15The Lord God placed the man in the Garden of Eden to tend and watch over it. 16But the Lord God warned him, “You may freely eat the fruit of every tree in the garden—17except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If you eat its fruit, you are sure to die.” Genesis 2:15-17
This tree of the knowledge of good and evil appears to be the problem when we look back through the lens of our suffering and evil. Why did God do this? The tree is the hinge on which love turns. God created humanity with capacity and opportunity to choose love. So it is with the “image of God.” Love maintains a mixture of awe and respect with trust. Love cherishes the other. Love enters communion. These are all choices. Without “the tree” there are no choices and humanity resides in the garden as automatons, puppets on a string, acting only within a predetermined script.
Just as relationship within the communion of God is dynamic; so relationship between God and those who bear His image is dynamic.
Love for God is to live in respect to God with trust in Him and in His Word. The image of God has been bestowed on us and with it comes both capacity and responsibility to choose.