A Breezy Garden
It’s the time of year for hats, coats, and gloves. As temperatures go down, the number of layers that we wear goes up. If the wind is blowing, it makes it even colder. Thus, the meteorologist (or the lady inside your phone) will tell you about “wind chill.”
On one occasion, the Garden of Eden is depicted as being a breezy place. It’s found in Genesis 3:8, immediately after Adam and Even have eaten of the tree which was placed off-limits. We read that “they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden.”
The traditional way of translating this has been “the cool of the day” (KJV, NKJV, NASB, ESV, NIV). However, the New Living Translation probably gets closer to the point, as it translates it “the breezes were blowing.” This word is found earlier in our Bible, in Genesis 1:2. The word there is Spirit. The idea of spirit (Hebrew: ruach) is that of a life-giving breath, or wind. “You send forth Your Spirit, they are created; And You renew the face of the ground” (Psalm 104:30).
The Spirit of God is associated with new life and new beginnings. The Spirit is mentioned at the beginning of creation (Genesis 1:2). The Spirit is connected to the building of the tabernacle (Exodus 31:1-5). In the book of Judges, the Spirit works to create newness when there is oppression (Judges 3:10; 11:29; 14:19; 15:14). Isaiah anticipates the time when the Spirit will come upon a ruler who will establish justice (Isaiah 11:1-3; 42:1-3; 61:1-3). This is, of course, the Lord Jesus Christ. Today, the Spirit of God dwells among the church (1 Corinthians 3:16-17; 6:19-20). We have the hope of new life in this world and the one to come. “But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you” (Romans 8:11).
Genesis 3:8 probably means more than something like “it was cold outside.” It is a verse that gets interpreted in a variety of ways, but one possibility is that it should be read similar to Genesis 1:2, where “the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters.” Genesis 3 is a chapter of punishment, but it is also a chapter displaying God’s grace. God is still walking among them even though they have sinned. God is looking for the ones He loves. God has not abandoned the creation. There is hope found in the promise that the head of the serpent will be bruised (Genesis 3:15).
When we get to the Gospels, the winds of change blow across Matthew 1, as Jesus is conceived “of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 1:20). He is “God with us” who “dwelt among us” and has conquered sin and death (Matthew 1:23; John 1:14; 1 Corinthians 15:55-57). The book of Revelation provides a picture of a garden where there is no curse, and instead of a lying serpent there is a Lamb (Revelation 22:1-5). May we be humble enough to allow God to bring change in our lives where needed, and may we desire to abide in His presence rather than try to hide from His presence.