“And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul." Genesis 2:7
Since the beginning, God’s desire has been to have a personal relationship with man. Throughout the whole of human history this drama has been played out against the backdrop of the epochs. The only constant in this equation of the turning pages of history has been God’s faithfulness. Man’s ego-driven attempts to control and overtake other men is and has always led him to the error of the Pharisees. The act of simony is a testament to the egotistical striving of man to gain dominance. The idea that one can purchase spiritual power or prestige, is surely born of this world. The birth pains that Christianity has met since its inception have brought man closer to the place where he can truly know God and understand what He desires of him. Christianity, as a whole moves forward when its people become deeper. Ironically, at a time in Christian history when Christians have access to more literature than ever before, a new wave of superficiality has crested over the church. As from the beginning of discipleship, this is a leadership issue. For a personal God to form a personal relationship with His people, personal formation needs to be propagated and nurtured in them by mature leadership. Eternity is imminent, time is ticking by steadily and the work that is to be done will not wait. John 4:35 speaks of this necessity, “Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest" (KJV).
God’s first intention regarding man has been and will always be the cultivation of a personal relationship. In order for man to have a personal relationship with God, he must first know Him. God is inextricably intertwined in Adam’s being as the Book of Genesis describes. God created the heavens and the earth, but only man did He create in His own image, Genesis 1:26, “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth” (KJV). God then entrusted man with the exquisite earth that He had created. The word “likeness” in Genesis 1:26 is translated from the Hebrew word dmuwth, Strong’s Concordance # 1823 of the Hebrew and Chaldee Dictionary, its form is derived from the word damah Strong’s # 1819, and it means: resemblance, model, shape or fashion (Zodhiates, 1991, 31). Man has been made in the fashion of God and given the responsibility to steward the earth.
The Archaeological Study Bible gives insight regarding the garden in which God placed man, “The name Eden might have had one of two origins: the Sumerian word eden which means “steppe” or “open field,” or the identical Semitic word, denoting “luxury” or “delight”(Kaiser, 2005, 6). The Archaeological Study Bible goes on to remark, “Eden is not only the name of the garden in which the first humans resided but also a metaphorical representation of the Garden of God (i.e., Yahweh’s dwelling place; Isa 51:3; Eze 28:12-15; 31:8-18)” (Kaiser, 2005, 6). Isaiah 51:3 declares, “For the LORD shall comfort Zion: he will comfort all her waste places; and he will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the LORD; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody”(KJV). Christ said to the believing thief on the cross, “. . .Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise”(Luke 23:43). The paradise lost at the Fall is the paradise regained at salvation.