Ralph's Daily Devotional - Wednesday, February 21

The garden of Eden (Genesis 2:8-9) is yet another demonstration of the importance of plant life in Scripture.  The garden was situated in a larger land called "Eden," meaning "paradise" or "delight."  It was an idyllic place.  The garden was not a typical garden of vegetables and flowers, but a lovely orchard of trees yielding food in a park-like setting where both God and Adam could dwell in peaceful harmony.  It was watered by four rivers, of which only two, the Euphrates and Tigris, can be historically located today.  Nearby were the lands of Cush, Pishon, Havilah and Asshur.  None of these lands can be located today, but it seems clear that they actually existed.

Centrally located within the garden were two special trees: the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.  It's hard to imagine a tree possessing such qualities, and undoubtedly there is an amount of symbolism here.  Although we may struggle to interpret these passages literally, it is crucial to take these symbols seriously. 

In the New Testament, "paradise" becomes one's heavenly reward, as in Luke 23:43.  And, interestingly, the tree of life reappears in Revelation 22:1-2.  These allegories are used because we are dealing with concepts that, at present, we cannot humanly grasp with complete clarity (John 3:12).

What is clear is that humans were created to dwell with God free of fear and want.  However, we understand that Genesis 2 teaches that the clear path forward is in Jesus Christ and the new Eden to come (John 14:1-6; Revelation 21 :1-5).

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