There are many ways to read the Bible. Some have tried to start at the front, while others start with the gospels, and yet still others just pick a random place to start. Some friends of ours were talking last night about how they have started to read the Bible, chronologically. I've never done that before, so I thought it would be interesting just to see how everything played out if you read it like that. It's amazing what you can get from the same passage when you look at it from another angle. (Change in View)
Anyway, so I began with the ever so popular first three chapters of Genesis. Most of us have either read it or heard the story so many times. It starts off with creation and ends with God sending out Adam and Eve after they have been disobedient.
What I saw this time, was something different than what I have ever seen before. From my earliest memories, I only remember people speaking of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. I have heard about the Tree of Life, but for as long as I can remember it was always either skimmed over or grouped into the same tree as the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.
As I read over it and raelized they were actually two seperate trees, one that represents life and one that represents death, it began to change their story for me a little bit.
Could it be that when God sent Adam and Eve away from the garden, that it wasn't necissarily to punish them, (albeit they were cursed) but rather to extend them grace?
I know it sounds a little odd to think of a "punishment" as showing grace, but if you consider the fact if they had stayed in the garden and continued to eat of the tree of life their physical bodies would never die. If their physical bodies didn't die, they would have had to continually deal with sin. God gave them grace in allowing them to physically die, so that they could be reunited with Him once again.
I know the thought seems so simple, but it is so easy to overlook. I wonder how many places in the Old Testament that we see God as being a harsh, brutal, vengful God when rather He is either allowing us to have what we have asked for or He is showing us grace in a way that seems wrong to us.
Once you understand this idea, you can consider what areas of life God might have been showing us grace, but we see it only as a punishment. We almost never know all of the facts surrounding our circumstances. Sometimes, our "punishment" could really be God showing us grace and keeping us from what could be.