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Supernatural, Session 2

Supernatural, Session 2  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Dwelling Place of God: A Garden and a Mountain

Calendar Ahead

The Study

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Scriptures Mentioning Eden

What do you think of this?
Isaiah 51:3 NIV84
3 The Lord will surely comfort Zion and will look with compassion on all her ruins; he will make her deserts like Eden, her wastelands like the garden of the Lord. Joy and gladness will be found in her, thanksgiving and the sound of singing.
Ezekiel 28:13 NIV84
13 You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone adorned you: ruby, topaz and emerald, chrysolite, onyx and jasper, sapphire, turquoise and beryl. Your settings and mountings were made of gold; on the day you were created they were prepared.
Ezekiel 31:9 NIV84
9 I made it beautiful with abundant branches, the envy of all the trees of Eden in the garden of God.
Joel 2:3 NIV84
3 Before them fire devours, behind them a flame blazes. Before them the land is like the garden of Eden, behind them, a desert waste— nothing escapes them.

The first observation is one that is transparent from the biblical text, but somehow missed by many: Not all the world was Eden. It’s important to establish that Eden was, rather than the entire earthly creation, only a tiny part of it.

Ezekiel 36:35 NIV84
35 They will say, “This land that was laid waste has become like the garden of Eden; the cities that were lying in ruins, desolate and destroyed, are now fortified and inhabited.”
Ezekiel 28:13-14
Ezekiel 28:13–14 NIV84
You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone adorned you: ruby, topaz and emerald, chrysolite, onyx and jasper, sapphire, turquoise and beryl. Your settings and mountings were made of gold; on the day you were created they were prepared. You were anointed as a guardian cherub, for so I ordained you. You were on the holy mount of God; you walked among the fiery stones.

Heiser’s Comments on Eden

Eden was God’s home. Also designated a mountain.

Ezekiel 28:13–14 NIV84
13 You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone adorned you: ruby, topaz and emerald, chrysolite, onyx and jasper, sapphire, turquoise and beryl. Your settings and mountings were made of gold; on the day you were created they were prepared. 14 You were anointed as a guardian cherub, for so I ordained you. You were on the holy mount of God; you walked among the fiery stones.

Not all the world was Eden

The first observation is one that is transparent from the biblical text, but somehow missed by many: Not all the world was Eden. It’s important to establish that Eden was, rather than the entire earthly creation, only a tiny part of it.

Make the rest of the world Like Eden

The first observation is one that is transparent from the biblical text, but somehow missed by many: Not all the world was Eden. It’s important to establish that Eden was, rather than the entire earthly creation, only a tiny part of it. This distinction will become important in future chapters. The text tells us this in several ways.

Adam and Eve lived in the garden. They cared for it. But the rest of the earth needed subduing. It wasn’t awful—in fact Genesis 1 tells us that it was habitable. But it wasn’t quite what Eden was. The whole world needs to be like God’s home. He could do the job himself, but he chose to create human imagers to do it for him. He issued the decree; they were supposed to make it happen. They were to do that by multiplying and following God’s direction.

All we know for sure…is that as Adam and Eve left the garden, they were venturing into a world under dominion of the divine rebel of Eden, who had been “cast down” to earth...” -Supernatural, pg 11
Jeremiah 8:2 NIV84
2 They will be exposed to the sun and the moon and all the stars of the heavens, which they have loved and served and which they have followed and consulted and worshiped. They will not be gathered up or buried, but will be like refuse lying on the ground.
Judges 11:23–24 NIV84
23 “Now since the Lord, the God of Israel, has driven the Amorites out before his people Israel, what right have you to take it over? 24 Will you not take what your god Chemosh gives you? Likewise, whatever the Lord our God has given us, we will possess.
2 Chronicles 30:27 NIV84
27 The priests and the Levites stood to bless the people, and God heard them, for their prayer reached heaven, his holy dwelling place.
Joshua 11:19–20 NIV84
19 Except for the Hivites living in Gibeon, not one city made a treaty of peace with the Israelites, who took them all in battle. 20 For it was the Lord himself who hardened their hearts to wage war against Israel, so that he might destroy them totally, exterminating them without mercy, as the Lord had commanded Moses.

