Adam and Eve had obtained, of a sort, what they had thought they would obtain by disobeying God. In Genesis 3:22, the Lord declares that the man has indeed, “Become as one of Us, to know good and evil…” But what a wretched “god” he had become! He now possessed within his character but one attribute of divinity, and certainly not one of the more desirable.
Knowing good and evil carried far more responsibility and burden than it did privilege and comfort. How truly wonderful a state it would be for man to forever remain ignorant of the horrors and atrocities that sinful rebellion brings! Our minds are filled with the thoughts and memories of terrible things that we wish we had never partaken of, witnessed or even knew about.
But innocence, once lost, can never be regained. Once we become aware of our nakedness, we cannot become “unaware” of it. Once humanity became stained by sin, there was no reversing the outcome. With a single act of disobedience – death, sickness, infirmity, guilt, remorse, and every type of imaginable suffering entered the world. It would have been the most deplorable act of cruelty for God to allow Adam and Eve to eat from the Tree of Life and live forever in such a condition.
So God drove them from the Garden of Eden (Gen. 3:24). They were now barred from the place that had been their home; the place through which they had roamed freely and without a care. They were now separated from the God with Whom they had previously directly communed. They were not denied access to God, but the way in which they must approach Him had now changed.
“And thou shalt make two cherubims of gold, of beaten work shalt thou make them, in the two ends of the mercy seat. And make one cherub on the one end, and the other cherub on the other end: even of the mercy seat shall ye make the cherubims on the two ends thereof. And the cherubims shall stretch forth their wings on high, covering the mercy seat with their wings, and their faces shall look one to another; toward the mercy seat shall the faces of the cherubims be. And thou shalt put the mercy seat above upon the ark; and in the ark thou shalt put the testimony that I shall give thee. And there I will meet with thee, and I will commune with thee from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubims which are upon the ark of the testimony, of all things which I will give thee in commandment unto the children of Israel.” (Exodus 25:18-22)
When Moses was later given these instructions in constructing the Ark of the Covenant, it must have reminded him of this picture from the Garden of Eden. The Cherubims stood guard over the holiness of God, which must be approached in the prescribed manner. The sin that stains us prohibits us from coming to God on any other terms than those which He lays out. After Adam and Eve’s sin, man must first deal with his sin before he can enjoy communion with God. He must offer a sacrifice, a substitution on his behalf; that his sin might be covered before he can meet with God “between the Cherubims.” God would kill an animal Himself in order to make coats of hide, so that the man and woman would be covered (Gen. 3:21). In so doing, God would show the way in which man must approach Him thereafter.
“For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” (Hebrews 9:13-14)
For man today, the prescribed manner in which we must come to God is through the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ. We do not offer the blood of animals for the covering of our sins, but the blood of Christ for the remission of them. He is the perfect Sacrifice, given once and for all, that allows us to come into the presence of God. There is no other way that we can approach Him.