Book: Why Were You Born?

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Genesis chapter one contains the account of God’s preparation of the earth for mankind. On the first five days, God set in motion day and night, created the firmament above the earth, established the waters below, and made the dry land and all vegetation. Then he “set” the sun and moon in their proper positions for His appointed times. Next He created all birds and sea life, beasts, crawling things, and insects. By the power of His word, He brought all of them into existence: “God said”—and they came into being. Of the plants, fish, birds, and animals of every kind, God created them with the ability to reproduce and perpetuate their own kind—and He commanded them to “be fruitful and multiply.”

On the other hand, when God created man and woman, He did not “command” them into existence. Rather, He personally formed them with His own hands in His own image—giving them abilities and qualities after His likeness.

Beginning in verse 26, God gives us a summary of His creation of man and woman: “And God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, after Our likeness....’ ” As we will learn later from other passages in the Bible, this special creation of man and woman formed the foundation for the fulfillment of God’s plan and purpose for the entire human family.

The fact that God created mankind in His own image is most profound! Indeed, for emphasis God repeats Himself in the next verse: "And God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him. He created them male and female…” (verse 27). God then reveals that He had put the entire world—including everything He had created—into their hands and under their rulership. He said: “And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the fowl of heaven and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that crawls upon the earth … And God blessed them. And God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the fowl of heaven and over every living thing that moves upon the earth’ ” (verses 26, 28).

Then God surveyed all that He had created: “And God saw everything that He had made, and indeed, it was exceedingly good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day…. Thus, the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them” (Gen. 1:31-2:1). 1

In chapter two, God provides us with the details of how He created the first man and woman—Adam and Eve. “Then 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 being” (verse 7).

God also created a beautiful Paradise for them to live in, the Garden of Eden. After God created Adam, He placed him in the garden: “And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there He put the man whom He had formed [to dress and keep it; to keep also means to guard (verse15)]. And out of the ground the LORD God caused to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life also was in the middle of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil” (verses 8-9).

“And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, ‘You may freely eat of every tree in the garden, but you shall not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for in the day that you eat of it, in dying you shall surely die.’ And the LORD God said, ‘It is not good that the man should be alone. I will make a helper [a counterpart, or sustainer, beside him and] compatible for him.' And out of the ground the LORD God had formed [by His commands] every animal of the field and every fowl of the air—and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them. And whatever Adam called each living creature, that became its name. And Adam gave names to all the livestock, and to the birds of the air, and to every animal of the field, but there was not found a helper compatible for Adam” (verses 16-20).  

From this account we can conclude that God created Adam with a full, working language so that he could think and communicate with His Creator. In naming all the creatures God had created, Adam would quickly realize that they were all male and female and that they could produce offspring according to their own kind. He would also realize that there was no compatible female for himself.

God then made Eve as the perfect counterpart for Adam. However, God did not create the woman from the dust of the earth. Rather, He made Eve from one of Adam’s ribs: “And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall over Adam, and he slept. And He took one of his ribs, and afterward closed up the flesh underneath. Then the LORD God made [built] the rib (which He had taken out of the man) into a woman, and He brought her to the man.

“And Adam said, ‘This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh. She shall be called Woman because she was taken out of Man.' For this reason shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave to his wife—and they shall become one flesh. And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and they were not ashamed” (verses 21-25). Adam and Eve walked and talked with God. Since their minds were innocent, they were not ashamed of being naked in God’s presence.2

God created man in His own image and after His own likeness. Of all that God created, man and woman alone were made with His own hands. Indeed, from the beginning, God reveals the magnitude of His love for man and woman—the pinnacle of His earthly creation! Now, as husband and wife, Adam and Eve had the ability, through a loving sexual union, to bring forth children after their kind, in their image—which is the image and likeness of God. He particularly made the man to be the progenitor, to beget new human life. He especially made the woman to be able to conceive, develop and sustain new offspring within her own body. Moreover, after giving birth, she is to be the nurturer and sustainer of each new child. Thus, men and women are truly partners with God in creating human life.

