Tag Archives: Creation

Blame

Studies in Genesis 3

The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.” (Genesis 3:12 ESV)

Everyone who reads this Genesis account knows the man is shifting the blame from himself to the woman and then to God. His answer is an obvious “it’s not my fault” response to God’s interrogation. He does admit he ate the fruit. But follow the progression of blame.

“The woman you gave to be with me” tells God He is most at blame. If He had not given the man the woman as an equal then the man would not have rebelled and eaten the forbidden fruit. Does he not remember his owns words after seeing the woman for the first time? He is given dominion over the earth. God presents to him all of the animals and he names them. But none of the animals are a suitable partner for man. None of the animals are equal to man and it was impossible for man to be fruitful and multiple with any of the animals. He needs a she. God gave the female to the male and made them one flesh

Then the man said, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” Therefore, a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. (Genesis 2:23-24).

The man declares the woman “bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh” when she is presented to him by God. He knows from where the woman came. He knows that all of the animals he has named are male and female and God’s blessing for them is to multiply and fill the earth. Then God proclaims the spiritual condition of the pair, declaring them one, a unit, together making a whole. It is God’s intent that the man and woman be husband and wife and that their relationship be unique, healthy, whole, free from anything which might divide them. They are “one flesh.”

When the man indicates that the “woman you gave to be with me” was the cause and reason for his rebellion he was speaking truth. God did make the woman so the man would not be alone and would fulfill His blessing to “be fruitful and fill the earth and subdue it.” The woman did give the man the fruit she had plucked and eaten so he could also have a bite. But, the man was not forced to eat the fruit by either God or the woman. Even the Deceiver did not force any to eat the fruit. He ate of his own volition. Now, confronted by God while he is hiding, the man points his finger at the woman and says it is her fault while facing God saying it is also His fault.

Not only is the relationship between God and Man broken but also the healthy relationship between the man and woman.

God Strolled in His Garden

Studies in Genesis 3

And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden. (Genesis 3:8)

God enjoys His creation.

Some have suggested God is not present, having created and then left His creation to its own devises. They say, if there is a God, He wound up the universe and is letting it run down. That He is uninvolved. This verse shows the absurdity of such a belief. God does not create to then ignore. He is fully involved in His creation.

There are wonders in the universe only He will ever see. We can imagine these wonders, yet our imaginations are puny and miniscule compared to the eternal, omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent reality which is God. While this verse does not specifically state God shows emotional enjoyment in what He has done there is a strong implication in the words used that He feels such enjoyment.

God strolled in His garden during a comfortable and enjoyable time of day. Perhaps, there was a slight breeze bending the grasses and rustling the leaves. Nearby, the river flowed. The sun was setting, probably casting beautiful colors across the sky. His senses, unimaginably greater than ours, knew every sight, sound, smell, feel, taste and more than we can ever know. He used His sense to their fullest, eternal capacity.

Nor should we assume this was the first-time God strolled through His garden. He created man in His image for relationship. What better time to meet and talk and be with each other than as the days’ work winds down and a night of peace and rest awaits. He was always with them and His image in them may have given them a constant awareness of His presence, which makes their rebellion more grievous.

God knew what those created in His image had done. He watched Eve discuss the superstitious argument with the Deceiver. He knew her thoughts and motivations as she decided to rebel. He knew where the man was and what he was doing. He knew the Deceiver was in the garden inhabiting a snake and giving the creature a voice. He watched Eve pluck the fruit and take a bite and then watched as she gave the fruit to her husband who also took a bite. He was fully aware of their feelings and desire to hide behind a covering. He knows everything. He knew He was going to pronounce judgment which grieved Him.

And still He walked in the garden in the cool of the day enjoying His creation.

Second Death

Studies in Genesis 3

But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (Genesis 3:4-5 ESV)

If I am correct in my thinking then God wanted Adam and Eve and all of Man to know the difference between good and evil. God, the Creator, knows the time He wills to introduce knowledge which will lead to maturity. This is not the time but is a test which would probably usher in the right time.

That which is inhabiting the serpent, the Deceiver, continues speaking half-truths. A partial truth is still a lie and still designed to deceive. It, the Deceiver, tells Eve that God lied. God said “You may surely 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 surely die (dying you will die)” (Genesis 2:16-17 ESV). Not only will you die if you disobey and eat the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil but you will die again, a second death. For the Deceiver to state Eve would not die is a contradiction of the stated consequences of rebellion against God’s command.

Here are some educated assumptions. The Deceiver has already rebelled against God. Created by God for service to Him and at His pleasure the Deceiver did not originally have the design to rebel against God. Nothing God creates, and God created everything, was evil or designed for evil. There is, however, the ability to choose evil for those creatures given the capacity to do so. Man was given the image of God in a created body. Part of the image of God is the ability to choose, to decide, to act. Whatever the Deceiver was it had the ability to choose, decide and act and did so through rebellion. This does not mean creatures other than Man may have been given the image of God, for there is more to His image than the ability to choose, decide and act.

