“The Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there He put the man whom He had formed.” So begins the story of the Garden of Eden in the Bible. As with all the stories of the Bible, Swedenborg tells us, this one has a deeper meaning which was revealed to him by the Lord. It has to do with each one of us personally and mankind as a whole. So what does the Garden of Eden represent? It is the paradise state that God plants within the mind of each one of us from our birth – the intuitive knowing that we are loved and safe that is reinforced by the angels who surround us then and the hands that nurture us.
The Tree of Life in the centre of the garden is the dwelling place of God at our core – the innocent trust and bliss of a life dependent on God and the love and support of others in harmony with Him. We leave Eden because we tend to choose the other tree which represents believing that we are like God and are good and wise of ourselves. We may have left the Eden paradise of our childhood states, but they are still hidden within us. God still dwells within us and is our Source of spiritual strength and, with our cooperation and effort, the means of our regeneration (being made new). If we choose to stay connected to our Source, shunning evils as sins against Him, there is the promise of forgiveness and a future paradise state at the end of our journey (the end of the Bible) with the Tree of Life once again at the centre of our lives (see John’s vision in the Book of Revelation 21 & 22).