Saturday, January 16, 2010

Genesis Chapter Two

After some debate and prayer about the matter, I decided to insert this prologue for the study of Genesis chapter 2. I know there is heated debate, as there has been for many years concerning the topic of Evolution verses Creation, or Intelligent Design, if you prefer. I know there are men such as Mr. Richard Dawkins who speak with great vehemence and authority about their belief that there is no God, no guiding force that began life, and ultimately the causation of all the universe is unknown or self-caused. Minnesota’s own Mr. PZ Myers went on record about the fallacy of religion, declaring that if you removed the ethical content of the Bible you would only be left with fairy tales. A good number of Evolutionary apologists (such as the men named above) would quickly go on record to say that religion is evil, that there is no God, and Evolution is an irrefutable fact. These are men with extensive scientific credentials, men who have years of learning and experience under their belt. They are some of the most prominent minds of the scientific body today. Yet we are clearly warned in Scripture that there are many men who are, “ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth,” 2nd Timothy 3:7. This same apostle, inspired by the Holy Spirit, warned his disciple, “Avoid profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called,” 1st Timothy 6:20.
Evolutionists would lead us to believe that science has proven there is no God, no Heaven, no life after death, no absolute morality. Yet none of these conclusions are in any way scientific, but rather philosophical and metaphysical; realms which science can not breach. The scientist adopting this world-view is holding to the assumptions which tend to walk hand in hand with Evolution. If the universe created itself, and living matter sprang from non-living matter, then there is no need, or room, for God. But the Law of Biogenesis, which simply states that only life begets life, flies right in the face of Evolution’s very foundation: the assumption that non-living material begot living organisms. Non-intelligent material somehow, by pure chance, manufactured intelligently encoded cells and DNA within those cells. How does something nonliving and unintelligent produce life and coded instructions, which imply intelligent manufacturing? Furthermore the first and second laws of thermodynamics disagree with Evolution. The first law of thermodynamics is the law of conservation of energy, and states that the quantity of energy in the universe remains constant, yet its quality diminishes over time. For a universe evolving from primitive and inferior, to complex and superior forms of life, this seems highly counterproductive to Evolution’s goals. The second law is the law of increasing entropy, which tells us that all things are breaking down, wearing out, in short: dying. Joshua, Moses’ successor, seemed to understand this universal scientific law when he declared in his farewell speech: “Behold, this day I am going the way of all the earth,” Joshua 23:14. If things are truly wearing out, then mankind and the universe at large are on a scale of downward regression, not upward Evolution! The conclusion being, when a scientist inclined toward Evolution begins to speak about God, eternity and related topics, they are no longer teaching science, but preaching religion. It is the religion of Evolution and Atheism. Yes, Atheism is a religion; and Evolution tends to become its doctrine.

I present for anyone’s interest a brief listing of former scientists who were not only pioneers in their field of expertise, but were either Christian, or at least believed in a Creator God. Louis Pasteur (1822-1895), bacteriology; Isaac Newton (1642-1727), calculus; Johann Kepler (1571-1630), Celestial Mechanics; Robert Boyle (1626-1691), chemistry; Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519), hydraulics; Blaise Pascal (1623-1662), Hydrostatics; Lord Kelvin (1824-1907), thermodynamics. I’ll finish with a pair of quotes from two of our most illustrious presidents in this nation’s history; men that believed in the presence of God while having a genuine, rational grip on their mind and reasoning faculties. George Washington stated, “It is impossible to account for the creation of the universe without the agency of a Supreme Being.” Abraham Lincoln contributed: “I can see how it might be possible for a man to look down upon earth and be an atheist, but I cannot conceive how he could look up into the heavens and say there is no God.”
Remember that Evolution is a theory, not a fact. Evolution is under girded by numerous assumptions, one of which is called “uniformitarianism.” Basically it means that present processes reflect past processes, and therefore by observing the present we learn about the past. In short, “the status quo has (theoretically) never changed.” Radioactive dating methods (uranium to lead, potassium to argon) are based on this giant assumption, which if proven wrong, would render such dating methods grossly inaccurate. As it stands, many samples are incongruent. It demands a leap of faith, because this theory cannot be tested, re-created by experiments, or in any way proven. Christians, Paul admonished us, “that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting,” Ephesians 4:14. Genesis is the foundation of our Bible, accurate and historical, every word of it inspired. It is the first leg of a long journey which introduces us to the One who is the Truth that sets us free, John 8:32. I beseech you, honor the words of our Lord by believing them.

