Once I decided to close out this series talking about the Garden of Eden, I knew I had to include this clip from The Simpsons. And yes, I must recount a few highlights:
• ‘Please rise for our opening hymn, Garden of Eden, by I. Ron Butterfly.’
• ‘Hey, Marge, remember when we used to make out to this hymn?’
• ‘Wait a minute. This sounds like rock and/or roll.’
What do you picture when you think of the Garden of Eden?
Was it esthetically uninteresting but extremely practical like my mom’s garden (above)? Was it exquisitely manicured, like The Butchart Gardens in Victoria, B.C. (bel0w)?
Or was it an untamed explosion of flora, with roses bursting up next to cherry trees, and rutabagas sharing space with watermelons – with an assortment of what we call ‘weeds’ peppering the landscape in random, chaotic fashion?
Maybe all of the above, all at the same time?
I sometimes wish the Bible provided a bit more detail about Eden, but this is probably one of those instances where it’s better that we’re not given too much detail. The image can adapt, and Eden can be whatever each of us needs it to be, in that moment.
I have a feeling we will all learn first-hand someday. Revelation 22:1-5 doesn’t contain the word ‘garden’, but in the NIV, its headline is ‘Eden Restored’.
‘Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever.’ – Revelation 22:1-5
I really like the sound of that – both as a faithful(ish) disciple and as one of the horticulturally hapless. After all, the passage talks in considerable detail about the garden, but doesn’t make a peep about anyone having to do any gardening.
Peace be with you.