Our text – Genesis 1:1-3:24
Genesis 1:26, 27, “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the seas, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female, created he them”
Hebrews 11:3, “By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God”
Our study examines the promises God made to Abraham and his descendants, but it also gives for us today an opportunity to see God’s faithfulness in times before Abraham’s life and more importantly after his life. This faithfulness stands in sharp contrast to human failure and therefore magnifies God’s unrelenting activity in the lives of Adam, Eve and countless other individuals throughout God’s Eternal Word, and especially in the lives of people today. Thus, God has provided for us:
(1) Redemption for sin, (only through His Son)
(2) Strength in times of weakness,
(3) Protection in times of peril,
(4) Joy in times of sorrow,
(5) Guidance in times of confusion,
(6) Wisdom in times of uncertainty,
(7) Peace in times of trouble, and
(8) His ever presence at all times.
Studying the pages of Genesis, you would be able to see that the changeless God of creation is also our God. The promises He made long ago are irrevocable as is His promises for today. Absolutely nothing can offset those promises or persuade God to withdraw them, not even human failure. Thus, we can face each new day triumphantly by faith with the strong assurance that God will fulfill His purposes.
Can the human race conquer disease, war, ignorance, widespread despair, and prejudice? Can we “just get along,” understand and respect one another, and join hands to create a perfect environment in which everyone on earth enjoys a slice of paradise? Secular humanists think that we can because they believe people can achieve whatever they dream without God’s help. As far as they are concerned, we would have a better chance of ushering in the Golden Age if we totally erased God from our thinking all together.
My beloved, currently through the banner of separation of church and state and political correctness, many institutions have succeeded in removing God from the essence of our American society. It is my belief that the American majority needs to speak up, stand up, and demand moral changes in our government and institutions alike.
Unfortunately, many feel that America has turned its back on God, especially when it comes to the public square. Courts have removed prayer from the classrooms and public institutions. The Ten Commandments have been removed from parks, schools, and courthouses. Public schools teach Darwinism but not Intelligent Design.
The secular humanists are holding a seriously distorted picture of human nature and a counterfeit philosophy. By contrast, the Bible, God’s Eternal Word presents an accurate, undistorted picture of human nature and a very clear view of what lies ahead. The Bible portrays people as incapable of constructing a perfect world; however, it does promise a Golden Age for redeemed sinners. Earth’s Golden Age will feature God’s Son ruling our planet and dispensing worldwide peace, prosperity, knowledge, good health, harmony, productivity, and righteousness.
The Bible so succinctly shows that since the dawn of history, the world has been traveling on a collision course that will result in divine judgment. When and how did the human race get on this collision course? What hope does the Bible offer those who want to escape divine judgment? The opening chapters of Genesis hold the answers. There we discover that the first human beings started life in a perfect and sinless world. Additionally, they had a golden opportunity to worship and serve God and to enjoy perfect happiness. Sadly, they wasted that opportunity and forfeited paradise.
A. Before Creation
Before the beginning of creation one may ask the question, “If God has existed for eternity, what was He doing before He created the universe?” John 17:5 tell us, “O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.”
So, what was happening in the eons before “God created the heavens and the earth”? (Genesis 1:1). Well for one thing, we know that there was “wisdom” before creation itself, which came from God’s character. Wisdom, personified in Proverbs 8:23, said, “I have been established from everlasting, from the beginning, before there was ever an earth.”
Also, we know that God’s salvation plan of grace was in the works before the world was hung in its place. In 2 Timothy 1:9, we read that grace “was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began.” Likewise, Titus 1:2 says that eternal life was promised “before time began.” We also know that Jesus was glorified and loved in God’s presence “before the world was” (John 17:5; see also v.24).
My beloved, these are just tiny glimpses of God before He created the earth to help us see a little of the essence and magnitude of our awesome, eternal and changeless God. We see His majesty and greatness. Amazing, isn’t it? We worship a God who existed from the beginning and as He does today.
