Eric Meyer - SR&W2
BBL 8033B: Christian Foundations
John Brown University
Professor: Dr. Bill Burnett
July 24th, 2008
Assignment #3, Scripture Read And Write
Man walked freely out of God’s Kingdom into a world and life that God did not intend man to experience. Through direct disobedience to her creator, Adam and Eve made the choice to leave the perfect relationship that they had been experiencing with God. That self imposed separation from God was analogous to walking out of God’s Kingdom. The story recorded in Genesis describes Satan as a snake speaking to Eve. I have a picture of Satan that is more insidious. While not recorded this way, I imagine Satan whispering to Eve, not visible to her. Eve experienced the temptation the same way we all experience temptation. She was told by Adam, not directly by God, not to eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. A thought tickles the back of her mind, “Did God really say, ‘Don’t do that?’ Surely He did not mean I would die if I eat from this tree.” While it is not recorded in Genesis, it is not hard to imagine Adam experiencing the same whisper from Satan, “Eve ate, and she is unharmed, maybe God really did not mean don’t eat from this tree.” Though we don’t see Satan visibly, I believe we hear his voice all the same.
While we would like to think an innocent baby could not possibly be burdened with sin, every man is born with the genetic make-up inherited from his parents. We can see the similar features, and experience the same attitudes and thought processes that our ancestors experienced. In the same way, we inherit the ability to sin that was in our earliest parents, Adam and Eve.
We live in a world that is not as God intended. Sin has touched every aspect of His creation. Separated from God, man has soiled the world. Strip mines, nuclear waste, and global warming are all visible signs of how man’s selfishness has damaged the beauty that God created. The important point to understand is that man is the agent of this change. God has not changed at all. He is still lovingly caring for His creation, trying to guide us back into a right relationship. Though we do not deserve the loving care, we receive it nonetheless. The following outline describes the path man has chosen that lead out of God’s Kingdom, and how our decisions have soiled all of God’s creation.
I. THE GLORIOUS UNFALLEN CREATION
Some children look so similar to their parents that there is no way to mistake the relationship. The same is true of God and what He created. While we can not see Him, we know quite a bit about Him by observing what He created.
A. Characteristics Of The Creator
1. God is spirit. Gen. 1:2
2. God speaks – Gen. 1:3
3. He is a source of light – Gen. 1:3; John 3:21
4. Very good – What God created is good (Gen. 1:25), in fact, it was very good (Gen. 1:31). Gen. 1:27 tells us man was created in God’s image. If God’s creation is very good, so must be the creator. Romans 1:20; Psalm 8:1
5. Exists in multiple forms, “Let us make man in Our image.” – Gen. 1:26; “Not good for man to be alone” 2:18
6. Appreciated beauty – “Every tree that is pleasing to sight” Gen. 2:9; Romans 1:20; God so loved His creation, that He set aside time simply to enjoy it – Gen. 2:2,3
7. God is gracious – Romans 5:15
B. Characteristics Of The Image Bearers
1. Very good – Gen 1:31; “Crowned with glory & majesty” Psalm 8:5
2. Caretakers of God’s creation – Gen 1:28; Psalm 8:6-8
3. Blessed, given gifts from God – Gen. 1:22,28
4. Cared for – Gen. 1:29,30; Psalm 8:4
5. Dependant – Gen. 1:29; Psalm 8:2
6. Created – Man is God’s creation. We are not God. Gen. 1:27; Psalm 8:5
7. Subordinate – God gave man rules to follow and work to do. Gen. 1:26; Gen. 2:16,17
8. Innocent – naked and not ashamed. Gen. 2:25
9. Appreciates beauty – Since God appreciates beauty, man must as well. Gen.2:9
10. Needs relationships with others Gen. 2:18
11. Important, made for a purpose, not an accident – Psalm 8:6-8
12. Insignificant compared to God – Psalm 8:4
13. Perfect, beautiful – Romans 1:20
II. THE TRAGIC FALL AND SULLIED CREATION
Man was wonderfully innocent until the Fall. He was unashamed, and without fear. He was the ruler over all he saw, and did not know anything about evil. By disobeying God, man now knows evil, we experience that evil in almost every aspect of life. Unlike God, man is incapable of knowing evil and not letting it soil his nature. Evil is endemic, and man is incapable of avoiding it to this day. The sin of one man has been inherited by all of his offspring.
A. Understanding The Historical Fall
1. Fear – The first recorded result of the Fall was man hiding from God because he was afraid. Fear is such a horrible side affect of that first sin, damaging man emotionally and physically. Our lives are now filled with anxiety. – Gen. 3:10
2. A world of laws. Man lived in the Kingdom with no worries. All he needed was available to him. There was no fear, because there was nothing to fear. Man only had to live by one rule. By breaking that rule, man separated himself from God, creating a world filled with laws that define sin. Romans 5:13
3. Through one man’s sin, death has entered the world - Romans 5:12
4. Man is intrinsically a sinner - Romans 5:13-15
5. Sin is inherited – Romans 5:12
6. Though one man’s sin condemned all men, one Man’s obedience and grace has saved all men – Romans 5: 18,19
7. All men feel the “pain of childbirth” assigned at the fall, groaning in their agony – Romans 8:22
B. Characteristics Of The Unchanged Creator
1. God is spectacular, and His Kingdom is great beyond imagination. He and His Kingdom exist as they always have existed. It is man who left the Kingdom, but God is giving man every opportunity to come back home – Romans 8:18
2. God loves man beyond measure – John 3:16
3. Righteous – Romans 1:18
4. Eternal – Romans 1:20
5. Gracious – Romans 5:15; Sin can not exceed God’s grace – Romans 5:20,21; Gen. 4:2
6. God and his Kingdom are certain. They must exist or there would be no hope. Romans 8:24
7. Caring, took care of Adam & Eve after they disobeyed Him – Gen. 3:21, cared for Cain – Gen. 4:15
8. Merciful, took care of Cain after egregious sin– Gen. 4:15
9. Giving, gave the gift of children – Gen. 4:2; gave a sacrifice to man (clothed man in animal skin) – Gen. 3:21; sacrificed Himself to give man the first fruits of the Kingdom to come – Romans 8:23
10. Teacher, Advisor – God asked Cain why he was so angry in Gen. 4:6. He taught Cain that if he behaved well he would be happy. However, poor behavior is sin, and it will cause misery. God taught that sin actively peruses man, but it can be mastered.
