Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
nuclearfuels

Temple: What does the Garden of Eden symbolize/immitate?

Recommended Posts

So in the Primary class I teach, my coteacher is incredible and brings video clips from a Jewish film library.

Last Sunday we learned about Solomon's Temple, which imitated the Tabernacle Moses built, and Moses' Temple imitated/represented the actual, physical Garden of Eden with the Tree of eternal life being up on top of a hill and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil being lower than the hill, according to Jewish scholarship.

Was the Garden of Eden a Temple? A representation of mortality, condensed?

Hoping Robert Smith will weigh in on this.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
1 hour ago, nuclearfuels said:

So in the Primary class I teach, my coteacher is incredible and brings video clips from a Jewish film library.

Last Sunday we learned about Solomon's Temple, which imitated the Tabernacle Moses built, and Moses' Temple imitated/represented the actual, physical Garden of Eden with the Tree of eternal life being up on top of a hill and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil being lower than the hill, according to Jewish scholarship.

Was the Garden of Eden a Temple? A representation of mortality, condensed?

Hoping Robert Smith will weigh in on this.

 

 

What age are you teaching?

Share this post


Link to post

I don't know what the Garden of Eden symbolized, but i think it's really cool how much God has utilized gardens.  The most significant acts all occurred in one.  The Garden of Eden, the Garden Gethsemane (where the Atonement was begun, not to leave out Christ's dying on the cross), and the Garden of the Empty Tomb.  Pretty cool stuff.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
2 hours ago, nuclearfuels said:

So in the Primary class I teach, my coteacher is incredible and brings video clips from a Jewish film library.

Last Sunday we learned about Solomon's Temple, which imitated the Tabernacle Moses built, and Moses' Temple imitated/represented the actual, physical Garden of Eden with the Tree of eternal life being up on top of a hill and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil being lower than the hill, according to Jewish scholarship.

Was the Garden of Eden a Temple? A representation of mortality, condensed?

Hoping Robert Smith will weigh in on this.

 

 

http://jbqnew.jewishbible.org/assets/Uploads/412/jbq_41_2_gardenofeden.pdf

https://rsc.byu.edu/archived/ascending-mountain-lord-temple-praise-and-worship-old-testament/garden-eden-ancient-temple

https://www.exegesisandtheology.com/2016/08/22/was-eden-a-temple/

https://www.sats.edu.za/userfiles/Lioy, Garden of Eden.pdf

A couple sources seem to agree.

 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post

There are different levels of understanding with the The creation story, but ultimately it is not meant to be taken literally.  The narrative is full of symbols and it is the interpretation or understanding if those symbols that is the goal of study of those verses.

As you note, The garden is one example.  Simply put the garden represents our existence in the terrestrial pre-earth life when we were still in the presence of God.  When did satan rebel and take a 1/3 of spirts to follow him?  When did ALL of us, not just Adam and Eve,  choose to follow The Father’s plan?  Yes; all of that and more happened in “The Garden” or pre-earth life.

Share this post


Link to post
19 minutes ago, Durangout said:

For the primary kids however just keep it simple and literal. 

Oh yea. I'd not bring any of this up in primary. Maybe for the 11 - 12 year olds (whom I teach) a very short mention of terrestrial kingdom. But that's it.

Share this post


Link to post
21 minutes ago, Durangout said:

Simply put the garden represents our existence in the terrestrial pre-earth life when we were still in the presence of God.  When did satan rebel and take a 1/3 of spirts to follow him?  When did ALL of us, not just Adam and Eve,  choose to follow The Father’s plan?  Yes; all of that and more happened in “The Garden” or pre-earth life.

Interesting, I've never heard this before.  Is this your own beliefs or is there a reference to someone else teaching it that you can share?

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
4 hours ago, nuclearfuels said:

So in the Primary class I teach, my coteacher is incredible and brings video clips from a Jewish film library.

Last Sunday we learned about Solomon's Temple, which imitated the Tabernacle Moses built, and Moses' Temple imitated/represented the actual, physical Garden of Eden with the Tree of eternal life being up on top of a hill and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil being lower than the hill, according to Jewish scholarship.

Was the Garden of Eden a Temple? A representation of mortality, condensed?

Hoping Robert Smith will weigh in on this.

 

 

There is no objectively correct answer.

What are all the things you can think it represents?

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post

We find patterns in our existence(s).

I think the Garden of Eden is a stage we see in these patterns (long and short scale, individually and collectively) that can illustrate a naïveté in which we exist in before successively difficult experiences ensue.

If we believe the Garden of Eden to be a place in Missouri, I submit we’re missing significant meaning(s).

I think we would see more if we called it “a creation story” rather than “the creation story.”

