The importance of this section of scripture is critical to properly understanding the rest of the scriptures. Without knowing what happened in the Garden of Eden, we would have no understanding of temptation, sin or the redemptive process.
A) Observations of the Beginning
Everything in the Garden of Eden was perfect. Everything that the Lord created was good (Genesis 1:31). Here was the world without troubles. Everything was well cared for. It is what we all desire deep in our lives but somehow through politics, religion and philanthropy never get there. We were there but we forsook it.
After creating man and woman, God authored and ushered in marriage between one man and one woman (Genesis 2:18, 23-25). God established the first and the most intimate of all relationships between Himself and man. God, the creator of the universe and maker of man, set him up as His vice regent over the rest of creation and commanded him to be fruitful and multiply (Genesis 1: 28-29). His relationship with man was very personal (Genesis 2:4 onwards). God involved man in His own plans and work. We note three kinds of relationships.
- Unique Personal Relationship of God to man
- Relationship of man to His wife preceding all other human relationships
- Relationship of man to other parts of God’s creation under His sovereignty
Man is entirely dependent on God and called to involve himself in the assignments that God has given to him. He, however, is not a robot merely taking and carrying out the Lord’s instructions. Man’s free will requires him to carefully exercise his will through God’s loving guidance and strength to accomplish God’s assigned work. A specific example of God’s guidance/word is seen in Genesis 2:16-17.
Of every tree in the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for on the day that you eat of it you shall surely die (Genesis 2:16-17).
Observe the expanse of freedom in this area. Everything but the one tree he could eat from. “From any tree of the garden you may eat freely” (Genesis 2:16). We must never think that man was placed in a place of limited choice. Even the presence of the tree of eternal life indicated God’s intention for man. God carefully guided them by informing them of the negative consequences of eating from that one forbidden tree.
Man’s Trust in the Lord
How much should we trust God? From the beginning man’s welfare depended upon his trust in God. The depth of our relationship with God is dependent upon this growing trust. “The righteous man shall live by faith” (Romans 1:17).
There is much more to the universe than our limited minds can observe. God, on the other hand, sees and knows the total picture. He is God overall. If He is not the utmost/supreme/highest in the entire existent universe, then we have serious cause to be shaky in our trust or commitment in Him. This is not the case, however. He is the great Creator we read about in Genesis 1 and the founder of relationships as seen in Genesis 2. Crime, hatred and evil invaded this lovely world. This God who identifies himself here is the same who revealed Himself through Jesus the Messiah (i.e. Christ) many ages later, the only pillar on whom we should stake our entire being, future and ultimate. He is worthy of all our trust.
God’s Deep Love for Mankind
It is from this perspective that God gives us His word and boundaries. He means not to destroy us but to happily involve us in His projects. This is easily noticed through the way God has cared for His creation. He is not mean-spirited but generous, kind and delights in pleasing His creatures.
Adam received all his benefits from God. His position and his mandate were from God. He knew God and what God’s word meant to him. He did not know guilt or shame, but had complete fellowship with God. “And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day….” (Genesis 3:8).
The God of the Bible has revealed to us what He determines that we need to know. We need to know what he has revealed, treasure it and wisely use it in worship, making decisions, carrying out our life activities and in responding to Him.
Some people say that when a person believes in Jesus, that he needs to ‘check your brains out!’ They suggest that God makes all the decisions for man. This is not what we find here at all. God has given us the necessary knowledge, strength and wisdom to carry out His commands. We need to make the right decisions, however. It seems that man on the one hand protests how God brings all into existence to accomplish His purposes but gets upset with God for leaving one tree in the Garden so man could freely choose (and choose not to choose).
Yahweh God, in His delight, has created and equipped man with what he needs to carry out those activities that He has assigned him. Even though man fails to complete God’s will here, we will find this same God who designed Him work out a backup plan through Jesus Christ to get mankind back on track in his service to God. We still, however, are not robots. We must exercise our will to fill our minds with God’s word and precepts so that we might accomplish the responsibilities that God has set before each one of us.