2:1-2 the heavens and the earth were finished…and on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made
There is no more creation occurring with animals, plants, or men. God said the work is finished, and He rested from His labor on the seventh day, and blessed the seventh day. This includes the heavens and their host (see verse 1), as well as the earth and its host. The angels were made within these six days, as well as humanity in an “as is” condition, disallowing our sin nature, which was brought in shortly thereafter. But sin is an elegant testimony that we are not evolving, but rather regressing. The Bible makes it crystal clear that only two men, Adam and Jesus, ever lived the way a man ought live in this life. Paul is inspired to write, “The first man Adam became a living being (or soul). The last Adam became a life-giving spirit…The first man was of the earth, made of dust; the second Man is the Lord from heaven,” 1st Corinthians 15:45,47. The Holy Spirit is careful to intimate that Jesus Christ is the second Man since Adam who is truly made as a man should be, in God’s image; and He is the last Man- in other words there will be no others after Him. He alone provided salvation through His atoning work, and if we wait for “another” to arrive, we wait in vain, even if we wait a million more years. Where as Adam transgressed, Christ came to rectify. Adam sinned, Christ made atonement for sin. Adam disobeyed, Christ lived in loving obedience to the Father. Adam passed on our sin nature, Jesus died for the sins of the world. Being sinless, He did not have to die for Himself, since death is the penalty for sin. Jesus, being sinless, could have escaped the wages of sin. Yet He died for us, to provide a means to be forgiven and reconciled to God. Adam, in fact, was a type of Christ, if I am not misunderstood. He was, before the Fall, without sin, walking in perfect harmony with the Father.
2:3 God blessed the seventh day
I know there are those who say that the Law of the Sabbath was instituted from the first. I have read sermons by John Calvin saying as such, more or less, and I have read other expositions attesting to this doctrine. Yet The Law (of which keeping the Sabbath was a part of) was not given until Israel was freed from Egypt and led to Mount Sinai under Moses, Exodus chapter 20. In fact the word “Sabbath” is not mentioned in the Bible until Israel is on the march in Exodus chapter 16, verse 23. If you give a careful reading to verses 22-31, it appears that God is instituting the Sabbath in Israel while they march, for Moses explains the matter as though it is a new thing. Verse 29 reads, “For the Lord has given you (Moses and Israel) the Sabbath.” The Sabbath was conjoined with the manna which fell out of heaven, and miraculously fed the Jews. While the Jews did not at first understand God’s desire for them to rest because He supplied them with enough manna to feed them for two days on the Sabbath, they eventually comprehended, “So the people rested on the seventh day,” verse 30. Jesus likened Himself to the manna from heaven, and called Himself Lord of the Sabbath, both terms and objects vivid to the Jewish mind. He was implying, like the manna which rained two days worth before the Sabbath Day, if anyone placed their faith in Him, they would cease from their work and rest, entering into the Lord’s Sabbath, Hebrews 4:10. Scripture testifies that the Law (this includes the Sabbath) was ordained only for Israel, Psalm 147:19-20; Deuteronomy 4:8, 40; 33:2-4; Malachi 4:4. It is also interesting to note that if you search the New Testament you will search in vain for the integration of the Sabbath into the church. The rest of the commandments are somehow translated in, being moral laws; yet the Sabbath is entirely absent. No, the Lord’s Day (Sunday) did not replace it. The disciples broke bread and gathered together every day at first, Acts 2:46.
2:4 These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the Lord God created the earth and the heavens.
