I wrote this letter for newly-married Jess and Andy, a young couple at The Winds who best exemplify honest faith and true love.


It’s easy to get caught up in our utopian beginning and even easier to be captivated by our redemptive end. But the real trick—the part none of your friends want to talk about, the part that makes you bashful with people outside your church, the part that makes you wonder if you’re intolerant—is learning the ugly truth about what got our ancestors expelled from Eden.

You know what I’m talking about.

The Creator placed his people within Creation, charging us with subduing the earth and earning dominion over the living creatures of the world.[1] We were given a high and holy calling, but we abdicated our responsibilities when we disobeyed God and deviated from his plan.

At this point you’re probably nodding your head, vaguely agreeing with my summary of the events in Genesis 3, but also starting to tune me out. You’re so familiar with these events they hold little meaning for you, except as an explanation for why things aren’t the way we wish.

But there’s more to it than that.

Do you recall the first command in Eden? The Lord God told us “eat freely.”[2] Placed in a garden-temple of inconceivable abundance, our first instructions were to enjoy Creation.

Did we? For how long? How long did it take for us to tire of the good gifts from God? How long did it take for the Israelites to tire of manna and begin their complaint?[3] How long did it take Judas to tire of following Jesus before he took matters into his own hands?[4] How long does it take us to grow bored with the odyssey of obedience? How long before fidelity, ministry, and generosity feel like the same old, same old?

How long before we wish to be our own gods?

I’ve told you all about the guardian status of Adam and Eve in Eden, about how they were like warrior-priests set as wardens over the garden. Remember one aspect of their priestly work was to protect Eden from the unclean things outside the garden border, things native to the untamed wilderness of the world.

Adam and Eve failed before they ever disobeyed. They failed to protect Eden’s borders, and the serpent entered the garden of God. Our ancestors should have ejected the serpent, but instead they listened to him, followed his deception, and shared in his punishment.

Paradise was lost, and we were expelled from Eden forever.

We now live in a land of strife and violence. God has not rescinded his cultural mandate—we are still tasked with expanding the borders of Eden across the world, but it’s more difficult now that we’re dragging Eden’s perimeter from the outside. We’re lumberjacks hiking felled trees across the mountains, and that’s harder than being gardeners who enjoy the blessing of God.

Have you heard this version of the Fall before? I thought not. I thought you might have skipped over a few important details, like we all do sometimes, but I wanted to make sure you took the time now to see what we really lost.

We lost Eden. Not because we were disobedient, but because we were ungrateful, inattentive, and bored.


[1] Genesis 1.28.

[2] Genesis 2.16.

[3] Exodus 16.1-3.

[4] Numbers 11.4-6.