Garden of Eden and the Kingdom of Heaven

The story of garden of Eden had fascinated people for thousands of years. In this post, we will explore the meaning of Genesis chapters 2 and 3 using Scripture, Christ’s words and what He revealed to us.

Tree of Life

Gen 2:9 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.

Rev 22:2 In the middle of its street, and on either side of the river, was the tree of life, which bore twelve fruits, each tree yielding its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.

Ezek 47:12 “Along the bank of the river, on this side and that, will grow all kinds of trees used for food; their leaves will not wither, and their fruit will not fail. They will bear fruit every month, because their water flows from the sanctuary. Their fruit will be for food, and their leaves for medicine.”

Jesus Christ explains to us in the book of Revelation that the leaves of the tree of life are for healing of nations.

Ezek 31:7-9 ‘Thus it [Assyria] was beautiful in greatness and in the length of its branches, Because its roots reached to abundant waters. The cedars in the garden of God could not hide it; The fir trees were not like its boughs, And the chestnut trees were not like its branches; No tree in the garden of God was like it in beauty. I made it beautiful with a multitude of branches, So that all the trees of Eden envied it, That were in the garden of God.’  … (16) ‘I made the nations shake at the sound of its fall, when I cast it down to hell together with those who descend into the Pit; and all the trees of Eden, the choice and best of Lebanon, all that drink water, were comforted in the depths of the earth. … (18) ‘To which of the trees in Eden will you then be likened in glory and greatness? Yet you shall be brought down with the trees of Eden to the depths of the earth; you shall lie in the midst of the uncircumcised, with those slain by the sword. This is Pharaoh and all his multitude,’ says the Lord GOD.”

Rev 2:7 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God.” ’

Interestingly, the trees in the garden of Eden were compared by God to kingdoms and nations of this world as we can see above when He is speaking to Ezekiel. Yet all the trees will be brought down to the depths of the earth except the tree of life which remains in the midst of the paradise of God. If trees are kingdoms and nations of this world, what kingdom bears the fruits that keeps us alive forever and it’s leaves heal? It’s the kingdom of Heaven.

Mark 9:45-48 “And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life lame, rather than having two feet, to be cast into hell, into the fire that shall never be quenched– where ‘Their worm does not die, And the fire is not quenched.’ And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye, rather than having two eyes, to be cast into hell fire– where ‘Their worm does not die, And the fire is not quenched.’

John 1:4 In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. … (14:6) Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

Jesus mentioned the kingdom of Heaven synonymous to life. Also, there is no other life apart from Christ, for He is life. Hence, the tree of life in the garden of Eden represents Christ and His eternal Kingdom of Heaven.

Serpent

Gen 3:1 Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?”

Rev 12:3 And another sign appeared in heaven: behold, a great, fiery red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and seven diadems on his heads. … (9) So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.

The serpent in the garden of Eden is identified as Devil and Satan in the book of Revelation.

Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil

Gen 2:9 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.

Matt 18:3 and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. … (19:14) But Jesus said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.”

Only those who are like children, without the knowledge of good and evil, but obey exactly what the God commanded can enter into His kingdom. So, why did God forbid the knowledge of good and evil from mankind?

Matt 7:18-19 “A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.

The problem with the tree of knowledge of good and evil is that, it’s fruit will either be good or evil. As long as Adam and Eve have no knowledge of good and evil, their fruits can never be anything evil. This is why kingdom of God is for those who are like little children.

Isa 7:15 “Curds and honey He shall eat, that He may know to refuse the evil and choose the good.

Unlike all men who fell into sin because of knowledge of evil in them, Jesus Christ not only resisted the temptation of satan but also chose good and refused evil. He also lived a sinless and blameless life in this world.

Deception

Gen 3:1-5 Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?” And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.’ Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

Which tree are they taking about? Look closely to understand how satan deceives.

  • Satan: Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?
    • This is a normal question.
  • Eve: We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.
    • Which tree was Eve referring to? Both tree of life and the tree of knowledge of good and evil were in the midst of the garden.
    • Did God say of fruits from any trees that they will die if they touch them? No.
  • Satan: You will not surely die.
    • Satan was correct in saying that they will not surely die based on what Eve replied, more specifically by touching it.
    • Notice that the tree of knowledge of good and evil was never mentioned till now. Giving benefit of doubt, Eve may be talking about the forbidden tree while serpent may be talking about the tree of life, since both are in the midst of the garden. After all, no one is going to die by eating from tree of life.
    • Another important fact is, God warned Adam that “on the day” they eat of it, they will die (Gen 2:17), but they didn’t die on that day. Here too satan seems to say the truth. While this can be explained through later prophets, that we are still on the 6th day (when Adam and Eve eventually died) and yet to enter into God’s rest (which is on the 7th day), this information was unknown to our first parents.
  • Satan: For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.
    • Is satan lying here? No. The eyes of Adam and Eve were opened (Gen 3:7), and even God Himself acknowledged by saying, man has become like one of Us, to know good and evil. (Gen 3:22).

