Chapter Four - A Peek into Paradise

We understand that Heaven is God’s unique habitation. But, why is Heaven often referred to as paradise? Indeed, the Bible uses the word paradise to describe Heaven in the past and in the present. According to Thayer’s Greek Lexicon, paradise means: a garden, pleasure-ground, grove, or park. Strong’s Greek Dictionary states that paradise refers specifically to Eden, and also to a future place of happiness.

We are all familiar with the story of Adam and Eve in the garden that God planted eastward in Eden. However, we must recognize that the words and names which the Bible uses are rich with meaning. We have to assume that either God or Adam named this place. In either case, it is quite illustrative to note what the meaning of “Eden” is. According to Strong’s Hebrew Dictionary, Eden means pleasure. It comes from another word that means to be soft or pleasant; to live voluptuously. The Brown Driver Briggs Hebrew Lexicon also states that Eden means pleasure and adds luxury, dainty, delight, and finery to its definition. Webster says that paradise is “a place of bliss; a region of supreme felicity or delight.”

Whether Adam or God named Eden, it is clear that God had created it to be a wonderful place where man would live in the luxury of God’s creation and exist in a state of human pleasure. However, the pleasure that was experienced in Eden was not only physical, but it was incredibly spiritual as well—for Adam readily and openly enjoyed the presence of God Himself. In fact, we read that God walked with Adam in “the cool of the day.” It is evident that God spoke openly with Adam. Adam had direct access to God in a way that we really can’t understand. For Adam, Eden was Heaven. It definitely was that “unique place where God and His presence dwelt openly with His creation.” Eden was quite literally Adam and Eve’s Heaven, and the best description that we could give to this place is—paradise.

In fact, in the Greek translation of the Old Testament (known as the Septuagint), the word paradise is used in place of “garden.” So we have:

Genesis 2:8 “And the Lord God planted a paradise eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed.”

This beautiful garden which was full of the beauty of God’s creation and which gave mankind open and unfettered access to the manifest presence of God was described as paradise. It was a place of beauty and pleasure. It was simultaneously a place of physical beauty and spiritual ecstasy. Not only was it physically wonderful but God Himself was also there making it pure spiritual bliss.

In Eden, Adam and Eve had a purpose. Ultimately, like all of creation, their purpose was to please God. But, specifically for Adam and Eve, the Bible tells us that God wanted them to fill the Earth, rule the Earth, and develop it to God’s glory:

Genesis 1:28 “And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.”

God originally gave humanity the power and authority to rule and subdue the earth. To subdue and to have dominion here simply means to rule over or to reign like a king. The command was simple—take care of and rule over God’s creation like a king rules over his kingdom. Adam and Eve were to take the earth and learn about it, develop it, utilize it, beautify it, and subdue it! This, of course, would entail much work and labor. However, this would not be painful labor, but joyful labor where Adam and Eve would enjoy the fruits thereof. Work itself is not a product of the fall, but work was changed when Adam sinned and was cursed. Work now has to be done painfully by the sweat of one’s brow in toil and sorrow. Now, man is not able to enjoy the enduring fruit of his labors because at some point he dies and the curse ensures that the work of his hands will eventually fade.

It is not difficult to understand what it would be like to enjoy working. Certainly most of us have worked at something in life that we enjoyed very much. Only lazy slobs enjoy doing nothing. Our bodies were made to be active. We were made to work. Unfortunately, nearly all of the work that most of us do is toil by the sweat of our brow. It is not genuinely pleasurable, but it must be done. However, before Adam sinned we read how God had commanded him to subdue the earth and had given him the “dominion mandate” which would require him to work. In fact, even before Eve was created, God had given Adam the “job” of working in the garden:

Genesis 2:15 “And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.”

Imagine being in Eden with open access to God, enjoying His presence, being with people that you love, surrounded luxuriously by God’s beautiful creation, with the temperature always just right, ruling as a king over limitless resources, working joyfully without pain or toil knowing that the fruits of your labors will endure and not be destroyed, learning continuously about God’s creative genius as you “took dominion,” resting peacefully each night with comfort and without fear, and eating daily from the perfectly ripened fruits and vegetables of all the trees including the fruit from the tree of life. Can you imagine it? That’s paradise. That was Eden. It was Heaven for Adam and Eve.

Furthermore, there was no death in paradise. Death came as a result of sin and until Adam sinned, there could be no death of any thing that breathed the “breath of life.” Can you imagine such a place? How would you interact with God’s creation, both alive and inanimate, if you knew you would not die? Think about it…

Unfortunately, the Bible does not tell us much about Eden. We only read about it in a few short scriptures in the book of Genesis. Furthermore, we know that Eden has been lost. When Adam sinned, he was cast out of the garden. He was separated from Paradise.

Although we don’t know very much about Eden, we can learn several things from the Bible. Essentially, in Genesis the Bible gives us a quick peek into paradise that allows us to make the following observations:

• Paradise was a physical place.
• Paradise was on Earth.
• There was no death in Paradise.
• Adam and Even enjoyed open access to the presence of God in Paradise.
• The tree of life was in Paradise.
• There was work to be done in Paradise.
• Humanity had a purpose in Paradise.
• Animals, plants, and all of God’s beautiful creation surrounded man in Paradise.
• Adam and Eve were completely human in Paradise—God made them that way.
• Mankind was separated from Paradise and the tree of life when Adam sinned.

Eden was paradise in the past. It was definitely that “unique place where God and His presence dwelt openly with His creation.” God prepared this place for humanity. Adam and Eve lived there for a short time in true history on a real Earth in actual physical bodies.

Read the First Four Chapters

Chapter 1 - Introduction
Chapter 2 - Defeating Dualism
Chapter 3 - Defining Heaven
Chapter 4 - A Peek into Paradise

These are the Titles of the Remaining Chapters:
Chapter 5 - The Flesh and the Fall
Chapter 6 - Paradise for the Meantime
Chapter 7 - A Paradigm Shift
Chapter 8 - Paradise in the Future
Chapter 9 - The Restitution and the Regeneration
Chapter 10 - The Resurrection
Chapter 11 - The Redemption of the Earth
Chapter 12 - God Surrenders Nothing to His Enemies
Chapter 13 - Animals in Heaven
Chapter 14 - Rewards in Heaven
Chapter 15 - What Will the New Earth Be Like?
Chapter 16 - The Conclusion of the Whole Matter



Author:
Diego Rodriguez
Pages: 130
Size: 5.5 x 8.5
Paperback
ISBN: 0-9788829-8-9
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