When the Adam and Eve Material Sons, the biologic uplifters, begin their sojourn on an evolutionary world, their place of abode is often called the Garden of Eden because it is characterized by the floral beauty and the botanic grandeur of Edentia, the constellation capital. Van well knew of these customs and accordingly provided that the entire peninsula be given over to the Garden.
Pasturage and animal husbandry were projected for the adjoining mainland. Of animal life, only the birds and the various domesticated species were to be found in the park. Van’s instructions were that Eden was to be a garden, and only a garden. No animals were ever slaughtered within its precincts. All flesh eaten by the Garden workers throughout all the years of construction was brought in from the herds maintained under guard on the mainland.
The first task was the building of the brick wall across the neck of the peninsula. This once completed, the real work of landscape beautification and home building could proceed unhindered.
A zoological garden was created by building a smaller wall just outside the main wall; the intervening space, occupied by all manner of wild beasts, served as an additional defense against hostile attacks. This menagerie was organized in twelve grand divisions, and walled paths led between these groups to the twelve gates of the Garden, the river and its adjacent pastures occupying the central area.
In the preparation of the Garden only volunteer laborers were employed; no hirelings were ever used. They cultivated the Garden and tended their herds for support; contributions of food were also received from nearby believers. And this great enterprise was carried through to completion in spite of the difficulties attendant upon the confused status of the world during these troublous times. But it was a cause for great disappointment when Van, not knowing how soon the expected Son and Daughter might come, suggested that the younger generation also be trained in the work of carrying on the enterprise in case their arrival should be delayed. This seemed like an admission of lack of faith on Van’s part and made considerable trouble, caused many desertions; but Van went forward with his plan of preparedness, meantime filling the places of the deserters with younger volunteers.
THE GARDEN HOME
At the center of the Edenic peninsula was the exquisite stone temple of the Universal Father, the sacred shrine of the Garden. To the north the administrative headquarters was established; to the south were built the homes for the workers and their families; to the west was provided the allotment of ground for the proposed schools of the educational system of the expected Son, while in the “east of Eden” were built the domiciles intended for the promised Son and his immediate offspring. The architectural plans for Eden provided homes and abundant land for one million human beings.
At the time of Adam’s arrival, though the Garden was only one fourth finished, it had thousands of miles of irrigation ditches and more than twelve thousand miles of paved paths and roads. There were a trifle over five thousand brick buildings in the various sectors, and the trees and plants were almost beyond number. Seven was the largest number of houses composing any one cluster in the park. And though the structures of the Garden were simple, they were most artistic. The roads and paths were built, and the landscaping was exquisite. The sanitary arrangements of the Garden were far in advance of anything that had been attempted theretofore on Urantia. The drinking water of Eden was kept wholesome by the strict observance of the sanitary regulations designed to conserve its purity. During these early times, much trouble came about from neglect of these rules, but Van gradually impressed upon his associates the importance of allowing nothing to fall into the water supply of the Garden.
Before the later establishment of sewage-disposal system the Edenites practiced the scrupulous burial of all waste or decomposing material. Amadon’s inspectors made their rounds each day in search for possible causes of sickness. Urantians did not again awaken to the importance of the prevention of human diseases until the later times of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Before the disruption of the Adamic regime a covered brick-conduit disposal system had been constructed which ran beneath the walls and emptied into the river of Eden almost a mile beyond the outer or lesser wall of the Garden.
By the time of Adam’s arrival most of the plants of that section of the world were growing in Eden. Already had many of the fruits, cereals, and nuts been greatly improved. Many modern vegetables and cereals were first cultivated here, but scores of varieties of food plants were subsequently lost to the world. About five percent of the Garden was under high artificial cultivation, fifteen percent partially cultivated, the remainder being left in a more or less natural state pending the arrival of Adam, it being thought best to finish the park in accordance with his ideas.
And so was the Garden of Eden made ready for the reception of the promised Adam and his consort. And this Garden would have done honor to a world under perfected administration and normal control. Adam and Eve were well pleased with the general plan of Eden, though they made many changes in the furnishings of their own personal dwelling.
Although the work of embellishment was hardly finished at the time of Adam’s arrival, the place was already a gem of botanic beauty; and during the early days of his sojourn in Eden the whole Garden took on new form and assumed new proportions of beauty and grandeur. Never before this time nor after has Urantia harbored such a beautiful and replete exhibition of horticulture and agriculture.
THE TREE OF LIFE
In the center of the Garden temple Van planted the long-guarded tree of life, whose leaves were for the “healing of the nations,” and whose fruit had so long sustained him on earth. Van well knew that Adam and Eve would also be dependent on this gift of Edentia for their life maintenance after they once appeared on Urantia in material form.
The Material Sons on the system capitals do not require the tree of life for sustenance. Only in the planetary repersonalization are they dependent on this adjunct to physical immortality.
The “tree of the knowledge of good and evil” may be a figure of speech, a symbolic designation covering a multitude of human experiences, but the “tree of life” was not a myth; it was real and for a long time was present on Urantia. When the Most Highs of Edentia approved the commission of Caligastia as Planetary Prince of Urantia and those of the one hundred Jerusem citizens as his administrative staff, they sent to the planet, by the Melchizedeks, a shrub of Edentia, and this plant grew to be the tree of life on Urantia.
This superplant stored up certain space-energies which were antidotal to the age-producing elements of animal existence. The fruit of the tree of life was like a superchemical storage battery, mysteriously releasing the life-extension force of the universe when eaten. This form of sustenance was wholly useless to the ordinary evolutionary beings on Urantia, but specifically it was serviceable to the one hundred materialized members of Caligastia’s staff and to the one hundred modified Andonites who had contributed of their life plasm to the Prince’s staff, and who, in return, were made possessors of that complement of life which made it possible for them to utilize the fruit of the tree of life for an indefinite extension of their otherwise mortal existence.
During the days of the Prince’s rule the tree was growing from the earth in the central and circular courtyard of the Father’s temple. Upon the outbreak of the rebellion it was regrown from the central core by Van and his associates in their temporary camp. This Edentia shrub was subsequently taken to their highland retreat, where it served both Van and Amadon for more than one hundred and fifty thousand years.
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