So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubim, and a flaming sword which turned every way…
Expulsion of Adam and Eve from Eden teaches —
I. THAT WHEN COMFORTS ARE LIKELY TO BE ABUSED, GOD SENDS MEN FROM THEM. There was danger lest Adam should put forth his hand and eat of the "tree of life" and live forever. The fallen man must not be allowed to eat of the tree of life in this world. It can only be tasted by him in the resurrection; to live forever in a frail body would be an unmitigated woe. There are many trees of life in the world from which God has to drive men, because they are not in a proper condition to make the designed use of them. Government and law must be preventive as well as punitive, they must regard the future as well as the past. It is better for a man to be driven from a mental, moral, or social good than that he should make a bad use of it. Many a soul has lost its Eden by making a bad use of good things.
II. THAT IT IS NOT WELL THAT A SINNER SHOULD LIVE AND RESIDE IN THE HABITATION OF INNOCENCE. Adam and Eve were out of harmony with the purity and beauty of Eden. Such an innocent abode would not furnish them with the toil rendered necessary by their new condition of life. Men ought to have a sympathy with the place in which they reside. Only pure men should live in Eden. Society should drive out the impure from its sacred garden. Commerce should expel the dishonest from its benevolent enclosure. Let the wicked go to their own place in this life. A wicked soul will be far happier out of Eden than in it. Heaven will only allow the good to dwell within its wails.
III. THAT SIN ALWAYS CAUSES MEN TO BE EXPELLED FROM THEIR TRUEST ENJOYMENTS. Sin expels men from their Edens. It expels from the Eden of a pure and noble manhood. It drives the monarch from his palace into exile. It exchanges innocence for shame; plenty for want; the blessing of God into a curse; and fertility into barrenness. It makes the world into a prison house. It often happens when men want to gain more than they legitimately can, that they lose that which they already possess. In trying to become gods, men often lose their Edens. Satan robs men of their choicest possessions and of their sweetest comforts. This expulsion was —
IV. THAT THOUGH EXPELLED FROM EDEN MAN'S LIFE IS YET BESET WITH BLESSINGS. Though the cherubim and the flaming sword closed up the way to paradise, Christ had opened a new and living way into the holy place. Christ is now the "way" of man — to purity — to true enjoyment — to heaven. Heaven substitutes one blessing for another.
(J. S. Exell, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.