Genesis 2:8 |Comfort of Home

eden

Home sweet home. For some home is a place of conflict and violence. Home is a place of darkness and abuse. Hopefully however most might find home to be a place of refuge and rest. God designed the home to be a pleasurable place. It is a place where we can pray in private. Home is where close moments with family can be cherished. Any home has ups and downs but God created Adam’s very first home to be all that a home should be.

And the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed. And out of the ground the Lord God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Genesis 2:8-9 ESV

When God finished his creation and rested on day seven he proclaimed the creation “good”. Then God places Adam into a garden home called Eden. If the creation itself is “good” then the garden of Eden is even more grand. Eden, עֵדֶן, means pleasure or delight. God, creator of the universe, plants a garden home for Adam that is more than good it is a pleasure.

A common criticism of God runs along the lines of “If God is so good then why is there so much evil and death in the world?” But that criticism would have been unthinkable at this point in the creation history. All that has been created is “good”. Adam’s home is a “pleasure”. There is no death even Adam and the animals are all vegetarian. No one knows sickness. No one has ever died from an accident. The creation is good and Adam’s home is a pleasure.

In the “midst” or the middle of this garden is a tree of life. No long harrowing journey needed. A tree in the back yard that provides immortality. It was intended, by God, that Adam would live forever in this wonderful home.

Adam and Eve lost this home due to their own negligence and because of their rebellion against God the way to Eden, this wonderful home, was blocked. We today suffer the consequences of that event. Some people blame God that life will be painful and that loved ones die. But ultimately that blame rests on us sinners.

22 Then the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil. Now, lest he reach out his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat, and live forever—” 23 therefore the Lord God sent him out from the garden of Eden to work the ground from which he was taken. Genesis 3:22-23 ESV

God’s plan for humanity was set in motion. This removal from Eden while tragic is only a temporary setback because God’s greatest gift, Jesus Christ, has been given to restore our relationship to a “good” and pleasant home. Christ will return and bring all the children of God into a new and better home.

“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. 2 In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. John 14:1-3 ESV

This future home Jesus is preparing is even more amazing than Eden. Eden is just a glimpse of the amazing future that awaits God’s Children when God’s good creation is restored. Our hope and happiness are in the future when God will restore a home to us that revolves around him. He will bring us to a home that is perfect where we will live with no more pain or death.

Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb 2 through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. 3 No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him. Revelation 22:1-3 ESV

Genesis 5:1 | Our Family Tree

family tree

Some people love genealogies and they will tell stories they have found about great great grand relatives that lived in a certain place or migrated from some other country. They tell stories about family that fought in wars or worked in some trade. Genesis chapter five is the patriarchal family tree from Adam, the first man, to Noah the most direct relative of everyone living today. This genealogy tells more stories than one might think at first glance and it also tells a major story that is relevant to everyone living today.

However before jumping into the big story of this genealogy we need to explore a few fun facts and details. The first thing to tackle and the thing that jumps out right away about this genealogy is the age of each person. Most of these men are stated to have lived into the 900 year range. It seems impossible that anyone could have lived that long and much effort has been spent by theologians and amateur detectives to determine what the ages really mean or what they actually were. The intent of the original author, likely Noah, of this chapter in Genesis is that these were the actual ages of these men and they should be taken as actual ages. Any attempt to adjust the ages to fit what is “normal” for people in this contemporary age will ultimately not be satisfying or accurate. I would encourage everyone to take the original author at his word that these were indeed how old they lived because the author was witness to the fact and the fact that this is what God wanted recorded.

This graphic tells some interesting stories about these pre flood patriarchs…

family tree details.PNG

These are the men and women who knew where the Garden of Eden was located (Genesis 3:24). These are men and women who could come before God and meet with Him for conversation in what might have been a uniquely direct way (Genesis 4:4 and 5:22). These are men and women who were almost perfect in every way able to live hundreds of years longer than we who continue on in this post flood fallen world. These men and women lived in a pre-flood world that looks very little like the world we see today.

11 In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, on the seventeenth day of the month, on that day all the fountains of the great deep burst forth, and the windows of the heavens were opened. Genesis 7:11 ESV

The Genesis history tells us that when Noah was 600 years old the catastrophic judgment of the earth by water occurred. That information combined with the genealogy in chapter five tells us that from Adam’s creation to the year of the flood was 1,656 years. In the same year, and within months, of Methuselah’s death, who died in the year 1,656, the judgment of God by water was ushered into place. Methuselah’s name depending on the root translation could mean “When He Is Dead It Shall Be Sent”. This is too much of a coincidence to not be interesting and just as interesting is the idea that his father, Enoch, a known prophet may have had a hand in giving him this unusual name almost a thousand years before the judgment of the earth by water.

