Thursday, September 29, 2016

There Really Was a Garden of Eden!

                                                                Genesis 2:18-25
          Here is God the Gardner at work. A garden in other Scriptures is a symbol for “temple”. He made regular trees, special trees, rivers and had a hired hand to keep the garden. Their “work” was worship.
       The Garden of Eden is located “in the east”. This seems to be a puzzle. If the center of the Biblical world is Palestine, east would be toward what we know as Russia and China. We are told that the location east of Eden is in the Tigris-Euphrates area of Mesopotamia. The data in Genesis 2:8–10 indicates that it was in the Shinar Plain area, and that four “heads” were formed from the one river flowing through Eden to water the garden. The heads were the Tigris and Euphrates (both of which are familiar modern rivers), and two rivers which have disappeared—the Pishon and Gihon. The latter were most probably irrigation canals, since in cuneiform there is no separate word for “river” and “irrigation canal.”
Thus the Eden area was irrigated after the Sumerian manner, making for a highly fertile garden. If Pishon and Gihon were in fact irrigation canals, the narrative places Adamic man firmly in a historic high culture, and takes him out of the realm of myth and legend. It is probable that the Flood erased the Garden of Eden from the earth.
       The special trees attract our attention. There is “the tree of life”.  It is not a restricted tree like the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. What is “the tree of life. One source tells us that the book of Revelation contains the only references to the “tree of life” in the New Testament (Rev. 2:7; 22:2, 14, 19). The Bible begins and ends with a Paradise in the midst of which is a “tree of life.” The way to the “tree of life,” which was closed in Genesis 3, is open again for God’s believing people. This was made possible by the second Adam, Jesus Christ. We get the impression from Genesis 3:22 that man had not eaten of the tree of life up to the time of the Fall. In fact, we are told that if he did, he would “live forever”.

       Then there is the “tree of the knowledge of good and evil”. We’ll reserve comment for the next section where God places a restriction on eating this tree.