With Vignette #2 having just ended, and with Vignette #3 of Act 1, Scene 1 of God’s One Big Story not yet ready to begin, let’s use these few minutes to look back over the episode that we have just witnessed to see what we can learn from it. Specifically, we will be looking for…
- The Life Lessons that this part of the Story has to share;
- The Contributions that this part of the Earthly Story has to make to the Heavenly Level Story; and,
- The new Revelations of God that this part of the Story has to offer.
Life Lessons from Genesis 2
Before we can identify the Life Lessons to be learned from Genesis 2, there are a few very important questions relating to the Creation of Man that must be answered first…
- Why was Man created?
In Ephesians 1:4-6, we learned that God…
…chose us in him before the foundation of the world that we should be holy and blameless before him…
…in love he predestined us (that is, He designed us in advance) for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ…
…and in Ephesians 2:7…
…so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
This takes us to…
- We were created for the purpose of becoming the Sons and Daughters of God; and,
- In remaking us from sinners bound for destruction into the sanctified Children of God, the greatness of God’s grace and kindness would be displayed for everyone in all ages to see.
- How was Man created?
Because Man was created to be a Child of God, he had to be made in the image and likeness of the God who would become his Father. In other words, he had to be…
Spirit, like God;
Eternal, like God;
Holy, like God; and,
Volitional, like God.
He also had to be Relational, like God, in order for him to function as a member of God’s family,
So, when the time came for God to create man, the first thing He did was to fashion a body for him from the dust of the earth, as a place for his soon-to-come spirit to dwell. Once this was done, God breathed into Man His very own Spirit, and when He did, Man not only came alive both physically and spiritually, but a whole new entity was brought into existence—an entity called the human Soul. This Soul housed Man’s unique Personality—his mind, will, and emotions—which was designed to serve as a mediator between Man’s body and his spirit.
The need for such a mediator will become obvious to us when we flash forward to John 3:6, where Jesus boldly states…
…That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit…
…indicating that the fleshly and the spiritual parts of Man are of such different natures that they will never have a basis for relationship. To bridge the gap between these two, the human Soul was brought into being, with the Soul becoming the means by which the Spirit of God would make the will of God known to man. Here is how this system of communication was designed to work…
- First, God’s Spirit would speak to man’s spirit, telling him what God wanted him to do;
- Man’s spirit would then relay this information to Man’s soul for processing;
- Ideally, this processing would result in Man using his will to communicate God’s instructions to his body for execution.
- In this way, God’s will would be carried out on the earth through Man.
This takes us to…
- Man was created in the image of God as an Eternal Spirit living temporarily on earth in a physical body;
- Man was also created with a Soul or Personality, that was charged with the responsibility of connecting Man’s Spirit to his body and communicating God’s Will to Man for execution on the Earth.
- How did the way Man was created impact his life and ours?
Being created with a Spirit meant that we would be able to relate to the very real yet invisible God; being created with a Physical Body meant that we would be able to relate to the natural world around us; and, being created with a Soul meant that we would be able to relate to people around us on an emotional and intellectual level. In addition, the Soul also provides the completely separate entities of our bodies and spirits with an important point of connection.
Being created in the image and likeness of God also meant that both the first man and we would be volitional, like God. This meant that we could choose to use our wills to carry out God’s purposes on the earth—as it was intended to do—or we could use it to do just the opposite. While it was God’s desire for Man to become His child and stay connected to Him through his spirit, in giving Man a Soul—a mind, will, and emotions that could act independently from God—God was actually giving him the ability to choose whether or not he wanted to become a child of God.
This was and is both an awesome privilege and a tremendous responsibility because, as we learned back in Genesis 1, everything in God’s Creation was designed to reproduce “after its own kind.” Choices being no exceptions, this meant that every choice of Man’s would bring forth the fruit (the appropriate consequences) of that choice—something which we will learn much more about as our Story progresses.
This takes us to…
Because of the way in which we were created, we each have been given the ability and the responsibility to choose if we will go the way of the Spirit or the way of the Flesh. However, in making those choices, we must not be…
…deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life (Galatians 6:7-8).
- What was the significance of the Garden?
Because God is Spirit and Man is Flesh, in order for the two to have fellowship together, it was necessary that a place of meeting be created for that purpose. In much the same way that Man’s spirit and his body of flesh needed his soul to be a place of mediation between those two disparate entities, God and Man also needed a place—a Sanctuary, Tabernacle, or Temple—where they, too, could meet together. This is what the Garden represented.
Even though the world that God had created was beautiful enough itself, when it came to creating the Sanctuary of the Garden, God pulled out all of the stops. He filled this Sanctuary with everything that was beautiful to behold and to enjoy. The Garden was well-watered by a river flowing up from underground springs, and filled with every tree that was good for food. In addition, the areas surrounding the Garden were also well-watered and filled with gold and precious stones! Once this special meeting place was completed, God took the Man He had created and placed him in the Garden, charging him with the responsibility of taking care of it.
