“And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there He
put the man whom He had formed. 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” (Gen. 2:8-9).
The Bible begins with a garden – The Garden of Eden.
In the morning of the world, “the Lord God planted a garden…”
How exciting that statement is to all who love a garden.
Come with me into a garden of luxuriant loveliness with dells of
delight and paths of pleasantness. A
garden planned in the mind of omniscience, prepared and planted by the
hand of God. As we visit the
garden together, I beseech you to walk with reverent heart and spiritual
awe for the place whereon we tread is holy ground.
This is the Lord’s paradise.
This is man’s first and perfect home.
A holy environment of righteousness, peace and joy divinely
ordained. This is the Garden
of Eden where flowers never fade, where leaves never fall, where living
streams never fail, where creatures never fear; without thorns or
thistles, weeds or wickedness; without desolation, decay or death; where
every prospect pleases and where there is no guile.
God dipped His brush in the pot of colors and touched the flowers
with a beauty outshining the glory of Solomon.
And man walked there – in life and light and love – man in the
image and likeness of the Lord God Almighty.
God and man walked together in the same spirit, so they had sweet
fellowship. Eden is God’s
picture of His plan for man. Eden
was a prophecy in miniature. The
word genesis means beginning.
Thus the book of Genesis is the book of beginning.
Therefore the inspired record of things that transpired all through
that wonderful book concern the beginnings of God’s plan.
In Genesis we see in the form of a tiny seed what God’s plan was
to be in the age of innocence, but the depth of the meaning of things
written there are revealed to those who seek as the light of the ages
unfolds its mysteries. All
the world was to be a Garden of Eden.
To that end God gave Adam and Eve dominion over all things
with the commission to subdue them – to gather all together into
God! God and man were to live
together in sweetest, most intimate fellowship.
The family is God’s ideal for us, with its home in a garden, and
Himself as Father – Mother in the midst; its atmosphere, love; its
music, the rhythm of our wills one with His, our purpose and work the
extension of His. With the growth of the God-family the garden becomes a
city, but it is a Garden-city, and finally the city becomes a kingdom, and
it is a garden-kingdom where “the wolf and the lion shall dwell with the
lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat; and the calf and
the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead
them” (Isa. 11:6). “The lion shall eat straw like the ox; and dust
shall be the serpent’s food. They
shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain (kingdom), says the
Lord” (Isa. 65:25). Truly
these conditions are prophetical of that glorious age when “the earth
shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.”
It is even now true in those who are made one in Him.
The prophet Isaiah tells how the Lord will comfort Zion and all her
waste places. He will make
her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the Lord; joy
and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving and the voice of melody
(Isa. 51:3). O that men might
see the whole plan of creation and redemption as a celestial harmony,
hymning its beautiful refrain from the sun-kissed heights of the Garden of
Eden to the glistening gates of the new Heavens and new Earth and
spreading its mighty wings in loving care from the moment God said, “Let
us make man in our image,” until that glad day when all things are
subdued unto Him and God becomes all-in-all – everything to everyone
everywhere. All mankind will
be in the image of God, death will be destroyed, the ages will be no more,
for time as we have known it will vanish away and we will be found to be
inhabitants of the eternal realm.
In Genesis, as I have previously stated, we have the book of
beginnings. To its first
three chapters we are specially indebted for a divine light shining on
many questions to which human wisdom never could find an answer.
And yet it is the wisdom of God revealed in a mystery.
There are two kinds of mysteries in the world, make-believe
mysteries and real mysteries. A
make-believe mystery is one that depends on its concealment; it is
shrouded in secrecy. Such a
mystery relies on darkness and the unknown. So
long as it remains hidden, it arouses interest, but when it is revealed,
the mystery vanishes and the secret loses its fascination.
Such is the secret of the trickster and the charlatan, the stage
magician and the mystigogue; their spell lies in the undisclosed, the
mysterious maneuvers. When
the secret to the trick becomes apparent, the magic disappears.
Such is not the case with a real mystery.
A real mystery can be opened and apparent to everyone.
All can see the matter clearly and examine it from all sides.
Nevertheless, the more it is looked at and examined, the more
mysterious it becomes, deep, profound and insoluble. The story in the
first part of the book of Genesis is very well-known – and still it
remains a mystery. And the
more the extremely simple words of the Bible text are studied, the more
numerous the aspects of the riddle and mystery.
As greater illumination is shed upon it, new facets of
inscrutability become apparent. As we approach this wonderful scene our
hearts can only cry out with the great apostle, “O the depth of the
riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God!
How unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding
out!” (Rom. 11:33). Every
revelation birthed within our spirit from the lines of these inspired
passages of God’s Word lead but to another intersection from which
innumerable paths branch out, paths which a person can continue to tread
all the days of His life. Oh,
the mystery of it! Oh, the
wonder of it!
THE IMAGE OF GOD
“Let us make man in our image and after our likeness,” was the
proclamation of the Lord, and having so proclaimed His intention, the
Father set in motion a plan that would span millenniums before the first Son
of man, the first begotten Son of God would emerge from the
inky darkness and be presented perfected and faultless as the Captain of
our salvation and the Redeemer of us all.
Then, after perfecting the first Son, other thousands of years
would roll by while “He who has begun a good work in US” would
complete and consummate it and thereby bring “many sons to glory.”
the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature”
“For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to
the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many
brethren” “Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off
the old man with his deeds; And have put on the new man, which is renewed
in knowledge after the image of him that created him”.
The Father has a desire to the work of His hands, and I rejoice to
be one mall part of the work of His hands.
In that long ago beginning Adam, the type and prophecy of man in
God’s image, was brought forth from the hands of God on the sixth day of
the Lord’s creative process. Why
was the creation of man saved for last?
Because it was the culmination
of all that preceded it. Into that man God breathed the breath of
life. God breathed! Although all living things have a
“breath of life,” man was the only being who received his breath of
life directly from God. Man’s “breath of life” is not the air
of earth’s atmosphere. The breath of God is the Spirit of
God – for breath and spirit are the same word in Hebrew. God
breathed – God infused into man His very own life. This set man
apart from the animal kingdom, for man was endowed with divine life and
was fashioned in the image and likeness of God. There is great purpose
here! Let me ask – was the creation of mankind an incidental
event, or was it the event around which all else revolves? I believe
we are perfectly safe and on God’s ground to say that the creation of
man is the event around which all else revolves. Man was made in the
image of God and given dominion over all things and commissioned to subdue
and subject all things. That dominion is to the extent over all the
works of the Creator’s hands and that includes, according to Psalm 8:3,
the heavens, the moon and the stars. Can we not see by this that our
earth, yea, our galaxy, is the launching pad for God’s creative,
redemptive, reconstructive program on behalf of the whole creation?
Let us UNDERSTAND! In man, and in man alone, was blended the reality
of both the Creator and the creation! God is invisible – spirit.
Creation is visible – material. Adam was formed of the dust of the
ground – earth; and God breathed into him the breath of life – spirit.
Man in his spirit was from God and heaven, while in his body he was from
earth. Even since man has been, he has been made to live for the one
purpose of giving revelation and manifestation to God, and to be
ruler for God. The invisible God desired to be known by His visible
creation – but then existence was on two different planes. So God
put His spirit and His image into Adam, that in the visible could be seen
and known the invisible. Adam is thus the connecting link between
the upper and lower worlds – between Creator and creation.
Man was created for the specific purpose of becoming the bridge between
the celestial heights of the spiritual realm and the lowest depths of the
physical world, that God might be known, experienced, fellowshipped.
Man is thus the channel through which the Creator’s grace and glory and
blessing and power flow from the high realm of the spirit to the corporeal
Scientists are probing into two unseen worlds.
One is a world too vast and far away to be seen by the eye and the
other is a world too small to be observed by the eye.
I want to give you three words in this connection, together with
their meanings. First, we
find the word MICROCOSM. This
word means a little world: anything regarded as a world in miniature: man,
viewed as an epitome of the universe.
This word comes from two words in the Greek.
One is MIKROS which means little or miniature.
The other is KOSMOS meaning world.
Thus we have the meaning of LITTLE WORLD.
The word MACROCOSM, on the other hand, means the great world, or
the universe. It also comes
from two words. One is MACROS
meaning great and the other is KOSMOS meaning the world.
We noted above that the word MIKROS carried the meaning of
“man viewed as an epitome of the universe.”
This word EPITOME means, among other things, A CONDENSED
REPRESENTATION of something. The
word MICROCOSM then gives us the meaning that man is a CONDENSED
REPRESENTATION OF THE WHOLE UNIVERSE!
Thus, man is the CONDENSED REPRESENTATION OF THE WHOLE UNIVERSE!
Thus, man is the CONDENSED REPRESENTATION of all the universe, or
man is all the universe in miniature.
After the original creation, God then began to move to bring the
whole vast creation into fellowship and harmony with Himself.
In order to accomplish this God made man in the image of the
creation, but also in the image of Himself.
