Introducing Donuts, the End of the Garden of God
Introduction: Honey is mentioned 60 times in the Bible and it’s used as the Bible’s prime example of sweetness for comparison to other things. For example, in the book of Proverbs, we’re warned about the sweetness of a seductress –
For the lips of an immoral woman drip honey,
And her mouth is smoother than oil;
But in the end she is bitter as wormwood,
Sharp as a two-edged sword. Proverbs 5:3, 4
And in the Song of Songs, King Solomon makes a similar comparison about the beauty of the voice and words of an upright woman, his beloved –
Your lips, O my spouse,
Drip as the honeycomb;
Honey and milk are under your tongue;
And the fragrance of your garments
Is like the fragrance of Lebanon.
Honey comes from the work of bees and bees come from the mind of God. The splendor and complexity of a single bumblebee far outweighs the possibility of evolution, and the work they do fills our lips with delight. Here are some of honey’s amazing benefits –
It’s nature’s energy booster because it’s a great natural source of carbohydrates which provide strength and energy to the body. It’s known for its effectiveness in instantly boosting performance, endurance, and also reducing muscle fatigue.
It has glucose which gives an immediate energy boost, and it has fructose which is absorbed more slowly providing sustained energy.
Honey is an immunity system builder too. It has antioxidants and anti-bacterial properties which can help improve your digestive system and help you stay healthy and fight disease. Eating local honey can actually help a person develop immunities to pollen and hay fever caused by the surrounding spores. The bees produce ready-made inoculants for the pollen sufferer.
Honey can also help with cuts and burns, sore throats, sleeplessness and other things as well.
In contrast to honey, there is the donut. Honey comes from the mind of God through His agents of pollination – the bees. On the other hand, donuts are a product of man’s devising and ingenuity.
Where honey is abundantly beneficial to us, donuts are obviously less so. But their sweet deliciousity can’t be denied and their totally tempting titillating tastiness tries and tests our taste buds at the expense of our overall slim and trim appearance.
So what do donuts have to do with the Genesis account? Very little to a person who speaks only English, but if you understand Hebrew, there may be a moral to the story hidden in the donut.
Here are the ingredients for a simple glazed donut:
* 3/4 cup scalded milk
* 1/3 cup granulated sugar
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 1 envelope of active dry yeast
* 1/4 cup warm water
* 4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
* 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg (optional)
* 1/3 cup butter
* 2 eggs, beaten
* oil for deep frying
* 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
* 6 tablespoons milk
Text Verse: The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever;
The judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether.
More to be desired are they than gold,
Yea, than much fine gold;
Sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.
Moreover by them Your servant is warned,
And in keeping them there is great reward. Psalm 19:9-11
May God speak to us through His word today and may His glorious name ever be praised.
I. Donuts, Woman’s Second Desire
Donuts are pretty tempting to me and I could make a breakfast of them every day. Ladies aren’t exempt from desiring their delightful yumminess either, but there is something else which the Bible says a lady desires –
To the woman He said:
“I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception;
In pain you shall bring forth children;
Your desire shall be for your husband,
And he shall rule over you.”
There are several parts to the sentencing of the woman and they’re given in the form of couplets. The first two apply to her mothering role and the second two concern her role as a wife. What we see here is that, just as in the curse of the serpent, the women will be the bearer of offspring and that offspring are sure to come.
The woman, having been present at the curse of the serpent, was certainly excited at the prospect of having a child. The serpent was told that her seed would crush his head and the woman would wait in anticipation for that to happen – probably expecting it right away. This isn’t speculation, but something we’ll see in Chapter 4.
Until then, she was sentenced to the multiplication of sorrows in and through her conception and all the way through the birthing process. Unfortunately, the woman finds out that the curse of the serpent and all of its promise of a coming Seed to crush his head will come at a cost to her.
It’s been noted that women suffer more pain in the birthing process than any other creatures of the earth and this is certainly a result of the curse pronounced here. There is no other known reason for it.
During and after having a baby, women have mental troubles, sorrows, pain, nausea, food disorders, dizziness, head pains, teeth pains, some have fainting spells, and so on. And of course there is the constant worry about miscarriages, the health of the baby, will she be able to handle things, and on and on.
