The New and Eternal Eden
Genesis Chapter Two: A type of that which is to come
Though the paradise of the garden of Eden was lost to mankind through the fall of Adam and Eve, God has made provision for a new garden of Eden with the possibility for fallen mankind to gain it. The structure of the original account, that in Genesis chapter two, is that of a model of a new place to come. However because of the Fall a savior for fallen mankind is required who can deliver mankind to that place.
All the elements of Genesis chapter two together form a model that points to God's eternal kingdom where He has a relationship with His people. This is a relationship made possible through Jesus Christ, the Redeemer and Intermediary between God and man: "For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus" (1 Tim. 2:5).
Models and types in Scripture always are a real precursor of that which they point to. They are not just a literary device, but actual objects and situations that mankind can relate to. Such is this chapter. Literally it describes Adam and Eve before the Fall. But all aspects of it are spoken of in Scripture regarding God's eternal kingdom after the redemption from the Fall.
Chapter one of Genesis, while describing the creation of the heavens and earth, forms an illustration of the second creation, called a "new creation," the creation of a redeemed and sanctified people for God. See The Sanctifying Work of Christ. Chapter two proceeds to model an eternal state of God's relationship with that redeemed people. The model of chapter two is based on the model of chapter one. The following is a second look at chapter two as a type of that which is to come.
Christ's Finished Redemptive Work: verses 1 - 3
"Thus the heavens and the earth, and all the host of them, were finished. And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made" (Gen. 2:1-3).
The model of chapter two, that of God's eternal relationship with His people, is therefore presented with a necessary foundation, that of the finished redemptive work of Jesus Christ. The chapter opens with the statements that the work of creation was finished and that God ended His work and rested. It further states that God "blessed the seventh day and sanctified it." The type points to the value that God places on the finished work of Christ. He sets it apart as holy. See Creation: The Foundation of the Gospel.
The finished work of Christ is what makes possible an eternal relationship with God. This is described by the writer to the Hebrews: "And every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, from that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool. For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified" (Heb. 10:11-14). The writer continues: "Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, and having a High Priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water" (Heb. 10:19-22).
By faith a believer can depend on Christ's completed work and approach and dwell with God. The sin of the Fall is dealt with through the atoning work of Christ which makes a way for access to God once again.
The Last Adam: verses 4 - 7
"This is the history of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens, before any plant of the field was in the earth and before any herb of the field had grown. For the Lord God had not caused it to rain on the earth, and there was no man to till the ground; but a mist went up from the earth and watered the whole face of the ground. And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being" (Gen. 2:4-7).
This chapter models the "history," or "genealogy," through which a relationship with God is possible. As seen previously, the time is that before the Fall. This models a place where sin is not present. Here, "... the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being." This models the Incarnation, where God became fully human in the person of Jesus Christ in addition to being fully God. Scripture presents Adam as being "a type of Him who was to come" (Rom. 5:14).
Paul the Apostle calls Christ the "last Adam" in writing to the Corinthians: "And so it is written, 'The first man Adam became a living being.' The last Adam became a life-giving spirit. However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural, and afterward the spiritual. The first man was of the earth, made of dust; the second Man is the Lord from heaven. As was the man of dust, so also are those who are made of dust; and as is the heavenly Man, so also are those who are heavenly. And as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly Man" (1 Cor. 15:45-49). The purpose of the Incarnation was that through the "heavenly Man" would come a heavenly people.
When God made Adam He said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness" (Gen. 1:26). This purpose of God finds it fulfillment in and through Christ. Paul writes in Colossians about Christ, "He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation" (Col. 1:15). Again, regarding the image of the incarnate Christ reflecting God, Scripture records, "who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person" (Heb. 1:3). The person and nature of Jesus reflects who God is. Jesus is the picture of love, justice, righteousness, compassion, and mercy. He reflects the image of God.
It is through Christ that a people are made for God, who are "in [His] image, according to [His] likeness." God's foreordained plan is shown: "For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren" (Rom. 8:29). God planned the way to Him from the beginning; one is to be joined to Christ and conformed to "the image of His Son." What is predestined here is not who would come, but how they would come: though being conformed to Christ, the Last Adam.
So the "family history," the generations, of God's family is thus: God the Father is head, under which is the incarnate Son of God, Jesus Christ. Under Christ are His people. As the "last Adam" Jesus is head of the human race as King. Scripture records, "And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, 'All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth'" (Matt. 28:18).
Ultimately all will come under subjection to the Father through Christ: "Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. ... Now when all things are made subject to Him, then the Son Himself will also be subject to Him who put all things under Him, that God may be all in all" (1 Cor. 15:24, 25, 28).
