A Triune God and the Garden of Eden

What really went wrong in the Garden of Eden? What really happened that we now need forgiveness?

If God were merely a single-person God, he would have created everything merely to rule (we can see this in all other gods from Allah to Marduk, Baal to Chemosh). The single-person god is only about himself, inwardly focused. Therefore, what went wrong was that man disobeyed. That is a problem, and that did happen in the Garden. But is that all?

But if God is triune, and the Bible teaches that he is, then what happened? Here is Michael Reeves’ answer (and I so appreciate it!)

“What if we start instead with the triune God? How would that change what was “right” in Genesis 2? How would that change what went wrong in Genesis 3? Well, in Genesis 1:27, “God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” That we are made in the image of God could and does mean many things; but the fact that the God in whose image we are made is specifically the triune God of love has repercussions that echo all through Scripture. Made in the image of this God, we are created to delight in harmonious relationship, to love God, to love each other. Thus Jesus taught that the first and greatest commandment in the law is to love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind, and the second is to love your neighbor as yourself (Mt 22:36-39). That is what we are created for. What, then, went wrong? It was not that Adam and Eve stopped loving. They were created as lovers in the image of God, and they could not undo that. Instead, their love turned. When the apostle Paul writes of sinners, he describes them as “lovers of themselves, lovers of money, . . . lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God” (2 Tim 3:2-4). Lovers we remain, but twisted, our love misdirected and perverted. Created to love God, we turn to love ourselves and anything but God. And this is just what we see in the original sin of Adam and Eve. Eve takes and eats the forbidden fruit because a love for herself—and gaining wisdom for herself—has overcome any love she might have had for God.”

Reeves, Michael (2012-07-03). Delighting in the Trinity: An Introduction to the Christian Faith (Kindle Locations 942-960). Intervarsity Press. Kindle Edition.

Michael Reeves has greatly challenged me to think in light of the Triune God when I come to answer the question, “What really went wrong? What is really wrong with me?” I would have to say that this section of the book caused more lose ends to be tied up than probably any other section I have read.