In the Garden | Genesis 2:10-17
A river flowed out of Eden to water the garden, and there it divided and became four rivers. The name of the first is the Pishon. It is the one that flowed around the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold. And the gold of that land is good; bdellium and onyx stone are there. The name of the second river is the Gihon. It is the one that flowed around the whole land of Cush. And the name of the third river is the Tigris, which flows east of Assyria. And the fourth river is the Euphrates.
The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and keep it. And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” Genesis 2:10-17 | ESV
A well-watered garden. Four rivers. Rich soil. Precious stones. Trees beyond number with luscious fruit beyond compare. Paradise. It’s easy for us to obsess over what we have lost, and to imagine that the Story is all about regaining what have lost. Thus we end up where we started. Only, the biblical tale as it flows on through to its consummation in the pages of Revelation, doesn’t lead us to an enraptured vision of this wonderful garden replanted, restored, resplendent in all it’s primeval glory. It leads us to the ultimate city coming down out of heaven, a city brimming with the imagery and symbolism of this Genesis 2 scene, but then multiplying them exponentially. One mighty flowing river lined with trees of life whose very leaves bring healing to the nations; precious stones and gold aren’t just there to be found, they adorn the very foundations and the very gates of the city. The biblical story isn’t one about going back where we were, to the way we were. God continually, resolutely, draws us forward. The Garden of Eden was the crib of our infancy; the New Jerusalem that comes down from above, is the bride of our maturity. He doesn’t make us the way we were. He makes all things new.
As you contemplate the paradise of Genesis 2, what do you find most appealing? How would you answer the same question as you contemplate heaven and the scenes of Revelation 22?
Lord, fill me with fresh vision of where the Story is headed. Deliver me from pointless nostalgia over Paradise lost and instead revitalize my heart with a fresh image of the new heavens and earth to which the whole Story is leading. Through Jesus.
For all of this week’s resources for this new series on Spiritual Disciplines including this week’s DG video, check out the Vineyard website.