garden of eden

How Should We Manage the Garden of Eden in 2020?

Lessons from COVID-19 #7

April 22,2020, marked the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day, which serves as an annual report on the current state of the earthly portion of the creation described first in Genesis 1. 2019 was a year of great turmoil debating what should be done about the worsening condition of Earth. For many, climate change became the number one concern.

An interesting result of the slowdown in much of human activity during Covid -19 has been a visible reduction of smog and air pollution over major cities, and clearer water in some river systems. 

We noted in the introduction that Adam and Eve were the first human managers of the creation. But how do we bridge the gap from the first couple to the complexity of today with governments, agencies, scientists, and individuals all managing the Garden?

A lot has been said about who has done right and wrong during Covid-19, but nothing about what organizational structure God might have wanted us to use to manage creation and our activities within it now. And how might His plan have been expressed through the ages up to our present complex circumstances?

Old Testament people received laws through Moses, but what about the social and organizational structure of society? Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are referred to as the patriarchs, meaning male and ruler, giving an early model of social organization and power relationships.

The twelve founding families of Israel are referred to as tribes, meaning a group of people who live and work together. In that organizational structure, maleness and birth order were significant factors in rights and social standing. 

Judges rose up to administer and adjudicate the laws. This did not go very well in Israel, as hostilities frequently broke out. Creation, then and now, was something to fight over for resources and power, but the human footprint wasn’t yet big enough to ruin the whole thing, as is possible now. 

The next effort at organization and rule was a push from the Israelites to have a king as other nations did. God reluctantly agreed, knowing that establishing kings would just give them a different organizational power structure that would eventuate the people going to war with each other. It also meant they would scheme in between wars to gain personal advantage. 

Monarch comes from the Greek to “rule alone”. Old Testament kings tended to have more absolute power. Solomon’s accomplishments are reported by him as “I did , or built, or acquired ...” and by others as “Solomon did , built or acquired...” even though a lot of what he did required slave labour. 

God provided prophets to try to direct kings towards right action, but it was often a losing battle for the prophets and the kings they served. Although some monarchies persist today, they are usually more ceremonial than powerful, and nations and cultures have complex power and administrative structures.

After Malachi, the author of the final book of the Old Testament, God remained silent in His Holy inspired Word for over 400 years. This allowed for the emergence of the Roman Empire, as the backdrop to provide in the New Testament an organizational model for our times.

And you, dear reader will hopefully have to wait just a few days to have that revealed. I think in a way, you probably already know!

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