THE STORY OF A BEAUTIFUL GARDEN
Genesis 1:1 to 3:24
THIS great round world, on which we live, is very old; so old that no one knows when it was made. But long before there was any earth, or sun, or stars, God was living, for God never began to be. He always was. And long, long ago, God spoke, and the earth and the heavens came. But the earth was not beautiful as it is now, with mountains and valleys, rivers and seas, with trees and flowers. It was a great smoking ball, with land and water mingled in one mass. And all the earth was blacker than midnight, for there was no light upon it. No man could have breathed its air, no animals could walk upon it, and no fish could swim in its black oceans. There was no life upon the earth.
While all was dark upon earth, God said, "Let there be light," and then the light began to come upon the world. Part of the time it was light, and part of the time it was dark, just as it is now. And God called the dark time Night, and the light time Day. And that was the first day upon this earth after a long night.
Then at God's word, the dark clouds all around the earth began to break, and the sky came in sight, and the water that was in the clouds began to be separate from the water that was on the earth. And the arch of the sky which was over the earth God called Heaven. Thus the night and the morning made a second day.
Then God said, "Let the water on the earth come together in one place, and let the dry land rise up." And so it was. The water that had been all over the world came together, and formed a great ocean, and the dry land rose up from it. And the great water God called Sea, and the dry land he named Earth: and God saw that the Earth and the Sea were both good. Then God said, "Let grass and trees, and flowers, and fruits, grow on the earth." And at once the earth began to be green and bright with grass, and flowers, and trees bearing fruit. This made the third day upon the earth.
Then God said, "Let the sun, and moon, and stars come into sight from the earth." So the sun began to shine by day, and the moon and the stars began to shine in the night. And this was done on the fourth day.
And God said, "Let there be fishes in the sea, and let there be birds to fly in the air." So the fishes, great ones and small, began to swim in the sea; and the birds began to fly in the air over the earth, just as they do now. And this was the fifth day.
Then God said, "Let the animals come upon the earth, great animals and small ones; those that walk and those that creep and crawl on the earth." And the woods and the fields began to be alive with animals of all kinds. And now the earth began to be more beautiful, with its green fields and bright flowers, and singing birds in the trees, and animals of every kind walking in the forests.
But there were no people in the world—no cities nor houses, and no children playing under the trees. The world was all ready for men and women to enjoy it: and so God said, "I will make man, to be different from all other animals. He shall stand up and shall have a soul, and shall be like God; and he shall be the master of the earth and all that is upon it."
So God took some of the dust that was on the ground, and out of it he made man; and God breathed into him the breath of life, and man became alive, and stood up on the earth.
( click to see Genesis 1:26-30 and 2:7 )
And so that the man whom God had made might have a home, God planted a beautiful garden on the earth, at a place where four rivers met. Perhaps we might rather call it a park, for it was much larger than any garden that you have ever seen, for it was miles and miles in every direction. In this garden, or park, God planted trees, and caused grass to grow, and made flowers to bloom. This was called "The Garden of Eden," and as in one of the languages of the Bible the word that means "garden," or "park," is a word quite like the word "Paradise," this Garden of Eden has often been called "Paradise." This garden God gave to the man that he had made; and told him to care for it, and to gather the fruits upon the trees and the plants, and to live upon them. And God gave to the first man the name Adam: and God brought to Adam the animals that he had made, and let Adam give to each one its name.
But Adam was all alone in this beautiful garden. And God said, "It is not good for man to be alone. I will make some one to be with Adam, and to help him." So when Adam was asleep, God took a rib from Adam’s side, and from it God made a woman; and he brought her to Adam, and Adam called her Eve. And Adam and Eve loved one another; and they were happy in the beautiful garden which God had given them for a home.
Thus in six days the Lord God made the heavens and the earth and the sea, and all that is in them. And on the seventh day God rested from his work.
For a time, we do not know how long, Adam and Eve were at peace in their beautiful garden. They did just as God told them to do, and talked with God as a man would talk with his friend; and they did not know of anything evil or wicked. It was needful for Adam and Eve to understand that they must always obey God’s commands. So God said to Adam and Eve:
"You may eat the fruit of all the trees in the garden except one. In the middle of the garden grows a tree, with fruit upon it that you must not eat and you must not touch. If you eat of the fruit upon that tree, you shall die."
( click to see Genesis 2:16-17 )
Now among the animals in the garden there was a snake: and this snake said to Eve, "Has God told you that there is any kind of fruit in the garden, of which you are forbidden to eat?"
And Eve answered the snake, "We can eat the fruit of all the trees except the one that stands in the middle of the garden. If we eat the fruit of that tree, God says that we must die."
Then the snake said, "No, you will not surely die. God knows that if you eat of the fruit of that tree, you will become as wise as God himself, for you will know what is good and what is evil."
Eve listened to the snake, and then she looked at the tree and its fruit. As she saw it, she thought that it would taste good; and if it would really make one wise, she would like to eat it, even though God had told her not to do so. She took the fruit, and ate it; and then she gave some to Adam, and he too ate it.
Adam and Eve knew that they had done wrong in not obeying God’s words: and now for the first time they were afraid to meet God. They tried to hide themselves from God’s sight among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called and said, "Adam, where are you?" And Adam said, "Lord, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, and I hid myself."
And God said, "Why were you afraid to meet me? Have you eaten the fruit of the tree of which I told you that you must not touch it?" And Adam said, "The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me some of the fruit, and I ate it."
Then God said to the woman, "What is this that you have done?" And Eve said, "The snake told me that it would do me no harm if I should eat the fruit, and so I took some of it and ate it."
Then the Lord God said to the snake, "Because you have led Adam and Eve to do wrong, you shall no more walk as do other animals; you shall crawl in the dust and the dirt forever. You shall hate the woman, and the woman shall hate you. You shall try to kill her and her children, and her children’s children forever, and they shall try to kill you."
And the Lord God said to the woman, "Because you led your husband to disobey me, you shall suffer and have pain and trouble all the days of your life."
And God said to Adam, "Because you listened to your wife when she told you to do what was wrong, you too must suffer. You must work for everything that you get from the ground. You will find thorns and thistles and weeds growing on the earth. If you want food, you must dig and plant and reap and work, as long as you live. You came out from the ground, for you were made of dust, and back again into the dust shall your body go when you die."
( click to see Genesis 3:9-19 )
And because Adam and Eve had disobeyed the word of the Lord, they were driven out of the beautiful Garden of Eden, which God had made to be their home. They were sent out into the world; and to keep them from going back into the garden, God placed his angels before its gate, with swords which flashed like fire.
So Adam and his wife lost their garden, and no man has ever been able to go into it from that day.