The New King James renders “These are the generations” as “This is the history” of our planet, universe, and the heavenly realm. This verse is a recapping of Genesis 1:1-2:3; the entire creation week. The Holy Spirit is very clear in detailing that both heavens and earth were created during this same week. The angels, the sons of God first noticed in chapter 6, were created in this week, with mankind being the conclusion of God’s creation. While mankind was created “a little lower than the angels,” God set man over the works of His hands, Psalm 8:5-6. It was God’s desire that man should be conformed into the image of Christ, being already created in the image of God, of which the angels were not. Angels were created as ministering spirits, sent forth to minister to those who inherit salvation, Hebrews 1:14. When Christ descended to the earth, He took on the form of a man, to redeem men from their sins. He did not take on the form of angels, Hebrews 2:16. The literal Greek renders the passage, “He did not take hold of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham.” It seems apparent that the heavens were created before the earth (see Job 38:4-7.) These mighty ranks of angels, Lucifer present among them, saw the creation of mankind. By way of comparison, mankind must have appeared quite insignificant to him. Lucifer’s original name meant, “Light bearer;” He was a cherubim, standing near the throne of God in the heavenly Zion, amidst a Garden of fiery stones, which was named Eden, Ezekiel 28:13-14. There is no comparison to the Garden we find in Genesis chapter 2-3, so I am inclined to believe that this rebellion occurred entirely in Heaven. While some see discrepancy between the chapters, I see a second, more thorough telling of the creation of mankind, the race that our Redeemer would take the form of to die on behalf of. Christ is the Second Adam, and the Last, 1st Corinthians 15:45,47.
2:6 there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground
This mist was a reservoir from the waters of the firmament that were gathered by God during the creation week. There were not only seas on the surface of the earth, but some subterranean wellspring of water that was vast enough, and ample enough, to water the whole face of the earth since rain had not been known. For reasons of His own, God withheld rain, instead watering the earth with these natural springs or geysers. They hint at the vast destruction the earth would undergo shortly, when the fountains of the great deep erupted during the days of Noah. The sudden violence and loss of life, not to mention the remnant of the people that were actually saved by God’s grace, are examples of what the Day of the Lord shall be like when it finally comes. Such times are reminiscent of our own. We live in a dispensation of grace, when Jesus has taken the role of Mediator for sinful man, and Advocate before the Father. These are the days when the wellsprings water the land pleasantly. Yet, like the breaking Flood, wrath will one day arrive, for the Mediator and Advocate will come forth as the Lion of the tribe of Judah, coming as Judge of the living and the dead. From His judgment the wicked, those who have rejected God’s free offer of salvation through Jesus Christ, will be drown in destruction and perdition. Mercy and wrath flow from the same source. “And as it was in the days of Noah…” Luke 17:26.
2:7 God formed man from the dust of the ground…and man became a living soul
Solomon, writing with biting cynicism, says, “Concerning the conditions of the sons of men, God tests them, that they may see that they themselves are like animals…as one dies, so dies the other…all go to one place (the grave): all are from the dust, and all return to dust,” Ecclesiastes 3:18-20. The Psalmist says, “As a father pities his children, so the Lord pities those who fear Him. For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust,” Psalm 103:13-14. Even though our outward man is perishing (that is, our flesh), yet for the Christian born by grace through faith in Christ, our inward man is being renewed day by day, 2nd Corinthians 4:16. “Renew” in that verse can also mean “to renovate, or prop up.” Our body is dying as a result of the curse of sin and death, but our spirit is alive because of the work of the Holy Spirit in us. As Paul explains elsewhere, “if (mark this word!) Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness,” Romans 8:10. We know from many Scriptures that God is life, and if God abides in us through His Holy Spirit, we have eternal life, because we have God. If you have indeed died with Christ to the world, then we are to be assured that our life is hidden with Christ in God, and that in fact Jesus Christ IS our life, Colossians
3:3-4. This is why John the Baptist could testify, “He who believes in the Son has everlasting life (the quality of God’s life is eternal); and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life,” John 3:36. You will not see life because you do not have Christ, who alone is our life. He said, “I am…the life, John 11:25. Though man is made of dust, yet God has given to us an immortal soul, and by being reborn, we may have a relationship with Him that goes beyond this earthly and finite existence. Our walk with God will only deepen as the endless ages of eternity continue, like the depths of an ocean whose breadth and width are limitless as God.
