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Scripture reading – Genesis 2; Genesis 3
Review – Genesis 1
We read, on the sixth day of creation, “God [Elohim] said, Let us make [create] man in our image, after our likeness” (1:26a). Notice the plurality of the Godhead (God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit) was indicated in Genesis 1:26 in two ways. In English, “God” appears to be a singular noun; however, in Hebrew it is the plural name for God, “Elohim.” A second indication of the Trinity was the plural pronouns, “us…our” (1:26a). So, we conclude, the three persons of the Godhead determined by divine counsel, to create man in God’s image and after His likeness (1:26a).
Understanding “God is a Spirit” (Genesis 1:2; John 4:24), we determine the image of God, after which man was created was a spiritual, not a physical likeness. Furthermore, “God created man…male and female created he them” (1:27). Physically, God determined two sexes, “male and female,” and biologically and genetically there was no exception.
When the sixth day concluded (a day consisting of an evening and morning, and thus a 24-hour passage of time), “God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good” (1:31). The emphasis on “good” (Genesis 1:4, 10, 12, 18, 21, 25) and “very good” (1:31) implied creation was perfect, lacking in nothing. Therefore, any possibility of an evolutionary process for life and nature was eliminated.
Adam, as the federal head of the human race, was commissioned by God to be a steward of creation. Man was commanded, “Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth” (1:28). The procreation of the human race was God’s will and plan. Moreover, nature was created for man, and not man for nature. When God commanded Adam to “subdue…and have dominion” over creation, He imparted to man the authority and responsibility to harness and utilize earth’s resources for himself (1:28-30).
The sum of all God created in six days was deemed, “very good” (1:31). God not only gave Adam life; He gave Him purpose. (2:7-8). Returning to the sixth day of creation, we read, “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul (2:7). Unlike the rest of creation, which He spoke into existence, God “formed man” (2:7). Like a potter shapes and fashions clay into a vessel, Adam was a “hands on” creation, fashioned and shaped by God. Now, the body of Adam was lifeless, until God “breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul” (2:7).
The moment described in verse 7 is full of meaning. For instance, the word “breathed” (2:7) is the word used to describe a blacksmith using a bellows to rekindle or increase the heat of a fire. So, God breathed into Adam, not only the “breath of life,” but a living, eternal, consciousness of life and His Creator. God then placed Adam in “a garden eastward in Eden,” that He planted and prepared for man (2:8).
Why did God put a tree in the garden, and forbid Adam to eat its fruit? (2:9-17)
The answer to that question addresses the nature of man. Adam was not a mindless robot, for he was given the privilege of “free will.” He had the freedom and responsibility of free choice, and the power to choose between obedience and disobedience (Genesis 2:9, 16-17). Adam was given liberty to eat of any tree (1:29; 2:16), but with one limitation: the fruit of “the tree of the knowledge of good and evil” (2:17). Remember: The forbidden fruit was not a test of God’s love for Adam, but a test of Adam’s love and devotion to God.
A Wife for Life (2:18-25)
God declared all He created good (Genesis 1:4, 10, 12, 18, 21, 25); with one exception: “It is not good that the man should be alone” (2:18). Spiritually, Adam had the company and fellowship of His Creator (3:8-9).Physically, God provided food to sustain him, and a purpose for life, for Adam was “to dress…and keep” the garden (2:15). Socially, however, Adam was incomplete; he lacked a companion (2:18). Time and space do not permit me to illustrate the beauty and spiritual meaning of marriage, but it is a union of two independent lives, who in the sight of God, become “one flesh” (2:24).
In the infinite wisdom of God, He created woman from Adam’s rib and side (2:21-22). Eve was truly of the bones and flesh of Adam (2:23). All other men have been born of woman, but the first woman was made from man, and for man (1 Corinthians 11:8). Genesis 2 closed with the Scriptures revealing marriage and family were conceived in the heart of God: “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh” (2:25). “One flesh” is in essence, a unity of heart and purpose: Together, forever, Adam and Eve were to love, obey, and serve God with a singleness of heart.
Genesis 3 – Adam, Eve, and the Forbidden Fruit
The forbidden fruit was, in Eve’s opinion, “good for food…pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise” (3:6). Yet, the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil was the one place Adam could turn from God. Rather than a temptation to sin, the forbidden fruit provided the first man and woman an opportunity to love, trust, and obey their Creator. Tragically, Eve strayed from the loving boundaries God had placed on humanity, and Adam, as the federal head of the human race, made a decision of fatal consequence for all mankind: “He did eat”(3:6). With their consciences awakened to sin, and “the knowledge of good and evil” (2:17), for the first time, Adam and Eve felt shame and fear (3:7-10). God interrogated Adam, asking him, “Where art thou?” (3:9). Adam confessed, “I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself” (3:10).
The consequences of Adam’s sin were not limited to himself or his wife.
Condemned for his disobedience, the effect of Adam’s sin was immediate and far-reaching. His labor would be judged, and the fertile ground that once brought forth a bounty of fruit, would be cursed, and choked with thorns and thistles (3:17-19). Without God’s intervention, Adam was doomed, for the LORD had warned him, “thou shalt surely die” (2:17). In an act of grace, and loving compassion, God “made coats of skins, and clothed” Adam and Eve’s nakedness (3:21).
Closing thoughts – Adam’s Sin is Our Problem (1 Corinthians 15:21-22) – Adam was the first man, and his nature, like his genetics, has been passed from generation to generation. Paul wrote, “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive” (1 Corinthians 15:22). Yet, in an act of loving mercy and grace, we read, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Roman 6:23).
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