God's Eternal Kingdom: verses 8 - 14
"The Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden, and there He put the man whom He had formed. And out of the ground the Lord God made every tree grow that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Now a river went out of Eden to water the garden, and from there it parted and became four riverheads. The name of the first is Pishon; it is the one which skirts the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold. And the gold of that land is good. Bdellium and the onyx stone are there. The name of the second river is Gihon; it is the one which goes around the whole land of Cush. The name of the third river is Hiddekel; it is the one which goes toward the east of Assyria. The fourth river is the Euphrates" (Gen. 2:8-14).
The picture given in these next verses in Genesis models the eternal "new heavens and new earth" where God's people will dwell with Him. The account says, "The Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden, and there He put the man whom He had formed." This foreshadows the eternal place of the Last Adam. Jesus said, "... I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also" (John 14:2-3).
This place is shown in Revelation, in the new heavens and earth: "And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the middle of its street, and on either side of the river, was the tree of life, which bore twelve fruits, each tree yielding its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. And there shall be no more curse, but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and His servants shall serve Him" (Rev. 22:1-3). This is a permanent "Eden," containing the elements of the original. In God's restored world, not only is there once again a river, the "river of water of life" - its source the throne of God - but also the "tree of life," such as was in the pre-fallen world. As Eden was the one source of water for the rivers of the earth, so does the fulfillment of the model have one source.
Ezekiel also presents a foreshadowing of this eternal place: "Then he brought me back to the door of the temple; and there was water, flowing from under the threshold of the temple toward the east, for the front of the temple faced east; the water was flowing from under the right side of the temple, south of the altar" (Ezekiel 47:1). As Revelation shows that the river is "proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb," so too does Ezekiel show the river originating from the temple. Ezekiel testifies the same as Revelation: "Along the bank of the river, on this side and that, will grow all kinds of trees used for food; their leaves will not wither, and their fruit will not fail. They will bear fruit every month, because their water flows from the sanctuary. Their fruit will be for food, and their leaves for medicine" (Ezekiel 47:12).
Ezekiel writes that the "water flows from the sanctuary" just as Revelation shows that the river of life is "proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb." So too in the Genesis model the river "went out of Eden." The Genesis account says that at the location of the first river to part, Pishon, there is gold, bdellium, and the onyx stone. Gold is the metal of kings. Jesus has the title "King of kings and Lord of lords" (Rev. 19:16). The sanctuary of the temple in Jerusalem, a foreshadowing, was covered in gold as was the ark.
Gold and precious stones are the composition of "the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband" (Rev. 21:2). The passage says, "... the city was pure gold, like clear glass. The foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with all kinds of precious stones ... the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass" (Rev. 21:18, 19, 21). This same passage lists the onyx stone as being one of the precious stones. Regarding the new Jerusalem Revelation records, "But I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. The city had no need of the sun or of the moon to shine in it, for the glory of God illuminated it. The Lamb is its light" (Rev. 21:22-23).
The "bdellium" mentioned in Genesis is a substance used in perfume and incense. This speaks of the ministry of Christ as the eternal High Priest. Jesus' bride the church will have a part in ministry also in the eternal Eden, as Peter writes: "you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ" (1 Pet. 2:5).
The Genesis account says, foreshadowing this eternal and heavenly place, "and there He put the man whom He had formed." Jesus Christ, as the "last Adam," as a man, as a High Priest, and as the Lamb that takes away sin, is forever beside God. As a member of the Godhood, Jesus is present as God Almighty. But as a man He is present as the intermediary between God and His people. And so Revelation speaks of "the throne of God and of the Lamb."
Christ, the Eternal Priest: verses 15 - 17
"Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it. And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, 'Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.'" (Gen. 2:15-17).
The ministry of Jesus is next modeled: "Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it." As seen previously, the phrase "to tend and keep" means to "serve" and "observe," "protect," and "guard." These words from the Hebrew are used regarding the Levitical priesthood's ministry in the temple. The Lord said to Aaron, "And you shall attend to the duties of the sanctuary and the duties of the altar, that there may be no more wrath on the children of Israel. ... Therefore you and your sons with you shall attend to your priesthood for everything at the altar and behind the veil; and you shall serve" (Num. 18:5, 7). These verses contain the same Hebrew words, and convey the meaning, of the charge given in Genesis. The charge given to Adam ultimately points to the charge given to the last Adam, Jesus Christ.
The charge to Aaron to "attend to the duties" and to "attend to your priesthood" uses the same Hebrew word shamar as the charge to Adam to "keep" the garden. This is to keep the charge by guarding, observing, and protecting. The ministry of the priest was so "that there may be no more wrath on the children of Israel." The command to Aaron "and you shall serve" uses the same Hebrew word abad as the charge to Adam to "tend" the garden.
