Tag: Genesis

The Godly Line

Genesis 5:1-32

Genealogy of two sons of Adam and Eve given in this part of Genesis – first that of Cain, followed by younger son Seth. Are some similarities, noted one last week in how nearly alike a few names are. Are significant differences also, more on that as we go along. If record ended with Genesis 4:24, future would not look too promising. Mention made of man’s achievements during first several centuries of civilization, God’s actions to push his plan forward seems to have ended with death of Abel.

The serpent appears to have the upper hand, God forced to play catch-up somehow. Managed to deceive Eve who then was followed by Adam into grievous sin. Next generation, through seduction of sin managed to overpower Cain and end life of a godly one who could have eventually produced the promised seed. And sin just keeps growing – affecting more and more people, inciting them to greater evil.

At the moment when evil seems to have reached its low point, God turns the camera from Cain back to Adam and Eve. Don’t think has taken all this time for God to think up plan B – God not reacting to events that surprised him. This part of his eternal plan, showing mankind just how serious his sin problem was, his total inability to fix it. Over and over in second genealogy the bell tolls – “and he died”. Clearly sin not just a problem for Adam and Eve – had infected entire human race with deadly consequences.

There is renewed light in the profound darkness of mankind bound in sin – a little baby, born to a mom who knew and loved God. That mom had discernment to see accurately what God was doing – had not walked away from his creation, leaving mankind to figure things out as best he could. God still very much involved, still very much committed to redeeming his people. That truth brought out distinctly by introduction and structure of this genealogy.

A. Adam – God’s likeness  v.1-17

created

remember your origin – creation account not simply a way to get the story started… has ongoing significance for each generation

human history is linear, not circle or spiral – another reminder it had a specific beginning with specific identified individual

since is a beginning, probably an ending / goal toward which everything is trending – we know is a single end with two possible destinies, hinted at in genealogy

remember your design – originally made in image of God, sharing things in common with God although in different degree

this aspect of design absolutely essential for meaningful relationship… in both directions between God and man

strongly implies that healthy functioning relationship intended to be the norm, not some kind of exception

and the male/female bit – is it coincidence that put it here at the beginning of a genealogy? I think that, too, was done by intentional design

marred but not effaced by sin – completely corrupted or destroyed image would end positive relationship

would also diminish if not totally take away all value/worth – presence of imago Dei even though distorted means every human being has worth and significance, possibility of relationship

blessed

personally – record says he “had sons and daughters” – could add and grandchildren and great’s and… perhaps as many as 8 generations of offspring

even though under consequence of sin (death), lived amazing (to us) long life with probably good health for all of it

through both lines of descendants – descendants of both Cain and Seth achieved significant things, many good for others

honored

throughout the Bible – yes, his transgression also remembered but stated in factual not condemning way

always in every context at least strongly implied and sometimes stated that he was first man, first formed, given place of honor at head of human race

in genealogy of Jesus (Luke 3:38) – genealogy given here repeated in reverse order as given by Luke, ending with Adam

called “the son of God”, reference to his creation by hand of God… a special dignity given only to him and Eve

by association with Christ – 1 Cor. 15:22, 45 Lord Jesus identified as “the last Adam”, the one in whom first Adam is restored to honor along with all others who have faith

easy to see even from these few references – to make Gen 1-10 a myth destroys integrity of rest of Bible

B. Enoch – God’s companion  v.17-27

7th from Adam… just like (evil) Lamech – high point of godliness vs evil

two trajectories: Cain to Lamech, Seth to Enoch – from murder to revenge 10x more evil, worshiping God to walking with God

God absent, God the focus – no indication of interest in God among Cain’s progeny; could have been individuals who did but general trend one of growing godlessness

just as Seth’s birth gave hope to Eve, so calling on / worshiping / walking with God led to Lamech’s hope in God’s promise

converted

exact time uncertain – could have coincided with Methusaleh’s birth, might have occurred before

do know character of life after M’s birth – “walked with God”, description used only of Enoch and Noah (6:9)

outcome was certain – two significant aspects of description: intimacy and concurrency, pursuing the same object

knew God, knew what God wanted of him and pursued it, communicated/fellowshipped with God, pleased God

delivered

something beyond death – no reason to believe Enoch the only “survivor” – if he didn’t experience death, maybe…

certainly need a lot more revelation to figure it out but… is one indication of what promised Seed would achieve

reason to believe that somehow awful damage done by sin could be reversed/removed in future

something better than life – short life not punishment, rather a reward for pleasing God – experience wherever he went somehow better than staying here

note also: Enoch’s son Methusaleh longest life of anyone recorded – Enoch’s short life not new trend, was tied directly to his faith and godliness

