What happened in paradise?

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Alexander Tkachenko

What happened in paradise? The worst thing that could happen between loving and trusting beings happened there. In the garden of Eden, something that would later be repeated in the Garden of Gethsemane happened when Judas brought a group of armed guards looking for Jesus. In other words, betrayal occurred in paradise.

Man betrayed his Creator when he believed the slander against Him and decided to live solely according to his own will.

Man learned to betray those closest to him when he accused his wife of his own sin. Man betrayed himself. After all, "betray" literally means to hand over. And man handed himself over from the good will of his Creator to the evil will of his enemy, the devil. Satan fabricated a false story in which God appeared as an envious deceiver, afraid of competition from humans. And people, who had already received so many gifts and blessings from God, who knew Him, who had communicated with Him, and who had convinced themselves through experience that He is good, suddenly believed this dirty lie. And they decided to taste the fruit from the forbidden tree to become "like gods."

But instead, they only discovered that they were naked and began urgently constructing primitive clothing from tree leaves. And when they heard God's voice calling them, they were afraid and began to hide among the trees in paradise from the One who planted it for them.

Betrayals are always afraid of meeting those they betrayed. And what the first humans did was the true betrayal of God. Satan subtly hinted to them that by eating the forbidden fruit, they could become equal to their Creator. And therefore - to live without Him. And people believed this lie. They believed Satan and stopped believing in God.

This was the main tragedy of what happened in paradise - a terrible perversion. People refused to listen to God and voluntarily gave themselves over to the devil's obedience.

This was the first betrayal that God forgave them for and gave them a chance to return to Him. But the people didn't want to take advantage of it. The wife tried to justify herself by saying that the serpent had seduced her. And Adam even blamed his wife for his crime, and on top of that...God, who had given him such an "improper" partner. This was the last conversation between humans and God in paradise: "Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?" Adam said, "The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it." Then the Lord God said to the woman, "What is this you have done?" The woman said, "The serpent deceived me, and I ate."

Thus the first man betrayed God, his wife, and himself in paradise. Created to reign over the material world, he became a pitiful creature, hiding in the bushes from his Creator and reproaching Him for giving him an improper wife. This is how the poison of Satan's lies made man. Once he fulfilled the will of God's enemy, man himself became an enemy of God.

St. Theophan the Recluse writes: "The separation from God was accomplished completely with disgust, by some hostile uprising against Him. Therefore, God turned away from such criminals, and the living union was broken. God is everywhere and contains everything, but He enters into the inner being of free creatures only when they give themselves to Him. When they are closed within themselves, He does not violate their self-will, but, keeping them and sustaining them, does not enter into them. And so our forefathers were left alone. If they had repented quickly, perhaps God would have returned to them, but they persisted, and even when clearly exposed, neither Adam nor Eve confessed to being guilty."

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