Genesis 2: 8-9
“The LORD God planted a garden toward the east, in Eden; and there He placed the man whom He had formed.  Out of the ground the LORD God caused to grow every tree that is pleasing to the sight and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.”
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, members of over 5,800 branch churches in Korea and all over the world including the United States, Canada, Peru, Honduras, Bolivia, El Salvador, Argentina,
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This is the 21st session of the lecture series, ‘Heaven’.
Heaven is the eternal world that the Father God has prepared for His children who have gone through human cultivation.
That is to say, the Heavenly Kingdom is a place that God the Father has made for those children of God who have accepted Jesus Christ, received the Holy Spirit, and gained eternal life during their lives on this earth, so that they can live there forever.
It is also a fact that to the extent to which God’s children realize the love of God and show the evidence of loving God in action and in truthfulness, God will give each of them a dwelling place and rewards according to precise justice.
But there are also some spiritual beings who live forever, although they did not go through human cultivation.
They are the descendants of Adam to whom Adam and Eve gave birth while they were living in the Garden of Eden before they committed sin.
I told you in the fifth session of this heaven lecture series, that the Garden of Eden is not on this earth but in the space of the second heaven.
Also, I explained in the Genesis lectures that Adam and Eve multiplied and had many descendants in the Garden of Eden, and it was only Adam and Eve who sinned and were driven out from the Garden.
Therefore, there are countless descendants of Adam who are still living in the Garden of Eden today. In this session, I will talk to you about the living in the Garden. Through this message, I pray in the name of the Lord that you will realize how happy a thing it is to go through the human cultivation and get to the heavenly kingdom, so that you will live your life with a more thankful heart toward God.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today’s reading passage Genesis 2:8-9 says, “The LORD God planted a garden toward the east, in Eden; and there He placed the man whom He had formed.  Out of the ground the LORD God caused to grow every tree that is pleasing to the sight and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.”
The Garden of Eden in the second kingdom belongs to spiritual realm, but it’s not a completely spiritual world like the heavenly kingdom in the third heaven.
To make it easier, Garden of Eden is like the intermediate stage of spiritual world and physical world. It’s not a completely spiritual world, and it can coexist with physical world. The first man Adam was a living spirit, but he still had the body that was made from the dust of the ground.
That is why Adam and Eve gave birth to children and multiplied like we do here on Earth.
We can understand it from Genesis 3:16. God told Eve, after she ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, “I will greatly multiply your pain in childbirth, in pain you will bring forth children; yet your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.”
It says God will multiply her pain in childbirth. This tells us that she used to have pain in childbearing while she was living in the Garden of Eden, too.
It’s just that when she was a living spirit, there was little pain in childbearing, but after the curse, the pain multiplied. In other words, it means Adam and Eve gave births to children while they were living in the Garden of Eden, before they committed sin. Then, only Adam and Eve ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and were driven out of the Garden, and their descendants remained in the Garden.
Because the children to whom Adam gave birth are living spirits, they are still living without seeing death, and they kept on multiplying.
Therefore, the number of the descendants of Adam in the Garden of Eden is much greater than the number of people in this world. It’s because once they are born, they never die but only multiply.
Therefore, we should understand that the size of the Garden of Eden is some billions of times larger, or actually unimaginably larger than this earth.
Also, the people in the Garden of Eden gained knowledge from Adam, who was taught by God Himself, and developed their civilization, so they enjoy much more developed civilization than the one on this earth. Now, what is the natural environment of the Garden of Eden like? In the Garden, there is no death, and it is such a peaceful place.
The whole place is run by God’s power, so even without the sun and moon, it is run according to the order that God established.
It is light all the time, without the night, but they naturally know the time to be active and the time to take rest.
The Garden of Eden has some similarity to the environment on this earth, so there are many kinds of plants and animals, and the natural beauty is spread endlessly.
But unlike this earth, there are no high mountains but only grass-covered plains and small hills.
And there are some buildings there, and they are not houses for people to live in, but they are only buildings for people to rest in from time to time.
On the plain filled with fresh trees and plants, they receive the light with their whole body that embraces them softly. When they lie back comfortably on the grass and look up at the sky, white clouds make various shapes in the sky.
A shiny and beautiful lake stretches out for as far as you can see, and the wind that contains the sweet scent of flowers touches the face the face as it passes.
