Was the Garden of Eden really a paradise? Then why did they want to get out of that place?
It wasn't until the Septuagint was written that the Garden of Eden was referred to as paradise. Could this just be the opinion of the Greek Jewish writers? Could it be that the assumptions they made about the garden are in error ? There are only a few verses that describe the physical characteristics of the garden, and what took place there. I think understanding will come if we look at how God, Adam and Eve viewed, operated, and reacted in that hostile environment.
God first created a man called Adam. After a while Adam probably discovered that he had a need for companionship. God said it is not good that man should be alone. So initially there was loneliness in the garden.
God created animals for Adam's comfort, enjoyment, and dominion. This pacified Adam for a while. He even named them all. Perhaps after observing the relationship between the male and female animals Adam discovered what he needed was a help meet, a female, someone of the opposite sex, a companion of his own. Animals can't fulfill this need.
So God created a woman for Adam out of his own flesh and bone. A woman is the part of a man he can never be, but will always need and desire. He is to love her as Jesus loves the Church, believers. Jesus died for believers which is His bride. A Pastor and Teacher in Bible college asked me, “Are you dead yet?” I did not answer. A wish is a man's command.
Women want men to believe them. Adam believed Eve. She wants to please him. She knows what he needs. Men can’t take it from a woman. She has to give it voluntary. You will miss the best part. It is called a relationship and relationships constantly develop as you get to know one another. The garden was not paradise but a place where Adam and Eve found out what their needs were. It was also a testing ground.
God placed both good and evil in the garden, and the tree of life, so that Adam and Eve could live there forever. Not only was that there, but the chief fallen angel in the form of a serpent was placed on the forbidden tree. He is the greatest deceiver mankind will ever know. He was more subtle than the other animals. They had to deal with the other animals that were subtle also but to a lesser degree than the serpent. Even the other animals were deceptive. Men, women, children, and animals were destroyed in Noah’s day because they were evil.
Now I don't know about you but that does not sound like paradise to me! Scripture talks about the paradise of God where the tree of life resides and evil are non-existent.
Obviously Adam and Eve were not content in this environment. God gave them responsibilities, the best of foods to eat, fellowship with Him as he walked through the garden and talked with them, and freedom to roam the garden, except for one place they were not to go, except for one fruit they were not to eat of. Even so, they were still not content in the Garden of Eden. There was something missing in their lives. And eventually they ended up at the foot of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. God knew they would not be content there so He provided a way out.
There is something innate about men and women. They desire a challenge. They desire change. We can’t be satisfied. There is no such thing as perfect. Everything can be improved if not new. We are naturally Obsessive Compulsive. It is not a disorder. We are constantly reorganizing and replacing the old with the new. We have to keep busy doing something. My buddy said we keep reinventing the wheel. Well, maybe it is a disorder.
So far we have four problems with the garden:
2) Lack of a help meet or companionship
3) They were not content in that environment
4) And the devil was there
There also seems to be something within women and men that drive them to want to do more than what they are allowed or instructed to do. We have a problem inherently with authority and control. It was there from the beginning and even more so today.
So Adam and Eve rebelled against God.
We are made in Gods image, thusly we desire sovereign control over our lives, and we don't want any limitations placed upon us. If we have the power to overcome them we do. So when told by the serpent they could be like gods knowing both good and evil, something they did not possess, they took advantage of that opportunity.
It took the help meet, Eve, a woman, to make the initial bold step but Adam immediately followed suit. This was their way out. It is truly stated that Eve said she was beguiled, but if you read the account, she made three statements that reveal that she made a logical analysis (so much for being logical) about what the forbidden tree had to offer her.
With her statements she determined that a) the fruit of this tree was like God said of the others in the garden. b) It was pleasing to the eyes. c) It was good for food. d) She also learned that the fruit could make one wise.
It is interesting that in the Genesis account it does not state that Adam and Eve were created good, perfect, or incapable of sin. God does not direct any of His comments toward their character or nature.
God created light and said it was good.
God separated the dry land from the waters and said it was good.
God brought forth plant life and said it was good.
God made lights in the heavens and said it was good.
God created animals and said it was good.
Then God made man and woman in His own image, blessed them, but He did not say they were good. However, God did say of Himself all He had created that it was very good.
This means that what He did was good for there is none good but God according to Jesus. God created everything to His specifications, and all was in place to give God the good pleasure He desired, and His salvation plan for humankind was ready to unfold.
