With Vignette #2 just ending and with Vignette #3 not quite ready to start, we find ourselves here at Stage #1 of God’s One Big Story, once again using this brief interlude between Vignettes to study the Story we have seen so far; looking at it specifically for…
- Any Life Lessons that this part of the Story has to teach us;
- Any Contributions that this part of the Earthly Story has to make to the Heavenly Story taking place at the same time; and,
- Any new Revelations of God that this part of the Story has to offer us.
Life Lessons to Be Learned from Genesis 2
Before we can identify the Life Lessons to be learned from this part of the Story, there are a few very important questions relating to the Creation of Man that must be answered first. They are:
1. Why was Man created?
We learned in Ephesians 1:4-6 that God…”chose us in him before the foundation of the world that we should be holy and blameless before him. [That] in love he predestined us (that is, He designed us in advance for a particular destiny) for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace…”; 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.”
Our first Life Lesson, then, is that we were created for the purpose of becoming the Sons and Daughters of God; and that, in His remaking of us from sinners who were bound for destruction into the sanctified Children of God, the greatness of God’s grace and kindness would be made evident for everyone in all ages to see.
2. How was Man created?
Because Man was created to become a Child of God, it was necessary for him to be made in the image and likeness of the God who would become his Father. This meant that he must be spirit, like God; eternal, like God; holy, like God; and volitional, like God. And, in order for him to function as a member of God’s family, he would also have to be relational, like God.
Therefore, when the time came for God to create man, He did so by first fashioning a body for him from the dust of the earth, thereby giving him a temporary physical dwelling place for his soon-to-come spirit. Once this was done, God breathed into man His very own Spirit, and when He did, not only did man come alive both physically and spiritually, but a whole new entity was brought into existence—an entity called the human Soul. This Soul was man’s unique Personality, consisting of his mind, will, and emotions, that was designed to serve as the mediator of or go-between for 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, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit”; indicating that the fleshly part of man and the spiritual part of man are of such different natures that they will never have a basis for relationship. To bridge the gap between the two, then, 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; then man’s spirit would pass this information on to the mind part of man’s soul which, in turn, would communicate God’s instructions to his body for its execution. In this way, God’s will would be carried out on the earth through Man.
(For more on this, please refer to The Way We Were Isn’t the Way We Are…)
The second Life Lesson to be learned from this is: —Man was created in the image of God as a 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 keeping man’s spirit connected to his body, and with communicating God’s will to man.
3. How did the way Man was created affect or impact his life, and ours?
The way in which the first man was created profoundly impacted his life then, and continues to affect our lives today, on every level of existence. Being created with a spirit meant that both he and we would be able to relate to the very real yet invisible God; being created with a physical body meant the both he and we would be able to relate to the natural and visible world around us; and, being created with a soul meant that both he and we would be able to relate to people around us on an emotional and intellectual level; plus, it would also provide 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. By that, I mean that we would not only possess a will of our own but we would also have the ability and the authority to exercise that will—either for good or for evil. You see, although it was God’s desire for man to become His child and stay connected to Him through his spirit, in providing man with a soul—that is, with a mind, will, and emotions that could act independently from God—God was actually giving man 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; for, 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 would mean that every choice of the will would bring forth the fruit of or the appropriate consequences for that choice—something which we will learn much more about as our Story progresses.
Our third Life Lesson then is this: 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).”
4. 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 for a place of meeting to be created. For, 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—something like a Sanctuary, a Tabernacle, or a Temple—where they, too, could meet together. This, then, is what the Garden represented.
Even though the world that God had created was beautiful enough in itself, when it came to creating the Sanctuary of the Garden, located in the region known as Eden (or Paradise), 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! Then, when this special Sanctuary was completed, God took the man that He had created and placed him in the Garden, charging him with the responsibility of caring for it.
From this creation of a special Garden for man, we now know our fourth Life Lesson to be:
- 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.
5. What was the significance of Eve’s special creation?
Up until the Creation of Woman, all of 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 that I can think of 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 remained 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 for all to see. However, these characteristics by themselves were not enough to provide the world with an accurate, well rounded image of God. For, not only is God strong, powerful, assertive, a provider, a protector, and a leader, He is also loving, kind, patient, tender, compassionate, and merciful—a creative giver and nurturer of life. So, in order 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.
In finding the answer to this question, we have found our fifth Life Lesson to be this: when God created Man and Woman and placed them on the earth, He was actually providing the world with a visible image of Himself to behold. Thus, when men and women are in right relationship with God and with each other, all of the masculine and feminine characteristics that they manifest will become earthly reflections of the very divine image of God.
The Contributions Genesis 2 Makes 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, and with whom He could share His riches and glory forever, the Creation of Man and Woman marked the Earthly Beginnings of God’s long-planned and greatly anticipated Family; for, 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 all the sinners in the world, and thus making it possible for them to be adopted into the Family of God.
The Creation of this First Adam and his wife, Eve, 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. For, 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 figurative rib—the disciples—was taken from His wounded side, as He 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 learned in Between the Vignettes, when looking for any new Revelations of God, we will do so by examining…
1. 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; for, 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.
2. 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.
3. 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, from the very beginning, 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.
4. The Things that God Says about Himself
Once again, here God says nothing about Himself. 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; and allows these things to reveal an ever-expanding, more multi-dimensional portrait of who He is.
“Children of the Living God” join with Fernando Ortega in giving Him praise!