B. God’s Creation … (Genesis 1:1-2:25)
Genesis means “beginning.” We should not be surprised then to find several beginning in this first book of the Bible. The first three chapters alone record the beginning of:
(1) The universe,
(2) The beginning of mankind,
(3) The beginning of temptation and sin,
(4) The beginning of judgment, the beginning of God’s kingdom, and
(5) The beginning of God’s redemptive program.
My beloved, this series of beginnings lay the foundation for the rest of the Bible. Thus, the first beginning we encounter in Genesis is the beginning of the universe, which states emphatically, “In the beginning God created the heaven and earth.” Nothing evolved; God created everything “by the word of God”. He merely spoke, and the universe sprang into existence.
Chapters 1-3 of the book of Genesis records God’s creation of the earth, the entire universe, and all life including man and woman. Chapter three covers man’s fall into sin and rebellion. These three chapters are the foundation of the rest of Scripture. If any part of these chapters is false, then the rest of the Bible cannot be trusted, and our faith in God is built on a very shaky foundation.
C. The Creator Himself (1:1-2)
Unlike us and everything else, including the angels, God never had a beginning. He was always here and always will be here, because He is eternal. Is that hard to understand? Of course, it is; however, it’s not illogical or unreasonable. It is certainly much more reasonable to credit God with the work of creation than it is to believe that everything owes its existence to chance.
Scientists passionately deny the accuracy of Genesis 1-3. To them, the Biblical record of creation is foolishness. However, science has established the fact that even an atom cannot be created from nothing. So, if this is the case, where did the world, sun, moon and stars come from? How did the living beings including the intelligent human beings come to exist? These scientists have convinced multitudes of people that God didn’t create the world and they passionately teach their theories.
Furthermore, the evolutionist tell us that our amazing and complex world developed by mere chance. According to astronomer and writer Carl Sagan, “Nature does not require a Designer. To me, ascribing this to chance is absurd. God’s wisdom is plainly observable in the works of His creation. His handiwork in nature speaks so strongly for His existence and power that the apostle Paul used it as an argument to establish man’s guilt and condemnation.
He wrote that man is without excuse if he does not respond in faith to the God who made it all (Romans 1:20). Thus, these attacks and scorn of so many critics have even caused many Christians to doubt or question the accuracy of these chapters. satan would also love to have us believe these first three chapters of God’s Word are unreliable.
An account has been told that Sir Isaac Newton made a working model of our solar system. At its center was a large golden ball representing the sun, and revolving around it were the planets, smaller spheres attached at the end of rods of varying lengths. A friend of his who didn’t believe in the biblical account of creation stopped by for a visit.
Watching as Newton made the tiny planets move in their orbits, the man exclaimed, “My, what an exquisite thing! Who made it?” Without looking up, Newton replied, “Nobody.” “Nobody?” his friend asked. “That’s right! These balls and cogs and belts and gears just happened to come together. And by chance they began revolving in their set orbits with perfect timing.” The unbeliever got the message! It was foolish to suppose that the model merely happened. It is even more senseless and foolish to accept the theory that the earth and the vast universe came into being by chance.
D. The Personality of God
The Genesis record suggests several characteristics. The Hebrew word for “God” in Genesis 1:1 suggests He is a Trinity. The Hebrew word Elohim is a plural form of the word for “God”. Genesis 1:26 reports that God said, “Let us make man in our image.” Because God is a Trinity, He is complete in Himself. He is a social unity, not a lonely God who existed in eternity in isolation with no one to love and no one to communicate with. Love and communication have existed eternally in the Trinity, and they always will. Men and women are social beings because God created them in His image; therefore, they need both God and other people.
The Genesis record also indicates that God is a mystery. Who can comprehend this awesome Person Who is introduced to us without explanation, Who spoke the universe into existence by mysterious power and authority, Who created mankind in His own image, and Who controls the universe He made? He defies our imagination and baffles our understanding. “His greatness is unsearchable” (Psalm 145:3). Despite His greatness, God is knowable.