In fact, from the beginning, by His creation of man and woman, God established the family unit - father, mother and children. They and their offspring would multiply and replenish the earth as God commanded. Thus, knowingly or unknowingly, all mankind is actively participating in God’s plan by bringing forth billions of human beings—all in God’s image and likeness—through the power of procreation.


A Choice Between Two Ways of Life

Being made in the image and likeness of God does not mean that Adam and Eve were created with robotic instincts. In addition to possessing godlike characteristics, God created man and woman as free moral agents with the power of independent choice. Of course, God instructed Adam and set before him clear choices. And God also warned of the consequences for making the wrong choice: "And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, ‘You may freely eat of every tree in the garden, but you shall not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for in the day that you eat of it in dying you shall surely die’ ” (Gen. 2:16-17). The phrase “in dying you shall surely die” did not mean immediate death if they ate of the forbidden tree; rather, they would definitely die at some point in the future.

As we will see, every human being from that time forward has been given this capacity to choose. The choice each one of us must make is quite straightforward: love and obey God—or not. As Creator and Lawgiver, God has decreed that the penalty for disobedience to His instructions is death. But through faith—if one comes to love and obey God—He will grant the gift of eternal life. This was the choice God set before Adam and Eve, as depicted by the two trees in the Garden of Eden—the “tree of life” and the “tree of the knowledge of good and evil.”

Adam and Eve were created in a state of innocence. They were sinless and blameless before God. Prior to eating of the forbidden fruit, they were not subject to the penalty of death. But neither did they have eternal life. because they were made of the dust of the earth. However, they could have inherited eternal life by choosing to love and obey God; then they could have eaten of the “tree of life.” Instead, they chose to take matters into their own hands and to disobey God by eating of the “tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” As we will see, their choice has affected all of mankind. If Adam and Eve had chosen to love and obey God and had eaten of the “tree of life,” what a different world it would have been! 3


Adam and Eve Choose the Way of Sin

Genesis records that Adam and Eve received God’s instructions before the serpent, Satan the devil, was allowed to test them so that God could see which way they would choose—the way that leads to eternal life, or the way that leads to sin and death (Gen. 2:16-17). Since they had been in personal contact with God, their knowledge of His instructions was direct and firsthand. Thus, they could never have said, “Lord, I didn’t know.”

Notice the account in Genesis three: "Now the serpent was more cunning than any creature of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, ‘Is it true that God has said, “You shall not eat of any tree of the garden?” ’ And the woman said to the serpent, ‘We may freely eat the fruit of the trees of the garden, but of the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has indeed said, “You shall not eat of it, neither shall you touch it, lest you die” ’ ” (verses 1-3).

As the biblical record reveals, Eve had full knowledge of God's instructions and commands concerning the “tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” But in spite of this, Eve listened to the serpent: “And the serpent said to the woman, ‘In dying, you shall not surely die! For God knows that in the day you eat of it, then your eyes shall be opened, and you shall be like God, deciding good and evil’ ” (verses 4-5).

Instead of rejecting the arguments of the serpent by believing and obeying God, Eve took some of the fruit and ate it, and then gave some to Adam: “And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasing to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate” (verse 6).


The Consequences of Adam and Eve’s Sin

As a result of their disobedience to God, Adam and Eve were no longer innocent, but became sinful: “And the eyes both of them were opened [to decide for themselves what is good and evil], and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves” (Gen. 3:7). When Adam and Eve ate of the fruit of the "tree of the knowledge of good and evil," sin entered into the human realm. With this first act of disobedience, sin became part of the human mind and being. Adam and Eve now had a sinful nature—a mixture of good and evil.

