THE GRANDEUR OF GOD’S PURPOSE
Now a much more restricted scene greets our eyes. We are in a garden, in which God has placed His most recent creation, man. There is a grandeur in man’s creation which is not shared by other beings, either spirit (angelic) or fleshly (animal). For man (humanity) was created in the image and likeness of his Creator.
In Colossians 1:15, and also in 2 Corinthians 4:4, Christ is portrayed as the Image of God. No other being in the celestial realms is so described. There is something very wonderful indeed in the fact that humanity was created in the image of the Alueim. This was in order that Christ Himself, God’s true Image, might eventually appear in the likeness of humanity without losing His likeness to God, and that ultimately all might be made subject to Him as the Head of the new humanity (Heb.2:8).
Man was made some bit inferior to heavenly messengers, but wreathed with glory and honor (Psa.8:5; Heb.2:7).
But how man has abused that glory and that honor! For into this garden scene of Eden, sin found an entry through the first man’s disobedience, and subsequently swept like a plague through all his descendants, so that Paul, thousands of years later, could only sum up the position by saying that “all sinned and are wanting of the glory of God” (Rom.3:23).
It is interesting to note that the deception in the Garden of Eden was accomplished through one of the creatures, a serpent, over which Adam had been given dominion. If man could not control one of the lower animals, how could God possibly bring about the subjection of all to humanity? Truly Satan had attacked God’s purposes on a vital issue, but could not inflict a mortal wound. Though Adam might die as a result of his disobedience, and though a second Man, the last Adam, might also die because of His obedience, God will still make all to be subject to Christ as the Head of the new humanity.
God formed man of the soil of the ground, and by so doing, and, at the same time, creating him in His own image and likeness, God clearly showed His intention of developing His purpose through humanity and on this earth – this speck of dust in the universe.
From now on, the heavens recede into the background. Later on, we shall find that they return in full measure into the picture. Actually, of course, they are always there, and every now and then some of their inhabitants come into the scene, as, for instance, at the birth of the Lord; but, by and large, they become watchers–witnesses of God’s purpose being enacted upon this earth. Some of them (and particularly the Adversary himself) try to interfere with God’s arrangements; but such interference is always limited and subject to God’s overriding control, as was evidenced in the case of Job. -John Essex-