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)
We do not need reminding that we live in a world bent out of shape. The first human beings declared independence from God and ever since both the created world and human beings have suffered the consequences.
The Genesis story is the way the people of God in Old Testament times described how things went wrong. The world was no longer a place of peace and harmony with God walking around in the cool of the day. Pain and toil came into being. When we went wrong, the world went wrong along with us.
This story also reminds us that eternal life is beyond us. The way to that life is locked and barred. Our declaration of independence didn’t lead to freedom but to bondage. Decay and death are part of the fabric of life.
But this is not the end of the story. The Bible story doesn’t end in these early chapters of Genesis. There is a way back. Jesus took on himself all that was wrong with us and the world. Trust in what he did allows us back to the presence of God now and always. Our disobedience had its consequences. Jesus’ obedience also has its consequences.
As yet, we still live in an east-of-Eden world. But it will not last forever. Our exile, our banishment has ended in principle. We await its ending in practice.