Recall that it is my opinion that Adam wasn’t merely a farmer but rather, he was the first priest who labored in the first temple. I hold this opinion because I believe the text of Genesis 1-3 teaches this in two ways. First, in the features of the garden, and second, in the activity of Adam. This past Monday we looked into the features of the garden, today we’ll look into Adam’s activity.
God’s Direct Presence: God walked among the garden, with Adam, talking with him in the cool of the day (Gen. 3:8). That God was present here in the garden, and only present throughout the rest of Scripture in temples and tabernacles means the garden was the first temple (Lev. 26:11-12, Deut. 23:14, 2 Sam 7:6). It also means that John 1:14 is very important for how God walks among us today, through His Son, who had dwelt (or tabernacle’d) among us.
Adam’s Responsibilities: Genesis 2:15 says God commanded Adam to do two things in the garden, ‘work it and keep it.’ This is why people have said Adam was merely a farmer of the world God had made. Yet, do you know the only other place these two Hebrew words (work and keep) are used together again in Scripture? The only other place these words are used together in the Bible is when Moses describes the priest’s duties within the tabernacle in Numbers 3:7-8, and 4:23-24, 26. As Adam was called to work and keep the garden, Moses calls the priests to work (or tend to) and keep the tabernacle. Conclusion? Adam was the first priest, in the first temple, whose duties were more priestly and agricultural.
When you take all the features of the garden and place it next to the duties Adam received from God to in and with the garden, it becomes evident that Eden was not a farm, but was a microcosmic version of God’s sanctuary, it was the first temple.
This means that in Genesis 1-3 we see God creating and calling man to dwell within His own temple forever, ministering to Him as priests. Moving forward into Scripture this sets the stage and prepares us, as Bible readers, for the 2nd coming of Christ when it won’t be a giant city-farm descending from the throne, but a city-temple.
Thus, God planted a temple in Eden, not a farm to prepare us for the greater temple; and within it placed the first priest, not a farmer, to prepare us for the faithful and greater High Priest, Jesus Christ.
What have we learned so far? That God created man, in His image, placed him in the garden-temple, brought man into a covenantal relationship with Himself through the pronouncement of blessings and cursing’s, gave him the work of filling the earth with the image of God and extending this temple to the ends of the earth, doing all these things with his helpmate, Eve.
In this work Adam failed, but the first and faithless Adam prepares us for the last and faithful Adam to come.