IN THE BEGINNING GOD (PART 8 ) – THE GOSPEL IS GENESIS 3
During the Sunday service Pastor (Mrs) Silvia Lia Leigh preached from the Book of Genesis chapter 3. She said that Genesis chapter 3 is absolutely essential in understanding the Bible and the history of man. Here we see how sin entered humanity. For the first time, we are presented with the Gospel of Christ. If you study the history of man, there is no better explanation of why things happen the way they do, except you believe the doctrine of the fall of man and the doctrine of the original sin.
THE FALL OF MAN also called the fall of Adam, or simply the Fall, is a term used in Christianity to describe the transition of the first man and woman from a state of innocent obedience to God to a state of guilty disobedience. The doctrine of the Fall comes from a biblical interpretation of Genesis, chapters 1-3. God created Adam and Eve perfect. They were innocent concerning sin. But God allowed their free will to manifest. Obedience meant life. Disobedience to God’s command meant death. God gave Adam a covenant of works. He broke the covenant. God then sent His Son Jesus Christ with a covenant of Grace. We believe Jesus Christ, that He died for us. Grace means unmerited favor. If Adam, as perfect as he was could not keep the covenant of works, God knew that we cannot keep it. That is why Grace is introduced thru Christ. That is why salvation in Christ cannot fail. We are saved by Grace, thru faith in Jesus Christ, in His death on the Cross. Salvation in Christ is eternal!
THE ORIGINAL SIN: The fall of man affected all humanity and even the creation. Adam broke God’s law. He sinned! He was our representative on earth. This sin has affected all humanity. All Adam’s descendants are born sinners. The nature of the first sin: man refused to submit himself to the will of God, to have God decide the course of his life. He wanted to be independent from God. Devil’s pride entered man. Pride means to remove God from the center of man’s heart and replace Him with self. This first sin affected the whole man, body, mind, emotions and will. It corrupted man. Thru sin, sickness and death entered humanity. Sin reveals itself in the mind mostly as unbelief; in the emotions as fear and restlessness; and in his will as pride! “As it is written: There is none righteous, no, not one… all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom 3:10, 23). In Greek, the word ‘sin’ means ‘to miss the mark’, to fail to be fulfilled, to be disappointed in life. All unbelievers, no matter how wealthy or famous, are never satisfied with their success or possessions. The words ‘fall short’ mean failure to obtain something precious, failing the exam of life, becoming inferior, demoted, being too late to catch the train of life. God is a God of glory. Glory is what makes God, God. Glory is a combination of beauty and power. It is life shining like the light. God made man to be ‘in His own image’. Man was created to be covered with God’s glory. Sin separated man from His God and the glory was removed. Man discovered himself to be naked. Glory covers! Sin exposes! “The LORD will create above every dwelling place of Mount Zion, and above her assemblies, a cloud and smoke by day and the shining of a flaming fire by night. For over all the glory there will be a covering” (Is 4:5). Jehovah ‘will create’. In Hebrew, this is the same word as in Genesis 1:1. ‘In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth…’. In Christ, God’s glory is restored. It will manifest as a cloud and smoke by day, to protect from the heat, from the temptations of life. God’s glory over His people, over His church will also be as ‘the shinning of a flaming fire by night’. This describes a weapon of light and fire; like a flash, a sharply polished blade, a sword moving over the church. This picture reminds us of the cherubs stationed at the gate of the Garden of Eden, blocking men to re-enter, to eat from the tree of life (Gen 3:24). Mount Zion is the assembly of God’s worshippers (Heb 12:22-24). They are inside the garden of life now, and God’s glory protects them from the outsiders. They will never be found naked or rejected. In Christ, they are ‘accepted in the Beloved’ (Eph 1:6). God sacrificed the pure Lamb and used the bloody skins to make covering for man (Gen3:21). Blood was shed for glory to come back and to cover God’s His people. The unbelieves are always naked and ashamed before God. But there is total protection for the children of God! Glory to God!
WHAT IS MAN? I read on the internet that Yale University biophysicist Harold J. Morowitz says that the human body is worth $6 million. And that price covers only the raw materials – hormones, proteins, enzymes, etc. The intricate work of fashioning the material into human cells might cost six thousand trillion dollars. And assembling these cells into a functioning human being would drain all the world’s treasures. Oh, Lord, “when I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have ordained, What is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that You visit him? For You have made him a little lower than the angels, and You have crowned him with glory and honor. You have made him to have dominion over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet” (Psalm 8:3-6). In Hebrew, the word ‘mindful’ means to remember, to think about. To ‘visit’ it means to inspect, to oversee, to care. Man is sinful, an enemy to God. Man is weak and useless to God. Even so, God who created man, loves man, and God saves man from himself! Christ took flesh upon Himself to die for man. Man is a reflected glory of God! This is a great mystery! Glory to God!
