When Man Was with God in Paradise
1. For how long was God the only One in existence, and why?
HAVE we ever thought about what is implied by the expressions “the Creator of the heavens,” also, “God, who created all things”? Those expressions imply that there was a time when God was all alone. (Isaiah 42:5; Ephesians 3:9) No creation existed. So for an eternal past this God was all by himself and he had not yet become a Creator. That is why the prophet Moses said in prayer to God: “Before mountains were born or earth and universe came to the pangs of birth, and from eternity to eternity, you are Deity.” (Psalm 90:2, Byington’s translation) During all that eternal past before creation God was able to enjoy Himself.
2. In course of time God purposed to become what, thereby bringing upon himself what responsibility?
2 The time came when God purposed to become a Father. This did not mean to become the Creator of lifeless things, unintelligent things. It meant to give existence to living intelligences, to sons with some likeness to him their Father. Thus he purposed to take upon Himself the responsibility of a family of children. What kind of sons did He purpose to produce first? Not human sons, for in that case he would have had to produce first an earthly globe upon which they could live. Reasonably, God would produce sons who, like Himself, are heavenly, being spirit just as He is spirit. Thus they would be spirit sons, who could see him and have direct access into His presence and with whom he could communicate directly.
3. How is the existence of the heavenly sons of God, even before creation of our earth, called to our attention?
3 The existence of such spirit sons of God is no mere religious imagination. The writer of the Bible book of Job, likely the prophet Moses, speaks of these in the opening chapter of the book, saying: “Now it came to be the day when the sons of the true God entered to take their station before Jehovah.” (Job 1:6) A second meeting of those heavenly sons of the true God is called to our notice in Job 2:1. The fact that these spirit sons of God existed in the invisible heavens before the creation of our earth is emphasized when God speaks to the man Job out of the invisible and asks him: “Where did you happen to be when I founded the earth? . . . when the morning stars joyfully cried out together, and all the sons of God began shouting in applause?” Evidently those sons of God, brilliantly shining like morning stars in the heavens, were interested in God’s purpose in creating our earth and admired the way in which he created the earth, “stretching out the north over the empty place, hanging the earth upon nothing” in space.—Job 38:4-7; 26:7.
4. (a) What might God’s first created son rightly be called with relation to creation and God’s family? (b) How does “wisdom” speak of herself in Proverbs 8:22-31?
4 Who was the first spirit son of God whom He created? This one, by reason of his priority, would rightly be called the beginning of the creation by God. This one being the first member of God’s heavenly family, he could also be called the firstborn of all creation. Our thinking about this here reminds us of what is said in the eighth chapter of the book of Proverbs, where divine wisdom is pictured as a person who talks about himself. Of course, in the original Hebrew text of Proverbs, the word “wisdom” (hhakh·mahʹ) is in the feminine and speaks of itself as a female person. (Proverbs 8:1-4) Of course, divine wisdom does not have any separate existence apart from God. Wisdom always existed in Him and so was not created. For this reason it is interesting to hear how wisdom speaks of herself as a feminine person, especially when she goes on to say:
“The Lord [Hebrew: JHVH, יהוה] created me as the beginning of his way, the first of his works from the commencement. From eternity was I appointed chief, from the beginning, from the earliest times of the earth. When there were yet no depths, was I brought forth; when there were yet no springs laden heavily with water. Before the mountains were yet sunk down, before the hills was I brought forth: while as yet he had not made the land and open fields, nor the chief of the dust of the world. When he prepared the heavens, I was there; when he drew a circle over the face of the deep; when he fastened the skies above; when the springs of the deep became strong; when he assigned to the sea his decree, that the waters should not transgress his order; when he established firmly the foundations of the earth: then was I near him, as a nursling; and I was day by day his delights, playing before him at all times; playing [feminine participle] in the world, his earth; and having my delights with the sons of men.”—Proverbs 8:22-31, Rabbi Isaac Leeser’s translation, of 1853.
5. Why are Jewish leaders concerned about how those words of Proverbs have been applied in our Common Era?
5 Jewish leaders are concerned about the application that may be made of the above Bible verses. In the Soncino Press edition of Proverbs, of 1945, we read in the footnote on this section: “For the Jewish reader this interpretation is of much importance in view of the Christological use made of this section by the early Church Fathers.”a At any rate, Proverbs 8:22 speaks of something as being created as the beginning of the way of Jehovah God, as “the first of his works from the commencement.” A “created” wisdom!
