Then the man—Adam—named his wife Eve, because she would be the mother of all who live. And the Lord God made clothing from animal skins for Adam and his wife.
Then the Lord God said, “Look, the human beings have become like us, knowing both good and evil. What if they reach out, take fruit from the tree of life, and eat it? Then they will live forever!” So the Lord God banished them from the Garden of Eden, and he sent Adam out to cultivate the ground from which he had been made. After sending them out, the Lord God stationed mighty cherubim to the east of the Garden of Eden. And he placed a flaming sword that flashed back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life. (NLT)
This is a description of paradise lost. It is a story in the tradition of Hebrew story telling seeking to make sense of the reality faced by the people of God. It is a story featuring both very good and very bad news.
The bad news is that human beings declared their independence from God: something traditionally called “sin”. As a result their relationship with their Maker was corrupted. They were estranged from the one who was the source of true life. And more than that, the world they lived in became bent out of shape. All this is poetically described as a banishment from a beautiful garden.
So what of the good news? It is all about those animal skins God made for them. Perhaps the story teller’s way of reminding us that God still cares for his human creation. It is not a case of “out of sight and out of mind”. God has not given up on us. We may have lost that perfect intimacy with God but there is still grace and love to be experienced.
We may be outcasts, but we are beloved outcasts.