The Bible Story Begins and Ends with Eden

Revelation 22:1–3 NIV84
1 Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb 2 down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. 3 No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him.
Heiser, M. S. (2015). The Unseen Realm: Recovering the Supernatural Worldview of the Bible (First Edition, p. 49). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

Questions

When Adam and Eve were expelled from Eden, to whose territory did they go?

God’s Image or Imagers?

Let us make man in our image. So God created man in his image.

Genesis 1:26–27 NIV84
26 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.” 27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.

So how do we understand divine image bearing in a way that does not stumble over these issues and yet aligns with the description in Genesis? Hebrew grammar is the key. The turning point is the meaning of the preposition in with respect to the phrase “in the image of God.” In English we use the preposition in to denote many different ideas. That is, in doesn’t always mean the same thing when we use that word. For example, if I say, “put the dishes in the sink,” I am using the preposition to denote location. If I say, “I broke the mirror in pieces,” I am using in to denote the result of some action. If I say, “I work in education,” I am using the preposition to denote that I work as a teacher or principal, or in some other educational capacity.

This last example directs us to what the Hebrew preposition translated in means in Genesis 1:26. Humankind was created as God’s image. If we think of imaging as a verb or function, that translation makes sense. We are created to image God, to be his imagers. It is what we are by definition. The image is not an ability we have, but a status. We are God’s representatives on earth. To be human is to image God.

This is why Genesis 1:26–27 is followed by what theologians call the “dominion mandate” in verse 28. The verse informs us that God intends us to be him on this planet. We are to create more imagers (“be fruitful and multiply … fill”) in order to oversee the earth by stewarding its resources and harnessing them for the benefit of all human imagers (“subdue … rule over”).

God alone created humankind to function as his administrators on earth. But he has also created the other elohim of the unseen realm. They are also like him. They carry out his will in that realm, acting as his representatives. They are his heavenly council in the unseen world. We are God’s council and administration in this realm. Consequently, the plurals inform us that both God’s families—the human and the nonhuman—share imaging status, though the realms are different. As in heaven, so on Earth.

This biblical theology sets the table for understanding other passages and concepts in both testaments. The logic of idolatry we talked about earlier takes on new irony. Humans after the fall will resort to making objects of wood and stone that they must ceremonially animate to draw the deity into the artifact. But from the beginning, God created his own imagers—humankind, male and female. His desire was to live among them, and for them to rule and reign with him.

Questions

Is the idea of being God’s imagers found in the New Testament?

If we are God’s imagers or representatives, how should that impact our daily lives?

A Strange Divine Rebellion

Sons of God

Job 38:4–7 NIV84
“Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell me, if you understand. Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know! Who stretched a measuring line across it? On what were its footings set, or who laid its cornerstone— while the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy?
Genesis 6:2–4 NIV84
the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful, and they married any of them they chose. Then the Lord said, “My Spirit will not contend with man forever, for he is mortal; his days will be a hundred and twenty years.” The Nephilim were on the earth in those days—and also afterward—when the sons of God went to the daughters of men and had children by them. They were the heroes of old, men of renown.

In the ancient Semitic world, sons of God (Hebrew: beney elohim) is a phrase used to identify divine beings with higher-level responsibilities or jurisdictions. The term angel (Hebrew: malʾak) describes an important but still lesser task: delivering messages.

It’s a family term, and that’s neither coincidental nor inconsequential. God has an unseen family—in fact, it’s his original family. The logic is the same as that behind Paul’s words in Acts at Mars Hill (the Areopagus) that all humans are indeed God’s offspring (Acts 17:28).

Questions

What is the relationship between and genocide in the conquest of Canaan?

Discussion Questions

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