By Ronald Graham
These days there seems to be a lot of confusion, conjecture, fictional theories, and downright foolishness concerning the whereabouts of the Garden of Eden. What happened to that awesome Garden after Adam and Eve rebelled and received their eviction notice demanding they leave their one time home post-haste? Was it destroyed by the Flood of Noah’s time? Was it just simply eliminated by God? Where has it gone, this Garden of God?
“And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed.” Genesis 2:8. Planted in the Hebrew is “nata” and it means to establish. We see from the scripture verse above that God planted (established) this Garden in Eden (Eden, by the way, means pleasure) and then after creating Adam, placed him in his new habitat. “And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.” Genesis 2:15. Adam was created from the dust of the earth, and then he was transported to a location more befitting his newly created life. Adam was given an awesome responsibility in this newly established habitat, which was to keep the garden beautiful (dress it). But none of these verses tell us precisely where Eden was. So, just where is this garden of God?
After their rebellion and subsequent fall, Adam and his wife were given an eviction notice. Suddenly we see our antediluvian parents being banished from the Garden of Eden. That banishment included a new life in another location apart from the Garden of Eden, a life that would be consumed with hard physical labor, undoubtedly coupled with a deep sense of guilt, shame, and misery for them both. “Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken.” Genesis 3:23. God sent Adam (and Eve) out of the Garden and back to the land and ground from which he was created. So here we see that God speaks of two distinct locations. The ground that He used to create Adam was distinctly different than the surroundings in the Garden of Eden – the perfect environment for God’s new creation. We know where the “ground” is – it’s the earth where we all live today. But where is that elusive Garden?
“So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.” Genesis 3:24. The word “ke(ruwb (Cherub) in the Hebrew, used in the above verse, can denote one Cherub or a number of Cherubim. The translators of the King James Version of the Bible translated “ke(ruwb” into English as Cherubims which doesn’t really make sense. The plural of cherub is cherubim. There is no need for an “s” at the end as we see rendered in English in the above verse. In this case God placed a Cherub (ke(ruwb) at the east of the Garden of Eden to keep the way of the tree of life. As we look further into the Hebrew words we find that God placed just one angelic sword there with the Cherub, this would further indicate the presence of just one Cherub.
Was this precaution to keep Adam and his descendents out of the Garden of Eden? Not hardly. Angels are very powerful and cherubim are even more so. One angel would have been over-kill to keep mankind out of God’s Garden.
Here’s a little tidbit of information for those of you who are not familiar with the power of angels. “And it came to pass that night, that the angel of the LORD went out, and smote in the camp of the Assyrians an hundred fourscore and five thousand: and when they arose early in the morning, behold, they were all dead corpses.” 2 Kings 19:35. One angel in one night slew 185,000 Assyrians; they are much more powerful than humans.
If we humans were being kept from the Garden we would be able to see it and the Cherub wielding his flaming sword. So, where is that Garden? Consider this. The Garden of Eden does not exist in the dimension in which we live and the Cherub is not guarding against humans, but guarding against supernatural beings bent on wickedness who desperately want access to the tree of life. The flaming sword (angelic sword in the Hebrew) that turned every way indicates a supernatural barrier. Therefore there would be no “earthly” reason for guarding the entrance to the Garden of Eden against unlawful entry by mankind. It’s a physical impossibility for mortal humans “in the flesh” to see it, let alone enter the Garden of Eden (Paradise).
That Cherub is there explicitly to keep supernatural malevolent beings from entering and being mischievous. But why? I’m going to answer that question with a bit of conjecture on my part, but it’s a logical conclusion. God told Satan and his hoard of fallen angels that there would be a fight between two distinct seeds (“And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” Genesis 3:15). The hostility God is speaking about is between Jesus the Christ (the seed of the women) and Satan’s seed. This proclamation caused Satan to realize that if he was to survive it was up to him to disrupt God’s plan of the redemption of mankind. If Satan had been allowed to enter the Garden of Eden again; and more specifically to gain access to the “tree of life,” that access could have greatly contributed to his agenda of disrupting God’s plan to restore the broken relationship between Him and man. Obviously God had no intention of allowing Satan any latitude in this area again – hence the Cherub and his sword. The Garden of Eden/Paradise is of another dimension where the faithful go when they die. Therefore Satan and his cohorts had to have been denied any access to that dimension without exception.