We were created for His good pleasure, and He wanted a people for Himself, a multitude that cannot be numbered.But alas, and unfortunate for some, they won't make it into the kingdom. There are two types of people in this world, the seed of the serpent and the seed of the woman.
Adam and Eve were capable of sin because there was only one sin they could commit and they did. Fortunately for all of us who do believe, God's redemption plan was already completed before He created all the above. Some were chosen in Him before the foundation of the earth to be conformed to the image of Christ, and Jesus was slain or died for our sins before the foundation of the Earth. That covered all that should be saved from the beginning.
I'm curious as to how they even found the forbidden tree. We are only told it was in the midst of the garden. Was it inevitable that one day they would come across it, so God forewarned them ? Or were they like innocent children. You tell them not to touch the stove because it is hot, but they don't understand what hot is and what it can do to you.
Some parents will place a child's hand on a warm oven door and explain what is hot so they can understand what is hot. The child can take precautions and not get burned. God chose not to do that with Adam and Eve. Perhaps even a little taste was fatal.
When they came across the forbidden tree they discovered the fifth, sixth, and seventh problems they had with living in the garden. a) They were not satisfied with the provisions God had allowed them to eat. b) They had a desire to eat the forbidden fruit. c) They also had a thirst for knowledge. They wanted to become wise.
So to recap, the six problems Adam and Eve had thus far with living in the garden of Eden were:
2) The need of a help meet or companionship
3) They were not content with the environment in which they were allowed to venture
4) The devil was there
5) They were not satisfied with God's provisions
6) And they desired wisdom
7) desired to eat the forbidden fruit.
It is interesting that people even today have the same concerns.
All in all they wanted free will. That led to rebellion against God. So God forced them out of the Garden of Eden. Then God placed Cherubim with a flaming sword round and about so they could not get back into the Garden of Eden no matter what direction they chose.
After they ate from the forbidden tree God set up challenges, roles, and authority that are different for men and women. Women have challenges of childbirth and raising children. Men have challenges with the environment to be a provider. He then sent them out to populate the earth. But God did not stay behind either. He has been with us all the time directing our paths such that His purposes will continue to be fulfilled.
Scripture doesn't mention Adam knowing Eve and conceiving a child until after God forced them out of the garden. While they were in the garden they were not ashamed of their nakedness. They did not even know what being naked meant as we do today. Therefore they did not have sexual desires. They were like children that have not reached puberty, under 12. God said who told you that you are naked, did you eat from the forbidden tree ?
They were innocent as children and not desirous of each other in that fashion. They were like children. Parents let sister and brother take a bath together and they are not concerned about their nakedness up to a certain age.
We know Eve did not conceive while in the garden and we don't know how long they lived there. God did not even talk to them about childbirth until they acquired knowledge. They did know to and they how to fill and replenish the earth. They had no desires to. That was for later. God put some clothes on them so they didn’t have to hide in the bushes any more.
Man, Women. We are 7 billion strong fulfilling Gods commandment to fill and replenish the earth. That is the one commandment most everyone keeps or tries to keep.
So the seventh and final problem with being in the garden was that they could not procreate there. That was something God planned for them to do after they left.
They had to go ! They had the whole earth to fill.
These few verses that describe the Adam, Eve and serpent account are so pregnant with information. I keep discovering more each time I read or think about them as I get older and experience life. These are some questions that popped into my head the other day and I am not going to attempt to answer them. But perhaps you will be able to fathom the implications.
1. How did the serpent know what God told Adam ?The tree of the knowledge of good and evil was somewhere else in the midst of the garden.
2. If God had not told Adam about the tree they would not have been thinking about it for however long it took for them to discover it.
3. If the serpent did not have this information, what could he have used to tempt Eve, deceive her, lie to her, to eat of the tree with Adam following suit ?
4. If Adam and Eve did not have this information what would their response have been ? Would they have then gone to God to find out what was going on and then not eat of it ? After talking to God would they still have been tempted ?
5. Is just the knowledge that good and evil even exists too much of a burden for us to bear and we succumb to its invitation?
Boy, we really and truly do need a Savior, Jesus...
We were designed that way. God did not create other God's. There are no other God's before or after Him. He created some to be His children to be dependent on Him, to be used as He sees fit, for His glory to be known.
Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I say rejoice!