A river flowed out of Eden to water the garden, and there it divided and became four rivers. 11 The name of the first is the Pishon. It is the one that flowed around the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold. 12 And the gold of that land is good; bdellium and onyx stone are there. 13 The name of the second river is the Gihon. It is the one that flowed around the whole land of Cush. 14 And the name of the third river is the Tigris, which flows east of Assyria. And the fourth river is the Euphrates.Genesis 2:10-14
Where’s your favorite place? Mountains? Seashore? Lake? Hill Country? Back yard? If you could pick the ideal place to be, where would it be? Imagine it now. As I think about it, I would be tempted to describe it in terms of what it is not. Not cold. Not diseased. Not quarantined. Not without electricity, or otherwise not in need of electricity. On the positive side: warm, peaceful, and beautiful. With many beautiful vistas and photographic opportunities.
I imagine the Garden of Eden was all that and more. No need for electricity. No need for electronics or diversions. No need for AC or heat. The perfect balance of dietary delights. Well-watered. The Master Gardener’s magnum opus. Prepared for man and woman to tend, subdue, and enjoy.
This place, the source of four rivers, the garden, is center stage of the curtain of history. This is the place where all will unfold, and to which we will all One Day return in a new and better way. This is Paradise. It points us toward a deeper appreciation of the physical side of life and body.
Some Christians make little of the body. They speak of the immortality of the soul which can actually detract from the true teaching of the resurrection of the body and the life of the world to come. But this is our hope. Jesus is preparing a place for us that we may be with him forever. Even on the cross he promised the repentant thief, “Today you will be with me in paradise.”
But here we are. We’re in a fallen world, rife with sin, sickness, natural and man-made disasters. When we build our homes, and make them as comfortable as we are able, we’re revealing a deeper yearning of which we are too often not aware. Whatever yearning of our hearts and souls may be, they will never find fulfillment apart from God. His great delight is toward those who take their rightful place in his eternal kingdom: his new heaven and earth.