And all of this leads right up to the time that the baby is born with the birth pains growing in frequency and strength. Of course, there is a time, a short time, when that is forgotten, Jesus said –
“A woman, when she is in labor, has sorrow because her hour has come; but as soon as she has given birth to the child, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world.” John 16:21
After the joy of the moment though, reality comes back and the trials of conception and birth are replaced with the joys, and the trials of raising the child.
In addition to the trials, pains, and numbers of conception, the woman’s sentence includes that her desire will be for her husband and that he would rule over her. If you read commentaries on this, they go all over the place.
Some say it is speaking of the sexual desires a woman has for her husband and others deny this completely. But because the sentence is in the form of a couplet the text itself identifies which is correct.
Since the fall, in almost all less developed cultures, woman has been more a less a slave to her husband. The rule of selfishness prevails there and the weaker inevitably serves the stronger. Going as far as slavery is wholly unintended by God and cultures which follow this avenue divert from His overall original intent.
On the other hand, equality in marital decisions is also unintended by God. Cultures which follow this pattern, or those that reject marriage completely in order to avoid the rule of men, are also divergent from what God intended.
Rather, the rule of man over the woman is to be one who is responsible for the wife and the family. The woman is to defer to her husband’s decisions when they conflict with her own wishes.
In the New Testament, we see the proper order of this relationship carefully noted by the apostles –
Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her… Ephesians 5:22-25
Living as husband and wife within the Christian context should restore each to their proper place and put them in line with God’s intention for the husband and wife.
II. If You Want Donuts, You’ll Have to Work for Them
As we noted earlier, honey is a gift of God to man…not of works. Donuts on the other hand require work. We have to get the ingredients, mix them properly, bake the dough, and all that stuff. In the same way, man would go from honey to donuts; from resting in the garden to tilling the soil. The end of the garden of God had come for the man…
17 Then to Adam He said, “Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat of it’:
“Cursed is the ground for your sake;
In toil you shall eat of it
All the days of your life.
18 Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you,
And you shall eat the herb of the field.
19 In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread
Till you return to the ground,
For out of it you were taken;
For dust you are,
And to dust you shall return.”
20 And Adam called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all living.
After cursing the serpent and sentencing the woman, the Lord God now turns His attention and judgment upon the man. Yes, the end of the garden of God had come. Instead of supply an abundance to fill their every need and to provide them with endless delight, there would be something different.
In the woman’s sentence was the multiplication of conception which is actually considered a blessing in the Bible. In the 127th Psalm we read this –
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior,
So are the children of one’s youth.
Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them;
More children are a part of the sentence and a part of the grace given by God at the same time. The earth would be less giving and more unforgiving, and so feeding more children would be an added burden. At the same time, if he could sustain the children until they were old enough, they would be a part of the man’s help in fighting his war with the soil and taking care of him in his old age.
And the soil is the key thought not only of the man’s sentencing, but one of the key thoughts throughout the rest of the Bible.
The ground is cursed and will no longer bear fruit from heaven. Instead it will bear fruit from the serpent’s throne, from the spot where he breathes out his commands. And his throne is a hard rule. Man would have to toil, and he still does to this day, to get food to come up from it.
“All the days of your life” implies that it will always be this way for fallen man. Not just during the life of Adam, but all the days of man. Water, instead of coming up from the ground as a mist, flows from aquifers and needs to be channeled, carried, or pumped to where it’s needed.
And not only would the soil bring forth fruit reluctantly, but in contrast it would willingly bring up thorns and thistles. If you don’t actively take care of your garden or lawn, what is the first thing that happens? Up come weeds. Once weeds are established and they take away the water from the weaker plants, then thorns and thistles pop up because they can handle more arid conditions.
The Bible speaks of the blessing of harvests resulting in 30, 60, or a 100 fold crops for edible food like wheat, but this type of productivity takes work and care. On the other hand, there is a species of thistle known as the Acanthum vulgare which produces more than 100 heads and each contains from 3 to 400 seeds – without any tending or care by man.
Supposing they produce a medium of 80 beads and each contains only 300 seeds, then its first crop would equal 24,000. When these are sown, it could potentially be 576 million. A third time would result in almost 14 billion. Another harvest at this rate would be about 332 quadrillion. One more repetition would result in enough to sow every planet in the solar system with nothing else but this one type of thistle. Oh how easy do the curses afflict our labors!
