Friday, March 2, 2007

A Tragedy of Love

I've been reading Patriarchs and Prophets for my devotion and I haven't been able to put it down. I was recently reading the chapter "The Temptation and the Fall". I will quickly summarize it. Eve, while working, wandered from Adam's side. Satan, seizing the opportunity, took on the form of a serpent which at the time were very beautiful creatures with wings. He perched himself in the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil and awaited Eve. Eve saw the serpent, heard him speaking, and out of curiosity stopped and listened. The serpent eventually convinced Eve that God was holding out on her and that by eating the fruit she would enter into a higher state of existence. Seeing that the fruit was good for food and pleasant to the eye, she ate of it. She didn't immediately feel the effects of sin and death and so she excitedly took the fruit to Adam. She relayed the story to Adam and he replied to her that this was the foe of whom they had been warned and that divine sentence, she must die. Still, she urged him to eat saying that she didn't feel any evidence of God's displeasure. This is where I will pick up on the story.

Adam understood that his companion had transgressed the command of God, disregarded the only prohibition laid upon them as a test of their fidelity and love. There was a terrible struggle in his mind. He mourned that he had permitted Eve to wander from his side. But now the deed was done; he must be separated from her whose society had been his joy. How could he have it thus? Adam had enjoyed the companionship of God and of holy angels. He had looked upon the glory of the Creator. He understood the high destiny opened to the human race should they remain faithful to God. Yet all these blessings were lost sight of in the fear of losing that one gift which in his eyes outvalued every other. Love, gratitude, loyalty to the Creator--all were overborne by love to Eve. She was a part of himself, and he could not endure the thought of separation. He did not realize that the same Infinite Power who had from the dust of the earth created him, a living, beautiful form, and had in love given him a companion, could supply her place. He resolved to share her fate; if she must die, he would die with her.

I have thought about this statement frequently over the last few days. It is not Eve's sin that caused the fall of Man, but Adam's. He placed his love for Eve above and beyond his love for God. His first mistake was not in eating the fruit, but in loving Eve above God. He didn't trust that the God who gave him this woman, could give him another. And so because of his great love for her, he ate. I say this, not to place the blame on men, but to show the danger in placing the one you love above the One who is Love.

This story reminds me of Romeo and Juliet. Juliet would rather have died than to be without Romeo. She feigned her death to avoid marriage to Paris. Friar John was unable to get word to Romeo that she was not dead, only comatose, before he heard the news of her death. In his great love for her, he drank the poison that killed him as she awoke from her slumber. Upon seeing him dead, she killed herself. Once again, a story of loving someone so much that you would rather die than live without them.

Adam was the first Romeo. A man willing to die for the love of a Juliet without giving thought to any other possibilities. We must be careful to not place the one we love above the One who is Love. But isn't it wonderful that the story doesn't end here? God drew up a wonderful plan to redeem us and one day, we will live with Him forever.

Shakespeare says, "For never was a story of more woe / Than this of Juliet and her Romeo." But I tell you, "For never was a story more to grieve / Than this of Adam and his Eve."
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