Tag Archives: good

God Commands

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 3:5 ESV)

The Deceiver is telling Eve, and Adam, that eating from this specific tree will give them knowledge they do not yet have. They will know good and evil. God called all He made “good.” He called nothing “evil” other than naming a tree. God named two trees. He called one the tree of life and the other the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

And out of the ground the LORD God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. (Genesis 2:9 ESV)

There was nothing magical about any of the trees. All of the trees that bore fruit were food for Man. Every tree was pleasing to the eye and the fruit of every tree was edible and would not damage or hurt anyone who ate the fruit. Yet, God forbade Man from eating the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil as part of His teaching them about obedience and disobedience, about good and evil.

And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “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.” (Genesis 2:16-17 ESV)

God does not have to explain to anyone why He gives a command. Remember, God commanded Man to not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. He did not ask. God never asks anyone to do or not do something. Man’s obedience to God’s command is expected. If I am correct in my thinking God would have eventually allowed Man to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. But Adam and Eve were in training. They were growing in the discipline of knowing and serving God. They were not told to refrain from eating from the tree of life. Once they were mature in the thinking of their hearts they would eat from both trees.

Knowing the difference between good and evil is intimately knowing the reason for obedience and the consequences of disobedience. Why would those created for service to God even think or feel they could, or should, not serve Him? Either the seed of disobedience and rebellion was already planted in Man by God or it was planted in Man by a force other than God. That force other than God need not be the Deceiver. It could be Man, themselves. Some will say that inherent in the image of God given is the possibility of rebellion. But is this true? None living now are perfect. We cannot know the state of being of Adam and Eve. We can know that they had the tools needed to make specific decisions and the freedom to carry out those decisions. They could choose to obey out of intimate love for their Creator or to rebel and begin hating Him by focusing upon themselves. Genesis is telling us they were influenced to think of rebellion by the Deceiver and they listened to him. Their actions will either finish his deception or show that it failed. We know what happens.

Alone

Studies in Genesis

Then the LORD God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” (Gen 2:18 ESV)

Several things glare out from this verse. God made something “not good”? Hasn’t God already declared everything He has made “very good”? Hasn’t He also already declared, in Genesis 1:27, that when He created man He made them, like all other creatures, male and female? How then can the man be “alone”?

There are some distinguishing features between Genesis 1 and Genesis 2. Genesis 1 gives the Creation in a nutshell. This is what God has done and the order in which He created all things. Genesis 2 gives some particulars God deems necessary for us to know to fully understand our relationship and position before God and with each other.

Immediately after commanding the man to not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, yet given permission to eat from every other tree, including the tree of life, God declares another negative. There is something that is “not good” in His creation. Man is alone. There is no one else like him, no other animal or bird or creature. Even though he has the image of God he is not like God. There are none like God.

“Alone” means to be separated from, as in a branch separated from its tree or a limb separated from the body. The man, made for community, has no community. That which, by its created nature, is supposed to be a part of something, attached and drawing life from the whole, is not attached. Man cannot be whole when alone. The man is alone and it is not good.

God has already told us in Genesis 1 several particulars about Man. First, He created Man male and female. He also blessed them with the desire to reproduce. Reproduction is the natural, innate means God uses to populate the world He gave Man. Reproduction is a natural function of being human. It is also a blessing of God. And it takes a male and a female.

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” (Gen 1:27-28 ESV)

Yet, here we see God has created Adam, the male Man, but not the female. He makes a startling statement. “It is not good that the man should be alone.” As we will see, Adam’s world was filled with creatures. But none of them were like him. He cannot reproduce alone. He cannot reproduce with any of the creatures God created. Though he has intimacy with God it is not the same intimacy he will have with another of his kind. There is, as yet, no female.

Two Trees

Studies in Genesis 2

And out of the ground the LORD God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. (Genesis 2:9 ESV)

God made a paradise on Earth, an enclosed garden named Eden, in which He created and caused to grow trees from the smallest to the largest. These trees had one or both of two characteristics. First, they were “pleasant to the sight” and a delight to look at. The word “pleasant” means desirable. Many, if not all of the trees, bore fruit or food for Man. Every kind and type of food that was “good” or beneficial for Man’s well-being and growth. Eden was both beautiful and practical.

“Every” tree in the garden was “pleasant to the sight and good for food.” “Every” means the totality of and all. There was not a tree in the garden that was ugly, by God’s standard, or did not fulfill its God designed purpose of providing food.

Somewhere, deeply embedded in the Garden of Eden, were two trees given special purpose. We know the names of these trees and by their names the purpose of each. One is the “tree of life” and the other is the “tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” These, like all the other trees, were pleasant to gaze upon and their fruit was good for food. There is nothing in the Garden of Eden dangerous to Man, or poisonous to touch or consume.