Man is therefore the bridge or connecting link between God in His
spiritual existence and the creation in its visible and material
constitution. God put both
Himself and the whole universe into man in miniature – a microcosm of
the macrocosm! His purpose is
that by and through man all things shall be brought into subjection to the
mind of the Lord. We
read in Hebrews that we do not as yet see all things put into subjection
to man, but WE DO SEE JESUS who was, we may safely say, as the second man
and the last Adam, a CONDENSED REPRESENTATION of God, the universe, and
all mankind. In other words,
what was done in and through the singular Man, Jesus the Christ, will also
be done in and through corporate man, but on an enlarged scale, for Jesus
said we would do even greater works than He did.
There is no stagnation in God, for He continually moves ahead.
And as He moves we move with Him, advancing according to His
pre-determined plan. What
wonders lie ahead of us in this majestic pathway!
Adam in the Garden of Eden was the type and prophecy of man as God
intends him to be, and Jesus Christ is the fulfillment of God’s purpose
in man. All men in Christ
will be the consummation of God’s purpose – man in the image of God.
Would God that I had the tongue of angels and wisdom that could
unfold to every spiritual mind an understanding of those supernal glories
that pertain to the Garden of God! One
thing is abundantly clear. God’s
people are His garden, that which brings forth His fruit.
The Bridegroom speaks in the Song of Solomon and says, “A garden
enclosed is my sister, my spouse; a spring shut up, a fountain
sealed. Thy plants are
an orchard of pomegranates, with pleasant fruits; camphire, with
spikenard, Spikenard and saffron; calamus and cinnamon, with all trees of
frankincense; myrrh and aloes, with all the chief spices:
A fountain of gardens, a well of living waters, and streams from
Lebanon.” (S. of S. 4:12-15). To
which the Shulamite replies, “Awake, O north wind; and come, thou south;
blow upon my garden, that the spices thereof may flow out. Let my beloved
come into his garden, and eat his pleasant fruits.” (S. of S. 4:16).
The soul is here likened to a garden.
What a beautiful analogy! This
is not the only place in the scriptures where this description is used,
for in Jeremiah 31:12 we read, “Their soul shall be as a watered garden.”
And the apostle Paul expresses it on this wise: “Ye are God’s
husbandry,” which is another way of saying, “you are God’s garden.”
Jesus testified, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the
husbandman. Every branch in
me that beareth not fruit He taketh away: and every branch that beareth
fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit” (Jn. 15:1-2).
The body of Christ – the Garden of God!
If we constitute God’s garden, then nothing shall prevent the
great Husbandman from bringing His heritage to abundance and fruition.
It is His responsibility to look after it, and to see that it
brings forth a harvest for His glory.
Corporately we all make up God’s garden, while individually we
are each a garden within. The
garden often becomes a beautiful type of the “inner part” of our
being, and it can be traced all the way through the scriptures, beginning
with the charge that was given to Adam to “keep” or “guard” his
garden. In the beginning God
created the earth. The
“earth” is often a symbol of man, for man was taken from the earth and
formed into a physical and soulical being.
“The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the
Lord from heaven. As is the
earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such
are they also that are heavenly. And
as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of
the heavenly” (1 Cor. 15:47-49). But
now I would draw your attention beyond that “earth” which man is.
Within the earth there was a smaller, but very important place
called “Eden.” Eden was
the region in which God prepared a still smaller entity called the
“Garden.” In the midst or
middle of the Garden He planted two important trees.
And above all we must notice that it was in the Garden area that
the voice of God was heard. May
the Spirit of the living God lay His finger of inspiration upon this scene
that we may see clearly that in order to commune with God we are to enter
into the deepest part of us inside of us, which the scriptures often call
the “spirit.” This is
where He communes with us. “The
hour cometh and now is, when the true worshipper shall worship the Father in
spirit…” (Jn. 4:27). “In
the spirit” – that is where we walk in the cool of the day and commune
with our heavenly Father.
Now then, since a garden is a beautiful and fragrant and fruitful
place, an attractive spot, it naturally follows that the child of God
should be the same. The
radiance of heaven should shine from our countenances, the fragrance of
Christ should emanate from our souls – the life of God should flow out
from our spirit. Just as folk
are attracted to a lovely flower garden, because of its inherent beauty,
and look upon it with an, “Ah!” and an “Oh!” – completely
enthralled with God’s creative ability – so we, as members of
Christ’s body, are to be shining examples of the grace and glory of God,
“living epistles” known and read of all men, a sweet fragrance of
Christ unto all. So I would
ask you to take a tour of your garden today and ask yourself this
question: How many flowers can I discover?
How much fruit is there on the trees?
