© Jeff Stacey | Last updated: 15 September 2016
1A11. God’s roles for Adam and Eve:
They were sharing with God in accomplishing His primary purpose,
as He made Himself known THROUGH them by:-
(a) Being “made in the image and likeness of God”
(b) Enjoying LIFE freely in relationship with God
(c) Demonstrating God’s declared blessing upon them by:-
(i) being able to procreate and increase in number
(ii) “subduing” the Earth, including caring for the Garden of Eden
(iii) ruling over all of the creatures
1A11(title) God’s roles for Adam and Eve
God had specific roles for Adam and Eve as they lived in the Garden of Eden, to fulfil their part in accomplishing His primary purpose. The assumption underlying their roles was that they would be enjoying LIFE by living only in God’s ways.
1A11(sub-title) They were sharing with God in accomplishing His primary purpose, as He made Himself known THROUGH them
God was making Himself known TO Adam and Eve by relating directly and intimately with them [1A8]. Then He was accomplishing His primary purpose by making Himself known THROUGH them, as outlined below.
1A11(a) They were “made in the image and likeness of God”
They were “made in the image and likeness of God” Gen 1:26,27. So as they used their capabilities, the “likeness” of the nature of God Himself was continually being expressed THROUGH them by their words and actions. This was all demonstrating God’s love, perfection and power, as follows.
1A11(a)(i) Love, like God’s own love
In God’s intimate relationship with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, He expressed His love TO them by providing for them Gen 1:29, 2:8,9a,18,22 and by direct encounters and communication with them Gen 1:28,29-30, 2:16-17.
Such intimacy was also reciprocal, as Adam could freely choose to obey and co-operate with God Gen 2:15b,19-20. So Adam had a love like God’s own love, welcoming and enjoying Him.1
Eve had been created by God and brought to Adam Gen 2:21-22. Then they entered into a perfectly free and intimate relationship with each other Gen 2:23-24,25. So their love as man and wife involved a deeply spiritual relationship between them, as well as physically and in other ways, as they enjoyed LIFE together.2
It was THROUGH their relationship that they were reflecting the characteristics and depth of their relationship with God. Indeed God was making Himself known TO them THROUGH their love for each other!
1A11(a)(ii) Perfection, like God’s own perfection
Adam and Eve were the pinnacle of all God’s “very good” creation, being “made in the image and likeness of God”. So they shared in His perfection. This involved their total commitment to God, expressed THROUGH their relationship with Him. They were enjoying LIFE perfectly by absolutely obeying His one requirement.
1A11(a)(iii) Power, like God’s own power
Basically God endowed Adam and Eve with three types of power: capabilities, authority and autonomy, as follows.
God’s gifts of capabilities to Adam and Eve [1A9(b)] were delegations to them of His kinds of powers. So they could express His nature THROUGH how they chose to use their capabilities.
It is important here to distinguish between power and authority. “Power” can be defined as the capability and freedom to do something. But “authority” means having permission for only certain specified powers to be exercised. In other words, authority gives legitimacy but sets limits to the things that can be done. Such authorization or delegation also involves accepting responsibility and becoming accountable for how it is discharged.
God had delegated some of His own powers to be exercised on Earth by people as His agents. He had actually authorized Adam and Eve to assert vast authority Gen 1:26b,28b without any restrictions except as prohibited by His one requirement Gen 2:17. They would be held accountable by Him for their responses to this. Indeed His whole ongoing gift of LIFE to them depended entirely upon their keeping within this one boundary!
As the expression of His own nature of love, God gave these two people the God-like power to freely make their own choices and decisions [1A6(f)]. But how they used this autonomy would determine the consequences of those choices. Obviously this made them vulnerable to not keeping God’s one requirement!