C. Noah – God’s comfort  v.28-32

a son

don’t know about Methusaleh, would seem that Enoch’s life did influence grandson Lamech, encouraged faith in him

knew history of mankind, understood consequences of sin and the curse – like Eve, had insight about what God was doing

Eve and Lamech the only ones who gave us reasons for their name choices, both have to do with a son, how God would use him

a turning point

Lamech thought Noah would bring about sea-change, paradigm shift in life as they knew it – that he would remove the curse

would be turning point, not the way Lamech thought – Cain’s line would be obliterated, earth would be cleansed of burden of sin on it at that time, never again destroyed by flood

a source of hope

Noah was from God’s perspective the one that would give hope to his world and ours – even in worst of times God makes way of deliverance for those who are devoted to him

Enoch and Lamech are good examples for us – faithfulness to God when God’s plan isn’t always plain. Being informed of our history and God’s promises so can apply to daily life. Enoch cared more for God’s opinion than man’s, quality adopted by great-grandson Noah. Grandson Lamech trusted God and his promises, maintaining hope in promise made 1000+ years before.

These three – Adam, Enoch, Noah – significant figures in redemptive history. Yet genealogy includes many others of whom we know little apart from what is here. Each in their own way had significance to God – was important to him to include these individuals in the record of his son’s family tree. Not only big deals that are important to God, average people are also.

Used to be common saying, “nothing is certain but death and taxes”. Really should add to that “the promises of God”. God uses people of all kinds, sometimes in obvious ways, other times more quietly to bring about his redemptive purpose. Even when we can’t see his fingerprints clearly, can be confident of his faithfulness… because of his perfect track record, here for us in black and white. Meanwhile, let’s be like Enoch and walk with God day by day. 

Sin Abounds… and So Does Grace

Genesis 4:16-26 

God’s direct action in affairs of men becomes less prominent in telling of mankind’s story beginning with Cain’s final interview in divine presence. Much going on stage right and left, behind the scenes that Moses (by Holy Spirit’s inspiration) did not include in narrative. Just means we need to think a little more, work a little harder to find God in the evidence, in the results.

Entirely possible, even likely were descendants of Adam and Eve who sought to do what pleased God. At same time, no escape from sin and its plundering of human landscape. Just in first generation, went from actions that caused no immediate physical harm to murder. That just one of more obvious ways sin was growing like a cancer.

Yet, even though God had countless reasons to pull plug and start over with a new pair of humans, he had planned something else instead. Even before actual commission of first sin, God had already established his plan, how he would deal with it. And he did so knowing just how ugly was going to get. To the point it would get real personal for God. God from before creation purposed to demonstrate the glory and greatness of his grace toward fallen man. Genesis, even all of Bible a continuous record of grace abounding.

A. Cain has a son  v.16-19

continued rebellion

last thing God told Cain – you will be a “homeless wanderer”, was major part of Cain’s complaint against God

what does Cain do – started to build a city (village, size not indicated by word used), place of permanent residence

perhaps thinking if he was no longer in God’s presence, maybe could build new life according to his own design/pleasure

family grows

God taking another “risk” here, allowing convicted murderer to procreate – sure, was exiled to far country, but still dangerous

number of similarities between names of Cain’s descendants and Seth’s – Enoch and Enosh, Irad and Jared, Methushael and Methusaleh – a case of ungodly trying to copy righteous, missing by that much?

seems from record in ch. 4 & 5 that Cain blessed with offspring in abundance similar to Seth and his descendants

large families and long lives necessary for survival – to start from scratch and carve out existence in new land

is also clear evidence in events so far that although sin brought condemnation, was more to God’s plan than destruction

and so does sin

not given details of lives and careers of early descendants, perhaps nothing terribly out of ordinary about them

then comes Lamech – first thing are told about Lamech is of blatant sin by his taking two wives, contrary to original model

