“In relational terms between God and people, the Bible opens with God
and his people in a garden and closes with God
and his people once again back in a garden.”
J. Scott Duvall and J. Daniel Hays, God’s Relational Presence:
The Cohesive Center of Biblical Theology
Reading theology today.
Contemplating the Garden and God’s presence!
The Garden of God in Genesis is described with rivers, trees, plants of all sorts. We know it was inhabited with animals and of course, with Adam and Eve. On that fateful day when God confronts them about their sin, he is walking in the garden. Look at the evidence of His nearness in Genesis 2 …
- God formed man out of clay, like a potter
- He breathed into the man’s nose – the breath of life
- God Himself brought the animals to Adam for naming
- He fashioned Eve out of Adam’s bone, like an artist
- God brought Eve to Adam to introduce them
“The imagery in the creation narrative in Genesis 2 does not portray God seated upon his throne in the heavens sending out orders to those below;J. Scott Duvall and J. Daniel Hays. (2019). God’s Relational Presence:
rather, it portrays him as one who is very much present down in the garden, personally involved in creation.”
The Cohesive Center of Biblical Theology
God got His hands dirty in His own garden, digging, planting, making clay! When His work was done He saw that it was good, very good. And then He enjoyed His handiwork, walking in the garden in the cool of the evening. Adam and Eve had the amazing pleasure and blessing of God’s personal presence with them!
Eden’s utopian nature, however, was not primarily a functionLongman, T. (2001). Immanuel in our place: Seeing Christ in Israels worship
of its physical benefits. Perfect relationship filled that function.
In the first place, the relationship between God and his human creatures
was harmonious, personal, and intimate.
In close reading of Genesis 1 – 3, you’ll notice there was no temple in the garden. Instead the garden itself was a meeting place between God and man, a place where heaven and earth intersected. The garden itself was was the first temple, defined by God’s presence. In the garden God chose to walk and talk with the people He created!
[God] has personality and dares to disclose himself in words that human beings understand. Right through the whole Bible, that picture of God constantly recurs. However great or transcendent he is, he is a talking God.Carson, D. A. (2010). The God who is there: Finding your place in Gods story.
Of course, you know the next act in the story – Adam and Eve disobey God – they choose unbelief over faith in God’s word and provision. And in disobeying, they are alienated from God, without direct access to God’s presence. In their despair, He makes a promise! God speaks to the serpent saying that One will come who will bruise the serpent’s head, a death blow! God has a plan to restore humans to a right relationship with Him outside of His garden! He’s not done yet!
God is in fact always passing into the everyday and often colorless fabric of the life of each one of us. This everyday experience may even be the sphere into which he prefers to introduce his grace. The slightest event in our lives and the least discernible movement of his grace point to the passing of his justice and mercy into our lives and to his desire to appeal to our faithfulness and to draw us toward him.Elisabeth-Paule Labat. (1980). The Presence of God
There’s coming a new and greater Eden! It will be free of sin, free of the curse of sin. All that the curse brought on humanity, on the earth, will be reversed. God will dwell here as the King! And we will worship and serve Him forever.
I come to the garden alone,
While the dew is still on the roses;
And the voice I hear, falling on my ear,
The Son of God discloses.
He speaks, and the sound of His voice
Is so sweet the birds hush their singing;
And the melody that He gave to me
Within my heart is ringing.
I’d stay in the garden with Him
Tho’ the night around me be falling;
But He bids me go; thro’ the voice of woe,
His voice to me is calling.
And He walks with me, and He talks with me,Charles Austin Miles
And He tells me I am His own,
And the joy we share as we tarry there,
None other has ever known.