Was Eden As Good as It Gets?

In the discussion on “Redemptive-Historical Hermeneutics, Divine Authorship, and the Christotelism Debate” at the first Reformed Forum conference (audio download), Lane Tipton asked a question regarding the status of Adam and Eve’s condition in Eden. He asks,

Was the pre-Fall garden situation as good as it gets?

Unlike a romanticized version of Eden where the garden is sometimes described as perfect, an Edenic version of perfection would be harsh; unless we believe it can’t get any better than

  • a mutable, losable communion with God,
  • the perpetual possibility of sinning against God,
  • the perpetual presence of the dragon/serpent seeking to devour and destroy you,
  • and a constant threat of death from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

Contrast that first-Adam scenario with the second-Adam scenario. By his life, death, resurrection, and ascension, Christ has passed the probationary test that Adam failed and

  • has crushed the serpent’s head,
  • not only conquers death and is raised to new life himself, but becomes a life-giving Spirit (1 Cor. 15:45)
  • has the power of an indestructible life (Heb. 7:16)
  • has risen never to die again (Rom. 6:9)
  • allows believers to eat of the tree of life (Rev. 2:7)
  • grants believers entrance into the new city where nothing unclean will ever enter it (Rev. 21:27).

Rather than longing to get back to Eden, Christ points us forward to the new Eden he has secured for his people, where only then will it truly and perfectly be as good as it gets.


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