Can we find the garden of Eden (and other related questions)?

Question: Adam and Eve never sinned until the serpent enticed them. At the exact moment they decided to eat the fruit, they were sinning in their thought life…something along the lines of prideful thinking or doubting God. But how could they sin in their minds beforehand if sin didn’t enter the world until they physically ate the fruit?

And, how could a holy God walk with Adam and Eve immediately following their sin? No sacrifice had been given. How could God walk in the garden, looking for them, FINDING them, being in their presence, when they were unclean?

When the Bible says, “God walked with them”, I’ve always assumed that was anthropomorphic language. I’ve always assumed the Father God doesn’t have a body. But then in Hebrews 1:3 it says the Son is the EXACT REPRESENTATION of God’s being… and I am thinking exact means exact…. And Christ had a body… And if the Father is body-less, then Christ wouldn’t be EXACTLY representing the Father unless Christ was body-less too…

Lastly, I guess scholars have tried to locate the Garden of Eden, right? Wouldn’t it have to be an area with no people? And are angels still guarding the entrance? Seems like we would see the flaming sword swinging back and forth, even if we couldn’t see the angels… what’s the deal?

Answer: Sin is not an entity, not a thing. Sin is a response to God, a bad response. Adam and Eve sinned the moment they decided that God was holding out on them and that they should take care of themselves and not trust Him. But they did not receive the penalty for that sin until they actually ate from the tree. That was the action that God had told them not to do. That was the moment of absolute disobedience, of crossing the line drawn in the sand.

Where do we get the idea that God can’t be around sinful people. We know from Job that He is quite able to talk to Satan when he visits God in heaven. [By the way, Satan has not been cast out of heaven yet, in my view. That won’t happen until the great Tribulation’s last 3 and a half years, Revelation 12.] God is not unable to be around sinful creatures. But His goal is to produce a kingdom in which sin does not exist (I know, it is not a thing or entity that exists, but here I mean that it does not operate at all). His original kingdom in Eden was like that but not for long. As God talks with Adam and Eve He clothes them with garments of skin, which, of course, requires an animal or animals to die. There is your sacrifice. This sacrifice does not actually take away their sin. Only the sacrifice of Jesus could do that. But it is a picture of what God is going to do through Jesus in Adam and Eve’s future.

I believe it makes more sense to understand God’s walking with Adam and Eve as literal. That is, He actually took on a physical appearance and walked with them. I believe it makes sense to assume that the Son took on this role or responsibility. He did not yet have a human nature (that didn’t occur until the first Christmas), but part of His job is to make the Father known to us (John 1:14-18). But either way, one member of the Trinity took on human form and walked and talked with Adam and Eve. The Bible is very clear that God is a Spirit (John 4:24) and invisible (1 Timothy 6:16) and therefore does not have a body. When He says in Genesis 1 that we are made in His image He is therefore not talking about a physical image but a spiritual one. Typically, for ease of reference, we describe that image as an intellect, emotions, and will that can have responsible interactions with God and one another on a par with God’s intellect, emotions and will. When the writer of Hebrews says Jesus is the exact representation of God’s being he means that Jesus has the exact same essence as God, that is, He is infinite, eternal and unchangeable in His being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness and truth (Westminster Confession definition of God’s essence). That is, Jesus is equal to God. Jesus also has a human essence (a nature finite, created, changeable in its being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness and truth, originally without sin, which is true of Jesus’ human nature as well). This is what makes Jesus the head of a new race of human beings redeemed by His death and resurrection (He is the last Adam, the last representative of the human race, 1 Corinthians 15:45,46; He is the second Man, the second progenitor of the human race, though this progenitor is of a spiritual nature, 1 Corinthians 15:47-49).

I presume that at some point it was no longer necessary for the garden of Eden to stay around. There was a flood that undoubtedly would have washed it away. And we are told that the tree of life is now in the heavenly Jerusalem (Revelation 22:2) so it makes sense to me that God took all that to heaven at some point. I would not go looking for it anywhere here on earth. Hence, no need for the flaming sword or angels guarding it either.

Randall Johnson

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One thought on “Can we find the garden of Eden (and other related questions)?

  1. The Garden of Eden has been found in the Rachaiya Basin, Southern Lebanon by exploration geologist and multi disciplined researcher Christian O’Brien, who recorded the facts on this discovery in his book, co-authored with his wife Barbara Joy, the Genius of the Few in 1984. A raft of supporting evidence with the site survey photographs, a video presentation and much more is available on the Golden Age Project website.

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