Gardens & Gardeners
As creation needs a Creator so a garden needs a gardener. ‘And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being. The LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden, and there He put the man whom He had formed.’ Genesis 2:7-8. As the LORD God had cultivated the ‘dust of the ground’ to form man, so man was to image the LORD God by cultivating and guarding the garden. For it is written ‘Then the LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it.’ Genesis 2:15. The ‘big picture’? ‘So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”’ Genesis 1:27-28. Francis Nigel Lee sums up man’s commission: ‘Man was created, in order to turn the whole Earth and Universe into a garden of Eden! Psalm 8:3-6.’ The progressive written revelation of God ends with the picture of man transplanted into the garden-city, i.e., the New Jerusalem. (Rev. 21&22).
What happened during the building of the great garden-city of God? Well, the Garden of Eden needed a new gardener because the first gardener had beaten his ploughshare into a sword and his pruning hook into a spear joining the devil in his rebellion against the LORD God. Thus Adam smashed the covenant God had made with him. He broke the covenant Law by eating the forbidden fruit which was ‘pleasant to the eyes’ (Gen. 3:6.) Moses echoed this years later when he reiterated to God’s people what they had done to God, saying, ‘You had turned quickly from the way which the LORD had commanded you. Then I took the two tablets and threw them out of my two hands and broke them before your eyes.’ Deuteronomy 9:16b-17. Jesus, the Law of God incarnate, was nailed through His two hands to a tree. Thus the Seed of the woman, the fruit of her womb, the Word become flesh was broken before the eyes of the world: ‘Look to Me, and be saved, all the ends of the earth! For I am God and there is no other’ Isaiah 45:22.
But our eyes are withholden from recognizing Him unless He is pleased to open them for us. ‘Now in the place where He was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb in which no one had been laid. So there they laid Jesus…’ John 19:41-42a. After rising from the dead Jesus said to Mary Magdalene who was beside His empty tomb, ‘“Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” She, supposing Him to be the gardener, said to Him, “Sir, if You have carried Him away, tell me where You have laid Him, and I will take Him away.” Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to Him, “Rabboni!” which is to say, Teacher.’ John 20:15-16.
The earth as it were went through the four seasons as the green leaves of summer became the falling leaves of autumn with the fall of man. The long dark winter followed during which the LORD God did no small amount of pruning. But spring arrived with the resurrection of the new gardener, the sweet budding rod of Aaron, who has the name above all names written on Him He was the remnant of the remnant. He was the last Man standing. Yes, a gardener was needed to replace Adam – one who would be obedient to God’s cultural mandate, one who would perfectly keep God’s covenant with man. The replacement Gardener was obedient unto death and has therefore also paid the penalty we owed to God for our disobedience.
Adam uprooted mankind from the earth with his disobedience and as members of fallen mankind we became like so much chaff and straw, fuel for the fire prepared for the devil. But the new Adam has His feet firmly planted on earth upon which, when renewed, He shall dwell forever in the midst of His redeemed. His perfect obedience to God ensures this. By His Spirit He is working in, with, and through men – transforming them. And through them is transforming the raw materials of earth into His glorious garden-city which He will unveil on the last day. Thus the whole Earth and Universe will be turned into a Garden of Eden by the new Adam.