This takes us to…
- The Garden was the meeting place between God and man, the place where they could have fellowship with one another;
- The Garden was a gift of God’s grace—man had nothing to do its creation;
- The Garden was designed to be a source of nourishment for the man;
- The Garden required effort on man’s part to “tend and keep” it;
- The Garden (and therefore man’s fellowship with God) could be lost through disobedience.
- What was the significance of Eve’s special creation?
Until the Creation of Woman, all the work that God had done had been judged by Him to be good. It wasn’t until Adam had been created and he had spent enough time alone to realize that he was lonely, that God judged something to be not good. There are at least three reasons why Adam’s singleness was not good…
- As a single person, although Adam could relate spiritually to God and physically to the world in which he lived, there was still no one to whom he could relate equally on an intellectual and emotional level;
- Without a mate, he could not fulfill the mandate from God to multiply and fill the earth; and,
- Without a female counterpart in the world, God’s image on the earth would remain incomplete.
To understand what I mean by this, we have only to refer back to Genesis 1:27, where we learned that…
…God created man in his own image, in the image of God [first] he created him; [then] male and female he created them.
In other words, when God created Adam, He endowed him with the characteristics that we tend to associate with masculinity–characteristics such as strength, power, assertiveness, provision, protection, and leadership. Since Adam was created in the image of God, this would mean that he would be a reflection of this “masculine” image of God on the earth. However, these characteristics by themselves were not enough to provide the world with an accurate, well-rounded image of God. Not only is God strong, powerful, assertive, a provider, a protector, and a leader, but He is also loving, kind, patient, tender, compassionate, and merciful—a creative giver and nurturer of life. So, for the more “feminine” aspects of God’s nature to be reflected on the earth for all to see, God created woman and endowed her with these particular characteristics of Himself.
This takes us to…
In His creation of Man and Woman, God was actually providing the world with a visible image of Himself to behold. When men and women are living in right relationship with God and with each other, the masculine and feminine characteristics they manifest will serve as earthly reflections of the divine image of God.
Contributions of Genesis 2 to the Heavenly Story
Because it was God’s desire and plan from eternity past to bring into existence a Spiritual Family whom He could love forever, the Creation of Man and Woman marked the earthly beginnings of God’s long-planned and greatly anticipated Family—as it would be through them and their descendants that the whole Family of Man would be derived. As they fulfilled God’s commission to multiply and fill the earth, they would soon grow into families, clans, tribes, and then nations—the nations from which God would eventually chose a Wife, when He took Israel to be His own. It would be through the Nation of Israel that God would one day send His Son into the world to redeem the world; providing forgiveness for every sinner and making it possible for them to be adopted into the Family of God.
The Creation of this First Adam and his wife also provides us with a prophetic or spiritual picture of the Son and Second Adam, Jesus Christ, and the creation of His Bride, the Church. In Adam’s deep sleep and in the helper created for him from the rib taken from his wounded side, we see a prefiguring of Jesus, from whom a type of rib—the disciples—was taken from His wounded side as He was going into the sleep of death, and around which God fashioned a Bride uniquely suited to be His Helper and Companion forever. Just as in Adam’s case, the creation of Jesus’ Bride would require…
- That a part of Him be used in her creation;
- A wound in His side as He “slept;”
- The shedding of His blood; and,
- That she become one with Him, as a part of His Body.
Revelations of God found in Genesis 2
As we have learned previously, when looking for new Revelations of God, we will do so by examining…
- The Names God Uses to Identify Himself
In Vignette #1, we were introduced to God by His name, Elohim—the Creator God who is Plural in Purpose but singular in purpose. However, in Vignette #2, we are given a new name for God—that of, the Lord God or Yahweh. As Yahweh, God shows us a completely different side of Himself; instead of the God who is transcendent, or over and above all that He has created, He reveals Himself as the God who is immanent, or present and personally involved with His Creation.
- The Things that God Does
Unlike the seemingly remote Elohim, who spoke most of Creation into existence from afar, Yahweh demonstrates His loving care by taking a hands-on approach in His creation of Man—carefully fashioning him from the dust of the earth with His own hands and then giving him life by sharing some of His own Life and Spirit with him. In anticipation of His new creation’s every need, Yahweh provides Man with a lavish new home in the Garden in Eden, and then, through His special creation of Woman, He provides him with the mate and companion that he needs for life.
- The Ways that God Relates to His Creation
As evidenced in His creation of Man and Woman, God’s desire and plan was to be intimately involved with them through a personal relationship. As a demonstration of His commitment to this kind of relationship, He created a special Garden where they could meet together for fellowship on a daily basis.
- The Things that God Says about Himself
Once again, God says nothing about Himself here. He trusts that His name, the things that He does, and the way that He relates to His Creation will do the talking for Him, allowing these things to reveal an ever-expanding, more multi-dimensional portrait of who He is.
Next, it’s on to Vignette #3, The Perils of Personal Autonomy…