“And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; 3 but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die (Genesis 3:2-3).’”
Crystal Tadlock exited her 8 ½ hour flight from Paris to Minneapolis and was set to make her connecting flight home to Denver when her travel plans were shaken. As part of her in flight meal served by Delta, she chose to save an apple for later and placed in her bag. She was unaware that this was a civil violation of the law and a picky Customs agent imposed a $500 fine on her and she has had Global Entry privileges revoked. (1) Tadlock complained that the apple was given to her by Delta and not forbidden fruit from France, but the airline has responded that they make these regulations regarding customs very clear at the airport and recommend all passengers comply with U.S. Customs and Border Protection rules.
Perhaps no item of fruit has been so costly since the Garden of Eden. There too, the rules were very clear; “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die (Genesis 2:16-17).” Even so, Eve reasoned that it was nutritious, attractive, and was desirable to make her wise she took the contraband (Genesis 3:6). Paul tells us that she was deceived but Adam knowingly took part in the violation of the lone civil law of the land (1 Timothy 2:14). The penalty for both of them over this single piece of fruit was the revocation of their privileges in the Garden and no further access to the tree of life (Genesis 3:24). Worse than a mere fine and loss of privilege, all of mankind must taste death (Romans 5:12, Hebrews 9:27).
Some see this as an overly harsh penalty for a seemingly light lapse of the rules governing a mere piece of produce. But they fail to comprehend the enormity of sin and its resulting separation of man from God. Waltke notes that the Hebrew root of the word translated “garden” indicates an enclosed, protected area where God invited man “to enjoy bliss and harmony between themselves, and God, one another, animals, and the land.” (2) In violating the lone restriction God had placed on this relationship was an act of disbelief and a declaration of their own autonomy apart from God (Genesis 3:5). (2) In this man’s relationship with God was altered, as God cannot host sin (Habakkuk 1:13) and man has nothing to offer to God in payment for his rebellion. The resulting separation from God meant losing connection to the only source of life. All of the efforts of science to create life have failed as the law of biogenesis, all life comes from a living source, rules and it was God who first breathed life into man (Genesis 2:7) and continues to provide this life to all (Acts 17:25). Choosing to make it on one’s own apart from God our Father means certain death as the prodigal son learned (Luke 15:32). Without reconnecting we are lost.
God had no obligation to restore this breech in the relationship but deeply loved and cared for His creation and had already had a plan in motion to restore this gap which man could not bridge. Just as this violation incurred a severe penalty Christ came to suffer the penalty of death for all of us (Hebrews 2:9, Romans 5:17) so that our long-lost privilege of fellowship with God in paradise and access to the fruit of tree of life could be restored. Those who have been joined together with Him in His death will have their flight restrictions lifted (Romans 6:3-5). The day is even nearer when He will return for us and we will fly away with Him forever (1 Thessalonians 4:17).
“Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city (Revelation 22:14).”
- Bruce K. Waltke, Genesis, Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 2001, p.85, 86