A Garden Relationship
There was once a place of paradise on the earth that surpassed the beauty of any setting that currently exists in our world today. If you were to combine the white sandy beaches of Hawaii, the crystal-clear water of Tahiti, the snowcapped mountains of Switzerland, and the wildlife-filled country of Tanzania into one distinct place, it still would not compare to this majestic location. This place is described as being a garden. A garden because it was an enclosed location, separated from the rest of the world.
In this enchanted garden, a sense of timeless tranquility and serenity prevailed. The landscape was an embodiment of beauty and balance, with lush vegetation, vibrant colors, and a rich diversity of flora and fauna. Towering trees, laden with luscious fruits, cast a gentle shade over meandering streams that flowed crystal-clear waters through the heart of the garden. The air was perfumed with the fragrances of blooming flowers, and the melodies of birdsong filled the atmosphere. Animals roamed freely and peacefully, forming a harmonious tapestry of life. Predation and violence were absent, as all creatures coexisted in a state of mutual respect and cooperation. Lions and lambs rested side-by-side, and predatory instincts were subdued in favor of peaceful cohabitation.
In this garden, time truly stood still. It was a sanctuary for one’s senses. Fields of wildflowers, each petal a delicate stroke of nature’s paintbrush, blanketing the landscape with many a color. From the soft pinks of cherry blossoms to the fiery oranges of marigolds. There likely would’ve been waterfalls with cascading waters shimmering a curtain of liquid diamonds. The cool mist would’ve brushed up against the skin of the man and woman, bringing with it a refreshment of energy. As each day would give way to twilight, a golden glow would break through on the horizon. When that hour would come, man and woman would feel as good as they did when the sun appeared in the morning. That is because the concept of tiresome labor was absent in this garden. Needs were met with ease, as abundant resources were all around.
Men and women did not know what it was like to be in pain. In that garden, they would’ve never been able to comprehend our present troubles. Heartbreak and anxiety were unfamiliar feelings. Day after day, man and woman walked through this garden without worry or a single thought about the future. For them, the very word “future” would have been a confusing term as their focus could not reach beyond anything other than the present. For the present was filled with perfection. When your eyes are fixated on what is clear and perfect, they have no reason to contemplate what is unknown.
This garden I speak of was called the Garden of Eden—the first dwelling place for mankind. The Garden of Eden was not only a physical paradise but it was also a spiritual haven. It symbolized the unbroken connection between humanity and the Lord. Where the first man Adam and the first woman Eve walked and talked with their creator freely. Therein the garden they shared a close and intimate relationship with the Lord, their God. Such closeness fostered a profound sense of purpose, understanding, and fulfillment…which allowed them to thrive emotionally, mentally, and physically.
From early on in Genesis chapter two it is evident that God was very intentional in placing Adam in the Garden of Eden. Genesis 2:8 states that “…the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden, and there he put the man whom he had formed.” Skip down a few verses and you’ll read a restatement of this act in Genesis 2:15 where Moses pens these words, “And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.” An entire world had been created at this point by the creator. A planet that has a circumference of 24,901 miles and 126 billion acres of space. Yet, God chose to place Adam in a distinct location small enough to where he could tend to the land, but also large enough to where a diverse number of animals could live.
The Garden of Eden was a sanctuary. It was sacred, most assuredly it was holy. As for a time, it was sinless. Sadly, it is exceedingly difficult for our minds who have experienced sin, to comprehend such a place. What may be even more of a struggle to grasp, is the reality that existed in that garden for Adam and Eve. Each and every day when they were awakened by gentle rays of sunshine, they’d rub their eyes, let out a few yawns, stretch their legs, and then they’d begin walking in the garden. As they walked about the garden, Adam would grab a pear from the pear tree and Eve would grab an orange from the orange tree for breakfast. If weeds had grown up around vegetable plants, Adam would’ve made sure to remove what did not belong.
From time to time, he may have come across an animal that had yet to be named, and then he’d stand there staring at God’s creation and say…”Hey big fella with a nice pointy nose, I think you should be called a rhinoceros.” Or he’d remark “Hey big sis, I’ve got a great name for you, let’s go with a hippopotamus. Yes, that’s it.” Then he’d come to a strange animal, unsure what to call it, “Eh, let’s go with a platypus. Or you, how about we call you Armadillo.” Eve would be right there helping him with all his duties. With each naming of an animal, she’d nod her head, saying, “Great choices, I love the name turtle, so original. You’re amazing honey. You are the best man I’ve ever met.”
Life was simple and easy. There were no worries. “Hakuna matata.”
There appeared to be no threats. Every single day the focus was on fulfilling the commands that had been given by the Lord God almighty. As Adam and Eve would walk from one side of the garden to the other, I can imagine it would not have been uncommon for a sound from above to suddenly ring out across the land, as the Lord would speak to his creation. It would seem those moments would have been the most exciting in Adam and Eve’s schedule, as they would get to speak with their creator. The Genesis narrative helps us to picture this clear line of communication between creator and creation, as Genesis 3:8 states following the fall of man, “…They heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day…”
If God walked in the garden in the cool of the day, and his presence was evident following the fall, it is easy to deduce that he would’ve walked with Adam and Eve in the garden before the fall, speaking to them on a regular basis. The significance of that truth is it reveals the desired closeness the Lord sought between himself and mankind. His initial purpose in creating mankind was not so that man would bring Him glory through his creative ability to name animals. While He would receive glory through Adam obeying His commands to tend to the garden, mankind’s created purpose was greater than that. When God breathed life into Adam, there is no evidence that He desired Adam to bring him glory through verbalized praise. Yet scripture clearly reveals that God’s purpose for mankind was for man to be in a relationship with Him. By being in a relationship with Him, mankind would then bring great glory to the Lord.
Very simply we must remember the following truth. We were not created for whatever occupation we choose to pursue. We were not created to sing songs and play instruments. We were not created to have lots of friends or enjoy various hobbies. We were created to have a garden-like relationship with the Lord. While we can say His glory can be revealed through written songs, ornate church buildings, and various ministry endeavors; His glory is revealed most when we walk and talk with Him on a daily basis.
Andrew is the proud husband to Chelsea and father to Carson. Currently, he serves as youth pastor at the First Apostolic Church of Aurora, Illinois. He has been involved in youth ministry in some capacity for the last 13 years. Additionally, He serves as the Section 12 Youth Director and Media Coordinator for Illinois Youth Ministries. On the side, he owns a creative design company called Spark Innovative Solutions. His educational background includes a BA in Psychology, (minor in Communication) from Oakland University and an M.Ed. in School Counseling from Liberty University.