The world is in a state of confusion. It has left the moorings of the basics as taught in the early chapters of Genesis. It is now tossed upon the ever changing sea of individual subjective thought. It needs to be reminded…
1. There is a God and He created this material universe.
“In the beginning (time) God (force) created (action) the heavens (space) and the earth (matter)” (Genesis 1:1).
He created plants (Genesis 1:11-12), sun, moon and stars (Genesis 1:16-18), aquatic animals and birds (Genesis 1:20-21), land animals (Genesis 1:24-25), and man (Genesis 1:26-27). Moses wrote, “In six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, and the sea, and all that is in them” (Exodus 20:11). The writer of Hebrews declared, “Every house is built by someone, but He who built all things is God” (Hebrews 3:4).
2. God created man in His image.
“Then God said, ‘Let Us make men in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.’ So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them, and God said to them, ‘Be Fruitful and multiply; fill the earth, and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea; over the birds of the air; and over every living thing that moves on the earth’” (Genesis 1:26-28).
Man did not arrive on earth by chance. God made man.
Man is not a newcomer to earth. He did not evolve from simpler life form. Man has been observing creation “since the creation of the world” (Romans 1:20). That is, since the sum total of creation (cf. Genesis 2:1; Exodus 20:11). The creation of man is near enough to the beginning that Jesus said, “From the beginning of the creation, God ‘made them male and female’” (Mark 10:6).
Mankind (male and female) was created in the image of God (Genesis 1:26-27). The language has to do with authority (cf. 1 Corinthians 11:7-9, where the male, and not the female, is in the image of God). God gave man dominion over the rest of creation. Robert Morey commented, “Image of God simply meant that man was created to be and do on a finite level what God was and did on an infinite level. Man was created to reflect God in the created order” (Bert Thompson, Rock Solid Faith, Vol. 2, p. 110). Just as God has dominion over man (and all of creation), God has given man dominion over the rest of creation (Genesis 1:26-27 cf. Psalm 8:3-8).
There is a difference between man and animal. Animals can be eaten (Genesis 9:3), but man is not to shed man’s blood “for in the image of God He made man” (Genesis 9:6). Man is treated with dignity for this same reason (James 3:9-10).
When God said, “Let Us make man in Our image,” we get a hint of the complex nature of the Godhead. The Father was involved in creation (1 Corinthians 8:6). The Son was involved in creation (John 1:1-3; Colossians 1:16; Hebrews 1:1-2). The Holy Spirit was involved in creation (Genesis 1:2; Job 26:13; 33:4; Psalm 104:30a).
3. God created marriage.
“And the LORD God said, ‘It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him… Then the rib which the LORD God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to man’” (Genesis 2:18, 22).
The animals had mates. However, Adam had not yet been given a mate. He was alone. There was nothing comparable to him. It seems that God wanted Adam to grasp this point.
Then, God made woman. He created marriage. He did not create Adam and Steve or Eve and Edith. He created Adam and Eve. He joined one man and one woman. The institute of marriage is based on this (Genesis 2:24). This union of husband and wife is to be more permanent than even parent and child (Genesis 2:24). Jesus taught – “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ and said ‘for this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall be one flesh’? So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, let not man separate” (Matthew 19:4-6).
4. Man and woman have different roles in the home.
“And the LORD God said, ‘It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him’” (Genesis 2:18).
Eve was created to be Adam’s helper. Adam was first formed and then Eve. Paul wrote, “Man is not from woman, but woman from man. Nor was man created for the woman, but woman for the man” (1 Corinthians 11:8-9). Eve was plainly told, after eating the forbidden fruit, that her husband was to rule over her (Genesis 3:16).
Paul grounded the woman’s role in creation (1 Corinthians 11:8-9; 1 Timothy 2:13-14). In God’s plan man is to be the leader in the home (Ephesians 5:22-24; Colossians 3:18; Titus 2:3-5), and in the church (1 Timothy 2:8-15; 3:1-13; Titus 1:5-9).
God spoke to Eve about childbirth (Genesis 3:16), and to Adam about farming (Genesis 3:17-19). This seems to indicate a different focus. The wife is to be a homemaker (cf. Titus 2:5). The husband is to be a breadwinner. Yes, a woman can help bring in income (cf. Proverbs 31:16, 24). Yes, a man can help in domestic work (cf. Genesis 18:1-8). However, there is a different focus or emphasis. There is a division of responsibilities.
5. Work is not a curse.
“Then the LORD took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it” (Genesis 2:15 cf. 2:18).
