Monday, March 16, 2009

The man and the tree

So, there they were: the man and the tree, right in the middle. The tree had its companion, and the man had his, but right now they weren't in the picture. This man, and this tree - right in the middle, surrounded by captivating beauty from which they both seemed sharply removed. Because this was the moment of decision. There was nothing in the world but this man and this tree.

Stop, Adam! Don't you remember? Don't you recall what the Lord has done for you? For your sake he split apart the darkness, ripped the seas in two. For your sake he spoke order into the chaos and made grace into solid earth for your feet. Every plant he made for you, every tree he gave to you - but not this tree, Adam. Stop!

And the man stopped, but not to turn away. His eyes were still fascinated, and wisdom hitherto unknown entranced him. He walked, slowly, around the tree, his eyes never leaving the promised and forbidden fruit that hung there. He walked, in a perfect circle, as if there were some invisible line around the foot of this tree, a line which held him - as if he could not walk nearer, and could not turn away.

Turn, Adam! Look around you. Look at the garden the Lord has planted for you. Everything you need is there. He has made beauty, and given it to you. He has given you purpose and meaning and all that you could desire. Every plant is yours. Every animal bears the name you gave it. Look around you, Adam, and forget this one thing that you cannot have!

And he turned, but only his head. He looked about him, as if for the first time he wondered if he was being watched, monitored. But he saw only trees, leaves moving gently in the breeze, and turning back his attention to the tree, the one tree around which for that moment his world revolved, he paused, took a deep breath, and stepped forward.

Beware, Adam! Remember how precarious is your position. You live by grace, and life itself hangs in the balance. The waters are gathered above this fragile earth, held back only by the will of the Lord - the Lord whose will you are questioning, whose command you are doubting. Can you bear the death he promises? Can creation itself survive the chaos that you are about to release? Think, Adam - death, destruction and deluge ! Think, and turn back!

The man reached out his hand toward the tree, still standing back as if in awe, stretching for the fruit that weighed down the low branches.

Oh, Adam.

You did just what I would have done.


  1. Great post - thanks Daniel!

  2. beautiful, but bittersweet

  3. are you going to do "the man and the tree" part 2? would LOVE to read that (too)!

  4. I thought about writing part 2, but I don't know how it would go. I feel like I understand Adam a lot more than I understand Christ! Maybe if the inspiration hits me...