It’s a far cry from what we are supposed to be doing, turning the world into the garden of God. But what do we find here in this first day of the New Genesis? We find the gardener back in the garden, back at the original vocation. If we go all the way to the end of the Bible, what do we find? We find a city. Abraham had been looking for a city. Cain had started cities, but they all went bad, every one of them. Abraham is looking for a city that God would build. In Revelation 21 and 22, we find a city. But it’s not a city of concrete and asphalt and steel, it’s a garden city. It is a city where human civilization flourishes, yet it’s also a garden because there are trees bearing fruit. There is a river that flows from the throne of God. It’s green, it’s flourishing. It’s a symbol of the world itself becoming the garden of God, which was the dream all along.
Chesterton says…”On the third day the friends of Christ coming at daybreak to the place found the grave empty and the stone rolled away. In varying ways they realized the new wonder – the world had died in the night. What they were looking at was the first day of a new creation, with a new heaven and a new earth. And in a semblance of a gardener, God walked again in the garden, not in the cool of the evening, but of the dawn.”
Jesus Christ is the first born of a new humanity. Our Eastern Orghodox brothers and sisters speak of “recapitulation”. It means re-heading. The human race had as it’s original head Adam, and Paul says “in Adam all die.” 1 Corinthians 15:22 ESV. But now, in Christ we’re given a new head. The new head of the human race is now the second Adam, who gives us the Second Genesis, Jesus Christ. Because Paul says “…in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.” 1 Corinthians 15:22 ESV. Christ has given us an entirely new way of being human, a Second Genesis. In Jesus Christ, that’s what humanity finds, a new beginning, a second Genesis. In Jesus Christ, we recover our original vocation to make the world a garden.
Ezekiel had a vision. After the destruction of the temple, Ezekiel has a vision of a temple to come. He sees a temple from which there is a trickle of water, but as it flows over the threshold, it becomes deeper and wider, just like the old Sunday school song. It begins to flow, and it gets deeper and wider. To the knees. To the waist. Finally enough to swim in. And everywhere it goes, there is life. It flows to the barren wastelands, and those wastelands live. This is the dream that Ezekiel has. Finally, the river from the temple makes it all the way to the Dead Sea, where nothing lives, and suddenly the Dead Sea is healed and everything is living!!
What is that temple? That is that temple of which we are living stones, Jesus Christ himself the cornerstone. As we are filled with the Holy Spirit, as we are filled with the life of Christ himself, we are to transform everywhere we go from barren wastelands into flourishing gardens. Dead Seas are to have life once again, amen!!
That’s what Jesus is as the gardener. That is what we are to be as his living body in the world, a river flowing, getting deeper and wider, eventually spreading the life abundant to the whole world. In our wake should be green meadows filled with renewed life, not a barren desert we can call peaceful because we’ve destroyed all who once lived there.
“Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb in which no one had yet been laid. So because of the Jewish day of Preparation, since the tomb was close at hand, they laid Jesus there…Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb.” John 19:41-42, 20:1 ESV.