The Gospel According to Genesis Part 2

Posted: February 14, 2011 in Uncategorized

Proto-punker Patti Smith once croaked, “Jesus died for everyone but me.”  I know the feeling.  Even after God saved me from cancer and revealed Himself powerfully to me, it is a struggle to believe that God can truly love someone like me.

It doesn’t help that “religion,” whether liberal or conservative, teaches that we have to earn God’s acceptance.  In the former, we are taught that we must feed the poor, reform the justice system, etc. in order to expand the Kingdom but the problem with such a view is that we either end of feeling self-righteous because we do so much more than others or we feel guilty that we don’t do enough.  The liberal doesn’t wrap us in God’s love and presence.

Conservative religion teaches that God must accept you if you go to church and refrain from doing certain things like drinking, smoking, etc. The problem with this view is that it also can lead to self-righteousness as well as the horrifying feeling that we can lose God’s love by making mistakes that many of us make on a daily basis.

Religion, left or right centers on what we deserve.  
I was raised to accept the latter.  I was taught that the Old Testament teaches this…be courageous like David or be wise like Solomon, etc.  I saw them as more examples of what I couldn’t live up to and was in a constant state of panic about my salvation.
Let’s look at Genesis 3 and begin to look at what the Old Testament really teaches:

3:1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made.

He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” 2 And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, 3 but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’” 4 But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. 5 For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” 6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. 7 Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths.

8 And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. 9 But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” 10 And he said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.” 11 He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” 12 The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.” 13 Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

14 The Lord God said to the serpent,

“Because you have done this,
cursed are you above all livestock
and above all beasts of the field;
on your belly you shall go,
and dust you shall eat
all the days of your life.
15 I will put enmity between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and her offspring;
he shall bruise your head,
and you shall bruise his heel.”

16 To the woman he said,

“I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing;
in pain you shall bring forth children.
Your desire shall be for your husband,
and he shall rule over you.”

17 And to Adam he said,

“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,’
cursed is the ground because of you;
in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life;
18 thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you;
and you shall eat the plants of the field.
19 By the sweat of your face
you shall eat bread,
till you return to the ground,
for out of it you were taken;
for you are dust,
and to dust you shall return.”

20 The man called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all living. 21 And the Lord God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them.

22 Then the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil. Now, lest he reach out his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat, and live forever—” 23 therefore the Lord God sent him out from the garden of Eden to work the ground from which he was taken. 24 He drove out the man, and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim and a flaming sword that turned every way to guard the way to the tree of life.

So, Adam and Eve have paradise but, just like Satan, they want more–they want to be god.  This is the essence of sin–we tell God that we want to call the shots, we know what is best for us, we don’t trust Him.  That is sin and we all have done it. Sin has infected God’s perfect creation and spread like a plague and it all started in the Garden of Eden.
Despite their treason, God mercifully grants Adam & Eve a chance to confess, after they refuse to do so He clothes them anyway and, despite the gulf that now exists between them, He remains in relationship with them and more.
The crux of it all is the deal with the serpent and the offspring.  Today, if we are bitten by a snake then we run to a hospital and take our anti-venom and live but in ancient Israel if you were bitten then it was almost certainly a death sentence.  So when it speaks of a man crushing the head of Satan but suffering a fate wound, ask yourself who is it in Scripture that dies to defeat evil?

Standing in the Garden, facing a unrepentent Adam, Eve and Satan God states that one day He will have to die to pay the penalty for the couple’s sins as well as all of their offspring who place their faith in the Lord.  In order for Adam & Eve’s children to regain access to the Tree of Life, Jesus must be nailed to a tree of death.    
Did Adam & Even deserve such mercy? Do they even ask for it? There is no indication in the text that Adam & Eve even apologize!  Under God’s law they deserve to die for their crimes.  Yet, God is merciful anyway. 

In the end, it not our goodness that saves us but God’s.  He offers up His own son even for a couple who don’t ask for grace.  They get what they don’t deserve and so do we. 

This is how much God loves us.

  1. Amen!

    I am sorry I do not comment more. Most of the time I have to really think through your blog entries.

    This blog is one of my top five favorites. You really make me think about life, the scriptures, and God.

  2. Revolution says:

    Thanks, bro!

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