The Garden of Eden is NOT What You Think It is

The Garden of Eden is NOT What You Think It is

March 6, 2024

In the name of the father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, one God, Amen.

The Garden of Eden is really not what you think it is! The meaning of this garden is packed with rich symbolism that is mind blowing. The garden is not only a place that is meticulously designed and designated for Adam and Eve’s dwelling or just adorned with trees both “pleasant to the sight and good for food” symbolizing divine blessing and provision. It is much more than that. The Hebrew word for garden, “gan,” unveils its rich connotation of a secluded, protected, and fruitful space symbolizing divine favor, blessing, and well-being. The Greek term “paradeisos” in the Septuagint similarly underscores the garden’s association with blissful communion with God who is present in the garden. In that sense, the garden is a temple-like sanctuary where there is interaction and communion with the Being who is our Creator. It’s a place of wholeness and peace because God, Himself, is there. Only there one can live life as it is meant to be lived while having perfect harmony with the entirety of creation. It is home in the ultimate sense. That is why it is located in the “East”, which, in biblical terminology, is symbolic of life—it is where the sun rises from. Also, the garden is on top of a mount where a river flows down. This description mirrors themes found in Old Testament imagery, such as the significance of elevated locations like mounts or hills for divine worship, providing physical proximity, if you will, to where God is. Therefore, this celestial garden embodies the ultimate temple, a place where one meets God, and it echoes the Jewish Temple, the Christian Church and, ultimately, Heaven itself.

From the top of that mountain, where God is with His creation in the garden, water flows down like I said. Flowing waters symbolize spiritual renewal and life-giving abundance that emanates from God’s presence. This river is divided into four rivers flowing to the four corners of the world. But why? To give life to all! The following connections will clarify it all. God was present in the garden. He is also present in the Temple. In Ezekiel 47, there is water that flows from the right side of the temple and formed a river which brought life to whatever it touched. The fish who were brought to life, in Ezekiel 47, represent humanity who are healed by the water coming out of the temple. But this Old Testament Temple is only temporary. The real temple is Christ’s Body. Destroy this temple and I will raise it up in three days, Christ said. As His Body is being destroyed, so-to-speak, the living water gushes out from Him, which is the baptismal water through which we receive the Holy Spirit that keeps us spiritually hydrated. This is also the same water Christ was promising the Samaritan woman when He said to her “whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst… it will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.” This the river from the garden of Eden that is flowing through the four corners of the world bringing life to all. And it is our duty as Christians to provide this water to others.

But it doesn’t end there! In the book of revelations, St. John speaks about Heaven and says “But I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple.” Then it goes on to say how he saw a pure river of water of life proceeding from the throne of God and the Lamb. This river provides water for the tree of life which heals the nations. This depiction of the New Jerusalem further reinforces the garden’s symbolism, portraying it as a place of divine illumination, nourishment, and restoration. In Heaven, Christians are brought back in the presence of their Creator. They are restored through this life-giving water.

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