The First Exiles and the Ultimate Embrace

So the Lord God banished them from the Garden of Eden, and he sent Adam out to cultivate the ground from which he had been made. 24 After sending them out, the Lord God stationed mighty cherubim to the east of the Garden of Eden. And he placed a flaming sword that flashed back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.—Genesis 3:23-24, NLT

Sin produced a catastrophic effect on human beings—it turned them into the first exiles. From that day forward, many men and women have been exiled from their native lands for their own fault or for the actions of others. Exile always results from the evil deeds of someone.

Ironically, God’s Will always implied a departure from Eden—with or without human sin.  The mission of God (Genesis 1:28) commanded the scattering of the human race to all the corners of the earth. Migration does not necessarily result from sin, but rather exile does.

In the case of Adam and Eve, the punishment of exile was not having to leave Eden, but rather their separation from the presence of God. Nevertheless, their exile did not remain without remedy.  God would send the Son into exile in the Earth to give aid to the scattered victims of sin. We do not have to fear a flaming sword, because in the Cross, Christ was pierced by the sword for us and his wounds reopened the door to the presence of God.

Being an immigrant does not mean that we have to be exiled from God.  In the Cross of Christ, God always stands with open arms to receive us.

Copyright©2013 by Joseph L. Castleberry.;

Dr. Joseph Castleberry is President of Northwest University in Kirkland Washington.  He is the author of Your Deepest Dream:  Discovering God’s Vision for Your Life and The Kingdom Net:  Learning to Network Like Jesus.  Follow him on Twitter at @DrCastleberry and at


Acerca de Joseph Castleberry

A missionary to Latin America for 20 years, I currently serve as president of Northwest University in Kirkland, WA. I am the author of Your Deepest Dream (NavPress, 2012); The Kingdom Net: Learning to Network Like Jesus (Influence Resources, 2013), and The New Pilgrims: How Immigrants are Renewing America's Faith and Values.
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