The Three Eden Hilltops in Genesis 2-3, Ephesians 5-6 and 1 Timothy 2-3
by Bruce C.E. Fleming
(c) November 20, 2022
Once you understand the power of these three hilltops you can unleash their power into your own home life and church life.
There is a hilltop pattern in the center of each of these key passages. Hebrew readers easily recognized them. Western readers of modern translations often miss them completely.
The way these passages are written out, the way thoughts were expressed using a hilltop pattern, points to the proper interpretation of these passages.
How so? The big idea comes in the middle of the hilltop pattern. Everything else points to, and is subordinate to, the big idea in the middle of the pattern. In English for example the first sentence contains the main idea. In English, often the first or the last paragraph contains the main idea. Not so in Hebrew literature where the hilltop pattern is used.
The hilltop pattern can be described as a rainbow but this doesn’t fully describe the function of the pattern. Hilltop patterns are parallel patterns that have a distinct middle point. Technically they are called chiasms after the Greek letter chi or X. It is at the crossover point in the middle of the X that the important idea is found. Things on either side build up to, or lead down from, this hilltop experience or idea.
So what are the hilltop ideas in the three Eden hilltop passages? They all have to do with God’s big plan in the Garden of Eden which was to establish loving relationships with God and his children.
- In Eden the hilltop is found in Genesis 2:25. Ideal relationships between the man and woman and with God were experienced in Eden back in the beginning.
- In Ephesians the hilltop is found in Ephesians 5:32. The ideal relationships experienced in Eden are surpassed in the church where Christ and Spirit-filled believers are united in a one joint-body unity.
- In 1 Timothy the hilltop is found in 1 Timothy 3:1. Jesus, the logos or Word, is faithful and is faithful restore wayward overseers to fruitful, faithful ministry in the church.
Missing the high points. Sadly, most if not all commentators and pastors have not understood the importance of looking for the verses that make up these three hilltops. They focus on other verses to either side of these high points.
Mistakenly centering on subpoints. By focusing on verses that are not the main point of a passage they lift up subordinate points and make a bigger deal out of them than they should. By giving undue emphasis to these subpoints they minimize the big idea situated on the hilltop of these passages.
Bad theology. The result is that the most important message of each passage is buried and replaced by something that has been taken out of context. This leads to theological error. It leads to unbalanced and even harmful practice by those who follow such teaching.
Bad focus, bad message.
- As to Genesis 2-3, people who miss the blessed relationships highlighted in the hilltop verse of 2:25 spend their time promoting unequal relationships. In error they end up wrongly subjecting the righteous woman to the rebellious man.
- As to Ephesians 5-6, people who miss the even better-than-Eden Spirit-filled blessed relationships with Christ and one another highlighted in the hilltop verse of 5:32 spend their time promoting unequal relationships. In error they end up wrongly subjecting women to pagan hierarchical patterns inside families.
- As to 1 Timothy 2-3, people who miss Christ’s gracious calling to ministry highlighted in the hilltop verse of 3:1 spend their time promoting unequal relationships. In error they end up wrongly restricting women from using God-given gifts in ministry to the body of believers.
Go deeper? Volumes 1-3 in The Eden Book Series by Bruce C. E. Fleming take the reader into an investigation of the big and small patterns of these passages. Identifying the hilltops in each passage allows the main messages stand out. Then, the intent of the subpoints becomes clear.
- Genesis 2-3. Here is the title of Book One: The Book of Eden, Genesis 2-3. Subtitle: God didn’t curse Eve (or Adam) or limit woman in any way.
- Ephesians 5-6. Here is the title of Book Two: Beyond Eden, Ephesians 5:15-6:9. Subtitle: The Great Mystery Revealed: Mutually Submitting in Christ.
- 1 Timothy 2-3. Here is the title of Book Three: Back to Eden, 1 Timothy 2:8-3:16. Subtitle: Corrected and Restored by Jesus the Faithful Word.