Read: Genesis 3:24
I never have been able to comprehend that the Garden of Eden still exists somewhere in the world. Honestly, it feels more like a story about Atlantis, the city which was buried in the mysteries of the earth. Much like Atlantis, I have felt that it is like a mythical place, unable to see it or know of it myself. Genesis 3:24 finishes up the chapter by discussing what was done to keep the tree of life guarded so that no person could eat of it.
The imagery in this verse is like something from a fantasy novel. There are cherubim guarding the garden. The word here is plural, so there was more than one cherubim. At this point in Genesis, we aren’t given a solid idea of what cherubim even are, but the book of Ezekiel describes them. They were a form of angel, but not the chubby faced cherubs we think of around Valentine’s day.
Cherubim were massive creatures with wings spanning over 15 feet. This image of protection of the garden is not a small picture, but a significant one of the powerful protector that God placed to guard the garden of Eden. Additionally, there was a flaming sword which protected and guarded the garden. Genesis says the sword turned every way around the garden, keeping any outsiders from tasting Eden’s forbidden fruits. This shows the power of the protection that God set, and that He was serious about keeping them out of the garden.
How should we see this forceful removal from the garden? Was it merely a cruel punishment, being removed from the most beautiful part of the world? Or, was there more there? God is a God of love. He can’t do anything that is not out of love. Therefore, it makes it impossible for Him to have just cast them out of the garden to spite or punish them. This was a holy place between Adam, Eve, and God.
The Triune God walked among them, and to leave them there would not have been a good thing. This was especially important because, as yesterday’s devotional mentioned, not allowing them to eat of the Tree of Life was an act of mercy, not merely of punishment.
There is a purpose and a hope even in the sorrow of the loss. Although chapter 3 details the separation of humanity from God and the casting out from the Garden, it also shows the love of God and the hope that is to come. This is some of the most beautiful foreshadowing in the book of Genesis, because there is sorrow yet to come as depravity is explored more fully and more deeply.
Do you believe there is hope in your future? Take 5 minutes to write down what you hope for. It can be things as simple as a job promotion, or as complex as relationships restored. The Lord will do amazing things when we bring our hopes and dreams to Him!