This curse even resulted in the sandspurs which line coastlines around the world, even up to the ocean itself. The sandiest soil, which can’t absorb any water at all, will still support these horrific little monsters.
Verse 18 also says “you shall eat of the herb of the field.” This is a commentary that when the crops fail and the trees don’t have fruit, we will look for food even as the animals do – from the herbs of the field. This is the state of fallen man because of the effects of one sin committed in ignorance.
In His final act of sentencing the man, the Lord says, “In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread Till you return to the ground, For out of it you were taken; For dust you are, And to dust you shall return.”
In the sweat of your face or more directly “your nose’’ – the Hebrew word beze-et appekha indicates the conditions of labor for the laborer. Our heads sweat a lot and as we work in the field or at other jobs, our heads are most often pointed down.
Because of this the sweat runs around our head, onto our face, and down the nose and right into the place we’re working. In other words, we’re symbolically watering the very ground we’re cultivating. “In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread.”
And finally in verse 19 we come to the sad words revealed in the loss of access to the Tree of Life –
“For out of it you were taken; For dust you are, And to dust you shall return.”
The Lord God formed man out of the dust and it’s what we consist of. When the spark of life which animates us leaves our body, entropy takes over and we inevitably return to the very dust from which we came.
Before we leave the sentencing of the woman and Adam, we need to step back and look at their expected torments from a higher light. A Deliverer was promised in the curse of the serpent – one who would crush the serpent’s head. This same Deliverer is referred to throughout their sentencing as well –
“I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception…” Jesus was known as a man of sorrows and familiar with suffering and the one whose soul was in labor – all of this in order to bring about children for God.
“In pain you shall bring forth children…” Jesus suffered at the cross to bring “many sons to glory.” In pain He brought forth God’s children.
“Your desire shall be for your husband, And he shall rule over you…” The desire of the Bride of Christ is for her Husband and Jesus is the One who will rule over His bride, the church whom He purchased with His own blood.
“Cursed is the ground for your sake…” In Isaiah, Jesus is said to be a root out of dry ground and later in Galatians it says that He became a curse for us. For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
“In toil you shall eat of it All the days of your life.” In Isaiah it says, “He shall see the labor of His soul, and be satisfied.” Jesus labored throughout His life in the harvest field of man.
“Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you,…” Christ was given a crown of thorns. The very sentence of the man for his disobedience became the crown of the Lord who sentenced him.
“And you shall eat the herb of the field…” The instructions for the Passover say this – “Then they shall eat the flesh on that night; roasted in fire, with unleavened bread and with bitter herbs they shall eat it.” Jesus not only participated in the Passover each year, He prefigured it, leading a life in bitterness to redeem fallen man.
“In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread…” In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus sweat – as it were – great drops of blood falling to the ground thus earning His bread, that being the Bread of Affliction in order to redeem fallen man.
“Till you return to the ground, For out of it you were taken;…” The mortal part of the Lord Jesus died on Calvary’s cross and was interred for the sins committed by His own creation. Death came in as a result of sin and sin was dealt with by His obedient death.
The very sentence of man for his rebellion was carried out in the Person of Jesus Christ. The Lord God didn’t cause the man to receive anything that He Himself wasn’t willing to endure. Thus He is both Just and the Justifier of everyone who calls on Him.
There is one exception in the curse between Adam and Jesus “For dust you are,And to dust you shall return.” Jesus, because He prevailed over the devil was resurrected by the power of God. The curse has been removed and now anyone who calls on Him will likewise be freed from the finality of death.
20 And Adam called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all living.
The name translated Eve in English is immensely unfortunate and removes all relevance to what is being relayed. Her name Khavah means “life.” First we see in this verse that Adam named her.
This confirms what God told her in her sentencing “…he shall rule over you.” Because Adam named her, he has dominion and authority over her, just as when Adam named the animals.
By choosing the name Khavah, or life, he is demonstrating faith in God’s promise to provide a Redeemer. He knew this Redeemer would restore them to spiritual life and fellowship with God. But he had no idea that it would be 4000 years before this Redeemer would come.
All he knew at that moment was that there would be One who would restore their dead condition. It can even be inferred that he expected the first person born from them to be that One because of his naming her Khavah.
