Chapter 6, The Evictor, from The Preposterous God

East of Eden is where the Creator sent Adam and Eve as a consequence of the breaking of one single commandment—not to eat the fruit of a tree found in the midst of the garden. Two specific trees were named: “the tree of the knowledge of good and evil” (see Genesis 2:9, 17) and “the tree of life” (see Genesis 2:9; 3:22, 24).

In Genesis chapter 3 is recorded what the Creator, about to become the Evictor, said to an unknown audience. In a manner akin to a stage play God said,

Behold, the man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil. Now, lest he reach out his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat, and live forever—” therefore the LORD God sent him out from the garden of Eden to work the ground from which he was taken. He drove out the man, and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim and a flaming sword that turned every way to guard the way to the tree of life. (Genesis 3:22–24)

In our previous chapter we dealt with the problem of evil, and here in Genesis we encounter evil again. There are perhaps hundreds of passages in the Bible that beg this central question. Now, however, the focus is on the incredible, preposterous event where God threw His precious creation, even that made in His own image, out into a wilderness.


The Book of Genesis initiates the story of God and His creation. The grand themes are presented in this book of beginnings then run throughout the rest of the Bible like threads in a woven tapestry, all the way to the last book, Revelation.

Created in the Creator’s image, evicted from a paradise, recreated and forgiven, then restored and returned to experience the heavenly Paradise—this is the story of Scripture.

Why the long journey? Must the creature go through the agony of the eviction from the garden? Did the Creator toss Adam and Eve out because of a single infraction?

The Trouble with Sin

In the Genesis account the problem was the breaking of a single commandment, the only one given. Adam and Eve did eat the forbidden fruit. They knew it, and God knew it. And then we find something utterly preposterous.

Something happened after they ate the fruit; Adam and Eve’s eyes were opened as never before. Yes, they then had more knowledge, but only the knowledge that sin brings. The result was guilt and fear.

They hid from God. Suddenly they realized they were naked and sewed some fig leaves together. When God came calling in the cool of the day, they did not respond or greet Him. Why so?

The thing about God is that He is holy, meaning, without sin. Sin is the breaking of the divine commands. God is wholly other; He alone is sinless. We are not so, and we all know it. Even the psychopath, whose conscience is not working as it should, knows something is amiss. Adam and Eve knew they had sinned and created a lie to hide behind. “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.” “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” Blame shifting and excuses!

Would this have happened if there had been no presence of evil? Again, God must have known what would happen; yet He allowed that evil to invade the very paradise He made for the first humans.

And we are living with it still. Indeed, nothing has changed from that day to this. We wrestle with guilt, fear, loneliness, and are angry about all that has been lost. Perhaps the phrase “separation anxiety” expresses our inner conflict.

The Creator made us, so He must have known the terrible emotional and spiritual distress that would come to all of us. Yet we are told He is a loving God.

Being God, could He not have simply pardoned the guilty pair? Could He not have thrown the serpent out, even destroy the fallen angel? If we think too much on these issues it will not bode well with us. We then plunge further into the pit of snakes and are bitten innumerable times.  

I have a vague idea of what happened back at the beginning of the human race, and even have some understanding of why God had to take action. Too many of us over the centuries have come up with simplistic answers to the age-old mystery, none of which gave much comfort. Often the easy answers create more questions than they solve.

No Easy Answer

First, do we have it right? Can we trust the Genesis account? We must ask these questions, even if fear would prevent it, and there are reasons to fear. Others might think we are off track, disobedient, cultic, rebellious, liberal, making shipwreck of our faith, or have gone apostate. These immaturities must be rejected, and we must explore reality regardless of pressures not to If I only had the Genesis material, I would wonder. But all through Scripture, no character or author disputes it. The historians, the poets, the prophets, the apostles, Jesus’ enemies, and Jesus Himself all adhere to the biblical account we have in Genesis. The systematic theology springing out of the Scripture demands that the early account of creation and eviction forms the necessary glue that holds together everything following it.

If Genesis is not accurate, Jesus died for nothing. He died for a preposterous something, all right. He died because our personal sin has separated us from the Creator, and only by our Lord Jesus taking our sin upon Himself can we once again walk in Paradise with our Creator. It is that simple.  

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