A Beautiful Garden and a Dragon to Fight

The history of the human race is a story of growth and maturation. This is what it was intended to be from the beginning, whether there had ever been any sin or not. The rebellion (and subsequent repentance) of our first parents complicated the course of this story enormously, but it did not alter the basic thrust of it.

The garden of Eden was perfect for us before the entry of our sin, but we must never forget that this perfection included a dragon that needed to be fought. The potential for sin was obviously there in the prohibition of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, but it was not prohibited because it was evil in itself. In fact, it is explicitly described as the tree that would make Adam and Eve like God—on this both God and the dragon agreed. The rebellion consisted of seizing the fruit prematurely, before they were ready. Once they had committed this wickedness, God barred them from the Tree of Life (which they had been eating from before) because to eat from it now would have the effect of sealing them in their rebellious state.

In the establishment of the New Jerusalem, the Garden City, the city with the Tree of Life in the center, God has opened the way back up for us. We are gathering now at this tree of life, and we do so expectantly, eager for our God to grow us up into godly maturity. He has made us to be kings and priests on the earth, and so we gather here, longing to learn how to complete our assigned tasks.

Those baptized individuals who come here without repentance and faith are trifling with something far more serious than cherubim with flaming swords. But for you, the congregation of the faithful, this meal has the effect of equipping and strengthening you to exercise dominion in a world full of thorns and weeds. God gave weeds to Adam, it is true. But then, through the last Adam, He gave us to the weeds, and has commanded us to restore the garden. This we are privileged to do in worship, and in everything that flows out of that worship, which is to say, everything.

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