Eden, The Place Of Testing -- By: G. Robert Graf

Journal: Journal of Dispensational Theology
Volume: JODT 14:43 (Dec 2010)
Article: Eden, The Place Of Testing
Author: G. Robert Graf

Eden, The Place Of Testing

G. Robert Graf

* G. Robert Graf, Ph.D., Bible teacher, Lewisville Bible Church, Lewisville, Texas

The Garden in Eden is the locus of a story that has impacted mankind since the earliest days. The literary narrative includes enough vividness and detail to encourage allegoricism. Often, the garden is regarded as a type of the Mosaic tabernacle, or the image of the heavenly tabernacle from which it took its form.1 It might even be a pattern for Jerusalem.2 One scholar compared the Garden of Eden to the Garden of Gethsemane.3 Another scholar regarded it as a literary setting for metaphor, declaring, “while the story focuses on the actions of two individuals, as metaphor it represents changes that took place in the psyche as it evolved over generations in the pro-homo sapiens period”4 The story itself has even been deconstructed.5

For modern scholars, the links of Eden to the tabernacle permit them to posit authorship by someone (perhaps someone other than Moses) who was familiar with the tabernacle, so that the description of the Garden in Eden and the story connected with it could be construed as an etiology of, or apology for, the tabernacle by someone who was interested in the cult.6

In this article, the rich tapestry of the Eden narrative will not be ruffled. The article will only stitch a layer of meaning that has not been added previously. It will be suggested that the Garden was created as a place of testing or tempting for Adam, as in contrast, Jesus later would be tested in the wilderness. A principal thrust of this article is an explanation of how Satan became Prince (archon) of this world, a title assigned to him by Jesus (John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11), but having validity since the time of Genesis 3. Such an interpretation is subject to the criticism of Bovell.

It can be said that both the literary and theological treatments of Genesis 2-3 are subject to at least one profound criticism: any reader, with enough training, will be capable of their own symbolic manipulations and systematic impositions. What is to stop another from trying their hand at it and coming up with variant interpretations? How is o...

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