Topic: VI. Man
Lesson: B. Innocence and the Fall
With this chapter, we begin dealing with the topic of Sin and Salvation. We consider innocence, the state of Adam and Eve as they were created and living in the Garden of Eden, and the fall into sin. Some theologians would divide the entire Bible into two parts, the first is a 'Covenant of Works' which only applied to innocent man in the garden. The second is the 'Covenant of Grace', which begins immediately after the Fall. Of course, there are more covenants than this, but it gives the main idea that Mankind was changed forever by one act of Adam and Eve.
Objective: To understand the original nature and purpose of man and the effects of the fall into sin.
The Image of God. We first consider that man is created in God's image and what this means. "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them."(Genesis 1:27) "With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God's likeness."(James 3:9) We make several observations from these verses. Who is created in God's image? Both man an woman, and both the 'saved' and 'unsaved' or sinful man. Presumably even the men we might curse are created in the image of God, which has not been entirely eradicated (perhaps it has been smeared by our sin). This likeness to God may include our rational or thinking mind and our dominion over nature.
"... And have put on the new self, which is being renewed in the knowledge in the image of its Creator."(Colossians 3:10) ".. and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness."(Ephesians 4:24) Notice that the new self is being renewed in knowledge, which indicates a process which is still going on. It also indicates that knowledge is the realm of the image of God, it is not simply a physical likeness. The new self and the image of God are like God in that they are holy and righteousness. Adam and Eve were originally holy and righteous, but the holiness and righteousness in us is being renewed which is a process. We should become more like God as we grow in our walk with the Lord.
Constitution of Man. The constitution of man means, 'what is man made of?' There are two views of this, Trichotomy (Man consists of body, soul, and spirit) and Dichotomy (Man consists of Material or body and Immaterial, cannot distinguish between soul and spirit which are synonyms).
"May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ."(1st Thessalonians 5:23) This verse implies three parts to be kept blameless. It is interesting that blameless does not just apply to the soul, but the body and spirit. "For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart."(Hebrews 4:12) If the word of God can divide soul and spirit, then they appear to be separate things. But lets look at the other pairs mentioned in this verse. Joint and marrow are both part of the bone, and the marrow is part of the joint. How separate are thoughts and attitudes? The point of this verse is how the Word can help us see into ourselves, not that spirit and soul are completely separate.
"... the LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being. ('nephesh' - soul)"(Genesis 2:7) "Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell."(Matthew 10:28) "Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well."(3rd John 1:2) We do notice that in many verses only soul and body are mentioned, and it appears to refer to a complete man. This does not prove that soul and spirit are the same, but it may imply it. I think it is best to look at man as a complex being, material and immaterial. The immaterial includes emotion, soul, spirit, heart, intelligence, and other words that overlap these. While we can argue over two or three parts, I do not think this is an issue that has much practical importance to us today.
Purpose of Man. We must look at man as originally created for his original purpose, before sin muddled the issue. "Then God said, 'Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.'"(Genesis 1:26) We see that man is to rule over creatures and the earth. A healthy concern for the environment and the animal world is in order. We are not to abuse the earth and animals, but to rule over both as God's agent. "... Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the earth -- everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made."(Isaiah 43:6-7) We were created for God's Glory. This verse is specifically about Israel, but may also be applied to man as originally created and man as recreated in Christ (saved).
"In Him we were also chosen, ... in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory."(Ephesians 1:11-12) Christians are chosen by God and redeemed for His Glory. "So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God."(1st Corinthians 10:31) We are to do everything we do, day to day, for God's Glory. We ARE capable of living for His glory. "For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do."(Ephesians 2:10) God prepared specific works for each of us to do, far in advance.
God created man last, as the crowning achievement of His universe. His purposes stand firm, in spite of the sin of man. These purposes include: (1) Man was created to exercise dominion over the earth and its creatures. (2) Man was created for the Glory fo God. (3) Man is recreated in Christ for the Glory of God and to do all things for His glory. (4) Christians have been recreated in Christ to perform good works which 'God prepared in advance for us to do.' When people fail to see these purposes for mankind, they miss their own purpose in life. One effect of the theory of evolution, that people are different from animals only by accident, is that people today can see no ultimate purpose in life. For those of us that personally know the creator of the universe, the purpose of our lives is clear.
2. The Fall
How many times has a father confronted a son or daughter, only to have them say jokingly, "The devil made me do it?" Lets look at the devil's involvement in the first sin.
