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What Can We Learn from the Garden of Eden?

The Garden of Eden was a paradise that could have brought humanity into an era of peace and closeness to God. Instead, something terrible happened that seemed like it had ruined humanity beyond repair. But that wasn't the end of the story.

Contributing Writer
Jun 07, 2022
What Can We Learn from the Garden of Eden?

In the center of God’s newly created world, the region of Eden became the birthplace of all humankind. Our loving Creator planted the perfect haven for Adam and Eve within that land. The Garden of Eden was a habitat so lush, extravagantly fertile, and filled with God’s abiding presence that, even though scholars have branded the place paradise, the modern descriptor doesn’t come close to expressing the garden’s beauty or significance. 

What Does the Bible Tell Us about the Garden of Eden?

In Genesis, the first book of the Bible, God provides the origin story of our world and all humanity. In the first chapter of this amazing book, we’re shown God’s word and will in action, as He brings the heavens, the earth, and every living creature into existence. In the second chapter of Genesis, God begins to reveal His plan for all the “good” things He made; this is where we discover the garden He created in Eden

“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” (Genesis 2:8-9).

Scripture goes on to say that a mighty river from Eden split into four separate branches and flowed downstream to water the massive garden. When God placed Adam and Eve in their paradise garden home, it came fully loaded with every provision. Pristine beauty surrounded the couple; they enjoyed perfect fellowship and harmony with each other, nature, and God. 

At center stage in the garden stood two extraordinary trees that produced supernatural fruit. The fruit from the tree of life could sustain life forever, and the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil could inflict death if eaten. 

Each day as Adam and Eve went about their duties to care for the animals and vegetation, they would have watched these two trees grow and thrive in the garden, but from the very beginning, God had warned them about the dangers of eating from the deadly tree. 

“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’” (Genesis 2:16-17).

One day while Adam and Eve walked through the garden, a serpent launched a smear campaign against God’s character. Through cunning words and crafty questions, the evil snake convinced Eve that if she ate the forbidden fruit, it would “open” her eyes and become as wise and powerful as God. 

Because Eve entertained the serpent’s ideas, a door was opened for Satan’s deception. Never had the couple thought to question God’s authority or His goodness. They had trusted their Creator’s will and word with complete surrender. But upon considering the serpent’s suggestion, Eve became dissatisfied with God’s provision and longed for autonomy. She and Adam transferred their trust from God’s truth to Satan’s lie when they each took a bite of the forbidden fruit.

Adam and Eve’s physical eyes were indeed opened upon eating the fruit. But with the temporal enlightenment came spiritual blindness (Isaiah 44:18, 2 Corinthians 4:4). The autonomy Adam and Eve had purchased for themselves became a curse for all humanity. Their newfound independence came with a yoke of slavery to sin, resulting in humanity’s eternal separation from Father, God. 

What Does the Garden of Eden Teach Us about God’s Love?

Adam and Eve betrayed their Creator. They ignored His loving protective order and chose their own faulty understanding over God’s truth. They also chose self-sufficiency over dependency on God. Through their disobedience, they revealed a lack of belief in the One who created and loved them. This is the definition and origin of sin. 

Because God is holy, and the wages of sin are death, God had every right to abandon Adam and Eve and all humanity to the righteous death sentence that comes with sin“Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned” (Romans 5:12).

But thankfully, our sovereign Lord chose otherwise. He prepared a path of reconciliation before the first sin was ever committed and before the world was ever formed (Ephesians 1:4-5). God’s unfailing love is revealed to us through Jesus—the Way He provided to reunite fallen humanity with Himself. 

“You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us … Consequently, just as one trespass resulted in condemnation for all people, so also one righteous act resulted in justification and life for all people. For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous” (Romans 5:6-818-19). 

5 Lessons the Garden of Eden Teaches Us about Humanity

Everything we need to know about our identity as humans, purpose on this earth, and hope for the future, can be found in the Garden of Eden.