“And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life , and eat, and live for ever:” Genesis 3:23. The above verse explains why God, being fully aware of Satan’s plan, had no choice but to guard the entrance to the Garden of Eden. Otherwise man, by way of Satan and his malevolent hoard of fallen angels, would have become as corrupt as those wicked supernatural beings, but with one added detriment for mankind. With access to the properties of that “Tree of Life”, man would have been immortal just like those malevolent supernatural beings and just as bent on corruption, shades of Genesis chapter 6 occurring over and over again.
The only way we humans can live forever is to shed these mortal vessels we refer to as bodies. Basically we must die to live. “So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.” 1 Corinthians 15:54. It was Christ’s victory over death and over Satan that gives humanity the only way of by-passing eternal damnation. Not at all the way Satan would have preferred things to have turned out. But hey, there it is. God is faithful! We can depend on God’s plans as always being perfect.
“He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.” Revelation 2:7. Jesus’ own words tell us where the tree of life can be found – it’s in the midst of Paradise. And those who overcome will be given access to that tree. Certainly the probability of Paradise and the Garden of Eden being the same location is very great indeed since from the beginning the “tree of life” was “established” as one of the trees in the Garden of Eden. We either have two names for the same location – The Garden of Eden/Paradise – or someone dug up the “tree of life” and replanted it in another location.
“And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom:” Luke 16:22. Abraham’s bosom is a reference to Paradise. On the day Christ was crucified there were two others suspended on their own crosses. One recognized who Christ was and asked to be remembered. He is now in paradise with the rest of the believers. “And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.” Luke 23:43. Paradise is the location where the Apostle Paul tells us he went when he was raptured (caught up – Harpazo- in the Greek). “How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.” 2 Corinthians 12:4. When the saints are finally caught up (Raptured) we too will be with the Lord in Paradise (the Garden of Eden). If I’m correct in my theory about the Garden of Eden and Paradise being the same location, then the Garden of Eden has moved. “Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.” Ephesians 4:8. Now we see Paradise has been moved to a new location – it has ascended up on high.
So, the Garden of Eden is still very real, it’s just not visible to those still living on earth. Paradise is also very real because both locations are one and the same, and God confirms this by referring to the “tree of life” and it’s location as being both in the Garden and in Paradise. It’s a place that is completely off limits to any form of evil. It can’t be described with human words. It’s a dimension that will never be seen by the damned. It belongs to God and the redeemed.
“We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.” 2 Corinthians 5:8. Everyone who has died with their faith firmly established in the Son of God is now occupying that Garden/Paradise. They now know without any doubt that Paradise was never lost – only man. Paradise awaits each of us who’ve placed our faith and trust in the One who designed and created it, our Lord and Savior Jesus the Christ. The alternative to Paradise has never moved; it’s exactly where it was when Abraham had the discussion with the rich man in Luke chapter 16 verses 19 through 31. By the way, that discourse was not a parable but a true account.
The Creator of all dimensions (Jesus Christ) has a special dimension fully established, which currently houses multitudes of God’s children. In contrast to that beautiful, awesome Garden (Paradise) is a location which is the most unpleasant of habitations, and that is a gross understatement. It currently awaits all the Christ-rejecters who have made it plain they want nothing to do with God. Two distinct and completely dissimilar eternal locations are in view as we live our lives out on planet earth. Paradise and Hell – both equally real. Paradise is the place where the living, continue living…forever. Hell is the place where the dead continue dying…forever. Deciding on which location you prefer doesn’t take a lot of intellectual prowess. It’s a simple choice. Which place is yours?
God bless you all,
All scripture is from the KJV and God breathed