Life with God in the Garden
Open Your Bible
Genesis 2:7-9, Genesis 2:15-22, Genesis 3:8-12, Genesis 3:22-24, Genesis 4:1-16, Romans 5:12
God created us to live and serve in His presence, but our sin made us unfit for life in the garden.
Running barefoot through soft, green grass was a quintessential part of my childhood summers. But when I moved to a desert climate as an adult, I learned that maintaining an inviting yard required a sprinkler system and a green thumb. Having neither, I struggled each summer to keep our landscape from turning dry and brown like the hills that surrounded us.
My battle with the vegetation each year is a consistent reminder that we are not living in the garden of Eden as God first designed it. Images of the Pacific Northwest, with their misty lakes and dense forests, may seem a little closer to that lush paradise on earth. But in our present state, when we dig beneath the surface, no place, person, or thing is truly perfect or whole anymore.
I’m guessing most of us feel far from Eden. Whether it’s problems in our personal lives, the health of a family member, or devastation abroad, there is no shortage of brokenness here and now. But when we look back to the very beginning of creation, we learn that this suffering is not what God desired for His masterpiece.
We all know the story. When God made the earth, He “planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he placed the man he had formed” (Genesis 2:8). But we often miss the best part of the garden! It’s not the fertile ground or the naming of the animals, but the fact that God Himself walked among His people, in communion with them. God’s original intention was for men and women to live and serve in His presence.
When Adam and Eve chose to sin by disobeying God, choosing their own way over His, the greatest consequence wasn’t pain in childbirth or a lackluster harvest, but separation from God’s presence. And that separation was banishment from Eden, death to the soul, and ultimately death to the body. When God first created the world there was no mention of death or destruction. It was only after humanity chose the way of sin that brokenness entered the scene.
God could have left it at that. Handing Adam, Eve, and every generation to follow, over to the downfall of our own decisions. But that is not who God is. God is merciful. God is love. And so, God sent His own perfect Son to be the man Adam could not. To live a righteous life, never choosing sin like we do. To be the spotless Lamb, sacrificed to atone for our damage. It was the greatest act of undeserved forgiveness, God giving Himself over to death to save the ones who’d betrayed Him.
God pays the price for our sin because He longs for complete connection with us once again, to walk in the garden with His creation. I cannot begin to fathom how deep His love is for us. But what I do know is that because of Jesus’s sacrifice we are welcomed back into the presence of God. Even in a land east of Eden, we can live and serve with God through His Holy Spirit. And for all who trust in Him, we will walk with our God in paradise again.