SUNDAY OF EXPULSION
Friends, today marks the second Sunday of the Great Lent, which we call “Ardaqsman Giragi” when we remember how Adam and Eve were banished from the Garden because of their sin.
Many believe that God sent Adam and Eve away from the Garden merely because of the sin of eating from the forbidden fruit. Certainly, they did not obey God’s word, and due to their disobedience, they were expelled from the garden. However, their disobedience was only one of the reasons for their expulsion. The more crucial reason was that they did not accept their sin, and they did not claim responsibility for their own wrong.
The Holy Scriptures tell us that after they had sinned, God asked Adam, “Have you eaten from the tree from which I commanded you not to eat?” (Genesis 3:11). The omniscient and omnipresent God certainly knew that they had violated His commandment. But, through this questioning, God gave them the opportunity to repent and confess their wrongdoing. Adam and Eve did not give a response of repentance, but instead, they shifted blame, from one to the other. They blamed the serpent, each other, and even God. Adam said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit from the tree, and I ate.” Then Eve said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” (Genesis 3:12-13)
Even today, after we have committed a sin, we look around to find someone or something to blame, or we try to explain our sin away. We do not wish to confess our wrong, to admit that we were in the wrong, or to acknowledge that we have a responsibility to right that wrong. We always seek to shift our wrongdoing onto others, and for this reason, we do not experience the forgiveness of God.
Undeniably, today on this Sunday of Expulsion — Ardaqsman Giragi — we find God’s anger and judgment when He banishes His children from His Garden. Yet, this story is particularly about God’s love, for He does all that can be done to defend His children.
Certainly, God was angry about the sin of Adam and Eve. But, if we study this passage in the Book of Genesis closely, we will see that God did not directly curse Adam and Eve. God cursed the serpent and the soil. But God did not directly curse human beings. Remember, we are told that He fashioned them in His image and likeness. In a matter-of-fact manner, God explained the consequences of their sinful choices, which were contrary to His omniscient will. He described that because of their sin, life would be difficult for them. The bitterness of sin and the guilt of shame became the prisms through which Adam and Eve would perceive all future trials.
God also knew that if His Children ate from the fruit of the Tree of Life, they would live eternally in shame and sin. By not wishing for human beings created by Him in His image and likeness to experience eternal misery, God closed their path that led towards this eternity, towards the Tree of Life.
Moreover, because God loves His creations with perfect love, He did not abandon them in their sin. Through His providence, He prepared the path for a return to eternal life in His presence. Through the salvific work of our Lord Jesus Christ, God opened the doors wide for us to enter and live a life free of shame and sin. God made a way for us by granting the path through repentance to begin a journey back toward the paradise of Eden, towards a living communion with our Creator.
Fr. Mesrop Parsamyan