The heart of Jesus to serve God's will is seen in His statement, "For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many" (Mark 10:45). As High Priest Jesus protects and preserves those under Him. Jesus said as the good shepherd, "My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand" (John 10:27-28). In this Jesus keeps the Father's charge to "tend and keep."
This is Jesus' role as Head of the church and as High Priest before God. Hebrews states, "But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation" (Heb. 9:11). Here Jesus fulfills God's commandment regarding the priesthood to "attend to your priesthood for everything at the altar and behind the veil; and you shall serve."
Genesis continues, "And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, 'Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.'" The first Adam failed in obeying God, and did not guard against losing his place in the garden. But the last Adam has kept God's charge. God says in the Mosaic Law, "You shall observe My judgments and keep My ordinances, to walk in them: I am the Lord your God. You shall therefore keep My statutes and My judgments, which if a man does, he shall live by them: I am the Lord" (Lev. 18:4-5). The book of Hebrews quotes the Psalms and applies it to Christ: "Then I said, 'Behold, I have come - In the volume of the book it is written of Me - To do Your will, O God'" (Heb. 10:7). Sin, represented by disobeying God by eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, was not in Jesus, compared "as of a lamb without blemish and without spot" (1 Pet. 1:19).
God had said to the first Adam that if he disobeyed, he "would surely die." Through the disobedience of man came death, not just to Adam and Eve but to all mankind. Yet God says of His law, "which if a man does, he shall live by them." Jesus kept God's law perfectly, as of a lamb without spot or blemish. Jesus thus lives eternally and Scripture says "And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life" (1 John 5:11-12).
Genesis chapter two, up to this point, presents a model of the heavenly place where God's people will spend eternity with Him. The model thus far is an accurate representation of that place prepared for a people to enter. This place requires the presence of Jesus Christ as High Priest and Intermediary between God and mankind. This is that of which Jesus said, "I go to prepare a place for you." Regarding this preparation Jesus said, "I am the way ... No one comes to the Father except through Me" (John 14:6).
Christ and the Church: verses 18 - 22
"And the Lord God said, 'It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.' Out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them. And whatever Adam called each living creature, that was its name. So Adam gave names to all cattle, to the birds of the air, and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper comparable to him. And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place. Then the rib which the Lord God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man" (Gen. 2:18-22).
The heavenly model continues with God saying, "It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him." With Jesus in Scripture called the "Last Adam," this models a people God will raise up to be joined to Christ, called the bride of Christ. Mankind is not just called into a relationship with God, but also into a relationship with the incarnate Son of God, Jesus Christ. Jesus, as a man, came into the world as One among His own kind. Jesus can be related to on a human level. It is together with Christ that God's people then relate to Him. This concept begins with this verse and is clarified in the model of marriage as Scripture continues.
Verses nineteen and twenty show that which is not "comparable to him." These are those of the animal kingdom. The animal world was not made in the image of God. The animals created were not given any commandments, or given a free will to obey or not. God's desire is for a people who will willingly come to Him, submit to Him in obedience, and rejoice in Him. Base creatures, with no free will, are not those whom God has decided to fellowship with in His kingdom. And such are those living in a fallen world. These have their origin in the rebellion of Adam and Eve whose sin has propagated to all of mankind. Paul writes, "Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned" (Rom. 5:12). It is of those in this state that Jude writes, "But these speak evil of whatever they do not know; and whatever they know naturally, like brute beasts, in these things they corrupt themselves" (Jude 1:10). Fallen man is compared to "brute beasts." There are none in the human race that are comparable to the Perfect Man, Jesus Christ.
Jesus reflects the image of God in His love and righteousness. That which is comparable to Him is a person who likewise is obedient to God in submission, and wills the good things of God. God's redemptive solution for fallen man, held in bondage to sin, is to be born again, as a new creature, in Jesus Christ. And the model of Genesis chapter two shows this: "And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place. Then the rib which the Lord God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man" (Gen. 2:21-22). That which was comparable to Adam was a creation made out of him.
And such is the Church. Scripture states, "But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive" (1 Cor. 15:20-22). As God "caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam," so Christ "slept" in His death on the cross. John records, "But when they came to Jesus and saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs. But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out" (John 19:33-34). Out of the side of the crucified Christ came blood and water. Scripture shows the blood of Christ was spilled for atonement for sin. Water, an element in baptism, represents death of the old self and resurrection into new life. Out of Adam's side God made a wife for Adam. Out of the last Adam's side God makes a bride for Christ, the Church. Through the atoning blood of Christ one's sins are forgiven. Through identification with Christ in His death and resurrection - that which baptism points to - comes new life in Christ. In His resurrection Christ "has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep."
Oneness with Christ: verses 23 - 24
"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 a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh" (Gen. 2:23-24).
