For the first ten years of my life, I took electricity for granted. I flipped on light switches and turned the dial to change channels on my TV without thinking twice about how easy and available it was. It wasn’t until fourth grade that I received a basic education in how electricity worked. We were all assigned to bring in a battery, aluminum foil, and a small light bulb along with our pencils, folders, and notebooks that year. We discovered how electricity worked when we got to create a circuit that went from the lightbulb to the battery and from the other end of the battery back towards the light bulb. But what made it all work was the switch. When we moved the simple switch into place, the circuit was complete and our light bulb would illuminate.
Nancy Guthrie’s Even Better Than Eden will illuminate biblical patterns you may not have noticed in your reading of Scripture. Those who are already familiar with the Bible’s storyline will find that the wiring has already been laid out. Guthrie’s book will complete the circuit. Picking up on a variety of details present in the account of Adam and Eve, Guthrie traces how these themes are woven into the story of Scripture from beginning to end. Nine chapters focus on the stories of the Wilderness, the Tree, His image, Clothing, the Bridegroom, Sabbath, the Offspring, a Dwelling Place and the City.
Each chapter is rich with observations that increased my appreciation for Jesus and my excitement for heaven. In the chapter on “The Story of the Sabbath,” Guthrie explains that “Adam failed in the work he was given to do….so instead of leading us into rest, Adam plunged us into the restlessness inherent in a sin-corrupted world” (97). Our longing for rest is rooted in the story of Scripture and all part of God’s ultimate plan for our future. This is what Guthrie’s book does so well in connecting our lived experience with the stories found in Scripture.
This book would make an excellent group study (and Guthrie is already working on a video series to accompany the book). As Guthrie’s overviews draw your attention to biblical patterns, you will likely be reminded of other places where these themes appear in scripture and benefit from sharing these observations. There are personal reflection questions included in the book, but the questions located at www.NancyGuthrie.com will offer an exciting guided tour that takes you back to the scriptures to discover even more richness. Not only that, but each chapter ends with an appropriate hymn that groups might enjoy using to worship God together for the beauty of his plan.
Throughout, Guthrie builds on the idea that we should not long to return to some idealized version of Eden. Instead, we should look forward to all of the potential of Eden being realized in our heavenly future. As Guthrie says “Eden had the seeds of the new creation, but all those seeds will burst into glorious bloom in the new heaven and the new earth” (159). Studying these nine stories within the greater story of Scripture will not only illuminate exciting patterns in scripture, it will also shine a light on what is yet to come for us who believe. Nancy Guthrie reminds us that we have a lot to look forward to.