And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed.
And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. Genesis 2:8,9,15
Before the Fall, before sin and sorrow, even before family, God made man to be a scientist.
God was the first gardener, preparing a mature place for Adam to find food and make a home. But He didn’t want Adam to just wander around aimlessly; He gave him a job to do. Adam was to “dress” and “keep” Eden.
What does this mean? The word “dress” (or “work” in many translations) means to labor, to spend energy on something. Sin didn’t bring work into the world; God always meant for us to have physical tasks. Of course, before sin work would have been pleasant with no need for rose gloves and apparently not too sweaty (see Genesis 3:18,19). By itself this doesn’t make Adam a scientist however, you need thinking too.
The next word adds the thought “to keep.” It’s the same word used to tell us to “keep” God’s Law, the Bible. It would be impossible to keep God’s Word without thinking about it. So, Adam was to preserve, protect, and pay attention to the garden. That sure sounds like a job requiring scientific thought to me! In fact, we have a term for this kind of science: Botany.
Remember, Adam didn’t have any wise grandfather around to tell him the proper time and way to plant a seed. He didn’t even have anyone besides God to tell him what a seed was! Everything that wasn’t directly told him by God had to be figured out for himself. The Bible doesn’t say, but the fact that God went ahead a gave Adam a full grown garden to get started makes me think He left a lot of experimenting up to Adam!
So, Adam was the first practical botanist. Today, botany covers every area of study in the plant section of biology. You can find out a lot more at places like Botany.org (the Botanical Society of America) and David Darling Ph.D.’s article on Areas of study within botany.
And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof.
And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; Genesis 2:19,20a
What do we call the science of classifying and gives titles to animals? Taxonomy. Today taxonomists try to find out more about where an animal comes from and who its cousins are, but the first thing we have to do is find, examine and give a name to creatures.
One again, we see God making things a little easier on Adam. Adam didn’t have to go trudging through gloomy forests to search for an elusive animal (like the okapi), God brought them to him. I’ve always figured this had as much to do with God’s pleasure seeing what Adam thought of His handiwork as it did with helping Adam realize no animal was fit to help him (remember, Eve comes next!).
God’s love is meteoric,
his loyalty astronomic,
His purpose titanic,
his verdicts oceanic.
Yet in his largeness
nothing gets lost;
Not a man, not a mouse,
slips through the cracks.
How exquisite your love, O God!
How eager we are to run under your wings,
To eat our fill at the banquet you spread
as you fill our tankards with Eden spring water.
You’re a fountain of cascading light,
and you open our eyes to light. Psalm 36:5-9 The Message
For more, check out this cool website at the Exploritorium.edu: Science of Gardening (I especially like the page on the origins of common garden plants)
and from the Institute for Creation Research: The Tree of Science