September 2010

An Introduction To The Creation Of The Man And The Woman-pt.2

  In the state that Adam was in, he was responsible for a lot. We see that he was responsible for:

  • Living in the image and likeness of God Himself-Gen.1:26.
    • This refers to the whole man being a reflection of the excellencies of God. His whole heart and mind and will would all please God and be as God would be were He a man.
  • Ruling over every creature that would exist on the earth-Gen.1:26.
    • This refers to the proper management and care for all the animals, including those in the sea and in the air. How? Simply by the recognition of his dominion as one who is made in the image of God, who is Himself in dominion over everything.
    • This aspect of the creation of man defines and informs everything about the man. He is to rule, govern, in the way that God governs His kingdom. He was to express the righteous character of God and the holiness of God as well. He was to exercise final authority but in the way that God would in a perfect creation. This also informs the homelife of the man as well as he is to express his authority over his wife and children with the same righteousness and wisdom and skill that God does over His own children. This reality is a critical one in order to understand what a godly home is to be and one that we will look at in more detail later.
  • Bearing children and filling the earth and subduing it for the purposes of ruling over it-Gen.1:27.
  • Working in the garden and keeping it all the while avoiding the tree of the knowledge of good and evil-Gen.2:7-9, 15-17.
  • Being joined to his wife and becoming one flesh with her in the context of marriage-Gen.2:24.

These are tremendous responsibilities. However, there is one responsibility that supersedes all of these by virtue of the fact that Genesis 1-3 indicates that whenever God speaks, it is creative, purposeful and authoritative. His words carry grave importance and power. They are as precious as they are fearful. Whenever God speaks, it is not a trite event. It is to create in His creation a fear that causes us to tremble in awe (Isaiah 66:1-2). This responsibility is the proper dissemination of and obedience to God’s Word.

 Apparently, the very first words to Adam, before Eve was created, are found in Genesis 2:16-17. I believe that these were spoken before the woman was created because the following verses, which are there for sequential flow of the narrative, show the need for the man to have a companion in order to fulfill the mandate from God to fill the earth. So, prior to the creation of the man’s beautiful helper, God gave man, and man alone, a command. Here it is: “The Lord God commanded the man saying, “From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.” Apart from the actual meaning of this text, I want to make a few observations at this point.

Consider the fact that these words are given to Adam, before Eve was created. What does that tell you? In the context of the original creation, man was to be a manager of all things created. He was to be the ruler over the entire earth and the things in the earth. However, all that existed in the created universe was there simply(!) because God spoke it into existence. Thus, God’s word is far superior to the creation itself as God is far superior to the creation itself. All of this Adam would understand. Therefore, when God spoke to Adam, it carried great weight and seriousness. This is God after all! So, now, not only is Adam responsible for the creation and its care and management, he is also responsible for the Word of God, i.e. God’s instructions, which is far more important than the creation itself. These words from God indicate relationship and revelation of a holy and immensely perfect Creator to a created being who exists only because God created him. Adam now is a steward of God’s word. He would be responsible for conveying God’s mandate to Eve and explaining it their children and their children’s children. Again, that is true to this day. Whenever the call to teach, or explain, or train people in the revelation of God’s commands is given, it is to the men that God refers (Deuteronomy 6; Pss.44:1; 78:1-7; Ephesians 6:4). Moreover, men will be held accountable for that in the day when He judges all men (and women) in the future. 

The implications of this fact are clear and may form the basis for the ways in which God has worked through the ages by different methods with different people depending upon the amount of revelation, i.e. Scripture, they were given (Hebrews 1:1-2). A further implication is that this also helps us to understand why God would allow only men as leaders in the church. Adam was created first and thus the very first commands of God were given to him as a stewardship and that cannot be reneged upon. This would be the understanding of 1 Timothy 2:9-15. Why does Paul not allow a woman to exercise authority, which in this case relates to teaching (v.12)? Because God spoke to Adam first and, as such, gave him the responsibility of the handling of His Word. That is why Paul indicates that the order of creation is the pivotal rationale for his assertion that only the man is allowed to teach in the church-he was created first and first received revelation from God (v.13). Further, the introduction of deception came through Eve, and not Adam (v.14). That is not to say that Eve was evil as she was “very good” (Genesis 1:31). But, in Genesis 3, we will see that the path that Satan took to enter mankind into his dominion was through the woman and thus she fell into transgression. The man also clearly was there with her and through his disobedience plunged themselves and their children, of whom we all are, into a condition of sin which is called ‘depravity’. The product of which is death (Romans 5:12; Cf. Genesis 2:17).