A father is not fully comprehensible to his child, but his child can know many things about him and can enjoy a personal relationship with him. What the child cannot understand about the father should lead the child to reverence him and obey him. A Christian knows of God that “his ways [are] past finding out” (Romans 11:33), but the mysteries cause the believer to reverence and worship God.
The Genesis account also indicates that God is free. He didn’t have to create the universe or mankind. He is sufficient in Himself and needs absolutely nothing outside Himself. He was not under any compulsion to do anything. He chose to create. God is free because He is infinite. He has no limitations. We are limited by our lack of knowledge, intelligence, and competence; by circumstances and people; and by our lack of goodness.
E. The Creation of the Universe (1:3-2:25
When Moses wrote, “God created the heaven,” he was probably describing what we think of as “outer space.” Evidently, “earth” in Genesis 1:2 refers to created things, or matter. God didn’t instantaneously create a completed universe; He created in successive time periods. He not only brought new things into existence, but He also brought order and beauty out of things He had previously created. The earth was first unformed and empty. No land lay above the level of water; water covered everything. And there was no light. Darkness reigned supreme. Under the darkness lay the deep and the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
The first great need was for light. All life and all beauty depend on light. A world of darkness could not be beautiful. Thus, earth was to know, light and darkness, day and night, work and rest. People need nights for rest. God provided for that need as He anticipated man’s earning his bread by the sweat of his brow.
On the second day God said, “Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters” (Genesis 1:6). The word “firmament” means “expanse,” or “space.” God created the sky to separate atmospheric waters from terrestrial waters. A water vapor canopy must have rested above Earth’s sky, and dense moisture covered the entire globe until God separated the land from the water.
A proper proportion of land and water would ensure that land areas would not be too wet or too dry for human habitation. God was preparing Earth for His highest creation, mankind! He therefore caused grass, herbs, and trees to grow there. You will note that the firmament, the separation of the land masses from the water, and the appearance of vegetation occupied the second and third days of creation.
On the fourth day, God created the sun, moon, and stars to supersede the light created on the first day. Mankind’s great source of heat and light is the sun, which can be compared to a multiplicity of exploding hydrogen bombs; constant nuclear fission takes place in the sun. God appointed the lights of the heaven to divide the light from darkness, night from day.
On the fifth day, God created the creatures that would live in the water and in the atmosphere of earth. The sixth day, however, was perhaps the most significant of all, because on that day God created both the animals of the earth and mankind. God said of the animals, as He had said earlier of plants (v. 11), that each would bring forth after its kind (v. 21). God made distinct kinds of plants and distinct kinds of animals. Variation could occur within the kinds (new varieties or species), but crossover from one kind to another could not.
God created mankind last, making man and woman alone in His image (vs. 26, 27). They have a sense of morality and beauty and the capacity to worship, obey, serve, and glorify God. With their dignity, status, and authority that no animal possesses, they also have dominion over creation. The creator gave human beings a perfectly wonderful and wonderfully perfect world and the incomparable opportunity to honor Him.
F. The Temptation and Fall … (Genesis 3:1-24)
In simple, straightforward language, Genesis reports our first parents’ willful plunge into sin. Genesis 3:106, “Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field, which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? (2) And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: (3) But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.
(4) And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: (5) For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. (6) And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat”
Satan the tempter used a serpent, which Genesis 3:1 describes as “more subtil than any beast of the field,” to deceive Eve, the first woman. The serpent asked a seemingly innocent but intensely sinister question that insinuated God could not be trusted, “Is it true that God told you not to eat of any tree in this garden?” Of course, Satan knew that God had forbidden the fruit of only one tree, but he was raising in Eve’s mind a doubt about God’s fairness.
Why should God have made any restrictions at all? Satan was making one tree more important to Eve than all the other trees in the Garden. Satan never focuses on the privileges we have, all the beauties we behold, all the joys that we may experience. He focuses on the restrictions, the forbidden things, and exaggerates them, to suggest that God is mean and holding out on us.
