This morning I read Day 8 in Reading Between the Lines (Scrivener). Yes…I’m more than a few days behind. I had to share it with you. Take a few minutes and let this sink in.
Garden of Eden
Even the phrase “garden of Eden” should make us homesick. “Eden” is taken from the word “delight,” and “garden” when translated to Greek is “paradise.” Here is a paradise of delights–a very lofty beginning for the human race.
According to Genesis 2:8-17, this garden was planted by the Lord God himself. Here we get a different view of God to the one we saw in Genesis 1. There God spoke and it was so. Here “the Lord God” gets his hands dirty.
Who is “The Lord God?”–this one with dirt under his fingernails, planting trees, forming Adam from the dust and giving him the kiss of life? We know that no-one has seen the Father at any time (see John 1:18; Colossians 1:15). This is God the Son, the Father’s eternal Image and Mediator. Here is Christ before He took our flesh.
Many people want to know, “What was Jesus doing before the first Christmas? Well he has always been the One through whom the Father interacts with his world. He is the eternal Word of the Father, or the “Voice of the Lord God” as he’s called in the King James Version of Genesis 3:8. And here we see him as a gardener, preparing a paradise of delights for His favorite creatures.
When we think about the Garden of Eden, we often focus on the one boundary which the Lord sets (the forbidden fruit). But that is to forget the bounty.
This garden is abundant and freely open to humanity. You might think that the garden of the Lord would be the Lord’s own special sanctuary. You might think the Lord would keep it for himself and invite humanity in only occasionally and under the strictest of conditions. But no, humanity not only has access, but roams freely and in authority over God’s own garden.
God says in verse 16: You are free to eat from any tree in the garden.
The Lord fills his garden of delights with abundant fruit. All of it was “pleasing to the eye and good for food” (v. 9). This is profligate goodness. What need is there for beautiful fruit? None. What need is there for tasty fruit? None. Yet this is the way with the Lord. Nothing is necessary. Everything is desired and desirable.
We learn in Genesis 3 that Christ the Lord would come to enjoy this garden and his beloved creatures with an evening walk. This is his nature, to create a space, to make it home, to fill it with beauty and to give it to his friends. He lives to invite humanity into his life of freedom, fullness and fellowship. This is paradise.
Well the Lord God came to walk with us again in the New Testament. And when he came he was even mistaken as a gardener (John 20:15). But when he came in the Gospels he walked as one of us, and he walked through this world of suffering and pain. His mission took him to the blood, sweat and tears of the cross. As he died, he turned to a dying, despairing, despicable sinner and said:
Today you will be with me in paradise (Luke 23:43).
Paradise is real. It’s even for despairing, despicable sinners in a dying and depraved world. The Lord God enters our plight and promises Paradise. He has come down to the very depths to offer us his incomparable heights. Paradise is not for the ancient myths. It’s for dying sinners in a dying world. Paradise is for you.
Listen to this testimony…and these two songs. You’ll learn why it has three and half million views. What a day that will be!