 Therefore, God created the man out of the dust of the soil and gave him life and gave him a charge, a stewardship. The greatest of this stewardship was the Word of God, which then was in straightforward commands and instructions. Today, we have  a volume of 66 books we call a ‘Bible’ that is the summation of all God’s revelation to mankind. Adam was given much. However, all of this was for the purpose of the glory of God which is indicated by the fact that man was created in His image, according to His likeness.

The man had a responsibility to God to obey His word. In order to do that, he needed a helper. The woman was created with the awesome and lofty intention of helping Adam manage all that God has given to him. Hers is a privileged position.

An Introduction To The Creation Of The Man And The Woman-pt.1

On the sixth day of creation, God created the man and the woman and placed them in a garden. Because this is such a critical and far-reaching matter, I hope to deal with it in some depth. 

Genesis 2:7-25 details for us the creation of the man and the woman and the circumstances around that creative act, of which we are all the result. We continue to live and work and play in the condition in which God design and created the man and the woman, except for the changes that occurred in the judgment of the flood. In that flood, the topography of the entire earth and the condition of the atmosphere changed, but God’s purposes and intentions and the ultimate mandate for the man and the woman would stay the same. This creative purpose of God is still the expectation for mankind today.

 In the beginning of chapter 2, God has rested from His labors and declared that day a blessed day, a day in which God’s magnificent and powerful creative act, through which His glory is declared (Psalm 19:1-6), is remembered and He is revered for His work. This is a perfect creation and there is nothing more that could have been done to it in order to improve upon it. It is beautiful, functional and enjoyable. “Behold, it was very good.” (Genesis 1:31).

 Into that world, He placed Adam. God formed man from the  dust of the ground (2:7) and gave him breath (which I also believe is the time in which He gave the man a soul which was also to be in the ‘image and likeness’ of God-1:26) and the man became a living being. In the East, in a place God called Eden, He placed the man. In that garden, Adam would cultivate (‘work’-Genesis 3:23; 4:2) and watch over its produce. Adam would be a worker and a manager of what God has given to him. God would render from Adam productivity in the garden as God always expects a return for His labors (Luke 19:11-27). What exactly would Adam do for eternity? Till the ground? Work in soil? Yes. That is exactly what he would do for insodoing he would be able to provide food for himself and his family. It does not appear that God simply would have food grow on trees and Adam and Eve simply lounge all day and enjoy God’s work. He actually was expected to, indeed created for, work. It was not toil and it was not aggravated by fallen vanity. However, the work that Adam was supposed to do was in reflection of God Himself in that He also worked to create the entire existence in which Adam lives. Thus, work is a righteous endeavor as long as it is for the sake of glorifying God who designed and epitomized it.

 Next, we need to see the act of the commandment of God toward Adam in vv. 16-17. In these verses we learn that the original Word of God was given to Adam and thus the precedence of the man’s responsibility to disseminate God’s Word is established.

God Displays His Power and Glory

As we learn about the days of creation what are we looking at? Are we looking at a textbook explanation of some kind of incredible phenomenon? Are we looking at a comprehensive explanation of how light or grass or cows were created? Are we looking at evolution in hidden terms? None of the above really is the intent of the narrative of the days of creation found in Genesis 1. If Genesis 1 was meant to be a detailed explanation, first of all, we would never be able to grasp it. That kind of power and its expression is reserved for God alone so that all glory is given to Him. Second, to explain the absolute infinitesimal detail needed to create all that exists (let alone to sustain it) would exhaust many, many volumes. No, Genesis chapter 1 is given as an explanation of the creation of the universe, i.e. “the heavens and the earth”, in general and summary terms. What details there are are sufficient for us to fear God because of His omnipotence. But, we should never see this narrative as a kind of textbook explanation for every detail in creation. More than anything, it seems that Moses wrote, by the superintending work of the Spirit of God, to begin to explain to Israel who their God is. He is the Designer and Creator of the world. He owns it all and all of it is for His purpose. Israel needed to know their God. Israel needed to tremble at His word. Israel needed to be brought to some measure of humiliation for their sins before this wonderful and glorious Creator who is obviously above and outside of all that exists and thus controls it all (Psalm 19:1).

