East of Eden

Genesis 2:4-25

Before we look the 7th Day, blessed by God as the day of rest, we need to continue with the events of Day 6 of Creation Week. Almost everything, if not all, we know about the 6th took place within The Garden of Eden, this includes the naming of the animals and the creation of Eve. We understand that the universe and the earth was already created (Genesis 2:4), that the earth was watered from underground springs and dew (Genesis 2:5-6), and God created Adam to look after the earth (Genesis 2:7, 15-16).

What was Eden like?
“And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed. And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil” (Genesis 2:8-9).

God prepared a special place as a home for Adam. It is possible that Adam actually saw God creating this garden for him. This was somewhere near Eden (meaning ‘delight’), and as many commentators believe, in modern-day Iraq. In this beautiful garden there grew trees bearing all kinds of fruits which man could use for food. 

Right in the centre of the garden was the Tree of Life, whose fruit, if eaten, would enable a person to have eternal life (Genesis 3:22). No wonder we see this same tree growing in the New Jerusalem (Revelation 22:2). The fruit of the Tree of Life could both nourish and halt the aging process of the eater. A branch of scientific research called gerontology has come up with no acceptable reasons why living beings age and die, and are ever trying to develop chemicals that might stop the process. Pagan religion has sought the ‘fountain of youth’ to no avail, but we know where it was and where it will be, and we know where it isn’t (nowhere on earth at present). 

Another important tree was called The Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. This was very likely close to the Tree of Life, thus offering man two choices, the way of life or the way of death (Genesis 2:17). ‘Knowledge of good and evil’ simply refers to man-made morality as a counterfeit to obedience to God’s word. This tree must have has wonderfully coloured fruit that cried out “Eat me!” (Genesis 3:6). Adam and Eve had an abundance of fruit and vegetables to satisfy their need, all that was forbidden was this one type of fruit. If it was eaten Adam and Eve would begin to die. 

A river ran through Eden and watered the garden … “And a river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted, and became into four heads. The name of the first is Pison: that is it which compasseth the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold; and the gold of that land is good: there is bdellium and the onyx stone. And the name of the second river is Gihon: the same is it that compasseth the whole land of Ethiopia. And the name of the third river is Hiddekel: that is it which goeth toward the east of Assyria. And the fourth river is Euphrates” (Genesis 2:10-14). The four rivers mentioned existed before the Flood, but some believe that Pishon is the Ganges, Gihon the Nile, Hiddekel the Tigris, and Euphrates the same as we know it today. It is interesting that the Ganges and Nile rivers are or were considered to be holy by some religions. It is important to note that these verses were written in the past tense, which may infer that Adam wrote this account after the Garden of Eden was removed by God.

I’m not my Keepers Brother
Evolution teaches that mankind evolved from the ape, but Genesis reveals that man and animals are very different from each other. “And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him. And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof. And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him” (Genesis 2:18-20). 

God brought all the animals before Adam to observe them and give them appropriate names. Adam must have spent much of the sixth day inspecting the various kinds of animals, yet this did not have to include every kind of bird and beast. Notice that Adam did not, at this point name the fish or insects. God brought representatives of each kind of creature into the Garden for man to classify. As Adam looked at them, noticing that they were paired with another of their own kind, he began to feel a little lonely. This is exactly what God intended to happen. Adam was not told he was lonely, but had to learn from experience.

There was nothing like Adam amongst the animals. No, not even the chimp and gorilla! Adam did not see what Charles Darwin claimed he saw, he did not see any similarity between him and the animals. He could have them as pets, but they would never be his kin. He realised that he was unique, had intelligence and was spiritual. He needed someone to share this with. 

She’s the Image of Him
“And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; and the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed” (Genesis 2:21-25).

We have already studied the main details of this passage in a previous lesson; here we will simply highlight the facts. God made somebody just like Adam, though with a slight adaptation of her genetic code to allow for variation of offspring. Eve would share in Adam’s life and would be an equal partner with the same responsibilities regarding obedience to God. 

The first woman was taken out of the first man and yet considered to be one flesh. The word ‘woman’ is ‘isha’ in Hebrew meaning ‘to take out’. She was not named ‘Eve’ until Cain was born (Genesis 3:20). God presenting the woman to Adam must be seen as the first marriage ceremony (see Matthew 19:8).

They had nothing to be ashamed of. They were innocent and free from guilt until the day that Satan corrupted them. They knew nothing of sin or temptation until they disobeyed God. 

All was bliss in the Garden. It was a paradise. Adam had the company and fellowship of Eve, the joy that the animals could bring, but most of all the presence of God (Genesis 3:8). They could ask for anything more, until someone offered them an alternative lifestyle, another gospel, and self-made happiness. We cannot even to begin to imagine what it would have been like if Adam never sinned. So many have search for this long lost Utopia or Atlantis, but it cannot be restored until the Lord Jesus Christ creates a New Heaven and a New Earth.