Heaven Will Be Better Than Eden

Eden was never intended to be the end. It was always headed somewhere — somewhere even more glorious: new heavens and a new earth.

Rather than thinking of Eden in terms of perfection, we should think of it in terms of potential. Eden was unspoiled, but it was also unfinished; it was unsullied, but it was also incomplete. As Adam and Eve were fruitful and multiplied, more offspring in the image of God would come to glorify God by enjoying him forever. As they worked and kept the garden, the boundaries of Eden would expand, and the glory of their royal rule would increase.

 

When we read about the garden of Eden in Genesis 1 and 2, we can’t help but feel drawn to its beauty and abundance and innocence. It must have been wonderful to live in such a pristine environment, with every need met, to experience an intimate marriage full of delight in each other, and to have a satisfying sense of purpose in ruling over God’s creation together.

In fact, we often hear people talk about the future in terms of a return to, or restoration of, Eden. But to speak of the new creation in terms of a restoration of Eden is actually a reduction of what God has planned for his people and for his world. Eden was never intended to be the end. It was always headed somewhere — somewhere even more glorious: new heavens and a new earth (2 Peter 3:13Revelation 21:1–2).

Rather than thinking of Eden in terms of perfection, we should think of it in terms of potential. Eden was unspoiled, but it was also unfinished; it was unsullied, but it was also incomplete. As Adam and Eve were fruitful and multiplied, more offspring in the image of God would come to glorify God by enjoying him forever. As they worked and kept the garden, the boundaries of Eden would expand, and the glory of their royal rule would increase.

Just as Eden was not yet all that God intended the home he shared with his people to be, so Adam and Eve were not yet all that God intended his people to be. They were sinless, but they were vulnerable to temptation. They were alive, but they were vulnerable to death. They were made in God’s image, and crowned with a measure of his glory, but they weren’t yet as glorious as God intended them to be. If they obeyed God regarding the forbidden tree, they would be able to eat of the tree of life and enter into the unending, glorious life promised by the tree of life. But, of course, that’s not what happened.

Garden Gone Wrong

When Satan slithered into Eden in the form of a serpent, Adam did not crush his head then and there but listened to and obeyed him. So rather than extending the boundaries of Eden, Adam and Eve were expelled from Eden. Rather than more fully sharing the glory of the image of God, the image of God in them became marred. Rather than entering into the endless Sabbath rest, they were plunged into the restlessness of the wilderness of this world.

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