Scholars have long scratched their heads trying to figure out the exact location of the garden God planted eastward in Eden. That it is a physical place is not in doubt. Out of the ground the Eternal made trees grow that were pleasing to the sight and good for food. The garden was watered by a river, which then parted into four rivers. It was into this physical setting that man was placed with the instructions to tend and keep the garden.
It must have been a fabulous environment as everything that God created was “very good” – beautiful and bountiful. It was this environment that God gave man as a prototype, or model, that was to be perpetuated by man as his numbers grew and he spread out over the earth. One can only imagine how the earth would be today if that way had actually been followed.
For us, the Garden of Eden is more than a place. It represents a relationship between the Creator and the created. It would appear that the physical Garden of Eden was based on a spiritual model. For example, Isaiah equates Eden with the “garden of the Lord” (Isaiah 51:3). We are told that before Heylel became Satan, he covered God’s throne on the holy mountain of God, and that this place was also called “Eden, the garden of God” (Ezekiel 28:13). Satan was cast out of the Garden of Eden. His Garden of Eden relationship was broken by iniquity and he was cast as a profane thing out of the mountain of God.
Again, Eden symbolized a state of a relationship between the Creator and the created. Subsequently, man was created to have a relationship with God and the garden created in Eden symbolized that fact. Under Satan’s influence man repeated Satan’s fatal mistake and similarly was driven out of the garden, thus demonstrating a broken relationship between the Creator and the created.
What has followed is a long period of time up to the present whereby man has decided everything from right and wrong, to how he will govern himself and the way of life he will live. When we are called, God tells us to come out of that system totally. God takes us into a Garden of Eden relationship whereby we can eat of the tree of life.
This means we are not to view God or His way of life through any lens prepared by man since he was driven out of the garden. Our view of life is to be a Garden of Eden view. In other words, we must go back to the beginning and determine what God’s way is, what His view is and replace any worldly devised concepts that we might have. The spiritual nature of our “garden” is confirmed by Christ as the angel of the church in Ephesus was told, “To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise (Eden) of God” (Revelation 2:7).
We should resist the natural inclination to assess God and His way of life (and our future millennial existence) by what we know from the environment which surrounds us. This world does not represent God in any way – it is not a “garden of the Lord” – at least not yet.