God exists as a triune relationship of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, one God consisting of three persons. God’s desire was to create humanity such that individuals could choose to love and live in community with Him to magnify His Glory.
God made man in His image. To understand what that means, we must look at the attributes of God. Of course, God perfectly exemplifies every aspect of his being, but to a degree, we mirror His essence. God’s essence is composed of three persons. In a similar fashion, our essence could be thought of in terms of three parts. Our intellectual center, our minds, gives us the ability to reason and think for ourselves. Our emotional center, our heart, controls our feelings and desires. And our spiritual persona is our soul, that God first gave to Adam when He breathed life into the physical form He sculpted from the dust of the earth on day six of creation and which we all receive at conception in our mother’s womb. Our bodies are the physical manifestation of our being, in the same way that Jesus is the image of the invisible God and in whom dwelt the fullness of His deity (Colossians 1:15-20). It is based on this image that we were created. We have feelings and emotions akin to those possessed by God in perfect measure and balance, although ours are frequently out of control. Aspects of our character such as morality, creativity, the ability to appreciate aesthetic beauty, and concern for others are all examples of qualities we have in common with God that are not shared by other created life forms.
And while our physical bodies are prone to decay and eventual death, God created our essence, the heart, mind, and soul of our existence, to live eternally. All created beings had a beginning, but our spiritual essence will have no end. God’s desire was for each and every member of humanity to reciprocate His love, to honor Him as lord, and magnify His glory. He wanted us to be able to freely love Him back. So he created us with free will, capable of choosing to love or reject Him. He desired a community exemplifying mutual love where all present would honor and glorify Him and where He extends unconditional love to us in an eternal relationship that extends beyond time and space.
But that didn’t happen right away on our present earth. God made mankind with free will, because a relationship with us would be inadequate without the ability to freely choose to love God. Without free will, we would be no more than preprogrammed robots with no ability to think for ourselves. All human relationships would be contrived and essentially meaningless, and God’s relationship with humanity would be little more than the feel good relationships that children have with stuffed animals.
After God created Adam and Eve and placed them in the Garden of Eden, Satan tempted them through a talking serpent, and Adam and Eve chose to believe the serpent over God and to gratify self over trusting God at His word. At the very moment that they chose to disobey God, they died spiritually according to the word God spoke when he commanded them to not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thus separating them from God. Their bodies would begin to decay and eventually die physically because of the separation from the source of life as a result of the introduction of sin into human nature. At that point, they became aware that there was a distinction between good and evil in the world. Not that they didn’t know that it was wrong to act against God’s command, but they appear naive up to that point as to the influencing forces in the world around them.
As a result of sin, the whole of God’s creation experienced corruption and began to wind down. The wickedness emanating from the sinful hearts of men and women throughout history leaves us living in crisis. But before the creation of the known universe, God had a plan to reconcile His relationship with mankind through the death and resurrection of Jesus as lord and savior. Next time we will elaborate on that plan.