While all of those are interesting stories about our history the real story is about God’s promise to return, judge, and fix what man had broken. That story is told through Enoch who never died and left a legacy that reaches out to us even thousands of years after his time on earth. Enoch was still a young man by pre flood standards when he was abducted by God and Enoch had a reputation even before this shocking intervention by God.

First Enoch was known as a faithful man who spent time with God.

Enoch walked with God, and he was not, for God took him. Genesis 5:24 ESV

Second Enoch was known as a prophet speaking about repentance and judgment to those who chased after ungodly selfishness.

14 It was also about these that Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied, saying, “Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of his holy ones, 15 to execute judgment on all and to convict all the ungodly of all their deeds of ungodliness that they have committed in such an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things that ungodly sinners have spoken against him.” Jude 1:14 ESV

Those who lived at that time would have heard Enoch’s words from God. They would have heard from Enoch that the “Lord” of all men would be coming with thousands of holy people. They would have known that the “ungodly” way they were living was not God’s plan. While Enoch and those who heard his message would not have had the revelation of Jesus they knew the prophesy given to Eve about her offspring (Genesis 3:15). The promise of eternal life and a presence with God after death had not been articulated, but they knew people could be taken away to be with God as evidenced by Enoch’s life. They knew that God’s anointed one would be coming and he would be bringing judgment with him. Even in the very beginning in the days of Adam God’s future plan for Jesus, salvation, and his return were already being shown to mankind. This genealogy like any family tree contains stories that are relevant to life today. The question is will you be standing today in this moment of grace waiting just like the patriarchs for Jesus and his return or will you be like all those that were destroyed in Noah’s day?

12 “Look, I am coming soon, bringing my reward with me to repay all people according to their deeds. 13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.” 14 Blessed are those who wash their robes. They will be permitted to enter through the gates of the city and eat the fruit from the tree of life. 15 Outside the city are the dogs—the sorcerers, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idol worshipers, and all who love to live a lie. Revelations 22:12-15 NLT

Genesis 3:17 | The Curse with a Promise

curse

Genesis chapter three is a pivotal entry into the history of creation. It is the event that changed the course of mankind and explains why the world is the way it is today. Without Genesis chapter three it would be impossible to understand the evil and hardships of this present world. What happened then that directly links to now is that the first man and woman living in a perfect habitat broke fellowship with their Creator. Two people without a care or want found the one thing that was off limits and started a rebellion that is still ongoing today.

2 And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, 3 but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’” 4 But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. 5 For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” Genesis 3:2-5 ESV

Why is there evil in the world? Why is life hard? Why is there death? Why are so many relationships difficult or strained? Why is there war? Why would a loving God create such a world that we see today? The answers to these and many like them are found here in chapter three as the consequence of what happened on that day at the beginning of the created world.

As a result of what our grandparents Adam and Eve did on that fateful day God leveled out three curses one to each participant in this first transgression. I will cover the First curse to Satan and Third curse to Adam in this post and leave the second curse to Eve for another time. The Third curse that was leveled that day was on Adam and this curse impacts all of the created world.

17 And to Adam he said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, ‘You shall not eat of it,’ cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life; thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. 19 By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” Genesis 3:17-19 ESV

In this curse there are three parts that impact humankind in general and make up the order of the fallen world we live in. First is that Humans would live in pain and hard work all the days of our lives. The ground will not give to us without work and perseverance. Even then what we work for will be fraught with thorns and disease. Imagine the created world that God had looked at in the beginning and saw as good has now become a source of pain and toil for all that live in it.

20 So I turned about and gave my heart up to despair over all the toil of my labors under the sun, 21 because sometimes a person who has toiled with wisdom and knowledge and skill must leave everything to be enjoyed by someone who did not toil for it. This also is vanity and a great evil. Ecclesiastes 2:20 ESV

Second Humankind will face death itself. We once were created to live forever with God in the perfect world, but now it is a guarantee that we will return to the dust from where we came. I can’t imagine the weight of such a concept on Adam since before this moment death would have only been an abstract idea and not a reality in the perfect world that God had created.

