It would have been wonderful if Adam and Eve had never sinned and we all still lived in the Garden of Eden today. At the same time, Adam and Eve would probably point us to Revelation 21–22 and tell us that as good as Eden was, something better is yet to come. The apostle John describes this “something better” as the New Heaven and New Earth, which is home to the New Jerusalem. We could call all of this the New Creation. One of the ways we see New Creation as better than Eden is by comparing the similarities between the two.
For me, one of the most interesting similarities between the two is the tree of life. The tree of life was planted “in the midst of the garden” of Eden (Gen 2:9), right next to the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (also Gen 2:10). It seems Adam and Eve never ate from the tree of life. This assumption is based on the fact that God expelled Adam and Eve from Eden after they sinned so that they would not eat from the tree of life in their sinful condition (Gen 3:22–24). Had they done so, they would have lived forever in a state of spiritual death.
Adam and Eve and all of God’s children will eat from the tree of life in the New Creation, and those who eat from this tree have eternal life (Rev 2:7; 22:2; cf. Gen 3:22–24). Every month this tree bears twelve kinds of fruit, and it has leaves that heal the nations once ravaged by Satan (Rev 22:2; cf. 20:8). The tree of life is also described as being on “either side of the river” that flows from the throne of God and the Lamb. This description could mean the title “the tree of life” is a collective term and refers to a number of trees that line the banks of this river, all of which are found “in the middle of the street of the city” (Rev 22:2).
We could briefly point out other similarities as well. Similar to the river that flows from the heavenly throne in the new creation (Rev 22:2), Eden also had a garden that flowed out of its midst (Gen 2:10). The land surrounding Eden was good for gold and precious stones (Gen 2:11–12), but the very streets and structure of the New Jerusalem are made up of clear gold and precious stones like nothing we have seen before (Rev 21:9–27). Eden was affected by the curse (Gen 3:14–24), but the curse will be no longer (Rev 22:3). Adam and Eve occasionally walked with God in the cool of the day (Gen 3:8, 10), but we will always see the face of God and worship Him forever (Rev 22:5).
As good as Eden was, the New Creation will be even better. Praise God for His salvation and the perfect fellowship we will have with Him in time to come!
Pastor David Huffstutler
Pastor Huffstutler regularly writes articles for our Sunday bulletin. See his bio on our pastoral bio page.