by Joe Palmer
My name is Joe Palmer, I am a former Stanford University student, with a BA in History. I became a Christian my freshman year at Stanford. The occasion for doing this study on Genesis was for a Bible study with about ten other guys. We were all studying Genesis 1-4 under Dorman Followwill, former college pastor at Peninsula Bible Church, Palo Alto and now pastor at Community Bible Church, Greenville, South Carolina. I feel that there is so much more to "unpack" and "unzip" as Lambert Dolphin says concerning Genesis. I have done a little unpacking, and I encourage whoever reads this to do more unpacking and unzipping of the text for yourselves. I hope you enjoy!
This portion of Genesis is part of the second creation account, which emphasizes the personal care and interaction that God had with man. I does not give some of the exact same information as Genesis 1 does, but adds different information to the story. The story covers from Genesis 1.11, where vegetation comes into existence, to 1.27, where man is created. We enter the story when man has just been formed from the dust of the ground and has become a living being, or soul. Perhaps we see here the aspect of the 3-part division of man.
"And the Lord God planted a garden toward the east, in Eden; and there He placed the man whom He had formed." (2:8)
This verse is a "theme" verse which summarizes verses 9-15. Now that God has made man, the next thing that He does is make him a home. We see that this God is one who is intimately concerned about man's life, and in what kind of place he will dwell. It is interesting to not that in verses 7 and 8, the Lord God, the more personal term for God as opposed to "God," seems to roll up his sleeves and do labor. The infinite God of the universe becomes a sort of potter, who molds man with great care. Then, God takes on the roll of a gardener who plants seeds and shapes the ground so that it will become a garden. The author wants us to see God plunging His hands on the rich soil, planting seeds with joy because of the beauty that will come from His work. There is love and skill combined in this process. The garden was "toward the east, in Eden." I think Dorman had some additional information on that. Perhaps it means "in a ideal state," I can't quite remember. The gist of it is that it was a great place. Eden in Hebrew means "delight," so that it was a place which would be a delight for man.
The author continues, "and there He placed the man whom He had formed." There are many places on the earth where I would not want to be. Take the middle of the Sahara, without food or water, or in the middle of the Arctic. But our God creates a place just for man, one that would suit him perfectly, one which is a delight. Perhaps we should remember this when we complain about where we live or the families that raised us - God placed us there, just as He placed man in the garden. Obviously, after the fall, no home will be like this paradise, but God has placed us there and wants us to experience Him in that environment. So, God has set the boundaries and the general shape of man's home by putting it in a specific place on the earth; the general structure of the home is built. And now the author will give a more detailed elaboration of verse 8. By the way, in Gen. this pattern of greater and greater specificity is seen all over the place, especially here.
"And out of the ground the Lord caused to grow every tree that is pleasing to the sight and good for food." (2:9a)
God has gone to great lengths to make sure that man will enjoy his first home, God knows that we as humans operate through the senses, and He is sensitive to this. As a result, He gives us that which looks and tastes good. He made each fruit so that it would taste good to us. He knew beforehand what our taste buds would enjoy. Not only that, God knew man's sense of beauty, and He wanted to dazzle man with His glory in nature. I can remember going to Sequoia National Park and always being amazed every time I saw one of those trees. It was spectacular to see the largest trees in existence. The most interesting part of these trips was when I stood in the midst of about 7 or 8 of them and just looked up their trunks. Wow! What a sight it was! This is exactly what God wanted us to do when He made the trees. Notice that it says "every" tree. Not one was left out. All we have to do is look outside to see the awesome variety of nature to appreciate His glory in the natural world. The garden is a "delight" to man's sight and taste. God has narrowed His focus from the whole earth to this garden made for man's delight in Him and His works.
"the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil." (2:9b)
In the garden there are two very special trees, and at least one, the tree of life, cannot be found anywhere else in the earth at this time. The tree of the knowledge of good and evil is never mentioned again, so perhaps it also is only found in the garden. "the tree of life" could suggest that there are a few trees of life in the middle of the garden: this possibility comes from the fact that in Rev. 22.2, we read "on either side of the river was the tree of life," allowing for one tree but also for two or more. Whatever the case may be, (and it doesn't seem to matter either way) this tree does not exist outside of Eden. We know this because God prevents man from eating its fruit by putting a cherubim to "guard the way to the tree of life." We also know that not only is the tree of life in the center of the garden , but also the tree of the knowledge of good and evil - see 3.3. The two trees are set apart from all others, so that man in the garden will notice them.
