Our first ancestors, Adam and Eve, were the crowning moment of the creation story. All of God’s preceding creative acts—everything else in the material universe—formed the theater for humanity to flourish as God’s image-bearers. As we’ve already seen in this series, God designed Adam to be in relationship with Himself as well as with Eve. Furthermore, the marital union between the first man and woman was designed for them to “be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth” (Genesis 1:28) with their offspring.
Here is a third purpose for which God created the human race: We were made to be the recipients of joy and blessing from the hand of God. He made our race so that He could pour out His goodness on us. Genesis 1:28 says that after Adam and Eve were created, “God blessed them.”
“Blessed” here speaks of something more than a ceremonial consecration. God did not merely invoke some verbal formula of blessing. What this suggests is that He conferred well–being on them. He caused them to prosper. He made them happy.
That is still God’s design for the human race. He wants us to enjoy Him and to enjoy the rich goodness of His creation. The apostle Paul said God “richly supplies us with all things to enjoy” (1 Timothy 6:17). The Old Testament sage wrote, “Here is what I have seen to be good and fitting: to eat, to drink and enjoy oneself in all one’s labor in which he toils under the sun during the few years of his life which God has given him; for this is his reward” (Ecclesiastes 5:18).
And in Adam’s case, all the enjoyment and blessing in the world were his in a paradise untainted by sin or evil. He had all he could ever want, in a perfect environment, with a perfect climate, with an ideal partner, and with a mandate from God to enjoy and use everything (with just one restriction) freely.
Then God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the surface of all the earth, and every tree which has fruit yielding seed; it shall be food for you; and to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the sky and to every thing that moves on the earth which has life, I have given every green plant for food”; and it was so. (Genesis 1:29–30)
Notice that Adam, as well as every other creature in the animal kingdom, was a vegetarian at this point. There was no sin, and therefore there was no death. There could therefore be no carnivores. All the animals were tame, and even those species that are now carnivores were once pure vegetarians. But the world was filled with abundant food, and vast varieties of it. Everywhere Adam looked, food was literally hanging on trees. The whole world reflected the abundant goodness and generosity of God. After all, God could have made a brown sky, brown water, and a colorless world—with nothing to eat but plain rice. But instead, He filled the world with a vast array of wonderful fruits and vegetables. He created all these things for us to enjoy.
And He gave us senses to enjoy them with. Imagine how bland all life would become if we lost the ability to taste and smell. God has given us those capabilities to bless us—to enable us to enjoy to the fullest everything He made. And Adam and Eve were given full and unfettered freedom to enjoy anything they wanted in the garden of God.
Again, however, there was one significant exception. In all the vast array of fruits and vegetables God had created, just one tree was declared off-limits. “The Lord God 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 will surely die’” (Genesis 2:16–17). They were free to eat all they wanted from any other tree—including the tree of life. But they were forbidden to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. To eat what was forbidden would bring on them the judgment of God, resulting in their death.
And just one chapter later (Genesis 3), Adam and Eve both did exactly what God had forbidden. They not only brought judgment on themselves and the whole human race, but they also brought a curse on all creation. That which God had made for their pure enjoyment was spoiled by sin. Death entered the world, and along with death, sickness, weeds, hard work, and difficulties of all kinds (Genesis 3:17–19). Sin spoiled that perfect paradise.
But God had originally made it good. He had made it to bless humanity. That was one of His purposes in creation. And even in this sin–spoiled world, He still fulfills that purpose. His creation, even in its fallen state, is filled with blessings for us.
Used with permission from John MacArthur.