Tag Archives: purpose

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.

 

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Work and Keep

Studies in Genesis 2

The LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. (Genesis 2:15 ESV)

God “took” the Man He created by laying hold of him, or fetching him from one place and depositing him in another. God carried man with deliberate intent from where ever he was initially created and brought into existence and placed, not just in the Garden, but in his home. God “put” man down, settled him into his own place.

This is not the first time we see the function of Man to “work” the garden. God tells us that part of Man’s purpose is to “work the ground”. “When … there was no man to work the ground” (Genesis 2:5 ESV). In these verses “work” is a verb and means to till, or turn the ground and make it ready and productive. By implication, God wants the ground to serve Man. “Keep” is another verb and means to watch over, to be attentive, wait for that which grows from the ground. Thus, man is to work by preparing the ground to produce and then to attentively watch what grows in order to learn how to make future growth better. Just as God fully participates in His creation, so man fully participates in a world over which he has authority and dominion.

God’s use a different word to describe His “work” of creation. Three times in Genesis 2:2-3 He uses a word which means that which He does as a natural consequence of who He is. Work is more than an occupation or simply something done. His work is integral to who He is.

Man’s work is evidence of the image of God and the design, purpose and intent of God for him. Part of the image of God given is the ability to think and reason and then to act willfully on the decisions and conclusions drawn. Man is able to learn and grow in knowledge and ability. One of the implications of working and keeping the garden is man’s ability to patiently observe and be aware of what is occurring, to experiment and make changes to the place, process in order to achieve a different outcome.

Man’s work is a direct representation of God’s work. In creation God took that which He created out of nothing and formed matter into perfectly useful stuff intricately designed to sustain life. Life is minutely complex and balanced. Creation is good, perfect, moving toward fullness and completion, beautiful and useful, infinitely varied yet understandable by those with the image of God. Man grows in a knowledge of God as man keeps and fashions, observes and learns how to imitate what God has done by fashioning that which is useful and beautiful. This is Man’s work.

Man was created to do that which is integral to the image of God and is natural and inherent. Man does that which God designed him to do.

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.

Authority

Studies in Genesis 1

Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” (Genesis 1:26 ESV)

Dominion does not mean ownership. God created all things, which means God is the owner of all things created. This includes Man. Though created in His image, no person created has absolute, autonomous ownership of themselves. Ignoring God and acting like He is not there will not dissolve the connection any has with their Creator.

God tells us what it is over which people have dominion, control, responsibility and privilege. His list follows the days of creation, beginning with the sea creatures and the birds of the air. He then states in verse 26 that people have dominion over the “livestock” and every “creeping things” which includes reptiles and snakes. God repeats His direction of authority given people in verse 28 when He includes everything that lives. It is not that God forgot to include all living creatures then remembered in His next declaration. His second declaration of authority given people is an affirmation, a statement for us that tells us He is not going to change His mind. It is a sure thing. Throughout Scripture God will make a statement two or three times telling us His mind and will are set.

People are given authority over the Earth as God’s physical representative. With His image we speak and act and judge for Him. This does not mean He is not present, distant or completely absent. He is everywhere. This does mean when we speak and act based upon the moral standard embedded in the image of God we uphold and reinforce His purpose and intent. God views our speech, acts and moral decisions as if He Himself was speaking and acting based on His moral attributes and will uphold and stand by our speech, acts and moral decisions.

Again, I do not want people to misunderstand. Those given the image of God are given all they need to fulfill His purpose by functioning as He designed. There is no thought of rebellion built into the image of God. His eternal knowledge of the coming rebellion, knowing sin will happen, does not change God’s purpose and intent for people, nor their place in God’s created order. Sin affects how people relate to God and to Creation but does not change God.

All God is doing in these verses happens in eternity but before sin and rebellion in the space-time universe. Sin and rebellion change Man’s position and authority before God. We are seeing Man the way God intended.

 

Assumptions?

Studies in Genesis 1

So God created the great sea creatures and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarm, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.