Commentators suggest that because the tree of life comes first, it has more importance in the creation. This is valid because when we get to Revelation, there is no more tree of knowledge of good and evil. The tree of life is only left! This is a wonderful note of optimism for man, but this point should be discussed later. There is no further description of the function of the trees, the writer leaves the reader to wonder. What are these trees all about? Why do they have these names? Instead of giving an explanation of the trees, the author starts in with new information about the garden - we will see why later on. Now that there are trees with fruit, the food must be sustained and replenished. How will this happen?
"Now a river flowed out of Eden to water the garden; and from there it divided and became four rivers." (2:10)
The first thing to notice about this verse is that God is not the subject. A "river" becomes the subject. This change interrupts the pattern of the narrative because God has been the subject from verse 7 onward. The other strange thing is that in verse 6, "a mist" or more accurately a "flow" or "stream" is made to water the ground so that plants will grow all over the earth. In verse 10, there is a second water source, made just for the garden, just as there are two special trees for the garden. Then, once as the river finishes watering the garden, it divides and becomes four new rivers. Actually, the word "rivers" is not accurate. "Heads" or "headwaters" is a more correct translation. A head or head water is the source of a flow of water. This does not seem odd, except for the fact that in the natural world, rivers always flow into a central river. They never flow out of a river. Take for example, the Mississippi. Smaller rivers flow into the direction of the Mississippi. They never start from the river and flow outward. So, in the garden, the reverse is happening than what happens in nature. So, summing up what we see so far in the garden, there are two trees with unique names, which serve particular functions which we don't know yet, and there is a river with properties that defy the natural world. Eden is a unique place!
"The name of the first is the Pishon; it flows around the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold. And the gold of that land is good; the bdellium and the onyx stone are there. And the name of the second river is Gihon; it flows around the whole land of Cush. And the name of the third river is Tigris; it flows east of Assyria. And the fourth river is the Euphrates." (2:11-14)
These are indeed a very interesting set of verses. They seem to completely interrupt the narrative. The names of the lands of the rivers are described as well as what areas they water. Commentators have tried to discover what the names of the rivers might suggest, and why exactly the author says that there is good gold in Havilah, etc. Gold has strong symbolism in the Bible, and some have suggested that because there is good gold outside of Eden, God has not limited what is good only to that which exists within the garden. I myself recommend the Theological Dictionary of the Old Testament to perhaps gain some insight on the names, (if they ever finish compiling it!) The truth is that it is hard to piece together all the names and what significance all of them have. There could be a lot of meaning in the names that we haven't yet found. What significance bdellium and onyx stone have? Maybe some noble-minded Berean will find out someday. Certainly the reason why there is such little information given about the Euphrates is because everyone knew about the Euphrates river already. It is referred to as the "great river Euphrates" in Gen. 15.18, Dt. 1.7, 11.24; and Josh. 1.4. Everyone already knew exactly where this great river already flowed.
