The following consists of some notes from G.K. Beale’s article, EDEN, THE TEMPLE, AND THE CHURCH’S MISSION IN THE NEW CREATION in JETS 48/1 (March 2005) 5–31.
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“The garden of Eden was a temple in the first creation.”
(I think Walton refers to the entire first creation as a temple.)
Anyway Beale will go on to list some reasons why Eden is to be regarded as a temple.
(1) In the OT, the temple was where an Israelite or the priest went to experience God’s presence.
(1′) Eden was the place where Adam walked and talked with God.
(2) God placed Adam, the first priest in the Garden “to cultivate it and to keep it.” ~ See Gen 2:15. The words used are abad and shamar.
(2′) Later on in the OT, the priest were to “serve and guard it.” Abad and shamar crop up again.
~ When Adam fails in his priestly role, two cherubim are placed in Eden to guard the tree of life. Likewise, Moses will make 2 statues of angels to guard the Ark of the Covenant in the Holy of Holies.
(3) ” … the “tree of life” itself was probably the model for the lampstand placed directly outside the “Holy of Holies” in Israel’s temple: it looked like a small tree trunk with seven protruding branches, three on one side and three on the other, and one branch going straight up from the trunk in the middle.”
(4) “Israel’s later temple had wood carvings which gave it a garden-like atmosphere and likely were intentional reflections of Eden.”
(5) ” … the ark in the Holy of Holies, which contained the Law (that led to wisdom), echoes the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (that also led to wisdom). The touching of both the ark and this tree resulted in death.”
(6) “Sixth, the ark in the Holy of Holies, which contained the Law (that led to wisdom), echoes the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (that also led to wisdom). The touching of both the ark and this tree resulted in death.”
(7) A river flowed out from Eden (Gen 2:10),
(7′) Likewise in the so the post-exilic temple and the temples described in Ezek. 47:1–12 and Rev 21:1–2, we find rivers flowing out from their center.
Thought in passing: In the NT, Christians are described as being temples of the Holy Spirit. It is interesting to note that Jesus said, “Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him”( John 7:38).
(8) & lastly (9) SKIP these ones as they are a bit involved.