What would it have been like to live in the Garden of Eden? The Bible gives us only a brief description of Eden in Genesis and in several other passages throughout God’s word and there is certainly much more we would like to know than what we have. Knowing and experiencing the wondrous beauty of this present world, even with it’s cursed condition (Gen. 3:7), suggests to us that it’s beauty must have surpassed our wildest imaginations. How wonderful it would have been to walk in the Garden in the cool of the day and to hear the voice of God (Gen. 3:8).
The very name “Eden” means “pleasure.” It was, indeed, a garden of pleasure, a paradise, if you will. Ezekiel refers to it as the Garden of God (Ezek. 28:13)! It was a garden that Lord, Himself, planted (Gen. 2:8). Like everything else that the Lord made it must have been “very good” (Gen. 1:31). It was designed especially for man, for there the Lord God placed the man whom He had formed (Gen.2 :8).
Some have tried to locate the Garden of Eden geographically on the earth. According to the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Central Asia, Armenia and even the North Pole have been proposed as locations for the Garden. Most, however, will place it in the region around the Euphrates river because in the description given in Genesis, a river “Euphrates” is mentioned (Gen. 2:14). But it must be remembered that one thousand six hundred and fifty-six years after creation, the world was destroyed by a universal cataclysmic deluge. Before this time and since creation, the land mass was all together in one place (Genesis 1:9). After the flood, however, the geography and terrain of the world was altered significantly, so that the location of Eden was likely forever destroyed. Furthermore, the Lord God placed cherubim on the east of Eden to keep the way of the tree of life and would probably guard the secret to the Eden, as well (Genesis 3:24).
Moses described the Garden as containing every tree that was good for food and pleasant to the sight. It contained the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, as well. A river went out of Eden to water the Garden and there it parted into four other rivers, one of which was the Euphrates. (This Euphrates may well have given rise to the present river of the same name, as Noah and his descendants would rename the new world after the old places). There were also beautiful and valuable stones and gems like bdellium, the onyx stone and gold (Gen. 2:8-14).
In Ezekiel’s description of the garden as he prophesies against the king of Tyre, who apparently likened himself to the perfection of Adam, He describes the garden as bedecked with every precious stone, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold (Ezek. 28:13). This coincides with Moses’ description. As many commentators point out, Ezekiel is likely also describing the temple, as well. The High Priest’s breastplate contained these precious gems (plus others) and the mention of the “cherub that covereth” may also refer to the cherubim on the Mercy Seat of the Ark of the Covenant. It may also refer to the cherubim that kept the way of the tree of life (Gen. 3:24).
Interestingly, Ezekiel describes the Garden of God as upon the Mountain of God (Ezek. 28:14). We normally think of the Garden of Eden as being in a valley or plain, but Ezekiel associates it with the mountains. Some commentators remark that this probably refers to the Mt. Zion and the temple. And well it may, but for the analogy to be vivid, there must be some correspondence, just as there was between the jewels on the High Priests breastplate and the gems which littered the ground of Eden, the stones of fire (Ezek. 28:14). To reach God and be in His presence we must go “up.”
The Lord God placed man in the garden and supplied man with everything that he needed. Most importantly, man was in fellowship with God. He could eat of every tree in the garden (except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil), even the tree of life and live for ever. The garden was well watered by rivers and there were precious gems decorating the garden. But all this was forfeited by man because he chose to disobey a command of God and eat of forbidden fruit, thereby losing his access to the tree of life and his fellowship with Jehovah. It was only through sacrifices of animals that God allowed the further existence of mankind.
However, it is only through Jesus Christ, the perfect sacrifice, that we can regain that fellowship with God. In the Book of Revelation, when John describes the ultimate salvation of God’s people, he describes a scene which could very well be the heavenly Eden. There is a river that runs through it. Only now, it is the river of life and flows from the throne of God (Rev. 22:1). There is also found the tree of life which bears twelve manner of fruit for the healing of the nations (Rev. 22:2). This heavenly home is found on Mount Zion, the mountain of God (Cf. Rev. 14:1), which is the church of God (Heb. 12:22-24). And there fellowship with God is restored as we shall see His face and there shall be no more curse (Rev. 22:3,4).
We will never walk in Eden again, but we may, if we are faithful, abide forever in the Paradise of God (Rev. 2:7).
Eric L. Padgett