Commentators suggest that these rivers flowed in the four directions, north, south, east, west, although this cannot be determined for certain. The fact that there were four does strongly suggest the implication that they symbolically watered the four corners of the earth. This garden was a fruitful, lovely place which seemed to overflow with life. But still, these verses are puzzling. Why would the author spend four verses talking about water? Most commentators suggest that the purpose of these verses is to give a geographic location of the garden. This is absolutely true. This cannot be denied from the information given. But the second story of creation has been focusing on God's personal relationship with man, to switch to geography seems strange. To me, it seems that there is a second spiritual reality which can be observed in this narrative of Eden. To begin, we have to place these verses in context to understand what is happening. What immediately precedes the rivers is a discussion of the two special trees. What comes after the rivers is a solemn commandment to not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Here is the pattern:
A The trees
B The rivers
A' The trees
This is the well known inverted parallelism where there are similar concepts which are repeated with a center point. The purpose behind this form is so that when looking at the two outer points, one is drawn to what is at the center. What is at the center explains the points around itself. It is the pivot, the hub of the wheel so to speak. In this case we must begin with the rivers. What we are envisioning here is one single river which waters the garden. It waters the trees in the garden, and then unnaturally branches outward and waters the rest of the earth. The two most prominent other sections of the Scriptures that are similar to this description are Ezekiel 47 and Revelation 22. First, in Ezekiel, the writer describes a vision when God takes him to a high mountain. He sees a temple and water is flowing from south of the altar. It begins only as a trickle. Then probably an angel takes him further, and the water grows deeper and deeper. First to the ankles, then the knees, the loins, and finally so that Ezekiel can't ford the river. The river finally goes to the [Dead] sea (the Gentiles?) and the waters become "healed." Everything will "live" wherever the water flows. The writer then says that on either side of the bank of the river grow,
"all kinds of trees for food". Their leaves will not wither, and their fruit will not fail. They will bear every month because their water flows from the sanctuary, and their fruit will be for food and their leaves for healing." (47.12 NAS)
Here again, we have water that flows supernaturally. A trickle of water would never grow deeper and deeper, unless it was flowing at an extremely high rate and piled up. Not only this, but the man says to Ezekiel,
"Son of man, have you seen this?" (47:6)
He seems to be saying, Ezekiel, look, you have never seen this kind of phenomenon before, pay attention, son. So here again, water giving life, this time to the sea, with an unnatural source of strength. The trees on the river are remarkably similar to the description of the trees in the garden, but also to the one in Revelation! So, let's go to Revelation 22. In this chapter, a river of the water of life flows from the throne of God down the middle of the street in Jerusalem,
"And on either side of the river was the tree of life, bearing twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit every month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations." (22.2 NAS)
The tree of life appears again, as it began in Genesis, and seems to appear in Ezekiel. Going back to Ezek., we notice that water was flowing from the temple. The temple was where God's Spirit dwelt among the Israelites. This was a foreshadowing of Christ, who "tabernacled among us," (Jn. 1:14). But it is also a foreshadowing of the life of the Spirit-filled believer, 1 Cor. 3.16:
"Do you not know that you are a temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?"
And perhaps it is a foreshadowing of the temple when Christ will come again. So, in Ezekiel, we can interpret his vision as one where God's life, like a powerful river, comes flowing out from the believer. This also corresponds to John 7:37-38, where Jesus says,
"If any man is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, 'From his innermost being shall flow rivers of living water.'"
Now, it is clear that the reference of Ezekiel is prophetic of the believer - Ray Stedman emphasizes this in his book study on Ezekiel. But what about the garden of Eden? Can the garden be lumped together with Ezekiel as a picture of the believer? Going back to the Hebrew Scriptures, we find some very interesting images which involve rivers, trees, gardens and fruit. Some examples are Psalms 1.1-3, 92.12-14, Prov. 3.18,11.30,13.12. Jer. 17.7-8, 31.12, Is. 44.3-4, 58.11. In Gen. 13.10, we read,
"And Lot lifted up his eyes and saw all the valley of the Jordan, that it was well watered everywhere--this was before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah--like the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt as you go to Zoar."
Here we have a host of quotes from the scriptures. The common themes presented in these verses are that the person who trusts in God (Christ being the perfect fulfillment of them) is like a fruitful, watered plant, tree or garden. When the Israelites thought in their minds of the most fruitful garden, with the most abundant life, they must have thought of Eden. Ezekiel 28-31 helps to demonstrate this type of mindset. The nations within Israel are compared with the garden and the trees of the garden. God claims that the man who trusts in God will be like the garden. But about the New Testament?
There are no direct references to the garden specifically, though the symbolism of the fruit and trees and water continues. Jesus says in Jn. 15.5
"I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me, and I in him, he bears much fruit; for apart from Me you can do nothing."
Paul writes in Gal. 5.22-23, that the "fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace . . ." Jn 7, we read about the living water, like the water of Eden and the temple in Ezek. will flow out of the believer. Finally, in Rev., as mentioned before, the river of life, like that of Eden, flows down the center of the street in Jerusalem, with the tree of life on either side. God's life in flows into the believer, gives him life, so that he bears fruit, and then the life flows out of the believer to the rest of the world. Men will notice the supernatural way that life comes gushing out of us, going everywhere, life the 4 headwaters unnaturally flowing in the 4 directions. People notice this life, that it comes not of this natural world, from natural men, and they will thirst for the real water! Basically, God is saying to man in the garden, "Look at this garden! I made you to be like this garden!" I believe Adam and Eve would have gotten all this over time, as they grew to understand God. Now, the natural question that comes up, though, is how does man enter into this relationship with God? It all looks perfect, how to we start? The answer comes in v. 15. v. 15a
"Then the Lord God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden."
