Paradise on earth. The mysterious place where time began.
The Garden of Eden.
The name Eden is closely related to an Aramaic root word meaning fruitful and/or well-watered. And it was the playground for God’s finest creation…mankind. Genesis gives us a description of Eden as a place of beauty and perfection. We are left to our imaginations as to what is actually looked like.
We know Eden was where God and man interacted on a daily basis. A place where the original plan was for us to forever be in the presence of God; conversing with him daily and enjoying everything he’d created. God and Adam had a close relationship in this special place. And we should note that the bible does not mention any sort of grand architectural structures in the garden. No, it’s just a garden. A place where man was content and desired only the simple things in life. Eden satisfied the soul…without the luxuries and materialistic things we value today. It was the ultimate sanctuary.
No wonder people are obsessed with the physical location of such a place. A quick search of the Internet brings up a gazillion sites on *evidence* of the location of this perfect sanctuary. Some sound extremely plausible, while others are simply just silly.
Logistically, if one is looking for a geographical location, it’s probably changed over the course of history. Rivers reroute themselves, natural disasters alter the terrain. It’s impossible to find an exact physical location in that regard. But that doesn’t keep people from analyzing and hypothesizing. Why are we so determined to know an exact location of the garden? Seriously, what do we think we’re going to do with it if we do definitively figure out where it was located? Turn it into a theme park? No doubt.
In the garden were two trees; the Tree of Life and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. And we all know what happened after that. Because, in addition to all this perfection, God also gave Adam and Eve free will. And it was their free will, coupled with one act of defiance, that altered the course of history and forever changed life for the human race. Banished from perfection, Adam and Eve had to face the harsh reality of life outside of God’s intimate presence.
So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life. ~Genesis 3:24
Do you ever wonder about why Cherubim were put there to guard re-entrance?
When Adam and Eve ate from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, they broke the rules and sin entered into their heart, mind and soul. And they were keenly aware they’d made a huge FAIL. After all, the tree wasn’t called the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil for no reason. The other tree, The Tree of Life, was God’s ultimate provision for his creation and determined their destiny.
Inside the garden, life was perfect. With their choice to eat from Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, Adam and Eve can now no longer live in perfection. They’ve shown they cannot be trusted. The risk of them repeating their disobedience, defying the rules and eating from the Tree of Life is too great. If they eat from the Tree of Life in their sinful state, they risk being that way for all eternity. Their destiny would forever be sealed.
Are you still with me?
Banishing them from the garden and prohibiting their re-entrance was a merciful thing for God to do. It was God grace in not wanting his creation to suffer eternity away from his presence without any chance of reconciliation that prompted his decision to expel them. He did it for their own protection. Wow, how many times have we used that line with our own children? This is for your own good………….
By temporarily expelling the human race from the garden, God allowed for the possibility of a return to a state of perfection through the saving grace and a restoration of Eden in the future. Although Adam and Eve now must live in a lower state than originally planned, they were not completely cut off from God. He was still accessible, although not in quite the same, intimate way as before.
Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God. ~Revelation 2:7