God created man to bless him—fully, richly and deeply! In the creation account we hear words like blessed, fruitful, fill, subdue, rule over and I give all made in reference to him (Genesis 1:28-29). The highest expression of his favor lies in the fact that he is made to be an image-bearer of the Trinity (v. 27). Man may choose something less for himself, but it is his choice, not God’s!
God placed him in a world that was “good” (7 times in Genesis 1) to exercise dominion over creation in a way that reflected God’s faithful love. He didn’t create ghettos or gulags. There were no oncology wards, palliative care units or pediatric diseases. There were no carcinogens, pollutants or hazardous wastes. There were no oppressive rulers, governments or systemic evils. Everything was as pure and fresh as a newborn baby.
Genesis 3-11 is one long record that tells us what happened. In a few words, sin broke out in paradise (McGuiggan). It didn’t happen in a labor camp. a slum, or a sweatshop—it started in a perfect place. And then it happened again and again and again. Adam and Eve defied God, Cain killed Abel, the world of Noah’s time engaged in rebellion as did the people of Babel. It is all different chapters of the same story: man turning his back on his Creator and going his own way. It was so bad that God was sorry He had made humans because this was not what he made them to be. He purposed to restart the human race with Noah and his family (6:6-8). But even with that, it wasn’t long until man was right back in rebellion.
Just when it looks like impenetrable gloom and doom for humanity, God blesses a man named Abraham. He promises to make of him a nation, give him a land and “all people on earth will be blessed through you” (12:3). Who said that to Abraham? It was our Father. The One whom all creation had sinned against and rejected. Though man had been unfaithful to God, God remained faithful and committed to His purpose to bless man for He can do no less (2 Timothy 2:13). Throughout Genesis we find God stating His intent to bless the whole world through the seed of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (22:16-18, 26:3-5, 28:14-15).
In his gospel, John will show Jesus picking up this very theme. When He says He has come that we “may have life and have it to the full” (10:10), He’s doing more than contrasting Himself with the spiritual predators of that time—He’s letting us know that God’s purpose to bless humanity is being fulfilled in Him. Later He says, “Now this is eternal life: that they know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom You have sent” (17:3). And John will conclude his gospel by telling us the he wrote what he did “that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in His name” (20:30-31).
If we want to understand the heart of God, it makes sense to begin where the biblical witness does.