Most of us are painfully aware of how much crime, violence, sin, and deprivation exists in our world today. If you are ever in doubt about that fact, just take a look at the evening news. The Christian sees this as the effect of sin in our world. We know that this is a result of the fall of man. The situation persists because too many people love, “…the darkness rather than the light…” (John 3:19). However, there was a time when the world was sinless. What was life like before the Fall, before Adam and Eve disobeyed God and brought sin into the world? Let us attempt to create a scenario of this pre-Fall existence, using the words of Scripture and a bit of reverent imagination.
Eden was Paradise
The Garden of Eden would have been a climatic paradise that apparently needed no rain because it was watered by a mist coming up from the ground (Genesis 2:6). There would be no storms or harmful natural occurrences. Everything about God’s creation would have been perfect; after all, He had pronounced it “very good” at the end of day six (Genesis 1:31). What God says is ‘very good’ cannot have any flaws whatsoever. Therefore, the world in which Adam and Eve lived would have been the perfect temperature, the perfect humidity, without pests or diseases, and without anything that would detract from their enjoyment of knowing God in a perfect, undiluted way. Surely, this is what is meant by the word ‘paradise’.
There was no Shame or Guilt in the Pre-Fall world
Adam and Eve lived a life of blissful innocence. They had never sinned; therefore, they had no guilt or shame. This was life as God intended it to be. No mortal since has had such a clear heart and conscience. This is a model to be emulated and a preview of what awaits the Christian in the future. Jesus Christ is the only person who ever lived, after the Fall, who was sinless. Everyone else experiences the shame and guilt of being unclean before a holy God. The only way this shame and guilt can be dealt with is by trusting in the good news that Jesus Christ paid the penalty for our sin. He died on a cross so that we might be forgiven of the sin that separates us from God and results in this shame and guilt.
Adam and Eve enjoyed a relationship with God, and with each other, that was unhindered by the disruptive power of sin. The Bible even indicates that God may have taken on a physical form in order to walk with Adam and Eve in the garden (Genesis 3:8). What an amazing thing to be able to do. Adam and Eve were the only two people on earth…and they were privileged in a way that no one since has been. They met and communed regularly with the Creator of the universe. This is not out of the question when we remember that there was no sin present to prevent this kind of relationship. The fellowship they enjoyed with God was unhindered by anything (Genesis 2:25).
The First Marriage
Genesis 2:24 gives us the first outline for marriage, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” This tells us several things. First, it tells us that marriage, the way God intended it, should bring the man and the woman back into that ‘oneness’ in which He originally created them (Genesis 1:27). A marriage that is dedicated to God, by a husband and a wife determined to do God’s will, will surely succeed.
Verse 24 also tells us that, no matter how a worldly, ungodly culture views sex, God’s original intention was for it to be a beautiful thing between a husband and a wife. There is no other legitimate expression of our sexuality. This verse tells us how the Creator meant sex to be. It is to be between a husband and a wife…period.
Both Man and Animals ate Plants for Food (Genesis 1:29-30)
The biblical record tells us that both man and animals ate plants, not each other, before the Fall. This would have allowed them to have a much less violent relationship than we see today. It appears that it was not until after the flood that God allowed man to begin to hunt and eat animals (Genesis 9:1-3). Initially, Adam and Eve lived among the animal kingdom in a perfect peace. God had given them, “… dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth” (Genesis 1:28), indicating that man was to exercise God’s will over creation.
The First Couple’s Daily Routine
Adam was to tend the garden (Genesis 2:15) and Eve was to be his helpmate (Genesis 2:18-19). This indicates that work was to be a part of God’s perfect creation. However, since the ground had not yet been cursed, this work would be a joy rather than a tedious chore.
Genesis 2:1-2 tells us that God rested on the seventh day and blessed it and made it holy. In Exodus 23:12, included in the passages where God was instructing His people on how He wanted them to live, God formally declared the Sabbath as a day of rest. He said that work should be done during the other six days of the week, but the seventh day was to be a day of rest.
It is interesting to note that, “… the lunar orbit around the earth establishes measurements for a month. The orbit of the earth around the sun is how we measure a year. We also measure a day by the earth’s rotation in relationship to the sun. One rotation equals one day. There is nothing that defines for us a seven-day week except the Genesis 1 account. This suggests that the Genesis account is the foundation of all other cultures’ understanding of a seven-day week. This strongly suggests it to be the original creation account” (Kern, 85). Where did the idea of a seven-day week originate if not the Bible? Most, if not all, civilizations mark time by this convention.
Back to Eden
For those who trust Jesus Christ as their Savior, the Bible indicates that a new pre-Fall Eden awaits us. When one becomes a follower of Jesus, the heart and conscience are cleansed and become as those of the first man and woman. The ‘new heaven and new earth’ spoken of in the book of Revelation (21:1) is thought by many to be a re-creation of the universe, a future place for those who have put their faith in Jesus. It will be a new Eden; one without the presence or the problem of sin. Whether one holds to this interpretation of Revelation 21:1 or not, it is a biblical fact that when one places his or her faith in Jesus Christ, one immediately becomes, “…a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come” (II Corinthians 5:17).
God has provided a way to be free from the guilt and shame that accompany sin. God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to die on a cross to pay the penalty for our sins. All we have to do is to trust Him with our lives, honoring and serving Him the way He meant for us to do. In that way, we will be forgiven of our sins, a new Eden will blossom in our hearts, and we will once again have the kind of relationship with God that He meant for us to have, “In the beginning…”
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version
“Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”
Kern, Dr. Steve. No Other Gods. Amerisearch Inc., 2007.
YouTube video “Perfect People” by Natalie Grant