When we think of human beings, it is natural to begin with the way things exist currently. Human beings are flawed and broken. We see this born out in our everyday experiences. However, it has not always been this way. In the beginning, God created humanity in perfection. The imperfections and brokenness that we experience now did not exist then. So what were human beings like prior to the Fall? With little data to work with, we will need to venture into the theological realm where conclusions can be inferred from Scripture. So here is my attempt to do so…
I believe that God made humanity in his own image. In need of nothing, God created human beings for the splendor and revelation of his own glory. He intended for them to glorify Him by means of their image as well as their actions. God fashioned them as the works of his hands and gave them physical bodies, formed from the dust of the earth. He made them living beings by breathing life into their bodies. He created them male and female and declared them to be good. God created humanity to live forever without pain or suffering.
I believe that God created the first human beings perfect by nature from the very beginning. He gave them a will and the freedom to exercise it in order to make moral decisions. By virtue of their holiness and righteousness, human beings made choices that were perfectly aligned with the will of God. They worshipped God alone and honored his name.They loved one another and put aside their own desires in order to express it. In this way, God brought divine command and natural law into unity with humanity’s creation. Every person had the ability and desire to do what God commanded.
I believe that God made human beings for relationship. Humanity received this trait from God, who exists in a perfect union of triune community. As a result, men and women reflect the image of God through loving relationships. Since God created human beings, they can only find the basis for their humanity in a right relationship with Him. Natural human beings experienced unbroken and unmediated relationship with the Creator based on perfect obedience to his will. Human beings were also made for relationship with one another. Woman was created for man out of the need to complete the fullness of humanity. They were bound together in marriage by a perfect union of love devoid of abuse or unfaithfulness. Additionally, humanity lived in perfect community. They lived among each other without hatred, malice, lust, and covetousness. They selflessly took care of each other’s needs in a spirit of generosity.
I believe that God made humanity for the earth and the earth for humanity. God blessed human beings with the ability to bear children and called them to be fruitful by filling the earth with more of their existence. He gave the other living creatures of the earth the same calling, and thus he connected our existence to the existence of the world. God established human beings as stewards over the earth from which they were created. As governors, they ruled it with wisdom, love, and justice according to the will of God. As caretakers, they worked the ground in joy and fruitfulness. God consecrated the seventh day of the week as a holy day of rest to commemorate his work in creation. Therefore, humanity enjoyed a divinely-inspired rhythm to life by working six days and resting on the seventh. In doing so, they honored God by remembering all that he had done, celebrating his work, and representing his rest on earth.
I believe that God gave humanity a glory that is unmatched in all of the created order. Human beings are the only creatures to be endowed with the image of the Creator. As image bearers, God made them representatives of His kingdom on earth. As the pinnacle of his perfect creation, humanity made God known through their flawless decisions and actions. Their stewardship of the earth was a mirror image of the care and concern that God has for his people. Humanity was given a day of rest as an expression of God’s desire for intimate communion with them. God’s glory was manifest with clarity and beauty through the creation of humanity. All of these things were God’s desire for man from the beginning.