If you have been a member of a Christian Church for a number of years (give or take a couple of months) you may undoubtedly heard several sermons and teachings about how Adam and Eve were tempted, how they ate of the forbidden fruit, and how they were expurgated (I am trying to improve my vocabulary) from the garden of Eden, etc., etc.
Well, of all the sermons I have heard in my years as a Christian, this account found in the first couple or so chapters of the Bible book of Genesis ranks as number one as to the number of times I heard it preached from the pulpit or read in print.
And I am amazed as to the many lessons and applications that have been derived from this one story about the first existence of man in this garden of paradise. They are all well and good when meditating on God’s Word.
So, in this post, I have another angle that I want to present to you regarding the garden of Eden. As many of you know, most of my blog posts this summer have been on the subject of the Holy Spirit and the Trinity and for some reason, as I was composing them for publication, the garden of Eden story captivated my thinking. I now strongly believe this garden we read about in Genesis also represents the actual mind of God.
Many of you may now be wondering if I have lost my mind and become crazy. Well, let me explain to you my thoughts on this subject.
After this planet earth gets created with an area of 196,950,000 square miles (give or take a couple of square kilometers) and then having some of its mass become surface land area exposed to the air to about 57,000,000 square miles, … KABAAM! … God sticks Adam in a small garden called Eden! Whaaaat?!
Yep. Now let me ask, how many square miles does this garden of Eden comprise? I am going to guess – much less than one hundred square miles – give or take an acre or two. The Bible does not say! But it is large enough to keep Adam and Eve busy for a while.
Do you see where I am going here? Why would God create this large, beautiful jewel call earth, call it good, and then place Adam in a garden (Eve was later created here) somewhere presumably in the Middle East? And you think I am crazy?
The Merriam-Webster definition of garden is: an area of ground where plants (such as flowers or vegetables) are grown.
The Old Testament word for garden may have other expanded meanings for it, but it is understood by most Bible students that this garden of Eden was an area that was enclosed by a fence of some kind. Why this fence? Well, to keep undesirable creatures and influences away from it.
Okay, stay with me here. Were there undesirable influences roaming the earth in this story? Answer: Yes. One of them was Satan the devil. If so, then what in the world was he doing inside the garden??? Why didn’t God post powerful cherubs to secure this area from this evil being? Yet, Satan is in this garden to do his business of lying and tempting. Again, you think I’m crazy? But what was God thinking???
Oh, and on top of that, to make matters “worse” … KABAAM!!! … God plants this tree of the knowledge of good and evil inside the garden and allows Satan to do cartwheels around it! Then, God tells Adam and Eve not to eat from this tree. Why? Was God out of His mind?!
Okay, let me get to the point. I believe this garden of Eden is a reflection, a symbol, a representation, an analogy – piece by piece – of God’s mind. I believe it is. How can I make this claim? Let me continue.
First of all, we can see God’s mind in Jesus Christ while He was on earth 2,000 years ago. Jesus, while on earth as a human, had the mind of His Father. Jesus spoke to His disciples what was on the Father’s mind. The apostle Paul, later on, writing to Christians, in 1 Corinthians 2:16 says:
Who has known the mind of the Lord
so as to instruct him?
But we have the mind of Christ.
So what does the mind of God look like? It is a mind that has eternal, powerful self control and love. It is a mind that has immense knowledge of good and evil but does not succumb to the evil portion of it. The garden of Eden had a tree by that name. Does that mean that God is impure? No. God is holy always.
As noted earlier, Satan was in the garden of Eden and tempted Adam and Eve. Jesus Christ also was tempted (in His mind) by this same devil but in the wilderness. Was Jesus tempted the same way as Adam and Eve? Yes. Adam and Eve were tempted to eat fruit – food. Likewise, Satan brought temptation into Christ’s mind to turn a stone into bread in order to consume it – food. (By the way, in the Bible, Jesus is called a Rock and also the bread of life. But that is another point for a different post).
Jesus never sinned after each temptation. And we Christians are told to do likewise. How? By partaking from the tree of life.
That tree of life in the garden of Eden represents the Holy Spirit (John 6:63 … A good Bible study opportunity here!). Adam and Eve were about to partake of it until they disobeyed and were removed from it.
