Erin Davis: I grow green beans. I grow potatoes. I grow tomatoes. I grow corn. I grow beets. I grow turnips for my husband’s grandmother. She loves my turnip gardens. I grow herbs. I grow onions.

Carolyn McCulley: You go, girl. Wow! I’m impressed.

I do container gardening. By this I mean I buy one new container a year and put it out. Where I used to live in Maryland, I would have it out. I felt like I was running a deer salad bar. They always knew exactly when I was going to have dinner guests over, and they’d munch everything straight down. I’d be like, “These are my pathetic little pots.”

Erin: There goes your basil.

Karen Loritts: When I moved from the big concrete jungle of Philadelphia down to Georgia, we had all this green stuff. I had my husband plot me up a little patch. We only lasted one season. It was just too much work, and we had too many nasty things.

Mary Kassian: This was a bad year for slugs. They kind of sneak up, but you often see their trails.

Erin: Oh, right. We don’t have slugs. We have Japanese beetles. I live in Missouri, and the rule of thumb in Missouri is if you see one Japanese beetle, 10,000 of his little friends are already there. They can turn your crops to lace in just one day.

Mary: Every pest usually has some contribution to the ecosystem, but I’ve yet to figure it out about slugs. I mean, what is their benefit?

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Okay, I’ve got a really important theological question here.

Mary: Oh, wait, I have more bug stories.

Nancy: Garden of Eden, Paradise—do you think they had slugs and Japanese beetles?

Karen: Oh, no. They’re definitely the result of the Fall.

Carolyn: No, I don’t think so.

Mary: No—and there were no mosquitoes and stink bugs.

Erin: And no spiders.

Nancy: Okay, but here’s the point I would like to make. We all agree that in the Garden, Genesis 1, Genesis 2, it was paradise. We don’t know for sure whether those critters were there—beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Maybe Adam and Eve just loved slugs—we don’t know.

Karen: They might have had a pet bug.

Nancy: We do know that—get away from the critters for a moment—talk about the people there. Adam and Eve, this first couple, first marriage, first man, first woman, it was paradise for their relationship—their relationship with each other and with God. It is hard to imagine.

Mary: It’s hard to fathom. No holes in the leaf.

Erin: No Swiss cheese in the leaves or in the relationship.

Karen: Wow.

Nancy: Okay, something has clearly changed.

Carolyn: Clearly.

Nancy: We all know the story, but I think it’s just really helpful to go back and reflect on it from time to time because in Genesis 1 and 2, you have this awesome, amazing—every word in there is positive, it’s blessing, fruitful, good, wonderful. This is a perfect paradise for this couple. They are not only right with each other—a great relationship with each other—but a great relationship with God—no hindrances, no barriers, no fear, no shame, no guilt.

Then you come to chapter 3 of Genesis, and something drastic happens, something really stark that paints this really negative picture until you get to the New Testament and to the last three chapters of the Bible where you have restoration of paradise.

So, what happened?

In Genesis chapter 3 we have the entrance of a critter, a snake, a pest into the Garden.

Mary: A real pest.

Nancy: And not just slugs or Japanese beetles or things that destroy our physical gardens, but a spiritual being that set out to destroy and to undermine and to dismantle all the good that …