The first responsibility of the father is to create Eden, place the child in it, show him its beauty, and allow him to tend it. He will fall again, of course, and create within himself the world anew, and finally be exiled and alienated to wander abroad. But that is his business; yours, is Eden.
The father provides the child a paradisaical bubble, stocked with goodness and beauty.
The multitude of pretty and pleasant trees extrude from the father’s character. There is no technique for this; it is simply the result of character. It cannot be taught. It is a creation ex nihilo, a mystery, which means it proceeds from the will of the father. (All mystery is choice, seen from the outside. There is no inside.)
The father can’t give what he does not have. He must actually see the Eden which is still with us behind the palimpsest of the fallen world. He must really see this world we live as the Kingdom of God, full of beauty and goodness.
Now some people can tolerate only to this point. They object: “the real world is where we need our children to be ready for, not some perfect world.” These objectors are usually those who never really believed in Eden anyway, and they never believed in it because they don’t understand it. They don’t understand it because they are careless readers, and they are care less readers because they come to the Text wanting something. Their hearts wrongly concieve of paradise as a place with no responsibiliies and only pleasures — because that would be paradise for them. Truth is, that would be paradise for no one.
This “bubble” is not a protective bubble, but a bubble of order, of law. Not the law of thou shalt nots nor even thou shalts, but the primal law of creation, which is that every choice has a consequence. The child lives in a bubble which replicates the universe before the fall. In this universe, beauty and pleasure abounds, and you reap what you sow. Both.
Some detials of the real Eden:
- There is food, and there is work, but no connection between them. You work because God creates and you are made in His image — you work because it is good, and you eat, because it is good. The curse did not introduce work but bound work and eating together. Now, after the curse, we must work to eat. So we experience work post-Eden as an ambiguous mixture of blessing and curse, and the mixture is the experiential problem.
- There is, of necessity, temptation, because the function of the garden is for the son to choose the father, which he cannot do unless there is an alternative.
- God comes and goes in a rhythm of relationship, but He is not absent as we have to come to experience His absence. He is not absent because when He is not present His word still is present, and the Couple are living within His word, which is paradise in and of itself. Later, Adam creates the domain of God’s absence, into which God sends him. We have to come to call this “the world“. It is really just a small spot, behind one bush in paradise.