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.


NINA said...

Great blog. I am in total agreement with you. I believe there is something more to the text when the bible stated that after God drove out the man he placed cherubim and a flaming sword which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life. I see it to be directly related to the scripture in John 14ih chapter when Jesus stated, "I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me". People don't realize that the New Testament is not totally disconnected from the old Testament but in fact an "answer" to the old Testament. Fulfillment of prophecy spoken by the prophets of Old.I believe that "the way" that Jesus spoke about is the same "way" the Father referred to. Jesus was speaking of what you are writing in this blog.Adam gave up his direct rights to commune with the father, but it is being added back to us through Christ and His sacrifice of himself was a pardon of our debts. Through relationship with Christ we earn our way back into the Garden. In the bible they always spoke of a garden when they were speaking about direct relationship with the father.(gethsemene, eden etc.)It was in a garden where creation 'began' and seeds were planted.It was where 'life' was. Even now when we refer to a garden we think of a place where things obtain life and growth.Jesus came that we may have "life" and have it more abundantly.When the bible spoke about the tree of life it spoke about eternal life because God deals only with eternity. For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on Him should not perish but shall have everlasting life. This is why Jesus said that He was "the way", the 'TRUTH' and the 'LIFE' and no man Comes to the Father but through Him.He covered all the basics of the Garden. Nothing in that garden was accessible except through Christ. The way had been blocked for many years this is why People could not directly commune with God and they had to go through the priests who still had limited contact because they were not holy enough. This was a great blog. I needed this to get me through my day. Suddenly the things that I am dealing with are not so overwhelming, when I go back to the basis of who we are and our purpose for being. As people we tend to worry about if or when God will show up, but He already has. An opportunity for redemption is more than enough and everything else is just "the perks".Thanks. I am at peace.

NINA said...

PS> Sorry if I invaded into your message. I just get excited when it comes to the word of God. Especially the unadulterated word!

Much Love, Nina

Joel Spencer said...

Nina: Great points Nina! I had not connected the "gardens" in such a manner - excellent. The basics of the "Gospel" alone is MORE than enough to study for the rest of our days.

Nichole said...

Part 1: You said: I believe that it is where we can dwell today, even if only metaphorically.

I agree with this. Our spirit can abide with Him now, but not our flesh. One glorious day our spirit will be removed from our sin fleshed bodies, and we will be given a new body, the one intended for us all along. I enjoyed the rest as well, great study, looking forward to the rest. I read the Intro and am in much anticipation. God Bless.

Joel Spencer said...

Nichole: Oh what a day it will be when we have no boundaries whatsoever, when we leave this mortal flesh! And we think it is good now!? It is, but it will be incredible to have no physical limitations! Incredible to think on.