Tag Archives: Rebellion

God’s Calling

Studies in Genesis 3

But the LORD God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” (Genesis 3:9 ESV)

God “called” to the first man, Adam, who is the representative of Man, all humans. To call means to summon, to invite, appoint, endow, and also to cry out, proclaim, to call by name. God did not ask where he was. He knew Adam was hiding among the trees. He also knew Adam had rebelled against Him by eating the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. God called to Adam to present himself before his Authority.

God does not ask anyone to do anything. Nowhere in Scripture will you find God asking for our obedience. Even in our rebellion God demands obedience. God does ask questions of those who are His. His questions are designed to teach us about Him and about ourselves before Him. While Adam was hiding from God, He began asking a series of questions designed to elicit specific answers.

“Where are you?”  This question is full of meaning and points to many other questions. Why are you hiding? Why aren’t you coming to greet me? What are you feeling? Are you afraid? How did you come to know fear?

Some have suggested God went in search of Adam after the rebellion. This is certainly possible. However, God knows everything and does not act quickly as we judge necessary timeliness. He stands outside of time while knowing all which occurs constrained by time. Nor, is God going to allow sin and rebellion to change Him or His actions. He knew before they sinned not only that they would rebel but what He was planning to do because of their disobedience. All God does is for His purpose, not ours. We are created to serve Him, yet His eternal nature is to serve without losing or compromising His authority and place.

God’s call to man, whether Adam or anyone else who has, does or will live, is a summons into His presence. It is not a request to come but a command to present oneself before God. Since God created Man for relationship, yet still has authority over Man, His call is to come and be with Him in a loving, intimate way. It is the nature of sin to be repulsed by God. With the act of rebellion by Man and the summons of God the war raging within Man because of sin is defined.

God’s image in Man is an irresistible striving to know and be with Him. Man’s now bent and corrupted nature is an overwhelming revulsion toward God and a terrifying desire to flee from Him. God’s image in Man is not corrupted because God cannot be corrupted. Yet, the vessel holding the image is broken and compromised and no longer wants that image. God’s image cannot be expunged from Man. It will always, forever in eternity, be there, driving Man toward his Maker. Unless Man is recreated, not fixed or patched but made new, the war between the corrupted flesh and the incorruptible nature of God, will rage out of control, even in eternity.

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Hiding from God

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

When Adam and Eve “heard” God walking in the garden they “hid themselves” from Him. What they heard was the “sound” of God walking. Yet, the word for sound can also be translated voice or noise. This means God was not silent as He walked but was either deliberately making noise, something they were used to and knew to be God, or talking and singing to His creation. Perhaps He was humming. Nevertheless, they heard God and knew it was He.

They did not come to greet Him, which is what those with clear and wholesome relationships will do. Instead, they found a place where they thought He would not see them. This is what children do when they know they have done something they should not have done, when they have done something wrong. They will hide themselves from those whom they have wronged in the vain hope their wrongdoing will not be discovered.

Instead of greeting Him face to face they hid their faces from His. They ran away from His presence. Here is the evidence of wrong done and the evidence of a broken relationship. It is not God who runs and hides from them but they from God. It is never God turning His back on those He created for relationship but always those He has created to know Him turning their backs on Him.

Did our first parents not know God even a little to think they could hide from Him? What did they know about God? How intimate were they with Him?

God created them in His image. They could look at themselves and know what God is like. Not their physical likeness but their intellectual, emotional and willful likeness. Yet, they are not God so could not know Him completely. And they were young, still learning about God while maturing in their thinking and feeling. But God had given them enough information, the tools they needed, to know Him both intellectually and intimately.

As the first sound of Him in the garden reached their ears, I imagine they were startled, gripped with fear, immediately hiding because of the danger in which they found themselves because of their act of rebellion. These were new emotions. Before their rebellion, they did not fear death even though God had introduced them to death. Adam, at least, knew the command of God to not eat, and the judgment of eating, from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. His rebellion was unthinking and unfeeling, a reaction to what Eve had done. Hid from God is also a reaction.

When they hid from God, when anyone tries to hide from God, there is enough of an intimate understanding of God to know they are facing, not a Friend but a Judge.

July 3, 2017

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.

They Knew

Studies in Genesis 3

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

Adam and Eve were naked, without clothing, because they did not need clothes. There was no spiritual, physical or social reason to cover themselves. Nor, was there a prohibition toward covering themselves. Yet, after they purposefully rebelled against God they “knew that they were naked” and decided to cover themselves.

God uses two different, closely related words for the translated word “naked.” In Genesis 3:7 (and in Genesis 3:10-11) the word means nudity. It is closely related to, but still different from, the word used in Genesis 2:25. “And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed” (Genesis 2:25 ESV). “Naked” means bare, unclothed. Both words, in Genesis 2:25 and 3:7, are related to a word which means to be crafty, subtle, shrewd or prudent.

There is a difference in their awareness. In Genesis 2, in their original, obedient before God state, they were unaware of any reason to have covering. After their rebellion, they almost immediately saw a need to cover themselves, because they saw they were naked. What was the perceived need and why did they think they needed to cover themselves?