Those in Christ are called the bride of Christ, joined to Him as a husband and wife are joined together as one. Paul writes, "For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. 'For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.' This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church" (Eph. 5:30-32). Paul quotes from Genesis and makes a spiritual application to Christ and the Church. The concept presented is that one must be joined to Christ as one.
Becoming one with Christ in a spiritual union is that which Jesus taught: "Then Jesus said to them, 'Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who feeds on Me will live because of Me. This is the bread which came down from heaven - not as your fathers ate the manna, and are dead. He who eats this bread will live forever'" (John 6:53-58). That which one eats becomes a part of that person. Thus becoming inseparably one with Christ is essential to have "eternal life" and to "live forever" as Christ taught. Thus Paul makes the application, "'... and the two shall become one flesh.' This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church."
Again Paul writes, "For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body - whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free - and have all been made to drink into one Spirit ... Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually" (1 Cor. 13, 27). The model of Genesis chapter two which points to God's eternal kingdom thus shows that God's people are those in Christ, who are joined to Christ.
Adam and Eve were separated from God through rebellion. Even though Jesus Christ's atoning death and resurrection is the path to eternal life, the core issue of rebellion is addressed through the lordship of Christ. Paul writes, "For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body" (Eph. 5:23). Marriage is used by Paul to show a spiritual order: "But I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God" (1 Cor. 11:3). The marriage model is used to show submission to God is through submission to Jesus Christ.
Scripture explains, "Now when all things are made subject to Him, then the Son Himself will also be subject to Him who put all things under Him, that God may be all in all" (1 Cor. 15:28). All are in subjection except one: God who is head of all. It is through being joined to Christ and being in submission to Him that God is exalted as "all in all." This remedies the rebellion of Adam and Eve. Those who will not submit to the lordship of Christ remain in rebellion against God and will remain outside of God's kingdom.
An Eternal State with God: verse 25
"And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed" (Gen. 2:25).
With God being "all in all," and this through submission to Jesus Christ, there is no shame in the innate insufficiency of man. When mankind is joined to the all-sufficient God, where God is glorified, God Himself is mankind's covering. God makes up for man's lack.
Scripture uses the idea of the shame of nakedness to show that which is missing in a person who is not in a right relationship with God. Jesus sent a message to the church of the Laodiceans: "Because you say, 'I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing' - and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked - I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see" (Rev. 3:17-18). To those who consider themselves rich and in need of nothing, and yet are without God, Jesus points out they are "wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked."
In this exhortation Jesus gives counsel "that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed." Three things are needed: faith, the righteousness of Christ provided by His atoning sacrifice, and the anointing of the Holy Spirit.
Jesus says to "buy from Me gold refined in the fire." Gold is a type of faith. Peter the Apostle writes, "In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith - the salvation of your souls" (1 Pet. 1:6-9).
Exercising Biblical faith is the start of a right relationship with God, and results in "the salvation of your souls." As gold is refined in the fire, so is faith refined "by various trials."
A saving faith is one based on the completed atoning work of Christ. Isaiah wrote, "'Come now, and let us reason together,' Says the Lord, 'Though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They shall be as wool'" (Isaiah 1:18). John the Apostle wrote about those who entered heaven during the great tribulation: "Then one of the elders answered, saying to me, 'Who are these arrayed in white robes, and where did they come from?' And I said to him, 'Sir, you know.' So he said to me, 'These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb'" (Rev. 7:13-14). Paul wrote to the Ephesians, "In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace" (Eph. 1:7). It is the blood of Christ that takes away sin, making atonement for it, and it is the righteousness of Christ imputed to the believer that is the "white garment." This is a covering that "the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed." It is not the perfection of the believer that gains him entrance into God's kingdom, but the perfection of Christ that clothes the believer.
Jesus' third point in His counsel to the Laodiceans is to "anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see." Ironically, eye salve was a product of this community. Yet they were spiritually blind. Blindness to the things of God is a characteristic of the natural man, one not born into a living relationship with Christ. No amount of education or scholarship can compensate. Paul wrote to the Corinthians, "... Moses, who put a veil over his face so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the end of what was passing away. But their minds were blinded. For until this day the same veil remains unlifted in the reading of the Old Testament, because the veil is taken away in Christ. But even to this day, when Moses is read, a veil lies on their heart. Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away" (2 Cor. 3:13-16).
Anointing in Scripture is associated with the Holy Spirit, as is spiritual insight. It is the Holy Spirit, received through Christ, who enables a person to understand Scripture and know the things of God. Jesus said to His disciples, "But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you" (John 14:26).
To those who would lament mankind's fall from Eden and the loss of paradise, there is hope. A new and eternal Eden is God's plan, foreordained from the beginning of creation. God is calling all of mankind to this place, but the lesson of the Fall must be heeded. The sin of rebellion and disobedience to God must be repented of and the Way to paradise must be accepted. As Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me" (John 14:6).