THE CONSEQUENCES OF SIN FOR ADAM AND EVE
The serpent questions Eve about God’s law. He plants seeds of doubt in Eve’s mind, about God’s power and goodness. It gives the impression that God does not have the power to kill them, even if they disobey His law. The devil also makes Eve dissatisfied with God’s provision. He gives the impression that God does not love them enough by restricting them to eat from the fruit of knowledge of good and evil. The idea is that God wants them to be foolish, like slaves. Also, the devil injects pride in Eve’s mind. Suddenly, Eve looks foolish. But this is a reminder of the power of sin, the sinfulness of sin. Deceived, Eve gives the fruit to Adam who eats it also. We are told that Adam was not deceived like his wife. He disobeyed God’s law. His sin is more of rebellion. That was his fall. When Adam saw that Eve eat the fruit and did not die immediately, he was encouraged to eat too. Because Adam was the leader of the home, he now must take responsibility for both of their sins. The doctrine is called the Fall of man or of Adam, and not of Eve. “Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression” (1 Tim 2:13, 14). In the Garden, Adam and Eve had fellowship with God. This fellowship was to be the source of their faith and all knowledge. Not the fruit of that tree. Just imagine the sound of Jehovah Elohim walking in the early evening, when the weather is pleasant, when the wind blows softly, after the heat of the day. God comes as the owner of the Garden to fellowship with His people. In the past, they Adam and Eve waited happily for these daily visits. But after the fall, Adam and Eve hide behind the trees. They were ashamed and afraid. They did not know that God sees thru any covering. No man can hide before God. They feared the judgment of God! “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” (Heb 4:13). Once they eat the forbidden fruit, their eyes ‘are opened’. They became ‘like God’. But not exactly! They now know there is good and evil, God and Satan. But this knowledge was not to their advantage. This illegal knowledge, gained thru sin, became their bondage. The devil became their master. God alone knows good and evil, but He is free from evil. The knowledge of evil in Adam corrupted him. He lost his innocence. It is only in Christ, that we regain what Adam has lost. We regain the innocence, purity and power of the Spirit. But we gain more than that. As children of God, we now know good and evil, but we are free from the power of evil. We are now like God, holy and righteous! We love God and we hate evil! What a transformation! Glory to God! Immediately they sinned, Adam and Eve felt a sense of loss, fear, nakedness, and shame. At the beginning, the glory of God covered them. Now, that glory is lost. They now feel afraid, exposed. When God comes to fellowship with them, they are afraid, and they hide behind the trees. They forgot that God created the trees too! Trees stand for excuses not to have fellowship with God. There is now fear of punishment and death. They try to repair the damage they have done. They use fig leaves to cover themselves. These fig leaves are a symbol of man’s success in this world to hide his sinful nature. There are ‘leaves’ of religion, education, philosophy and art. But nothing and nobody can hide sin and shame except the Blood of Jesus! Jesus died naked so that we can be covered by His Blood and the glory that it represents! Lastly, God’s Grace manifests! The Gospel of Christ Crucified and Resurrected is introduced! Grace is always greater than sin! God is still speaking to man! In Judgment there is mercy! The Bible is the most practical book. It tells the story of God and of humanity. Genesis 1-3, this is the history of humanity. It is not an allegory. It is not fiction! Man has disobeyed God and God is searching for man, to save him. As sinners, we all know the sense of failure. We all search for happiness outside God, but we cannot find it! The Gospel brings us out from behind the trees. God’s voice is still calling you by name: “Where are you?” Why are men so unhappy, so helpless? Because the devil is their master, and he controls this world! That is the only explanation! The tragedy of man is that he only sees the visible. Only in Christ we can be set free, from the bondage, the pollution and power of sin! That is why Jesus died! There are two types of history running parallel: The visible and the invisible. The natural man sees only the visible history. The spiritual man sees both. That is his advantage and wisdom. The child of God sees God as the Creator, and the Sustainer of the universe. But he also sees God as His heavenly Father, Savior and Redeemer! The believer sees God and the world thru the eyes of faith. The Gospel tells us the truth: we all fell with Adam. We are born sinners. We cannot help ourselves. We are destined to die and go to hell. That is why God sent His only begotten Son to die in our place. The world hates the truth. The natural man hates to be told that he is a sinner. He loves the offer of free salvation, but he hates to humble himself as a man who offended God. Here you see that God’s plan of salvation was made by God even before Adam was created. In a way, God created Adam and Eve as a ‘bait’ to expose and condemn the devil’s wickedness. In Genesis 3 you see evil and grace side by side. “The law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more” (Rom 5:20). The word ‘abound’ means to increase, to spread, to become greater. In the battle against sin, Grace always wins! God (Jehovah Elohim) calls Adam: “Where are you?” Even in disobedience, even with a broken heart, God is still searching for Adam. Man cannot escape from God! Even from the God who created him, but he broke his heart! This is the Gospel! “Also for Adam and his wife the Lord God made tunics of skin, and clothed them” (Gen 3:21). Adam was hiding behind the trees. These are people and things we use to hide behind them. Because of inferiority complex and guilt, we hide behind famous people, hobbies or interesting things of the world. That is why people are addicted to TV shows and entertainment. They idolize others who are more intelligent, more beautiful or wealthier than they. These are the trees. We are always interested in others. Because we are sinners, we are busybodies and restless. God made clothes for them. Not from leaves, but from animal skins, possibly from lambs. Behind these simple words of ‘fashion design’ blood is shed. For the first time, Adam and Eve see God killing an animal. They have never seen death. Now they see it. They committed sin but another one died in their place. This is the Gospel of Christ Crucified! Adam and Eve were sent out of the Garden. Just imagine the feeling… out of the beautiful, happy and safe, garden, made by God for them!!! They are now in the world, lonely, afraid, guilty, confused. In the Garden, they exercised dominion over all the creation, in the name of God. Now, they are now under the dominion of satan. They are rejected by God! There is a hope that one day, God will help them. But until then, they are alone.
