Speaking of the Garden...
Isn't it so easy to envision Eden as the perfect place? A paradise, really. Green plants, vibrant flowers, the sounds of the animals filling the air, from the whoop of the chimpanzee to the chirp of the cricket. No smog. No traffic. No lights. No darkness. Everything was as it should be, as it was created to be. It ought to be perfect, right?
Eden was never perfect. It was the original creation and it still wasn't perfect. Read through the creation story, and you will discover that God tells us all that Eden was. He tells us it was...good.
It wasn't even great. It wasn't fantastic, spectacular, awesome, breathtaking, although we could imagine it being those things. It wasn't perfect. It was simply good. So does that mean God could have done better with His original creation? Not at all.
Not everything has to be perfect. I think most of us have learned that by now. We long for perfect. We strive for perfect, but most things in life are simply good and that's enough. Good is good. It isn't perfect...but then, only one thing is.
Yes, there is a perfect thing and it wasn't created. You won't find it in the Genesis story. It didn't happen on Day One or Day Six or any day in between. There is one thing that is beyond good, one thing that is perfect, and while God doesn't tell you that His perfect design is perfect, He does tell you this:
His love is.
God's love is perfect. It is the one perfect thing God has given you, the one thing that cannot be debated, improved upon, or reconsidered. It is whole within itself. It is complete. And it is perfect.
And I think, if you think about it, you'll realize it's the love that draws you to Eden anyway. There are places in this world where you can go for the scenery. There are places where you can hear the birds and the crickets chirp, the beasts and the heavens roar. There are countless trees bearing good fruit that you could eat from. Streams flowing in every direction. It doesn't take much to find a taste of the landscape of Eden. But it still leaves something wanting.
What we want is the peace. We want the wholeness, the fullness. We want that place without noise and traffic and smog. Without troubles. We want that path where God walks beside us and we know it's Him because we see Him face-to-face. We hold His hand. We hear His voice. It's paradise because it is love. It's a place where you are, where you belong. It's a place where there's plenty to do without anything you need to do. It's intimacy and relationship, work and rest, all of you and all of God. It's a place that honors you for who you are, honors itself for what it is, and honors the God who created it. Everything fits. Everything is as it was created to be, and as we know, all creation is love. It looks like things, like trees and birds and bunnies, but it's love. It is the embodiment of perfect embrace, where God created this world to hold you and created you to hold this world.
It's easy to think Eden must have been perfect. Maybe it was. But if so, it was the love, not the creation, that made it so. The creation was only ever good. Love is the only perfect thing.