Weekly Devotional 10-21-19 Why the Garden of Eden?
If God created everything good, why did He create a garden for the dwelling place of Adam and Eve? If all the earth was good, why a garden? Was the garden different than the rest of the earth? I have struggled with these questions for much of my Christian life but just recently a suggestion was offered that shed light on this difficulty. It was suggested that our English words “good” and “very good” do not necessarily convey what was meant by the language of the Old Testament (Hebrew). Researching this I turned to “biblestudytools.com” and found that the Hebrew word for good is “Tov” and the Hebrew word for very good is “Tov Me’od”. Both words can mean “to be in harmony with God, and, that everything was made fit for its purpose, possessing desirable qualities, i.e., beneficial, agreeable. According to the Inter-national Standard Bible Encyclopedia, there are other Hebrew words (Tobh, Tubh, yaTabh; agathos, agathon, kalos, kalon) that infer the same thing.
The above explanation would explain why God created a garden for Adam and Eve. In a sense, it was “Heaven on Earth” void of undesirable things such as nettles, thistles, mosquitos, etc. We read from Genesis 3: 17-18 (NKJB) “17Then to Adam He said, “Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat of it’: ‘Cursed is the ground for your sake; In toil you shall eat of it All the days of your life. 18 Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you, And you shall eat the herb of the field. 19 In the sweat of your face, you shall eat bread Till you return to the ground, For out of it you were taken; For dust you are, And to dust, you shall return.’” Not only did their expulsion subject Adam and Eve to these things but also death. God had warned that in the day they would disobey Him they would suffer immediate spiritual death, separation from Him (Genesis 2:17) and the process of physical death would commence. They were expelled from the garden and now lived in a world that was prepared to cause them to want to return to the garden. God prevented them and their offspring from returning to the garden (which they would have desired) by placing guards (Cherubim) at the entrance, but the desire remained. From Genesis 3:21 we learn that God made provision for the forgiveness of their disobedience by providing an answer to their sin, a blood provision, the only remedy for forgiveness and restoration. (See Hebrews 9:22). The blood of an innocent was shed to pay the penalty of their sin. Their sin was covered by the skin of the animal whose blood had been shed to obtain it. The shedding of the animal’s blood pictured the shedding of the blood of the Son of God Jesus, the Christ.
The garden was/is a precursor of the new heaven that God will create after He has done away with the present earth and all its difficulties as effected by God’s cursing of the earth and Adam, man’s federal head. We read from Revelation 21:1-7 “1 Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also, there was no more sea. 2 Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.3 And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, ‘Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. 4 And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.’ 5 Then He who sat on the throne said, ‘Behold, I make all things new.’And He said to me, ‘Write, for these words are true and faithful.’ 6 And He said to me, ‘It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts. 7 He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son.’”
Your and my Genesis garden is heaven.
Thanks to our Sunday School class at Grace Baptist Church of the Abingtons and Matthew Benjamin the present teacher for having an open discussion on such matters. I now have plausible answers to those questions posed in the opening paragraph of this little work. Hopefully, these answers will bless you as they have me.
Transforming power; The Work of God on Behalf of Man