Conditions Before the Fall

Conditions Before The Fall

Chapter One

Conditions Before The Fall

AGONY TO ECSTASY!

PART ONE

What is Man? Is man an "angel" or an "ape", a "wonder", or a "worm"? Man is neither an "angel" nor an "ape", neither a "worm" nor a "wonder". Man is a creature made in the image of God, the "crown of God's creation", the "object of God's special love". This God-breathed creature was made for greatness but he has lost his greatness! Whatever else can be said of man, this can be said with certainty: "What man is now, he was not intended to be at the time he was created!" Man has lost his greatness! Man was created to fellowship with God forever – to enjoy uninterrupted peace, unalloyed joy and intimate love! Man was created by God and for God! But man was also created with a free will! We humans are not robots! As Suzanne de Dietrich so clearly states, "The thing that makes us uniquely human is that, unlike the other creatures; we are able to say 'yes' and 'no' to God. Man does not do the will of his Creator by necessity. The stars in the sky follow their prescribed orbits, the animals of the field obey their instincts, but man has this unique and frightening ability – he can refuse to be obedient to his Creator. For God does not want slaves, but sons". (God's Unfolding Purpose; page 36)

Man's freedom of choice allows man to ascend to the highest heights of moral development or to descend to the lowest depths of moral degeneracy. It is both frightening and fantastic to be a creature of freedom!

Genesis 1-3 are three of the most important chapters in the entire Bible. Perhaps the word "relationships" best describe these chapters.

God's relationship with Himself (the doctrine of the triune God is first introduced here – "Let us make man in our own image");

God's relationship with created nature ("God saw all that he had made, and it was very good");

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God's relationship with the seventh day ("And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done");

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God's relationship with Man, the "crown of His creation" ("So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female he created them");

Man's relationship to work ("The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it" ) ;

Man's relationship to woman ("The man said, 'This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh'");

The serpent's relationship to the Woman ("Did God really say, 'You must not eat from any tree in the garden'?");

Woman's relationship to the Man ("She also gave some of the fruit to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it");

Couple's relationship to Sin ("Then the eyes of both of them were opened and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves");

Guilty couple's relationship to God ("Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as He was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden");

God's relationship to guilty Man ("So the Lord God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken".

Within the brief compass of three short chapters, we are introduced to some of the most basic and important facts of life:

  1. Man's unique creation,

  2. Man's intimate fellowship with God,

  3. Man's innocent relationship with woman,

  4. The sanctity of marriage,

  5. The fact of objective moral law,

  6. The nature of temptation,

  7. The tragedy of sin,

  8. The mercy of God.

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PROPOSITION:

Man was created for greatness – to fellowship with Almighty God. Man lost his greatness – through disobedience against God's clearly-stated law. Man can regain his greatness – through Christ, the 'second Adam', whose work on the cross crushed the head of the serpent (Genesis 3:15).

THE AGONY WHICH SIN BRINGS TO MAN CAN BE REPLACED WITH ECSTASY WHICH CHRIST BRINGS TO MAN.

I. CONDITIONS BEFORE THE FALL

We can only imagine what it was like in the beautiful Garden of Eden, before the terrible fall of Man. Perfect health, exquisite beauty, undisturbed peace, unalloyed joy – perhaps these descriptions imperfectly picture the glory of Eden.

A. Lucifer's Fall

However, while all appears to be perfect in Eden, there is the presence of one in Eden whose purposes are far from righteous. Genesis 3:1 introduces this evil personality. "Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, 'Did God really say, "You must not eat from any tree in the garden"?'"

From whence came this tempter, in the form of a serpent? The Bible does not fill in all the details as to his origin. Neither does the Bible tell us why the serpent was permitted in the Garden. We can only speculate, but the following explanation is at least interesting to consider. Some think that when this world was created and fit for habitation Satan (before he became "Satan") was placed in charge of it, and it was then, as Isaiah declared, that Satan said in his heart – "I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the 'Stars of God' (other ruling powers); I will sit also upon the Mount of the Congregation, in the sides of the North. I will ascend above the clouds; I will be like the MOST HIGH:" and that it was for this presumptuous

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act that the "Pre-Adamite World" became a chaos, and "without form and void", as described in Genesis 1:2. This would justify the claim of Satan that this world belongs to him, and that he had the right and power to transfer the 'kingdoms of the world' to Christ, if He would only acknowledge Satan's supremacy. Matt. 4:8, Matthew 4:9. And it accounts for the persistent war Satan is waging against the Almighty to retain his possession of the earth.