Gen 2:24 unambiguous description of one man and one woman becoming one flesh – Jesus reinforced Matt. 19:6, “no longer two but one flesh”

B. Cain’s “sons” have lives  v.20-24

even sinners can be productive

certainly true for Cain and his wife – likely the village of Enoch survived and became cultural center in that part of world

while sin has made man’s abilities fall short of original potential, did not completely destroy productivity / usefulness

even those committed to rebelling against God can use natural abilities for good, for others as well as themselves

knowledge and skill increases

Lamech the 7th generation – based on what kids did, he and wives pretty intelligent/capable people (definitely homeschoolers)

Jabal, Jubal, Tubal-Cain men with substantial abilities and reputation – able to do far more than simply practice a trade

could describe them as inventors, entrepreneurs, craftsmen, masters of their craft and able to instruct others also

important wide-ranging areas of skill

Jabal – developing methods / practices for manufacture of dwellings, also skilled in animal husbandry and transportation

Jubal – the artsy type, invention / manufacture / use of musical instruments; perhaps skilled in music composition

Tubal-Cain – extraction of metal ore, smelting iron and copper alloys, forming raw material into useful tools and utensils

all skills and abilities that have direct bearing on quality of life – safety, survival, pleasure, traditions

and so does sin

Lamech not only openly rebellious sinner, he took great pleasure in his great sinfulness – knew Cain’s story, boasted he was 10x worse than Cain

picked on someone smaller than himself, brutally took revenge on someone who probably injured him accidentally

and… he seems to want his wives to take pleasure in his badness, agree with his bragging about how much worse than Cain

if this is true account of beginnings of human history (and we are convinced it is), makes it hard to justify popular approaches to criminal behavior

if criminals behave that way because of environment/circumstances, what was Cain’s issue? Lamech’s problem?

if exile to far country with no other murderers around would “fix” Cain, why does record make clear that evil increased?

rest of Bible makes increasingly clear – we sin because we are sinners, the environmental problem is in the heart, internal issue not external

C. Cain’s evil has limits  v.25-26

Seth is special

something about this pregnancy and birth that let Eve know God was up to something – had viewed Abel as fulfillment of God’s promise of Seed

is obvious to us Abel is dead, can’t be him; Cain did it so can’t be him; what about other offspring? apparently Eve didn’t think so

Eve’s understanding coincided with God’s plan as revealed in next major event (Flood) – line of promise would be through Seth

don’t have to wait until King Herod for Satan to try murder in order to stop God’s plan of redemption – as soon as Seth was born, Satan on notice he failed

practice of religion increases

no surprise then that Seth and his descendants would be leaders in worship, encouraging others to give God glory due him

not much said about Adam, seems that Eve on pretty good terms with God… perhaps encouraged Seth to follow Abel’s footsteps

and so does grace

Paul asked rhetorical question, Rom. 6:1 “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?”

his conclusion: “Absolutely not!” – already enough and more than enough sin for God’s grace to have plenty of opportunity to abound

over and over God would have been justified to act decisively to limit spread of sin and sinners, yet he chose not to

6 or 7 thousand years later, still waiting for time when God says “enough”, brings it all to his planned conclusion

meanwhile, thank him for his faithfulness, his grace and mercy that benefits not only us his people, but all kinds of people 

Reaping the Whirlwind

Genesis 4:1-16

 Whose story is it anyway? Story of Cain and Abel? Who is lead character of dynamic cast that appears throughout Genesis? For sure, Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, all the rest not insignificant extras brought in to fill up the set with action. Is good to keep in focus: this is God’s story, he is mastermind, the Prime Mover, Sovereign Lord of creation carrying out his redemptive purpose through human instruments.

Much of character of Cain and Abel evident in passage – so, too, is character of God. While not much is said about effect of Cain’s sin on his parents, must have been painful beyond words. End result was… they lost two sons; Cain after his banishment just as dead to his parents as Abel.

