From Genesis 1:26 it is clear that Adam—and humanity—have royal status. They are to ‘rule…over all the earth.’ In Genesis 2, with a little exegetical digging, it seems equally clear that Adam also had a priestly role within creation and, in particular, in the garden of Eden. As Gordon Wenham says: ‘The garden of Eden is not viewed by the author of Genesis simply as a piece of farmland, but as an archetypal sanctuary, that is a place where God dwells and where man should worship him’. We consider briefly some of the evidence that points to the garden of Eden being an ‘archetypal sanctuary’.
EDEN AS ARCHETYPAL SANCTUARY
God Walks in the Garden
It would appear from Genesis 3:8 that it was the Lord’s custom to walk in the garden in the cool of the day. The Hebrew for ‘cool’ is ruach. This is the same word used in 1:2 to designate the Spirit of God. By his Spirit, then, the Lord was present in the garden. And it looks as if he was in the habit of walking and talking with Adam at such times. The very same form of the Hebrew verb as is used here for walking is used elsewhere in the Pentateuch to describe the presence of God walking among his people in the tabernacle. For example, in Leviticus 26:12 the Lord makes this promise to Israel: ‘I will walk among you and be your God, and you will be my people’ (see also Deut. 23:14; cf. 2 Sam. 7:6–7). The Spirit was present as the God of Adam and, indeed, of all humanity, communing with humanity in Adam.
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