C. Characteristics of the Changed Image Bearers
Man has lost his innocence. We want to be our own masters, our own God, but the knowledge of good and evil comes with anxiety. Man worries endlessly, and that worry drives a wedge between God and man. We worry about what others think of us, if we have enough money, if we are pretty enough, and the list goes on and on. Oswald Chambers says in the July 22 devotional in My Utmost For His Highest, “Am I willing to reduce myself simply to “me”, determinedly to strip myself of all my friends think of me, of all I think of myself, and to hand that simple, naked self over to God?” Adam and Eve lived simply, naked before God with no fear. That changed the instant that they disobeyed.
1. Afraid, guilty, shamed, sad – Gen. 3:10; Gen. 4:13; Romans 8:19
2. Murderous – Gen. 4:8,23; 2 Tim. 3:1-8
3. Liars – Gen. 4:9; Isaiah 5:18
4. Angry – Gen. 4:6
5. Burdened – Gen. 3:16-19
6. Mortal – Gen 3:19
7. Exploitive – Isaiah 5:8-10; 2 Tim. 3:1-8
8. Drunk, enjoy destructive pleasure. - While trying to generate our own pleasure, we destroy our bodies. – Isaiah 5:11,12; Eph. 4:18,19; 2 Tim. 3:1-8
9. Sarcastic pride in sin – Isaiah 5:18,19
10. Confused moral standards – Isaiah 5:20; 2 Tim. 3:1-8
11. Selfish, some have nothing in the midst of plenty because others hoard – Isaiah 5:8; Eph. 4:18,19
12. Ignore God, don’t commune with, thank, or consider Him – Isaiah 5:12; Eph. 4:18,19; 2 Tim. 3:1-8
13. Ignore strengthening their minds, abilities, gifts – Isaiah 5:13
14. Worship false gods including worshipping for entertainment purposes alone – Isaiah 5:20; Worship the creation, not the Creator – Romans 1: 23-25
15. Judged by God, those who don’t believe or follow God are judged by Him – John 3:17,18; Romans 5:16
16. Hate God – John 3:20; 2 Tim. 3:1-8
17. Separated from God – John 3:16-21; Eph. 4:18,19; 2 Tim. 3:1-8
18. Suppressors of God’s truth – Romans 1:18
19. Fools though they think they are wise, self righteous – Romans 1:22
20. Sin though they know they are sinning – Romans 1:32
21. Easily corrupted – Romans 1:23; A slave to corruption, and unable to free himself – Romans 8:19-21
22. Man hopes for something better than this life – Romans 8:24
23. Callous, with hardened hearts - Eph. 4:18,19
24. Does not walk with God - Eph. 4:17; 2 Tim. 3:1-8 Isaiah 40:31 says the man of God will walk and not faint. Many people currently lack the strength of character to keep from fainting, falling away from God.
25. Concerned with external appearances not internal beauty - 2 Tim. 3:5
26. Easy prey for evil - 2 Tim. 3:6
27. Futile attempt to learn, never gaining knowledge – People studying an endless stream of world views, wasting the effort involved, because they will never gain the knowledge, the happiness that they seek without knowing God - 2 Tim. 3:7
28. Fallen man has a darkened mind, absent of the light of God – Eph. 4:18 -19; John 3:19
D. Impact Of The Fall On The Creation – Heaven & Earth
Because man left the perfect relationship he had with God, all of nature is affected. God knew that man would become exploitive and selfish, without regard for the proper care of His creation. In Gen. 3:14-19 God is not placing His curse on all that He created, He is defining what will happen because of sin.
1. Death has entered the world. Not just for man, but all life, “God made garments of skin…” Gen. 3:21; Romans 5:12
2. All of creation was affected by man’s fall – Romans 8:21
3. Man is exploitive - 2 Tim. 3:1-8
4. Life is cursed – Gen. 3:14
5. Earth is cursed – Gen. 3:17
6. Earth and life were originally created perfectly; food was provided for all – Gen. 1:29,30
7. All of creation waits eagerly for the redemption of man – Romans 8:19-23
People desperately search for the meaning of life. In that desperation, we have become easy prey for Satan. The easy way often seems like the best way. We worship what is easily seen and experienced. Unfortunately, trying to generate meaning in life simply by what we see and experience leads us to the worship of tangible objects. When we worship what we experience, we end up worshipping the creation not the Creator.
The path away from the Kingdom of God is an easy path, and the journey back to God is difficult because it must be done in faith. Man is very selfish and prideful. The idea that the sins of our ancestors are inherited simply does not register because we believe we are the masters of our destiny. As masters of our own destiny, there is no room for God. Faith becomes the crutch of the weak. Because so many of us simply live for today, we place a curse on all of creation.
God in His ultimate generosity and love has given man a path back to the Kingdom. Though we do not deserve any redemption, God has time after time displayed His love. He has taken on flesh to teach us how to live for today and for eternity. The path has been laid before us, but it is a difficult one to follow. The hardest part is closing our eyes, and walking in faith.