This verse tells us a lot though it doesn't seem to at first. The word "put" is an inaccurate translation. The word is really "rest". The word is consistently used when God gives man rest, i.e., Ex. 33.14. God is telling the Israelites that He will give them rest in the new land. The man did not make the garden, nor provide for its watering. God gave him the land, he didn't earn it by working. It is all a gift. Indeed, this is true rest. The concept of rest carries over into the New Testament. Jesus says in Matt. 11.28,
"Come to me, all you who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest."
I believe the clearest distillation of rest comes to us in Heb. 4.10,
"For the one who has entered His rest, has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His."
If the Israelites trusted in God, then He would give them rest, a land of flowing milk and honey, and a relationship with Him. This whole idea is reflected in the Sabbath. The Sabbath was an outward expression of what God has done for us inwardly. We no longer have to strive to be like God by our works, by trying to imitate Christ, or trying to obey the Law.
"For we who have believed enter that rest." (Heb. 4.3)
this is how man enters into the garden relationship with God. He lets God rest him into that type of relationship. God rests us in this relationship, and Christ is the perfect garden alongside us, who is constantly showing us how to be like Him, though the Spirit. I have no doubt that in Gen., this word also reflects God's physical action of putting man in this garden. So, there is a double meaning, both the physical and spiritually reality expressed here. So, God rests us into a relationship where His life bears fruit through us, and flows out of us like water. However, the Christian life is not one of physical rest, of course. We are not to sit on our haunches and do nothing. The rest that the Christian has is an active rest, which involves work. Work as an outflow of a relationship, not work that gets us into the relationship. This brings us to the second half of verse 15.
"to cultivate and keep it." (2:15b)
To cultivate the garden implies to shape it, to provide for maximum growth, to trim and cut and plant. To keep the garden implies that the man is to protect the trees and plants from dying, perhaps from not enough water, or perhaps from some sort of external danger. God has created the garden and watered it for man, now He has given man great stewardship over the garden. God has put man in control over the life that He has made. The relationship between God and man was probably so intimate that the Lord might have been teaching man the secrets of gardening so that man could apply what he had learned. Then as more people populated the earth, they could use these tools to turn the rest of the Earth into an Eden - does this imply evangelism? The spiritual dynamic of this is actually similar. Man must cultivate and keep the the gift of life which God has given him. We must cultivate our relationship with God through prayer, and the study of His word. Jesus implies the idea of cultivation, when He says, in Jn. 15 "every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it, that it may bear more fruit." Christ also says,
"if you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love."
Cultivating and keeping the relationship with God is vital. To keep His commandments is the only way to bear fruit. Having God's entire word makes it easier for us to know what God's commands are, but what about in the garden? Going back to Gen., interestingly enough, the very first command that God gives to man in the garden, and like what Jesus says in Jn. 15, it deals with fruit as well!
"And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, 'From any tree of the garden you may eat freely;" (2:16)
The first half of the command is the positive element. Notice the incredible generosity that God gives man, he can eat from any tree, as much as he wants, except for one! This shows us the boundaries that God wanted for Adam. God wanted Adam to try all the different things that the garden had to offer. I have had a very small taste of this! Going to Juice Club has given me a great appreciation of all the varieties of fruit that God made! But the garden is better because you don't even have to pay for it!
God wanted man to delight himself in the food that He made. We also know that one of the trees that man was meant to eat was the tree of life. From Gen. 3.22, we know that man would live forever if he ate from this special tree. This tree is a literal tree, but it also takes on further significance in the Scriptures. Christ is the one who hangs from the tree, who was cursed for our sake, see Deut. 21.23 and Gal. 3.13. He is the tree in Psalm 1. Now eating from this tree, Christ, is found in the New Testament. Jn. 6.54-56,
"He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. For My flesh is true food, and My blood is true drink. He who eats My flesh and drinks my blood abides in me and I in him."
