There is a song with lyrics that speak of wanting to go back to Eden, back to the perfection that was God’s original creation. We are all so aware that this world isn’t what it could be, isn’t what it should be. But was Eden really all it was cracked up to be?
In Even Better than Eden: Nine Ways the Bible’s Story Changes Everything about Your Story answers that question. Nancy Guthrie unpacks the intent of Eden, illuminating a perspective I had never considered. While teaching on Eden often focuses on the perfection of Eden, Guthrie focuses on the promises of Eden, promises to even its first residents. If you thought Eden was complete, get ready for an enlightening read that will change the way you view it forever.
Guthrie is a legit Bible teacher. Her handling of the scripture is thoughtful, accurate and understandable. She asserts that God always had something better than Eden in mind, and we can experience some of what that is before heaven through the work of Christ. This material is never dry, especially once you catch the format she uses throughout the book. At the core of the book is The Story, God’s story of what He gave to and intended for man. Within that Story are stories of what happened up to and after sin entered the world. Each chapter of the book is its own story, and Guthrie does a masterful job of a topical survey of scripture for each subject.
Starting with the Story of the Wilderness, we learn about the emptiness, “without form and void” introduced in Genesis 1. She connects this to the emptiness we have all experienced, then tells us the story of “without form and void” that is found throughout scripture, from Genesis to Revelation. She weaves the topic into a survey of the wilderness days of Israel, the discontentment through the Old Testament until we encounter contentment in the wilderness in Jesus Christ. Continuing the thread of the story she takes us through Paul’s battle with contentment and ends the story with John’s vision in Revelation of the time when “No longer will there be anything accursed.” Each chapter ends with a hymn that features the praise we can sing having seen the truth that is better than Eden.
Each chapter follows this story telling format, and it is engaging. Weaving topics like the tree from the garden to the tree of the cross to the tree of life from the beginning to end of God’s word reveals a thread that connects not just the topic but connects us to the topic. We learn the past, we see how it connects to our present and look forward to the fulfillment in the future.
The Story of Clothing (fascinating look at God’s covering), the Story of the Bridegroom, The Story of Sabbath, Offspring, Dwelling Place and the City all have a strong gospel message, with the work of Christ central to the application for us today. If you’ve ever read scripture and wonder how it all fits together, reading Better Than Eden will be a great introduction to biblical survey that will help you see the totality of God’s story. Also included is a discussion guide, bibliography, general and scripture index. This is all great resources for further study.
While Eden is a distant memory, and heaven sometimes seems so very far away, you will be encouraged to learn that even now, there is something Better Than Eden.
Read Well Friends!
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Crossway, August 31, 2018
208 pages including discussion guide/references
***Thank you to Crossway Books for providing threeladiesoflit.com with a complimentary copy for review. ***This post contains affiliate links, which means purchase made from said links provides a tiny remuneration to the ladies.***