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post

None of the symbols in the temple represent just one thing.  The temple is a map of many things.  The way I work with the Garden of Eden the most often though (at this time) is as a pre--condition of understanding and knowledge.  It may correspond with a geographical location of 'pre-earth life', but I tend to think we've been learning a long time in eternity, so the temple map I work with covers a longer arc than the pre-during-post earth life tri-template we often focus on.  The location of pre-understanding could also correspond with childhood on this earth, etc.  There's not just one thing.  That's why we go to the temple ourselves to be taught of the Lord.

Edited by Maidservant
  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post

The garden of Eden story IS a temple dramatization according to my understanding but I am not a scholar of such things.

In essence, imagine our temple endowment.

What we have in Genesis was a re-telling of the story originally found as a temple teaching before Genesis was written.  All that is is my personal understanding of what others have said.  I am sure that when Bob gets around to answer he will corroborate that but of course do it in a truly scholarly manner instead of just talking off the top of his head as I am.  ;)

Of course though the endowment is easily interpreted as each of our own falls from innocence and our personal journeys  back through the lone and dreary world to final resurrection and exaltation by faith in Christ, taking his name upon us and accepting the necessary covenants which are symbolized both verbally and in symbolic gestures which tell the same story.

We are as beggars before the Lord, and the assumption of covenants fills our cup with blessings of His grace and his death and atonement.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
7 hours ago, bluebell said:

Interesting, I've never heard this before.  Is this your own beliefs or is there a reference to someone else teaching it that you can share?

It's a common medieval Jewish belief in the mystic tradition. I don't know of anything indicating that formally in Mormonism, although it's definitely one way to read the endowment if each of us are Adam and Eve.

5 hours ago, SouthernMo said:

We find patterns in our existence(s).

I think the Garden of Eden is a stage we see in these patterns (long and short scale, individually and collectively) that can illustrate a naïveté in which we exist in before successively difficult experiences ensue.

If we believe the Garden of Eden to be a place in Missouri, I submit we’re missing significant meaning(s).

I always took Missouri to be where Adam ended up after leaving the garden but not the garden's location.

Edited by clarkgoble
  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
16 hours ago, clarkgoble said:

In ancient Babylonian temples typically there was a garden area representing heaven. Sacred gardens are common often with trees being particularly sacred. So you see this not only in our Genesis 2 creation account (which most scholars see as developing during the Babylonian exile) but in the Epic of Gilgamesh and other myths, narratives and so forth. Some even see the oddity in the Genesis 2 account of four streams coming from a central place an echo of the irrigation system in the famous gardens of Babylon. 

Closer to Israel the Canaanites obviously had Ashtoreth as a tree in temples - sometimes tied to the tree of life. 

Gardens weren't just significantly due to the lush life in a mostly desert environment (although in some cases the forests of Lebanon probably were an image tied to them) They also represented ordered life. The difference between a formal garden and a wild forest is significant. Eden isn't just about life but about order. So it's ordered life as opposed to the chaotic life of the actual natural environment. In a temple this represents the power of life for a God as well as the power of ordering. Something we miss today given our abundant wealth and power. But to primitive people living in an environment where death from starvation is always near, having a garden would have been seen as profound.

Once you get into the second temple period after the return from exile you have the development of two trends. One is a merkavah tradition where figures ascend to heaven often passing various heavenly intermediaries and frequently having to pass tests. (Key words, signs, tests of worthiness, etc.) At each step there was often a change in clothing frequently representing increase sacredness as one becomes closer to God. A second tradition was hekhalot literature which was the same idea except that instead of passing through worlds you pass through rooms or buildings. (The traditions admittedly blur together a bit) The idea of sacred rooms was of course part of the classic temple of Solomon and arguably even the tabernacle. Each level is more limited.

In these traditions there ofter were seven levels (although the actual number varied - sometimes 10, sometimes more). Typically the third of seven levels was paradise and was a return to the garden of Eden. You see this is Revelation where this imagery is made use. In a Mormon context you obviously see similarities. Many see there being a heavenly ascent as in merkavah like literature done through procession through rooms. In this case this ascent parallels an original descent. So in later, more platonically influenced Judaism, you have the souls of humans created in heaven where paradise was. Those then descend to earth. In the heavenly ascent you return to Eden then go further. In Mormon terms this is the terrestrial glory one ascends to after ascending out of this fallen world. 

 

And architecturally, the celestial rooms in our modern temples are typically built at a higher level that the terrestrial room, even if very subtly as with the smaller temples.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
15 hours ago, bluebell said:

Interesting, I've never heard this before.  Is this your own beliefs or is there a reference to someone else teaching it that you can share?

I've seen this mentioned before  on this board before on this board.I thin there are many lessons to be learned, and that the story can be taken both literally and figuratively. We are obviously much more able to fill in the figurative details with impressions than the literal ones with factoids though!

