Reading the Bible today, Genesis 2:10-14 caught my attention. I tried to go back to the earlier part of Genesis 2, where God creates man, but I kept jumping ahead to this, so figured this is where my study should focus today.
10 Now a river went out of Eden to water the garden, and from there it parted and became four riverheads. 11 The name of the first is Pishon; it is the one which skirts the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold. 12 And the gold of that land is good. Bdellium and the onyx stone are there. 13 The name of the second river is Gihon; it is the one which goes around the whole land of Cush. 14 The name of the third river is Hiddekel;[b] it is the one which goes toward the east of [c]Assyria. The fourth river is the Euphrates.Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
When I spent a year studying Genesis, I ended up with 4 cornerstones of my faith: Believe, Grace, Love, and Freedom. Each of the first three was a specific lesson that brought about a major epiphany…a complete repentance (repent literally means to change your mind) of my previous point of view.
Somehow I knew there had to be 4 points, and I knew that Freedom was the last one, but I fought against it horribly, trying to find something else to go into that space, because while God had taught me the other 3 terms one after the other in a reasonably short time, Freedom wasn’t something I heard preached much and I while the Bible teaches about being set free, Freedom as a term didn’t seem like it should be a cornerstone.
But every time I’d start out intending to switch it to another word, I’d realize that even if I didn’t understand it, the word needed to be there.
Until I started studying Goddard. As I read and listened to more and more of his writings and lectures, as my beliefs changed, I realized that what I felt more than anything was Freedom. My faith had been set free from the chains that had bound it!
And that’s a long way of explaining that 4 is an important number, not just to me, but repeatedly in the Bible. Looking it up, I see 4 represents completeness. This makes sense to me. With the understanding of Freedom, the 4 foundations of my faith feel complete. In nature, the 4 seasons herald a complete year. To talk about the entire globe, we talk about the 4 corners of the earth. Over and over in the Bible, 4 represents completion. A 4-sided building, the 4 Horsemen of the Apocalypse, Ezekiel’s wheel vision had 4 creatures, each with 4 faces and 4 wings, transporting a throne with 4 wheels and 4 sides.
So, the 4 rivers aren’t just bodies of water, as I’ve thought of them before, but mark the completion of creation, the finishing point of both the earth and the Garden of Eden.