In our current series we’ve been going through an old list of questions and answers contained in the Westminster Larger Catechism published in 1648. Previously we’ve been looking at God’s providence, including to angels. This week I want to start looking at God’s providence toward humans when they were first created. Firstly we see that God provided humans with paradise.
In the beginning, God provided for humans by placing them in paradise. We read in Genesis: ‘Now the LORD God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed. And the LORD God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground–trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. A river watering the garden flowed from Eden; from there it was separated into four headwaters. The name of the first is the Pishon; it winds through the entire land of Havilah, where there is gold. (The gold of that land is good; aromatic resin and onyx are also there.) The name of the second river is the Gihon; it winds through the entire land of Cush. The name of the third river is the Tigris; it runs along the east side of Asshur. And the fourth river is the Euphrates’ (Genesis 2:8-14). Doesn’t that sound wonderful? Plants that looked good and tasted good, lots of water, precious metal, wood and stone. Paradise indeed!
Moreover God provided man with the freedom to look after the garden: ‘The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it’ (Genesis 2:15). We often think work is bad because of the pain it can bring, but we still recognise that work can be good despite the pain. And for Adam and Eve in the garden, work was always enjoyable and a gift of God’s providence. Being allowed to touch and look after beautiful things was a privilege.
Also we see that God gave humans lots of food: ‘And the LORD God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden’ (Genesis 2:16). It is terrible to be shown good looking and tasty food but then find out you’re not allowed to eat it. But God let Adam and Eve eat the yummy food in the garden – it was the greatest all you can eat buffet ever!
So we can see that God was very good to humans when they were created. Do you recognise this truth or would you rather reject God and not trust in his good providence towards humans?