In order for us to understand the life-abundant we were created to enjoy, we have to grasp the fact of God's existence. Before there was a universe, before there were planets and stars, before there were people...there was nothing more than darkness. Everything was formless and empty. Nothing existed (Gen. 1:1-2). Nothing...except for God. From the earliest memories we each have, I believe there is an innate desire to know if this is true. There is something in the very essence of us as human beings that demands an answer to the long-debated question: is God for real? Even the most die-hard atheist will admit that they've mulled over this thought many times. While all arrive at different conclusions in their search for a greater understanding of God, each of us can say that it is impossible to go through life without forming some idea of the existence of a Divine Power.
The reason I bring up this point is because I believe that how we enter or exit our inner darkness largely depends on how we perceive God. Only when we realize Who existed before us do we gain some perspective on our situation and realize that things weren't intended to be like this...
God's plan for mankind was that they would be a living reflection of the One in whose image they were created. Well before He spoke, "Let there be..." and the mountains, sky, birds, and all we see appeared (Gen. 1:1-25), His desire was that man would be made in His image (Gen. 1:26) and made to fellowship with his Creator. Imagine this: before you were born, before your parents ever knew about you, or their parents ever knew about them...God saw you and knew about you! He knew what you would look like and what you would grow up to do. God looked down through the ages and saw every person who would ever walk on this earth that He had made! Wrap your mind around that for a minute...our lives are meant be the mirror of God for the world around us to get a glimpse of what He's like.
Back in the beginning, when He first made the world, He even created a beautiful garden called the Garden of Eden, where the first beneficiaries of this "divine image" were placed to live forever (Gen. 2:8). A man named Adam was God's very first created being - a living soul whose eyes first fell on the face of the God who made him. "Out of the dust of the ground" the God of the Universe "breathed into [Adam's] nostrils the breath of life" (Gen. 2:7). Then later, to fulfill the longing of Adam's heart for a companion with which to enjoy this beautiful garden full of every animal, flower, and fruit imaginable, God caused a deep sleep to fall on him, and out of one of Adam's ribs He created the most beautiful woman the world has ever seen. Upon his awakening, Adam was presented with his companion, Eve. As he saw the wife God had brought to him, he took her to himself, and they lived an unashamed existence before God (Gen. 2:18, 21-25). Having been breathed into a living reality of continuous communion with God, it was natural for them to desire a relationship with the One whose image reflected in all that He had made. God's self-portrait was the ultimate: beautiful and fully alive.
In this glorious state, there was established a precedent for the rest of human history. As Adam and Eve walked in the cool of the garden, they had fellowship with their Creator. God made it clear that human beings were created for relationship. Just as God saw that Adam couldn't live alone, so we cannot enjoy the life God intended for us without the companionship of others. And just as God placed a living friendship between Himself and the man and woman He had formed, so we are most aligning ourselves with the Creator's intent when we are walking in relationship with Him. I can only imagine the incredible conversations that took place during those walks in the garden. What a beautiful picture: Adam and Eve being able to worship and converse with God at anytime, anywhere in that beautiful place! Such a reality was all they knew. It was natural for them because they didn't know any different. It truly was the perfect existence: an endless supply of food, the deepest relationship with God anyone has ever had and, yes, even the perfect marriage.
Beyond this external embodiment of God's care and provision, Adam and Eve probably had the best internal understanding of their created intent that any has had since. From their creation, both understood their value and self-worth and bound to that of God. God was their source of life. They knew that their purpose was to honor and reflect Him, to enjoy Him and all that He had made. They grasped that His love for them was so immense that everything around them was made for their pleasure as God's gift to them. They were stewards of His bounty. It was a self-less existence. Neither one thought of themselves in any way other than to glorify and understand God himself. And God would've let them remain in this ideal life forever had not something gone wrong. Very wrong. In fact, so wrong that the rest of human history would never be the same.
To be continued on Monday...