God’s Magnanimous Heart

Genesis 2 reveals a bit of the nature of God. Let us see what it has to say.

We read that after God had created man He planted a garden in the east of Eden and put the man He had created there.

Verse 9 says that after God had put man in the garden, He made to grow in the garden “every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food.”

Notice the words “pleasant” and “good” there. “Pleasant to the sight and good for food.” And that was all for Adam to enjoy!

In verse 16 we also read, “And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat…” (Except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for a special reason).

Notice the word “freely” there. It speaks volumes about the heart of God.

The Swahili translation reads: “You may eat of the fruit of any tree in the garden of Eden”. That is total freedom.

Then in verse 18 God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.”

God was thinking about the welfare of His good man all the time! And so God got busy for Adam.

“And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof.” v.19

I can see God lovingly creating all these animals – just for Adam. Then He gathered them all together and brought them into Adam’s presence. What royal treatment!

Then He told Adam to give them names.

“And whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof.” That’s a big ‘wow’ there! “Whatsoever” the man called any animal “that was the name thereof”.

God lovingly and patiently stood by as Adam took all the time in the world to name the animals. And he never intervened.

Had it been us, it would have been difficult for us in our legalistic makeup to stand there the whole day and watch such a process. And you can imagine there would most likely have been a row of no small proportions as we probably would not have agreed to some of the names that Adam gave to the animals, for example, crocodile. ‘What kind of a name is that, man?!’ we probably would have railed, after we had walked round the Garden a couple of rounds to take a breather.

But God stood there joyfully and let Adam do all naming.

“And whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof.” Total, perfect liberty.

But, alas, among these animals “for Adam there was not found an help meet for him.” v.20

And so God got busy again.

“21 And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; 22 And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.”

We can easily visualize God tenderly putting Adam to sleep and lovingly forming that beautiful creation, woman with all her tender physical and emotional composition. Then – the most delightful part – God presented her to Adam.

God enjoyed doing things for Adam. But it is the freedom that God gave to Adam that I am most enamoured with. With the exception of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, which for a special reason God instructed him not to eat, God gave to Adam free rein in the kingdom that He had created for him in Eden.

Lastly, of course, we see that Adam and Eve lived happily after, for some time. And the Bible says that they, knowing neither good nor evil “were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.” v. 25

That’s paradise.

We only wish the story would have ended at Genesis 2. But we know there are a few things that Adam would soon get to know, and things would soon turn horribly ugly.

But that’s a story for another day. For today let us just meditate on the magnanimity of God. And as we meditate on God’s heart, let us remember the Apostle Peter’s words: “For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps” 1 Pet. 2:21

If Jesus left us an example to follow, you can be sure that God’s magnanimous heart is also an example for us to follow.

We as believers ought to have the same heart of magnanimity towards others that God had towards Adam.

[Below: Under the New Covenant we, unlike Adam, enjoy God’s magnanimity in the true sense, for in Christ we have learned our lesson]

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