Monday, September 29, 2008

Genesis 2: The Man and his Bride in the Global Garden

There is a problem when we read Genesis 2. Not with what's there, but with us. There are lies in the air that say we can't take this as God's word, we shouldn't trust it, it's not going to fit with the rest of the Bible. Thing is - it is God speaking, we can trust it and it does fit.

We find a wilderness. A barren world. And in that God plants a garden in which he puts The Man he made. All of this enacting not a 'Plan A' that's going to be messed up in chapter 3, but implementing the plan he made before the creation of the world to save a people for himself, by grace through his promise through the blood of Jesus. The man is put in the garden by the LORD (the covenant God) to work and keep it (serving like a priest in a temple... mediating God's image to the world... ruling the earth from the garden...).

From the garden flow rivers. This is a mountain. A mountain like the other mountain where 'you shall not...' is said - except this moutain has the Gihon flowing from it so might just be more like the mountain where King Hezekiah blocked up that river (Jerusalem... 2 Cor 32v30) and the one where angels will soon be guarding the east gate. Think temple mount more than Sinai.

From this garden he's to fill the earth - to extend the garden into a global garden, so that the earth will be full of people, bearing God's image and ruling the world. This is the king who is son of The King the garden God gave him. Except, he has no woman so he can't fill the earth. Something is not good - the plan can't be fulfilled. He's shown all the animals by God, who knows they won't be the helper he needs - and he rules them by naming them. Then God makes the woman from The Man, and he speaks his first recorded words (though probably "That's a Duckbilled Platypus" was he first phrase).

Now they can fill the world - joined in marriage, one flesh without shame. Marriage looks glorious and wonderful - and yet far removed from the 'normal' experience on earth. The original readers hear of an abundant garden of life, with a comission to fill the world from it. Yet, they live in the wilderness - surely they ask "why are we not already in the global garden? What has happened...." and they should say, let's press on into the land where there is rest and a land flowing with life. Sin needs an answer, and in Genesis 2 that's not yet obvious...  though it soon will be. How will the experienced strife of marriage be answered - and where did it come from?

Moreover, we know that The Man and his bride is really a picture of Christ and the church (Ephesians 5) a mystery that will be, and has now been revealed. For the real story of God's salvation awaits The Man who will die for his bride, shedding his blood for her sins. Reading Genesis 2 makes us hunger to be in the garden with The Man and his bride. The Second Adam, the True Man and his bride. To be found 'in' the church. In the global eden, that will be a temple-city, where we will live with Christ without shame.


  1. i like the way you're playing here. reminds me of lewis' prerelandra. I'd be interested in your playing with the ideas of 'outside the garden' before the fall - people hardly ever make any distinction. I think it's huge.

    Like the king-temple note (cf the man-king of Psalm 8), and once mankind fails, things only happen for humanity through solomon's temple (cf Gospel & Wisdom on 1 kings 4)

    ps although the rivers dont meet any more, I'd always thought daniel 8-10 were striking - when we return to the Eden rivers, it's godless, it's foreign, it's exile, in Babylon, of the Chaldees...maybe it picks up both temple & exile?

  2. Pre-fall the wilderness is what it is before - unformed earth I think.

    Post-fall it gets to be formed by man who has to start with dust.

    Without the fall it would have been cultivated, presumably along the rivers as the garden was extended to go global. That would have been easier than working the unformed dust and its thorns.