They can have pleasant conversations with their loved ones and take a walk there too.
Sometimes, they can lie on the grass-covered fields or bundles of flowers to touch the petals and smell the sweet scents.
They can also lie in the shadow of trees that have many fruits to take a rest and take the fruits to eat.
In the lake and in the sea, there are so many different fish with various colors, and if they want, they can go to nearby seashore and walk on the beach that glistens with white light.
They can also surf on the clear-blue waves, and they can also swim like the fish.
Cute and nice-looking animals that have big eyes come and do some amusing tricks, and on the wide grass-plain, many kinds of animals peacefully romp with one another.
The Garden of Eden is filled with this kind of peace and joy.
It is a kind of life that the people of this world would like to enjoy once in a while. It is so full of comfort and happiness, and leaves behind all the busy routines of daily life.
Now, what is the living in this Garden of Eden like?
The people in the Garden can eat and also have fun as much as they want without the sweat and toil of earthly life. They don’t have any worries or concerns, but are filled only with joy, happiness, and peace.
Because everything is run by God’s power and order, they can live eternally without having to work at all.
Garden of Eden also has an environment similar to this earth, and most of the things that are on this earth exist there as well.
But from the time it was created and until now, it has never become polluted nor has it deteriorated at all, so unlike this earth, it has maintained the original purity and cleanliness.
Also, most of the people in the Garden of Eden live naturally without having to wear any clothing.
But because there is no evil, they don’t have any shameful or lustful feelings.
It’s very much like new-born babies who know nothing and can nakedly play around freely.
The environment and climate of the Garden of Eden, including its temperature and humidity, are the most appropriate for comfort, so that they don’t have to put on any clothes. So, being naked does not inconvenience them.
There are no thorns or harmful insects.
But occasionally, people can be seen who do wear clothing, but they are group leaders of certain units that have been formed.
There are orders and rules in the Garden of Eden as well, so there is a leader in each group, and people will follow his instructions.
And these leaders will put on the clothes to be differentiated from ordinary people.
Likewise, putting on clothes is just a means to be able to identify their positions; they don’t put on clothing to cover, protect or adorn themselves.
And Genesis 3:8 says, “They heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day,” and we can see that there is a ‘cool’ feeling in the Garden of Eden as well.
But it doesn’t mean they ever sweat because of heat or shiver because of the cold.
The Garden of Eden has the most appropriate temperature, humidity, and breeze for people to live, so they don’t have any discomfort because of the changes in weather.
Also, in the Garden of Eden, there is no night or day. It is surrounded by the light of the Father God, so it is always like the day.
However, even the people in the Garden have to take time to rest; they feel the flow of the time for activity and time to rest through the changes in the temperature.
So you see that in the Garden of Eden, since they don’t have any day or night to regulate the flow of time, they differentiate change of time by the corresponding changes in the temperature.
But even when the temperature changes, it does not drop so much that it makes them feel cold, but they will just feel freshness of the weather in the soft wind. It is the most suitable condition for them to take a rest.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, as I have been explaining to you until now, the Garden of Eden seems to be a very peaceful place filled with joy and happiness, but in fact, the people who are living in it do not know true joy and happiness.
What does this mean?
The reason why we can feel that we are joyful, glad, or happy, is because we have experienced the opposite things, which are sorrowful, painful, and unhappy.
Also, we understand what is good, that is goodness, truth, and light because we have experienced the opposite things such as evil, untruth, and darkness that we consider as ‘bad’.
If we have not experienced this relativity, we cannot feel from the bottom of our heart that goodness, love, and happiness are really the good things, even though we may hear about it and know it as a simply a bit of knowledge.
For example, if you have never been sick and have never seen anybody who is sick, would you be able to feel the pain and suffering of sickness?
If you see somebody who is sick for the first time, you may think, “Well, it may be painful,” but you cannot really understand the pain of that person thoroughly. Therefore, you cannot understand how good it is to be healthy, and you will not feel the true value of health either.
Also, if you have never experienced insufficiency or deficiency and never seen anybody who is experiencing dire need, then how much can you really know about poverty?
Then, a very wealthy person, no matter how rich he might be, will not understand how good it is to be rich.
So you see now that if you do not have any experience with pain or sickness and poverty, you cannot really have a truly thankful heart- from your heart- for the richness and health that you are enjoying.