For the wages of sin is death, Romans 6:23a ESV

Third this curse impacts more than just Adam and Eve it impacts all of creation including the universe itself. The weight of sin and rebellion to the Creator is so serious and is so destructive that the entire universe has fallen. A sun that was created to live forever will one day fail. We see evidence of the failure when looking out into the universe and see stars that have exploded causing destruction in all directions. A current fear of mankind is that one day an asteroid could crash into this planet ending all life. What had once been created for perfection and eternity is now temporary.

20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. Romans 8:20-22 ESV

However devastating this curse was to Adam and to everyone reading this post the First curse God made was to Satan and in this curse we find the present hope we have Christ.

14 The Lord God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, cursed are you above all livestock and above all beasts of the field; on your belly you shall go, and dust you shall eat all the days of your life. 15 I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.” Genesis 3:14-15 ESV

There are two curses in this section that we should take note of. First is the curse that all animals must endure along with everything else. Have you ever wondered why God made the mosquito? They are irritating and they carry disease. Why would God have looked at the mosquito and thought to himself this is good? The result here is that animals and insects are all under the curse. Whatever their original purpose they are now only twisted curse infused replicas of the original. Animals were not originally created to kill and hunt each other. There was no death before these curses.

The wolf and the lamb shall graze together; the lion shall eat straw like the ox, and dust shall be the serpent’s food. They shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain,” says the Lord. Isaiah 65:25 ESV

Second and take note of this is the promise of God to undo the harm Satan intended. Through the offspring of Eve God will strike a crushing blow to Satan’s head and while the blow will be painful to the offspring of Eve it will not be fatal to this future person of promise.

14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. Isaiah 7:14 ESV

This curse to Satan is a promise to us that God would restore what was broken. The curse that God laid out is actually a blessing because this present world must be destroyed in order to create a new heaven and new earth free from the broken relationship that was caused here in chapter three. Without the curse and the eventual destruction of what had once been perfect we would live on forever in pain and toil forever struggling without a relationship with our maker.

23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23 ESV

23 And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. Romans 8:23 ESV

We live in a brief moment of grace that God has provided in this cursed and dying world. Turn from your rebellion against God and seek salvation in the promised savior. Our hope and our future lies only in Christ and the restoration he provides from what happened to creation so many years ago.

Genesis 2:24 | Marriage

genesis 2

Genesis means origin or source of a beginning and that is exactly what the first book of the Bible is about. Chapter one verse one of the Bible “In the beginning God…” it is clear, biblically speaking, that everything exists because of God. He is the creator. Chapter two while continuing the origin history takes a deeper look into the creation of man himself and it is most likely written not from God’s perspective like chapter one but from Adam’s perspective. Henry Morris the well-respected Creation scholar believes that starting in Chapter two we have the genesis account as written by Adam himself giving us his descendants the view of things as he understood them (Morris, 83). Reading Genesis two from this perspective brings much needed context to the text. That context is what Adam writes to tell us about is the first Marriage, the marriage of our eldest grandparents.

24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. Genesis 2:24 ESV

It all started because God recognized that Adam needed a companion and a peer of his own. The Triune God is relational and having created Adam in his image he knew that companionship would be required.

18 Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” 19 Now out of the ground the Lord God had formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. 20 The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him. Genesis 2:18-20 ESV

God knew having created Man אִישׁ (ish) that the creation would need one more introduction before being complete on that sixth day (Genesis 1:27). Adam saw her and called her Woman אִשָּׁה (isha).

Man and Woman have been created and this relationship between Adam and Eve is established in the order and natural laws as God intended. Our own family histories are full of examples of two becoming one and our family histories are full of examples where this relationship has not worked out as one might have hoped going in.

Marriage is no easy relationship. It is amazing that two people man and woman would choose to come together and promise to continue the relationship until death separates them. There is something special and sacred about marriage and our forefather chose to write about marriage first. His being married to the most perfect woman ever created.

The example that God set for Adam is that marriage is between one man and one woman. As a society we have come to accept that many people want more than this singular ideal. However becoming one flesh with three or four people was not the model God created. Giving half of oneself to one person and then giving another half to someone else was not the model God created. Giving oneself to someone of the same gender was not the model God created. So why do we see so many people seeking after relationships and companionships outside of what God originally intended? Time does not permit an exploration of each of these detours from the original but I would like to address polygamy because it occurred, seemingly, with God’s blessing in the Bible and a time is coming in contemporary America where a push may be made to make that acceptable once again. I think by addressing this model through the context of Biblical history that we can see where God’s perfect plan of one man and one woman remains the ideal and it is an ideal that ultimately points to Christ.