The truths we find at the very beginning of scripture contain threads of eternal truth that weave God’s whole Word together. About 1470 years span between the first written Genesis account and the writing of the Gospels and Revelation. Yet, the two bookend narratives go hand in hand to record our Creator’s masterful redemptive plan for humanity. Here are five lessons we can learn about ourselves from the Garden of Eden:

Every human is made in the image of God—but we are not all God’s children

When God created Adam and later formed Eve from Adam’s rib, He designed man and woman from a specific template. “So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them” (Genesis 1:27).

But with sin came our separation from the One whose image we reflect. When Adam and Eve chose to follow Satan’s directives in the garden, all humanity became subject to the father of lies. But because God so loved His creation, He sent Jesus to pay our sin debt. Whoever believes in Him is reborn as a child of God and lives forever reconciled with the Heavenly Father. 

“Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God” (John 1:12).

Life is given and sustained by God’s spirit

Before God breathed into Adam’s nostrils, he was a dusty shell of emptiness. Not only was humanity made in the image of God, but we were given the very essence of our Creator through His breath of life. But again, with sin came death. 

“Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned…” (Romans 5:12).

But when we are reborn in Jesus, new life is restored through His indwelling Spirit. “Again Jesus said, ‘Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.’ And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit’” (John 20:21-22).

Self-sufficiency Is the enemy of God-dependency

Adam and Eve had it all. Yet they settled for more. Within the vast, bountiful garden, God labeled only one fruit forbidden. Only one. Adam and Eve didn’t require any other rules or regulations, nor did God issue any. The intimacy Adam and Eve shared with their Father allowed them to walk in freedom—under the covering of God’s holiness. When the serpent suggested that God had withheld something valuable from them, the couple’s lust for more gave birth to the sin of self-sufficiency, which led to humanity’s demise. 

Only when we surrender our lives to God’s plan and purposes and abide in Him can we accomplish anything worthwhile. “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me, you can do nothing” (John 15:5).

Our purpose on earth is wrapped up in who God is

God didn’t place Adam and Eve in their garden paradise to relax and enjoy themselves. He gave them the command to cultivate their habitat and fill the earth. Adam and Eve were to work as an act of worship to God. And as they did, their lives would reveal God’s glory. Likewise, all Believers have a divine purpose. Every work of our hand and every word of our mouth should cultivate the world around us and point others to Him. 

“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:10).

Our enemy is real and should not be underestimated

Just like he tricked Adam and Eve in the garden, Satan rarely presents himself or his schemes using overt tactics. Scripture tells us that he masquerades as an “angel of light.” In her article “How to Expose the Schemes of the Enemy (and 6 Ways to Protect Yourself),” Debbie McDaniel explains, “The enemy real. He’s alive. He’s deceptive. He’s crafty. And his primary goal is to strike you down, along with as many others he can drag down with you. He waits. He searches. He watches. Looking for the best time to attack, at your weakest, most vulnerable moment.”

But thanks be to God, believers are given everything we need in Christ to overcome the enemy’s schemes. “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7). “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes” (Ephesians 4:10).

In John’s final revelatory vision, we’re given a glimpse of a garden in Heaven that looks remarkably familiar. Whereas a river nourished the garden in Eden, the water source of our eternal garden will flow from the throne of God and the Lamb (Revelation 22:1). We will have constant access to the Tree of Life, and “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” (Revelation 22:2).

Photo Credit: ©iStock/Getty Images Plus/designprojects

Annette GriffinAnnette Marie Griffin is an award-winning author and speaker who has managed and directed children’s and youth programs for more than 20 years. Her debut children’s book, What Is A Family? released through Familius Publishing in 2020. Annette has also written curriculum for character growth and development of elementary-age children and has developed parent training seminars to benefit the community. Her passion is to help wanderers find home. She and her husband have five children—three who have already flown the coop and two adopted teens still roosting at home—plus two adorable grands who add immeasurable joy and laughter to the whole flock.

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