The Limitless Garden: A Theological Exploration of Eden
by Ted Tschopp
Understanding the Boundaries and Potential of the Garden of Eden
“Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.
“Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food. And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.”
When no bush of the field was yet in the land and no small plant of the field had yet sprung up—for the Lord God had not caused it to rain on the land, and there was no man to work the ground, and a mist was going up from the land and was watering the whole face of the ground— then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature. And the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed. And out of the ground the Lord God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. A river flowed out of Eden to water the garden, and there it divided and became four rivers.
The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it.
Ok, the first idea. Adam (The Man) was put into the garden of Eden (not in Eden specifically) to work it and keep it. What is the limit of the garden? We notice that Eden has a limit. There is definitely an inside and an outside. Now looking at the garden. We that God planted the garden in Eden, and that he placed the tree of live in the midst of the garden, as well as the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. But we also notice that the river flowed out of Eden to water the garden. This river divided into four rivers. The important point I’m looking at is the idea of the garden, along with the rivers, flowing out of Eden. Also we see the man was told to work and keep the Garden.
Ok, So what is a garden? It’s a collection of plants. It’s ordered. But as they are plants they fall under the command from God to be fruitful and multiply. So, how far does the garden extend? Lets say it extends 10 miles in every direction from the tree of Life. It seems that’s a reasonable thing to say, as the tree of life was in the midst of the garden.
What happens when, after several years of working (and avoiding the serpent), the Garden grows to ten miles in each direction, is mans job done? No, for a garden to be a garden it has to grow. So what is the limit of the Garden? What if there was never a fall, to what limit should the garden have been extended? What if there was never a curse, and the garden didn’t start to die?; how far had it been extended? How far could it have been extended; to the size of a city? A state? A country? A continent? The whole world? Could the Garden be extended to the Moon? How about to Mars? To the Stars? Where do we want to put up a fence and say this is inside the garden, and that is outside?
Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be anything accursed…
Our final look at the Garden is here. We see a city has sprung up around the tree of life, on either side of the river, and that the fruit from the tree is bearing fruit, and that this fruit is healing and removing the curse.
So, the effects of the fall and it’s curse are only temporary. But my question still stands? What is the limit of the Garden? How far will it extend? Just to the edge of the city which has grown up around the banks? How about to the edge of the state? Will it be only to those of a given country, or just to those individuals of a given race? Will you be the one who plants the first tree on the moon? Are the stars really that far away when you have forever? Perhaps they are in need of a couple gardeners.