No Work Garden! The Garden of Eden

Imagine a garden without tending...

Our gardens are so different than the Garden of Eden. We battle weeds, predators, oftentimes toiling against a rocky ground, and hostile climates. It is very difficult to imagine what the Garden of Eden would be like, a garden of no toil and one of vast richness.

The garden of Eden was a protective enclosure. It was protected by a wall of canopy of precious stones, the least of these being gold, indicating the preciousness of these stones. Garments were hard to describe but were of light that flashed like precious stones. In the Bible this garden is referred to many times by different names:

• "Garden in Eden" (Gen. 2:8, 10; 4:16),
• "Garden of YHWH" (Gen. 13:10; Isa. 51:3),
• "Garden of God" (Ezek. 28:13; 31:8–9).

In other biblical references it is referred to as:

• "Eden of blessing."

Genesis tells us general things about the Garden of Eden while Ezekiel expands what we can know about this garden. Ezekiel 28:14 talks about a "holy mountain" in the garden, and Ezekiel 28:14, 16 the prophet talks about "stones of fire." Ezekiel describes them in detail (31:8–9, 18).

The term "garden of YHWH" occurs in literary figures in a number of other passages in the Bible (Gen. 13:10; note Isa. 51:3: "He will make her wilderness (midbar) like Eden and her desert (arabah) like the garden of YHWH," Joel 2:3).

The name Eden has been connected with Akkadian edinu. But this word, extremely rare in Akkadian, is borrowed from the Sumerian eden and means "plain," "steppe," "desert." In fact, one Akkadian synonym list equates edinu with şēru, semantically equivalent to Hebrew midbar, "desert." Was the Garden of Eden placed in a desert, an oasis of sorts?

It is fascinating what the Hebrew root word dn can reveal about the Garden of Eden!

Dainties, luxury items, pampered woman, provider of abundance or divine garden.

The Septuagint translates Gan Eden as ho paradeisos tēs truphēs, "the park of luxuries," whence English "paradise." In Akkadian it is referred to as kiri nuhši, "garden of plenty"

According to Genesis 4:10, a single river flowed out of Eden, watered the garden and then diverged into four rivers whose courses are described and named.

Adventurer hunters and biblical scholars have taken many quests to find the Garden of Eden. Some have some very convincing evidence, although they all come up with different locations.

Next time you are struggling with your garden envision in your mind a time when the Garden of Eden will be restored, as it was in the beginning. And know that in this garden you will not to toil and but walk freely for all eternity.

Tomorrow we begin examining trees for a very special reason. Stay tuned.