Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

Read: Gen. 2:4-17

We live in a world where everyone wants a place, but do we know what that really means? Sure, we can google a definition and read “a particular position or point in space”— not sure that is actually helpful. Also, the English language uses the word “place” in various circumstances:

“Did you put that back in the right place?”

“Save me a place in line.”

“What place did you finish in the competition?”

“I didn’t agree to that in the first place.”

“Everyone in your place!”

I could go on, but you get the idea. So what does place signify? Why are so many trying to find their “place in the world”? You might be thinking, “Mary Kathryn, what does any of this have to do with Genesis 2?” 

As Genesis shifts from chapter 1 to chapter 2, it also shifts focus from all that God is doing everywhere to what God is doing for one couple. In all this vast world with galaxies full of planets, stars, suns, and moons, the attention turns to a tiny spot in the east of Eden where God is creating a garden. 

Clearly there is no doubt that it was the perfect garden with God as the gardener. However, you and I might debate what this perfect garden looked like. Was it wild? Was it walled in? Was it symmetrically arranged? Was it beautiful chaos? Does it really matter when it was “the garden of the Lord” (Gen. 13:10)? I am pretty sure we would have loved it no matter how He created it. My point is that God made it; He established it; He created a place for Adam and Eve to dwell. He did this so that He could bring them into this place. 

Too many people (including Christians) think that if we could only get back to Eden, life would be exactly what it was always meant to be. Eden was perfect. But if we stop there and don’t take that thought to its fullest conclusion, we quickly miss the great point of Eden. Listen to theologian Karl Barth: “God grants him (Adam) His own presence, i.e., Himself as the Co-inhabitant of this place.” What made Eden the perfect place to live? God was the Co-Inhabitant. God didn’t put Adam and Eve in the garden, tell them to enjoy it, and then walk away. He was with them in the Garden. From this perspective, there is only one conclusion: no one can ever experience the fullness of place unless the Lord dwells with them. 

God created man and woman and placed them in a garden. He created them because He desired to be with them. He desires the same thing today. Think about John 14:23, “Jesus answered him, ‘If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him’.” (emphasis mine). Where is our place in this world? It is with the One who created the world. He still seeks to dwell with people. The Trinity will make its home with us! 

When we see people desperate to find their place, we have the answer for them. It isn’t the right job, city, spouse, house, etc. Their place is with their loving Heavenly Father. He is the same today as He was when He created Eden—a God who desires to make a place with His beloved children. When He makes His place with us, we find the place we were always meant to be. 

If you are wondering where you belong or wondering why you don’t feel at home, look to Christ. He wants to answer you. He wants to dwell with you. He wants to send the Comforter to you. Isn’t that an astounding promise? We are the place for God to dwell. As He dwells within us, we in turn find our fullest place in Him.