The Garden of Eden
The Garden of Eden in Genesis gives a brief insight into what a future Paradise will be like:
Now the Lord God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed. The Lord God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground — trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were The Tree of Life and The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. (Genesis 2:8-9)
Painting of Garden of Eden. Image courtesy netdog06
At the outset, Adam’s environment must have been conducive to plant growth – many different trees grew and fruited (and it seems that before The Fall there were no weeds!) Also, there is no record of Adam being too cold or too hot or buffeted by storms. Some argue that there was no rain before the Flood and instead “a mist went up from the earth to water the ground” (Genesis 2:5,6). Either way, it seems things were environmentally quiet and peaceful. Everything God had created was “very good” (Genesis 1:31). More on this at Eden.
Now for a very significant point. Note from Genesis 3:8-9 that God identified closely with His creation:
Adam and his wife heard the sound of the LORD GOD walking in the garden in the cool of the day … Then the LORD called to Adam and said to him “Where are you?”
It’s as though God was living with His creation. The Book of Revelation describes precisely that in a future Paradise.
The Future Paradise – Harmony between man and God
Jesus told one of the two dying thieves on the cross, “Today you will be with Me in Paradise” (Luke 23:43). They were both going to a place beyond our comprehension, but with similar blessings as Eden. Incidentally, it might be asked “where did the other thief go?”
This future Paradise has two important links with Eden, namely, the presence of the Tree of Life, and the fact that God dwells with His creation:
The one who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who overcomes, I will grant to eat from The Tree of Life, which is in the Paradise of God. (Revelation 2:7)
And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle (dwelling) of God is among the people, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them” (Revelation 21:3)
And in this future Paradise there shall be no more death, or sorrow, or crying, or pain … (Revelation 21:4)
But, according to Genesis 3, man used his God-given free-will and “ate from The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil”? Adam transgressed God’s command not to partake of this particular tree (Genesis 2:17), and so God drove him away from that Edenic Paradise (Genesis 3:23-24). This was the so-called “Fall of Man”, when both physical and spiritual death entered the world. As the apostle Paul put it:
When Adam sinned, sin entered the entire human race. His sin spread death throughout all the world, so everything began to grow old and die, for all sinned (Romans 5:12)
Is there a way back to Paradise?