Tag Archives: Creator

Who Told You?

Studies I Genesis 3

He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” (Genesis 3:11 ESV)

God continues asking questions, with the purpose of drawing a response out of Adam to force him to honestly face his rebellion. Yet, God’s questions reveal more about eternity than is apparent.

“Who told you” begins the next question. It is apparent God’s intent is to show Adam he needs to repent through confession. God knows everything, including the answer to this question. Still, there are four personalities present. God, the Creator of all. Adam and Eve, the first people, created in His image. The Deceiver, inhabiting the serpent, also a created being, but without the image of God, yet intelligent, with an emotional understanding of morality, and a will to act. As far as we know, the Deceiver did not have dominion over anything. His deception was a grasping at dominion.

No part of the conversation recorded between Eve and the Deceiver suggested they were naked. It is likely the conversation was not short but long, possibly over a period of days. We do not know. We do know, from the evidence, that Eve and Adam were prepared to rebel against God. Rebellion is never spontaneous.  Misdirected thought and emotion, a looking for alternatives by thinking about self, turning needs into wants, always comes before rebellion.

“Who” is a pronoun for persons. We know God did not tell them they were naked. He created them naked and did not want them wearing clothing. The Deceiver, as far as we know, may have told them they were naked. We do not know because that part of the conversation is not recorded. Did they tell themselves? Somehow, they learned they were unclothed, naked to the world, exposed and vulnerable. This is a consequence of sin and rebellion. Everyone sins and everyone hides because everyone feels vulnerable and exposed to the dangers of the world and others. Being exposed is shameful until the conscious is seared and deadened and what is shameful becomes something which brings pride.

If we cannot hide from God then we must somehow change the rules to either exclude God or make the rebellious act legitimate.

 

God, The Center

Studies in Genesis 2

These are the generations of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens. (Genesis 2:4 ESV)

One of the questions puzzling theologians and lay persons for as long as there has been theologians and lay persons is “why did God give Genesis 1-2:3 in the way He has given?” He has not given a scientific account of creation. There are too many anomalies and not nearly enough precision. Yet, all of the scientific evidence gathered since Man was created in the image of God shows a God who is precise to the atomic level and smaller. God created in such a way, giving Man such a mind, His work is scientifically discoverable and knowable. We want to know.

Nor is Genesis 1-2:3 an historical account. There are too many gaps, not enough detail scattered throughout huge chunks of time. Yet, Man, or at least many men, strive to discover and document history. We cannot know exactly what happened in the past, because we were not there, but we can examine the evidence and draw conclusions of what did happen. Though the future is not knowable knowing history helps make decisions about the future. We want to know.

Some have suggested Moses wrote these words as an answer or rebuttal to Egyptian mythology. But, God does not react to people, nations and cultures. He acts according to His determined personality and will. He does not excuse the misinterpretation of the facts by any individual, conceding and overlooking their idolatrous conclusions. He is God and will not be ignored or overlooked.

Where Genesis 1-2:3 points directly toward God, as does all of creation and Scripture, Genesis 2:4 begins placing Man at the focus of God’s work. Man was created in God’s image for relationship with Him. Man’s purpose is found only in God’s eternal will, exercised first in the temporary space-time universe then carried into eternity. Genesis 2:4 through the rest of Scripture is the description of what God has done and is doing to strengthen Man’s purpose and relationship with Him. Yet, Scripture is a history of Man’s struggle to do and be something other than God’s declared intention.

We want to know exactly what happened in Genesis 1-2:3 not because we are curious but so we can have control. Nowhere in Scripture does God cede His control over creation, all creation, to a creature. Our understanding of God begins, not with ourselves but with Him who created us in His image. Our theology must never be anthropocentric but theopocentric.

Jesus Christ, completely God and completely a Servant born into humanity in the likeness of Man, is the Creator of the universe and the Author of Scripture. Though Moses wrote the first five books of Scripture, Jesus is the Author. We do not need to know Moses’ reason for writing but God’s intent. We must take care to not add to what He has written our own assumptions and desires.

