History moves from a garden to a city. History is supposed to be progressive. Technological advancement is good, when submitted to God’s law.
We see many striking similarities between the Garden of Eden (Genesis 2) and the New Jerusalem (Revelation 21-22).
In both we find a river which is located near the tree of life. God is present in the midst of the garden and the city. Mankind enjoys unrestricted fellowship with the Creator.
Yet, we also see differences. The two lamps (sun and moon) are gone with God taking their place. There are walls, gates, and streets.
How do the artifacts of the New Jerusalem get there? Who builds the walls, the gates, the streets? Did God miraculously create them?
No, these artifacts are the product of civilization, of culture, of man. God designed them, but man built them. They are not created; they are manufactured from creation by man.
Who designed the tabernacle? God. Who built the tabernacle? Man.
Who designed the temple? God. Who built the temple? Man.
Who designed the New Jerusalem (the new heavens and the new earth)? God. Who builds the New Jerusalem? Man.
The garden of Eden was devoid of architecture and other cultural artifacts. It was simply the creation of God.
“Now a river went out of
Why does Scripture mention gold, Bdellium, and onyx that are outside the garden? Is this just a superfluous detail to add character to the narrative?
No! These metals and stones are mentioned because man is supposed to go and collect these materials and build with them. He is to take them to the garden.
The New Jerusalem still has the creation of God, but it is teeming with cultural achievement.
God said that the creation was good. However, God never intended the creation to stay “natural.” God told man to tend the garden and to keep it. He was to work in the garden. He was to make changes in the garden, to transform the garden, to cultivate it into a culture.
Mankind was given the privilege of improving upon the original creation. Creation was good, but man was created to make it better. The development of creation was made possible by God. Indeed, it is mandated by God. We do not destroy the creation, but we are using it for the purpose for which God created it.
Now, the garden is not left behind. In fact, the New Jerusalem is a garden-city. It still bears the marks of the creator, but it has been transformed by man.