Friday, April 24, 2009
Paradise Returned: Part 1
* Please read the Introduction first.
The Garden of Eden: Paradise With God
What a beautiful place was the Garden of Eden, right? We have all likely seen pictures of a lush jungle-influenced scene where large flowers are in full bloom. Wild animals are walking tamely about as Adam and Eve stand naked gazing at one another, with perfectly placed fig leaves of course. Eve holds the apple and perhaps the serpent is even depicted crawling at her feet. We all have Sunday School images permanently engrained into our religious memory banks. But the most beautiful thing of all about the Garden was that God dwelt with men there. We don’t know the exact expanse of time from Adam’s first breath to his disobedience, but you can be assured, everything changed dramatically once he and Eve ate of the tree. Intimacy with the Creator was severed and mankind chose to walk down a path of sin and self.
Immediately after the fall of Adam and Eve, Genesis 3:21 tells us that “the LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife, and clothed them.” This is why we must die to our flesh and allow the Christ within us to live. In ourselves, in our fleshly efforts and ways, we are set apart from God. We cannot enter His holy place on our own merit. We must take off our garments of flesh. Sacrifices and works won’t gain you access anymore, it is only the blood sacrifice of Jesus, The Christ.
I believe that the Garden, a representative of the perfect dwelling of the LORD is still completely uncorrupted today. I believe that it is where we can dwell today, even if only metaphorically. All is returning us to that place in the Father, a world uncorrupted by flesh and sin. It is my desire to approach the LORD naked and unashamed, in perfect intimacy. I desire to walk with Him with no flesh to separate us.
I think it is worth pointing out that it was Adam and Eve that chose to flee the presence of God. Genesis 3:8 states, ”They heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden.”
And what was God’s response? He pursued them nonetheless. “Then the LORD God called to the man, and said to him, ‘Where are you?’” (Verse 9) Little has changed. Men continue to pursue their own desires and ways, assuming ignorantly that they can hide from God and God continues to draw men unto Himself. Perhaps what we still do the most is point the finger and say, “well they did it first!”
I think it is worth noting that Adam and Eve were driven out of the garden, not out of Eden. God did not abandon them, they would just no longer be in direct relationship with Him as they were prior to their disobedience. I see much correlation with this and the holy of holies that we’ll look into more a bit later.