I never considered God’s judgment on Adam and Eve an act of love before. Had He allowed them to continue to live in the Garden, and had they eaten from the Tree of Life, they would have been forced to live forever in their sin, struggling in this sinful world century after century, millennium after millennium. They would have had no hope of heaven, because they would not have died.
Yes, they were doomed to a difficult existence during life on earth. They were to experience sickness, loss, heartache, enemies, and death. Sin does that to a person.
But God, even as He sent them away, promised the Savior. God did not leave them without hope.
The writer of Hebrews, and Psalm 3:12 tell us:
the Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.
God always punishes sin because He loves us. He wants us to turn from sin so that we can enjoy a relationship with Him in this life, and forever. We can’t do that if we hold on to sin. He is holy. Holiness and sin do not exist together. God wants us to exist together.
God didn’t wash His hands of Adam and Eve when they sinned. When He threw them out of the Garden, He didn’t turn off the sun, or destroy creation to teach them a lesson They still enjoyed sunsets, smelled the flowers, tasted the food. God didn’t stop blessing them. I’m sure they laughed again, were excited about the births of their children, enjoyed a romantic get-away to the mountains occasionally. (Well, I’m not sure of that last one, really. I’m a bit of a romantic.)
I think they even enjoyed a relationship with God eventually, although much different than the one they knew before sin separated them. God still was involved in their lives as seen in His conversation with Cain, giving Cain a chance to repent. (4:6-7)
I’ve gone through times of discipline because of sin in my life. Our world experiences the judgment of God because of sin. And often our natural response is to ask, “Why?”
“Why is life so hard?” “What did I do to deserve this illness, or this loss, or this hardship?”
And I hear God answer:
Because I love you.