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
12 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

Temple are always built in specific places, the one built on the East side of the Eden, "the Great Plains," being no exception.  All are built as places of dramatic liturgical action which is highly symbolic.  Anglican Bishop Tom Wright (Durham, England) argues explicitly that the Garden of Eden is deliberately constructed by God as a temple.   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fxQpFosrTUk .  All temple-going Latter-day Saints engage in the very same liturgy performed by archetypal adam & eve in the Garden of Eden, and all are Adam & Eve during that liturgy.

 

There are lots of creation stories in the ancient world, the most relevant ones to compare being those dramatized in temples in Assyria and Babylonia.  In those accounts one has a garden of the god, as part of the creation of the world -- the same items created in the same order as in Genesis 1 - 2.  The Assyro-Babylonian creation story is Enuma elish, "When on high."  The Mesopotamian temples in which that drama was performed each New Year's Day were placed atop an artificial mountain called a Ziggurat.  In the Bible, the "mountain of the Lord's house" is likewise atop a mountain, the temple at Jerusalem being on the highest point of the city, Mt Moriah.

The Israelite tabernacle in the desert, the temples at Jerusalem, and  contemporary and earlier Canaanite temples had in common three rooms: the entryway (ulam) with two columns (distylos in antes), main room  (hekal), and the holy of holies (debir).  That trimegaron plan was also typical of Greek temples -- pronaos, naos, adyton.

Jubilees 8:19 says that the Garden of Eden represents the Holy of Holies.  For further discussion, see http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.693.3524&rep=rep1&type=pdf .

I believe it was Nibley who also pointed out that Eden was a kind of temple. Inasmuch as it is represented in our temples and endowments, it is like a temple within a temple where a "functional" transgression is expected, since no spirit (other than the Firstborn) can be sufficiently advanced to make the choice(s) to leave Eden without it. And if the Firstborn had taken on that role we would have a different story altogether.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
8 hours ago, clarkgoble said:

It's a common medieval Jewish belief in the mystic tradition. I don't know of anything indicating that formally in Mormonism, although it's definitely one way to read the endowment if each of us are Adam and Eve.

I always took Missouri to be where Adam ended up after leaving the garden but not the garden's location.

This would have been "east of the garden of Eden" as mentioned in Genesis, Moses and Alma. Cain lived even further east, or "east of Eden". Kind of opposite of the saints heading west or the tribes of Israel crossing the Jordan!

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
50 minutes ago, CV75 said:

I believe it was Nibley who also pointed out that Eden was a kind of temple. Inasmuch as it is represented in our temples and endowments, it is like a temple within a temple where a "functional" transgression is expected, since no spirit (other than the Firstborn) can be sufficiently advanced to make the choice(s) to leave Eden without it. And if the Firstborn had taken on that role we would have a different story altogether.

The problem with that last scenario is that it isn't part of the set liturgy which predetermines what is done and said.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
1 hour ago, Robert F. Smith said:

The problem with that last scenario is that it isn't part of the set liturgy which predetermines what is done and said.

Only in this world... :)

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
20 hours ago, nuclearfuels said:

So in the Primary class I teach, my coteacher is incredible and brings video clips from a Jewish film library.

Last Sunday we learned about Solomon's Temple, which imitated the Tabernacle Moses built, and Moses' Temple imitated/represented the actual, physical Garden of Eden with the Tree of eternal life being up on top of a hill and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil being lower than the hill, according to Jewish scholarship.

Was the Garden of Eden a Temple? A representation of mortality, condensed?

Hoping Robert Smith will weigh in on this.

Yes, and no. A central key is the last verse concerning Eden in Genesis: 

24 So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims[sic], and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.

I believe these are two cherubim. Now when we look at the later temple, we find two candlesticks which light the ark of the testimony, and in Zechariah we are told the candlesticks stand by the Lord of the whole earth. In Eden the cherubim keep the flaming sword or the way back to paradise.

As has been pointed out in this thread the later temple had three separate compartments, and an outer court of the Gentiles. I believe these are analogous to the three levels of the Celestial kingdom. The Holy Spirit of the first will minister to the telestial. So if the court of the Gentiles is included in your definition of "temple," I would say then the garden of Eden is not an exact representation of the temple. In the garden of Eden story everything outside the temple is represented by everything outside of the garden, which is equivalent to the court of the Gentiles.

Differences: in the Mosaic tabernacle there were no steps. Only earthen ramps were permissible to enter. In the Solomonic temple and the Ezekiel temple, there are steps to approach the altar and enter into the temple.  