Those compelled to study Scripture, to write and teach Scripture, carry a fear. Fear of God, in the true sense of fearing God. Fear of unrighteousness, that what is learned, written about and taught may lead astray. Fear of self and the tendency to point to self and not Jesus, God who created all and authored Scripture. Such fear does not incapacitate but does slow down and allow God the authority to direct and lead. As we continue studying Genesis my God direct and lead our thoughts and learning always to His Son.

Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. (James 3:1 ESV)

God Abiding

Studies in Genesis 1

In the beginning, God created the heavens. [Genesis 1:1 ESV]

God abides outside our universe. Those boundaries which constrain the universe cannot limit God. Since the universe is a closed system, even as inconceivably large as it is, nothing can leave it and nothing can get into it without the direct involvement of God. All of the matter and energy contained in the universe remains constant, neither losing nor gaining either.

Space has a boundary. Our universe takes up a certain amount of space and seems to be growing at a rapid rate. From the earliest time of the supposed “big-bang” until now and into the future, the universe is growing. Galaxies, each with a vast number of stars, are moving away from each other. Still there is a physical boundary, even if it is stretching and growing, that comprises the space of the universe.

Time moves forward in our universe. Time is another boundary, always moving in one direction. It does not stop nor stand still. Again, this is true unless God intervenes. Only He can do this.

These boundaries are absolute, God designed laws which rule the universe. God created these governing laws as surely as He created the physical universe. As the Creator, existing outside of the created, He is not constrained by the laws He emplaced to rule the universe. Everything that exists must adhere to the physical laws set in place to govern their existence. These laws are discoverable but are not debatable.

Evidence and Conviction

Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are going with him to court, lest your accuser hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you be put in prison. Truly, I say to you, you will never get out until you have paid the last penny. [Matthew 5:25-26 ESV]

In these verses the word “accuser” means someone who has a justified claim or accusation against another. A “judge” is given the responsibility to uphold every law strictly. Finally, the “guard” is another delegated to carry out sentence.  Each has their place in the justice of God.  All consequences are determined by the violation of a law and rebellion against the One who gave the law.

In these verses the accuser is Jesus, the Creator of all and the Author of the Law. He is not the judge. That position is held by God, the Father, who will judge each man’s works according to the righteous life of His Son. Finally, the officer is the Holy Spirit who will carry out sentence, either guaranteeing our place before God or removing those who are not His from His presence.

God’s image in man comprises many elements. Some specific elements are the mind, or the intelligence, the moral-emotional being, or that which interprets the righteous and just standard of God, and the will. Our minds tell us to do something based on the evidence. Our moral-emotional self warns us of the danger of violating God’s known law. Yet, our corrupted nature suggests we use our intelligence and the moral-emotional to rationalize and excuse sin. Our will acts upon the thinking of our hearts. Rebellion involves the whole person.

Adam and Eve committed one act of willful rebellion and separated themselves and all people from God. Jesus Christ did one disciplined act of obedience and made a way for any to not be separated from God.

Volumes have been written discussing the willful act of rebellion committed by Adam and Eve. Even more volumes have been written and preached presenting the passionate obedience of Christ and the grace offered.

God has a reasonable expectation His commands be obeyed. Adam was given one prohibition. Adam could have confronted the lies of the Serpent with the truth of God. Eve’s response to the lie of the Serpent was to add to the prohibition of God. Adam complacently acquiesced to Eve’s rationalized addition to the command of God.

Eve’s whole person, the image of God in her, was misused to excuse her rebellious action. “So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate” [Genesis 3:6 ESV].

She saw the evidence of the goodness of the tree and its fruit. She delighted in what she saw. She desired the fruit because she knew it would make her as wise as God. Or so she thought. She thought God was keeping from her something which would benefit her.

Living within God’s boundaries, placed not to constrain but to allow the whole person to have a relationship with Him, is true freedom. How can there be true freedom when there are boundaries?

When we try to be something we are not we rebel against God’s design and purpose. We have intelligence and a moral foundation, our emotions telling us when God’s moral standard is being violated or upheld. He created Adam as His servant and gave him dominion over the earth. With one deliberate constraint, to not eat the forbidden fruit, Adam reigned everywhere and over all things. When he ate that which was forbidden he introduced to the world grief beyond comprehension.

Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths. 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 3:7-8 ESV].

They hid from Him who would judge them. It is obvious to us they should not have eaten the forbidden fruit. Nor should they have covered themselves or hidden from God. They did all of these things and then offered excuses for their rebellion. They were caught. God had already told them the consequences of a single act of rebellion. Hiding from Him would not lessen the judgment.

We all sin. Our freedom in Christ is to come before the Judge, admit and confess the sin and know He has forgiven us because of the Cross. This is “come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are going with him to court, lest your accuser hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you be put in prison. Truly, I say to you, you will never get out until you have paid the last penny.” [Matthew 5:25-26 ESV]

God’s First Statement

And God spoke all these words, saying, “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. You shall have no other gods before me.” [Exodus 20:1-3 ESV]

God, after bringing the Israelites out of Egypt and redeeming them from slavery, speaks openly to them. In His first statement “you” in “you will have no other” is not directed to the corporate group but to each individual. Each person, made in the image of God, redeemed by God, is personally given each command by God. Yet, these are not commands but statements of fact. In Hebrew they are called the ten “words” not commandments. We relegate them to commands because it is easier to understand how to apply a statement of expectation than a statement of fact. With expectations, especially those clearly expressed and understood, we know when we violate them. These are not just expectations. These are statements of fact.

Nor are these statements suggestions. He does not ask us to keep these statements. He does state what will happen if we do not keep them. We will suffer His just wrath.  Even the tiniest (in our view) violation against the image supernaturally built into each reveals a corruption God will not tolerate. He does not create anything less than perfect, nor will He allow in His presence any who are less than perfect. His measure is Himself, the perfect image of Himself built into each imperfect person. These are absolute statements because He is absolute.

His first statement is telling us His authority to make these statements and judge according to them. He is God. There are no other gods. The Trinity is One God, not three. He has no competition and no equal adversary. There are none compelling Him to act. There is no standard outside of Himself by which He is measured. He is the first and the last, the beginning and the end. If there is anything created, He created it. He is not created. He is the Creator. He, and He alone, sustains all of creation and all of eternity. He, and He alone, governs all of creation and all found in creation, even in eternity. He, and He alone, gives purpose to creation, and all in creation throughout eternity. He, and he alone, owns all of creation, whether existing in the created universe, or existing in eternal heaven or eternal hell.

He is “I am who I am” [Exodus 3:14 ESV], or “I am what I am.”  God is.

Rebellious man asks “who is this god?” and states “your god is not my god” or “I have no god.” Pharaoh did not recognize God, spoken about by Moses and Aaron, even after seeing and feeling the wrath of God against him and against Egypt. The king of Assyria ridiculed the God of Israel to Hezekiah after God used him to exile the northern kingdom. God miraculously saved Jerusalem. (See 1 Kings 17-19.) Pilate, questioning Jesus, found He had done nothing deserving death, rejected truth and sentenced Him to death. Christ’s death sentence was a gift of life for those who belong to Christ.  Rebellion cannot change truth. Nor can attitude, motivation, expectation, legislation, force or power.

Righteousness comes to those who are God’s through the truth of God and His Person.  For there is nothing righteous in anyone, even those who are His. We have no righteousness in and of ourselves. If we are righteous it is His righteousness spread over our sin. Those who rebel against God will not receive the covering of righteousness made from the blood of Christ. Those who are not His will seek to silence, even through destruction, those who are His. The presence of anyone covered with the blood of Christ, is evidence of the eternal truth of God.

This first statement, and all statements made by God, are not simply for obedience but for revelation. God reveals Himself to us and then reveals us to ourselves. We obey, not because He is God, which is still a valid reason to obey, but because, through the direction and motivation of His Holy Spirit, we can do nothing but obey. Our lives are lived within His will. Conversely, those who rebel against Him can do nothing but rebel because they are not His. God created us to love Him. Those who are of the world do not, cannot, will not, love Him. Those who do love Him will suffer persecution because of their love for Him.

Persecution, even if brief or long, intense and deadly, cannot compare to the life of eternity given by the Life Giver of Eternity.