By Melissa McLaughlin
One of the great pleasures of summertime is enjoying fruits and vegetables fresh from the garden. The deep red tomatoes, crunchy sweet cucumbers, lush green squash and overflowing beans. The list goes on and on and on. All year we wait for one bite of this sumptuous and long-awaited delicacy.
As I look out over our tiny backyard harvest, I can only imagine the beauty and bounty of the plants that once grew in the Garden of Eden at the beginning of time. Join me in a mental vision of that glorious Garden of all Gardens. Tall trees robed in verdant green. Vibrant flowers in every shade and hue. Fruits plump and juicy. Plants and vegetables radiant with the life of God’s breath and touch.
How beautiful it must have been. How rich with flavor and nutrients. How delightful and lustrous this Garden, bringing life-sustaining joy.
I invite you to walk with me in a scripture remembrance of God’s first Garden…
The Garden of Eden
Genesis 1:1 – In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.
Genesis 1:11-12 – And God said, “Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind, on the earth.” And it was so. The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed according to their own kinds, and trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.
Genesis 1:26-27 – Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.
Genesis 1:28-31 – And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food. And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so. And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.
Genesis 2:8-19 – And the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed. And out of the ground the Lord God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. A river flowed out of Eden to water the garden, and there it divided and became four rivers.
Genesis 2:15 – The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it.
I imagine the gentle breeze, floral scents wafting upward, an offering of incense to bless the Creator and His creation. Tender flower petals gracing the pathways. Trees bending low with fruits of every kind. Sunshine warming the fertile earth, with vines and vegetables reaching up, tendrils strong and plenteous. Blooming, blossoming and bursting with new life.
God sang His blessing over Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, “Be fruitful and multiply!”
How quickly this scene of serenity and vitality came crashing down.
All too soon, Adam and Eve rebelled against the simple boundaries God set in place within the Garden’s bounty. At the cunning deception of the serpent, both Eve and then Adam chose to eat of the one tree from which God had limited them. Despite all the other fruits, despite all the other blessings, they opted to defy God’s one and only directive.
The result of this disobedience was shame, guilt and separation from God. From that moment, sin and rebellion against our Creator defined the very nature of all humanity.
Remarkably, God’s heart for His creation was not restrained or deterred by our rebellion.
The Garden of Gethsemane
In a stunning move, God sent His own beloved Son, Jesus Christ, to hang on a tree, paying the penalty for all of humanity’s sin.
We see the beautiful, glowing Garden of Eden in stark contrast against the sorrow and agony witnessed in the Garden of Gethsemane.
In the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve essentially told God the Father, “not Your will but OURS be done.”
In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus said, “Not my will but YOURS be done.”
That blood-stained tree hangs in the balance. On one side we see the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, the fruit through which all of humanity succumbed to sin. On the other stands the tree of life, the fruit of which brings eternal life.
The One who made the trees, hung on a tree for you and me.
Perhaps it was no accident that Mary Magdalene mistook the resurrected Jesus for a gardener when she discovered His empty grave that joyous day Jesus rose up from the dead. (John 20:15)
The Master Gardener paid with His own blood, that the people of His own making could walk with Him once again in the Garden. Just as He intended from the beginning. (Genesis 3:8)
By faith in Christ’s sacrifice for our sins, we are granted the right to eat of the Tree of Life. Not because of our goodness, but because of our faith in His goodness, we are saved from the judgment we rightfully deserve.
God’s Eternal Garden in Heaven
God’s gripping plan of redemption goes from the paradise and perfection that was marred by our sin in the Garden of Eden, to the surrender of our Savior in the Garden of Gethsemane. Incredibly, God’s plan of redemption is brought to completion as believers enter the glorious Garden in the heavenly city described in Revelation.
Revelation 22:1-5 – Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. 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. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever.
I am utterly undone that the God who created life, every tree, leaf, flower, blade of grass and human being, is the God who laid down His life for our sin. He is the same God who is coming again. And He will do more than simply re-plant or re-seed our earth but will actually restore, recreate and make brand new all that was lost. May we abide in Christ, the True Vine, bearing the Fruit of the Spirit until we walk once again with our Father God in the Garden. That golden eternal Garden He prepared for us from before all time. God’s eternal Garden in heaven.
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It is beautiful how so many images and themes thread their way through the 66 books of scripture. Thank you and may God be praised.
I agree. The Bible is profoundly beautiful in the interwoven themes and messages of redemption that are spoken from Genesis to Revelation. It is a never-ending source of God’s truth, mercy and grace. Beautiful beyond words. God be praised!
It is truly a wonder for those with eyes to see!
I am thankful for His creations. Amazing and wonderful. 🙂
Yes, God has revealed Himself to every single person through His creation and it is a wonder to behold. Yet, through His Word, the Bible, even more incredible truth and beauty is discovered through the sacrifice of His Son. Thank you, God for your unending blessings.