God's Command."The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. And the LORD God commanded the man, 'You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die."(Genesis 2:15-17) Of course, a Biblical view of sin has to begin with a literal understanding of the first sin in the Garden of Eden. Some questions still apply to us today: (1) Does God have the right to decide what is right or wrong? (It was wrong to eat from that tree.) (2) Does God have the right to require obedience? God has both of these rights by virtue of being the creator. If we evolved from primeval glop, then perhaps God would not have that right, but He specifically created and designed us for His purposes. He had the right to command Adam, and to command us.
The Temptation. "'You will not surely die,' the serpent said t othe woman. 'For God knows that when you eat o fit your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.'"(Genesis 3:4-5) In this episode, Satan appeared as an animal, not as his evil self. He hid his true nature and appearance. Satan questioned the goodness of God, after all, 'What is best for you?' He implies that God does not love us, and does not have our best interests in mind (this is a lie). Further, Satan questioned the justice of God. Satan implied that there is no punishment, there is no death, there is no hell.
The Fall - Sin. "When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing ot the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it."(Genesis 3:6) Eve listened to Satan, doubted God and what He said, saw the fruit, desired it, and ate. She then led Adam into this sin. Both Adam and Eve sinned by their own choice. They trusted their own wisdom and desire over God's wisdom and desire. This rebellion is the essence of all sin.
Effects on Women. God declared lasting effects or results of this sin. "To the woman he said, 'I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing; with pain you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.'"(Genesis 3:16) (1) Women will have pain in childbearing. (2) Women will have a sinful desire to dominate their husbands. In sayin gthis, we must also remember that women have a legitimate desire to be loved and cared for by their husbands. It is very difficult when this good desire is frustrated by a husband who is spending all day 'fighting the thorns' of work, commuting long hours, travelling, and otherwise being absent from the home to help with the kids and care for their wives. (3) Men will have a sinful tendency to rule harshly, even to push or abuse the wife. We must remember that the Husband is given a legitimate role as head of the family, but a husband is to give himself up for his wife, even as Christ loved the Church and gave Himself up for it
Effects on Mankind. "By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return."(Genesis 3:19) Work was given before sin, as was part of God's purpose for man. He was to take care of the Garden, even as we are to take care of the earth. But frustration was added to work, the curse of thorns and working hard (sweat). All man returns to dust, dies, because of the sin."So the LORD God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken."(Genesis 3:23) Physically, Adam and Eve were kicked out of Paradise (the Persian word for the Garden of Eden), and we cannot find the Garden today. Perhaps it is under the Persian Gulf, destroyed or at least buried by Noah's flood.
"Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves. Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden."(Genesis 3:7-8) Men and women are ashamed of their bodies. The fig leaves probably covered 'private parts', yet it is interesting how dissatisfied we are with our bodies. Even famous beauty queens cover themselves with make-up, and the most beautiful men and women have their photographs 'touched up' before they are published in a magazine. Yes, even health and exercise stars have a little fat trimmed off their photos. Modesty is important, and a part of Christian life, but being ashamed of our bodies or discontent because we do not feel we are as 'good looking' as a star is a misery resulting from sin in the world.
If we could hear God walking, physically hear and not just with our imagination, and hear Him talk, not just with spiritual discernment of His Word or a pastor's message, what a thrill that would be. And yet, when Adam and Eve heard God coming, they hid. Although many claim to seek God, in reality there is a fear of God, or at least there is fear when people really understand who God is. Adam and Eve hid from God and from each other. Relations between man and women, and with God, are strained by sin, and the tendency is to keep secrets or hide from each other.
Sin Nature. "Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned -"(Romans 5:12) Notice that death came to all men. It is not stated that death came to animals because of Adam's sin, that is an assumption. It is one way of reading that death entered the world, but this verse specifically is talking about people and not animals. However, all men and women die because of the sin of Adam.
"All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath."(Ephesians 2:3) This verse speaks of 'our sinful nature'. Adam and Eve did not have a sinful nature, until they sinned. While they had a free choice to sin, we do not. Unbelievers are lead along by their sinful nature, and even as believers we grapple for control over it. Sinful man is by nature an object of God's wrath. Even the best of people are, by nature, objects of God's wrath. God did provide a way out, by sending Jesus his Son to die in our place and take the wrath (owed to us) upon himself. "For God so loved the world, that He gave His one and only Son, so that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life."(John 3:16) We are saved from sin, and wrath, by trusting in Jesus Christ as the one who saves us. There will be more on this in the following lessons
1. What is the essence of sin?
2. Did you learn anything new about the effects of sin from this lesson?
Ryrie: Chapters 33-35 and 37-38
"So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them."(Genesis 1:27)
"In Him we were also chosen, ... in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory."(Ephesians 1:11-12)
"Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned -"(Romans 5:12)