It Began in a Garden

orchidsby Nancy Tichy. Author for KidZ at Heart International

God created Adam and then Eve to inhabit a perfect place.  He assigned great value to the man and woman – “excellent in every way.”  He gave them identity as living persons “patterned after himself – male and female he created them.”  Then God blessed them and revealed the purpose he had for them.  “Multiply and fill the earth and subdue it.  Be masters over…all the animals.”  VALUE…IDENTITY…PURPOSE

That was the end of God’s direct, creative activity.  Once God created the first couple, all living things carried within themselves the “seed” for passing on life.  From Adam and Eve on down through succeeding generations to those of us alive in our world today, God’s purposes were hidden within that first couple.  “Adam called her Eve…because she would be the mother of all people everywhere.” (Gen.3:20)

And so it is today. Each person born into our world comes with God-assigned value, unique identity, and the potential for achieving the purpose for which God designed them.  Our challenge is to enable children to learn this, explore what it means, and grow into their full potential.  To do this we assure them that God loves them.  We help them realize who they are in Christ.  We empower them and engage them in God’s Kingdom purposes.  Their response?  They worship God, enjoy healthy interaction with fellow human beings, and gladly serve their heavenly King.  Love, intimacy and service.  This is how our precious V.I.P.’s will grow.  This is the legacy with which we have been endowed and which we make sure our children inherit and pass on to their children.

We benefit from using visual “pegs” on which to hang these important truths.  Think of a gold chain as representing the value our loving Creator-God places on us.  A passport establishes a person’s identity beyond dispute. Wholesomeness in life is possible from our growing understanding of God, each other and ourselves.  A mirror and a flashlight indicate the overarching purpose God has for each of us: to reflect his character and display his mighty deeds. (Psalm 145)  Jesus put it this way, “Let your light so shine before mankind, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Heavenly Father,” (Matt.5:16)

Sadly, it also ended in a garden. You know the story well.  Adam and Even were created sinless, not embarrassed by their nakedness, enjoying their work each day and relishing their daily visits with God.  Who can imagine what those evening conversations were about?  Knowing as they were known…secure in God’s love…weary, perhaps, but satisfied by the day’s accomplishments.  Until….

Until Satan introduced himself with his crafty suggestion that God could not really be trusted.  And so, sin entered their world.   The Garden was no longer a perfect place.  They had come short of God’s glory.  To hide their shame, they got busy weaving fig leaves together.  And, they hid from God.  What poignant heartache in the questions:  Where are you?  Have you eaten? How could you do such a thing?  With solemn finality, God pronounced the consequences of their sin.  And then, He made coverings for them from animal skins.  I call this the “leather coat” solution to replace man-contrived coverings of fig leaves.

Decades roll by and many generations later, God, loving the world so much, sent his only begotten Son to restore the broken relationships and open the way to know and serve him through the sacrifice of the Lamb of God.   What a great demonstration of such amazing love!  What great value God, the Father, places upon His Son whose unique life was one of perfect obedience!  Valued, secure in His identity, completing the purpose given him.  So is the life of Jesus recorded for us.

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