The LORD God planted a garden toward the east, in Eden; and there He placed the man whom He had formed. Out of the ground the LORD God caused to grow every tree that is pleasing to the sight and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Genesis 2:8-9 NASB
Then the LORD God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it. The LORD God commanded the man, saying, “From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall no eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.” Genesis 2:15-16 NASB
On the sixth day of creation, God continued His act of creation by planting a garden. This seems to indicate that Adam was created before the garden was planted. We are not given the specifics on how the garden came into being. The original word for “planted” means to plant or establish. It implies God Himself took time to plant the garden and caused the plants and trees to spring up and grow for the benefit of man.
While Scripture here simply states God planted a garden and took man and placed him within it, we see that He placed man there to cultivate and maintain the garden. This describes a real place with lush natural plants and trees with an abundance of food. God gave man ample nourishment for man’s aesthetic, physical and spiritual appetites. He further gave man work to tend to the garden to engage his body and soul.
God gave Adam responsibility to cultivate and care for the garden. Man was created to work contrary to popular belief in some circles. Further, Adam was given full and total freedom to eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden except for one tree. That tree was key to everything that followed in human history: the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
Man was placed in the garden to not only care for it but to enjoy it. God’s only limitation on man pertained to the tree of the knowledge of good and evil – not to eat of it. Man was given freedom to choose, and in deliberately accepting or rejecting the demands on him, he shows himself free, including his choice to love and worship God or refuse God’s will for his life and live to satisfy himself.
God furnished man with a single guiding light, better than a law or moral principle to live by: love, a single word to motivate and guide him.
“If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” John 14:15 NASB
We have total freedom to choose to love and obey God or live for self.