CHERUBS, ANGELS, SERAPHS
6. What is said about cherubs in Genesis and Psalms?
6 The Holy Scriptures divide up these heavenly “sons of God” into at least three classes. The first of these classes to be mentioned is that of the “cherubs.” Genesis 3:24 describes a number of cherubs as being posted by God at the east of the earthly Paradise to “guard the way to the tree of life.” With regard to the nearness of the cherubs to the seat of authority occupied by God and their loyal support of it, the psalmist Asaph speaks, saying: “O you who are sitting upon the cherubs, do beam forth.” (Psalm 80:1 and superscription) Psalm 99:1 calls attention to the same thing, saying: “Jehovah himself has become king. Let the peoples be agitated. He is sitting upon the cherubs. Let the earth quiver.”
7. When and how did King Hezekiah associate cherubs with God?
7 Also, King Hezekiah, who represented the Most High God on the visible throne in Jerusalem, associated the cherubs with the heavenly throne of the Sovereign of the universe, when he prayed: “O Jehovah of armies, the God of Israel, sitting upon the cherubs, you alone are the true God of all the kingdoms of the earth. You yourself have made the heavens and the earth.” (Isaiah 37:16) Thus, repeatedly, the great Creator, the Universal Sovereign, is shown to throne above the heavenly “sons of God” known as cherubs.
8. What in the lives of Abraham, Lot and Jacob authenticate the existence of angels?
8 Besides such cherubic “sons of God,” there is a general class of angels. There is no historical reason to doubt the existence of these invisible spirit creatures, for they have made many authenticated appearances to men. About the year 1919 B.C.E. three angelic representatives of Jehovah God materialized in flesh and appeared to the patriarch Abraham as he was sitting under some big trees at Mamre in the Palestinian land of Canaan. Shortly afterward, two of these materialized angels visited Abraham’s nephew Lot at the city of Sodom by the Dead Sea, the day before this wicked city was destroyed by fire and sulphur that were propelled through the air upon the city. (Genesis 18:1 through 19:29) More than a century later Abraham’s grandson Jacob was returning south to where his grandfather used to camp, and he had the experience related in Genesis 32:1, 2: “And as for Jacob, he got on his way, and the angels of God now met up with him. Immediately Jacob said, when he saw them: ‘The camp of God this is!’ Hence he called the name of that place Mahanaim [meaning ‘Two Camps’].”
9. (a) What does the word “angel” also mean? (b) How are angels used, beyond the power of men to block them?
9 The Bible word for angel means also “messenger,” as in Malachi 3:1, where we read: “Look! I am sending my messenger [or, angel], and he must clear up a way before me.” On many occasions the heavenly angels have been sent on missions to deliver a message or with a commission to do a special work. Men cannot block their performing of their commission from God, for they are possessed of power and might superior to the power and might of men. The psalmist recognized this fact, and said: “Jehovah himself has firmly established his throne in the very heavens; and over everything his own kingship has held domination. Bless Jehovah, O you angels of his, mighty in power, carrying out his word, by listening to the voice of his word. Bless Jehovah, all you armies of his, you ministers of his, doing his will.”—Psalm 103:19-21.
10. (a) What attitude do seraphs have toward God’s person? (b) What experience did Isaiah have with seraphs, this demonstrating what?
10 Still another classification of the heavenly “sons of God” is that of the seraphs. These spirit creatures are very reverential toward the person of God. This is borne out by the miraculous vision that was given to the prophet Isaiah. Let us note his description: “In the year that King Uzziah died [778/777 B.C.E.] I, however, got to see Jehovah, sitting on a throne lofty and lifted up, and his skirts were filling the temple. Seraphs were standing above him. Each one had six wings. With two he kept his face covered, and with two he kept his feet covered, and with two he would fly about. And this one called to that one and said: ‘Holy, holy, holy is Jehovah of armies. The fullness of all the earth is his glory.’” The prophet Isaiah felt obliged to cry out in a fear of death because of his unclean condition. “At that,” Isaiah tells us, “one of the seraphs flew to me, and in his hand there was a glowing coal that he had taken with tongs off the altar. And he proceeded to touch my mouth and to say: ‘Look! This has touched your lips, and your error has departed and your sin itself is atoned for.’” (Isaiah 6:1-7) In this we see demonstrated the interest of the seraphs in helping us to be holy as God is holy.
