The Beginning

Chapter 2

“By the word of the Lord were the heavens made, and all the host of them by the breath of His mouth.” “For He spake, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast.” Psalm 33:6, 9. He “laid the foundations of the earth, so that it should not be moved forever.” Psalm 104:5

As it came from the hand of its Maker, the earth was indescribably beautiful. Rivers and lovely lakes, scattered among the mountains, hills, and plains, mixed together so as to change the order of arrangement, giving the landscape a varied and attractive appearance. Graceful shrubs and delicate flowers in their varying shades of color gave the entire earth a beauty that exceeded the decorated grounds of the proudest palace. The angelic host viewed the scene with delight and rejoiced at the wonderful works of God.

After the earth with its abundant animal life and variety of vegetation had been called into existence, man, the crowning work of the Creator and the one for whom the beautiful earth had been created, was formed and brought into being. To him was given authority over all the earth. (See Genesis 1:28.) The account of Creation, brought to view at the very beginning of God's Word, so clearly describes the origin of the human race that there is no reason to speculate as to man's beginning, or for the false theory that he evolved by slow degrees of development from the lower forms of animal or vegetable life. Such teaching degrades man, cheating him of the dignity of his origin. The genealogy of our race, as given by inspiration, does not find its source in a line of developing plant or animal life but with the great Creator. Though formed from the dust, Adam was “the son of God.” Luke 3:38

After his creation, every living creature was brought before Adam to receive its name. In naming the animals, he saw that to each had been given a companion; but among them there was not found a companion for himself. And God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.” Genesis 2:18. Man is a social being. Without a companion to share them with, the beautiful scenes and delightful activities with which he occupied himself in Eden would have failed to yield perfect happiness. He could only find complete happiness in a companion of the same nature as his own—someone to love and to be loved.

God provided a helper corresponding to him—one who was fitted to be his companion and who could be one with him in love and sympathy. Taking a rib from Adam's side, He created Eve. This signified that she was not to control him as the head, nor to be trampled under his feet as an inferior, but to stand by his side as an equal, to be loved and protected by him. A part of man, bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh, she was his second self, showing the close union and the affectionate attachment that should exist in this relation. “For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it.” Ephesians 5:29. “For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.” Verse 31

Everything that God had made was the perfection of beauty, and nothing was lacking that could contribute to the happiness of the holy pair. Yet, in preparing a garden especially for their home, the Creator gave them still another evidence of His love. “And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there He put the man whom He had formed.” Genesis 2:8. In this garden were trees of every variety, many of them weighted with fragrant and delicious fruit. The graceful, fruit-laden vines, drooping under their load of tempting fruit, presented a most beautiful appearance. There were fragrant flowers of every hue in rich abundance. In the very center of the garden stood the tree of life, exceeding in beauty all other trees.

God completed the work of creation in six days. And God “rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it He had rested from all His work which God created and made.” Genesis 2:2–3. God looked with satisfaction upon the work of His hands. In its perfection, it was worthy of its divine Author; and He rested, not as one weary, but as well pleased with the display of His wisdom and goodness.

After resting upon the seventh day, God sanctified it, or set it apart, as a day of rest for man. Following the example of the Creator, man was to rest upon this sacred day. God saw that the Sabbath was necessary for man. He needed to lay aside his own interests and employment for that one day of the seven that he might more fully reflect on the works of God and meditate upon His power and goodness. Sabbath observance was to be an act of grateful acknowledgment, on the part of all who should live upon the earth, that God was their Creator. In keeping the Sabbath, they were to show that they recognized Him as their rightful Sovereign and acknowledged their subjection to His authority. Thus the institution was wholly commemorative and given to all people. There was nothing about it that restricted it to any particular group of people.

At the very beginning of his existence, God placed a restraint upon man's desire for self-indulgence, the fatal obsession that led to Satan's fall. The tree of knowledge, which stood near the tree of life in the midst of the garden, was to be a test of the obedience, faith, and love of our parents. While permitted to eat freely of every other tree, they were forbidden to taste of this, on pain of death. Though they were for a time to be exposed to the temptations of Satan, if they endured the trial, they would have eventually been placed beyond his power, to enjoy everlasting favor with God.

There can be no government without law; and as a necessary condition of his very existence, God placed man under law. God might have created him without the power to violate His law, but in that case human beings would not have been free moral agents. Without freedom of choice, their obedience would have been forced; and they would have been no more than mere robots. Under such circumstances, there could have been no development of character. Such an existence would have been unworthy of man as an intelligent being and would have sustained Satan's charge of God's arbitrary rule.

God made man with noble traits of character and with no bias toward evil. He empowered him with high mental powers and gave him the strongest possible motive to remain true in his allegiance to his Creator. Obedience, perfect and lasting, was the condition of eternal happiness. On this condition man was to have access to the tree of life.

While they remained true to God, Adam and his companion were to rule over the earth, exercising unlimited control over all living things. So long as they remained loyal to the divine law, their ability to know, to enjoy, and to love would continually increase. They would be constantly gaining new treasures of knowledge, discovering new avenues of happiness, and gaining an ever clearer understanding of the immeasurable, unfailing love of God.

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