The apostle Paul tells us that God made plans for our marvelous future even before He created our first parents, Adam and Eve. He planned our destiny "according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began" (2 Timothy 1:9).
Our eternal future was a part of God's great plan and purpose before this world came to be. Even then, God had determined that only a perfect Redeemer could bring His master plan to completion—as He foresaw that human beings would veer from the course He set for them.
At the creation of the first man and woman, Adam and Eve, God presented a choice between two ways of life. He clearly instructed these first human beings to partake of the tree of life. As their Creator, God wanted them to develop a close personal relationship with Him. The tree of life in the Garden of Eden symbolized an obedient relationship leading to eternal life (Genesis 2:9; Genesis 3:22).
However, there was another option—one that would lead to disaster! Instead of choosing life through obeying Him, they could select a life of deciding for themselves what is right and wrong in disobedience to God. Another tree in the garden symbolized this choice—the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2:16-17; Genesis 3:1-6). God explicitly commanded them not to take from this tree, but He didn't prevent them from doing so. He allowed them free will.
By their determined actions, Adam and Eve rejected the way of living that God had commanded (Genesis 3:6). Rather than relying on God to show them the right way to live, they chose to rely on themselves. They set off on a wrong course that is a mixture of good and evil.
By their decision, they brought on themselves the penalty of sin, which is suffering and ultimately death (Romans 6:23). Since their time, all of humanity has followed their example and become corrupted by sin (Romans 5:12). All have fallen short of God's revealed way of life (Romans 3:23). Humanity to this day continues in that way, which leads to death (Romans 3:9-12).
For that reason God's plan includes a Savior, the Messiah—"the [sacrificial] Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world" (John 1:29). Through Jesus Christ's sacrifice, human beings can be reconciled to God, and God's forgiveness of their sin will remove the death penalty (Colossians 1:20-22).
With God's forgiveness and help, man can be set back on course to receiving from Him the gift of eternal life (Romans 6:23; Romans 8:11). The destiny of man lies in this eternal life. (Read about how human beings can be reconciled to God in our free booklets Transforming Your Life: The Process of Conversion and The Road to Eternal Life.)