Thank you Dear Melissa for these beautiful and awesome thoughts today. I was so moved by this:
“The One who made the trees, hung on a tree for you and me.
Perhaps it was no accident that Mary Magdalene mistook the resurrected Jesus for a gardener when she discovered His empty grave that joyous day Jesus rose up from the dead. (John 20:15)”
The gift of Jesus is so much deeper than we realize, on every level! Oh may my heart be more opened to see with His eyes, the grace He has won for us.
Blessings to you dear friend!
Dear Bettie, thank you for reading and taking the time to share your heart! I know this is a sacrifice for you, in your daily battle against chronic pain. I pray that the magnificent beauty of Christ’s redeeming work for all of humanity will stop us in our tracks again today and take our breath away. For surely, our Savior is a wonder to behold. I pray with you, may we have eyes to see and take in even more of Jesus’ amazing work on the cross. God bless you and refresh you in the day ahead, dear sister!
Your words once again paint a beautiful picture for me in the scriptures you share. Thank you Melissa. I loved it.
Thank you, dear Yvonne. Glory to God! I get tears in my eyes as I ponder the greatness and beauty of our God and the depths of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross to restore God’s divine beauty in humanity and all of creation. Truly, the Bible is a story like no other. God’s story. May our hearts be renewed daily by His amazing grace!
What a lovely reminder of the connection between Eden and Calvary. And I love your insight about Jesus being mistaken for a gardener—very symbolic and beautiful! 🙂
Thank you for stopping by, Jessie and for sharing an encouraging word! God be praised! The connections between the Garden of Eden and the tree of Calvary are astounding. God’s Word is so deep and profound. The more we ponder, the more staggering truth and mercy we find. May the Holy Spirit capture our minds with God’s magnificent story of redemption again today!
I have read many of your posts and they have deeply inspired me. This one is exceptional…you weave together so many Biblical threads flawlessly; you create a quilt of blessing. Thank you for this quilt you created with the love you have in your heart and your gift of writing; Your words praise our God! God bless you Melissa!
May we praise our God! For He is worthy of all praise! Thank you, dear Linda, for your kind words. I am utterly astonished at the threads God Himself has woven through His Word and His plan of redemption. Oh what a Savior! Isn’t He wonderful?! God bless you, sister!
I love what you did with Mary Magdalene confusing Jesus as a gardener, and then tying that into no coincidence, as God is the “Master Gardener”. That is so cool. I never thought of it that way before! Thank you.
Thank you, Lisa. All glory to God! He is the Premiere Story-Weaver and Master Gardener. And that only scratches the surface. What a mighty God we serve! He sprinkles His truth and mercy all through His Word echoing back and forth from Genesis to Revelation. “I am God. I will redeem you.” We are blessed beyond words. May God continue to bless you!
Beautifully expressed and so timely. We need to remember…to keep it foremost in our thoughts…that God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life. John 3:16 In this season of turmoil, violence and chaos it is good to know that He is still on the throne and through Christ eternity is still ours. Thank you, Melissa, for your wonderful perspective on God’s Word and His promises for us who believe.
Isn’t God’s love beautiful beyond measure?! Thank you for stopping by and sharing your heart, Michelle. I love your words, let us remember our Savior is still on the throne and through Christ eternity is ours. What beauty, goodness, joy and peace awaits us in that heavenly Garden with God. May we rest in His truth now and always!
Wow, Melissa, so beautiful! I love how you unpacked this article from the Garden of Eden to the stark contract with the Garden of Gethsemane. But so thankful the Master Gardener is coming again to restore all things including us back to its glorious state. Until then, I plan to stay connected to the vine.
Thank you, Karen! All glory to our beautiful God and Savior, Jesus Christ! God’s Word and plan of redemption is absolutely breathtaking. No one else could give so completely, so deeply, so richly, as God, through His Son, Jesus. He is restoring us, at such great cost, so we can enjoy such great delight in the heavenly Gardens one Day. Yes, may we stay connected to the Vine, as we see that Day fast approaching. Blessings to you!
You did such a beautiful job connecting all of the blessings of Eden with the future blessings awaiting us in the new heaven and new earth, where the Master Gardener will walk with us side by side again. Jesus died on that tree after all had been lost by our consumption of the forbidden fruit from that long-ago tree in the Garden. We will be surrounded by not only the beauty far surpassing even Eden, but we will have life eternal alongside those who believe, the beloved and believing dead who have gone before. What a day that will be, when our Jesus we shall see!
Yes, I agree, Melinda! What a Day that will be! When we walk in beauty beyond our imagining, more glorious than even the Garden of Eden. And we walk together, forgiven and unashamed, with our Master Gardener. Forever. No more sorrow, sin, sickness or sadness. May we have eternal vision to see through this fallen shadowland to the garden of Life that awaits with Christ!
Wow! So beautifully written!! Thanks for sharing sister.
Thank you for taking the time to read and offer an encouraging word. All glory to God!