Genesis 4:1-26, which begins and ends with a birth and the worship of God, contains three movements. Each movement is prefaced with Adam (who is here called man), Cain, and then Adam again, each knowing their wives, which resulted in births (4:1, 17, 25). So, 4:1-16 pertains to man’s descendants; 4:17-24 pertains to Cain’s descendants; and 4:25-26 returns to Adam’s descendants. And yet, the main thrust of this chapter is its introduction of the first children born to Adam and Eve—Cain and Abel and the circumstances behind the first murder. Whereas Genesis 3:1-24 dealt with the breakdown primarily between mankind and God, Genesis 4:1-26 concerns itself with the further fragmentation between human relationships.
As a result of his part in the rebellion against God, pain would also accompany the man’s life. And then he would die. The man’s sentencing begins with the reason for the sentencing: “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’” (3:17). The man’s sentence begins: “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. By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread” (3:17-19). Man’s physical and emotional pain will stem from the ground being cursed. Now thorns and thistles will accompany “every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food” (2:9). Man sinned by eating and so now he would have to suffer in order to eat. It will now be annoying and hard to obtain sustenance. And a long hard life will last: “till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return” (3:19). Man might have desired to be like God, but in death his true nature is revealed—apart from God, he is just dust. Frustrated and finite, life will continually witness to man of his utter dependence upon God.
The crafty serpent only speaks twice. But it is all that is needed to offset the balance of trust and obedience between Adam and Eve and their God. The dialogue between the serpent and Eve begins with a question: “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” (3:1). The serpent’s first step was to cast doubt on what God had said. But not simply to cast doubt on what God had said as much as to begin calling into question the essential goodness of God. Of course, since God reveals His character through His Word, to cast doubt on God’s Word is tantamount to casting aspersions on God Himself.
By forming the woman from the man (God took a rib), God is demonstrating the essential equality between the humanity of male and female. Then as God took the “woman and brought her to the man” (2:22), we have the imagery of God presenting Eve to Adam, as a bride to her groom, showing the special gift woman is to man. Things went from not good to good. In what are the first recorded words from Adam, he agrees, exclaiming joyfully: “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh” (2:23). Adam’s statement not only reflects the loving dignity that a husband must have toward his wife, but also the cherishing honor toward the one whom God has designed to assist in fulfilling his calling.
Adam’s priestly role overlaps with his kingly role expressed in chapter 1: “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth” (1:28). How does this verse’s description relate to Adam being placed in the Garden? As Adam and Eve were called to rule over and fill the earth, they would begin where they had been placed—in the Garden—but they were to extend and populate the geographical boundaries of that Garden until Eden became a Holy Garden City that covered the whole earth. While the tragedy of Adam’s rebellion horribly interrupts this process, the Scriptures culminate with God establishing a glorious Garden City that revisits all the imagery of Eden (Revelation 21-22). Adam’s botched mission would not stop God’s agenda from being accomplished. “For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea” (Habakkuk 2:4).
So God, set up His creation as the sanctuary of His rest. But the notion of rest should not be construed to mean the cessation of activity. God certainly ceased from his creative activity, but what He did next was the furthest thing from disengagement. God’s rest is the establishment of His rule and thus the resultant effect of His ruling presence upon the universe. God’s reign over His creation is His rest. The enthronement of the Lord over His creation is what would provide the stability, the equilibrium, the joy, and the peace for mankind as he was commissioned to tangibly reflect God’s rule to the creation. Mankind, as the image-bearer of God, who was called to represent God to the creation, was invited to do what God had just done: rest. But if God’s rest consists of His enthronement over His creation, then man’s entrance to that rest would consist of the joyful recognition and reflection of God’s enthronement.
The truthfulness of Scriptures does not require confirmation from any external scientific, historical, or sociological evidence. To do so, would be to have a functionally higher authority than the Bible for our validation of reality. The Bible reveals all of its truths, whether they are theological and religious truths or historical and scientific truths, from God’s viewpoint and therefore, in accord with His own wisdom and knowledge. All Scripture originates from God (2 Timothy 3:14-17), who moved on the Biblical writers in such a way that the views expressed in their writings were God’s viewpoint, which He enabled them to express accurately (2 Peters 1:19-21). So, when the Bible says that God created the heavens and the earth and all they contain in six actual days, that discloses God’s view, not merely mans’ views.
Introduction to Genesis Study # 1 — Exodus 19-20 Genesis is vital revelation for knowing the One True God and understanding His ways. Like each of the sixty-six books of the Bible, Genesis is pure truth, essential to our lives today. Genesis, which means origins, is an appropriate title given to this book that […]
The bulk of the instructions concerning elders pertain to moral qualifications (see also 1 Timothy 3:1-7). The particular duties that elders are to carry out are somewhat secondary to their moral character. What an elder is to do is not as pressing as what kind of person is qualified to be an elder. This is not to suggest that duties that an elder performs are unclear or unimportant; but it is perhaps a strong reminder that the elders are to first and always seek to model in their own life, what they teach and lead others to be and do. No church has the right to either diminish the standards for the elders (or deacons) as established in the New Testament or elevate any other standards as though they would then be equal to those explicitly commended by the true Head of the church Himself.
The salvation that has been received in Christ by the Spirit, which in no way is secured by works; nevertheless, does most certainly result in works. The new way of living that was stated back in 3:1 is revisited: “The saying is trustworthy, and I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works” (3:8). Works are necessary in a very important sense related to salvation. They are not necessary in order to earn or obtain salvation but they are a necessary evidence or outcome of salvation. Salvation is not by works, but salvation is through a grace that works.
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