NOTE: this like rest of Genesis a highly compressed narrative. Only specific details out of all possible ones are included. Large blocks of time passed over without any comment – e.g., v.2a and v.2b, maybe some decades between. Are told of boys’ births, next we hear they are established in their careers. Events that were selected, way in which stories were framed intended to show progress of God’s plan to redeem lost sinners. Along the way

A. God’s faithfulness  v1-4a

kept promises re: blessings embedded in curses

number of years elapsed between 3:24 and 4:1, then more years between 4:2a and 4:2b

note on chronology: ch. 5 gives genealogy, age of father at birth of son… particular one, not necessarily first – could easily have been 50 or more years before birth of first child

long enough passage of time that Cain could have been “surprise” – God has “finally” kept promise of a Seed

more time, more children would be necessary to ensure future generations – same true for plants and animals

fruitfulness in nature necessary for long-term continuation of life of all kinds because of mutual dependence

especially after sin, many living things dependent on man’s management for survival, he dependent on them

children who grew to adulthood

sin changed a lot and not all for better… yet, human existence would indeed continue – would be numerous sons and daughters… enough Cain worried for his safety

based on later experience, is abundantly obvious God was paying close attention – essentially no diversity in gene pool at beginning

not a problem, since corrupting influence of sin at molecular level had not had opportunity for cumulative damage

meant siblings could safely have children at least for a time… true for all living things, not only human beings

productive farming

both brothers had reputation for specific vocation – Abel known as shepherd, Cain as farmer… that plus their survival / propagation requires productivity

plants and animals alike following laws embedded in their design, command given by God at their creation

although ground resisted mans’ efforts at cultivation, did not refuse to produce… still in great abundance and top quality

Cain able to bring offering of what his “garden” had produced, Abel able to do similar with choice firstborn of flock

B. God’s grace and mercy  v.4b-10a

graciously accepted Abel and his offering

family apparently understood at least basics of worship, that proper worship included offering of some kind of sacrifice

writer makes clear what each of brothers brought – what they had “produced” in carrying out their particular vocation

we know God graciously received Abel and his worship – he was pleased with, looked on with favor, accepted both man and offering

showed mercy to Cain and his unacceptable offering

God did not receive Cain and his offering with favor, made that plain to Cain at the time he made the offering

much about this we are not told: why Cain and offering were not acceptable, what means God used so Cain knew that

not inconsistent with God as portrayed in rest of Bible – in fact, much later in regard to Jacob/Esau, God made choice and expected us to be satisfied with no reason given

are given indications in other parts of Bible about Cain’s character – makes God’s grace in not more soundly rejecting him more surprising

warned Cain of danger

didn’t do very good job hiding bad reaction to God’s rejection – showed it all over his face, God called him on it

reminded him faithful obedience, even though imperfect, would bring acceptance – for his safety, needed to do right thing

more grace for Cain – instruction from God himself about nature of sin and how it ensnares, right way to overcome it

gave opportunity for repentance

as with Cain’s parents, God by asking questions tried to draw Cain into conversation/dialog that would lead to repentance

that Cain responded to God in anger first and then stubborn silence shows much about spiritual condition… and how much like Cain sinners still are

that assessment confirmed by subsequent events… and how Cain responded to God’s questions at next meeting

C. God’s justice  v.10b-16

enhanced effect of original curse toward Cain

no matter how hard Cain tries to make ground produce, it will never yield to him all that it would had he not murdered

it would produce enough to support life but not in the quantity or quality that original design would have delivered

banished but not eternally… yet

parents because of their sin banished from Eden, basically their worship center, sent to put down roots outside

Cain not only banished from Eden, also prevented from putting down roots – condemned to perpetual wandering

yet even in God’s just consequences for Cain’s sin, he never told Cain to go away and not come back – door still open

yet… even in his merciful measure of justice Cain complained that Good was being unjust – too harsh… and he exaggerates what God had done

“I shall be hidden from Your face”… God never said that; “anyone who finds me will kill me”… maybe

notice how Cain casts others, his own family members, in his own mold rather than Abel’s – seeing them as potential murderers, vigilantes

protected from man’s “justice”

good lesson here for current justice system – punishment must be reasonable, fit the crime, protect from revenge where possible

sure, the mark God put on Cain would identify him to everyone else, yet God’s purpose in doing so was for his protection – not intended as perpetual warning of his past crime

Hosea talks about those who sow the wind and reap the whirlwind. Cain certainly did that. Yet even though God’s redemptive plan would take shape through another sibling, he did not abandon Cain. God did not overreact to Cain’s sin and remained open to genuine repentance should Cain ever display that.

