The Garden of Eden is the fifth (actually 2nd if you go in chronolgical order) model community we see in the Bible. Like the New Heaven and Earth, the New Testament Church, the nation/community of Israel and the family, the Garden gives us a glimpse, a foresight if you will, of what God intends for us in regards to community.
According to Genesis 2:8-17, it is eeriely striking how similar the Garden of Eden in Genesis is with the New Heaven and Earth revealed in the book of Revelation. The Garden was created for man and provided with all the things that he would need. There was no pain, sickness, hunger, poverty, etc., in the Garden just like we see in the vision of eternity in Revelation 21 and 22.
In the Garden was placed the tree of life. The only other place we see this tree in the Bible is in the New Heaven and Earth as well. A river flowed down the middle of the Garden such as the one from the throne of God in Revelation. Talk about coming to a full circle!
Man was given dominion in the Garden under the Lordship of the Creator God. God's presence was there and God Himself would walk in the cool of the day with man (Adam) and talk with him in perfect communion. What a great picture of community as it was meant to be!
So, we have discussed 5 model communities thus far. These communities have been in reverse order as they appear in the Bible. Next blog, we'll look at the first model community in the Bible which occurs even before the Garden. And this model is the basis of all that we seek to be as community here on earth and as Kingdom community development workers, it is the foundation for our strategies.