John 8:44 “You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.

How can satan be a liar and a father of lies, when he hasn’t spoken a lie in the garden of Eden? This is the fascinating truth about deception. Deception is not about speaking “lies”. It’s all about speaking the truth in such a way you would otherwise believe a lie.

Take the following example:

  • Satan: Has Jesus indeed said, ‘You must keep His commandments to inherit eternal life’? (Matt 19:17) or be holy and righteous to inherit life (Matt 18:18-19)?
  • Today’s Christians: Yes. Only those who keep His commandments, who are sinless before God can inherit eternal life.
  • Satan: No, you can never keep His commandments perfectly and never attain God’s standard of holiness. That’s why, Christ kept all the commandments for you and died for you in your place. You can now enter life through His grace and not because of anything you do. All you have to do is just believe in Jesus Christ.

The above is a classic example of how the entire Christianity today is assuming to be following Jesus but really rejecting His commandments and everything He taught. This is because, Christians no longer obey Jesus but satan, just as Eve no longer obey God but serpent. Hence, it is very important to understand that we must follow “exactly” what Jesus taught us. Only those who build their life on what Jesus taught are called wise. The rest are fools before God (Luke 6:46-49). Reiterating the earlier point, deception is not about speaking “lies” – It’s all about speaking the truth in such a way you would otherwise believe a lie.

Satan’s Curse

Gen 3:14 So the LORD God said to the serpent: “Because you have done this, You are cursed more than all cattle, And more than every beast of the field; On your belly you shall go, And you shall eat dust All the days of your life.

Gen 3:19 … For dust you are, And to dust you shall return.”

The snakes of the forest are neither intelligent, nor do they eat dust. As we saw earlier, the snake in the garden of Eden is a reference to satan. The dust mentioned here is a reference to Adam or mankind. This is why satan always want to trouble humans.

1Pet 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.

Matt 12:43-45 “When an unclean spirit goes out of a man, he goes through dry places, seeking rest, and finds none. Then he says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when he comes, he finds it empty, swept, and put in order. Then he goes and takes with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter and dwell there; and the last state of that man is worse than the first. So shall it also be with this wicked generation.”

Jesus and His disciples clearly explained to us what satan does. Satan wants to devour us. It is also worth noting that satan, demons and unclean spirits are all same which was explained earlier in this post.

Luke 11:20 “But if I cast out demons with the finger of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you.

Matt 5:20 “For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.

The only protection we can get from satan is by entering the kingdom of God. Entering His kingdom is very costly. It costs our entire wealth (Matt 13:44-46), all our relationships (Matt 10:37), our body parts (Mark 9:43-48) and even our own life (Mark 8:35). Most of the parables of Jesus are all related to His kingdom and wants us to enter it.

Gen 3:15 And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel.”

Rev 12:5 She bore a male Child who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron. And her Child was caught up to God and His throne.

Isa 9:6 For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

The seed of the woman is Jesus Christ, who is God Himself in Flesh. But who is the seed of the serpent? Jesus Christ very clearly explains to us:

John 8:42-44 Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and came from God; nor have I come of Myself, but He sent Me. Why do you not understand My speech? Because you are not able to listen to My word. You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.

All who love Jesus Christ and obey His word have God as their Father. All who does not love Jesus Christ or obey Him but desire to do what satan wants are the seed of the serpent. In Jesus’s day, the scribes and Pharisees were the seed of the serpent. Today, everyone who does not love Jesus Christ or who don’t listen to Him are the seed of the devil. This includes majority of Christianity who are Paulians, who claim to love Jesus but does not obey any of His word.

Meaning of the Story

In the beginning, Adam and Eve had access to the kingdom of Heaven but satan deceived Adam and Eve. They fell into temptation and disobeyed God of His commandment and lost access to the kingdom of Heaven forever. Kingdom of Heaven is for those who are like little children, who do not know what good and evil is, and obey God exactly what he commands. Because satan deceived Eve, he is cursed to devour mankind until the appointed time (Matt 8:29) when the devil will be cast into lake of fire (Matt 25:41; Rev 20:10). The story is about the fall of man losing access to the kingdom of Heaven. What Adam and Eve lost, Jesus came to receive it (Luke 19:12) so that we can inherit what we lost in Eden through Jesus by obeying Him and overcoming this world.

Rev 21:7 “He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son.