PARADISE (EDEN) WAS LOST, BUT THE APOSTLE JOHN WROTE THAT IT WILL BE RESTORED IN THE FUTURE.
In the Creation account of Genesis, we read about a paradise-like garden called Eden, where two important trees were planted by God: the Tree of Life and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. These trees seem to have been deliberately planted to test how humans would use their free will. As the story recounts, the first humans failed the test and were driven away from Paradise.
The Fall of Man
Let’s read Genesis 2:8-9
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. A river watering the garden flowed from Eden; from there it was separated into four headwaters. The name of the first is the Pishon; it winds through the entire land of Havilah, where there is gold. (The gold of that land is good; aromatic resin and onyx are also there.) The name of the second river is the Gihon; it winds through the entire land of Cush. The name of the third river is the Tigris; it runs along the east side of Ashur. And the fourth river is the Euphrates.
The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.”
The Redemption of Man – Paradise Restored
Genesis tells us that Adam and Eve ate of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, which was supposed to make them die. They didn’t die immediately, but they did die of old age, like all mortals. It seems that mortality was the consequence of eating the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Mortality was the consequence of the wrong free will choice. What if they hadn’t eaten the forbidden fruit and simply obeyed the rules God imposed in Eden? Would they have been given the gift of immortality as a reward? Would they have continued to live and not die? It seems that, given free choice (free will), mankind made the wrong choice.
We can dismiss the Genesis account as myth, and many do. At the outset it seems unfair on the rest of mankind. But it does explain everyday experience. It explains how man’s free will (choice) can be destructive, or constructive. It explains the chosen paths of Hitler and Wilberforce for example; one man destroyed humanity whilst the other helped humanity. In a fallen world who can deny that man can do either?
The Genesis account also gives hope for mortal man. The Bible says the whole of creation, including mankind, will return to a state of paradise in the future. The Apostle John wrote in the book of Revelation that Eden will be restored and populated by all who believe in Jesus.
Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever.