Peter Misselbrook's Blog
Jan 4 2019 - Genesis 2:4-25 – The Garden of God

Our grandchildren love playing with plastic toy binoculars we have in our toy box. They look through them one way round and we seem to be far away from them but they can take in the large picture of our surroundings. Then they turn them round the other way and we seem to zoom forward and to be right in front of them. The game amuses them. Perhaps you have played in a similar, if more serious, way with a zoom lens on your camera enabling you to get a close up picture of something interesting.

In Genesis chapter two the zoom lens of Scripture is used to take us from the big perspective to see the fingerwork of God's creation. Man is formed by God from the dust of the earth – made of clay – before God breathes into him the breath of life. We are part of the very stuff of creation, but our life comes from God himself and we live in and through him; he is the source of our life.

But it is not good for the man to be alone. God's creation of all that he has made is an act of his love; we who are made in his image are made to love and be loved, to embrace and be embraced; we were made for relationship.

In the homely language of Genesis 2, all of the animals come to see Adam and he names them. They do not fear him, they trust him and submit to his kingly care – the lion with the lamb; the bear with the young deer. But none of these can offer Adam the heart-companionship he craves.

So Adam is put into a deep sleep and God makes the first woman from one of his ribs. Adam delights in this new gift of God, bone of his bones and flesh of his flesh. This is one with whom he can share the life God has given and from the embrace of their love new life will be created. Matthew Henry, an old commentator on the Bible wrote, "Women were created from the rib of man to be beside him, not from his head to top him, nor from his feet to be trampled by him, but from under his arm to be protected by him, near to his heart to be loved by him."

God planted a garden in Eden. It is his garden, the Garden of God (cf. Genesis 13:10; Ezekiel 28:13; 31:8-9), planted for those he has made in his image so that they might enjoy it with him and tend for him. It is filled with fruitful trees, among which is the Tree of Life. It is a place of life and abundance, reflecting the character of its owner.

A river flows through the garden, separating into four streams which flow out of the garden to give life to the surrounding world. God himself is the source of life for all creation – a picture picked up later in Ezekiel's vision of the Temple (Ezekiel 47), Jesus' words about the gift of the Spirit (John 7:38-39), and finally in John's vision of the new creation (Revelation 22).

This is the beautiful picture painted of the world in Genesis two, a picture that fills us with longing for a lost world – a longing for its renewal.

Father God, you are the source of life and love; help me to live in you and love as you love. Thank you for the heart-companion you have given me and with whom I share the life and love you have given. Thank you for family and friends and for the riches and blessing of human companionship. May your life flow through us and from us to renew a dry and dusty world.

Peter Misselbrook