Eve confessed that one restriction existed, but she misrepresented it. She said the restriction included not touching the tree and that doing so would bring death (v. 3)! But the serpent hissed, “Ye will not surely die” (v. 4). Satan always minimizes obedience and denies the consequences of disobedience. “The trouble with you, Eve,” Satan was saying, “is that you take God too seriously. You believe that He means everything He says. Actually, Eve, God is cheating you. He knows that you can become as a god, knowing good and evil.”
Eve had listened too long to the serpent. The fruit was appetizing, eating it would be a pleasant experience, and it would make her wise. Satan had appealed to her self-interest. Sensuality and pride! The five senses and pride! How powerfully they make bad things look good to us.
G. Results of the Fall (Genesis 3:7-24)
Adam joined Eve in her sin (3:6), and immediately they fell under the sentence of death. As Adam and Eve faced temptation for the first time; many things were true of them that aren’t true for us. They lived in a perfect environment and uncorrupted society. No family influence could be blamed for their choice to do what is wrong. Adam and Eve stood in the morning of creation as creatures of great wonder.
No sinful heritage, no ravaged surroundings could be blamed for their downfall. There were also many sins that Adam and Eve couldn’t commit. They couldn’t commit adultery. They couldn’t steal from anyone. They couldn’t dishonor their father or mother. They couldn’t bear false witness against their neighbor. They couldn’t covet their neighbor’s property.
Nevertheless, the essence of sin back at the dawn of creation was the same as it is today. At the one crucial point at which they were tempted, Adam and Eve didn’t take seriously, what God had said. It’s often difficult to understand why people give in to certain temptations. From our vantage point, their problem should be easy to handle. We may even wonder how Adam and Eve could have been so foolish as to have thrown aside all that God had given them in the morning of their existence.
We would not have fallen so easily or would we? Part of the problem is that the tempter wears a disguise when he slithers into our lives. The Bible tells us that the serpent was “more cunning than any beast of the field” (Genesis 3:1). No ominous hissing or rattling warned of danger. He didn’t ask, “Pardon me, may I have 20 minutes to destroy your life?”
My beloved, Public Enemy No. 1 uses the same tactics today as he did back then. However, God’s Word warns us that satan dresses as an angel of light, and his cohorts appear as ministers of righteousness (2 Corinthians 11:14-15). We must be vigilant to prevent such a crafty deceiver from sneaking into our lives. In the temptations we face today, we too must decide if we will believe the Lord and do what He says is right. We too must realize that sin can devastate our relationship with Him.
Genesis 3:7 and the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons. 8 And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden. (9) And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, where art thou? (10) And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.
(11) And he said, who told thee that thou was naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat? (12) And the man said, the woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat. (13) And the LORD God said unto the woman, what is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, the serpent beguiled me, and I did eat. These verses present a simple narrative describing the immediate and initial effects of the fall (sin), such as:
(1) Adam and Eve’s eyes were opened, and the couple realized for the first time they were naked.
(2) They sensed the need to clothe themselves and had to create attire from available materials.
(3) They experienced fear at the voice of God.
(4) They had to find a place to hide.
(5) They had to reply to God’s inquiry as to their whereabouts. Additional stress; they had to explain the reason for their hiding.
(6) They had to acknowledge eating of the tree God had placed off limits to them and, in so doing, devise a plan to shift the blame to someone else.
Just think about the drastic changes, which occurred in Adam and Eve’s perspective on life after the fall, such as their: (1) innocence was replaced with guilt; (2) honesty was warped by deception; (3) trust was shattered and replaced with distrust; (4) communion gave way to estrangement or separation; (5) love was modified by fear; (6) serenity was replaced with tension; and (7) the perfect became imperfect.
What was known and pleasant to them became unfamiliar and unpleasant, and that was only the beginning. God’s Judgment is recorded for us in Genesis 3:14-19, “And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: (15) And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. (16) Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow, thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.
(17) And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; 18 Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; (19) In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return”.