11. How large is God’s family of heavenly “sons,” and why are they distinct in nature from us humans?
11 The number of all these heavenly “sons of God,” the cherubs, the seraphs and the angels, runs into the millions. The prophet Daniel in Babylon was inspired to write concerning the vision that he had of a heavenly court scene: “I kept on beholding until there were thrones placed and the Ancient of Days sat down. . . . There were a thousand thousands that kept ministering to him, and ten thousand times ten thousand [= 100,000,000] that kept standing right before him. The Court took its seat, and there were books that were opened.” (Daniel 7:9, 10) Such a tremendous number of celestial “sons of God” displays the great creative productivity on the part of the heavenly Father, Jehovah God the Almighty. He has a marvelous family of obedient sons in the heavens. These are not creatures of blood and flesh, for they were created before our earth was created upon which we creatures of blood and flesh now live. So those heavenly “sons of God” are spirit, as God himself is, and they are absolutely distinct in nature from us earthly human creatures.
12. Why do not the heavenly “sons of God” include now human souls transplanted to the invisible spirit realm?
12 Showing the sharp distinction between God and men (like the ancient Egyptians) and between spirit and flesh, the prophecy of Isaiah 31:3 discouraged the Israelites from looking to the militarized Egyptians for help, saying: “The Egyptians, though, are earthling men, and not God; and their horses are flesh, and not spirit.” Also, in a direct statement that the heavenly “sons of God” are of a nature distinct from that of man, Psalm 104:1-4 says: “Bless Jehovah, O my soul. O Jehovah my God, you have proved very great. With dignity and splendor you have clothed yourself, enwrapping yourself with light as with a garment, stretching out the heavens like a tent cloth, the One . . . making his angels spirits, his ministers a devouring fire.” Definitely the Sacred Scriptures rule out the religious idea that the heavenly angels include human souls that have been transplanted from earth to the invisible spirit heavens. The spirit “sons of God” were all brothers, all of them being sons of the same heavenly Father.
13. What is the attitude of a true father toward a family that he produces?
13 A true father produces a family because he loves children. He has no desire to make fiends or devils out of them or to get any satisfaction out of torturing and tormenting them. He has their highest interests at heart. He wants to find pleasure in them because they reflect his image and are a credit to him and give him due respect and obedience. Long ago, under divine inspiration, a king who was himself a father of many children said: “A wise son is the one that makes a father rejoice.” “The father of a righteous one will without fail be joyful; the one becoming father to a wise one will also rejoice in him.”—Proverbs 10:1; 23:24.
14. How is Jehovah compared to a human father in dealing with sons?
14 As regards the attitude of the heavenly Father toward his intelligent creatures, the psalmist David said: “As a father shows mercy to his sons, Jehovah has shown mercy to those fearing him. For he himself well knows the formation of us, remembering that we are dust.” (Psalm 103:13, 14) What Jehovah expects of his sons, he indicates, saying: “A son, for his part, honors a father; and a servant, his grand master. So if I am a father, where is the honor to me? And if I am a grand master, where is the fear of me?” (Malachi 1:6) Jehovah the heavenly Father is not inferior to an earthly father in showing the right qualities toward His creatures, for He says: “And I will show compassion upon them, just as a man shows compassion upon his son who is serving him.”—Malachi 3:17.
15. What was God’s motive in creating children of a nature lower than that of heavenly sons, and what would thereby be displayed?
15 With nothing short of a loving motive, Jehovah God purposed to become father to children of a new nature. This signified that they would not be of the spirit nature, not of the heavenly nature. Theirs would be a nature less refined than that of the spirit nature and hence subjecting them to limitations and restrictions such as the heavenly “sons of God” do not have. However, this would work no hardship for them and would be perfectly enjoyable. Their nature was to be that of flesh and blood, or human nature. The creating of children of this lower nature was not because the heavenly Father had become dissatisfied with his vast family of spirit sons or needed something new and additional with which to provide new entertainment for himself. It was, rather, to display still further the greatly diversified wisdom of God as a Creator, and also to expand his love to still other creatures.