Even though they had come to the end of the Garden of God, they had hope of a better day ahead and they exhibited faith that what the Lord promised would come about.
III. Covered in Something Sweet
Donuts aren’t just delicious bread products. They’re often filled with good stuff and even more common and delightful is what they’re covered in. There are all kinds of sweetness and delights which cover a donut. Here are a couple things to think about.
**Donuts don’t make themselves and they don’t get themselves out of the hot oil.
**Donuts don’t cover themselves in delightfully delicious goodness. Instead, someone else does.
**And donuts have to meet the end of their donut-ness if they are to be enjoyed.
Charlie, what are you talking about?
21 Also for Adam and his wife the LORD God made tunics of skin, and clothed them.
Only after naming his wife Khavah, does God clothe them. The symbolism in this verse follows through the whole Bible, even to the last book. What would be the reason for waiting to do this until after Adam named His wife? Well, let’s look at the significance of the verse and then why it happened afterwards.
There are three things involved in the clothing of Adam and Eve and they all point to the work of the coming Redeemer –
First, God initiated the action. If you remember, Adam and the woman made fig leaves to cover themselves, but God rejected this. They chose the material, the fashion, and everything else involved in it. Despite this, they were still ashamed and hid when the Lord came looking for them.
The covering couldn’t conceal their deeds. In the same way, all false religions choose the mode of salvation and they initiate the actions which are expected to please God and bring about restoration. They are man-centered, working back to God. But this has been, is, and always will be rejected by God.
Instead, God alone chooses the course of action and He initiates it. He decides the covering and everything else associated with it.
Secondly, something had to die, an innocent animal – probably a lamb or a ram. God didn’t kill Adam or the woman, but rather chose an innocent animal in their place. In essence, He transferred their guilt to the animal and the animal suffered for their misdeeds.
This symbolizes God’s choice of the only sacrifice which is truly acceptable to Him, the death of Jesus Christ – the Lamb of God. Later in the Bible we see in the book of Hebrews that an animal cannot take away sins, but only temporarily cover them until the final Sacrifice – the Lord Jesus, who died in place of fallen man.
And the third thing about this verse – God completed the action. He personally clothed them. It was His gift and it was unmerited. His animal died, His hands prepared the covering, and His hands clothed them. In the book of Revelation, we read this –
Yet you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes. They will walk with me, dressed in white, for they are worthy. The one who is victorious will, like them, be dressed in white. Revelation 3:4, 5
Later we see that the white garments stand for the righteousness of the saints. It is an imputed righteousness, meaning that it was undeserved, but is given to them based on the work of Christ.
The entire mode of restoration to God for fallen man is summed up then in this one verse – “Also for Adam and his wife the LORD God made tunics of skin, and clothed them.”
And this is the same pattern used time and again by God throughout the Bible. When the Israelites were in bondage in Egypt, He didn’t tell them to get out of the mess themselves. Instead, He led them out, He guided them in the flight, and when they were facing destruction by the Red Sea, He didn’t tell them to work their way out of it, instead He said, “Stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which He will accomplish for you today.”
And why was it that He clothed them only after Adam named his wife Khavah, or “life.” It’s because this name was a demonstration of faith. They lost access to the Garden when they lacked faith and it was only by faith that they could ever hope to be restored to it.
And so after demonstrating faith, God provided the clothing. In the same way, Jesus gives us His robes of righteousness only after we demonstrate faith in Him.
The Bible – from Genesis to Revelation notes that salvation of the human soul is based on faith and on faith alone. When God speaks, we are expected to take His word at face value, and only after demonstrating faith in His promise are we granted His covering – the righteousness of Christ.
And this righteousness is so very much sweeter than the glazing of a donut. It is perfect and it is whiter and purer than anything we can yet imagine.
IV. Something Better Than Donuts is on the Other Side
The Hebrew word for “donut” is pronounced “soofganiyah” and is a combination of three words, “end,” “garden,” and “God.” Donuts are literally, “The end of the garden of God.” Maybe it’s because they’re so tasty and delicious that someone thought, “We lost paradise, but this is the next best thing!”
22 Then the LORD God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us, to know good and evil.
The man became like the Triune God – he now knows good and evil. Not only is he responsible for his actions, but now he knows the difference between them and he bears the greater responsibility because of the knowledge.
