Today’s We Run and Ride features lessons in morality and some important thoughts about commitment to your training. You likely know how it all begins, for it is the story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. We enter the story at the point where Eve encounters a certain serpent in the Garden of Eden. The serpent tempts Eve by encouraging her to break the only training rules God had ever issued…
3 Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”
2 The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, 3 but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’”
4 “You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. 5 “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
And there you have it. The serpent sets up the first-ever stumbling block to a faith in God and commitment to a training program. Because the first principle of training is never to eat something you have not tried before, especially before a race. And given that Adam and Eve were ostensibly the beginning of the entire Human Race, they had pretty good reason to be careful in their preparations for the task ahead.
But no, Eve thought she knew better. She elected to ignore the advice of her coach, also known as God, and venture into trees unknown for training food.
6 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. 7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.
Granted, we all make training mistakes sometimes. But this was a pretty big foulup. Because once Adam and Eve had fallen into the trap of thinking they knew better than their coach, a whole world of options opened up. The lesson they learned is that the truth may set you free, but there’s a whole lot of other junk that comes with it.
It’s a sin and a shame that Eve didn’t have the common sense to stick by the training schedule mapped out by God. The course they had laid out around the Garden of Eden was a great place to log the miles. Every day Adam and Eve would train together. He’d point out birds and critters along the way, giving them names and such. They ran as equals and enjoyed each other’s company. There was no such thing yet as lactic acid or fatigue. Adam and Eve could run and run and run all day and not get tired.
There was just one problem. Training the same day without much challenge gets kind of boring after a while. That’s why Eve was so tempted by the serpent. Any break in the routine is welcome after you’ve trained the same way and eaten the same things for so long. A new piece of fruit sounded pretty good about then. So Eve wandered off the training path and found out that this new fruit not only tasted good, it made you feel smarter too! Hot damn this was fun!
The very next day she shared some of the Forbidden Fruit with Adam. He loved the new fruit too. It was almost better than a new flavor of Gatorade. But that’s getting a little ahead of the game.
As they started to train using the new fruit from the tree in the middle of the garden, they started to sense fatigue from running off the course God had mapped out for them. All of a sudden they felt an unfamiliar tiredness in their legs. The tree of knowledge had deceived them! Not only did they start to recognize Good and Evil, they now knew exhiliration and exhaustion as well.
“What have you done?” asked Adam. “This isn’t as easy as it used to be!”
“I know,” said Eve. “But if we train really hard I think we can get back to the shape we were in before. That’s how it works, you know. No pain, no gain.”
“Oh is that so?” Adam barked at her. “And who are you to decide how we should train anyway? God had it all laid out for us. Our path was perfect. Then you had to go tweaking our training program with this Forbidden Fruit stuff and now everything’s screwed up.”
“Relax,” Eve snapped at him. “It’s not like we’re completely out of shape. Yet.”
Just then they heard the sound of other footsteps in the Garden of Eden. “Run!” cried Adam. “God is going to pass us this loop! “
“The man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. 9 But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?”
We all know what happened next. Adam and Eve had to explain why they broke the training rules God had mapped out for them. The story broke on social media of course. All the animals in the forest were now talking about what screwups Adam and Eve really were. “Like, Adam gave me this stupid name that I can’t stand,” one of the animals said. “Who wants to be called an oryx. Sounds like some part of your rear end.”
Thus the whole rebellion started in the Garden of Eden. All sorts of discord erupted among the animals and God had to strike their ability to speak because there is nothing more annoying than a bunch of dumb animals bitching about what they’re called. And that’s how animals lost the ability of speech.
And God was pretty pissed at the serpent for starting all this mess by tempting Eve and then Adam into breaking the training rules He had mapped out for them.
14 So the Lord God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this,
“Cursed are you above all livestock
and all wild animals!
You will crawl on your belly
and you will eat dust
all the days of your life.
15 And I will put enmity
between you and the woman,
and between your offspring[a] and hers;
he will crush[b] your head,
and you will strike his heel.”
Then God turned to the woman, who really was in good shape by this time from all that running she was doing, and laid down the law about how it would be from then on:
16 To the woman he said,
“I will make your pains in childbearing very severe;
with painful labor you will give birth to children.
Your desire will be for your husband,
and he will rule over you.”
To Adam, God turned and said. “And why did you have to be such a dumb shit? Things were all set up for you with this Man Cave I created called the Garden of Eden. If you’d have stuck around long enough I was going to give you the remote, for God’s Sake. Now you screwed it all up.”
17 To Adam he said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate fruit from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat from it,’
“Cursed is the ground because of you;
through painful toil you will eat food from it
all the days of your life.
18 It will produce thorns and thistles for you,
and you will eat the plants of the field.
19 By the sweat of your brow
you will eat your food
until you return to the ground,
since from it you were taken;
for dust you are
and to dust you will return.”
“Well, that kinda sucks,” Adam said. And Eve just rolled her eyes.
“Now get outta here,” God said to them both. “This training facility is now officially closed. I’m not sure I’m going to keep it open at all. The upkeep was too high anyway. Go find your own club, or build one yourself for all I care. And good luck with that running thing you’ve been doing. That’s going to hurt a lot more now too.”
But God felt sort of bad for the first two athletes on his team. So he helped them out. Sort of.
21 The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them. 22 And the Lord God said, “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.” 23 So the Lord God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken. 24 After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side[e] of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword, flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.
And that, my friends, is the biblical explanation of why running and riding and anything else you do on this earth to stay in shape is so damned hard. It could have been easy if Adam and Eve had not broken the training rules. You could run forever and ever, right up until you entered the Gates of Heaven, then you could run some more. You’d be like the Forrest Gump of All Time and Eternity, running over the clouds and racing Ezekiel up that crazy ladder into the sky.
Of course we would still not be as fast as God. There’s only so much glory to go around.