Temple #1: Eden

While God is omnipresent, He did have special dwelling places on Earth throughout the Old Testament. It began in Eden, where God’s presence was so tangible that He could be sensed in the “the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day” (Ge 3:8). Eden was His holy temple at that point in time and the specific place on Earth where His presence dwelled. Bible scholar John H. Walton solidifies Eden as God’s physical dwelling place by comparing the Genesis creation story to other ancient literature that had temple motifs.

It would not have been difficult for a reader from anywhere in the ancient Near East to take one quick look at the seven-day account and draw the conclusion that it was a temple story. That is because they knew something about the temples in the ancient world that is foreign to us. Divine rest in ancient temples was not a matter of simply residence…. the temple was the center of God’s rule.

In the ancient world, the temple was the command center of the cosmos—it was the control room from where the god maintained order, made decrees and exercised sovereignty. Temple-building accounts often accompanied cosmologies because after the god had established order (the focus of cosmologies in the ancient world), he took control of that ordered system. This is the element that we are sadly missing when we read the Genesis account. God has ordered the cosmos with the purpose of taking up his residence in it and ruling over it. Day seven is the reason for days one through six. It is the fulfillment of God’s purpose. (Walton, John H. The Lost World of Adam and Eve: Genesis 2-3 and the Human Origins Debate. Downers Grove, InterVarsity Press, 2015, pp. 49-50.)

Of course we all know how the story goes: Adam and Eve choose to disobey God and are therefore expelled from God’s sacred dwelling place. They must now go into the rest of the world that is not the Temple—the places that they were supposed to subdue through their children in due time (Ge 1:28).

Want to continue the conversation? Take the long journey with my book/audiobook, The Rush and the Restor take a shorter path with my condensed version, Fantasy IRL.

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