole creation God’s beautiful shalom.
The story of Adam and Eve tells us how we lost our center. In the Garden, there were two trees, the Tree of Life and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. The first represented God’s provision and the second God’s prohibition. Life in Eden orbits around the center of trusting God to provide your fullness of life and honoring God’s prohibition. We are to look to God’s love to be our source of life, love, worth, security and peace, and we are to leave all judging to God.
Adam and Eve stopped trusting God to be their source of life and therefore violated God’s prohibition. When they ate of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, they placed themselves in the center. Listening to the voice of the enemy, they were trying to be “wise like God.” They were trying to be their own source center. This is what the serpent’s lie was all about.
When we fail to get our life from the true source, we live life as though everything revolves around us. We no longer orbit God. We think, “I’m in a position to approve or disapprove of anything and anyone, depending on whether they please me or not.” We tend to judge good and evil based on whether or not someone or something benefits me and meets with my approval.
There is a general and pervasive peace that you can have when you intentionally make God the source center of your life. So much of our striving, anxiety, fatigue and anger is the result of clinging to our possessions, reputation, social standing, achievements, good looks, opinions and prejudices. We cling to these idols because we hunger to feel special, significant and secure. But we only experience the feeling of significance and security when we place God at the center and receive all of our life from Him.
Hide Extended Summary