Perhaps we can find and answer in the word “knew.”  First, they now knew about good and evil, but not under the direction of God. To “know” means to perceive, recognize, admit, acknowledge, confess, to understand through experience, to find out or reveal. To “know” may be either purely intellectual or intimate. Intimate knowledge involves the whole person, mind, emotions, including the moral understanding, will and spiritual being. Gaining such knowledge is progressive, growing from a small or minute comprehension to a more mature or complete understanding with time and experience. As soon as they rebelled they comprehended that they had done something against the direct, stated will of God. They now knew their action was evil and had no control, or dominion, over the consequences.

How long it took before the instinct to cover themselves arose is not stated. It could have been immediate or soon thereafter. Scripture suggests immediate comprehension. If so, their minds, hearts and beings were not disciplined to handle the terrifying consequence of knowing evil, especially in themselves. They were not designed for evil and the realization they had done something evil began rending them away from that with which they were familiar, their relationships with God, each other and the world in which they lived.

Their Eyes Were Opened

Studies in Genesis 3

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

Immediately, after eating the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, everything changed. Their eyes were opened and they saw themselves and their environment differently. Physically, nothing had changed. Yet, mentally, emotionally, willfully, spiritually, everything changed.

When God initially created Man, as male and female, He did so according to His design and purpose. He gave them His image, placed them in a home and gave them dominion over their realm, the Earth. “And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed” (Genesis 2:25 ESV). This statement declares their innocence and is for us, for the reader of the account of creation. This statement declares their perfect state of existence.

But, then they rebelled and their eyes were opened. “Eye” does not mean just the physical eye that gives sight but the mental ability to understand what one is seeing. “Opened” means just that, to reveal, take the lid off, unlatch and open that which was closed. They saw each other with their physical eyes and something was different. Outwardly, nothing had changed. Everything they saw was exactly the same. Yet, their perception of each other and their world was different.

Before their rebellion, they were “naked and not ashamed.” After they rebelled, they saw they were naked. Nudity was their natural state. These means their perception of their natural state changed. Their natural state did not change but how they viewed their natural state was now compromised.

They were forced to view themselves differently. This was the intent of the Deceiver when it lied to Eve. The Deceiver wanted Eve, and ultimately Adam and all Mankind, to view themselves, not as they were made by God, but differently. Any way that is not God’s way of viewing themselves will do. “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).

Their disobedience immediately changed their relationship with God and with each other and with the world over which they were given dominion. Their rebellion created a schism between God, each other, and between them and the world and everything in the world.

Sin Patterns

Studies in Genesis 3

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, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. (Gen 3:6 ESV)

Adam was not deceived. His rebellion was deliberate. Eve gave him the fruit and he ate it. He knew the fruit was from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and that God, his creator and the authority over all creation, had forbidden he eat the fruit. “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 2:17 ESV).

Adam was specifically forbidden from eating the fruit.

Sin involves the whole person. Eve, while speaking to the Deceiver, thought about what she was about to do. She was lied to and accepted the lie as truth. She also used her emotions to view the fruit as desirable in a way different than how God made the fruit. God created all the fruit desirable, that is delicious and nutritious and with a pleasing look. Eve changed the desire from what was intended to that which is coveted. She then acted on her will, driven by her covetous desires based upon a lie. She rebelled and sinned.

Adam ignored his intelligence and emotions and simply acted. There was no thinking that we are aware of, nor feeling that something was wrong. Adam knew that if he were to think about what he was about to do, or feel the fear of the consequences, he would not act. He “turned off” his intelligence and his emotions and simply acted. He rebelled and sinned.

We see two motivations for sin. Eve’s sin involved building excuses to act against the will of God. Adam’s sin intentionally ignored the direction and will of God. I am not suggesting that women have a sin pattern different than men. Sin is sin. Temptation is not sin. But allowing temptation to decide or excuse sin does not either justify or defend sin. The basic pattern for sin follows either building an excuse based upon a lie or simply ignoring the known will of God.

Both Eve and Adam willfully rebelled against God.

Deceived and Purposeful

Studies in Genesis 3

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, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. (Gen 3:6 ESV)

Adam was with his wife. She gave him a piece of fruit she had picked and eaten from, and he, too, ate the fruit. Did Adam watch the entire transaction and conversation between the Deceiver and Eve? Every sermon I have ever heard has Adam standing passively next to his wife while she deliberately disobeyed the command of God. Either he heard the discussion or Eve told him of the discussion. Or she didn’t tell him, because he was not there and simply offered him a piece of fruit when he arrived and he ate.

In Genesis 3:6 the word “with” can mean beside. It can also mean against and in spite of. Like many of the words in the first three chapters of Genesis this is the first time this word is used. We assume Adam and Eve were together all of the time. This does not necessarily have to be true. We can know for certain he was present when she gave him the fruit. Whether he was present during the discussion with the Deceiver and then when she actually picked and ate the fruit is only assumed.

Ignorance of the law is no excuse for disobedience. Adam knew he was to not eat the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Either he ate knowing the fruit was from the tree or he ate not knowing from which tree the fruit came. Either way, he ate the fruit which God has specifically forbidden from eating.

Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor. (1 Timothy 2:14 ESV)

There are many implications from Paul’s statement. The woman was deceived by the Deceiver. Adam was not deceived, by either the woman or the Deceiver. His rebellion was purposeful. He knew the consequences of his rebellion. We know nothing of his thinking or feeling which brought him to the action of eating the fruit. We are reminded daily of the consequences. For the consequences of Adam’s purposeful rebellion is abundantly clear and always present. It is sin and death.

“Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned” (Romans 5:12 ESV)

“For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous.” (Romans 5:19 ESV)