"In the beginning" is a renowned phrase that draws us toward a unique realm of fascination and wonderment. The early chapters of Genesis that follow that phrase illustrate the dynamic events that separated humanity from God.
But have you ever asked yourself what it must have been like to experience a world dramatically different from our own? God emphatically said it was "good," even "very good," but how good is good?
The Bible says, "Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden" (Genesis 2:15 Genesis 2:15And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.
American King James Version×). The very word Eden means "delight" or "pleasure." Imagine a world in which all was in perfect harmony with the Creator.
Let's take it a step further. Imagine a world in which there was seamless unity between God, man and nature. Discord, disobedience, immorality, amorality, ungratefulness, disunity, hatred, impatience, brutality and pride had not yet been given birth in the heart of man. Rather, it was a world that lacked frustration of any sort.
Humanity designed for worship
Let's go back in time and understand what that world resembled. Let's remember that everything God creates is for His express purpose and ultimately His pleasure (Colossians 1:16 Colossians 1:16 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:
American King James Version×; Revelation 4:11 Revelation 4:11You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power: for you have created all things, and for your pleasure they are and were created.
American King James Version×). It is here that we notice God gently taking the clay of the earth and carefully, delicately sculpting what would be the pinnacle of His physical creation—man. It was on the sixth day that God moved from saying "good" to "very good" as He lovingly breathed the breath of life into the living being that the Scriptures declare to be a "son of God" (Luke 3:38 Luke 3:38Which was the son of Enos, which was the son of Seth, which was the son of Adam, which was the son of God.
American King James Version×).
Imagine as Adam's eyes first opened and his ears first received the sound of God's voice. Perhaps God told him, "Just look around! This is all to be yours. Most importantly you are to be Mine and I am to be yours. You were created to reflect Me in all ways and to respond to Me like no other part of the creation."
The immediacy and connectedness of the relationship between the first human family and its Maker was designed for God's purpose and delight. Humanity is designed to worship God and all He is.
As man looked around, he would see a river, plants, trees and, after a divinely inspired nap, something really special—a woman! But it was God in the midst of all His creation that made everything perfect. We can only imagine how very rich it must have been to enjoy the give-and-take of talking and walking with God with absolutely no barrier. Oh, how utterly sublime! God's very purpose for creating man and woman was to have them fully experience Him, up close and personal, and to worship Him.
Choosing spiritual amnesia
God left the garden, just for a while, and the serpent entered and pointed to the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. It seemed so wonderful. The fruit looked beautiful. Initial indications seemed to promise ingredients of unknown wisdom. And frankly, they were told it tasted good! How could life go on without a bite?
The end result of Eve's action and the additional crunch of her husband's bite broke the bond of full and uninhibited worship of God. I would suggest God felt the painful rupture as soon as it occurred (Isaiah 59:2 Isaiah 59:2But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.
American King James Version×). Adam and Eve went into hiding from their Maker and even hid themselves from one another due to new shameful feelings they had about themselves.
Everyone started to blame everyone else. The man blamed the woman. The woman pointed to the snake. No one pointed to himself or herself. Some things never change! When all was said and done, they were all really pointing at God.
In the curse (Genesis 3:14-19 Genesis 3:14-19  And the LORD God said to the serpent, Because you have done this, you are cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; on your belly shall you go, and dust shall you eat all the days of your life:
 And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; it shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.
 To the woman he said, I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception; in sorrow you shall bring forth children; and your desire shall be to your husband, and he shall rule over you.
 And to Adam he said, Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten of the tree, of which I commanded you, saying, You shall not eat of it: cursed is the ground for your sake; in sorrow shall you eat of it all the days of your life;
 Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to you; and you shall eat the herb of the field;
 In the sweat of your face shall you eat bread, till you return to the ground; for out of it were you taken: for dust you are, and to dust shall you return.
American King James Version×) that God rendered on them, He specifically pointed at each of them in order of sinful sequence. He sentenced humanity to a frustrating life apart from the delight of the garden experience.
But it wasn't really the garden alone that was the experience, was it? No! It was being with God. That incredibly fascinating bond was broken not by God's design, but man's shortsighted choice. Genesis 3:24 Genesis 3:24So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubim, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.
American King James Version×describes how God "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."
Yes, the curse of constant frustration began and has been alive and well ever since. For 6,000 years, humanity at large has tumultuously existed in turmoil, because the very purpose of life has been forgotten, rejected or not revealed. The divine call to worship God has not been realized. Spiritual amnesia about why we are and to whom we belong is ever present.
Reluctantly God lets go
Let's fully grasp that none of this stems from God's lack of loving desire toward His creation. When God let go of Adam and his descendants, it was not in the sense of jettisoning them in wrathful rage. Rather, it was in the sense of having done all one can for loved ones by pointing the clear path to success but reluctantly allowing them to go their own way based upon their own choices, to face themselves and the consequences of their decisions.
This abandonment of God's ways has led not only man, but also nature itself, to a state of frenzy or longing for something rejected long ago. The Bible speaks to this bewildered longing of that initial garden setting when it says, "Against its will, everything on earth was subjected to God's curse. All creation anticipates the day when it will join God's children in glorious freedom from death and decay. For we know that all creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up the present time" (Romans 8:20-21 Romans 8:20-21  For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who has subjected the same in hope,
 Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.
American King James Version×, New Living Translation).
