Kicked out of the Garden


Hi Tom,

I just finished reading your article about the origin of human sin. It makes a lot of sense that our existence as the beings that we are had to include a propensity to sin and a separation from God. But this is confusing when dealing with Adam and Eve’s expulsion from the garden.

If our propensity to sin is ‘natural’ to our state of development and consciousness, then why is there such a decisive condemnation and punishment from God after Adam and Eve were confronted? It seems that He sets in motion a different world because of their actions, a world now wrought with pain, struggle, and death that were not part of the pre-fall experience.

I’d love to hear your thoughts (and the thoughts of others on the forum).


Did God set up a different world?
The garden was a specific place (whether taken literally or not) on the larger Earth. I find it interesting that we (western Christendom) somehow think of Eden as a place/state of perfection–or at least one of purity and innocence. So who allowed the serpent to come in? Or better yet, who planted that darn tree?!
Also, if there were no such things as death, pain, suffering etc. before the “fall” of man, then how do we explain Gen. 3:14 and 16? Apparently at least some animals were already cursed, and the pain of childbirth did not have it’s beginning at the “fall”, but its multiplication.

We must also notice that according to the Genesis account, God didn’t send Adam and Eve out of the garden as punishment for their disobedience, but as a protective measure (read Gen. 3:22-24). Actually, it wasn’t even that they were kicked out of the garden per se; they were being guarded from the tree of life.

As western Christians, our perceptions of the Genesis account are much more based on Augustinian original sin theory than the Scriptures themselves.


Good points and enlightening too! Yet, there still is a decisive difference between life in the garden and life outside of it. If sin already existed, why are Adam and Eve being expelled…whether for punishment or protection…into a life that would require toil and sweat etc.? What changed?


I would suggest that it was their functional relationship to God that changed. They lost the right to the tree of life (as a protective measure) and they were no longer able to completely rest in the presence of God as they had done before, hence the downgrading of their experience of life in the manner described.


Although sin already existed, up until Adam and Eve’s disobedience, sin did not “exist” for humanity. Yes, something surely changed in their relationship to God. This is what sin does. Once we realize what a moral conscience is, and then disobey it, guilt comes upon us. And our perception of God changes.

Hey, check out this link. It is interesting.