In all of this God remained faithful to his character, his promises, and his creatures. He continued to provide for their needs, blessing wherever he could without compromise. At same time, this and following story begin to make plain just how devastating and enslaving sin really is. And, boy, do we need a Redeemer – without him, we have no hope whatever.

Blessings Amid Curses

Genesis 3:14-24 

Is easy to start with perfection of Eden, hear the hammer blows of each curse, each consequence for sin falling on his creation and think “how awful, devastating, profoundly and radically changed life was after that. Is all true, but is not all there is.

From Adam and Eve’s perspective, when God showed up any hope they had for future disappeared. He told them the consequences of what they had done would be death – maybe understood what it meant, maybe not, knew it wouldn’t be good. Yet God did not leave them without reason for living, hope for some kind of future, even of something good after death. Every element of curses God issued accompanied by something to give hope.

Is important point to remember – in all the bad things that happen to us, neighbors, world there is cause for hope… when viewed from God’s perspective. Is not putting good spin on something truly bad, is recognizing there is more to existence than what we see with our eyes. Requires faith, spiritual understanding, Holy Spirit to grasp more fully – those of us who have it can pass it along to some degree to others who may not yet be born again.

#1 Satan’s ability to deceive is hindered

crawling in the dust

means Satan has to work harder to deceive – natural appearance not very seductive; also far fewer opportunities to engage “targets” from that position

opposed by at least some in the world – requires discernment

is not all seduction, relationship between agents of Satan and Seed will be one of conflict, hostility – Satan not permitted to move his agenda forward unopposed

significant “weapon” opposers have is truth and discernment Holy Spirit supplies – can be used to effectively unmask

#2 The woman will have children

greater blessing than #1

even though Satan can no longer deceive Adam and Eve as easily, not as significant if they are only humans on earth

as dire as their situation was… including eventual death, God intended human race to continue, carry out his original mandate

future generation might include a solution

even without knowing exact way God’s plan would work out, that there would be children huge opportunity for hope

#3 One of those children will further hinder Satan

greatest blessing of all

not much to go on here but… would be at least two generations and one of those offspring would cripple the serpent

hope for all generations

we know from later revelation: their sin caused offspring to be born in sin, in need of rescuing by the one Seed

#4 The man will provide for and protect the woman

failure will not end family

God’s original design for dad/mom/children will persist in spite of sin – dysfunctional, not nonfunctional

even though results are far from perfect, none of present alternative options come close to fulfilling God’s design

ruling comes with responsibility

good ruler who has best interests of ones ruled in view will: be kind, compassionate, giving and forgiving, protect and provide

dependence of wife and children on husband built into God’s design of man / woman and family – not related to worth or significance but need and God’s plan to meet it

#5 The ground will produce

thorns, thistles and herbs

seems like it produces more thorns than herbs, yet sin did not so corrupt significant number of plants to make them unfit for food

amazingly the ground produces something in abundance in majority of places without any effort made by man – grasses, trees, herbage adequate for needs of all creatures

what it produces will nourish

of sufficient quality and correct “ingredients” to adequately supply all of mankind’s nutritional needs… w/o need for meat, capable of sustaining individual life for several hundred years

#6 Mankind will in some measure carry out the Creation Mandate

subduing the earth requires extreme effort

nature itself does not cooperate as in the beginning – rocks, thorns, fear/violence in animals – yet man has brought much of natural world under his management

results almost certainly fall short of original potential for quality and quantity, yet even sinful man can do much according to plan

raising a family causes pain

pregnancy and childbirth only beginning of pain, continues in various forms throughout life – and yet families have spread to nearly every habitable corner of earth

