Part 1 of a series for Lent on the biblical trees.
In Eden’s gates there grew two trees put there
By God who made the earth and sky and sea;
The everlasting steadfast deity there blessed
The seeds of His own image there beside.
The man and woman, brought up from the ground,
His children and His servants on the earth;
The tree of knowledge, and the tree of life,
As covenant signs and covenant boundaries served.
“Grow your own fruit, your sons and daughters—seeds!–
And be My glory, be My image true;
Don’t turn aside from my command, because
The day you do so you will die indeed,”
Said God to Eve and Adam on that day.
But Eve, by serpent’s wit and wisdom, took
The fruit of knowledge, beautiful and sweet
(Like she herself would be, she thought, a queen–
No, more, a goddess over all the earth)
And ate it, gave it to her husband then,
He, who was there to guard her from the sin
That he now sinned as well, that he might be
A mighty king and omnipotent lord.
In that one moment, sin and death now reigned.
And now their unclothed state, their innocence,
Now turns to shame and fear—they strip the trees,
The trees put underneath their care and love,
They strip the trees of leafy glory for
To cover now their sin—but now the Lord
Comes full of wrath (and rightly so, you know)
And now pronounces curse and judgment. BUT.
In judgment’s speech He prophesies a seed
To grow and choke the serpent’s weeds, to give
New shelter from the storm of sin and death,
A tree whose roots will dig down deep. For now,
A brief and bloody scene of mercy shows;
To cover now their naked, broken guilt,
He slaughters now a beast and takes its skin
To clothe them—the unrighteous bearing the
Unblemished—and then sends them out to bear
The desert. And the angel plants himself
Outside the garden for to guard the tree
That would have given life, if they had but
Obeyed and chosen that one’s fruit instead.