Before they sinned, Adam and Eve were not afraid of God. They walked and talked with God and were not ashamed of being naked in His presence. But after they sinned, their thoughts became a mixture of good and evil, and they became ashamed that they were naked; they became afraid of God. “And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day. Then Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden. And the LORD God called to Adam, and said to him, ‘Where are you?’ And he said, I heard you walking in the garden, and I was afraid, because I am naked, and so I hid myself.’ And He said, ‘Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree which I commanded you that you should not eat?’ ” (verses 8-11).

Rather than admitting his sin, Adam blamed his wife, Eve. By doing so he was, in effect, blaming God, because He created Eve and gave her to Adam: “And the man said, ‘The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate’ ” (verse 12). Likewise, Eve did not admit her sin of picking and eating the forbidden fruit, and giving it to Adam to eat. She blamed the serpent: “And the LORD God said to the woman, ‘What is this you have done?’ And the woman said, ‘The serpent deceived me, and I ate’ ” (verse 13).

God then rendered His judgment against them, starting with the serpent: “And the LORD God said to the serpent, ‘Because you have done this you are cursed above all livestock, and above every animal of the field. You shall go upon your belly, and you shall eat dust all the days of your life’ ” (verse 14).

In pronouncing His judgment against the serpent, God also introduced the promise of the Messiah, who would be born of a woman. Thus, God made a way for the atoning of the sins of all mankind, beginning with Adam and Eve. 4 Ultimately, the Messiah would also destroy all the works of the serpent, passing eternal judgment on Satan the devil (Heb. 2:14; Matt. 25:41; Rev. 20:10).

God’s judgment here in Genesis against the serpent hints at the conflict that would eventually develop between Satan and God’s Church. “And I will put enmity between you [the serpent] and the woman [the coming Church of God], and between your seed [the demons and those who would serve Satan] and her Seed [the coming Messiah]; He [Christ] will bruise your head, and you [Satan] shall bruise His heel [through the crucifixion]” (verse 15). (See Appendix 2, Did God Create Satan the Devil?)

The sin of Adam and Eve had profound consequences, for them and for all humanity. God’s judgment was upon them, upon the earth, and upon all future human beings. Notice God’s judgment upon Adam and Eve: “To the woman He said, ‘I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception— in sorrow you shall bring forth children; your desire shall be toward your husband, and he shall rule over you.’ And to Adam He said, ‘Because you have hearkened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten of the tree—of which I commanded you, saying, “You shall not eat of it!”—the ground is cursed for your sake. In sorrow shall you eat of it all the days of your life. It shall also bring forth thorns and thistles to you; and thus you shall eat the herb of the field; in the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, until you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for dust you are, and to dust you shall return’ ” (verses 16-19).

Indeed, God’s judgment included the sentence of death. However, the sentence was not imposed immediately, and Adam and Eve were allowed to live hundreds of years. Genesis does not mention how long Eve lived, but records the length of Adam’s life: “And all the days that Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty years. And he died” (Gen. 5:5).

As a result of their sin, Adam and Eve were exiled from the Garden of Eden, cutting them off from access to the “tree of life” and from receiving the Holy Spirit of God, which imparts the power to live forever (Gen. 3:24). Furthermore, their sinful nature was passed on genetically to all their descendants, who were also cut off from access to the Holy Spirit. Without the Holy Spirit of God, mankind has very little power to resist the temptations of the flesh and the influence of Satan the devil, who now became the “god of this world” (II Cor. 4:4).

From that time on, all of mankind would be subject to the inner “law of sin and death” (Rom. 8:2). It is a fact that no human being can escape the death that Adam brought upon all mankind: “Therefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and by means of sin came death; and in this way, death passed into all mankind; and it is for this reason that all have sinned” (Rom. 5:12). “For in Adam we all die” (I Cor. 15:22). Again, it is written that “it is appointed to men once to die” (Heb. 9:27).


Adam and Eve Retained Their God-like Attributes

As a consequence of their sin, Adam and Eve could no longer dwell with God in the Garden of Eden. They could, however, meet with God at the east entrance of the garden, probably at certain set times. While the “law of sin and death” became a part of their nature, God did not take away their godlike attributes. Thus, God undoubtedly continued to teach them.

