That he created a paradise -- a walled garden which He named "Delight" (for that is what Eden means).
And in that paradise, He placed everything that could bring joy to humanity: animals and plants, gold and jewels, meaningful work and a Companion to share it all.
And it was good.
But it was not enough.
For as anyone who has ever seen The Truman Show could tell you, a paradise with no way out is nothing more than a prison. A very nice prison, to be sure, but nothing more.
So God placed in that garden an escape-hatch. An emergency exit. An abort switch in the form of a tree -- the Tree of Know-It-All. And God said, "that tree is your ticket out; you can leave any time you are tired of being loved."
And God waited to see what humanity would do.
For God so loved the world, that He gave us a chance to love Him in return.
It's our choice.
That's how much He loved us.
This first appeared on April 2, 2009.