I am not going to lie to you, when I think of the Garden of Eden, I think of a beautiful place where lush greenery, vibrant flowers and pristine pools of cool blue water cover the landscape as far as the eyes can see. It is a place where I long to be and a place where I often go to in my mind. For Adam and Eve, it may have started out that way, but the Garden of Eden for them was more of training ground where they learned valuable lessons that we can still learn from today.
Here are six lessons learned from the Garden of Eden.
1. God speaks to us
We are God's children, no different than Adam and Eve. We may not enjoy the pleasures of the Garden of Eden, but we can enjoy the ability to talk to our God and to know that he will speak to us in return. Even when they left the Garden of Eden, the Lord continued to speak to Adam and Eve and their posterity, directing them in their everyday affairs.
2. God requires us to work
In Genesis we read, "And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the Garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it." (Genesis 2:15 KJV). From this scripture verse, we learn that even in the Garden of Eden, the Lord required man to work. It wasn't a vacation for Adam. He was required to tend the garden and take care of it. We are never meant to be idle. Work is a very necessary and important part of our growth and development here on this Earth and is something that was taught from the foundation of the world.
3. Satan constantly tries to persuade us to disobey God
If we are not careful, Satan's subtle ways can be our downfall. Satan strives daily to undo everything that God has accomplished. He is crafty and sly and will tell us whatever it is he thinks we want to hear in order to get us to disobey our God. It is important when we teach our children about the Savior, we also teach them about Satan. It is very hard for someone to fight a war if they do not know their enemy. We must teach our children who their enemy is. It does not have to be an in-depth conversation, but it does need to be talked about.
4. We cannot hide from our mistakes
When Adam and Eve partook of the fruit, they tried to hide themselves from God with little success. They still had to face him and answer for their mistakes. No matter what we do in this life, we will one day have to face God and answer for our mistakes.
5. Disobedience causes hardship
When Adam and Eve went against God and partook of the fruit, they were no longer pure and could no longer live in God's presence in the Garden of Eden. They were cast out. Their work was no longer to pick the fruit and to tend the garden that was already growing, their work was now to grow their own garden and produce their own fruit themselves. Not only did their work increase, but their closeness to God diminished leaving them feeling afraid, forsaken and alone. When we are disobedient to the commandments of God, we make more work for ourselves because we no longer have God on our side giving us blessings. Instead, we must rely on our own strength.
6. The Lord is merciful, even when he might be disappointed in us
After God discovered Adam and Eve's transgression, although he may have been disappointed, they were still his children and he continued to provide for them. "Unto Adam also and to his wife did the Lord make coats of skin, and clothed them." (Genesis 3:21 KJV) God is merciful and kind and he loves his children. No matter what we do, he will never stop loving or caring for us. At times we may disappoint him, but he will still do the best he can within the parameters he has set to make our lives easier for us.
We can learn many things from our first parents and their first home, but possibly one of the greatest things we can learn is that God loves us. God, in his infinite wisdom provided a plan for his children that would not only allow for mistakes, but would bring us redemption through a Savior who would make it possible for all God's children to one day make it home. What a beautiful plan that had its earthly beginning in the beautiful Garden of Eden.