If you do not understand the value of the good things that you are enjoying, then, this means you do not understand the value of happiness.
But if you have experienced the pain of sickness and poverty, then, from the depths of your heart you can feel the happiness that comes from health and wealth and you can be genuinely thankful for it.
The descendants of Adam who are living in the Garden of Eden do not understand this relativity. The kind of children whom God really wants is those who love God from the bottom of their hearts and can receive God’s love in that way.
That is why God placed the tree of the knowledge of good and evil along with the tree of life in the Garden of Eden, as said in today’s passage in verse 9.
God gave Adam the authority to rule over the Garden of Eden and this earth, and let him do whatever he pleased, except for the one thing that God prohibited.
Genesis 2:16-17 says, “The LORD God commanded the man, saying, “From any tree of the garden you may eat freely;  but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.”
Through this, we can see that the all-knowing God knew that Adam would eat from the tree of knowledge, but it doesn’t mean He just left Adam to eat from the tree.
God clearly and plainly told him the consequences of eating from the tree, and commanded him not to eat from it.
God gave Adam the freewill to choose whether or not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
God did not force Adam to eat from the tree just to gain true children who would come to understand the relativity of good and evil, nor did God forcefully restrain Adam from eating from the tree when he did eat from it
It’s because God gave Adam freewill.
Therefore, by Adam’s freewill, in the beginning Adam did not eat from the tree, but even when he did eat from it later, it was by his own freewill.
And within God’s justice, the curse of the law that dictates that “the wages of sin is death” came upon Adam, and the process of human cultivation began at this point. And through this human cultivation, and as a result, God would gain true children with whom He would live with together in eternal heavenly kingdom forever.
From the standpoint of men, we would be able to gain such a valuable opportunity to realize what true love is and what true happiness is, and to live in the beautiful heavenly kingdom forever.
God would gain all these things through human cultivation, and all this began by placing the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (in the Garden).
Adam and Eve who were driven out from the Garden of Eden, and their descendants to whom they gave birth on this earth came to go through the many sufferings in tears and in sorrow, pain, sickness, and death.
But, we have become able to understand what true happiness is and we can enjoy the blessed eternal life in the Heavenly Kingdom, so how wonderfully thankful that is! Even in this world, parents give birth to their children and let them go through difficult training for life and through times of endurance, just so that their children might be able to become successful and maybe become a great man in this world.
Also, if the children believe the glory that will be given to them in the future, they will endure the difficult times in the present and overcome everything.
In the same way, if we think of the true happiness that we will enjoy in the kingdom of heaven, the process of human cultivation on this earth is never something hard or difficult.
But rather, look up to the upcoming honor, we will feel thankful to God that we can try to live by the word of God.
Therefore, which one would God consider more lovely, those who have gone through many kinds of feelings on this earth and truly feel the love of God in their heart, or those who do not truly understand the love of God or truly give thanks to God even though they are living in such an abundance in the Garden of Eden?
In the next session, I will talk to you about the heavenly kingdom where those who have gone through human cultivation on this earth will enter, beginning first with Paradise.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, in this session, I talked to you about the Garden of Eden in the second heaven, where Adam and Eve used to live before they committed sin.
The descendants of Adam and Eve are still living in the Garden of Eden. But despite the fact that the Garden is unimaginably better and more beautiful than any place on this earth, they do not know true happiness or true thanks because they have not experienced the concept of relativity.
And the true children whom God wants are not such people, but they are those who can really give love and thanks to God from the bottom of their heart.
God placed the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the Garden of Eden to gain this kind of true children, and since the time Adam and Eve ate from the tree of their freewill, human cultivation began in full scale.
The heavenly kingdom is the eternal dwelling place for God’s children who have gone through human cultivation on this earth.
It’s a place for those who lived in this world which is like a wilderness, going through worries, concerns, tears, sorrow, pain, and were separated from God, but looked up to the invisible God with faith and lived by the word of God and lived for His glory as His children.
The heavenly kingdom, even the lowest level dwelling place, is in comparably more beautiful than the Garden of Eden.
Therefore, I pray in the name of the Lord that you will understand the providence of God hidden in human cultivation and live each day in the light more and more completely so that you will take hold of the best dwelling place in the heavenly kingdom, which is our eternal home.