#7 God set the pattern for forgiveness and reconciliation

first experience with death

skins for clothing required probably an animal apiece – prior to this time death was only intellectual concept, not experienced reality

carried out for their benefit and learning

was extremely graphic illustration leaving no doubt what ultimately awaited them – hard way to learn cost of their willful sin

God also modeling for them what now would be necessary regularly – sacrifice for sin and in return receiving God’s forgiveness, privilege of reconciliation to him

#8 God set a boundary to prevent their eternal misery

death itself would mean existence in sin-corrupted body and world is finite

saw from sacrificial animal they would not physically endure corrupting effect of sin forever – release would come at some point

at same time, begs the question of what comes after… and how would sin play into that – could they hope for final freedom

made certain by guardian assigned to tree of life

if Adam and Eve took of the tree of life, would have been irretrievably lost… forever… trapped in sinful condition with no hope of escape or deliverance

knowing man could not be trusted, God raised stakes for disobeying limits around tree of life: instant death

Don’t think God was making all this up on the fly – creation, fall into sin, subsequent death, promise of a redeemer all elements of God’s plan from before he made anything. Life on earth going just as God expected, his response to man’s need going according to plan also.

God surely displayed his righteous anger at sin that had occurred, but was not all God showed. Entire scene one where God’s grace and mercy are just as obvious as judgment. God made plain from beginning He was committed to his plan, his people, his purpose in all things. Rather than derail his plan, sin coming into the world gave opportunity for God to reveal aspects of his character that otherwise would have remained hidden.

Know from 7 days of creation that God is all-powerful. Know from this scene in the Garden our all-powerful God is also good… and he is determined to have a close personal relationship with his people. That should give hope to people of all kinds – if God went to lengths he did to restore Adam and Eve to fellowship, will he do any less for us?

Curses, Curses

Genesis 3:8-19 

Returning to study of Genesis and The Basics. Is essential, if we are to give comprehensive answer when people ask questions, to have good foundation in basic principles for all of life. We find them at least in seed form in first 10 chapters of Genesis. Who am I, where did I come from, why am I here, where am I going, how do I know all come to light in first book of the Bible. Better we know that, better we will understand how to approach life, how to help others approach life in God-honoring way.

Is a large segment of our culture and world that operates on presupposition that man is basically good; if he appears or acts otherwise, it must be because of something in his environment. This chapter lets us know if that view is correct, something that has a bearing on how most government departments are run and policies they try to implement. Some wonder why world is way it is, what went wrong with it – answer in our text.

How many times in the course of human history could God have rightly said, “I told you so!” Probably countless times in the life of each and every individual, Adam and Eve no exception. Had clearly told them, Gen. 2:16-17 

And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; “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.”

Along comes the serpent, spin doctor with no equal, persuades the woman God didn’t really mean what he said. Adam and Eve about to find out who spoke truth – God or the serpent. Don’t know how much they knew, what they might have suspected, how their lines of thinking actually ran. They for certain were not dummies, primitive ancestors of some type – quite the opposite, well informed, highly intelligent creatures with powers of reasoning equal to or greater than the best of our day. The instant they broke the law, they knew at least intuitively, something was dreadfully wrong, and probably no going back to the way it was… ever.

A. man hid  v.8

behind fig leaves (v.7)

first obvious sign of trouble: man-to-man relationship broken, started putting up walls, boundaries between

covering was a proper response to what had just happened, should not have relied on own genius to figure it out

today: Muslims want to cover more to prevent sin, unbelievers want to uncover more and deny sin

behind trees

tried another of their own solutions, like the first was totally inadequate for their need – really covering up the problem rather than solving it

from one another

things would surely lead to things, keeping secrets from each other quickly led to accusations, opposite of what God expected Adam to do

from God

almost certainly knew trees could not hide from eye of God, but didn’t dare to face openly – would rebel when he was out of sight, pulled back some in his presence

B. God called  v.9-11

God took the initiative

had already shown they wanted to fix their own problem, were not interested in seeking out God and his help

if there was ever to be communication/reconciliation between them and God, would have to start with God – even more true today, man has moved farther away, become more rebellious

God gave opportunity for confession

was justified in throwing book at them… but didn’t – graciously, tenderly approached by asking questions, drawing them in

