Yesterday, I began telling the whole story of Easter. Not the part where Jesus is alive and everyone shouts “Hallelujah!” The story of Easter begins long before, with a promise. But before we get to the promise, we start at the beginning. Because this story, which I call The Story of Love, begins at the very beginning.
Part Two: “Where Are You, Adam?”
The story says that God created the pinnacle of His creation, humanity. The greatest of all His creations, He walked with them and talked with them in the garden. They knew Him personally, and answered His call as they laughed with Him and learned from Him.
At this point in the story, we might be tempted to jump up and applaud. “Incredible!” “Unbelievable!” “It doesn’t get any better than this!” But the ovation would be early, because the story the Creator is writing has so much more to come. God’s greatest creation is yet to come. In the midst of all this beauty–at the height of this deep love between Creator and created–something unthinkable happens.
Disguised as a snake, the devil gives Adam and Eve a massive ego boost by telling them they can be every bit as wonderful and intelligent and amazing as their Creator. With a bit of cleverness and charm, he encourages them to do the only thing God has ever specifically asked them not to do.
“Where are you, Adam?” asks God. “Where are you, Eve?”
They can’t answer. They are hiding, ashamed, fearful and worried. The guilt of what they have done is overwhelming. A new thing now lives in this once-perfect world. A horrible, killing, destroying thing called sin appeared in the first bite of a forbidden piece of fruit.
What may seem a small and tiny thing is the opening salvo in a war of rebellion. The cost of that bite is separation from God, removal from the garden, and death. One tiny act. But it sets in motion the erratic and dramatic courtship between God and man.
Two bites of a single piece of fruit. Disobedience to God’s one command. And yet, on the very day that sin enters the world, God does something amazing. He makes a promise. He vows to the broken Adam and Eve that this is not the end. All is not lost. He will restore the relationship. He will heal the killing wound. The Creator promises His creation that He will send someone who will mend what has been broken and their relationship with Him will be restored!
“When?” they ask. And His answer is, “Not yet.”
They wait. Their children wait. And the terrible cycle of history begins. Because of that single act of rebellion, creation is severed from the Creator. And while it waits for the one who will make things right to appear, humanity succumbs to the worst of itself and the end result? Bondage, slavery, and death. Though the characters and scenes change, the scenario repeats itself endlessly.
The story of love shows how God, the Creator, pursues His creation. He reaches out consistently, He saves constantly, and reminds cautiously. His desire for restoration is a constant dance with the created ones, who come close and spin away in a repeated cycle of repentance and rebellion. As God woos the ones He loves, they are contrite one moment–and spurn His love the next.
God establishes a relationship with a man named Abraham. He promises that Abraham will become the father of a great nation, and that the promised one will come from his descendants. Abraham grows old and weary and asks, “When?” And God says, “Not yet.”
Years later, his descendants are in captivity. Slaves in Egypt. An entire people in bondage, and they cry out to God: “When will you deliver us?”
And that question will be answered next.