One of the first stories I heard in my “Just For Kids” bible, at my parent’s knees, sitting criss-cross-apple-sauce in a circle on Sunday morning. The Tree of Life, of the knowledge of good and evil, the one tree in the Garden of Eden humanity was instructed to preserve. Of course, we didn’t. We’re not good with boundaries.
God could have chosen any symbol. A sacred cave to steer clear of. A word to remain unspoken. Instead, it was the fruit of a tree. And we ate what wasn’t ours, beyond our scope; not for sustenance (which was well provided for throughout the garden), but for greed. We became takers.
Over the years, we began to preach rights, not responsibility when it comes to nature. Instead of giving and receiving care from this world we are a part of, we strove for dominion. Environmentalism earned a bad rap in most churches - a lesser virtue, if even one at all. As if we deserved to rape, pillage and plunder the entire earth to feed our own appetites. As if this was without consequence. As if this wasn’t sin too.
We should remember, it started with a tree.