And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.
If we want a simplified picture of what our lives are supposed to be about, all we have to do is look back to Adam in the Garden of Eden. God put him in a specific place. He gave him a purpose. And he had one command to follow. So in this place, Adam had freedom, but it wasn’t unlimited. He was not God himself, but had to be submissive to Him. He had this dominion, but it was under God’s authority. He tended to the garden as a kind of service to God, but he had everything he needed, the best food the earth could offer. And only one thing was off-limits. There was one tree with consequences out of so many more that he could freely eat.
In the same way, God puts us in a place for a reason. He gives us specific tasks to do for Him. He provides all we need, and then He simply asks us to obey. But our freedom, which is given to us by God, is not unlimited. It’s not about being free to do anything we want to do, but it is freedom to do what God wants us to do, to stay within those boundaries He gives us and submit to His authority. And He is very specific about all of these things. He tells us what we need to know to be able to follow through completely in all He’s asked of us.
But we’re not going to get everything right. Even in that perfect place, Adam failed. Though he was free of the sin nature that we are born with, he still had the capability to sin. He had the ability to make a choice that was contrary to what God had asked of him. And even in the best circumstances, we’re not going to make the right decisions every time. We’re not going to be perfect. And God is gracious to us when we fail. He has the ability to restore. And He proved in giving His Son for us that He can overcome the worst mistake we can make.
God created a world, and He did so on purpose. God created man, and that was not a mistake. God still has a purpose for this world and the people He’s placed in it. God still desires to have a relationship with each of us like He had with Adam. He still has things to accomplish through us and through our lives, even if we do mess up sometimes. And it’s never going to be perfect here again, but there is another place God has prepared for us, a truly perfect place, with a similar purpose for us. And one day we will go there to be with Him, serve Him, praise Him, and love Him eternally.