16. (a) For creating a family of human nature, what must God first produce? (b) What was his stated purpose for creating our earth?
16 First, however, He must provide the materials with which to create this family of the human nature and also a suitable place for this human family to live and occupy. With this in view, He created the earth, a planet belonging to the solar system that is a part of the great galaxy of stars now known as The Milky Way. At this point the Holy Bible opens up its marvelous story, saying: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” (Genesis 1:1) With loving care he prepared the conditions and environment on the cooled, hardened surface of the earth for its human inhabitants. His purpose for this earth he speaks of, saying:
“This is what Jehovah has said, the Creator of the heavens, He the true God, the Former of the earth and the Maker of it, He the One who firmly established it, who did not create it simply for nothing, who formed it even to be inhabited.”—Isaiah 45:18.
17. How did the Creator foresee the needs of his human family, and how did he provide for such needs?
17 His human family would have bodies that needed to breathe in order to sustain life, and so He provided an atmosphere about the earth. They would need water to drink, and so he provided plenty of that. They needed plant life and vegetation as food, and this He provided for them. They needed sunlight for health and for vision, and he removed any cosmic dust cloud that kept the sun’s rays from reaching the earth and later clarified the atmosphere to let the sunlight, moonlight and starlight penetrate to the earth’s surface. The human family needed regular periods of rest and sleep, and the great Designer of the earth caused it to revolve so that day alternated with night. He caused the waters to swarm with fish and other marine life, flying creatures to take winged flight through the air, and land animals in great variety, all to play their parts in the economy of earthly life. All of this the wise and loving Creator did during the course of six creative periods of time, which he himself called days.—Genesis 1:1-25.
18. When and on what creative “day” did God announce his purpose to make the climax of his earthly creation?
18 Toward the end of the sixth creative time period things had been prepared on and about the earth for the heavenly Father to proceed with starting the human family. Then it was that he announced what was to be the climax of his earthly creative work, as we read in Genesis 1:26: “And God went on to say: ‘Let us make man in our image, according to our likeness, and let them have in subjection the fish of the sea and the flying creatures of the heavens and the domestic animals and all the earth and every moving animal that is moving upon the earth.’”
19. How can we prove whether God was talking to himself in Genesis 1:26?
19 In the Hebrew text of this creation account the word for “God” is e·lo·himʹ, which is the plural form of e·loʹah, the plural form being used here in Genesis to denote excellence and grandeur, and not a number of gods, two, three or more. That is why the verbs that here go with E·lo·himʹ are in the singular number. And so when we read, “And God [E·lo·himʹ] went on to say: ‘Let us,’” it does not mean that God was talking to himself. He is not a trinity, a triune god, a god in three persons, so that one person of him was saying to the other two persons of him, “Let us.” In Genesis 2:4 this Creator is called Jehovah God, and later the writer, the prophet Moses, said: “Listen, O Israel: Jehovah our God is one Jehovah.” There are not two or three Jehovahs, only one! A so-called triune god or trinity is a pagan invention. It is a blasphemous falsehood.—Deuteronomy 6:4.
20. Most reasonably the words “Let us make man” were addressed to whom, and why so?
20 Consequently, when God (E·lo·himʹ) said, “Let us,” he was speaking to at least someone else apart from himself in the invisible spirit heavens. It is hardly likely that Jehovah God would be here speaking to the 100,000,000 or more angels who minister to him and asking their cooperation with him in the creation of man. It is most reasonable that he would be speaking to his firstborn heavenly Son, the firstborn of all creation, the beginning of the creation by God. This one, as the firstborn of God’s heavenly family, would be the one to be given the preeminence and honor of being invited to work together with his heavenly Father in the creation of man on earth. This would simplify matters. Since this firstborn heavenly son bore the “image” of his heavenly Father and was according to His “likeness,” God could properly say to him, “Let us make man in our image, according to our likeness.” One’s being in the image of God and according to his likeness would never mean that one was the equal of Jehovah God. An “image” is not the real thing!
