Man was God’s special creation. He was created with four main purposes in view. First of all, he was created to be specially related to God. He was created for special fellowship with God: to be able to enter into a special relationship with God, feel God’s feelings and satisfy God’s heart.
In order for man to be able to do this, God made him very special from the very beginning. He created him in His image and in His likeness. The Bible says, “Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth’” (Genesis 1:26).
Secondly, man was created for dominion. When he satisfied God’s heart by being specially related to Him, he would have dominion over the rest of creation. To put it in other words, man was to willingly submit himself to be ruled, dominated by God, and he would in turn be enabled by God to have dominion over the rest of creation. The original purpose of God was that man should have limitless dominion over the rest of creation. He was to be in authority.
Thirdly, man was to subdue the earth, till the garden and keep it. “And God blessed them, and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth'” (Genesis 1:28). “The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to till it and keep it” (Genesis 2:15). In order to subdue, man had to work hard. God never had any thought that man would be lazy. God has always been against laziness.
Fourthly, man was to obey God. The special relationship between God and man was to continue on the grounds of man rendering obedience to God. If that obedience was not forthcoming, everything would break up and be shattered. If man disobeyed God, he would also lose his power over the rest of creation. Obedience is normally tested by commandments. The Bible says, “And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, ‘You may freely eat of every tree of the garden; 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 die”‘ (Genesis 2:16‑17).
So everything was centred on obedience. Man could obey or disobey. The choice was his. He was given freedom by God to do as he liked.