God was the first gardener. â€œNow the Lord God had planted a
garden in the east, in Edenâ€� (Genesis 2:8). The first requirement
for a garden is a location. God chose a spot in Eden.
A garden needs a water supply. â€œA river watering the garden
flowed from Eden, and from there it divided; it had four headstreams.
The name of the first is Pishon . . . the second river is the Gihon . . .
the third river is the Tigris . . . and the fourth river is the Euphratesâ
€� (Genesis 2:10-14).
A garden implies plants. â€œAnd the Lord God made all kinds of
trees grow out of the groundâ€”trees that were pleasing to the eye
and good for foodâ€� (Genesis 2:8-9). The garden was fertile and
luxurious, teeming with vegetation. Gardens come in two basic
types: flower and vegetable. This garden was both. The first home
for human beings was prepared by God to give both pleasure and
A garden requires labor. â€œThe Lord God took the man and put
him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of itâ€� (Genesis
2:15). People were put into the garden, given productive work to do,
and charged with caring for the garden.
A garden exists to be shared. â€œThe Lord God said, â€˜It is not
good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.â
€™ Now the Lord God had formed out of the ground all the beasts
of the field and all the birds of the air. He brought them to the man to
see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each
living creature, that was its name. But for Adam no suitable helper
was foundâ€� (Genesis 2:18).
God created woman as a companion and sexual partner for Adam.
Just as each of the plants and animals of the garden had seeds in them
to be able to reproduce after their kind, so did the people. â€œFor
this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his
wife, and they will become one fleshâ€� (Genesis 2:24).
Adam and Eve lived together in the garden in a state of perfect
innocence and harmony, walking and talking with each other and with
God. Before the entrance of sin into the world, the garden was
literally a Paradise on earth. As such, it is associated with Heaven, as
well as with the Peaceable Kingdom of Isaiah 11:6.
The garden is a prototype of the larger world, given to human beings
to provide for our needs. It is our home, where we live together as
family. It is the realm where we do productive work. We are to care
for this world, our home, and not to exploit it for selfish ends. If we
care for it, this world will provide us with our needs, the needs of
those living beings we share it with, and the needs of future
generations. If we care for the people in our lives--family, friends,
neighbors and other co-inhabitants of the planet--we can at least give
people a glimpse of Paradise here on earth.