THE FIRST MAN IN PARADISE
21. Where does it say that the newly created man was put in Paradise?
21 Genesis, chapter two, goes into detail on man’s creation. Descriptively, Genesis 2:7, 8 tells us: “And Jehovah God proceeded to form the man out of dust from the ground and to blow into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man came to be a living soul. Further, Jehovah God planted a garden in Eden, toward the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed.” In the ancient Syriac Version of the Bible the word Paradise is used to stand for “garden”; the Douay Version of the Bible also uses the word Paradise and says: “And the Lord God had planted a paradise of pleasure from the beginning: wherein he placed man whom he had formed.”—Genesis 2:8, Dy.
22. What common religious idea do some try to read into what Genesis 2:7 actually says?
22 Let us note once again what Genesis 2:7 states about the creation of man. Does it say that Jehovah God put in man a soul separate and distinct from his body? That is what many religious people want to read into the text. In fact, the Spanish Bible translation by F. Torres Amat–S. L. Copello, of 1942 C.E., reads, when translated into English: “Then the Lord God formed the man of the slime of the earth, and breathed in his face a breath or spirit of life, and the man remained made living with a rational soul.”b This is very different from the Roman Catholic Douay Version, which says: “And man became a living soul.” Also, the version published by The Jewish Publication Society of America reads: “And man became a living soul.” In order that our readers may see the literal word-for-word reading (from right to left) of the Hebrew text we present below a photostatic copy of this part of Genesis 2:7 in The Interlinear Literal Translation of the Hebrew Old Testament, by G. R. Berry, copyright 1896-1897:
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 soul. 8 ¶ And the LORD God planted a garden
יְהוָֹה אֱלֹהִים אֶת־הָאָדָם עָפָר מִן־הָאֲדָמָה
,ground the from dust [of out] man (the) God Jehovah
וַיִּפַּח בְּאַפָּיו נִשְׁמַת חַיִּים וַיְהִי הָאָדָם
man (the) became and ;life of breath nostrils his in breathed and
8 לְנֶפֶשׁ חַיָּה וַיִּטַּע יְהוָֹה אֱלֹהִים גַּן בְּעֵדֶן
Eden in garden a God Jehovah planted And living soul a (for)
23. When the human body dies, what happens to the soul?
23 Since God’s inspired Word plainly says, “Man became a living soul,” man is a soul. The Bible tells the truth! It is the authority on what the human soul is. The pagan philosophers of ancient time, who did not have God’s written Word, are the ones who say that man has inside him an invisible spiritual soul that departs into the spirit realm at the death of the human body. In the Hebrew text the word for “soul” is nephʹesh; in the Greek Septuagint Version of the Hebrew Scriptures it is psy·kheʹ. Hence, what happens to man’s body happens to the human soul. It is not just the human body that dies, but, as Jehovah God says in Ezekiel 18:4: “Look! All the souls—to me they belong. . . . The soul that is sinning—it itself will die.” (Also, verse 20)
24. Why is a “physical body” distinct from a “spiritual one”?
24 Man is not of the spirit, spiritual. Man is of the earth, earthy: “Jehovah God proceeded to form the man out of dust from the ground.” (Genesis 2:7) The body that God created for man was made up of the elements taken from the earth and the atmosphere. It was not a spiritual body, and it cannot be spiritualized so as to become invisible and able to inhabit the spirit realm. It was a physical body, separate and distinct from a spiritual body such as the heavenly “sons of God” possess. Just as a Bible commentator of the first century C.E. said: “If there is a physical body, there is also a spiritual one.” The two kinds of bodies must not be confused, and the Bible does not confuse them.—1 Corinthians 15:44.
25. What did God breathe into man’s nostrils to make him a “living soul,” in contrast with Greek philosophy?
25 The naked human body that God formed out of dust from the ground there in the Paradise of Pleasure was perfect, none of its necessary parts or members missing. “Perfect is his activity, for all his ways are justice.” (Deuteronomy 32:4) “See! This only I have found,” said wise King Solomon, “that the true God made mankind upright.” (Ecclesiastes 7:29) To make that first human body alive and functioning perfectly, God did not take from heaven a bodyless “soul” (psy·kheʹ)c that, according to the pagan Greek idea, was flitting around like a butterfly, and breathe or insert it into the lifeless body. God breathed into the body not a mere current of air to expand the body’s lungs. It was nothing like mouth-to-mouth reviving as in the case of a drowned person. What God breathed into the nostrils of the body is called “the breath of life,” which not only filled the lungs with air but also imparted to the body the life-force that is sustained by breathing. In this way “the man came to be a living soul.”