1A11(b) Enjoying LIFE freely in relationship with God
By not having any knowledge of evil, Adam and Eve were able to fully enjoy LIFE in the pure freedoms of sinless innocence Gen 2:25. They also had complete freedom to eat the abundant varieties of fruit from all but one tree in the Garden Gen 2:16. So they were living fully and freely in relationship with God, enjoying LIFE and expressing His own nature.
1A11(c) They were demonstrating God’s declared blessing upon them
God had declared His blessing upon Adam and Eve and other parts of His creation Gen 1:22,28, 2:3. He bestowed His favour upon them by giving them three great roles on Earth, as follows.
1A11(c)(i) Being able to procreate and increase in number
God’s first declared blessing was that the people would multiply Gen 1:28a. This gave Adam and Eve extraordinary roles in accomplishing God’s primary purpose. He actually delegated to them a vital share with Him in creating people!
Adam and Eve became “united” and “one flesh” in marriage Gen 2:24-25. This referred to their sexually consummated relationship as husband and wife. That would result in procreation of children.
God intended that this multiplication would ultimately be worldwide in scope Gen 1:28b. His nature would then be demonstrated everywhere on Earth TO and THROUGH people. This would be expressed within whole complex societies and cultures. Especially this would be in their relationships with each other as they enjoyed LIFE.
1A11(c)(ii) “Subduing” the Earth, including caring for the Garden of Eden
Adam and Eve were given great power over their surroundings and were authorized to use this power Gen 1:28c. Because they were living LIFE, “made in the image and likeness of God”, all their activities were entirely for the good of the land, plants and creatures as well as for themselves. This was a major way that God began to make Himself known THROUGH these two people, TO all of His creation!
Even the flourishing of the Garden of Eden was apparently dependent upon the exercise of human capabilities Gen 2:15. Adam was to cultivate, conserve and enhance it. The trees in the Garden of Eden were “pleasing to the eye” and “good for food” Gen 2:9a. But Adam and Eve were not intended to be just idle sightseers and fruit-eaters there. Adam had jobs to do!
God’s declared blessing upon the people included “subduing” the whole Earth. This indicated His intention that as the people multiplied and spread, they would be beneficially “working and taking care of” all the Earth. So it was imperative that people multiply and “fill the Earth” in order to carry out these God-expressing functions worldwide.
1A11(c)(iii) Ruling over all of the creatures
The further declared blessing was that the people would “rule over” all of the Earth’s creatures Gen 1:28d. For example, God authorised Adam to have “naming rights” over all the wild animals and the birds Gen 2:19b,20a. This delegation of authority was confirmed when God accepted the names Adam gave to each one Gen 2:19c. God did this even though He had previously named various aspects of His creation Himself Gen 1:5,8,10. So God was expressing His own nature THROUGH Adam in this naming, because Adam’s actions were basically the same as God’s.
This peaceful scene of “ruling over” by Adam also apparently involved harmonious relationships between him and the creatures, as well as with God. God’s declared blessing intended the worldwide extension of these same beneficial principles. In all these ways the people would enjoy LIFE and share with God in accomplishing His primary purpose.
Arrow 1A8 -> 1A11
This arrow indicates that God’s roles for Adam and Eve were how they were sharing with Him in accomplishing His primary purpose. God’s commitment to them and their intimate relationship with Him was resulting in them carrying out these roles.
Arrow 1A9 -> 1A11
This arrow indicates that God’s vast gifts of LIFE to Adam and Eve were freely used by them in carrying out His roles for them.
Arrow 1A10 -> 1A11
This arrow indicates that keeping God’s one requirement was the vital precondition for Adam and Eve to continue enjoying LIFE, carrying out God’s roles and sharing with Him in accomplishing His primary purpose.
1. This is implied by the contrast after the FALL, when such intimacy with God was feared, avoided and lost Gen 3:8-9,10.(Return to reading).
2. The existence of this initial spiritual relationship later became obvious when it was broken after the FALL, resulting in antagonism and alienation between them Gen 3:7,12,16.(Return to reading).