The Old Testament begins with the sentence, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” Then it goes on to tell the magnificent story of how God created the entire universe, just by speaking it into place. “Let there be light” He declared, and out of the deep dark of nothingness, brilliant, glorious light appeared. Can you imagine? The Bible says that the angels watched and shouted out with amazement and utter delight!
Over six days, God made the stars and the moon and sun. God formed the earth and filled the ocean deeps with water. He made the plants and trees spring up from the ground and made all the amazing array of insects and lizards and fish and animals. Can you imagine what it was like for the angels as they watched God’s creative genius come alive? How the vast space of the universe must have astonished them with its massive, flaming stars! Did they journey around those magnificent balls of fire with planets whizzing around them? Did they tour each solar system? And how they must have laughed at the sight of the first giraffe and monkey and camel! How they must have trembled with awe at the great glaciers and the mighty waves and the deep roar of the lion.
All of these came from the will of God, and they were perfectly good because He is perfectly good. When we see something beautiful and our hearts rise up with joy, it is because we behold something that shows some part of God’s beauty. The grandeur of the mountains show the grandeur of His righteousness, the vastness of the sky shows His wide, surrounding faithfulness! When God made the universe, He created a Kingdom full of monuments to His absolute goodness and glory!
Then the time came for God to make the crown of His creation. He wanted to make creatures in His very own image. These beings would be like mirrors that reflect God’s rule and power and His perfect care over the rest of His creation. To make these special creatures, He did not merely speak as He did with the sun and the stars and the trees. For their making, God came down to earth. He took a bit of the dust from the ground and formed a shape the way we form things with clay. God made the shape of a man, and then He blew the breath of life into him and made him come alive! God was the great King of all Creation, and the human race was to act as His special, honored servants, overseeing His glorious world and tending to it.
The Lord put His royal servant in a glorious Garden that He had prepared for him. It was like a sacred temple where the man would live in perfect dependence on the Lord as he served Him. He could live in constant, perfect obedience with God. There was no temptation to sin because this man only knew the goodness of God. He had no idea what temptation or evil was. And because there was no evil or sin, there was no suffering or death. It was a perfect world where man could live perfectly close to the holy, Most High God.
Out of the great, magnificent Garden flowed four might rivers. The Garden was full of lush trees hanging with the most delicious fruit that anyone could ever imagine. In the middle of the Garden were two special trees. One was the Tree of Life. The other was the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. The man was given total freedom to eat from any tree in the whole Garden except one. God forbade him from eating from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. This was God’s faithful protection. The fruit of this tree was terribly dangerous for him. If he ate from it, he would understand sin and evil, and it would have great power over his soul, like a tremendous pressure his form was not built to bear. If he ate from it, he would die. The man had no idea what pain or shame or suffering was like, so he had no idea what God was protecting him from. And as long as humans obeyed God’s command, they would never have to learn the meaning of pain or death.
God gave this first man rule and authority over all His earthly kingdom. He brought out all the animals so that the man could assign them names. As he named each one, something became very clear. Though many of the animals were beautiful and clever and wonderful, none of them were a match for the man. How lonely he would be on the earth! God saw that he needed a companion and helper. So the Lord put him into a deep sleep and took a rib from his chest.. From that rib, God made the first woman. The very sight of her sent a deep and powerful thrill through the heart of the man. She was created perfectly to be the beloved helper and companion for him, for she, too, was made in the image of God. Their united love and respect for each other was meant to be the pure reflection of God’s character of love to the world. Their names were Adam and Eve, and they are the parents of every human ever born.