Dr. Dan Hayden •
Let’s go for a walk in the garden. The serenity of a garden is a good place to get in touch with your thoughts – where you’ve been and where you are going. And if you are listening, the garden itself may have something to tell you. For if the truth is known, all of life can be told in a tale of two gardens…
The Garden of Eden
A well-kept garden is full of spectacular wonders as the shades of green foliage encompass the splashes of color. Yet in the garden of God, there was an exalted splendor above anything we have ever known. The Bible called it Eden and described it as a paradise of sensory pleasure where divine perfection reached out and touched human awe.
“No evil thoughts can enter here,” you would say. A perfect environment is the ultimate answer for our human woes. Yet, that is where our pain and trouble began. In glorious Eden, man chose himself over God and plunged the perfect creation into a chaotic pattern of sin and death. The Bible says that every evil and all sadness can be traced to the rebellion of the human heart against God in that garden.
As you think about where you have been, you would do well to listen to the tale of Eden. You, like the rest of us, are the product of that rebellion and subsequent eternal alienation from God. You are a son or daughter of Adam, part of a depraved race that lost its innocence in the first garden. The record of Eden is the story of paradise lost. Your paradise lost.
The Garden of Gethsemane
It was dark as twelve men crossed the brook in the early hours of the morning. Shimmers of light from the not too distant city cast ominous shadows through the garden of gnarled olive leaves. Gethsemane was what they called the olive press so prominently exposed in the heart of the grove. Eleven men lay down to rest. One lone figure knelt to pray. It was a night for evil and the drama of our hope was beginning to unfold in the colorless recesses of the garden – the Garden of Gethsemane.
There was nothing spectacular about this garden. Only the symbolism of olives crushed and oils flowing captures our attention. Yet it was there that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, resisted temptation to rebel against the will of God and submitted himself to be sacrificed for our sins. What Adam had refused to do in the first garden, Jesus agreed to do in this garden – He obeyed. Only hours later, Jesus died on the cross for the sins of the world.
There is a Choice
The Bible says that Jesus Christ is the “last Adam.” What the first Adam lost in the Garden of Eden, the last Adam regained in the Garden of Gethsemane. Now there is a choice. For all who are lost in Adam, there is the hope of being saved in Christ. It is simply a matter of repenting of your sin and placing your faith in Jesus Christ as the One who paid the penalty for your guilt.
After thinking about where you have been, perhaps you would like to think where you are going. Listen to the Garden of Gethsemane. You can go to God’s heaven with your sins forgiven through faith in Jesus Christ as your Savior. Paradise lost can be paradise regained – for you. That is the tale of two gardens. ■