But there could even be a touch of sarcasm in what’s said here. As Adam and Eve stood humiliated in their rough garments, the Creator told us to reflect on what happened. “Look at what their knowledge has got them. Let’s hope that in the future they will make right choices and be obedient to the call of the Master.”
And now, lest he put out his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever”— 23 therefore the LORD God sent him out of the garden of Eden to till the ground from which he was taken. 24
God knew that if they were to live forever in the fallen state they were in with clothing that only symbolically covered their shame, they would become infinitely bent on wickedness and evil. And so in a demonstration of both mercy and grace, He took away their access to eternal life.
The Lord drove them out of the Garden “to till the ground from which he was taken.” The purpose of being in the Garden wasn’t to tend and keep it, but to worship and serve the Creator. Now they would have to tend and keep the ground in order to survive. Worshiping and serving the Creator would be a voluntary task based on faith and not by sight.
The life of the faithful since then, even to this day is centered on worshipping and serving the Creator, but our deeds are not done to justify us. They are deeds of faith in an unseen God and they are based on promises which lie ahead of us in a world which mocks and ridicules us for our hope. If you don’t believe that, just ask Tim Tebow.
So He drove out the man; and He placed cherubim at the east of the garden of Eden, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life.
Man was driven from the presence of God and the beauty of the Garden. A heavenly guard was placed east of the garden to keep him out so that he couldn’t get to the tree of life. But a guard implies that access is possible. The very fact that this verse is here proves that a return to Eden is not only available, but is expected.
The rest of the Bible, from this point on, details the long adventure of restoring that which was lost. The tabernacle in the wilderness foreshadows access to Eden. The Most Holy Place where God dwelt above the Ark of the Covenant was separated from the outside by a veil on which was sewn cherubim. This veil pointed east, toward the rising sun.
Later, the temple in Jerusalem also faced west with the veil and its cherubim facing east. On a spring morning in the year AD32 a Man died on a cross within sight of that temple. Unlike Adam, who died in his own sin, this man had never sinned. Being sinless, He was destined to live forever, but He voluntarily gave up His precious life to replace what Adam had lost.
The moment He died, the veil to the temple, which was a handbreadth thick, was rent in two from top to bottom by the Creator. His wrath at the sins of Adam and Adam’s seed was satisfied by the death of His own Son, thus fulfilling every type and picture prefigured in the holy and sacred writings.
Access past the cherubim was restored and the Tree of Life was again made available to all those who, by faith and by faith alone, are willing to receive the work of God in Jesus Christ and to bow in submission to Him, calling on Him as Lord.
Donuts may be the end of the garden of God, but they require work and they go bad if they’re not eaten quickly. Oh but God saw our attempt at a sweet and tasty existence and said, “I can do even better. You’ve come to the end of the Garden of God, but I myself will bring you back into it. Listen to the words of Isaiah –
I delight greatly in the LORD;
my soul rejoices in my God.
For he has clothed me with garments of salvation
and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness,
as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest,
and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
For as the soil makes the sprout come up
and a garden causes seeds to grow,
so the Sovereign LORD will make righteousness
and praise spring up before all nations. Isaiah 61:10, 11
Fill me with You Lord, I can fill myself with donuts… c.g.
The End of the Garden of God
Your sentence is pronounced
In pain you shall give birth
Your husband will rule over you
And he shall till the unforgiving earth
Your pains in childbirth will be increased
Indeed your labor will be most severe
But when from your womb the child is released
Again the joy in your heart will appear
And Adam, because you listened to your wife
And from the forbidden fruit you did eat
I shall give you a burdensome life
I’ve cursed the ground beneath your feet
For your crops you will till and the soil will resist
From it thorns and thistles will readily grow
But the things on which you need to subsist
Will take careful work with a plow and hoe
Someday you’ll return to that ground
As a seed planted in the soil
And if by faith you live your life
There shall be a reward for your time of toil
Now I will clothe you with garments of skin
And send you out of this garden of delight
Cherubs will faithfully guard the way back in
Until My Son makes all things right
And when He does you can come back in
Not because of anything you have done
But His blood alone will cover your sin
Such is the wondrous work of my Son.
Hallelujah and Amen!