And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed.
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Ambrose of Milan
If paradise, then, is of such a nature that Paul alone, or one like Paul, could scarcely see it while alive and still was unable to remember whether he saw it in the body or out of the body, and moreover heard words that he was forbidden to reveal—if this be true, how will it be possible for us to declare the position of paradise which we have not been able to see and, even if we had succeeded in seeing it, we would be forbidden to share with others? And again, since Paul shrank from exalting himself by reason of the sublimity of the revelation, how much more ought we to strive not to be too anxious to disclose that which leads to danger by its very revelation! The subject of paradise should not, therefore, be treated lightly.
Nevertheless, we can find out who was the Creator of this Paradise. We read in Genesis that 'God planted a garden to the east and he put there the man he had formed.' [ Gen 2:8 ] Who had the power to create Paradise, if not almighty God, who 'spoke and they were made' [ Ps 32:9 ] and who was never in want of the thing which He wished to bring into being? He planted, therefore, that Paradise of which He says in His wisdom: 'Every plant which my Father has not planted will be rooted up.' [ Matt.15:13 ] This is a goodly plantation for angels and saints. The saints are said to lie beneath the fig tree and the vine. [ Mich 6:6 ] In this respect they are the type of the angels [ Mark 12:25 ] in that time of peace which is to come.
Hence, Paradise has many trees that are fruitbearing, with plenty of sap, and vigor. Of these it is said: 'All the trees of the woods shall rejoice.' [ Ps 95:12 ] The woods flourish ever with the green shoots of merit, just like that 'tree which is planted near t...
In the Scriptures some things are related in such a way that they seem to be following the order of time or occurring in chronological succession, when actually the narrative, without mentioning it, refers to previous events that had been left unmentioned. Unless we understand this distinction, we shall fall into error. For example, we find in Genesis: “And the Lord God planted a paradise of pleasure in the east; and there he put the man whom he had formed. And out of the ground the Lord God made to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food.” This last mentioned event would seem to have occurred after God had made man and placed him in paradise. After both of these facts have been mentioned briefly (that is, that God planted a paradise and there “placed man whom he had formed”), the narrative turns back by means of recapitulation and relates what had been planted and that “God brought forth out of the ground all manner of trees fair to behold and pleasant to eat o...
Eden is the land of paradise, and God had already planted it on the third day. Moses explains this by saying, “The Lord caused every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food to sprout forth from the earth.” And to show that he was talking about paradise, he added, “And the tree of life was in the midst of paradise, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” .
So on the sixth day "the Lord fashioned dust from the ground into Adam, and He breathed the breath of life into his nostrils, and Adam became a living being." [ Gen2:7,2:8,2:9 ] Although animals, cattle and birds came into being at the same moment that they received life, in Adam's case God honored him in a variety of ways: first, because it is said that God "fashioned him with His hands and He breathed a soul into him" [ Gen2:7 ] ; He also gave him authority over Paradise and what is outside Paradise; and He wrapped him in glory and gave him reason, thought and an awareness of the Majesty.
Having spoken of the honored way in which Adam was fashioned, Scripture turns to describe Paradise and Adam's introduction into it: "And the Lord planted Paradise in Eden of old, and He placed there Adam whom He had fashioned. " [ 2:8 ]
Of pleasure, Hebrew Eden, which may be either the name of a country, as chap. iv. 16, or it may signify pleasure, in which sense Symmachus and St. Jerome have taken it.
From the beginning, or on the 3d day, when all plants were created, Hebrew mikedem, may also mean towards the east, as the Septuagint have understood it, though the other ancient interpreters agree with St. Jerome. Paradise lay probably to the east of Palestine, or of that country where Moses wrote. The precise situation cannot be ascertained. Calmet places it in Armenia, others near Babylon Some assert that this beautiful garden is still in being, the residence of Henoch and Elias. But God will not permit the curiosity of man to be gratified by the discovery of it, chap. iii. 24. How great might be its extent we do not know. If the sources of the Ganges, Nile, Tigris, and Euphrates, be not now changed, and if these be the rivers which sprung from the fountains of Paradise, (both which are points undecided) the garden ...
Now these things we are under the necessity of setting forth at length, in order to disprove the supposition of others. For some choose to maintain that paradise is in heaven, and forms no part of the system of creation. But since we see with our eyes the rivers that go forth from it which are open, indeed, even in our day, to the inspection of any who choose, let every one conclude from this that it did not belong to heaven, but was in reality planted in the created system. And, in truth, it is a locality in the east, and a place select.
I SEE YOUR INSATIABLE interest, your great enthusiasm and eager attention, and the way you are all coming to spiritual teaching expectant and impatient. On the other hand, I am conscious of my own great inadequacy. Still, I am anxious to lay before you this mean and pal try table frequently, and in fact daily, trusting that you will readily receive what is said, stimulated as you are with your own enthusiasm. One can see this happening in the case of material nourishment: whenever guests come to dinner with a keen appetite, they eat with great relish whatever is placed before them, no matter if the meal happens to be paltry and the? host ungenerous whereas when the diners have indifferent appetite, no matter if the meal is sumptuous and the menu varied, it is wasted on them since they can't do justice to the good things provided. Here today, however, your enthusiasm has in fact been enlivened through God's grace and the repast is a spiritual one; so we, too, are enthusiastic in speakin...
And when, dearly beloved, you hear that “God planted a garden in Eden in the east,” take the word planted in a sense appropriate to God—namely, that he commanded this happen—and about the next phrase, believe that a garden came into being in the place that Scripture indicated.