A Home Provided for Man. Part 1 of 3 (series: Lessons on Genesis)

by John Lowe
(Woodruff, S.C.)

June 28, 2013
Book of Genesis
By: Tom Lowe

Lesson I.B.1: A Home Provided for Man.
Scripture: Gen. 2.8-14

Gen. 2.8-14. (KJV)
8 And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed.
9 And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
10 And a river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted, and became into four heads.
11 The name of the first is Pison: that is it which compasseth the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold;
12 And the gold of that land is good: there is bdellium and the onyx stone.
13 And the name of the second river is Gihon: the same is it that compasseth the whole land of Ethiopia.
14 And the name of the third river is Hiddekel: that is it which goeth toward the east of Assyria. And the fourth river is Euphrates.


8 And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed.

God prepared the earth for the man. The garden where He placed the man was designed to be his home, and it was apparently lush and perfect. This original habitat was a delightful shelter, containing everything the man needed: food (v. 9), beauty (v. 9), water (v. 10), fellowship with God (v. 16; see also Gen. 3:8), and human companionship (Gen. 2:22–25). Although the word ‏Eden signifies pleasure or delight, it is certainly the name of a place which is mentioned in several places in the Bible—Genesis 4:16; 2 Kings 19:12; Isaiah 37:12; Ezekiel 27:23; Amos 1:5. In several Old Testament passages, Eden is used as a symbol of beauty and fruitfulness, the place blessed by God (Is. 51:3). Revelation 22:1–2 alludes to the Garden of Eden by picturing a “river of water of life” and “the tree of life” in the heavenly Jerusalem.

In the Septuagint this verse has been rendered in a very picturesque way: “God planted a paradise in Eden.” I cannot tell you where the Garden of Eden is. I am sure it is somewhere in the Tigris–Euphrates Valley; in fact, it may be the entire valley. Originally, that valley was a very fertile place, and it still is, for that matter. It is part of “the fertile crescent.” At one time, the people inhabiting that region did not even plant grain there; they simply harvested it, since it grew by itself. It is probable that this area will someday become the very center of the earth again. Some of the suggestions offered for the location of Eden include Babylonia (in Mesopotamia), Armenia (north of Mesopotamia), and an island in the Indian Ocean. The statement in Genesis 2:10 that four “riverheads” divided from the river that flowed out of the Garden of Eden (Gen. 2:10–14) support a location somewhere in Mesopotamia. Two of the rivers are clearly identified: the TIGRIS, which ran along the east side of Asshur (Assyria), and the EUPHRATES. The Pishon (“Spouter”) and Gihon (“Gusher”) rivers are hard to identify. The Gihon may have been in Mesopotamia, since Genesis 2:13 says it encompassed the whole land of “Cush” (possibly southeast Mesopotamia). Some think Pishon and Gihon represent the Indus and the Nile, respectively, suggesting that Eden included the whole of the Fertile Crescent from India to Egypt.

The Garden of Eden represented God’s ideal environment for man. Some of the special characteristics of Eden were its wide variety of trees (Gen. 2:9; Ezek. 31:8–9), its precious stones and metals (Gen. 2:11–12; Ezek. 28:13–14), and its rivers (Gen. 2:10–14; Rev. 22:1–2), all of them give a picture of its richness and fertility. Eden is also sometimes referred to in the Bible as the garden of the Lord (Gen. 13:10; Is. 51:3) or the garden of God (Ezek. 28:13; 31:8–9).

The Garden of Eden included many kinds of beautiful and fruit-bearing trees, including “the tree of life” and “the tree of the knowledge of good and evil” (Gen. 2:9). Man was to tend and keep the garden (Gen. 2:15), which, in addition to trees, could have contained other vegetation such as grain crops and vegetables (Gen. 1:11–12). The garden was also filled with all kinds of birds and land animals (Gen. 2:19–20), probably including many of the animals created on the sixth day of creation (Gen. 1:24–25). It was well-watered (Gen. 2:10), ensuring lush vegetation and pasture. After Adam and Eve sinned against God (Gen. 3:1–19), the Lord banished them from the garden. Cain, the son of Adam and Eve, is said to have lived “east of Eden” (Gen. 4:16).

Man consisted of a body and a soul, a body made out of the earth and a rational immortal soul, and in these verses provision was made for the happiness of both; He that made him took care to make him happy; if only he could but have kept himself happy and known when he was well off. That part of man by which he is united with the natural world was made happy; because he was put in the paradise of God: that part by which he is united to the world of spirits was well provided for; because he was taken into covenant with God.

The Lord God planted this garden, that is, He had planted it—on the third day, when the fruits of the earth were made. We may well presume that it was the most ideal place for pleasure and happiness that there has ever been, in view of the fact that the all-sufficient God himself designed it to be the home of his beloved creature, man. No pleasures can be as agreeable and satisfying to a soul than those that God himself has provided for it; no true paradise, but one which God has planted. The whole earth was a paradise compared with what it has become since the fall and since the flood; the finest gardens in the world are a swamp compared with what the whole face of the ground was before it was cursed for man’s sake: yet that was not enough; God planted a garden for Adam. God’s chosen ones will always receive favors from Him.

Human history involves three gardens: the Garden of Eden, where man took of the tree and sinned; the Garden of Gethsemane, where the Savior took the cup and went to the tree to die for our sins; and the “garden city” of glory where God will take all His children to live forever (Rev. 21–22).

9 And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.

God caused every kind of tree that was both pleasant to the eyes and good for food to grow in the garden. But two trees, in particular, were designed especially for man. These two trees were “the tree of life” … “and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.” Both trees were destined to serve a very definite purpose. It appears from Genesis 3:22 that the tree of life would have served its purpose in the event that man had been victorious in the first temptation and therefore man would not have fallen. Its existence shows that God had made ample provision for man’s good. It was not primarily a natural means to preserve or prolong life; but it was chiefly intended to be a sign for Adam to assure him of the continuance of life and happiness, and even immortality and everlasting bliss, through the grace and favor of his Maker, upon the condition of his continuing in this state of innocence and obedience. Since, however, it was never used, it promptly recedes into the background after the first time it is mention and it is alluded to only after the Fall in Genesis 3:22—“Then the Lord God said, “Humans have become like one of us; they know good and evil. We must keep them from eating some of the fruit from the tree of life, or they will live forever.”

The trees with which this garden was planted were the best and choicest trees as were the grasses, flowers, shrubs, and vegetables. It was beautiful and adorned with every tree that was pleasant to the eye; it was decorated with every kind of fruit tree that was good to eat. God, as a tender Father, was concerned not only for Adam’s good health, but also for his good pleasure; there is an inspirational kind of pleasure in innocence. God delights in the prosperity of his servants, and He wants them to live easily; it is their fault, if they are uneasy. When Providence puts us into an Eden of plenty and pleasure, we ought to serve Him with joyfulness and gladness for the abundance of the good things He gives us.

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