(BNC) by J. Randal Matheny — Last week a religious news site ran the headline, “Iraq: ‘Garden of Eden’ named World Heritage Site.” The headline doesn’t reflect the text of the report very well; it’s clickbait.

The headline is ironic. That garden, lost to mankind as the place of encounter and fellowship with God on earth, will never be preserved in this world. It will be restored in the next, however.

Not the U.N., but the triune Godhead, restores to mankind the fellowship of God. In Christ, we have access to God. In the city foursquare comes to us again the tree of life.

In the restoration of Eden, God reverses the curse of “painful toil” of the earth, from which we now eat. Then, we will again eat of the tree, Gen 3.17.

Faithfulness is needed in order to find Eden restored. The glorified Christ said to the Ephesian church, “To the one who conquers, I will permit him to eat from the tree of life that is in the paradise of God” Rev 2.7. Victory in the book of Revelation is defined as holding true to one’s confession of faith in Christ, even in the face of suffering and death.

Such faithfulness means that the word of God is respected in its entirety. The book of Revelation ends with this warning, “And if anyone takes away from the words of this book of prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city that are described in this book” Rev 22.19. Blessing is pronounced upon he who reads these words of God and upon they who hear and obey them, Rev 1.3. The principle of respect for God’s word runs through the whole Bible, Deut 4.1-2; 1 Cor 4.6.

Man can do nothing to bring back the original Garden of Eden. Even its location is but a guess. There is nothing left of it to preserve or protect.

It is God who brings down from heaven the new Jerusalem, the paradise restored, to man. Forget the original garden on earth where Adam and Eve walked. It matters not where its original location was, nor whether the area is preserved.

This heavenly garden of paradise, where God dwells and reigns, will be far superior.

And that truth deserves the largest headline.

Randal and his wife Vicki have lived and worked in Brazil since Nov. 1984. They have three children, two daughters-in-law, and four grandchildren. He likes to read novels in his back-porch hammock. http://randal.us