The place appointed for Adam’s residence was a garden; not an ivory house nor a palace overlaid with gold, but a garden, furnished and adorned by nature, not by art. What little reason have men to be proud of stately and magnificent buildings, when it was the happiness of man in innocency that he needed none! As clothes came in with sin, so did houses. The heaven was the roof of Adam’s house, and never was any roof so curiously ceiled and painted. The earth was his floor, and never was any floor so richly inlaid. The shadow of the trees was his retirement; under them were his dining-rooms, his lodging-rooms, and never were any rooms so finely hung as these: Solomon’s, in all their glory, were not arrayed like them. The better we can accommodate ourselves to plain things, and the less we indulge ourselves with those artificial delights which have been invented to gratify men’s pride and luxury, the nearer we approach to a state of innocency. Nature is content with a little and that which is most natural, grace with less, but lust with nothing.
Henry, M. (1996). Matthew Henry’s commentary on the whole Bible : Complete and unabridged in one volume (Ge 2:8–15). Peabody: Hendrickson.
I came across this quote today when I was studying about the nurturing nature of God. A couple of things immediately stood out to me:
1. Skinny dipping is good: “As clothes came in with sin, so did houses.” – what?! That’s not what you took from this? Weird.
2. I am easily amused. How quickly I am impressed by architecture, paintings, inventions that are a mere shadow of the natural beauty created by God.
3. Dead people* really know how to write. And think. And speak their minds. All qualities that I really respect. I hope to one day be as bold and confident in their convictions as they are. How does one to this? If you have any answers, please let me know.
4. Maybe my hippie sister is on to something. Perhaps I should be more attune to nature.
5. The Cistene Chapel ain’t got nothin’ on heaven. I mean, can you imagine taking guests around and being like: “Oh yes, this legion of angels, well they’ve been here since the beginning of time… What is the theme of our decor, you ask? Well, that’s easy – perfection.”
I guess what I’m saying is, heaven is going to be pretty rockin’. But not in a rock concert or everything I dreamed about come true kinda way. I think the absence of so many of our dreams and desires that actually distract us from worship will make heaven more rockin’ than we can dream. I mean, as I’ve said before so often it is not the big, obvious “bad” things that distract me from worship, but the little things, the good things.
*And by dead people, I mean people who are now dead because they lived long ago lest I be confused with someone who thinks the dead can write.