Reading Genesis 2 is a lot like taking a vacation. In the way that great writing can, it paints a picture for us as we read, transporting us to another world. Only, Genesis 2 doesn’t describe another world as much as it does another time. We see how God put everything in its place meticulously–every plant, every river, every stone. We see God forming man from the dust and breathing life into his nostrils, and then we see God making the woman and bringing the two together. In a world that is often chaotic, the Garden of Eden is purposeful and peaceful. In that sense, it’s the perfect escape.
As we read Genesis 2, we are told twice that God “put” the man in the garden, language that points us to God’s purpose toward and for humanity. The first time comes in verse 8, where the surrounding verses point to God’s perfect provision. God thinks of everything–trees that are pleasant to look at and good to eat, rivers flowing to take water wherever it is needed. God put the man right in the middle of everything he needed to live and to flourish. God’s purpose toward us is to provide for lives marked by flourishing.
And then in verse 15, we read it again, that God put the man in the garden “to work it and keep it.” This time, the context points to God’s purpose for humanity–meaningful responsibility and the enjoyment of work that matters.
A lot has changed since the Garden of Eden. The good news for us is that God doesn’t change, and neither have His purposes. He is still the God who provides for His people, and He is still the God who has a plan and a purpose for your life. That’s where Genesis 2 takes us. It isn’t an escape from reality but an escape to reality, a reminder in the midst of a broken world that God knows where all the pieces go.