Paradise

We have noted already that from the fourth verse of the second chapter is a distinct part, and gives us "God in relationship with the creature He has made." Thus He is now spoken of, not simply as God - Elohim, but as the Lord God - Jehovah- Elohini.

Jehovah is the name of which the inspired translation is given in the third of Exodus -"I am:" expanded to its full significance in the book of Revelation as, "He which is, and which was, and which is to come." Thus in immutable existence He follows out the changes of created being, propping up creaturehood with the strength of eternity. "By Him all things consist." As in relation with a redeemed people - Israel - how blessed and reassuring this His covenant-name!

But here He is the "Lord God," not of Israel, but of man, a prophecy and picture of what shall be when "the tabernacle of God shall be with men." Still there is no "tabernacle of God" here; the final fact transcends all pictures.

That we have, however, a picture or type of eternal blessedness in this account that follows is plain to see. Its central figure, Adam, with his relationship to Eve, his wife, is so referred to elsewhere. (Rom. v. i4; Eph. v. 31, 32.) Paradise and the tree of life also meet us in prophecies of the blessedness to come. (Rev. ii. 7; xxii. 2.) That there should be contrast also in many respects is not inconsistent with the nature of types, but on the contrary most consistent. (i Cor. xv. 45 - 48; Phil. ii. 6.) We may therefore in the beginning of things, contemplate the final end, however much we may find it true that "we see in part, and prophesy in part."

Man, then, is the manifest head of the new created scene; and if made in the image and likeness of God, how plainly is he in the image also of the true man, God’s image. The dust of the earth, inspired by the breath of the Almighty, might well be the foreshadow of the union of the divine and human in one blessed Person in the time to come. The place of headship over all is but the anticipation of the wider headship of the Son of Man. "Image" and "likeness" of God have immeasurably fuller meaning in their application to the "last Adam" than to the first.

Then as to the relationship of the man and woman. It takes little to see in that "deep sleep" into which Adam was cast the figure of the deeper and more mysterious sleep of the "last Adam." Out of the man thus sleeping the woman is derived, as the Church out of Christ’s death, and which by the creative Spirit is built up as His body, "of His flesh and of His bones."

This building of the Church being not even yet complete, the presentation to Himself is of course still future. To that day, however, the apostle carries us on in thought, at the same time reminding us of the necessary contrast between the earthly first man and the heavenly second. For whereas the Lord God brought the woman to the man, "He" - the Second Man - shall "present unto Himself" the Church, "a glorious Church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing." ‘The margin of Genesis Ii. 22 gives rightly, for "made He a woman," "builded."

Our eyes are dim to see so far into the blessedness of that bright future which for eternity we shall then enter on with Him. Let us rather turn back here to see how distinctly it is noted that all belongs of right to Him, whose Love must needs share it with His own. Thus, first of all, before the Bride exists, the creatures are brought to Adam, that. he may see* what he will call them, and as master of them all he gives them names. And though the woman in due time shares this sovereignty as we know, (chap. i. 27, 28.) she yet comes into it by her connection with the man, and only so.
* "I do not doubt that "to see what he would call them," is that Adam might see.

How perfect is the harmony of all this! How blessed tc see the Lord of heaven and earth thus at the very beginning occupied with these thoughts of His love as to that new creation which was once again to be wrought out of the ruins of the old! To wisdom such as this the craft of Satan and the weakness of man could add no afterthought. Against such power no other power could be aught but as the potter’s clay. Such love combined with all gives acquiescence and delight that all of power and all of wisdom should be His, and make resistless the designs and counsels of His heart.

And Eden, man’s garden of delight! how sweet to know that that which lingers lovingly yet in the heart as in the traditions of men - which not six thousand years of sin and misery have been able utterly to banish from the memory - how sweet to know that that also is but the type of a far more blessed reality, "the Paradise," not of man only, but "of God" (Rev. ii. 7.)! The little that we can say of it belongs rather to an exposition of Revelation than of Genesis. The trees and rivers and precious things of the latter we see but as images of beauty too little defined. It is to our shame, surely; for even as the fruits of the tree of life finally await the Ephesian "overcomer " - that is, the man who, amid the general decay and departure of heart from Christ, holds fast in the heart the freshness of the first, new-born love - so, who can doubt, a truer devotedness of heart to Him would give us even now a fuller knowledge, as well as a richer enjoyment, of what to Him (for it is His) the Paradise of God will be.

He who has the "keys of death and hell" has also, we may be sure, and in this sense too, the key of Paradise as well.