In the beginning, after God had created everything in the natural world, the Bible tells us He created mankind. God desired a family. So he created the man, Adam, and then the woman, Eve. He placed them into the Garden of Eden, a beautiful and peaceful place with no sin and no strife. And every day, God spent time with them and enjoyed fellowship with them.
We don’t know all that God showed them or told them, but it was a wonderful time of perfect peace and joy. We do know that God intended for people to rule over the earth under His leadership.
“Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth'” (Genesis 1:26 NASB).
The Hebrew word for “rule” in this passage is radah, which means to have dominion. From the very beginning, God gave mankind this dominion or delegated authority to rule over every living thing on the earth.
In addition to a relationship with Him, God gave mankind certain assignments or tasks to fulfill. God told man to tend the Garden.
“Then the Lord God took the man and put him into the garden
of Eden to cultivate it and keep it” (Genesis 2:15 NASB).
God also asked man to name the animals.
“Out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the
field and every bird of the sky, and brought them to the man
to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called
a living creature, that was its name” (Genesis 2:19 NASB).
After He had completed His creation, God saw everything that He had made, and the Bible says, “Indeed it was very good” (Genesis 1:31 NKJV).
Free Will and Sin
God created people in His image, and He gave Adam and Eve a free will. In order for mankind to truly have free will, and not to merely be robots, there had to be a choice given to either obey or disobey. So God planted the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and He commanded the man, saying:
“From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree
of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day
that you eat from it you shall surely die” (Genesis 2:16-17 NASB).
The Bible tells us that Adam and Eve were tempted by the serpent, which was Satan himself, who questioned the love and wisdom of God.
“Indeed, has God said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden’?” (Genesis 3:1 NKJV).
Then he twisted what God had told Adam and Eve and deceived them:
“And the serpent said to the woman, “You surely shall not die! For God knows
that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like
God, knowing good and evil.” When the woman saw that the tree was good
for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable
to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her
husband with her, and he ate” (Genesis 3:4-6 NASB).
Then their eyes were opened, and they were ashamed. When they heard the sound of God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, Adam and Eve hid themselves. When people disobeyed God in this way, sin came into the world. Because God is holy, or perfect, He cannot be in the presence of sin, so they were cast out of the garden and were separated from the presence of God.
From that time forward, people were born with a sin nature that keeps them separated from a holy God. Yet because we were created to have fellowship with our Heavenly Father, humankind has yearned to have that relationship restored.