Continuing this short discussion on the expanding Garden, my dear friend Rob comments that the Garden is the dwelling place of God. I have no quarrels with that. In fact, Professor Mark Futato brought that to my attention a few years ago. He continues and writes: “From the Garden to the tabernacle, from the tabernacle to the temple, from the temple to the Church. It continues to move forward till eventually heaven on earth becomes fully realized as the dwelling place of God.”
It is undeniable that Redemptive history looks forward (though it appears as a regress in human conception). The Garden is seen in every element of Redemptive history. But that is not the issue I am addressing. If the concept of journeying back to the garden is troublesome, it should not be. I am perfectly comfortable living with this tension. I mentioned before that in the eyes of the world, it is a non-sensical journey. We cannot deny that the Garden is part of our past. It is an earthly garden with earthly people surrounded by earthly things. It is the center of all creation. There was more outside the garden in the beginning, but it was not meant to be inherited by man at that time. In God’s perfect decree He desired that after the fall since man could not go back to the garden, the garden would come to us and man and garden will meet. Man goes back and the garden comes forward. Since the garden is no longer in one location, we do not seek the same garden that Adam dwelt, but the exapanding garden where elect humanity will dwell.
In the time of Joshua, the garden had already sprinkled itself in the Promise Land. The irony of it is that the original garden expands towards us and we journey back to it. Our journey is not geographical in nature, but our goal is to return to that original garden. The door is now open, the angel with the sword has vanished, and the animals lie with each other in perfect harmony.
When the Old Covenant terminated in Ad 70 the New Heavens and New Earth descended (Rev.21 &22) and the garden continued to spread its peace. Finding the garden is not equivalent to entry into the Eternal New Heavens and New Earth where perfection is pervasive and where Christ reigns supreme with no sin hindering humanity; finding the garden is a close, but yet imperfect environment where righteousness and justice reigns, Christ also reigns supreme (as He has from His ascension to eternity future), but sin still prevails. When elect humanity reaches the garden, the whole world will know of the glory of God, though sin will still be present, it will be as if it weren’t. Our children will live long days, sickness will be a small matter, the gospel will be the reigning theme, and Biblical Law will govern the nations. That very same garden will be upheld by God and when all Christ’s enemies are effectually under His feet, then the Son of Man will come and receive His garden, purify it, eliminate the remaining blemish and He will be all in all in the eternal garden of God where sin is no more.