“Life” is a noun and means that which is born, grows and is active in some way. Plants and trees have life because they begin life as a seed and grow and, by their nature, actively produce that for which they were created, fruit with seeds. Animals have life because they are born and grow and are active, naturally fulfilling their purpose. Yet, for person created in the image of God life carries the ability to consciously fulfill the purpose for which they are created. Man’s nature is found in the image of God. That the food of the trees of the garden of Eden were given to sustain life is part of their purpose just as it is part of the purpose and design of people to consume food designed specifically for them. All living things already have life. So, for Man, the fruit gives more than simple physical life but a life beyond life.

“Knowledge” can mean perception, skill, discernment, wisdom and understanding. “Good” carries the idea from pleasant to beneficial, excellent, appropriate, valuable or bounteous. Conversely, “evil” carries the exact opposite meaning of “good.” That which is evil is anything unpleasant, harmful, corrupted, inappropriate, worthless and unable to provide anything that is good. Thus, it is the intellectual and intimate understanding and wisdom that comes with knowing, in the fullest sense of the word, the applicable difference between that which is good and that which is evil.

Both trees were pleasant to look and good for food. Yet, these trees were given by God something eternally different than any other tree in the Garden. It is not that there was something magical about the fruit of these trees. It is, ultimately, the purpose and active will of God which imbues the fruit of these trees with qualities God placed on them.

Moral Image

Studies in Genesis 1

Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. (Genesis 1:26 ESV)

People are conscious of their surroundings and themselves, capable of knowing their own thoughts and remembering with detail their experiences. But, people also have a conscience, knowing the difference between right and wrong, or between what is good and what is not good. Each person has a moral compass and this moral knowing is integral to the image of God given.

God uses the word “good” seven times in the first chapter of Genesis. He declared what He had done, what He created, as “good,” fulfilling His standard of excellence. Before He began shaping the universe out of the material He initially created, He formed “light” and separated from it, darkness. Physical light is a type of moving energy necessary for life. Darkness is the absence of light and is detrimental to life. God created both darkness and light and by implication determined darkness not good when He judged, or declared light, “good.”

God has an objective standard for “good.” This standard is based upon Himself and His eternal characteristics. There is no other creative force in the universe.  When He created all things and began shaping all things, He designed the universe and all in it with function and purpose. By declaring what He created “good” He declared His created design and purpose fulfilled His eternal intentions.

Part of the image of God in Man is the ability to consciously know the difference between right and wrong and to know what is good. Man cannot create in the same sense God created but Man can make and fashion objects with specific function and purpose. Man’s standard of excellence is not found in himself but in God. With the image of God embedded in people they will know when what they have done is good and meets God’s rule of excellence.

God’s image in Man gives everyone the tools needed to know what is morally good and excellent. As created by God, people are also given the absolute ability to fulfill their created function and purpose in a righteous and holy manner. Yet, as we will discover, because of sin none do or want to do that which is righteous.

Ready For Life

Studies in Genesis 1

And God saw that it was good. i (Genesis 1:10 ESV)

People see and hear what they are trained to see and hear, what they want to see and hear or what they are told to see and hear. People who grow up hating God, believing He does not exist, or if He does cares nothing for them, will never acknowledge the evidence of the Creator in creation. It is hard to see when surrounded by darkness or blinded by a light. It is hard to hear the whisper of the not so obvious when the “obvious” is shouting in our ears.
God declares what He has done “good” which means beautiful and best, and ready and pleasant.

What has He done? He has created matter and then shaped it into a place with everything needed and necessary for life, making water and air, surrounding the whole thing with an atmosphere. He has cultivated the planet, preparing everything needed for life.
What has God not done? He has not created life.

Seven times in Genesis 1 God says something is “good.” He first used the word when He created light, separating darkness. This is the second instance He declares something “good” giving His stamp of approval. Everything needed is in place and ready to proceed to the next level of creation.

It is entirely possible God could create whole and complete. It is not reasonable to suggest He did. This is only the third day and the day is still unfolding. He is only halfway through the process for this day and He declares what He has done “good.” God works in ways consistent with His eternal character.

God’s Declares Light Good

Studies in Genesis 1

And God saw that the light was good. (Genesis 1:4 ESV)

Everything God creates is good with impeccable purpose and function.

When God created light He gave it His seal of approval. He said “light” is “good” not for our sakes but because light pleased. We do not know what other intelligent beings He had created by this time. We do know God had not yet created Adam in His image, but may have already created angels.

When He declared light good He was saying light did everything it was created to do. It was perfect and fit exactly into His plan and purpose for the universe. Yet, saying light is good is more than a declaration to Himself that He had done well. He did not have to say this to Himself. Everything He did, all of the work of creating everything in the universe, He will do well because His eternal character and person could do nothing partial or incomplete.

Even though at this time there was no one created to appreciate God’s work He will soon create people in His image and these people will see the evidence of God’s work. Everything God creates is the evidence of the work, purpose and ability of God.

He saw the light was good for Himself. He told us light was good so we might know Him. These words are written for our benefit, to draw us closer to God. We are meant to see God. God means to show Himself to us. And, we benefit from His creating light.