 On the first day of creation, at the beginning of the day, God created the heavens and the earth (1:1). What is that? This statement is not a summary of the entire creation narrative following it. It is, in fact, the initial step in the creative order. It is in the beginning of day one that God created, out of no preexisting material, the heavens, which refers to the expanse of what we might call “dark matter”, which very well may be infinite, and stretched it out (Job 9:8; 37:18; Psalm 104:2; Isaiah 40:22) without the stars punctuating it as we know today. Within that darkness, God inserted, the earth. It is set at a very precise location within this darkness. This planet, was a solid core of soil and rock surrounded by a deep bath of water. When God created the earth, there was no visible soil. Soil did not become visible until day three.

On this first day also, God created light. Darkness was already created, as indicated by v.2. It was created at the same time that the heavens and the earth were. But light was yet to be created. Once light was installed into the universe, there was an immediate separation, by design. The light, without a sun as a source (which is not a problem since we are speaking of the One who created it. He can sustain it without a star without a problem), was of such a property to distinguish between it and darkness. What a God who can design such a thing! God gave a name to the light and the day and thus began the first installation of an extremely methodical and purposeful creative order.

 On the second 24-hour cycle, i.e. day, presumably at the start of the day (as given by the formula “and there was evening and there was morning…”), God took the water which was miles deep, and separated it by inserting an ‘airy’ expanse (King James, “firmament”) into the middle of the waters and separated it into two halves. Since the simple reading of the text indicates that the waters above the expanse were from the same stock as those waters below the expanse, it would seem best to see this as essentially an ocean above the expanse to the same degree as the waters below it. Some would see the verb ‘separate’ as making a distinction of the kind of water above the expanse from the kind of water below the expanse. This kind of separation did in fact occur between light and dark, v.4. However, light did not come out of darkness and darkness did not come out of light. They were already different in substance. The waters here are of the same substance. It is difficult to understand how there could have been an Edenic ocean above the expanse, but not understanding something should not lead us to reject it. Exegetically, it appears safer to assume that the waters above the expanse were the same as the waters below the expanse and possibly equal in measure or quantity.

 On the third day, God commanded that the earth, which had been below the waters, appear above the waters. This seems to indicate a kind of rising of the earth which, in turn, caused a basin to form around the risen earth and thus cause the water to run off into that basin. It would be best to understand this as a single continent rising above the waters in order to give a place for the land animals, mankind and the Garden of Eden. God commanded the waters to gather and the dry land appear and it was so. Upon that dry land (reminiscent of the dry land that appeared when God removed a slice out of the Red Sea in order to provide an escape for Israel from Pharaoh-Exodus 14:21 [cf.. 2 Kings 2:8]), God caused to sprout various trees, plants and vegetation. This is all for food for the man and animals later.

 On the fourth day, God designed and created ‘luminaries’ in the heavens. These are, from the vantage point of the earth, light emitting bodies suspended in the darkness of space. The sun is the greater light and it rules the day. That is, it is the dominating body in the sky during the daytime. During the night, there is a smaller body, the moon, which dominates the nighttime sky. The sun would become the source of the created light which was created on day one, and the moon would reflect the light of the sun which, depending upon the season, is on the opposite side of the planet during the nighttime. Almost as an aside, Moses inserts “He made the stars also” in v.6. All of these luminaries provide light to the earth in order to give a chronology of time. They would be for signs, seasons, and for days and for years. These are categories of the passing of time for the purposes of mankind. It is still that way today. We are bound and held in our chronicling of time by the functions of the sun, moon and stars and their effect upon the earth.

 On the fifth day, God created the swimming creatures and the flying creatures. These animals would occupy the waters below the expanse as well as the expanse itself. The swimming creatures include the fish, whales and larger “monsters” that we are not familiar with. Presumably, this would refer to the Leviathan spoken of in Psalm 104:26 and Job 41. That must have been a phenomenal creature!

 On the sixth day, God crowns His creation. That is, the pinnacle of His creation and the purpose for it is formed and placed upon the earth. The final category of beings, however, that needed to be placed there are the land animals which are divided into three categories: the beasts of the earth, which refer to those less domesticated animals, the creeping things (literally, “those which drag the body”),  and the domesticated “cattle”. All of these creatures are called ‘living beings’ and it is in them that is the “breath of the spirit of life” (Genesis 7:22). It would be wrong, however, to presume that the animals have a ‘soul’ as mankind does. Animals are not made in God’s image. Animals were made directly from the ground. So was Adam. However, God did not breath into the animals the breath of life as He did Adam, thus making it clear of the difference. Further, Adam did not find a compliment to himself in the animal realm when it came to a relationship. Animals are made living beings. Adam became a living being after God gave him a soul, which is made in His image.

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