If the Holy of Holies represents where the Father is in heaven, then we can equate the path of the priest to the Holy of Holies as being the path in the garden of Eden where man is denied direct access to the Father, but finds that ironically he must eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil upon which he is told that now he is as the YHWH Elohim, knowing good and evil. So this then necessitates sacrifice to overcome - a regular feature of temple ordinances. The thing about the tree of life being up on a hill is man-made. The story is about a path to exaltation rather than a physical separation. In order to reach the tree of life, Adam and Eve had to eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Then they had to follow the path of the flaming sword. We do this spiritually while in the world. The garden of Eden and the temple teach a spiritual path rather than some physical separation from the world. We follow this path while in the physical world. The tree of life is equated by the ark of the testimony in the temple. The tree of knowledge of good and evil is equated by the door or steps of entry. The temple of Solomon was built upon the threshingfloor of Ornan purchased with money by his father. Those who enter must eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and be threshed. Those who follow the way back to the tree of life in the garden of Eden must keep the way of the flaming sword while overcoming briars and thistles.

The seven branches of the menorah can be equated to the seven horns and/or seven eyes on the lamb in Revelation 5:6 which give their light unto the world, and so are a type of things to come as Revelation or things of the temple unfold. 

So yes, the garden of Eden is indicative of the things of the temple, but there are different symbols used for their respective teachings, and not all the parts are revealed in the story of the garden of Eden.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
1 hour ago, CV75 said:

Only in this world... :)

I can imagine the same essential liturgy being used everywhere in the universe, forever and ever.  "Worlds without end."  D&C 76:112, Moses 1:3

Share this post


Link to post

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

  • Similar Content

    • By HappyJackWagon
      I've been hearing rumors since the last conference that there will be some significant changes to the ways we experience and worship in the temple. Most significantly I'm hearing that there is an effort afoot to shorten the endowment to help reduce the logjam of names. As we know, a person (or group) can go to the temple and be baptized for 150 people within the same time it takes a person to do 1 endowment. I've long wondered about this discrepancy and how it could easily cause an imbalance in temple work. I've seen temples limit the number of baptisms one person could do. For a while on youth trips each youth was limited to just 5 names even though we had time to do more. So it would make sense to me to somehow shorten the endowment. Changes have been made before so I don't see any reason why it couldn't be done.
      With that general background, I'm also hearing that Pres. Nelson wants temple worship to be his legacy. For that to be the case I would suspect some significant changes would be needed, else why would it be "his" legacy. He is definitely a mover and a shaker, making things happen quickly so I think it fits his personality to move with changes he may have been considering for many years. In general I enjoy his ambition and determination to make things happen.
      I'm also hearing about mandatory meetings in early January for all temple workers where supposedly they will be informed of these changes so they can be prepared. Perhaps January meetings for all temple workers is a totally normal thing (I don't know as I've only ever served as a veil worker).
      So, it makes sense to me that changes could come, as early as the next few weeks. So I've got a couple of questions.
      1- Would you welcome changes to the length of time it takes to perform temple ordinances? (I call these efficiency changes)
      2- Is the family history/temple approval system adequate for temple work to move forward in a faster way? IOW- will there be enough names (without duplication) to keep up a faster pace?
      3- Are there other changes (besides efficiency) that you might expect to see?
      *Please keep the discussion respectful, both to each other and also to the temple rituals. There are a couple of specific items/topics regarding temple worship that shouldn't be discussed.
    • By nuclearfuels
      With all the new Temples being announced and my excitement builds at attending the dedications of said Temples, can the experts on this forum and the Journal of Discourse experts comment as to a future Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Temple on Mount Horeb (Moses and the Burning Bush site)? Perhaps during the Millennium?
    • By SettingDogStar
      The First Endowment was administered in the Upper Room of the Red Brick Store in Nauvoo. The room is not very big and Joseph said that he spent the day giving all the different "..washings, anointings, endowments and the communication of keys pertaining to the Aaronic Priesthood, and so on to the highest order of the Melchizedek Priesthood, setting forth the order pertaining to the Ancient of Days, and all those plans and principles by which any one is enabled to secure the fullness of those blessings.."
      My question was how they would have been able to arrange the room to match the temple layout? What else do you think Joseph included that Brigham Young eventually cut/rearranged in the Nauvoo temple and in later arrangements of the endowment?
      I can't find Josephs original plans for the layout of the Nauvoo floors. However from the ones I can find it doesn't seem to include the rooms that were built in later temples like St. George and Salt Lake. When the Nauvoo temple was finished they hung curtains to section off the different portions of the endowment but I feel like Joseph would have specific rooms built for that purpose? Or no?
      Just curious on your thoughts!!
    • By nuclearfuels
      Hi all-
      How can I get tickets to the Salta Argentina Temple Dedication?
      Emailed my wife's mission pres, now a GA, with no luck.
      Descamisados! Mi compañeros!
      Otherwise I'll have to ask that you not cry for me, Argentina
×