Was the Garden of Eden just like Heaven, or is Heaven a more “pure”, or Godly, or better place?
I’ll take a stab at this question, but I can’t guarantee it’ll be a good one.
Scripture tells us heaven is God’s throne and the Earth his footstool. At least, that’s what it is now. But we also know that Christ, from all eternity, died for our sins. So, was heaven always meant for us human beings? Yes, I believe so, but God created us of this Earth and for this Earth, as well. So, I would say that Eden was heavenly, in that God walked within it and created man to inhabit it, but it was not another heaven, but a part of it, meant to be the proving ground for Adam and Eve’s obedience and their launching point to inhabit the whole world and all of God’s creation if they had passed their test. Since they failed, they were cast out of Eden. But Christ has regained it for us, and at the fullness of time, it will be remade when God creates a new heaven and a new Earth. What that will be we cannot say, but we will be with God in perfection of being and in perfect peace and happiness. That’s my few thoughts on it, anyway.
Heaven is for those who die in the State of Sanctifying Grace. Heaven is joy eternal in the presence of the Beatific Vision. Refer to post 2, especially the last thought about being with God in peace.
The Garden of Eden was like any garden which is cultivated to provide food for humans. What makes the Garden of Eden special is the story of Adam’s original friendship relationship with his Creator. This is found in the first three chapters of Genesis.
Imagine the Garden of Eden, as perfect as anywhere on Earth you would like to be, maybe the South Pacific, or Hawaii, only never any storms, volcanoes, or war.
Everything is in sync, and there is no death. People who live in this garden don’t die. They never get sick. There is no pain. Animals live there, and they are tame. They never die, either. No one eats meat since there are many different fruits and vegetables. It is still a physical world, but one with some attributes of Heaven.
Heaven may reflect this place called Eden, but the connection with God is forever. Heaven is a condition and place which completes.
Are you certain about that?
People who live in this garden don’t die.
The only thing that’s changed is that people now – who still have an eternal soul that never dies! – die a physical death. The difference is physical, not absolute.
Animals live there, and they are tame. They never die, either. No one eats meat since there are many different fruits and vegetables.
And, the Bible doesn’t say that animals were tame… just that they didn’t fear humans.
Are you sure about that??? Where in the Bible does it say that all animals were vegetarians? Where does it say that, after the fall, the vegetarian animals became meat-eaters??? Short of this, then… animals were part of a natural food chain.
Heaven may reflect this place called Eden
Hmm… isn’t more the case that Eden reflects this place called ‘Heaven’?
I recall that, in his ‘Theology of the Body’, John Paul II remarks that, in our journey of life, we’re called not to return to the garden, but to move forward to heaven.
Eden was earthly, Heaven is not.
I don’t think you can usefully distinguish " physical death" from “death”. Dead is dead!
When your body dies and you discover that your soul is still alive, I think you’ll find the distinction quite useful! :rotfl:
Our faith teaches us that the end of human beings is the beatific vision where we will see God face to face and be with him forever. This is heaven and the end for which God created us. Though Adam and Eve were created by God in original holiness and justice with sanctifying grace, they did not have the beatific vision in the garden of Eden which is also called the garden of paradise. As with our lives here on earth, the lives of Adam and Eve in the garden of paradise was a time of probation. God does not force us into heaven or to love and serve him. God created us with free will with the power of free choice and so he wants us to love and serve him freely and by doing so he rewards us with eternal life in heaven and beholding him face to face, the beatific vision.
The state in which God created Adam and Eve with original holiness and justice, sanctifying grace, communion with God, free from death, suffering, sickness, disease, their souls in harmony with their bodies, and the Garden of Eden in which God placed Adam and Eve was definitely heavenly but not the heaven of the beatific vision, our final end. I would call their lives in the garden of paradise a foretaste of heaven (not only spiritually in their communion with God but also in their bodies and the very place God placed them on the earth, the garden of Eden) probably similar in some sense to the mystic delightful experiences of some of the saints such as St Teresa of Avila or St John of the Cross who describe these experiences as a foretaste of heaven.
But, as it is written,
“What no eye has seen, nor ear heard,
nor the heart of man conceived,
what God has prepared for those who love him,”
God has revealed to us through the Spirit. (1 Cor. 2: 9-10)