I’m looking at fall differently this year than I have in the past.
Recently, I had a conversation with my mom that changed my perspective on it. And it all started with a tree.
See, I’ve always loved fall. Mostly for the typical, cliche things. The crisp air, fresh apples, colorful leaves, starting to wear sweaters.
But this year, the trees and the weather are catching my attention more because now it reminds me of a different tree – possibly the most important tree in history.
My mom and I talked about this tree, how significant it is, the ways it’s portrayed. And since that conversation, that tree has been on my mind a bit more than usual.
It’s “the tree of the knowledge of good and evil” (Genesis 2:17). The tree that gave Eve and Adam the forbidden fruit. And the tree that led to them being cast out of Eden.
In other, on the nose words, the tree that brought the fall of Adam and Eve.
I know. It’s kind of obvious. Fall, the season. The fall of Adam and Eve. But I think that there’s some interesting symbolism in the season fall that can help us understand the fall of Adam and Eve better.
Falling and Decaying
Let’s start with the more obvious way our fall season symbolizes the fall of Adam and Eve. When Adam and Eve lived in Eden, the world was in its most perfect state. I’d try to describe it, but the fact is none of us have ever really experienced anything close to it. We don’t live in a world that’s comparable to the Eden where Adam and Eve lived.
What we do know is there was no corruption. No decay. No fear, sin, hate, good, happiness, or really any feeling. Just innocence, uncorrupted creatures, and closeness with God.
In some ways, it must have been amazing. And in others, maybe not so much. After all, because there was no fear, etc., things like happiness couldn’t exist. It’s so hard to imagine this kind of existence.
Then Eve ate the fruit. And Adam ate the fruit. And choosing to do something that God had told them not to do introduced a whole variety of new ideas to them. And it changed the nature of humankind.
When they left Eden, Eve and Adam began to age. Their bodies got tired, stressed, worn down. They had to face temptation constantly.
In other words, their lives became like ours.
The reason this is called the fall of Adam and Eve, or the fall of man, is that the choice to eat the fruit and accept the consequences of the fruit meant leaving the presence of God that existed in Eden. Adam and Eve fell because they were no longer worthy to be as close to God as they once had been.
We could compare Eden to spring and summer. Things were bright and warm with God’s presence and love.
Fall represents the shift from Eden to the world we live in now. When the season fall comes, plants begin to die. The world gets colder and darker. The stress and wearing of the previous months start to show and the outside world falls apart – literally, when it comes to things like leaves.
Basically, I think fall illustrates perfectly the change that the fall of Adam and Eve brought to the world. Change is probably the clearest result of the fall of man. Instead of consistent innocence with no opposition, the world was suddenly filled with shifts, changes, and opposition.
Was it a bad thing? Well, not exactly. The fall of Adam and Eve allowed opposition to show up in the world, which means that some bad things showed up to counter the good. But some good things came from their fall as well, and the season fall helps us see those good things too.
Like I mentioned earlier, one of my favorite things about fall are the fresh apples. But I also love that fall brings pears, squash, pumpkins, corn, and all that other tasty harvest produce.
These plants start as seeds and progress through the summer months until they are fully grown. But for many of these plants, the fall season is crucial. Some need to continue to grow until after the first freeze of the year. Some don’t really give fruit until fall starts to come on in the year.
Well, the fall of Adam and Eve brought a great change that also starts with seeds of a sort. While in Eden, Adam and Eve were not capable of having children because they were in an innocent and unchangeable state.
But the fall brought change. And part of that change was the ability to have children. And that’s how you and I ended up here today.
There’s this idea that if Adam and Eve hadn’t fallen, we would all have been born in Eden and life would have been simple and perfect with no problems or evil around. But this isn’t actually how it would have worked.
First of all, evil did enter Eden when Adam and Eve were there. The serpent AKA Satan tempted them to eat the fruit in the first place. So even if Adam and Eve could have had children in Eden, life might not have been that perfect. Satan still might have shown up at a later point.
Second, and more importantly, the set up of Eden meant that change was limited in the world and in Adam and Eve until they fell. Their fall made pregnancy possible.
Fall is a great reminder that great things come from change. The food we harvest in the fall shows that. And I think it shows that the change in Adam and Eve to have children can be just as good a thing. We’ll get nowhere as humans if we don’t have growth and change.
Trials and Death
When the world turns to fall, we all know what’s coming next. Winter. And whatever your personal feelings are about winter, there’s no denying that winter is dark, freezing, icy, and dangerous. If you move wrong on the ice, you go down hard. And it hurts.
Fall is the warning that difficult times are ahead. And that’s what the fall of Adam and Eve is for us.
Their fall brought opposition, and opposition means difficulty. In all our lives, we face temptations, mistakes, and choices. Some of these are easy to deal with and others are not. But we can learn from Adam and Eve after they left Eden.
They learned to follow God instead of Satan after they left Eden. They built a family and a life, and it wasn’t easy. Remember, one of their sons was the first to commit murder. Adam and Eve faced a lot of pain, struggles, and loss. But they kept going and did their best to follow God after their initial sin.
When we face difficult things in our lives we can remember two things that will help us through: first, there’s a lot to learn from struggling. If we want to become better people, we have to accept change and difficulty in our lives or we’ll never actually progress. And second, things do get better after tough times. Warmth and light can return to our lives.
One of the best things I think I’ve learned from fall is that it’s the start of things starting over. Life is full of cycles. We continually have times of struggle and times of light. They come and go. We make changes, grow, and make more changes.
Fall is the start of change. It breaks things down so that they can rest and restart better and stronger than they were before.
And that’s one of the most beautiful things about our lives because of the fall of Adam and Eve. We might break sometimes. We’ll feel stressed, hurt, and weak. But as the cycles of our lives continue, we end up stronger people because of these breaks and pains we experience.