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What the Bible says about Garden of Eden
(From Forerunner Commentary)

Genesis 2:8

The word Eden in Hebrew means "delight" or "enjoyment"—it was a garden of delight or enjoyment. When the Septuagint Version was produced, its translators used the Greek word for "parkland" for Eden, from which came the word "paradise." In the Old Testament, Eden is often a symbol of great fertility, a place where things wold grow. In other words, its environment was not only beautiful but also useful for producing things. In this case, God had in mind not merely an environment for vegetation, but for a relationship through fellowship—between God and Adam and Eve, who represented all of mankind. Spiritually, Eden symbolizes a rich and fertile place of unbroken fellowship.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Holy Spirit and the Trinity (Part Six)

Genesis 2:15

The Garden of Eden was the environment that God created for a relationship with Him to take place. Adam and Eve's responsibility was to dress and keep it. They were put there, not to do nothing, not just to pluck fruit off a tree, not even merely to receive eternal life, but to take care of the Garden.

Dress means "to embellish." This may seem a little strange, but Adam and Eve were to take care of it so well that it would become better than it was when God gave it to them. We like to think of the Garden as being a place of absolute and perfect beauty. Instead, since God told them to "dress and keep it," it seems that it was not complete. It had only been started. What He had done was certainly beautiful, but He wanted them to carry on and finish it.

Keep means "to guard" or "to preserve." If they did not work to dress the Garden, God is telling them, it would deteriorate. That is the way of all things physical, they degenerate if they are not maintained and taken care of.

There are spiritual lessons here. We have been invited into a relationship with God. Like any relationship, it must be worked on to make it increasingly tighter and more productive. We are to "dress and to keep" the relationship. We are not in the Garden, certainly, but we are in the relationship. To do this, we must use and grow in the Holy Spirit. The relationship is the key to accomplishing this. If there is no relationship, there is no Holy Spirit working in and with us, no chance that we will ever grow in the Spirit, and no way we can be close to God. The relationship is the key.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Holy Spirit and the Trinity (Part Seven)

Genesis 2:15

In verse 15, God clarifies why he gave man powers. At first glance, it only appears to cover what is physical and material, but with God's spiritual revelation and other scriptures, it carries far greater implication.

In the King James Version, the word meaning "tend" or "cultivate" is dress. The Hebrew means "to work at." In 1611, when the King James was translated, the word dress meant "to set in order," but gradually, it was applied to applying decorative details, "to embellish."

Today, when we say that we are going to dress, we include both parts of that definition. We put ourselves in order and embellish how we look.

In modern Bibles, “dress” has been translated "tend" or "cultivate." They have subtle meanings that are slightly different from "dress." Tend means "to pay attention to" or "to serve." For example, “I am going to tend to the dishes.” It means "to apply oneself to the care of" or "to manage the operations of."

Cultivate, which is the best of the three definitions, means "to put through a finishing process," "to foster the growth of," or "to further or encourage." Neither "dress" or "tend" is wrong, but "cultivate" most accurately applies the Hebrew meaning of the original word.

There is the word "keep" as well. We are to "dress and keep." Keep means to "guard," "preserve," "be faithful to," and "maintain."

God has given man powers to carry out the responsibility that has been given into his hands: to have dominion. Man must do the following: Put what has been placed into his hands through a finishing process, watch over it, guard it, protect it, and preserve its beauty.

This was all given to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, a beautiful place. God let them and us know that, as beautiful as the Garden was, it would not stay that way. It was subject to natural law and would degenerate. The Garden would need to be maintained, cultivated, dressed, and kept, requiring a great deal of work. Man was not only to preserve, control, and direct it, but also to strive even to ennoble the Garden of Eden through work.

It begins to become clear that God intends mankind to make more of his environment than he has been given. God has given the powers to do that. We are to understand this not only physically, but more importantly, spiritually.

Here in Genesis, God has shown the fact that a person works, the reason why he works, and the way he works all have a great deal to do with his spiritual development. It is important to note the difference between "salvation" and "development." We are saved by grace. But if there is going to be development from where God begins whenever we first receive His Spirit, then it requires something on our part to enable the fullness of development to take place. That involves work.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Right Use of Power

Genesis 3:24

Not only were Adam and Eve and their progeny separated from God and removed from dwelling with Him in the Garden of Eden, they were also separated from the source of life, the Tree of Life! The tragic results are evident for anyone to see! Throughout the Bible, God simply and clearly expounds upon the results of sin.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Division, Satan, Humility

Acts 3:19-21

Consider the result of Satan's removal. Once the Deceiver is neutralized, refreshing and restitution can begin! Christ and the saints will immediately work to restore the earth to its beauty and productivity (Isaiah 35). God's perfect government and laws will be reinstituted, bringing peace and prosperity to all who submit to them (Isaiah 2:1-4). In a spirit of harmony, everyone will pitch in to rebuild the waste places and ruins caused by man's and Satan's sins (Isaiah 58:12; 61:4; Amos 9:14). This is the wonderful World Tomorrow that all of God's people have looked toward since the Garden of Eden! All that is good—very good (Genesis 1:31)—will be restored!

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Holy Days: Atonement


 




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