Mankind was placed in the Garden to care for it and maintain dominion over God’s creation (Genesis 1:26-28). Man was in submission to God, as a husband and wife are in submission to each other when married (Ephesians 5:21). God and humanity shared a close relationship as evident through nightly walks together.
God created humanity that could converse and fellowship. Humanity was created in relationship.
The prologue confirms humans were created as freethinkers. They were permitted and even encouraged to broaden their knowledge, as the naming of the animals reveal (Genesis 2:18-19). God did not create robots but beings with free will.
“In the beginning” of the Bible’s storyline, God and Man enjoyed each other. They conversed as equals with only one reminder of humanity’s submission to its Creator:
And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.Genesis 2:16-17
We are not told how long humanity lived during the Edenic Dispensation. We are told it came to an end. Man disobeyed the only imperative given him by his Creator and was disbanded from the Garden (Genesis 3:22-24). If it were not for the grace of God, humanity would have been made extinct (Genesis 3:21).
The prologue introduces the fact that God’s grace underlies the entire Bible story and is not limited to the New Testament. Without divine grace, there would be no human race in existence today. Grace existed before the Law, under the Law (David’s adultery and murder were punishable by death) and after the Law (Ephesians 2:8).
Divine grace is a universal precept of Scripture.
God’s grace in His relationship with humanity is not limited to a single Dispensation, Age or Covenant.
There was a condition in the prologue. The condition was that Man maintain the Garden without partaking of a forbidden fruit. In a literal sense, there was “works” for salvation!
Faith, by definition, is hope for something not seen (Hebrews 11:1). Adam and Eve saw God; saw perfection; saw Eden. No faith was required.
For those that are familiar with the Bible’s story, you know it is one of faith. Today, the Church preaches a message of faith without works leads to salvation.
Was there “works for salvation” in the beginning? Technically, no as salvation was not required until after the Fall. However, works were required to retain the state of perfection they enjoyed.
The story of faith begins with the Fall of humanity, not its creation.