Now, we must remember that in this context, Jesus is speaking of the manna from heaven. However, the principle of feasting of Christ is given here, and is also seen in Rev. 22.19. If we come to the Cross, and nourish ourselves with the body and blood of Christ, then we will have eternal life. He is the tree that gives life to us, the tree of life. He is the "seed" in Gen. 3.15, he is also the "righteous Branch" Jer. 23.5, also Is. 11.1,
"Then a shoot will spring from the stem of Jesse, And a branch from his roots will bear fruit."
Now, here is a side note on seed, I have no idea of its validity, I am probably wrong but here it is. It is also interesting to note that in the creation account, there is constant reference to "seed." "Fruit yielding seed" is a repeated image in Genesis. Gen. 1.11,
"fruit trees bearing fruit after their kind, with seed in them."
Why the mention of seed? The author wants us to know that a tree may die, but it will always leave a seed which will grow into another tree, and the cycle continues and continues. Perhaps we may say that a seed remained in the tree of life. Other seeds grew into an image of the original tree of life and had lives like the garden. We see this in the lives of men and women trusting in God is found in the Hebrew Scriptures. Then it finds its fulfillment in Christ. He is the "seed," he is also the "righteous Branch," Jer. 23.5, also Is. 11.1,
"Then a shoot will spring from the stem of Jesse, And a branch from his roots will bear fruit."
Man, who originally was meant to be like the tree of life, (Christ) should have ended up like the cross, a dead tree, into which nails were hammered. But Christ takes on our sin, and we die with him (Christ was literally joined to the wood, humanity, when He died.) Bob Smith, in When all Else Fails, Read the Directions, says that the acacia wood of the ark symbolized humanity, with gold, divinity. That is partially why I see wood as meaning humanity. Christ is hammered onto us at Calvary, so the substitutionary atonement allowed men in the Hebrew Scriptures to be like the tree of life, and the garden. But let's go on to the second half of this command, where we find the negative command.
"but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat." (2:17a)
First of all, this isn't the tree of knowledge! This is the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The kind of knowledge discussed here is experiential knowledge. It doesn't meant that God didn't want man to experience goodness. But rather, if man eats from this tree, he will experience good in reference to evil. Think of a shadow. We see a shadow because of the contrast of light and darkness. We cannot conceive of light without darkness. In the same way, know the goodness of God because we know our own evil hearts. But in the garden, Adam and Eve knew the goodness of God. They were on the receiving end of it, experienced it, without any experience of evil. The sixth day was "very good." The relationship between man and God was good. If man ate, then he would be breaking God's law, and he would know evil. At this point, he would be able to compare the goodness of God's creation, His character, the relationship that was once alive and good, with the shame of his own evil, of wanting life on his own terms. Now, does the fruit of the tree cause knowledge of good and evil, or does the act of eating this fruit cause the knowledge? I believe that the fruit itself allowed them to have awareness of good and evil, and the act of disobedience actually caused the death. There is a subtle difference. Gen 3.7 says,
"Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loin coverings."
The Hebrew word "knew" (daath), comes from the word, "knowledge" (yada). They were ashamed of their nakedness, they knew their evil. But the cause of the death was not the fruit, it only gave them eyes to see their own dire circumstances caused by a rebellious heart.
"for in the day that you eat from it you shall surely die." (2:17b)
The painful experience of knowing good and evil would be a sorrowful time for man. In this "day" man would die. The word, "day" could indeed be referring to a literal day, but I believe that the emphasis here is spiritual. At that stage of life, or more accurately death, that new "day" for man, he will die. Then we read, "you shall surely die." The word in Hebrew for surely is actually "die." The word is repeated twice. "dying you shall die" is perhaps a closer rendering. The repetition of the word die suggests a double meaning in death. The first meaning is actually physical death, this is the "dying". Physical death begins at birth, thus is a process. At the same time, there is the element of instantaneous spiritual death. The spirit within man will not cease to exist, but rather will be changed into a spirit corrupted and a slave to sin. This "man" will be rebellious against God, will fear and hate God.
