Four Gardens Genesis 2:8

And the Lord God planted a garden eastward, in Eden. Genesis 2:8.

I wonder how many of you have gardens of your own —I don’t mean your father’s and mother’s garden, but your very own little plot of ground, which you dig with your very own spade, and water with your very own watering-can, and where you sow your very own seeds you bought. I hope a great many of you have “very own” gardens, because a “very own” garden is a place where you can be very happy.

And there is another thing I wonder. I wonder if any of you have ever counted the gardens mentioned in the Bible. There are four chief ones, and they are all very important.

1. The first one is the Garden of Eden—the garden that man lost. I am going to call it the Garden of Disobedience.

When God wished to make the first man happy He put him into a garden, because he Knew it was the very best home for him. God surrounded Adam with many good and beautiful things. Never was there a garden where the grass was so green, or the flowers so fair, or the fruits so fine. All day long the birds sang on the leafy trees, and through the midst of the garden flowed a clear and sparkling river.

You remember how Adam and Eve lost their beautiful garden. In the midst of the garden grew a tree called the “tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” God told Adam and Eve that they might eat of the fruit of every tree in the garden except that one.

Now, perhaps you will imagine that when God had given the man and woman so many good and beautiful things they would wish to obey Him; but just think a little harder. Supposing someone gave you a beautiful palace to live in, and supposing they told you that you might wander about at will in all the rooms except one—a room with a locked door— wouldn’t you wish far more to see into that locked room than into all the others? Don’t you think that the very fact that it was forbidden would make you wish to get into it? You would imagine all sorts of things about it—that it contained a wonderful secret, that something you very much wished to see or to possess lay hidden in it, that it led into some mysterious passage or cave. Then supposing that one day you found the key of the room, what would you do? I think you would be very much tempted to fit it into the lock, and open the door.

Well, it was just like that with Adam and Eve. They kept thinking and thinking about that tree until they felt they must just have a taste of it. Instead of driving the thought out of their heads they kept on thinking about it, until, when the serpent tempted Eve, she was quite ready to give in to the temptation, and when Eve tempted Adam, he was ready to fall.

Don’t you think it was a pity that Adam and Eve lost their beautiful garden over what seems like a small thing? Don’t you think it was a pity they hadn’t been a little firmer and resisted the temptation? But there was something much sadder than the loss of the garden—sin had crept into the world. Adam and Eve had lost something much more precious than the garden—they had lost their innocence and their peace with God.

2. The second garden was the Garden of Gethsemane —the Garden of Obedience.

This garden was somewhere on the side of the Mount of Olives. It was quite a small place, but Christ used to love to go there with His disciples for quiet and rest, and it was there He came on the night in which He was betrayed. There He won the victory over temptation and became obedient unto the death of the Cross. There He suffered to undo the harm that had been begun in Eden, to break down the barrier of sin that man had set up between God and himself, and to make a way for all of us to get back to God.

3. The third garden was the garden where Christ was buried—the Garden of the Resurrection.

Do you remember how Joseph of Arimathaea came and asked that he might take away the body of Jesus and bury it? And he laid it in a garden, in a new tomb hewn out of a rock.

It was in this garden that, on Easter morning, Christ gained the victory over death. And so by His death and resurrection He won back the gift which Adam and Eve by their disobedience forfeited that day in Eden—the gift of eternal life.

4. The last garden is the Garden of Paradise—the Garden which Christ has won back for us.
Fair as the garden of Eden was, this garden is a thousand times fairer, for there sin cannot enter in, nor pain, nor sorrow. You will find a description of it if you turn to the very last chapter of the very last book in the Bible.

Jesus has made it possible for each of us to reach that beautiful garden if we will put our hand in His and let Him lead us there. But until we reach that fair place He has given to each of us a garden to keep and till for Him—the garden of our soul. Some other day I shall tell how we must keep our soul-gardens so that they may be made fit for the beautiful Garden of Paradise.

The Lord God planted a garden
In the first white days of the world;
And set there an angel warden,
In a garment of light enfurled.

So near to the peace of Heaven,
The hawk might nest with the wren;
For there in the cool of the even,
God walked with the first of men.

And I dream that these garden closes,
With their shade and their sun-flecked sod,
And their lilies and bowers of roses,
Were laid by the hand of God.

The kiss of the sun for pardon,
The song of the birds for mirth—
One is nearer God’s heart in a garden
Than anywhere else on earth.
(D. F. Gurney)