When do Christians generally receive the Holy Spirit? At baptism. Jesus officially received the Holy Spirit when He was baptized by John the Baptist (Matthew 3:13-17). The Holy Spirit was then in Jesus Christ, in His mind.
So, in the garden, Satan dealt with Adam and Eve soon after they were created. Satan dealt with Jesus, was tempted, soon after receiving the Holy Spirit. It all occurred in the mind. We Christians, being admonished to have the same mental attitude of Christ (Philippians 2:5), still are tempted even though we have (or should have) the Holy Spirit within us. And because we believe and are in Christ Jesus, we are always, yes always, seen as righteous in God’s sight (2 Corinthians 5:21).
After the fall of man, recorded in Genesis 3, mankind was denied access to the tree of life. He therefore, for the most part, was no longer able to receive internally the full benefits of the Holy Spirit.
In the meantime, today we Christians still have the knowledge of good and evil that our first parents, since the garden of Eden, gave to us forming human nature. But, we are told to be wise as serpents (a serpent was in the garden) but harmless as doves (Matthew 10:16). (A dove is how the Holy Spirit is shown in Matthew 3:13-17).
I believe God wanted man to have a mind to be much as His; a mind that is appreciative of Him; a mind that is self-controlled through the strength of the Holy Spirit. Man cannot have the knowledge of good and evil as God does and remain sinless on his own. But we Christians, now new creatures on this earth (2 Corinthians 5:17), by putting on Christ (Romans 13:14), have access to the tree of life.
Jesus Christ, even though He was tempted as we all are, never sinned. Let me repeat, He had the mind of God knowing both good and evil (represented by the tree in the garden with the same name) and He had the Holy Spirit in Him (represented by the tree of life). He is God and He never sins.
Some of you are asking: If the garden of Eden is an allegory of God’s mind with components such as the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and the tree of life, then what purpose do Adam and Eve have within God’s mind? My answer? God foreknew eons and eons beforehand that Adam and Eve were to be created. They were in His mind. Also, also and also, God had us, Christians, in His mind. He foreknew how we would fit into His family and in what century, in what year and in what day we would be born, live and die. God foreknew us and how Jesus Christ would interact with us as He did with Adam and Eve.
God may (or may not) have intended to send forth Adam and Eve into all the world having knowledge, wisdom and strength full of the nutrients consumed from the tree of life. Instead, they were sent out of the garden and into the wilderness. God later did likewise with the Israelites after God removed them from Egypt (sin) and have them cross the Red Sea (baptism).
Guess what? … KABAAM! … God now also sends us Christians who partake of the tree of life out into this huge, vast world – into the wilderness – sent out as lambs among undesirable creatures (Matthew 10:16). What is God doing??? What is He thinking??? Why not be brought back into a garden of Eden in this life?
Possible answer: Because God created, not only this planet earth, but the vast universe as well. God had all this in mind, millennia ago; with us in His mind now and for eternity. More can be said here but I must stop.
Now many of you may be wondering whether I have gone too far in this post. You may say there is no where in the New Testament that says the garden of Eden represents God’s mind. Perhaps. But all this means is that it is not necessary to believe what I posted here. I am not being dogmatic. It is not essential to dwell on this for salvation. And it may also be because I have become crazy after all.
– – – – – – – – – – – – Homework Questions – – – – – – – – –
1) Did God gain knowledge about evil when Lucifer became proud and rebelled against Him? – Or- Does God’s knowledge of good and evil contain endless detail of wickedness – more than could ever be conceived by man?
2) Was God 100% sure Adam and Eve would disobey Him in the garden of Eden?
3) If we Christians have the mind of God (mind of Christ) and also the positive influence of the Holy Spirit in us, why are we not therefore omniscient (all knowing) as God is? Why is our knowledge limited rather than limitless?
4) Did God intend for the garden of Eden to expand its boundaries and ultimately fill the entire earth as the human population grew? Could the garden of Eden also be described as the premiere showing of the kingdom of God on earth?
5) If God has the knowledge of good and evil, was God therefore, at one time, an all-evil being who later changed to being all good?
6) And here is a silly question: If God knows all, everything, omniscient, why is He not bored? I think I would be, wouldn’t you?
7) What time is it?