There is a children’s story about a famous wood carver who one day carved the figure of a little boy. It was a beautiful carving and the man called it Pinocchio. He was proud of his work but there was no way the carving could love him in return.
What would have happened if the carver had put a little talking-machine inside the wooden boy? Maybe he could have made the little figure move and say, “I love you.” Would that have satisfied the carver? Would he have been thrilled and said, “Now I know my carving loves me?” No, because that would not be an expression of love. It would be only a mechanical phrase with no real feeling.
The story says that somehow the wooden boy came alive. He had a mind of his own and when he would say, “I love you,” it did thrill the carver. Why? Because the wooden boy wasn’t forced to say it he said it with love.
We know the story is just a fable, but it gives us a little picture of how God felt when He made man. He made him beautifully and, most important, with the power to make his own choices.
God made man, but not carved from a block of wood. How did He make him? What qualities did He put in man? In the last lesson we studied some of the qualities of God and our attitude toward Him. Now let’s look at how God made man and the responsibility He gave him.
Man’s Condition at Creation
God created a beautiful world with trees, flowers, and animals. The Bible says that God was pleased with what He saw. But it wasn’t complete. There were no people to enjoy and share that beauty.
Genesis 1:26-27 tells us:
Then God said, “And now we will make human beings; they will be like us and resemble us. They will have power over the fish, the birds, and all the animals, domestic and wild, large and small.” So God created human beings, making them like himself.
Man was different from the animals already created because he was made in God’s likeness. He was a glorious creation, perfect in body, soul, and spirit. Further details of the story are given in Genesis 2 where it tells how God formed man out of the soil of the ground. Then He breathed life-giving breath into man’s nostrils and the man began to live.
With life came responsibility. Man could make his own decisions. He could glorify God in his everyday living. Isaiah 43:7 gives us God’s words, “They are my own people, and I created them to bring me glory.”
The Bible says that in the cool of the evening God would walk and talk with man in the beautiful garden where they lived. God loved those first people, Adam and Eve, and wanted their perfect fellowship to continue forever. But He knew it could not be perfect if it were forced, if Adam and Eve had no choice but to fellowship with Him.
Because God has the freedom to choose and He made man like Himself, He gave man the freedom to decide whether that fellowship should continue as it had unbroken and beautiful. Perhaps Adam and Eve wanted to keep it that way, but they wanted some other things too. One day they would come to a place of having to decide what they wanted most of all.
Man’s Condition Now
What a joy the heart of God must have felt having communion with His creation. Then Adam and Eve chose to break that precious fellowship with God.
That is how man fell from his perfect state. He made the wrong choice and became sinful. Romans 5:19 says, “All people were made sinners as the result of the disobedience of one man.”
The justice of God could not ignore sin. God cannot lie and go against His word. He had said that disobedience would cause man to become mortal. Adam and Eve had to leave that paradise garden of Eden and be separated from the presence of God.
Man’s condition today is still sinful. Romans 3:23 says, “Everyone has sinned and is far away from God’s saving presence.” Man has never lost the ability to choose. Wrong choices still keep people away from God.