God asked four questions, each one an opening for Adam and Eve to take responsibility and seek God’s forgiveness

man compounded his sin

kept putting walls up higher, defending behavior instead of acknowledging sinfulness of it – and God did not lose patience

C. man blamed  v.12-13

the man blamed the woman

just the opposite of what God wanted / intended Adam to do – his role: protect and defend, not sell her out to save his own skin

the man even blamed God

a two-finger blame game here, implying that God could / should have given him a better woman to get better results

real problem not with the quality of the woman / the helpmeet – problem with how Adam failed in his responsibility to both God and Eve – continues today, encouraged by feminists / LGBTQ / etc.

the woman blamed the serpent

Eve came closer to right response – she did tell the truth, really was deceived, acknowledged her act but not its sinfulness

none voluntarily took responsibility

both Adam and Eve stated what they did but nothing about it being disobedience, no hint of personal responsibility for actions

sound like the victim mentality so common today? blame-shifting, and attempted guilt-shifting, but God doesn’t buy it

D. God cursed  v.14-19

the serpent

Satan already in trouble, had led previous rebellion of angels against God’s authority and lost… facing certain eternal doom

God began with primary instigator – not entirely serpent’s fault, yet God still held him accountable, consigning him to crawling in the dust

also puts Satan on notice that his entire existence will be one of conflict… between himself and the woman’s Seed… and her natural offspring… without intermission or victory

the woman

already knows some of what she will face given the sentence on Satan – her future likewise one of conflict and suffering

had begun to experience some of that suffering, now is informed that will be way of life for her and all her descendants

quickly becomes obvious rosy picture serpent painted about what eating fruit would produce in reality all a sham – sin and what world / Satan promises never lives up to its billing

an action “intended” to free from restraint (God’s) actually further limited Eve’s freedom – husband will rule – no longer simple complementary partnership, is authority involved

the man

Adam’s sin as identified by God has two parts – failed to carry out duty as defender of his wife, taking leadership role in family

and… after that, he followed wife’s leadership into sin – Adam sinned against both Eve and God, condemning them both

consequences for Adam more fully described – life at home and in workplace now one of struggle and conflict and opposition

greatest consequence, life now would end – “to dust you shall return” – promised death is inevitable if not immediate

the ground

even nature itself pays a penalty for man’s sin – much of what God created good now diverted to different use / purpose

will no longer be perfect cooperation between man and his attempts to manage his surroundings, opposition instead

Every part of mankind’s existence and environment damaged, distorted, corrupted by entry of sin into world. God being God could not simply overlook it – had laid down the law: if you disobey, you will die. But God in his great mercy didn’t end the story there. His comprehensive plan did not end with condemnation and judgment. Have skated over some important principles in this passage, those that were designed to give Adam and Eve hope in an otherwise hopeless situation. You’ll have to come next week to hear that!

Shattered Relationships: The Fall

Genesis 3:1-13 

No big secret, is obvious to people the world over that something is not quite right. Things are not the way they ought to be on this planet, maybe not even in the universe. Bible confirms that perspective: begins with creation (heaven and earth), ends with new creation (new heaven and earth, Rev. 21:1ff)… what happened? What you get for an answer depends on who you ask, what their basic worldview is.

Only one explanation that adequately addresses all the issues, provides coherent answer to the question… the one found in our text. Is the one answer that leads to genuine solution, one that provides hope. Is also the one people are least likely to find on their own.

A. questioning God  v.1

questioning God’s word – “is it really true?”

serpent acting as agent of Satan, fallen angel, fired opening shot – tactic we take as matter of course now… spin

common tactic that works so effectively to manipulate people: FUD – only takes carefully worded question, partially reported statement to begin process

first round: did God really say that? – might wonder who in right mind would question God’s word… happens every day, including in the church: yeah it says this but really means that

questioning God’s goodness

once you begin questioning / doubting someone’s word, what they really said, close second is questioning character/motive

by introducing doubt about what God said, was easy progression for Eve to wonder if God had her best interests in mind

and if God was holding out on her, what would that mean about God’s character… and… down slippery slope she went