Now let's pull back and look at this verses 16 and 17 as a unit and think about what God is doing here. Some may criticize these verses, saying "Why would your God put any restriction on the trees, and why did he put the tree of knowledge good and evil there? It must be a setup to mess up man!" This however, is not what is going on. He was not setting a trap for man. Rather, God's motivation is that we may follow and love Him and believe what He says. He wanted Adam to enter into the process of exercising his will to make the right choice and follow God instead of himself. Without the command, then man and his wife would simply be put to work, without any sort of way to relate to God out of loving obedience. God might have been excluded from the picture if this was the case. Life would have consisted of gardening and little else. The commandment places God at the center so that he has the privilege of obeying Him. Now, here is where the garden becomes like all the other images in the Scriptures which have garden-like pictures.
The other references always speak of man trusting in the Lord, keeping His commandments, meditating on his law, etc. The garden is no different, man is given the same opportunity. God is saying to man, "Eat the right fruit and you yourself will bear fruit." Really, the garden is a detailed elaboration of Gen. 1.28, "Be fruitful". How is man to be fruitful? - eat the right fruit! This theme is seen in Jn. Keeping God's commandments will cause fruitfulness. And here in the garden, we have the first command that God gave man. Indeed, the symbolism is playing on the words and the physical images represented in the garden. The garden could also be a visual warning to man as well a picture of the spirit-filled life. Notice again that the rivers, symbolizing an outflow of life to the rest of the world are bounded on either side by a description of the trees. If man eats from the tree of life and the other trees, then he will be like this garden. However, the garden can also illustrate what will happen if he eats from the wrong.
A. "every tree that is pleasing to the sight and good for food" - the positive element of the trees if man follows God and enjoys trees for what they were intended.
B. the rivers - the picture of life of the believer if he abides in God.
B'. the rivers - picture of life of the one who rebels against God and His command.
A'. "From any tree . . . dying you shall die." - the negative element of the trees if man disobeys God.
This pattern is a little more elaborate because the rivers now take on a two-fold meaning in this magnificent physical parable that God gives us. The rivers lie at the center because they help to describe the effects of obeying and disobeying God. There are two New Testament texts that help us to understand this. Rom. 5.12-21 and 1Cor. 15.21-22. God's life was poured into Adam, but he corrupted the life. Like the rivers, this spiritual death spread to the whole world. Now, there was black sludge oozing out of the garden, polluting the whole world. The tree dried up, and the fruit became rotten. This is indeed what happened. In Gen. 6.5, we read,
"Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually."
Thus, in Adam, the rest of the world was full of sin. However, thank goodness that the analogy of sin and death spreading like these rivers doesn't end with Adam. In Romans, and 1Corinthians, we also read that Adam was a type of Christ. So, the effects that Adam initiated in the garden were reversed by Christ, in another garden. In Gethsemane, Christ showed complete obedience to the will of the Father. Christ's obedience in the garden was to undo the disobedience of man in the garden of Eden. Because of His right choice in the garden, which was the crucial point in His obedience to His Father, His life bore fruit, and was able to spread out to the rest of the world. Going back to Christ, because He obeyed God, then His life spread to the world. Gen. 22.18,
"And in your seed all the nations shall be blessed because you have obeyed My voice." This seed is Christ.
An interesting note of the difference between man in the garden of Eden and Gethsemane is that before man sinned, he was supposed to rest, God rested him. But when Jesus is in the garden, man is not supposed to rest, but he does anyway. Matt. 26.45, Jesus says,
"Are you still sleeping and taking your rest?"
Ever since Adam we have really blown it. We haven't been much help to God. When man is supposed to rest, he tries to justify himself by his works, but when Jesus tells man to stay awake, then he rests! Let's hope we are awake when He comes again! Okay, maybe this is a stretch!
So, the garden takes on quite a few meanings. First, it shows us what man should be like. Second, it shows us what happened when man sinned. Then, it shows how Christ reversed what the first man did. This new man hung on a tree, and obeyed all the commandments in a garden, and His life, like the rock which Moses hit with his staff, pours out living water when it is bruised. Fourth, this garden is the Christian, and the body of Christ, which is to be Christ to the world. This garden finds its ultimate fulfillment in Revelation, but Jerusalem is even better than the original garden!
I am greatly indebted to several men who through their writing and input helped to piece some of this together. I don't have all the answers, no one does, but these guys have done some real digging!! Thank you: Steve Lawry, Dorman Followwill, Brian Morgan, Bob Smith and of course Ray Stedman.
Joe Palmer (Epaggelia@aol.com)
November 11, 1996
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