When the Deceiver rebelled God did not immediately bring death, but allowed it to continue to live. So to, the Deceiver told Eve she would not die. It knew, at least for a time, she would continue to physically live. God did not say judgment was immediate. He did say judgment was absolute. When Man rebelled death was not immediate but still guaranteed.

Those who are living cannot understand what death is until it is experienced. When the body dies, it does not immediately cease to exist. In fact, the physical properties of the body after death are slowly re-absorbed into the larger creation. God formed the man from existing material.  “Then the LORD God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature” (Genesis 2:7 ESV). So, when the physical body of Man dies it does not cease to exist but returns to the material from which it was initially created.

There is a second death. We can only know about this second death through personal experience and by the little God tells us. At this point, we know nothing of the second death other than there is another death that is probably spiritual because it is not physical. Rebelling against God brings God’s judgment which is a second death. The Deceiver knows this, deliberately lying to Eve and in doing so stating God is the liar.

Genesis 3

Studies in Genesis 3

Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You   shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” Genesis 3:1 ESV

Once again, God tells us what happened but does not tell us all that happened. Adam and Eve are in paradise. Their home is a garden, the Garden of Eden, where all of their needs are met and there is no danger. They have work, companionship, purpose, and are governed by a benevolent God who has given them the responsibility of benevolently governing the world in which they live. They are at peace with God, with each other and with the creatures of the world. Only in the tree of the knowledge of good and evil is there the possibility of evil. Having not eaten from the tree, because its fruit is forbidden by God, they do not know evil, either intellectually or intimately.

God introduces us to a creature, the serpent, whom He declares “crafty” or “subtle” more so than any other creature. In addition, this creature has a voice and is understandable by the humans. There are so many incongruities in this verse it would be easy to draw incorrect conclusions about what happened and why. We must take care to not read into the verse more than is there.

What do we know about the animals created by God? Did the animals created have a voice and intelligent language with the ability to think and reason? We do not know. Have they since become dumb? We do not know. Or have we become unable to understand them because of our condition? We do not know. We know Adam and Eve were give the image of God and that the animals were not. Humans and animals are not equals.

As God describes the serpent we learn that it exhibits intelligent and has the ability to reason. The word “crafty” (twice in Job) is also translated prudent (8 times in the Proverbs) and subtle. It can also mean cunning, sly and shrewd. It would appear the idea of the word is thinking of options that may not fall within the natural boundaries emplaced by God. Being crafty would mean pushing through and breaking the natural boundaries to gain that which is outside of one’s legitimate grasp. This serpent, created by God, seemed to have an inward tendency to sin and disobedience.

There are no other instances of such actions and activities by any animal in Scripture or in nature. This is not a normal animal. There are stories, all fictions, of people being able to communicate with animals or intellectually understand animals. All of these stories, in some way, elevate the animal to the level of the human, or lower the human to the level of the animal. Yet, when God created He made Man greater than the animals.

In the beginning the serpent was not evil in and of itself. Everything God created was good in His eyes. Since the creatures under Adam’s authority were not given the image of God they were not given the ability to decide right from wrong.  God’s creatures instinctually obey Him because of the nature they were originally given. They also instinctually obeyed Adam and Eve as their authority, made so by God. Neither was afraid of the other. This flies in the face of what we are seeing in this verse. The serpent was naturally crafty but its craftiness was not sinful. It’s question to Eve revealed not it’s nature but the nature of something outside of it which was now in it. The innocent subtlety of the serpent was turned away from God. That which was speaking to Eve was not the serpent but something in the serpent, allowed by God to tempt the human.

Godly Institutions

Studies in Genesis 2

And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed. Genesis 2:25

The man and the woman, created by God for relationship with Him and with each other, wore no clothing other than the skin in which they were created. They had no need for clothing. Yet, this verse adds a negative. They were not ashamed. They were doing nothing to cause guilt but were wholly within the design and purpose of God. Why the negative? This negative echoes the declaration of God that “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him” (Genesis 2:18 ESV). It would also appear that a negative is normal in the creation of the heavens and the earth. There was darkness in the beginning (see Genesis 1:1) then God created light. For our benefit God, who is perfect in Himself and all He does, declares the negative along with the positive and make all perfect.

There many things this chapter tells us, but two stand out. God establishes two institutions designed to point us toward Him individually and corporately. First, God tells us to rest on the seventh day because He rested. This weekly rest points us toward God and toward our place with Him in eternity.

Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation. (Genesis 2:1-3 ESV)

Secondly, God establishes and sanctifies marriage. He set apart the man, Adam, from all the other creatures and gave him responsibility to name them. Naming a thing means control and authority. We do not name God. He names Himself. God then took a piece of Adam and created Eve. From then on a piece of a man and a piece of a woman is used, according to the natural laws emplaced by God, to make more people. This is done according to the moral and natural laws instituted by God. Neither of these sets of laws are dependent upon circumstance or culture. From Adam and Eve throughout the generations of all people, God embedded all with His image just as all have the same likeness.