A thorough study of the above verses would reveal the all-encompassing depth of God’s righteous judgment, but a simple reading of the narrative makes it obvious that stress (sin) had entered the perfect world God had created. Verses 14 and 15 describe God’s curse and judgment on the serpent. Two aspects of this curse can be noted.
First, the serpent would be reduced in stature. It would crawl around and “eat dust” (v 14). This expression carries the idea of total defeat, as illustrated in verses such as Isaiah 65:25 and Micah 7:17. The rest of the animal kingdom, though indirectly mentioned, also suffered from man’s sin.
Secondly, satan was judged. Granted, satan’s name is not used in the text, but a study of Genesis 3:1 would confirm the presence of satan in this event (Romans 16:20; Revelation 20:2). The clause “I will put enmity between thee and the woman” (v. 15) appears to include both the serpent and satan. Not only will there be hostility between the woman and the snake, but there will be a spiritual battle between satan’s spiritual seed (his demonic hosts) and the woman’s seed (Jesus Christ). satan’s kingdom has been and will continue to be in opposition to the true Kingdom of God.
Verse 16 describes God’s judgment on the woman. Three aspect of this judgment are noted: She will have great difficulty in childbirth; her “desire” will be to her husband; and her husband will rule over her. Note the stress implied in this judgment. Children, declared by God as a gift (Psalm 127:3), would be delivered in pain.
The wonder of marriage to be lived in a loving, caring relationship and declared by God as good (Genesis 2:23-25) became warped by strife between husband and wife. Verses 17-19 describe God’s judgment on the man and the world in which he would labor and live. In addressing Adam, God first reviewed the man’s sin: “Because thou has hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it …” (verse 17).
These words must have pierced Adam’s mind and heart. He had failed. God first stated the overall and pervasive curse in the ground: “Cursed is the ground.” Then verse 18 adds “thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth,” indicating just some of the negative change implied in the general curse. Next God pronounced judgment on Adam (v. 19). Daily life would be hard. Food would be gathered with much sweat, little yield for the effort, and in the presence of thorns and thistles. In addition, after living a hard life, Adam would die. In addition, the judgment placed on the serpent, Satan, and Eve would affect Adam’s life as well.
Instead of a pleasant and rewarding labor of love tending the Garden of Eden, Adam would labor hard just to get by. Moreover, this labor would be complicated by thorns and thistles, making life that much harder. Instead of the bounty of the Garden of Eden, Adam would from then on gain little from much effort. The loving, caring relationship he had at one time enjoyed with Eve was replaced with strife and the constant necessity to address the needs and concerns of a fallen wife (as the wife must address the concerns of her fallen husband). Instead of a natural eternal life, Adam had to prepare for his own death. Stress (sin) is a part of our daily life.
The disobedience of Adam and Eve brought God’s judgment. What had been perfect and stress (sin) free is now stress (sin) filled, stress (sin) laden, and stress (sin) generating. Stress (sin) manifests itself in every phase and activity of life. I must emphasize that the change that occurred at the fall was:
(2) Estrangement or separation,
(6) Tension and
Sometime ago a group of distinguished scientists and theologians gathered in Washington, DC, to participate in the Cosmic Questions Conference. They discussed issues such as these: “Is there a God?” and “Can we believe that there is purpose and design in the universe?”
Some of the participants answered those questions emphatically, “No!” No God, no design, nor purpose. However, others like John Polkinghorne, a British scholar and former president of Queens College at Cambridge, held staunchly to the opposite opinion. A noted physicist, Polkinghorne argued that the answers lie “beyond physics.”
Without the Bible, scientists are baffled. They can guess and they can speak dogmatically, but they have no authoritative answers to the cosmic questions. The Bible alone tells us where everything came from, why everything exists, and what lies ahead. As Job learned, it was God who “laid the foundations of the earth” (Job 38:4).
We don’t need to listen to the speculations of world-famous thinkers to find answers to the big questions of life. We just need to humbly and reverently study the Eternal Word of God. There we will find rest for our mind and peace for our soul.
When you open your Bible, ask the Author to open your heart.