…continued from part 1
If Adam had Repented, he would not have been Exiled (Part 2)
And so, having left from Adam, God proceeded to Eve, wanting to show that she will also be justifiably exiled because she does not want to repent. “Why did you do this?” God asked, so she could admit, “I have sinned.” What reason did God have to speak to Eve using such words, other than to give her the chance to say, “I the lowly wretch acted thoughtlessly, O Master. I disobeyed You, my Lord. Have mercy on me!”? However, she said no such thing. Rather, she said, “the serpent deceived me.” What insensitivity! So, you decided to converse with the serpent who slandered your Master, and you preferred him instead of your God and Creator, and you believed that his words were more true, and you chose to listen to his suggestion instead of the commandment of the Lord? Since she also did not want to say, “I have sinned,” they were both exiled from God’s Paradise. But look at the depth of the compassionate Lord’s mysteries, and learn that if they had repented at this point, they would not have been exiled, they would not have been condemned, they would not have been sentenced to return to the earth from which they were made. How so? Listen.
When they were banished and began to experience hunger, thirst, cold, and to suffer all the things that we also suffer today, they sensed their misfortune and plight, but also realized their own imprudence and God’s inexplicable philanthropy. As they walked and lived outside of Paradise, they repented, cried, lamented, beat their face, pulled their hair out, and reproached themselves with sighs for their hardheartedness. This took place not only for one, two, or ten days, but—believe me—throughout the remainder of their life…When they realized from where they had fallen, they continuously lamented, wept, and appealed to the mercy and compassion of their Lord.
But what did He Who is abundant in mercy and slow to punish do? When he saw that they had humbled themselves, on the one hand He did not completely revoke His ruling—both so that it may serve as a lesson for us, and so that no one acts arrogantly toward the Creator of all—on the other hand, knowing through His omniscience that they would repent after their fall, He had appointed from the very beginning (even before He created the universe) the time and the way in which He would recall them from exile…And so, He Who had exiled them from Paradise on account of their impudence and unrepentant heart and disposition, afterwards when they repented appropriately, humbled themselves sufficiently, and wept and lamented, the Only-begotten Son and Word of the Father Himself not only became a human being like them, but He also consented to die like them. Furthermore, He descended into Hades from where He resurrected them. Wouldn’t He Who endured and suffered so many things for them in order to recall them from such a distant exile have shown mercy and compassion to them if they had repented while still in Paradise? How could He Who is by nature a lover of man and Who created them precisely to enjoy all the good things He created in Paradise possibly have done otherwise? Yes, indeed, dear reader, this is what would have happened.
—by St. Symeon the New Theologian