When God took out his canvas of clay called Earth and began his paramount work of art, the angels must have been on the edge of their seats. What was God making this time? Would it look like any of his other creations? Why did he seem so much more excited about this project than the others?
The palette of the Creator was dotted with a rainbow of colors, absolutely brilliant colors, radiant with his character. As the Creator selected a brush and soaked the bristles with the color of his choice, he made his first stroke of the brush. It went on as the light of the sun. The Painter of Light made his second stroke which went on as the blue of sky. His third stroke of the brush went on the canvas as browns, greens and more blues of land, oceans, plants and trees. The fourth turned the light of the sun and the moon on the canvas. The fifth stroke painted animals and birds of every kind. But the most important impression on the canvas was yet to come.
All of the previous work of the Artist was in preparation for this stroke of the brush. Each brilliant color had been placed upon the canvas of time and space to provide a setting for what He would now create and place. The sixth stroke went on as the man and the woman. Though perfectly set against the backdrop of His majesty, the picture, however, was not complete.
Now that the Garden had color and life, God would fill it with the one missing ingredient: sound. And not just any sound. The sound of his voice. The first words which poured from his lips were promises and blessings, at least eight that I count, such as:
A PROMISE OF REFLECTION – “they will be like us” (1:26) – The man and the woman were designed originally to be mirrors of God on this planet. By virtue of their composition and design they had the innate potential of reflecting the image and the glory of God to the earth’s inhabitants below and to the angelic hosts above. As you and I now look above and view the stars against the dark canopy of space, so God would look below and enjoy the brightness of his ever-growing company of saints. As they would stay close to their heavenly Father, they would eventually become an important expression of his character and heart.
A PROMISE OF RULERSHIP – “let them rule [the animals]” (1:26) “Rule” (1:28) Adam and Eve were called to rule over the garden. They were the caretakers of this corner of creation. They were selected by God to be the overseers of this portion of his world. Their task was to lead God’s world God’s way.
A PROMISE OF BLESSING – “God gave them his blessing” (1:27) – The Father extended his full support to man, his favor and his inward strength and grace. He not only promised to guide, but also to provide for all of his needs.
A PROMISE OF REPLENISHMENT – “Fill the earth with people” (1:28) – Adam and Eve were called to be fertile, “fruitful” and fulfilled. God was so pleased with them that he wanted to fill the earth with more and more people just like them. He had placed within their makeup the god-like potential to procreate, to initiate the extension of the creative work of His hand.
A PROMISE OF INFLUENCE – “bring it under your control” (1:28) – Even before the Fall and before sin entered the garden, there was work to do. The work was to bring order and leadership to the opportunities and challenges which Project Eden presented. Just as God had initiated Eden’s creation, man was commissioned to daily initiate its upkeep and development. If God was Eden’s king, then surely Adam and Eve were prince and princess with all the accompanying powers of influence.
A PROMISE OF GOD’S PLEASURE – “God looked at what he had done. All of it was very good!” (1:31) – When an artist finishes his best-done painting, he sits back, observes and enjoys the moment. When a writer or sculptor finishes a project, they enjoy a glowing moment of accomplishment. Apparently this experience is tied to our God-breathed design. Most affirming of all is the recognition that God looks at his creation of man, as well as the rest of creation, and says ‘it [is] very good.’
“Thou hast created all things, and for Thy pleasure they are and were created. . .” (Rev. 4:11 KJV)
A PROMISE OF RESPONSIBILITY – “God put the man in the Garden of Eden to take care of it and look after it.” (2:15) – Eden was glorious, but it was no vacation resort. It included full employment, with all the accompanying benefits. Work was a part of God’s plan for man before his Fall. The curse which came as a result of man’s sin simply added hardship to the duty. The ground which had once been fertile, became stubborn and uncooperative. What began as destiny turned towards drudgery.
A PROMISE OF REFRESHMENT – “You may eat fruit from any tree in the garden, except the one…” (2:16-17) – This passage is the first in the Bible to establish any boundaries for God’s creation. What stands out is that the provisions of the boundaries were wide (i.e.: “from any tree in the garden”) and the limitations were narrow (i.e.: “except the one”).
God is Personable; so are we.
God is Creative; so are we.
God is Relational; so are we.
God is a Communicator; so are we.
God is Intelligent, Purposeful, Emotional and Intentional; so are we.
God is Spirit; and we have a spirit as well.
The intricacies and varieties of human personalities form a reflection of some of the very characteristics of God. We are made in his image, after his likeness. We have within us his very breath. As a result, we can only be fruitful and fulfilled, strong and satisfied in his company. Whether or not we claim to be Christians, our souls long for what he alone can provide. We need desperately to be in relationship with him and to find our lives through him. We are drawn intrinsically back to a place called Eden.