Issue 1296 – Eden – November 13, 2023
I’ve been spending a lot of time lately reading the first few chapters of Genesis and trying to get my head around what the Garden of Eden must have been like. God created a place of perfect harmony and provision for humanity to live in and to point them back to Him. A world designed for us to be content forever and give glory to the Creator.
I think of the most beautiful places I have visited and superimpose them on my mental picture. I remember the vast variety of animal and bird life I have been blessed to have seen and put them in the picture. I take the bluest of skies, the marvels of the Northern lights, the most breathtaking sunrises and sunsets, and the deepest black velvet nights with star-studded skies, then add them into the equation. I add orchards of fruit trees and every variety of flower that I’ve seen.
I try to add my vision of what the river that flowed through the Garden might have looked like, and I fail. I think of the aroma of flowers, fresh grass, trees and spruce gum (the closest thing I can imagine to the aromatic tree resins), and my nose goes numb.
The whole concept becomes quickly overwhelming, even without considering the beautiful things of this world that I have never personally experienced, only heard about or seen photographs of.
I just can’t comprehend the components all together. I end up taking bits and pieces that I can visualize and try to multiply that in terms of beauty.
That’s difficult enough, then I consider a blessing that Adam and Eve had. God was with them in the Garden.
The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. Genesis 2:15
And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. Genesis 3:8
What a blessing to be daily in His presence.
Then I began to wonder. Did Adam and Eve appreciate the wonder of all that was around them? Or did they soon start to take it for granted and not even notice things? The Bible doesn’t explicitly tell us, although we learn that the serpent convinced Eve to try the forbidden fruit over time, and Adam promptly followed suit. That leads me to suspect that there was at least a kernel of discontentment in their hearts, a seed of sin.
We’re not all that much different, although it might be argued that we have more sin in our hearts than Adam and Eve did to begin with because we were born sinful in a fallen world. When we’re surrounded by beauty, we quickly take it for granted. When we experience God’s presence in our lives, it soon seems commonplace, and we look for something else.
Worse yet, we begin to chase and worship things of the Creator rather than the Creator himself.
…they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever!… Romans 1:25
We speak of “Mother Earth” instead of looking to the God who created it all. We give our lives to the pursuit of transient material wealth instead of seeking the one worth more than the wealth of the entirety of the universe combined.
We just slip away from God without even thinking about it. His heart must break over our foolishness. In the words of the hymn writer Robert Robinson, “Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it. Prone to leave the God I love.”
We don’t live in Eden, but even in the darkest of ghettos, there are moments of beauty if you look for them. In the midst of concrete jungles, there are still vestiges of plant and animal life. In the open scars of a pit mine, you will find pockets of life struggling to hang on. In the radioactive wasteland around Chornobyl, life flourishes. Just when you feel there is no point in having hope for people, someone surprises you.
In the midst of all the rubble of this world, amid all the pain and sorrow, God still walks and reminds us that He is there and ultimately in control. His plan was not thwarted in any way by the sin of His creation; He remains the Sovereign One.
If you’ve been taking God and the work of His hands for granted, stop for a bit and look around. He hasn’t left us; you can find Him and His handiwork if you look for it.
Until next time, take a few moments out of your ordinary life and look around. You’ll see an extraordinary God who still loves His people, and His creation is still hard at work.
Hallelu Yah / Praise God
Gleanings From The Word
Experience an extraordinary God in ordinary life.
Soli Deo Gloria (For the glory of God alone)
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