We know that several men of the Bible had multiple wives. We know that that God did not forbid the act and it seems that it held a place in society out of necessity. I say necessity because the context and the time when it was practiced is not the same context we live in today. The rule of law was based on a more feudal system where power rested with those that could care and protect others. Women having a more difficult time securing a wage or daily necessities depended on an intact household for survival. Isaiah’s prophecy about the future doom of the nation of Israel and Judah because of their rebellion against God notes a relevant reality that took place because of the hardship and exposure that women would face.

And seven women shall take hold of one man in that day, saying, “We will eat our own bread and wear our own clothes, only let us be called by your name; take away our reproach.” Isaiah 4:1 ESV

In essence because of how few men would be left due to war and how desperate the social structure would be women would want to attach themselves to household name for protection so they would not be sold into slavery or worse. Another example is in giving ground rules for the king where God warns the king not to take many wives just because he has the power and the means to do so.

17 And he shall not acquire many wives for himself, lest his heart turn away, nor shall he acquire for himself excessive silver and gold. Deuteronomy 17:17 ESV

God’s reason for telling the king to avoid this lifestyle is that it would turn his heart away from the true reality of life. God’s perfect plan was one man and one woman and a move to any other life that was born out of anything other than necessity would corrupt the heart of everyone involved.

What was permitted and what was born out of necessity is not needed in contemporary culture. Most, dare I say all, people living today would find that polygamy as permitted in the context of Old Testament is no longer needed. Women no longer need the protection of a household because they can make money on their own and they can call upon the resources of Governments and communities for their protection if needed. Even by the time of Christ this was becoming mostly true. Paul in his letter to Timothy that lays out much of the rules for the contemporary church organization and sets firm qualifications for leaders in the church.

12 Let deacons each be the husband of one wife, managing their children and their own households well. 1 Timothy 3:12 ESV

Each household of one man and one woman fulfills God’s original perfect plan from the very beginning. Husband and Wife is the order just as Adam and Eve wrote in their letter to us in Genesis Chapter two. This beginning like many events recorded in the Bible also points to a more perfect relationship. That is the marriage relationship between Jesus and his Church.

25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. 28 In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, 30 because we are members of his body. 31 “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32 This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. 33 However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband. Ephesians 5:25-33 ESV

It is most amazing to me that Adam’s letter written to us points to the future of Jesus being united to the Church making them one. Being part of the body of believers give you access to the Creator as the daughter-in-law of the Father. Being united with Christ the son of God with all the inheritance and protection that one could ever need through marriage. Now is the time of grace and mercy to be accepted and be part of that family of God. Will you reject or yield to that perfect marriage in Christ?

 

Genesis 5:24 | Enoch Abducted by God

Enoch

Genesis the first book of the Bible has a long list of the patriarchs of the pre flood world. In this list it casually passes over the seventh from Adam, Enoch, with a unique statement.

Enoch walked with God, and he was not, for God took him. Genesis 5:24 ESV

Enoch is unique here because Genesis lists the age when all the other patriarchs died, but Enoch was one day taken, gone, simply no longer around. This word here “took” is a common word that can mean to carry away or fetch and has a very personal meaning like we would say to be taken in marriage. It is interesting that such a simple statement about a profound event is found in God’s word?

Enoch “walked” with God. Now we do not know if this means he physically walked with God to travel or if he simply lived a life that traveled where God would have him go. What is interesting is that the Bible tells us that Noah also walked with God.

These are the generations of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his generation. Noah walked with God. Genesis 6:9 ESV

God created us for relationship and He seeks out women and men who are willing to travel with him. God took note of Enoch in his generation and God saved humanity through Noah in Noah’s generation. In the Hall of Faith found in Hebrews 11 the Bible tells us more about Enoch.

By faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death, and he was not found, because God had taken him. Now before he was taken he was commended as having pleased God. And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. Hebrews 11:5-6 ESV

Enoch walked with God trusting him and built a relationship that has no recorded deeds like Noah or worldly success like King Solomon. The Bible tells us that Enoch drew near to God and was rewarded with something only a few people in all of history have avoided, death. Enoch pleased God by walking with him. Paul tells the Ephesian Church that they walk in death following the “prince of the power of the air” namely Satan or they walk in the new life of the spirit provided by Jesus.

And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— Ephesians 2:1-5 ESV

Dear reader you too can walk with God, lover of your soul, provider of all your needs. He wants you to draw near to walk with him. Turn away from whatever direction you planned to go and travel with God. Put down the labor and toil of your ambitions to see what God’s ambition might be for you. Jesus has provided restoration making the relationship possible. Now is the time to take advantage of this gift.