Two Gardens

eden

 

Most of us are very familiar with the Bible story about the Garden of Eden. God had created everything, and lastly He had created His image-bearers, humans. It tells us then that He placed mankind in a garden and gave him authority over everything He had made. The story goes on to explain the creation of woman, who was called such because, “she came out of man,” referring to her being made from the rib God took from Adam’s side. God brought her to Adam and the two “became one flesh,” referring to the union of their relationship. We don’t know how long they lived in the Garden as an innocent, sinless couple…whether it was what we would consider a year or a month, or whatever…we have no real way of knowing. What we do know is what happened next…a major transition in existence…a failure…a fall…

There is some debate about whether or not the story is to be taken literally as written or taken as an allegory for the entrance of sin into the world. I’m not really interested in that discussion…because I think we should consider the bigger picture. The bigger picture is something that I’ve never had anyone disagree with me about…which is that the world is a messed up place, and all humans do some pretty rotten things…in other words, we may say that we all agree in one form or another that the world is a fallen, sinful, broken place.

We can see this fall…this brokenness…primarily in relationships. When man fell, the first relationship that was damaged was the one between him/her and God…resulting in a separation from the close fellowship we once had with God…and God became to us Someone that was seemingly much less present…elusive…distant…so that we aren’t even sure of His reality and constantly struggle in this thought process. The second relationship was the man-woman relationship. God told them that they would be in competition with one another after the fall. He told them that the harmony of the relationship they understood up until this point was now gone, and it would be filled with strife. Thirdly, man is divided from nature…and the ground would literally work against him…and he would have to work much harder…with frustrating effort in order to harvest the produce of the ground. Then they are cast out of God’s presence…and we see the rest of the story unfold. Several chapters later, we come to the story of Babel. The inhabitants of Babel decide to build a tower as a monument to themselves, and God confuses their language…and now the world is divided from even communicating with one another intelligibly. Much later on, God established a nation of His people, which became known as “Israel,” and He gave them His commands…only to have them rebel once again…worshiping an idol before Moses even returned from his meeting with God with the commands. The judgment for this was 3000 people…3000 souls died that day due to their rebellion…

From this point on things get worse and worse. The effects of the curse are obvious…and man is populous in the world, yet isolated within himself…a hell of loneliness within a sea of humanity…as humankind seeks desperately to find paradise in a cursed and broken existence…longing to see that world returned…longing to see innocence restored…longing to feel safe, secure, without anxiety. We want to see the curse lifted…the world fixed. In order for this to happen, there had to be a sacrifice. The price of our rebellion was our destruction. We had to die. We had to be destroyed in order for the new to be made. The slate needed to be wiped clean…and God…loving us infinitely…had a plan…which involved the sacrifice of innocent blood…an exchange for our tainted blood. His innocence for our guilt. Then the process of reconciliation could begin.

Then enters a young Jewish Rabbi. He’s from an obscure town, and a working-class family. He has no influential background, and no wealth. His Name is Y’Shua, or, “Jesus.” He speaks with such authority and truth that the leaders of His day and age really didn’t know how to respond to Him or what to do with Him. They believed wholeheartedly in the One that was to come that would lead them into a day of change…a day of the Kingdom of God…but they didn’t see that He was the One…the One that would be given for us to be made right again. Then, according to the plan of God, it happened. His blood was given for us…His life for ours…His innocence replacing our guilt.

What happened next absolutely blows my mind…

After Jesus died, we find ourselves once again in a garden…but this was no paradise…this garden is full of death…it has a tomb…His tomb…but…He rose again…and in so doing, the Bible tells us that He was establishing the new beginning for humanity within His resurrection (Romans 6). He ascended later into Heaven yet remaining present…in the form of His Spirit…relationship fixed…we now can dwell with God again…and the same day…language barriers no longer mattered, because one spoke in his own language and others heard it in theirs (Acts 2)…and even more importantly…this time…at this meeting with God…instead of 3000 people dying…3000 people come into spiritual life…true life…and we can see the most beautiful thing…God’s reversal of the curse…step by step…

The first garden had a tree of life…it was a paradise with nothing but the potential for life…and out of it came death. The second garden had a tomb of death…it was a place of mourning with nothing but the potential for death…and out of it erupted life anew.

Two gardens…the first failed…but the second…it is still in full bloom…and ready for harvest…ripe for the picking.

So many see us coming to a cataclysmic “end of days.” I think we need to see that the end of days is the beginning of eternity.

We have a wonderfully bright future ahead…may we anticipate it with joy…excited…expectant.

Amen.

 

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5 comments on “Two Gardens

  1. Shane says:

    Your description of God becoming “someone” in refrence of our relationship to Him is spot on and thought provoking to me. I will meditate on this. Gracias!

  2. Kevin Boone says:

    I had never seen the 3000 parallel of Moses and Pentecost. Good as usual.

  3. Anna Conard says:

    Whoa… it’s kinda hard NOT to be amazed at that! I think you should write a book!

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