2:8 The Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden
God formed Adam from the dust, planted Eden after his creation, and brought him there. Adam was created from someplace outside of Eden, and was led or translated there by God to tend the Garden on God’s behalf. If Eden is indeed a shadow of Paradise, then it is informative that Adam was formed first outside the Garden, and then led within by God Himself, just as God called Noah into the Ark and then sealed it Himself, Genesis 7:1,16. We carry in us first the image of the man of dust, and through the new birth by faith in Jesus Christ alone we bear the image of the heavenly Man, 1st Corinthians 15:46-49. It is striking the name of God in this verse, who led Adam into Eden. “Lord” in the Hebrew is Yahweh or Jehovah. This name refers to God as Savior. “God” in the Hebrew is Elohim, which carries the connotation of being the supreme God, the only God. From the first God was understood to be mankind’s Savior, because He was also mankind’s Creator, the only Being in the universe with power to create and destroy. Elohim is also properly plural, carrying with it the idea of the Trinity. If I may reverently paraphrase the name: “God, the true and only Savior.”
2:9 the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
Both of these, according to Scripture, were real trees. I hold that the tree of knowledge of good and evil was not some mystical object with magical fruit. It could have been flowers, or vegetables, or leaves, or the pond of knowledge of good and evil. The evil was in the disobedience of Adam, not in the fruit. Adam chose his will over God’s, and thus entered sin. Exalting our will over God’s is the staple of our lives when we are unsaved; and too often after we are saved, sadly. The tree of life was likewise a real tree, which God forbade Adam and Eve to eat from after they sinned, Genesis 3:22-23. Did it live up to its name? Or would it have? There is no reason to think otherwise. Did it grant eternal life? That is God’s dominion alone. This is entirely my opinion, and may be taken or left at that. I believe the tree may have sustained mortal life indefinitely, so long as they ate from it habitually; perhaps a good reason why God removed Adam from the garden. In this light (again this is only opinion) the tree of life becomes a symbol of salvation by works. Perhaps Adam was forbidden at this point what he had been allowed before he sinned due to this reason. The only command was not to eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. The tree of life was available. When Adam sinned, God was showing his creation that not his efforts (eating of the tree of life) would repair, reverse or mend what had been done. No human effort was going to restore the ruined relationship between God and man. No, it would be God Himself coming as a Man, the Seed of the woman, who would undo, repair and rectify the ruin and Fall of man due to disobedience and sin. The tree of life is in the new Heaven and earth, Revelation 22:2. It is freely available for consumption then, since everyone who partakes is already saved by grace through faith, and the eating of the tree is a privilege allowed by God to redeemed men and women. What man was forbidden due to our forfeiture through sin, we are allowed by the grace of God through the worthiness of His Son’s offering.
2:17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die
First of all, let us clear the air about the tree itself. Was the fruit of the tree magical, in that it possessed a quality that would cause Adam and Eve to die? No, in fact it is testified in Genesis that Adam, after eating the forbidden fruit, went on to live another 930 years or so, depending on when he disobeyed God’s command. Most believe this was immediate, however. There was actually no intrinsic “evil” about the tree, the knowledge of good and evil came due to their disobedience, rebellion, and sin. It was evil to disobey God, therefore their eyes were indeed opened to know between good and evil. They could even have eaten from the tree of life, which God Himself attested would cause a man to live forever, Genesis 3:22. Had he done this in innocence, there would have been no harm, and Adam and Eve might well have been immortal if these words are taken literally. But they had fallen in sin by this point, and God did not want them eating of the fruit of that tree in their sinful state, or the consequences might well have been eternal. It was not an evil God performed by forbidding them the tree of life, but a kindness, since He was already planning to provide an atonement for their sin. Hell is the condition of being locked into your state of decay and death forever; this might well have been the case with our first parents, had they eaten of the fruit of the tree of life. Sin caused the Fall of man, not fruit. “The soul who sins shall die,” Ezekiel 18:20. “The wages of sin is death,” Romans 6:23. Sin is rebellion, we are basically telling God that we can govern our lives better than He can; that we are wiser than He is, and that our will should be elevated above His. The essence of sin is pride, and pride, at its back, is a desire to want to be God. In our own way, every time we break one of God’s moral laws, this is what we are saying. We don’t want to be judged, we don’t want to be told what to do and what not to do, we hate the idea that there exists a right and wrong that are absolute, and that shall be applied to our life when we expire, to see how we compare with a perfect moral standard. Adam was given one law, and through the breaking of that law sin entered the world, and through sin death came to all mankind, and all the creation. But this served God’s purpose; because in that all sinned, God could have mercy on all by providing a Savior for our race.
