A Man And His Trees


Have you ever had the pleasure of seeing the painter, Bob Ross, make a canvas beautiful? Watching reruns of his television show The Joy of Painting fascinates me. He begins with a blank canvas, and within minutes, a serene picture of nature arises, chock-full of “happy little trees.” Today’s passage of Scripture, however, is far better than any Bob Ross painting. Follow along as the greatest artist of all time crafts the scene of a man and his garden home.

  • Before you read the passage, take a moment to consider: Do you view your life as a unique blessing or privilege?


These are the generations
of the heavens and the earth when they were created,
in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens.

When no bush of the fieldwas yet in the land and no small plant of the field had yet sprung up—for the Lord God had not caused it to rain on the land, and there was no man to work the ground, and a mist was going up from the land and was watering the whole face of the ground— then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature. And the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed. And out of the ground the Lord God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

10 A river flowed out of Eden to water the garden, and there it divided and became four rivers.11 The name of the first is the Pishon. It is the one that flowed around the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold. 12 And the gold of that land is good; bdellium and onyx stone are there. 13 The name of the second river is the Gihon. It is the one that flowed around the whole land of Cush.14 And the name of the third river is the Tigris, which flows east of Assyria. And the fourth river is the Euphrates.

15 The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. 16 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”

English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


  1. What did God use to make the first human? At what point did the man become a living creature (vs. 7)?
  2. Where did God place the man? What other things were in the garden with the man, and what was the responsibility given to him by God (vss. 8-9, 15)?
  3. Verses 9-14 describe Eden and the rivers flowing from there. Eden was a source of life and abundance. In light of this entire passage, why do you think this is significant for us to know?
  4. In verses 16-17, God gave the man freedom (along with a command and a consequence) regarding what he was allowed to eat in the garden. Note what these things were. 
  5. We are many years removed from Adam and the Garden, but God still works the same way in our lives. He gives us commands and direction, freedom in our choices, and a very realistic picture of the consequences we will suffer should we choose our own way instead of his. What do some of these (commands and direction, choices, consequences) look like in your life right now?


It’s awe-inspiring to read through these verses, watching as the deliberate artist initiated human life and earthly abundance. The care he took in providing both sustenance and boundaries for the man so beautifully shows his nature. He is the God who creates and blesses, and who loves so deeply to let us know that our choices will either be life-giving or life-taking.

  • The designer of the universe formed the soil into a man and then exhaled life, conscience, and all the things that make man an image-reflector of the one, true God into his body. Take some time to reflect on this and thank him for your life as well.
  • Prayerfully ask God to reveal current choices you need to make and commands you need to heed.