God wants all to rest in Him. God wants all to know Him intimately. Where there is a negative He provides a positive. Yet, relationship is a two-way street. Having the image of God each person now has the duty and responsibility to respond to God and each other according to God’s design. And, since God, who is unconstrained by time, knows all, knows what will happen in time with those He created in His image. His creation is ordered in such a way to sanction the sacrifice of His Son for those He loves.

 

Unity of Marriage

Studies in Genesis 2

Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. Genesis 2:24 ESV

These are not Adam’s first words. These are not Adam’s words at all. Adam does not have a father or mother but is the father of the entire population of humans. Eve is the mother of the entire population of humans. These are the words of God, written by the author of Genesis, declaring His purpose and direction for all who follow, who will be born.

There are three parts to this statement, each with eternal consequences. Each statement declares the eternal intent of God showing the relationship all who carry the image of God have with their Creator. Yet, this statement is proceeded by a “therefore.” Everything God has said and done impacts the statements which follow. God has shown methodical purpose in the work of creating the Earth, the plants, fish, birds and animals, and Man. He has intentionally made a garden, the home for those He created. He gave Man, and consequently all humans, the “image of God,” so He might have a relationship with them and they with Him. This was done by eternal design. He purposefully created the man first, and then the woman from a piece of the man. All He does is according to His design and purpose with no trial and error or mistake. With these thoughts let us briefly examine the three parts to this statement.

A “man shall leave his father and his mother.” To leave means to depart from. It can carry the meaning of abandoning but we would be hard pressed to think of God wanting anyone to so completely separate themselves from others as to abandon them. God will not abandon us though He will discipline and even punish us. Parents are to care for their children and, as parents grow older, children are to care for their parents. This is a natural consequence of growing and maturing to responsibly reproduce, build a family with responsible children who will grow and continue the design and purpose of God fill and subdue the earth.

The Authorized Version, the King James Version, uses the word “cleave” to describe what the man does when he leaves his father and mother. The word “cleave” is the phrase “hold fast” and means to stick to, or cling to something. The man is to “hold fast to his wife.” Marriage is the divinely dictated, ordained and approved foundation for the family.

The consequence of leaving and holding fast is that two are now considered one, “they shall become one flesh.” Where the woman was taken out of the man’s flesh, and the woman bears children who are of her flesh, so the father and mother of the children are in God’s sight a unit, one person. This is a spiritual truth represented by a physical reality that points to Christ and the Church, not to the eternal marriage of two physical people. This verse points to the unity of those who have the image of God with God by revealing the necessity of unity of husband and wife.

 

Man and Woman

Studies in Genesis 2

And the rib that the LORD God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man.  (Genesis 2:22 ESV)

God has given us the ability to know Him, intimately and intellectually, with the thinking of our hearts. An honest study of God will show the evidence that what He does and what He says, is true. God would cease to be god if He were capable of lying. He does not give an exhaustive explanation of His work of creation but does give people the ability to study and understand the laws upon which creation moves. These laws are as fixed in space and time as He is fixed in eternity.

We do not know why God created the first woman from the first man’s rib. We do not have an explanation for the reasoning behind any of God’s creative action. We can surmise many explanations from the rest of Scripture. Yet, none of the Scriptural explanations will answer the question of why He worked in this order. Why did God create the first man a single male without a female? Every other creature on the earth was created in pairs. The natural law of procreation demands a male and a female. For Him to wait, and then tell us it wasn’t good for man to be alone and that He would make a helper suitable for the first man, strains our desire for a plausible explanation. We want to know why.

God knows what He is doing. He has created the perfect world where all things work together. Even though Man, and the first man, was created perfect, he was obviously incomplete. Perfect does not mean complete. Perfect means having no fault or defects. The first man was created without defect. But he was not complete. God created the woman out of the flesh of the man so Man might be complete. God always finishes that which He begins.

God brought all of the animals before the first man to see what he would name them. None of the animals were designed to help man in the way he needed help, nor to be equal to man. They were subservient to him, just as he was subservient to God. Even though God brought the woman to man it was not in the same way He brought all the animals. Those came perhaps as a parade, most likely in pairs, male and female. God did not parade her before him but presented her as giving a gift, a blessing. Without the woman man would never be complete.

The woman is a helper, a companion, an equal, the other part of Man. Where once there was only a male now there is also female. With God blessing the population of Man will grow from this pair and fulfill the blessing and direction God gave when He first created Man in His image.  Yet, both, together will grow in their completion as they learn about God, about the world and universe in which they live, and about each other.

We know, because God is truthful, that He created the first man out of the dust of the ground and then created the first woman out of a piece of the first man. He gave both His image so that both would have an intimate relationship with Him. All of the people who were born of the first man and woman would also have His image. Everyone who has the image of God is designed to grow to know God both intellectually and intimately. People are also designed to help each other fulfill the purpose given them by God.