Work became more difficult as a result of Adam and Eve’s sin (Genesis 3:17-19, 23). However, it is a mistake to think that work itself is a curse. Man was designed to work (Genesis 2:15, 18).
God has always expected man to work. He did in the patriarchal system (Genesis 3:17-19, 23; 4:2). He did in the Mosaic system (Exodus 20:9-11; Deuteronomy 5:13-14). He still does (Ephesians 4:28; 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12; 2 Thessalonians 3:7-15). Work allows man to sustain life on earth, without someone working no one could live.
God designed the work week around the creation week (Exodus 20:9-10; Deuteronomy 5:13-14). Man needs rest. God set that at one day out of seven. Men have tempered with this, but it still works best. David Barton has written, “Following the French Revolution (1789), France made a calendar change so that workers were allowed one day rest in ten rather than the traditional religiously based one in seven… Apparently, the result on the workers’ health and morale was so detrimental that one day rest in seven was reinstituted” (Barton, Original Intent, p. 67, footnote).
6. Man is accountable to God.
“And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, ‘Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day you eat of it you shall die’” (Genesis 2:16-17).
They ate and there were consequences. They were cast out of the garden. They were cut off from the tree of life, and thus, began to physically die. They lost their close relationship with God, and thus, spiritually died.
What did God mean, when He warned that they would die the day in which they ate? They did not immediately, physically die (Genesis 4:1-5:5). Here are some possibilities: (1) It is possible that this means that their physical death would become certain on that day. Eric Lyon has written, “The available evidence shows… that the Hebrew idiom (‘in that day’) refers to the certainty of death, not the immediacy of it. For example, King Solomon once warned a subversive Shimei: ‘For it shall be, on the day (some original wording – B.H.) you go out and cross the Brook Kidron, know for certain you shall die…” (1 Kings 2:37). As the next few verses indicate, Shemei could not have been executed on the exact day he crossed the Brook Kidron. Solomon did not call for him until after Shimei had saddled his donkey, went to King Achish at Gath, sought and retrieved slaves, and returned home (approximately 50-60 miles round trip). It is logical to conclude that this would have taken more than just one day (especially considering a donkey’s average was only 20 miles a day…). It was only after Shimei’s return from Gath that King Solomon reminded him of his promise saying, ‘Did I not make you swear by the Lord, and warn you, saying, ‘Know for certain that on the day you do out and travel anywhere, you shall die?’ (1 Kings 2:42). As Hebrew scholar Victor Hamilton noted, this phrase (in Genesis 2:17; 1 Kings 2:37, 42 and Exodus 10:28-ff) is underscoring the certainty of death, not its chronology (Lyons, The Anvil Rings, Vol. 1, p. 32). (2) Some have suggested that an immediate physical death is warned of, but God substituted animal sacrifice. Garry Brantley commented, “God did not require them to pay the full penalty for their transgression, but set in motion a redemptive plan in which He accepted a substitutionary sacrifice for sin. This is reflected in the animal sacrifices of the Mosaic economy, and ultimately in the physical death of Christ. In Adam and Eve’s case, it might be that the animals from which God made the skins to clothe their naked bodies represented the first sin offering” (Brantley, Questions and Answers, Reason & Revelation, Vol. 15, No. 3, 1995). This is an interesting theory. However, nothing indicates that the clothes of skin were from a substitute sacrifice which spared their lives. Though, it is possible. (3) Some have suggested that this refers to spiritual death. They lost their close fellowship with God. God become distant. They died spiritually. However, the language, “you shall surely die,” at least usually, refers to physical death (Genesis 2:16-17; cf. Genesis 20:7; 1 Samuel 14:44; 1 Kings 2:37,40; 2 Kings 1:4, 6, 16; Jeremiah 26:8. Exceptions – Ezekiel 3:18; 33:8; 33:14). It seems to me that the first explanation is the best. Though, the second is an interesting theory.
Some might wonder: “What’s the big deal? Why would God so react to the eating of this fruit?” The answer to this is that God placed a choice before them. The choice was not so much about the fruit. It was about whether they would follow God’s will or their own will. They had rejected the rule of God for the rule of self. The big issue in every age is who will be God – God or self?
God is gracious and merciful. He pre-planned a way for man’s redemption. Victory over Satan would come through the seed of women (Genesis 3:15 cf. Galatians 4:4). This plan was in place before the foundation of the world (1 Peter 1:18-20). Redemption can be found “in Christ” (Ephesians 1:7 cf. Galatians 3:26-27).