26. Why was the first man named Adam, and how did God put real purpose in his life?
26 Jehovah God became the Father, the Life-Giver, of this first human soul. Materials for forming the human body were taken from the ground, which, in Hebrew, is called a·da·mahʹ, and so this living soul was appropriately named Adam. (Genesis 5:1, 2) The heavenly Father had a purpose in putting his earthly son in the Paradise of Eden, and He put purpose into the life of Adam. To this effect we read, in Genesis 2:15: “And Jehovah God proceeded to take the man and settle him in the garden of Eden to cultivate it and to take care of it.” God assigned to Adam his work as that of a Paradise-keeper, a gardener. To give us some idea of what grew in that earthly Paradise, we are told: “Jehovah God planted a garden in Eden, toward the east, . . . Thus Jehovah God made to grow out of the ground [a·da·mahʹ] every tree desirable to one’s sight and good for food and also the tree of life in the middle of the garden and the tree of the knowledge of good and bad.” (Genesis 2:8, 9) Containing “every tree desirable to one’s sight,” the garden of Eden must have been a beautiful place. Among its trees “good for food” was the fig tree.
27. How did God see to it that Adam was not alone in the Paradise and that he got acquainted with things?
27 Only a God of love could have given his earthly son the Paradise of Pleasure as his home, the very best that earth had to provide. Being perfect, Adam could have a perfect appreciation of this garden and of its beauty. He was not alone there. There were fish of various kinds in the river that issued out of the garden and that branched out to the regions beyond the boundary of the garden. (Genesis 2:10-14) There was also a varied birdlife, also land animals, domestic and wild. God saw to it that Adam got acquainted with these earthly creatures of a lower nature.
“Now Jehovah God was forming from the ground every wild beast of the field and every flying creature of the heavens, and he began bringing them to the man to see what he would call each one; and whatever the man would call it, each living soul [nephʹesh], that was its name. So the man was calling the names of all the domestic animals and of the flying creatures of the heavens and of every wild beast of the field, but for man there was found no helper as a complement of him.”—Genesis 2:19, 20.
28. On meeting the ape, why did Adam feel no kinship with it?
28 As the wild animals were introduced to Adam, a long-armed hairy creature appeared. Adam named it qoph, which means “ape” to us today. (1 Kings 10:22; 2 Chronicles 9:21) When Adam saw this ape, he did not feel any kinship to it. He did not believe that he was a blood descendant of it. He did not cry out with pleasure: “This is at last bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh.” The information that Adam received from God was that qoph (the ape) had been created earlier on the sixth creative “day,” and that he, Adam, was created separately by God with no flesh connection with the ape or any other of the lower earthly creatures. Adam knew that there are four kinds of flesh. As it was stated nineteen centuries ago, in harmony with the latest findings of science: “Not all flesh is the same flesh, but there is one of mankind, and there is another flesh of cattle, and another flesh of birds, and another of fish.” (1 Corinthians 15:39) No, even though God’s Word spoke of the qoph (ape) as a “living soul,” the ape was not found to be a “complement” of Adam and suitable as a companion of him.—Genesis 2:20.
29. Why did Adam not converse with the serpent or worship any animal?
29 As Adam observed all the wild beasts of the field, there on the ground or on a tree a long scaly animal glided along, without limbs. Adam called it na·hhashʹ, which to us means “serpent” or “snake.” It did not strike up a conversation with Adam, and he, for his part, did not talk with it. It was a speechless creature, making only a hissing sound. Adam had no fear of it or of other wild animals. He did not worship any of them as sacred, not even the cow. His God had put them in subjection to him, for he was an earthly son of God, made in God’s image and according to God’s likeness. So he worshiped only his heavenly Father, “the true God,” Jehovah.
THE POSSIBILITY OF ETERNAL LIFE ON EARTH
30, 31. (a) How long was Adam meant to live, and where? (b) What test of obedience did God, not unjustly, place upon Adam?
