Let’s read Genesis 2:8-10: “The LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden, and there He put man whom He had formed. And out of the ground the LORD God made every tree grow that is PLEASANT TO THE SIGHT and GOOD FOR FOOD. The tree of life was also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Now a river went out of Eden to WATER THE GARDEN, and from there it parted and became four riverheads” (NKJV).

First of all, the Garden of Eden represents “paradise on earth”; that is, the ideal place for man to live with perfect living conditions. It was beautiful (“pleasant to the sight”); it had abundant and nutritious food (“good for food”); it was nourished continuously by an endless water supply; and we can assume it had perfect weather. There was nothing to hinder man from thoroughly enjoying his “earthly paradise.”

Because of this idyllic place and conditions, the Garden of Eden was also “the perfect setting to test man’s obedience to God.” We read of this test in verses 15-17: “Then the LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it. And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, ‘Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die’.” The question has been asked, “Why did God test man?” The answer is simple, “God made man with the freedom of choice, and thus He gave man a simple command to see if he would “choose to obey Him,” or “choose to disobey Him.” They had everything that their hearts desired…a luscious paradise that provided beauty and food…a perfect marriage (see verses 18-24)…and communion with their Creator. Would they show their gratefulness to their benevolent Creator by refusing to eat of that one solitary tree or would they yield to the upcoming temptation (see Genesis 3:1-5) to partake of the forbidden fruit? We know the sad outcome, for they made a fatal choice as we see in Genesis 3:6: “So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate.”

On that fateful day the whole human race was plunged into sin with all its devastating results. So the Garden of Eden also represents “the origin of evil” (evil had already begun with Satan and his fallen angels, but the beginning of sin in the human race began in Eden). To prevent man from eating of the tree of life and remaining in that fallen state forever God banned them from the Garden of Eden. We read of this in Genesis 3:22-24, “Then the LORD God said, ‘Behold, the man has become like one of Us, to know good and evil. And now, lest he put out his hand and take also the tree of life, and eat, and LIVE FOREVER’—therefore the LORD God sent him out of the garden of Eden to till the ground from which he was taken. So He drove out the man; and he placed cherubim at the east of the garden of Eden, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life.” (252.7) (DO)