2:22 And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from the man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man
I have read men who have observed that the rib taken from under Adam’s arm was to show that a husband ought to protect his wife. It was taken near to his heart to reveal that a husband ought to love his wife. It was from the very fabric of his person to show the way in which a husband should view his wife, how to treat her, and the grounds of our relationship with her. Two verses later we find the primeval marriage vow, “The two shall become one flesh.” Paul builds on this notion: “So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church,” Ephesians 5:28-29. God made woman from man, and gave man to be the head of the household, 1st Corinthians 11:3. But a husband bears the responsibility of loving his wife as though she were a part of his own flesh. Would you cut your arm off when you are angry? Then don’t beat your wife. Do you tongue lash yourself when you’re in a bad mood? Then refrain from verbally abusing your wife. She is your help meet, your partner in marriage, not a slave or servant. Together, a lawfully joined husband and wife, also joined in the Lord, are a powerful, small church body. As like comes from like, so we learn that Christians are to marry, “only in the Lord,” 1st Corinthians 7:39. I may be so bold as to use this analogy: if God will not bring the unsaved to heaven lest they be converted, nor should a believer marry one of the unsaved, lest they be born again. Marriage was to be monogamous, lifelong, and heterosexual for the purpose of rearing up children unto the Lord, Mark 10:6-12; Malachi 2:13-15; 1st Timothy 2:15.
2:25 they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed
In the beginning, Adam and Eve were literally naked, as well as spiritually and emotionally naked. There was no reason for hiding anything, for sin was not present to create shame, guilt, egotism, or self-centeredness. Both our first parents were God-centered in their thinking and reasoning. Being self-centered (focused primarily on self, and self’s interests) is a ramification of the Fall. When Adam walked with God there was no self-esteem or selfishness. There was esteem for God the Creator, and gratitude for His kindness. Sin marred the image of God in Adam, and in us, and now we are bent on serving self, pleasing self, and deifying self. This was Satan’s first lie, our parent’s first sinful desire, and mankind’s perpetual bane and downfall through every age that we have walked through. “And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he that endures to the end shall be saved,” Matthew 10:22. We live in a world that hates Jesus Christ because we have an inordinate preoccupation with our self. There is no room for a God who wishes to be enthroned in a heart filled with me, my wants and my efforts to be autonomous. Our carnal heart is, “deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked,” Jeremiah 17:9. It was not so from the first, as this passage attests. “God made man upright (that is, innocent), but they have sought out many schemes,” Ecclesiastes 7:29. What schemes? Schemes at governing the world while impeaching God. Schemes at elevating carnal intellect while tearing down godly wisdom. Schemes of immortalizing man as we ascend into heaven without having to be purged by the blood of Christ. Truly the god of this world has blinded the eyes of those who would lead us. But to those who are the elect: “Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence toward God. And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight,” 1st John 3:21-22. Or more plainly, “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus,” Romans 8:1. In a very real sense we still follow Adam and Eve’s example by sewing fig leaves together to hide our shame and guilt from God and each other in the form of atheism, philosophy, psychology, man-made religion or simply being a “good” or “moral” person; ambiguous terms that lack any universal definition to today’s hearer. Yet, “there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account,” Hebrews 4:13. God sees us as we really are, so ensure that when He looks upon you, He sees the blood of His Son, which speaks of reconciliation and forgiveness.

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All Scripture is taken from the King James Bible (KJV) or New King James Bible (NKJV). Copyright 1979, 1980, 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.