Abraham Kuyper, Common Grace

But let it be noted here immediately that not the whole earth was paradise. The “Garden of Eden” is sharply and clearly distinguished from the rest of the world, in two ways. First, because it says, “the Lord God planted [that is, on the earth] a garden in Eden, in the east.” That addition “in the east” shows that the garden extended in only one direction. Not to the south or north or west, but only in the east. And second, it follows from the fact that after the fall, Adam and Eve could be expelled from paradise to another part of the earth. Thus we must not imagine that after creation the earth was one paradise. The whole earth was indeed good, so that it far exceeded in lushness and splendor what we can still see of the beauty of nature, but nevertheless paradise was something different. It was a garden, a pleasure garden, a deliberately appointed location. Not a garden in the sense in which we speak of it, let alone a kind of orchard. The additional statement that the sources of the four great, mighty rivers let their waters roar through this paradise proves that we have to do here with a pleasure garden of immense vastness. Yet, no matter how vast, it was a garden, that is, an expanse of terrain that was appointed with a certain purpose in mind, that was laid out for this purpose and that immediately gave the impression that this was not merely a valley or an immense forest, but a planned region.


Paradise was not funereal and quiet, but the whole Garden of Eden throbbed with life, not only through the wind in the daytime, and through the water that splashed and gurgled from all sides, but also through the songbirds in the branches and the noble, pure-blooded animals that populated paradise, newly created by God in undamaged perfection.