A place to call home. The origin of man has a context in a place and a place to live the life God created. For Adam and Eve (real people in a real place in real historical time) this place was named Eden. A place described where four rivers are named and an abundance of water flowed. All kinds of trees grew and creation took on more than a material existence and more than a functional existence; it was also a place of beauty that man would enjoy. “Trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food.” (2:9). Food became good to eat and for both Adam, Eve, and the animals, all the food source was from seed-bearing plant and tree (1:29-30) which one may well assume all were ‘vegetarian’. Peace and harmony existed and was the rule within creation. No death.
All of this was to change when sin entered the world (Gen 3). Sin had a consequence and Adam and Eve were banished from Eden and most notably, He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever. (3:22).
After the makeshift of fig leaves for a covering, God, in his early expressions of grace and commitment towards wayward man, The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them. (3:21). The first sign of physical death is seen; the death of an animal.
Cast out of Eden the place to live and call home became different. The beginnings of man abandoning God (clearly shown from Genesis 4 onwards) but God not abandoning man. This is first attested by Eve, With the help of the Lord I have brought forth a man. Later she gave birth to his brother Abel. (4:1-2).
Abel now kept flocks and Cain worked the soil. By Genesis 10 we read of both Cush and his son Nimrod as, A mighty warrior on the earth and, A mighty hunter before the Lord. (Gen 10:8). Kingdoms and great cities are being established and built such as Babylon and Nineveh (Gen 10:10-20). What a change has occurred from the earth God first created with plant, animal and Mankind and the place to call home. The immense consequences sin has made on the place (and relationships) we call home. Where such peace and harmony ruled Eden so conquest took its place. Fortified cities, armaments still decorate our planet. The cumulative, collective and compounding desires of man to rule himself are to this day Mankind’s signature stamped on creation that hasn’t stopped with planet earth but desires also to conquer the outside realms of space – i.e. plans to one day colonise Mars. Yet under the microscope and through the telescope and with the naked eye, God’s signature remains within creation for all to see. Even with the new beginnings after the flood (Noah, the one deemed to be righteous) and family could not halt sin and its effects on Mankind. We may note the covenant God made with Noah after the flood and the changes God, in grace, made and committed to. (Gen 9:1-17). All along God’s master plan was in place- At the right time, Christ died for the ungodly.
The plan of God, from the beginning, was for Eden to be restored- the same but different. This is the Christian hope. This is what lies ahead of all who believe and put their trust in Christ. This is the sure promise of God. See, I will create new heavens and a new earth. The former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind. But be glad and rejoice forever in what I will create….. (Isaiah 65:17)
The place you and I now call home: other than years lived and perhaps change of locations; places visited, histories read- this is the only place we have experienced. But in the providence of God beauty is still breathtakingly beautiful that works the emotions even in spite of creation’s taintedness in the hands of sinful mankind to which we all must claim a part. Christ indeed is God’s perfect plan and expression of love and commitment and remains so. With Christ as saviour now there is yet salvation to come: a place where once again the tree of life will be restored to us and a city, not a garden provided and described as such, 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….no longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the lamb will be in the city….and they will reign forever and ever. (Rev. 22)
We may note a further connection back to Eden as a special place where God also resided with Man- ….the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day. (Gen3:8)
A place to call home. I guess we really are just pilgrims passing through with one life to live. With Christ as my saviour and Lord; with God’s Word in my hand and in my heart; with God’s Holy Spirit present and given; with God’s church- the people of God, to belong, so we serve and are called to a purpose. We have been called to freedom out of ‘conforming to the world’ and into a “renewing of our minds. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is…” (Romans 12:1-2). A place to call home is the place we make here but also it is the place to be longed for in God’s economy of time.
PRAYER: Psalm 104 is a meditative scripture on God as creator and provider. Perhaps this may serve as a lead-in for prayer and worship…
HYMN: Master, speak thy servant heareth, waiting for thy gracious word, Longing for thy voice that cheereth master let it now be heard. I am listening, Lord for thee. What hast thou to say to me?”
Ingrid DuMosch & The London Fox Singers – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F7JyLe8Od9s