Most importantly, man was still created in God’s image and after His likeness. Indeed, only human beings have been given attributes of God— including the ability to think and reason, to speak and write, to plan, create and build, to teach and learn, to judge and rule. God gave human beings the capacity to love, to hate, to laugh, to cry, to forgive, to repent, and to experience every type of emotion. All these qualities are godlike characteristics which mankind alone is privileged to possess, though made of flesh and quite inferior to God.

In one of his Psalms praising God, King David begins to reveal why God created man in His image and likeness. David was inspired to write, “O LORD our Lord, how excellent is Your name in all the earth! You have set Your glory above the heavens.... When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars which You have ordained, [I am compelled to ask,] what is man that You are mindful of him.... You have made him a little lower than God [Hebrew Elohim]...” (Psa. 8:1-5).

What a profound statement! Mankind was made a little lower than Elohim, or God! Unable to believe this astonishing statement, many translators of the Bible (including those of the King James Version) incorrectly render this verse as “a little lower than the angels.” However, the Hebrew Elohim refers to deities - not to angels (the Hebrew word for angels is malak). Elohim is used countless times in the Hebrew text in reference to the true God, as well to false gods. In every other occurrence in the King James Version, Elohim is correctly translated “God” or “gods.” In Psalm 8:5, this Hebrew word is clearly referring to the true God and should be translated accordingly. Green’s translation attempts to convey the meaning of the text this way: “For You have made him lack a little from God....”5

How is it that human beings are “a little lower than God”? What did God create in man that sets us apart from other forms of life? How is it possible that man alone possesses godlike attributes?


The Spirit of Man

God is composed of spirit (John 4:24). And from God comes the Holy Spirit, which is the power of God through which He does all things. The Bible also reveals that God has given to each person a separate, invisible spirit essence or substance called the “spirit of man” (or the “spirit in man”). God gives this special spirit at conception. Its purpose is to enable humans to have thought and consciousness. “But there is a spirit in man and the inspiration of the Almighty gives them understanding" (Job 32:8). The apostle Paul notes its unique function: “For who among men understands the things of men except by the spirit of man which is in him?” (I Cor. 2:11.)

The spirit of man, though unseen, is united with the human brain. It is not a separate spirit being, such as an angel or demon. Rather, it is a spirit essence or substance that God places in each person. It imparts the power of life, thought, intellect, and other godlike characteristics. This human spirit makes man and woman different from any other creature God has created. The prophet Isaiah writes that God has “created the heavens and stretched them out, spreading forth the earth and its offspring.” Continuing, God “gives breath [life] to the people upon [the earth] and [gives] spirit [Hebrew, ruach] to those who walk in it” (Isa. 42:5). God places this spirit essence within each human being: “Thus says the LORD, Who stretches forth the heavens, and lays the foundation of the earth, and forms the spirit [ruach] of man within him” (Zech. 12:1).

This spirit of man enables human beings to possess numerous godlike attributes. Indeed, it is this unique spiritual dimension that makes us “a little lower than God.”

However, the “spirit of man” is different from what the Bible calls the “soul.”

The word "soul" is translated from the Hebrew nephesh, meaning physical life, whether human or animal. In many Bible passages, nephesh is translated “creature” or “life” (Gen. 1:20-21, 24, 30; 2:19; 9:4-5, 10, 12, 15-16; etc.). When translated “soul,” it refers to the physical life and strength of a human being (Gen. 2:7; Ex. 1:5; Lev. 23:27; Deut. 4:29; Joshua 11:11; etc.).

Rather than being separate from the physical body, the soul is inextricably fused with the body. When God created Adam from the dust of the ground, Adam did not receive a soul, he “became a living soul” (nephesh). The “soul” is what a person is physically—not something he “has.” The “soul” empowers the physical functions of the body—the blood, lymph, and nerve systems of each person. Indeed, the “soul” can die (Ezek. 13:18-19; 18:4, 20). Nearly all living animals are referred to as “souls” because they have physical life. The Bible tells us that their “souls” die as well (Rev. 16:3). 

