The Garden of Eden

When I began to ask myself, what is God’s purpose for me and my life and in my struggles, I decided to re-read the Bible starting from the very first chapter, Genesis. In my moments of exploration, God’s original purpose for us began to reveal itself to me. My focus was in the Garden of Eden. I personally believe that it is in the Garden of Eden where we discover what God’s original purpose was for humans. Not only is our purpose to worship God and give glory to his name, but we also have to ask what is our purpose when we are faced with temptations, trials, and tribulations, and what are God’s thoughts toward us?

When we look at the Garden of Eden in Genesis chapter 1-3 we can begin to see His thoughts toward us. One of the things that I would like to point out is that God is more of a genius, an artist, a realist, a philosopher, a scientist than all those in the world combined just by the things he starts to do in Genesis and finishes in Revelations. If we are really thinking about the Garden of Eden, one of the first thoughts that came to my head was why did God choose a garden out of all places on earth to place the first man and the first woman. Because think about it and think again. He had the option to put man on plot of land, in a house, in a mansion, in a cottage by a lake, in the mountains, or the jungles but NO he chose a garden and there is great significance in that. But why?

Let’s first think of what a garden is with respect to what composes a home or a land. A garden is just one portion on a land. A garden does not take up the whole land and is not included on every land. Typically, with respect to the 21st century, on a plot of land you may find a house with a backyard, a front yard, or a side yard. You may also find fields of crops on some land, but generally the garden is usually the smallest part of the whole plot. Usually, a garden is planted out of leisure, or as an additive way of a food source. Some people plant gardens because they have to, but when we think of the word garden we usually associate it with something people do to relax, to getaway, to supplement. We don’t typically associate “garden” with a negative connotation.

Second, let’s look at things that we can find in a garden: plants, fruits, vegetables, flowers, etc. These are things that provide value to our homes, to our property, and to our health. It brings out colors, brings out life, it is the producer of new life that begins with a seed.

Third, let’s examine how a garden works. Generally speaking, the land used for a garden is tilled, then seeds are planted, then water and minerals are provided in order that the seed can grow and blossom into its respective fruit, vegetable, flower, etc. When we plant a seed, we have to know that a seed cannot grow on its own. We cannot place a seed in the ground, leave it there without providing the necessary nutrients, come back three months later and expect to find the plant. Nor can we place a seed in bad soil and expect it to grow. When we look at the developmental process of a seed to a plant we learn that in order for a seed to grow it must undergo a process called photosynthesis where the germinating seed draws energy from the sun and minerals and nutrients from the soil in order to produce glucose, a sugar, and oxygen which are used in the formation of a growing plant. Without sun and water the seed will not grow but die. After the seed grows, we get to enjoy the product. We eat the fruit and vegetable, and admire the beauty of the flower. However, we have to ask ourselves does every plant make it every time and does every gardener obtain perfection every time?

So let’s head back to the Garden of Eden. When the Bible describes the Garden of Eden it describes it as a paradise, where there is trees, animals, and everything one needs to survive (Genesis 2:6-14). I believe three key things happen in the Garden of Eden that are important in understanding the importance of our purpose and the pain in our struggle. When we look at the Garden of Eden, we notice ONE, God did not create man to be left alone. He gave man a woman, He gave man a friend, He gave man a resource. When we go through the struggles of our life, when we are searching or redefining our purpose, when we are overwhelmed with the stresses of life we have to remember that God’s original purpose of our life was that we do not have to do it alone. There are others, whether you have met them or not, who can help us achieve, find, and fulfill our purpose. Those others can provide us with resources and advice that will help us overcome our daily struggles. They can remind us of the God that we serve. Even the spirit of God was there in that Garden because God did not get us where we are and then leave us alone. NO He chooses to stay beside us, He chooses to dwell amongst us, He chose to send Christ into the world to die for us because WE ARE HIS BELOVED. We were not created to struggle but to find peace and joy in the midst of our struggle and to illuminate the glory of God amidst it all.

The second key point about the Garden of Eden was that God gave us the choice and the authority to overcome every temptation that the enemy brings before us and the ability to redeem ourselves from every mistake we make. Yes, God told Adam AND Eve to stay away from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil (accountability is important – point one, God gave us companionship) and yes, the serpent was there and yes, Eve ate from the apple, and yes Adam ate from the apple (Genesis 2:16-17, Genesis chapter 3). But in all of this, we see that we were given a conscience that helps us identify temptation, and we are given the opportunity to redeem ourselves before the most holy God, and we serve a God who understands. Yet, the question sometimes is do we understand the God that we serve.

Here we also see that humans make mistakes and it’s not about the fact that we do make mistakes, but it is how we overcome and avoid making the same mistakes again. We are not perfect. Perfection is  beyond hard to obtain, but I believe God desires that we strive towards EXCELLENCE and obtain wisdom because we were created in the likeness of his image.

The third point that I would like to point out in the Garden of Eden was that it was a Garden. Adam and Eve were like a seed in that garden that required constant nourishment from God who aided them in the photosynthetic process of their growth. And without drawing our wisdom, our strength, our health from God, how do we expect to grow without that Sun and minerals. Another thing about the Garden of Eden was that it was created to be beautiful, it served a purpose of habitation, and sustained through food. And yes in every garden there are worms, other micro agents, and weather that effect the growth of the garden, just like the serpent in the Garden of Eden. However, we must not forget that for every pest there is a treatment and for every problem there is a solution, and where we choose to obtain our solution is also where we are going to find restoration.

Remembering what I said earlier, we tend to associate gardens with leisure, pleasure, and hard work. And we have to remember that God’s purpose for our life is not death, it’s not to not have fun, it’s not to sit at home and watch Netflix and it is definitely not meant to stress out and worry. Because God has created us to be people of purpose and to put us in a place of purpose where we will find peace, where we will find joy before, during, and after our trials and tribulations. I personally believe that God put the first humans in a Garden because he does not want us to worry but to sit back and relax in him. We are created to enjoy the gifts that God has given us and the beauty that God has designed us with because gardens only turn out ugly when they do not receive the nourishments that is required. I encourage all of you to draw the source of your energy from God and see how he transforms the seed of your purpose and desires into the fruits of your labor.

-Ufuoma Ikoba

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