30 How long was Adam meant to live, and where? It was not God’s thought that Adam should die and leave the Paradise of Eden neglected. The earth was not to be left uninhabited by humankind. God set before Adam the opportunity for eternal life on earth in the Paradise of Eden. This, however, was dependent upon Adam’s eternal obedience to his Creator and God. God put no disobedient leanings, no sinful tendencies, in Adam. God endowed his earthly son with the godlike qualities of justice, wisdom, power and love, with a perfect moral sense. However, in recognition of His own sovereignty over all the universe, it was proper for God, without any suspicions toward Adam, to test this earthly son of His. The test that he put upon Adam was a very small limitation of his freedom. We read:
31 “And Jehovah God also laid this command upon the man: ‘From every tree of the garden you may eat to satisfaction. But as for the tree of the knowledge of good and bad you must not eat from it, for in the day you eat from it you will positively die.’”—Genesis 2:16, 17.
32. Was eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and bad indispensable in order for Adam to enjoy eternal life?
32 Here the great Life-Giver set before his son Adam the prospect of either eternal life or eternal death. Disobedience to his divine heavenly Father would lead to positive death for Adam for time eternal. Loving obedience as of a son to a father would result in eternal life. The reward for continuous obedience would not mean a transfer of Adam to heaven, for Adam was not made for life in heaven with angels, but was meant for life eternal in the earthly Paradise of Pleasure. “As regards the heavens, to Jehovah the heavens belong, but the earth he has given to the sons of men.” (Psalm 115:16) Adam’s eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and bad was not indispensable to his living eternally, but “the tree of life in the middle of the garden” was.—Genesis 3:22.
33. How, evidently, did God mean the expression “in the day you eat,” and why?
33 How, though, was Adam to understand that expression “in the day you eat from it”? He had no reason or basis for thinking in terms of a thousand-year day, according to the much-later statement of the prophet Moses addressed to Jehovah God: “A thousand years are in your eyes but as yesterday.” (Psalm 90:4 and superscription) He surely did not think: ‘Well, if I disobey and have to die, I may have much or most of the thousand-year day during which to live; and that will not be so bad.’ Adam had no grounds for reasoning in such a way. He must have understood God’s use of the word “day” to mean a twenty-four-hour day. Since God evidently spoke according to the ability of his earthly son to understand, then, consistently, God must have meant a twenty-four-hour day. He did not mean, ‘In the thousand-year-long day that you eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and bad you will die.’ Such a meaning would take away from the forcefulness of God’s warning.
34. How did Adam get the command regarding the forbidden tree, and how long could Adam have enjoyed communion with God?
34 Adam got this strong warning direct from God, even though God may have spoken to Adam by means of an unseen angel. It was God’s word, God’s message. God spoke to Adam out of the invisible. He did not use some lower animal creation, like a snake, by which to convey his command to his earthly son Adam. In the latter case, this animal creation could thereafter have been used as a symbol of God and treated as sacred, with due deference. The true God does not want worship rendered to him through an animal creation. Adam in the Paradise of Pleasure worshiped God directly. If he lovingly continued to do so eternally, doubtless such communication with God would continue on eternally. What a privilege it would be for Adam to be thus in the earthly Paradise with God forever!
a See Tertullian’s “Against Praxeas.” Therein, in Chapter 7, he says: “The Son likewise acknowledges the Father, speaking in his own person, under the name of Wisdom: ‘The LORD formed me as the beginning of his ways.’” See also comments on Proverbs 8:22 by Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, Athenagoras, Theophilus of Antioch, Clement of Alexandria, Cyprian (The Treatises of), Origen’s “De Principiis,” Dionysius, and Lactantius.
b In Spanish: “Formó, pues, el Señor Dios al hombre del lodo de la tierra, e inspiróle en el rostro un soplo o espíritu de vida, y quedó hecho el hombre viviente con alma racional.”
c One of the meanings of the Greek word psy·kheʹ is “butterfly or moth.”—See Liddell and Scott’s Greek-English Lexicon, Volume 2, page 2027, column 2, VI. In Grecian-Roman mythology, Psyche was a beautiful maiden personifying the soul and loved by the god Eros.