Paul writes that there are three aspects to human life: “Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you wholly; and may your entire [human] spirit and soul [life] and [physical] body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” (I Thess. 5:23)

Unlike the soul, which ends with the death of the body, the “spirit in man” returns to God when a person dies (Eccl. 12:7). Importantly, the “spirit of man” contains a complete record of the thoughts, memories, and character of the person to whom it belonged. Upon a person’s death, God preserves this human spirit—to use it again at the resurrection in order to fully restore the person with a new body and mind.

Referring to those who will be in the first resurrection to eternal life, Paul speaks of the “spirits of the just who have been perfected” (Heb. 12:23). Indeed, it is the completed "spirit of man" that God will use to resurrect those who will be in the first resurrection. (See Appendix 3, What Happens After Death?)

In Chapter Four we will see that God's creation of human beings is continuing through human procreation. Because this is a major part of God’s plan for mankind, He is more directly involved in this process than people have ever imagined.


Chapter 3 Notes:

1. While the work of preparing the heavens and the earth for mankind was completed in six days, God had yet another special aspect to add to His creation—the seventh-day Sabbath. Since God had already created day and night, He created the Sabbath by resting on that day - by putting His presence into the day, blessing it and setting it apart as holy time, designating it as a day of fellowship between the Creator God and mankind. Thus, the Sabbath day is a perpetual reminder that God alone is Creator: “And by the beginning of the seventh day God finished His work which He had made. And He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had made. And God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it because on it He rested from all His work which God had created and made” (Gen 2:1-3).

Thus, the seventh-day Sabbath became a day to rest and worship God. It is holy time, because God blessed and sanctified it for all time. God has never changed the Sabbath day! At creation, God established the seven-day week; it remains intact, and He has never changed the day of worship to the first day if the week. God created time, and He calculates time - days, weeks, months and years - according to His sacred Calculated Hebrew Calendar.

For a complete study of the Sabbath/Sunday controversy, request the booklets Which Day is the True Lord’s Day—Sabbath or Sunday? and A Sabbath-Sunday Controversy You Have Never Read. These are available at no cost.

2. In order for Adam and Eve to be in the presence of God—walking and talking with Him—it is obvious that He did not appear in His glorified form, as no man can see His face and live. When talking with Moses, God told him: “You cannot see My face, for no man can see Me [in My glory] and live" (Ex. 33:20). Therefore, though God is composed of Spirit and possesses an unfathomable glory, He must have appeared to Adam and Eve in a human-like form.

3. To answer the question What Would the World Be Like if Adam and Eve had Not Sinned?, you may request our CD message with that title.

4. Jesus the Messiah would also be called “the Lamb of God, slain from the foundation of the world” (Rev. 13:8). However, it would be over 4,000 years from the time of Adam to the Messiah's coming. Beginning with Adam and Eve, God provided atonement for sin through the use of sacrificial animals. From the account in Genesis three, God apparently made atonement for them by sacrificing goats at the east entrance of the Garden of Eden. He then made coverings for them from the skins

After God expelled Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden, He placed cherubim at the east entrance to prevent man from reentering (verses 21, 23-24). While men could no longer dwell with God in the garden, they could come before Him at the east gate, where they could communicate with Him and receive instruction. There must have been an altar at this gate, because Abel offered firstlings of his flock to God. We also find that God talked with Cain about his improper offering. This shows that God continued to deal with Adam and Eve and their offspring at certain set times at the east entrance of the garden.

In the Old Testament, only the named patriarchs were chosen by God to receive an opportunity for salvation and be in the first resurrection at Christ’s return. Salvation offered under the New Covenant will be discussed starting in Chapter 7.

5. J. P. Green, The Interlinear Hebrew-Greek-English Bible