So let’s look again at our lower story in Chapter One. God gives Adam and Eve one rule, but they can’t follow it. From our lower story vantage point God seems to be going a little far for one mistake, right? I must admit that I get hung up on this pretty easily. Why would a loving God even give them access to that tree, if it was going to do so much damage. Why not put a barrier around the tree and keep them out in order to keep us all in? Then when they go and do the one thing he tells them not to do, he curses them and kicks them out. The very good has become very bad?
Just like in our daily lives, if we remain stuck in the Lower Story, we will never be able to see the beauty of the Upper Story. This disobedience is called “sin” throughout the bible and the ugliness of sin separates itself from the holiness of God. At the moment when Adam and Eve disobeyed their Father, there was a separation from God. For the first time they noticed they were naked and shame followed. They realized something was not right and they hid from God. In the Upper Story, God doesn’t disown them, but he goes after them. He searches them out and finds them. His “curses” of labor pains, hard work and death are only consequences of the meal they had. To leave them in the garden and ignore their action would have been the ultimate fatal choice. You see, in the garden was another tree called the Tree of Life. If Adam and Eve had eaten from that tree while in their separated-from-God state, they would have never been able to get back. God removes them from the garden and protects them from returning. In this Upper Story, God is leaving open a pathway back into a right relationship with him. He has not shut the door on them, nor has he shut the door on us. Interesting note that in the early church, the Cross was referenced as the tree of life, and at the end of the story, God will let the righteous eat from the tree of life. This is the essence of grace.
By keeping the Upper Story in mind, we see things like cancer, divorce, war, earthquakes, fire, murders, birth defects, indulgences, crime, etc. very differently. Instead of asking God why he let these things happen, we now can ask God how he longs to bring good out of these ugly situations. The choice to disobey, coupled with the choice to eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, has messed up our world. It is not the way God intended it to be and it’s not the way he wants it to be for the future. As we will see, The Story is about a God who loves us so much, he goes to the greatest of lengths to redeem us and the world where we live. His pursuit of us is beauty in the middle of the chaos.