If your heart is, indeed, the garden of the Lord, then you are not
growing thorns, briars, or stinkweeds; but you are producing exquisite
blooms of rich and varied hues, pleasing to the eye, and fruits which have
an exciting aesthetic quality, delicious to the taste and nourishing to
the garden of my heart, O lovely Christ
fragrant with the odors of thy grace;
sweet perfume of blooming flowers
pleasant, Lord, Thy dwelling place.
fruitful vines and trees abound,
tares spring up to spoil or mar;
the beauty of Thy fruitful garden
waft its perfume near and far.
heavenly mercy drops of rain
water oft its flowers and trees,
birds and bloom shed forth perfume
every south wind’s gentle breeze.
let the cold north wind blow, too,
fiercer blasts may have their part
Thy fenced-in dwelling place,
garden, Lord, of mine heart.
- Eldora E. Taylor
MIDST OF THE GARDEN
the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there He put the man
whom He had formed. 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, saying, of the tree of the knowledge
of good and evil… the fruit of the tree which is IN THE MIDST OF THE
GARDEN… ye shall not eat of it, lest ye die” (Gen. 2:8-9, 16-17; 3:3).
Against the background of this picture of the Garden of Eden it is
related how man was put into this Garden in order to live in it and how
two trees stood in the middle of the Garden: one the tree of life,
the other the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
And upon these two trees IN THE MIDDLE OF THE GARDEN the destiny of
man was to be decided. There
were, indeed, three kinds of trees in the Garden.
There was the tree of life, the tree of the knowledge of good and
evil, and then all those other trees denoted as “all the trees of the
garden.” Man began his
sojourn upon earth living in the realm of “all the trees of the
garden.” But man’s future
experience and destiny were to be decided by his relationship to the two
trees in the middle.
Two trees in the middle. First
of all there is the tree of life. It
is clear from the context that man was not forbidden to eat of it.
It was there, revealed, offered, available.
LIFE, abundant, immortal, incorruptible, eternal!
For this reason the tree of life is mentioned very casually in
Genesis 2:8-9. It was IN THE
MIDDLE – that is all that is said about it!
It was right there in man’s consciousness, in man’s nature.
The life that comes forth from God is in the middle.
This means that God, the source of life, is in the middle.
In the middle of the world which is at Adam’s disposal and over
which he has been given dominion is not Adam himself but the tree of
God’s eternal and incorruptible life.
Adam’s life was to come from the middle which was not Adam in his
self-consciousness, but in his God-consciousness.
This means that with God as his center man would have life.
It means that man was created and formed with the wonderful
capacity to LIVE IN THE SPIRIT and WALK AFTER THE SPIRIT.
“For … to be SPIRITUALLY MINDED is life and peace”
(Rom. 8:6). One of man’s
inherent potentials was to know God within as the source and center of his
But, like the tree of life, the tree of the knowledge of good and
evil also stands in the middle of the Garden!
To this tree is attached the command not to eat of it upon penalty
of death. Death in the
In man’s very nature. Thus
is it declared with unquestionable certainty that man was formed with the
capacity to LIVE IN THE FLESH and WALK AFTER THE FLESH.
“For to be CARNALLY MINDED is death” (Rom. 8:6).
One of man’s inherent potentials was to know Self as the source
and center of his life. But
alas! Self would not bring
life, it would bring death. Man
could make the world of appearances, the physical realm, mortal
consciousness, the bodily senses and appetites his center but death
would be found to dwell in that center.
Life and death were in the middle.
Two trees, two realities IN THE MIDST of the Garden of man’s
experience and being. Both
realities are in the middle – within man.
One or the other is every man’s center, the plane of his
consciousness, the sphere of his existence.
But mark it well – both cannot be the center of any
man’s life! He who eats of
the tree of life will find that the death realm will come to have no more
dominion over him. And he who
eats of the tree of death will discover that he becomes alienated from the
tree of life. Thus, both
trees, both realities are in the center of man’s life but both
cannot be the center of his life!
“For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through
the spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live” (Rom. 8:13).
“This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lusts
of the flesh” (Gal. 5:16). How
simple! God would at once be
the limit and the middle of our existence.
But how could Adam grasp these mighty realities?
How could Adam, living as he did in the “soul realm” of “all
the trees of the Garden” understand what divine life is when he had not
yet tasted of the tree of life? How
could Adam comprehend what death is when he had never yet experienced
anything of its dread power? How
could Adam even know what difference there is between life, good, evil,
sin, and death, living as he did in the unblemished innocence of his
child-like beginning? As well
explain the mysteries of biology or astronomy to a new-born infant!
Could all of this really mean anything more to Adam than empty
words? No, Adam could
not be expected to understand such awesome things, but under the gracious
and skillful hand of God he would be instructed and taught.
To this end man was placed on earth in a Garden with two trees in
the middle – and with both God and a Serpent walking and talking with
DEFINITION OF ETERNAL LIFE