The beginning of time had dawned, called into being by the voice of God the Father. Genesis 1 showed us how He spoke of light, sea, plants, animals, and mankind, bringing it all into existence, and how He called it all good.
Did you notice how the creation of mankind, man and woman, was more personal to the Creator?
About us, He said ‘let us make mankind in Our image, in Our likeness…”
Who, exactly, is that ‘Our?’ We already saw that the Spirit was present, hovering over the water in Genesis 1:2.
A few verses from the New Testament will show us…
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through Him all things were made; without Him nothing was made that has been made.”
The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in Him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.
Jesus Christ has been a part of our story from the beginning. He was in that ‘our‘, fashioning mankind in the image of God. He was a part of forming our world and our souls. Even then, as they formed eyes and arms, vocal cords and heartbeats, bone marrow and toes — I wonder if He was already thinking about the great step He would one day take to put on this flesh Himself, willing to humbly become a part of the creation He was orchestrating.
The heart of the Father, Son, and Spirit (this perfect communion is a beautiful mystery, isn’t it?) was love. This creation – declared very good – was made out of love. We, the only creation made specifically like Him, delight the Father’s heart.
The 2nd chapter of Genesis tells us how the first week ended and delves into more detail about the making of man. Today, we’re reading Genesis 2, verses 1 through 17.
So the creation of the heavens and the earth and everything in them was completed.
On the seventh day God had finished his work of creation, so he rested from all his work. And God blessed the seventh day and declared it holy, because it was the day when he rested from all his work of creation.
This is the account of the creation of the heavens and the earth.
When the Lord God made the earth and the heavens, neither wild plants nor grains were growing on the earth. For the Lord God had not yet sent rain to water the earth, and there were no people to cultivate the soil. Instead, springs came up from the ground and watered all the land. Then the Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground. He breathed the breath of life into the man’s nostrils, and the man became a living person.
Then the Lord God planted a garden in Eden in the east, and there he placed the man he had made. The Lord God made all sorts of trees grow up from the ground—trees that were beautiful and that produced delicious fruit. In the middle of the garden he placed the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
A river flowed from the land of Eden, watering the garden and then dividing into *four branches. The first branch, called the Pishon, flowed around the entire land of Havilah, where gold is found. The gold of that land is exceptionally pure; aromatic resin and onyx stone are also found there. The second branch, called the Gihon, flowed around the entire land of Cush. The third branch, called the Tigris, flowed east of the land of Asshur. The fourth branch is called the Euphrates.
The Lord God placed the man in the Garden of Eden to tend and watch over it. But the Lord God warned him, “You may freely eat the fruit of every tree in the garden— except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If you eat its fruit, you are sure to die.”
I am awed at this moment — God formed Adam, breathed His own breath into Adam’s lungs. This was no far-away God, no distant Creator…this Father lovingly molding us, instilling in us His own joy and love of beauty, His own desire to create and give of Himself, was as close as He could be…His own breath filled us, set our hearts dancing to His rhythm.
For Adam, He made a home full of wonders. God planted a garden — I love this thought! – full of beautiful trees and delicious foods. My mind goes to my own parents and grandparents looking out over a stretch of land, deciding just where each plant will flourish, arranging the colors to make it all spectacular, picking out which tree will make a home for butterflies or birds, eager to see harvests of plump tomatoes, lemons bright on branches, green beans ready for the supper table. I believe that when God planted this garden, it was just like that – every intention was for this to be a home nourishing body and soul. It was a home made to delight, made for pleasure. God put it all into Adam’s hands – it was a gift, a place for him to tend, to work. Adam was in charge of his home, able to take care of the animals and plants…the man made in the image of God was given a reflective authority to work as God worked — out of joy, out of love.
And here, too, we see a choice set before Adam: the tree of life and the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Notice that God did not tell Adam that he could not eat of the tree of life. Obedience would bring life; disobedience would bring death.
Choose life or death. It’s a choice that will echo down through generations of mankind.
But this, too, is a reflection of the One who made us – He is a thinking, active, present God — and like Him, we are able to think for ourselves. Adam’s freedom to choose…our freedom to choose…was given because true love is never forced.
Love — although not always easy — is rooted in a decision, a setting of the heart’s affection and loyalty to another…will Adam choose to set his heart on God? Will he choose the way of life God provided?
What sort of harvest will the world’s first man reap in this Garden made especially for him?
*PS- Here’s a little extra information….it isn’t clear if God named the rivers in Eden or if Adam had that job, since he was tending the garden. But I like the meanings of their names, because it gives me a little picture in my mind of what they might have been like…Pishon: increase. Ghoul: bursting forth. Tigris: rapid. Euphrates: fruitful.