NOTE: beginning of Eve’s discontent had its root in Eve focusing on what she did not have instead of abundance she did have

B. misquoting God  v.2-3

this plus that

give Eve credit – everything God said Eve repeated correctly; problem came when she went beyond what God said

is that in abundance even today, well-meaning people including Christians putting words in God’s mouth he never intended

now God is not only holding out on her, keeping her from full enjoyment of what she deserved, God is excessively restrictive in setting unreasonable boundaries

truth mixed with error

here is second assault on truth – adding to it, mixing with it what will make it toxic: old version d-Con 99.5% non-toxic

successful spin doctor only adds microscopic amount of error… to start, then slowly methodically adds more untruth

NOTE: best safeguard against being taken in with error: keep going back to what you know to be pure truth, God’s Word

C. contradicting God  v.4-5

that won’t happen

Eve would not have been taken in by blatant contradiction at start – by round three, confidence in God and his goodness weakened enough so she listened

contradiction made more appealing by what was promised as benefit – that also common tactic in present world

this will happen instead

potential benefits will outweigh side effects – worst you expect not going to happen, but you will gain this if you act

gain understanding – eyes will be opened; gain position – be like God; gain knowledge – both good and evil

two out of three not bad, would gain understanding and knowledge – would not / could not be like God by taking that route

NOTE: these things promoted by serpent as benefits even though acquiring them would be deadly – how many things like that today: evil wrapped up and presented as good

D. defying God  v.6-7

he’s right and You’re wrong

notice where Eve looked – at the tree, not God… at what she did not have, not the One who gave all she needed in abundance

was also looking at forbidden fruit from perspective of wrong worldview, intentionally distorted by serpent in order to deceive

I know what I want

relying on her now distorted vision, could see nothing dangerous about fruit, believed she knew what was best for her

everything she could see was desirable – the fruit itself, the promised benefits of eating it, perceived liberty she would enjoy

I know what will meet my need / desire

tragic irony of all this – Eve already possessed everything that would be good for her

she understood and knew what was good, already was as like God as she could be… she bore his image, had perfect freedom to do what was good

by defying God she added only evil to understanding and knowledge, lost her freedom and became hopelessly enslaved

E. quarreling with God  v.8-13

you make me afraid

went quickly from bad to worse to awful – two who had perfect open fellowship with each other and God at each other’s throat… starting with God

uncertainty and doubt encouraged by serpent now accompanied by fear – should have feared serpent, instead blamed God

she made me do it

no hint of ownership here, acceptance of responsibility – one who made Adam, one made from Adam now enemies

big picture outcome would not have largely changed yet God gave Adam & Eve plenty of opportunity for repentance and forgiveness… but they resisted

it’s his fault

Eve followed same pattern, dodging responsibility and placing blame on the serpent for his deception

a whole cascade of sinful thoughts and actions here… against God… and one another… yet all part of God’s eternal plan

F. consequences from God

came about either as result of God’s design for mankind or by direct of God as described in following section

man with self

no longer able to view self accurately – had disobeyed God and then defended it, viewing self as victim of another’s actions and not a responsible agent

man with (wo)man

failed to properly honor one another: Adam protecting and defending his wife, Eve looking to Adam for guidance

Eve acted on her own authority, usurped Adam’s role as head; Adam listened to wife rather than lead

began to hide from one another – were trying to hide from God, but fig leaves started the barriers between man and man

man with God

hid from God because he was afraid – knew without being told things had changed, never be the same again

if Adam and Eve’s first response to hide behind fig leaves and bushes, no wonder mankind today does not naturally seek God

man with ground

will come in next section but by God’s decree the earth that would have cooperated will now resist man’s attempts to subdue

That we are here several thousand years later testifies to amazing grace of God. While every relationship would ultimately be shattered by Fall into sin, God not satisfied to leave his creation in that fallen condition. Even before sin was a reality, God had purposed how he was going to reconcile sinners to himself and one another. Made a promise immediately after Fall that in his perfect time was fulfilled. Seed of the woman did indeed crush the head of the serpent, provide way for sinful people to be delivered from slavery in sin, enjoy restored relationships and gift of eternal life.

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.