“So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” (Genesis 1:27-28)
God created man in His own image. What does it mean? It means man was created like God Himself. Why did God create man like Himself? Because God wanted to have close relationship and equal partnership with man. God wanted to live together with man so that man could know Him. God also wanted to work together with man so that man could have dominion over all His creations.
“The Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden, and there He put the man whom He had formed.” (Genesis 2:8)
God made the garden of Eden and put the man whom He had created there and lived together with him. “Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it.” (Genesis 2:15) God made the garden of Eden and put the man whom He had created there and worked together with him. God made the garden of Eden as the resting place as well as the working place for man.
“And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. Then the Lord God called to Adam and said to him, “Where are you?” (Genesis 3:8-9)
In the garden of Eden it seems God and the man whom He had created had a specific time and place for fellowship every day. God always came walking in the garden in the cool of the day to meet him, even after he sinned. But after man sinned, he was afraid to meet God when God came to have fellowship with him at the usual time and place in the garden. When God called the man and said to him, “Where are you?”, it was not that God did not know where the man was, but it was God expressing the longing of His heart to meet the man.
The garden of Eden is the place which God made for man to live together with Him. God made this garden as the place of rest. So, when God put the man whom He had created in it, He wanted him to have rest there. Why? Because He wanted the man to have a close fellowship with Him, and to have a close fellowship with God man must be in the state rest. The garden of Eden is like the home for a family. At home every person in the family can be relaxed and have a close fellowship one with another in order to know one another. Thus, God created the garden of Eden as the home for the man whom He had created where he could rest so that he might have a close fellowship with Him and know Him.
“Out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them. And whatever Adam called each living creature, that was its name.” (Genesis 2:19)
In the garden of Eden God and the man whom He had created worked together. God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air but He did not give its name. He brought them to the man and the man gave name to each living creature. Giving name to so many animals is not an easy task. It requires great wisdom. Actually only God the Father has the right and the ability to give name. The apostle Paul wrote “For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,” (Ephesians 3:14-15) But, God entrusted this work to the man whom He had created.
“By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.” (Hebrews 11:3)
God made the garden of Eden as the place of rest for the man whom He had created. God did not only want him to be in the state of rest when he had fellowship with Him but when he worked with Him as well. How did God do that? By giving him the work to call the names of the animals and to exercise authority over them. To call the names and to exercise authority the man did not have to do any physical work. He simply had to speak a word, which is doing the work from the state of rest. God worked creating all things by His word and He wanted man to work like Himself.
God wanted the man whom He had created to be fruitful and multiply, to fill the earth and subdue it (Genesis 1:28). So, God made for him a woman as a helper who is comparable to him (Genesis 2:18). The man would then be joined to the woman in marriage and they would become one flesh. The man and the woman would become fruitful by bearing children. Then their children would bear children so that they would multiply. As they multiply, God would expand the garden of Eden so that they would fill the earth and subdue it. In the beginning it was God living and working together with one man, but in the end it would be God living and working together with all men.
“And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place. Then the rib which the Lord God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man.” (Genesis 2:21-22)
How did God give the woman to the man so that he could be fruitful and multiply? By putting the man into a deep sleep and taking one of his ribs which He then made into a woman. So, the man was put in the state of rest in the garden of Eden in order that he might receive the woman from God and be joined to her and become one flesh with her to be fruitful and multiply. Everything that the man experienced in the garden of Eden, whether having fellowship with God or working together with God or receiving the woman from God so that he might be fruitful and multiply, he experienced in the state of rest.
“Therefore the Lord God sent him out of the garden of Eden to till the ground from which he was taken.” (Genesis 3:23)
When man fell into sin, he was driven out of the garden of Eden. God sent him to till the ground outside the garden of Eden. Outside the garden of Eden man no longer had a close fellowship with God and there was no rest. Man had to work by himself in sweat and toil because the ground was cursed ( Genesis 3:17-19). Also because of sin, man fell short of the image of God that he no longer could have dominion over all of God’s creations. Instead, God’s creations had dominion over him and also over all his descendants.
The apostle John wrote, “Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.” (1 John 4:15) When we believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and confess that He is the Son if God, God comes into us and we come into God. What happens when God comes into us? Our heart becomes the garden Eden. What happens when we come to God? We come to the garden of Eden. This garden of Eden is not a place in the physical dimension but in the spiritual dimension. And this garden is both inside us in our heart and outside us in the spirit realm.
As believers in the Lord Jesus Christ we have been put in the spiritual garden of Eden by God like the man was put in the physical garden of Eden in the beginning. So, like the man whom God created to live in a close fellowship with God, to work in an equal partnership with God, and to be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth and subdue it, we are also newly created in Christ to live in a close fellowship with God, to work in an equal partnership with God, to be fruitful and multiply, to fill the earth and to have dominion over it. The apostle Paul wrote, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” (2 Corinthians 5:17)
As a new creation in Christ we are put by God in the garden of Eden both in our heart and in the spirit realm. In this garden, we are called to have a close fellowship with God through His Son. The apostle Paul wrote, “God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.” (1 Corinthians 1:9) In this garden, we are also called to be in partnership with God to do the works, which God has prepared for us. The apostle Paul wrote, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10). These works are about taking dominion over the earth through the words that we speak. Besides, we are called to be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth and subdue it. How are we going to do that? By going into all the world to preach the gospel and to make disciples of all the nations. The Lord Jesus said, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.” (Mark 16:15, 17-18) The Lord Jesus also said, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20)