I was reading a devotional this morning which was dealing with Genesis 3:21 “And the Lord God made garments of skins for the man and the woman, and clothed them”
The author used the illustration of a mother: making a special cake and putting it on the kitchen table. She then told her two children to not eat of it, as it was a special cake prepared for a special purpose.
When the inevitable happened she says the mother yells, “I can’t believe you ate the cake. I gave you one thing to not do. One thing! Furious she kicks them out of the kitchen.”
I became furious. I heard an internal voice say, “Okay man settle down it is not that critical”. So I took a deep breath or two then decided to blog on this issue and concern. I know the author was well intentioned and trying to be cute. I do love the image of God making sure people have sweatshirts on to keep them warm as this does present a compassionate God. I do have some concerns and questions:
Why picture God or humanity this way? It is not even close to unfolding the text. As I calmed my furious parts down, I imagined that on that days thousands or more years ago, God did the same thing.
First the text clearly indicates God’s compassion, as instead of being exclusively furious, he made clothes for them to effectively intervene at a practical level and in a caring way. Their action gave opportunity for God to react not in anger and fury but with love and grace.
Second, anger and even fury are just emotional responses to disappointing moments. It is the behavior in response to those emotional moments that indicate character and substance. I have no problem with God being angry at their defiance. Yet, while “hell hath no fury like a woman’s scorn” (, heaven is full of compassion for a humans preoccupation with indulgence and self satisfaction even if it is self defeating. Even when God throws the couple out of the garden (the kids out of the kitchen), it was not his fury that did so but His compassion. They had eaten of the tree of knowledge of good and evil so God could not let then stay in the garden to eat presumably (knowing the past behavior is a good indicator of future behavior) of the other tree, the tree of eternal life. Had He not led them out of the kitchen they would have sealed their eternal demise by continuing their behavior with no opportunity for restoration to the mother’s love or redemption from their “fateful choice”. Again God’s compassion likes and cares for his creation. He does not strike down his creation but likes them up!
Thirdly, what mother would set these children up this way. The nature of children is to be curious and investigating. Touching and eating are primary senses. We were at a museum that has a kid’s space with all kinds of creatively created objects that children were to walk around and see but not touch. My wife commented, “really they expect children to not do what is innately natural for them to do. I thought, “yes and why do we think the God who created us is not aware of the very nature that he gave us and would actually punish us for “being kid like” or “just human”. Then additionally, why would we think that this God who knows who and how we are, would respond with a part that only slams for doing what is the most natural thing to our species. GOD clearly responded with love and compassion. Would not a caring mother do similarly. If indeed she chose to set the plate this way, would she not know or presume that the kids would eat. Would she not then come in while they are eating and say: “I totally get that you saw and are enjoying this cake regardless of what I said. I get that if I did not want you to eat of the cake I should have put it out of your reach. At the same time there is something I want you to learn from this: a life lesson. In fact that is why I did not put it out of your reach. So here is what I want you to learn: If you just do what you want based on what looks good or tastes good and think it is okay to do, without thinking of the effect or affect on you or others, you can miss all the pleasures and good things I have prepared for you to know, experience and grow through. Even this one can cause you to grow. So know I love you regardless of anything you do. Additionally, I will always be wanting you to learn something from your faltering and failures perhaps more than you would ever learn from your good choices and successes. Life is about learning and growing “in wisdom and stature with God and fellow humanity” (sound familiar).
God in effect says: I will never throw you out of the kitchen without preparing another kitchen from which you can eat, live, and enjoy life. Calm out of the cold, cave of your hiding, I have prepared sweatshirts and sweat pants for you and they will keep you warm and will forever be a symbol of my covenant of love for you regardless of anything.
Just my thoughts on the subject.