Summary: Understanding the important aspects of man’s existence will help us identify our priorities in life.
I started re-reading my Bible in Genesis and there are new insights that I have gained. Let us read GENESIS 2:4-25. This passage explains the important aspects of man’s existence.
1. First aspect of man’s existence is RESPONSIBILITIES. (vv. 4-15)
Prior to man’s existence, God planted the Garden of Eden. There were trees and rivers that water it but no man to work the ground (v. 5). After God created man, He put him in the Garden of Eden TO WORK IT AND TAKE CARE OF IT. Along with the responsibilities is the authority over all of God’s creation and the provision for his existence.
It is clear therefore that it is our responsibility to harness the potential of God’s creation and to take care of it by preservation. Any irresponsible management of God’s creation is disobedient to God’s general mandate to man. God decided to sustain our needs through His creation and we should be grateful to God for that.
2. Second aspect of man’s existence is REGULATIONS. (vv. 16-17)
After God gave man his responsibilities, He also clarified to him what he can and cannot do. God set up rules to follow and the purpose of this is his preservation. God COMMANDED the man what to avoid and what he can do. Man should not eat the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
Tree of life – speaks of everlasting life which man did not possess in creation and was yet to attain.
Tree of knowledge – is the learning that man could acquire on his own without God.
Notice that the purpose of the rule is not deprivation but preservation. God prohibited man to acquire knowledge because it would destroy him. How can it be that knowledge could destroy man? Man is incapable of handling knowledge wisely and responsibly. As a result, our acquisition of knowledge replaces our trust in God.
Knowledge that is potentially good destroys man when not guided by God how to use it. Thus after eating the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, they became aware of their otherness as man and woman. What before had been natural and wholesome had now become a source of shame.
3. Third aspect of man’s existence is RELATIONSHIPS. (vv. 18-25)
God recognized that man cannot exist by himself. Therefore God created other moving creatures and see if man would find a suitable companion for himself. Unfortunately none was able to meet his needs. So God created woman out of the man and the man’s search for companion was immediately over. This aspect of man’s existence accomplished three important needs of man:
• Fulfillment (v. 23)- through relationships man experience a certain degree of fulfillment. These relationships are not limited to marriage but even the different family and community relationship.
• Commitment (v. 24) - commitment is required to make relationships works and become stronger.
• Intimacy (v. 25)- we aim to achieve a degree of intimacy in our relationship with each other.
When you analyze these three aspects of man’s existence, it reveals three important entities that we should relate with: responsibilities= WORLD; regulations= GOD; relationships= FELLOWMAN. Although all of these originated from God but God made its specific applications. These should be our priorities in life today.