This morning, as I read this passage, I noticed that the goal in expelling them from the Garden was to prevent them from eating from the tree of life and living forever.
Then the question came to me, was this punishment or grace? Would you want to live forever in a fallen state? I suppose that age has perhaps given me better perspective on this, but I can say now that I would not.
Imaging living in a perpetual state of knowing what you lost and knowing that it can never be recovered. To live forever with the knowledge of being flawed with no path to recovery would be a living hell. To see the mess that we have made of the world would have to be torture for Adam.
God was gracious to Adam and Eve as He is to us. He gives us a purpose for being here and takes us to be with Himself when our purpose is complete. This is grace from beginning to end. With this attitude, we can say with Paul, “to live is Christ, to die is gain.” (Phil. 1:21)
Let us live with the goal of fulfilling this purpose.