The magnificent choice in the first prophecy
But thankfully, God has made a magnificent choice that transcends our mortal foibles. God mentioned His magnificent choice when He proclaimed the first prophecy recorded in all Scripture. It is found in Genesis 3:15 Genesis 3:15And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; it shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.
American King James Version×: "And I will put enmity between you [the serpent, representing Satan] and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel."
So often we think of prophecy in books like Daniel, Jeremiah or Revelation. But it all starts right here! The rest of the Bible is the fulfillment of this verse. The rest of Scripture displays how the serpent would be at war with the seed of Eve, Christ Himself. This verse speaks of the wiles of Satan always nipping at the heels of God's chosen Savior and chosen covenant people, but how God would ultimately triumph through His only begotten Son and crush the head of the snake (Romans 16:20 Romans 16:20And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.
American King James Version×). All the prophecies you are reading about in your Bible and in this publication flow from this pivotal point inside Eden.
Yes, the magnificent choice declared in the first prophecy would offer hope to the hopeless and a compass to the lost. Yes, even as humanity was being forcibly removed from the Garden of Eden, God was already initiating a plan of return through the shed blood of the very One who made them in the first place—the living Word of God, the Lord of the Old Testament, now revealed as Jesus Christ.
Revelation 13:8 Revelation 13:8And all that dwell on the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.
American King James Version×shows how long ago God made this choice: "All who dwell on the earth will worship him [the beast], whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world" (emphasis added throughout). The magnificent choice of the Godhead was set—forever!
Again, what was the purpose of Christ's sacrifice? To reconcile us to God so that we may worship Him. Yes, to go back to that time in the garden when God experienced a close bond with His special creation. The "Seed" would have a precious life, a humbling death and a glorious resurrection in preparation for reigning on behalf of His Heavenly Father on this earth for 1,000 years—a stepping-stone toward eternity.
For the joy that was set before Him
The prophetic moment came in the truest sense when the serpent "bruised His heel" at Golgotha (Matthew 27:33 Matthew 27:33And when they were come to a place called Golgotha, that is to say, a place of a skull,
American King James Version×). It is noteworthy what the author of Hebrews conveys about our Savior, "who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God" (Hebrews 12:2 Hebrews 12:2Looking to Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
American King James Version×).
Is it possible in that moment of utter human frustration that Jesus Christ's divinity was able to see past that mere moment of anguish and fixate on joy? On the joy He had initially planned for His creation in the Garden of Eden? The verse is not underlined with sorrow, but joy!
Joy that would move beyond His personal anguish to set an example for us to move beyond our own momentary physical, emotional and spiritual struggles to focus on what is "set before" us. Joy that moves beyond the seven seals of religious deception, warfare, famine, pestilence, intense tribulation, the earthshaking heavenly signs or the divine judgment of God. Joy that moves beyond the martyrdom of His two witnesses (Revelation 11:3-7 Revelation 11:3-7  And I will give power to my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and three score days, clothed in sackcloth.
 These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth.
 And if any man will hurt them, fire proceeds out of their mouth, and devours their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed.
 These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy: and have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will.
 And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascends out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them.
American King James Version×) and those saints who "did not love their lives to the death" (Revelation 12:11 Revelation 12:11And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives to the death.
American King James Version×).
Yes, joy that focuses on another garden portrayed in chapter 22 of the prophetic book of Revelation. This, the last chapter of the Bible, speaks of a pure river (verse 1) and trees (verse 2) just like in Eden. It speaks of leaves and fruit that are beneficial for the "healing of the nations" (verse 2). Absent is the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Absent is Satan, the enemy of you and me and God. Absent is the curse (verse 3)!
What about the parallel of Adam? Here we find the faithful One forever bonded with God. He is the second Adam, described by Paul's statement: "For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive" (1 Corinthians 15:21-22 1 Corinthians 15:21-22  For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.
 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.
American King James Version×). But once again, in the midst of this prophetic display of a fully redeemed creation, is the Godhead: both the Father and His chosen Lamb (Revelation 22:3 Revelation 22:3And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him:
American King James Version×).
When you think about it, the Bible is the revelation of God set between two revealed portraits of gardens designed for one purpose. You might say these two scenarios of Eden, one past and one prophetic, are bookends to hold Scripture intact. In the truest sense, when all prophecy is fulfilled, we are simply "ending with the beginning." We are finishing where God wanted us to start and remain all along, in a beautiful, close relationship of walking and talking with God and worshipping Him.
"I go to prepare a place"
Jesus said to His disciples then and now, "I go to prepare a place for you" (John 14:2 John 14:2In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
American King James Version×). Did He have this prophetic Eden in mind? What an encouragement for those who are true to God to be openly invited into such a paradise rather than be given the boot like our first human parents!
Such a reversal is only made possible by the fulfillment of the very first prophecy in Genesis 3:15 Genesis 3:15And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; it shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.
American King James Version×. How does one even hope to enter that desirable garden? Perhaps the key to unlocking the door is found in another time and place in another garden set between the two Edens. That garden was called Gethsemane.
There Jesus Christ, the second and faithful Adam, offered us the ultimate depiction of "this is the way, walk in it" (Isaiah 30:21 Isaiah 30:21And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, This is the way, walk you in it, when you turn to the right hand, and when you turn to the left.
American King James Version×) when He answered the call of the magnificent choice by saying, "Not My will, but Yours, be done" (Luke 22:42 Luke 22:42Saying, Father, if you be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but yours, be done.
American King James Version×).