Then the Lord God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it. 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.”
On Sunday, we talked about the problem of evil, which is an issue all Christians need to think about because it is a common obstacle to belief in God. At the root of this issue is the question, “If God is so good and powerful, then why does evil exist?” To begin to think about this, we need to look back to a time before evil existed. Evil is an intruder into God’s natural order. How do we know? We can look back to the garden for clues.
God placed Adam in the garden to “cultivate it and keep it.” This shows us that God is good, as He graciously provided the garden as a home for Adam and entrusted to him the sacred task of tending and preserving it. Though God is king over all creation, He willingly shared His creation with man and gave him dominion over it (Gen. 1:26-28). When we go to work, we are living out God’s design and exercising our God-given task of subduing the earth. The earth was good and perfect. There was no curse, evil, or sin, but all that changed because of a choice Adam made.
Adam was simply called to keep God’s good garden and obey God’s command not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Notice that God gave Adam a choice. In God’s goodness, He allowed His creature to be willing moral agents. It was man’s choosing the wrong thing that made a foothold for evil in the world. Evil intruded on God’s good design.
- What provisions did God make for Adam? What do these provisions reveal about God?
- Why is it good for us to recognize that evil didn’t always exist?
- Thank God for His good design. Ask that He would help us trust His ways because they are for our good.