And God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.” (Genesis 1:21-22 ESV)

God created a wide variety of creatures in large numbers and gave these creatures the drive and ability to reproduce. There are several assumptions we can make because of His declaration.

God covered the earth with food for these creatures. After He creates Man He tells us that all the green plants He created are for food. “And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food” (Genesis 1:30 ESV). No creature God created was supposed to eat another creature. There was enough food in the green plants to support the planet.

Next, God’s creatures are to grow numerically, filling the earth. Can we assume that when the number of creatures reached maximum capacity, as determined by God, they would stop multiplying? Or can we assume these creatures had a specific life span and then would die? Some assume God created living creature to not die but to live for eternity. Yet, there is nothing in Scripture which suggests living creatures, other than Man created in His image, do not die. Earth is a finite space and can hold only so much, albeit much more than we think.

If we examine the physical evidence we see life, birth and death.

The discovered archeological record suggests fish first appeared about 500 million years ago. Yet, the same archeological records do not discover the first birds at the same time. According to the discovered fossil records birds come much later with the assumption they evolved from early dinosaurs. We are faced with a conundrum. Do we believe what God declares in Scripture or do we believe what the fossil record is telling us? Our understanding of both God and the fossil record is not complete.

I do not believe in evolution. Nor do I believe God is a liar. Those who hold to evolution have completely removed God from the equation. This is foolish. Those who suggest the earth has existed for only a short period of time, thousands instead of millions of years, try to explain away the evidence of the fossil record, essentially making the fossil record a lie. This is equally foolish.

Our purpose in this life is to learn about and know God both intellectually and intimately. We will explore this purpose in more depth when we study the image of God in man. For now we must listen to God’s special revelation and the evidence of His handiwork and hold our unwarranted assumptions at bay until we have a more complete knowledge.

 

Everything is Designed

Studies in Genesis 1

And God said, “Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear.” And it was so. God called the dry land Earth, and the waters that were gathered together he called Seas. And God saw that it was good. (Genesis 1:9-10 ESV)

There is no life on the planet, yet. God is laying the foundation for life by preparing the planet to grow, encourage and sustain the life He will create in His time and by His design.

Everything He does has purpose and follows an intricate design. We usually work from incomplete ideas to blueprints and exact measurements, seeking to discover ahead of time the issues which may arise, making decisions to accommodate or overcome possible problems. For us, there are always unknowns. There are no unknowns in God’s design and accomplishments.

He took a planet covered in liquid hostile to life and created water which supports life. He created an atmosphere which could hold and distribute water to the land. He moved the geology of the planet, raising up mountains with canyons and valleys to channel water from them into the lower places. He lowered other places so the water would collect. In all of this He sets everything in motion, moving the planet, the atmosphere and the water in a purposefully designed direction.

He called the dry places “Earth” which means firm and land. He called the places He gathered the water “Seas” which means noisy (surf), river, basin or any large body of water.

Everything is designed.

Day One Summary

Studies in Genesis 1

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness.  God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day. (Genesis 1:1-5 ESV)

God created the universe as a closed system, and all of the material found in the universe ex nihilo, out of nothing. As a closed system nothing can be added nor taken from the universe. He established the Laws of the universe determining all creation adhere to those Laws. God exists outside of the universe and all He created.

His Spirit moved throughout the created universe, through the darkness, over the waste. He is active and mindful of all His creation. He has absolute control.

God then took the material He created and shaped and formed it into other things.

God spoke. When God speaks He assigns purpose and direction. Out of the existing material of the universe He made “light” which is energized matter moving at a high speed. God approved of light.

God separated light from darkness, beginning the process of building a place where life can exist and grow. God separates that which He deems “good” as measured according to His eternal standards from that which just is. Yet, He takes that which just is and shapes it according to His will. His first act of separating is light from darkness.

He called the light “Day.” Day means a period of time of light. With light comes life.

He called the darkness “Night.” Night means a period of time of darkness. With darkness is waste and desolation.

Everything God creates is perfect, fitting His design and specifications.