God Relates

Genesis 2:4-25 

God is Ruler (ch. 1); God is Relational (ch. 2); God is Redeemer (ch. 3). Rest of Bible has some bearing on one or more of those characteristics. Adds to evidence that God indeed does rule over all his creation – he established order of universe during creation process, maintains that order through his Son (Heb. 1:2-3). Our present text as well as every other page in some way bears witness to how God relates to his creatures. And after chapter 3, rest of record in some way bears on need for redemption, nature of redemption.

Since we bear image of our Creator, we have part in Ruling, subduing and making world around us productive. Intended to be Relational beings, in relationships of all kinds: with our Creator, our surroundings, our families, our neighbors. And… we have vital role in God’s plan of Redemption:

Rom. 10:13-15 “For “whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.” How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, Who bring glad tidings of good things!””

Will hear more in coming weeks about relationships, what our responsibilities are toward others. Today, about what we learn from text about our relational God, who for reasons known only to him wants to have particular kind of relationships with people.

A. God is life-giver  v.4-7

YHWH Elohim – name change, balance of ch. 2 (v.4 on) and all of ch. 3

all of account up to this point emphasizes Elohim, creator God – eternal, self-existent, powerful, perhaps remote/distant from created things

potentially overwhelming, overpowering, frightening if have not been properly introduced – not kind of God could easily warm up to

especially true given how different Eden and surrounding area were compared to Sinai wilderness – something must have happened since then

certainly good place to start telling the story – make sure those who hear it grasp enough of God’s awesomeness to give respect he deserves

is not all he is, though… whole story something Hebrew children needed to hear, were still learning differences between pagan Egyptian worldview and the right one

Moses makes point here: this Elohim who brought everything into existence is YHWH who brought you out of Egypt

hands-on: formed, not spoken

LORD God was the one who, like potter with shapeless lump of clay, brought first man into existence by an intimate process

may have only taken an instant of time, yet transcendent Creator God detail by detail formed Adam into a being with God’s own image – God’s “fingerprints” all over him

Adam had perfect form, all necessary attributes but one… life – required divine CPR, not impersonal command for him to become living being

a few thousand years later, Louis Pasteur did his famous crook-neck flask experiment, disproved spontaneous generation, “proved” life only comes from life – Moses did get his facts right!

personal first-name relationship

acted as YHWH toward Adam and generations of others before Moses even though did not know by that name (Exod. 6:3)

God’s intention from beginning was to know and be known – went to great lengths revealing himself so that could happen

relationship designed to continue forever, would have done so had not sin reared its ugly head

B. God is life-director  v.8-17

gave man a place

God didn’t give Adam a kit – some acreage, some seed, and some tools – and then tell him to go for it

prepared specific place for him, complete down to last detail – all would ever need in abundance to satisfy every good desire

place where Adam could fulfill his design – be fruitful and multiply – in setting of perfect fellowship with his Creator

gave man a purpose

the kind of place God prepared for Adam required regular attention… that was Adam’s assignment: tend and keep

even in original state, created order needed someone to keep it orderly and productive – if that was Adam’s job, must be able to do it with resources God supplied him

gave man a promise

blessing for carrying out his purpose, certain disaster for disobedience – no question who was in charge, setting boundaries

if declared consequence for disobedience was death, result of obedience would then be life… guaranteed by God

at this point, perfect man in perfect surroundings, promised life would be rewarding / pleasurable / abundant / nothing lacking

C. God is life-partner supplier  v.18-25

aloneness is not good

immediately prior to this point (v.18) in creation sequence, had God looked at all he had made, his conclusion would not have been “all very good” – something missing

parade of animals not for God’s benefit – no need for trial and error on God’s part — intended to reinforce in Adam’s understanding how he was to relate to the animals

could probably have figured out – for someone who bears image of God, closest most intimate relationships must be with those who share same image

image-bearers are relational

since God by his very nature is relational, those bearing his image will also be relational – one God, yes, but in three persons, eternally self-existent

intrusion of sin into Adam’s life would have devastating effect on all his relationships but… all those relationships would still exist

God has something to say in his word about all the different kinds of relationships we have – God has expectations of what those relationships should be like

clear from beginning God did not intend mankind to live in total or even partial isolation – true for both individuals and groups

only one kind of partner will do

second thing “parade of animals” made clear to Adam – after God, the one he was to relate to most closely not found anywhere among animals

two conditions needed to be met: suitable complement for Adam, satisfactory end result for God – “all very good”

“Marriage among human beings is here shown to be something very different from mating among the animals.” Dr. Albertus Pieters

was God who established family unit, marriage relationship, how mankind intended / designed to obey commands God had given… to be fruitful (productive) and grow to fill the earth

with wise use of resources God has entrusted to mankind, no reason to doubt creation’s ability to support life

If beginning point is correct, God is relational and does relate to his creatures, what kind of relationship has he demonstrated? Don’t find it stated until NT but has always been true of God… what apostle John wrote in first epistle:

1 John 4:8-10 “He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”

God showed great love to man in how he prepared perfect place for him, gave him life and purpose and perfect partner. Then, after Fall, after man’s relationship with God profoundly changed, God’s love continued as he made provision for full reconciliation between sinful man and holy God.

If we are to bear image of God well, must relate to others as God does: loving them when they are sinful, showing them love of Christ, introducing them to God who sent his Son to save sinners, encouraging growth of Christ-likeness in others.

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