THE CURSE IN THE GARDEN AND THE GOSPEL ANNOUNCED “So, the Lord God said to the serpent: “Because you have done this, you are cursed more than all cattle, and more than every beast of the field; On your belly you shall go, and you shall eat dust all the days of your life. And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.” (Gen 3:14, 15)The serpent is cursed more than all the animals because he cooperated with the devil. In the previous two verses, God talks to Adam and Eve, asking them why they had disobeyed His command and had eaten from the forbidden tree. But now, God turns to the serpent and without asking any question, He curses it! He doesn’t ask the serpent what he did. He doesn’t look for a confession or to engage in debate with the serpent. Apparently, Satan either possessed a snake created by God, or he took the form of a snake. Everything in this life, good or bad, has consequences. It is the natural and spiritual law of sowing and reaping. “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life” (Gal 6:7-8). But the curses of God in Genesis 3 are not like that. This is God’s judgment upon a serpent that He created! As the Almighty God, The Judge of the Universe, God has the right to do what He wants to do with His creation. God, Jehovah Elohim, the Judge of all the universe, is speaking! Fear God! Sin offended God! Sin violated God’s Word and God’s glory! It ruined man and his descendants! Thru sin, man surrendered the dominion God gave him, to Satan. God manifests His authority by cursing the snake. God can never be the victim of Satan. Even in this tragedy, God is still God, and He speaks! The curses demonstrate God’s sovereignty! God was sovereign before and after the fall of man! Nothing can change that! Praise the Lord! In Genesis 3 verse 14 you have the curse of the natural serpent. In verse 15 you have the curse of the supernatural Satan. God actually curses the animal. The animal has no sense of sin. The animal was simply used by Lucifer, by Satan. But God curses the animal anyway. God has a purpose in cursing the serpent! God cursed the serpent more than all the animals, domestic (represented by the cattle) and wild (represented by the beasts of the field). God is specific why He cursed the serpent. God said: “Because you have done this”. Because the serpent co-operated with Satan, God curses all the natural snakes. The devil wanted to rise above God (Is 14: 12-15). The snake will crawl on his belly, never to rise again! The crawling of snakes is a reminder of God’s judgment over Satan! Snakes are an abomination to God and to man! “Every creeping thing that creeps on the earth shall be an abomination. It shall not be eaten. Whatever crawls on its belly… these you shall not eat, for they are an abomination” (Lev 11:41, 42). Serpents are the most hated animals on earth. God said: “Dust shall you eat!” Snakes do not eat dust. They eat insects and little animals. But the words ‘eating dust’ represent total defeat. About Christ it is said: “Let the nomads of the desert bow before Him and His enemies lick the dust.” (Ps 72:9). It’s a symbol of being totally defeated and brought low, down to the lowest! In Christ, our enemies will lick the dust of our feet. “Thus says the Lord God: “Behold, I will lift My hand in an oath to the nations and set up My standard for the peoples; They shall bring your sons in their arms, And your daughters shall be carried on their shoulders; Kings shall be your foster fathers, And their queens your nursing mothers; They shall bow down to you with their faces to the earth, and lick up the dust of your feet. Then you will know that I am the Lord, for they shall not be ashamed who wait for Me.” (Is 49:22, 23). In Christ, our victory against the forces of darkness, is sure! In the future, when God will make a new earth and new heavens, the animals will live in peace with one another. They will all be vegetarians. They will not eat one another again. But even in that new world, the snakes will still crawl on the ground and eat dust. There is no redemption for the devil! “The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, the lion shall eat straw like the ox, and dust shall be the serpent’s food. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain,” Says the Lord” (Is 65:25). The curse of God upon the natural and spiritual serpent is forever! God placed ‘enmity’ between the woman and her Seed, which is our Lord Jesus Christ, and the spiritual serpent and his seed. The word ‘enmity’ means a hostility that can never be settled. It is true that now, the devil is called the god of this world. But even then, it is not easy for Satan to rule over man. The Grace of God still rescues men from the bondage of sin. Once man repents of his sin, he runs to Jesus! The devil ‘bruised’ Christ on His heel. This is a picture of the Crucifixion. But with that ‘bruised’ heal, our Lord bruised, better said crushed, the head of the devil. Thru His death on the Cross, our Lord destroyed him who had the power of death. This is the Gospel we preach! This is our only hope and victory! Worship the Lord!!!