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Divine design is an ever spreading goodness

Genesis 1 and 2 paint a picture of the world. Who knows if they're a decent science text book or not, what they are is brilliant literature. In chapter 1 we see a empty, formless, dark world overcome by the Triune God who establishes the beginning of fullness, form and light - coming out of himself with overflowing blessing, through the Son, and creating a world of other-cented fruitful, multiplying blessers...

In chapter 2 we take a different camera angle. We see the formless and empty wilderness. Then two things happen. A garden is planted in the east, on Mount Eden - from which rivers flow to spread life to the world. And in view of the commission of the previous chapter, this garden will be extended to fill the whole world.

From the dead dust of the wilderness the LORD makes the first man, breathing life into him. Life flowing from God to man, always a spreading goodness. Through the word, by the breath, let there be man. Man is then placed in the garden to work and keep it. This is temple language, appropriate to a mountain where Man and God can meet. One man in the temple from which blessing should flow to the whole world. The first Adam foreshadow's the second Adam - in whom a vast people will fill the world with blessing.

So far so good. Then not so good. Not because there is moral corruption but something isn't right. We were shown the man alone to point to Christ, but no longer should the man be alone. Instead he should have a helper. A necessary other. Just like the persons of the Trinity aloneness isn't right - life comes in relationship. The creatures aren't the right helper. So a deep (deathly) sleep comes on the man who is then wounded, and from his wounds comes woman, from man. The LORD could have made woman from dust like man, but she is made from him - they belong together. They were one flesh and are then rejoined in marriage. The passage points beyond itself to establish human marriage, leaving parents to join together which Adam and his bride never did. Their union is perfect - naked and unashamed in the first temple, sent to fill the world with life.

Then Paul commentates and says this is truly about Christ and the church (and marriage), for a vision of the man with his bride in Eden is nothing less than a prefiguration of gospel reality. A picture to make wilderness-wandering Israelites ask what has gone wrong - they're not in Eden any more? And to make us long for the better global garden and the perfect marriage of Christ and his bride.

Images of Eden by Falmouth CU members Anna Tabori, Steven Feven and Elisa Cunningham.

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