"When Satan became unwilling to rule the Original earth as a subordinate, and determined to rule it independent of God, he put his own will in opposition to the Will of God. That was "Treason". That was SIN. There was the origin of sin. In thus exalting himself against God 'Lucifer' became 'SATAN' for 'Satan' means 'ADVERSARY'. To justify himself he accused God. In accusing God he became the 'DEVIL' for 'Devil' signifies 'Accuser'. Thus 'Lucifer' became both 'Satan' and 'Devil'. This answers the question – 'Why did God make the Devil?' He did not make him, he made himself." (The Spirit World; Larkin; page 11, 12)

Larkin continues, "As long as Satan chose the 'Will of God' there was no 'Evil' in the universe, but the moment he chose to follow his own will, then he fell, and by persuading others to follow him he introduced 'Evil' into the Universe. The root of sin is SELFISHNESS, and when Satan said – 'I will ascend into Heaven (from the original earth over which he was ruling), I will exalt MY THRONE above the 'Stars of God' (other ruling powers)…. I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I WILL BE LIKE THE MOST HIGH' (Isaiah 14:12-14), then Satan was guilty of TREASON, and started a REBELLION AGAINST THE GOVERNMENT OF GOD that will never cease until he and all his followers are cast into the 'Lake of Fire' to spend Eternity". (Ibid; page 14)

B. God's Created Order

The above-mentioned ideas are only speculations. We cannot be dogmatic in our ideas regarding the origin of evil or regarding the rationale for the presence

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of Satan in the Garden of Eden. It is possible that Genesis 1:1 refers to the originally created earth, whereas Genesis 1:2 refers to the devastation of the earth as a result of Lucifer's rebellion against God. A 'formless' and 'empty' and 'darkened' world hardly meets the description of God's glorious creative powers. The Creator God is a God of order and fullness and lights – not disorder and emptiness and darkness! It is possible, then that Genesis 1:1 refers to the Original (Perfect) Earth, that Genesis 1:2 refers to the Chaotic (Fallen) Earth, and that Genesis 1:3-25 describes the Present (Restored) Earth.

E. Stanley Jones convincingly argues for the existence of God. A universal order argues for a universal Mind. "How could this universe come by chance into a cosmic orderliness that stretches from the molecule to the outermost star, and controls everything between? And how could this orderliness just happen to stay by chance through millions of years? That would be a stark materialistic miracle universal chaos by chance gives birth to universal order! The one who believes that must spell his 'chance with a capital 'C' and mean by it – God. How long do you think it would take for you to throw up a font of type into the air and have it come down by chance into a poem of Browning? I asked a printer that question and he replied, 'Both you and the type would wear out first'.

"Someone has figured out how many chances to one it would take for the world to have happened by chance, and the figures go round the world 35 times. 'A preposterous figure', says Dr. Millikari, the scientist. Sir James Jeans had figured out that it would take a hundred million years for a hundred thousand monkeys, pecking at random a hundred thousand typewriters, to happen by chance upon the plays of Shakespeare, and then, after they had happened upon the arrangement of the letters, they wouldn't know what the letters meant!"

"When I pick up a book and see that there is intelligence in it – that sometimes does happen!

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then I know that behind that intelligence is an intelligent mind expressing itself through that intelligence. When I look at the universe, I find that its responses to intelligence can be intelligently studied. Intelligence has gone into it – into its very structure. Then the simple conclusion must be that behind that intelligence, which is built into the structure of things, is an intelligent mind, and since that built-in intelligence seems to be universal, I will have to spell it in capitals – a UNIVERSAL MIND." (Abundant Living; page 5)

"The heavens are telling the glory of God; they are a marvelous display of his craftsmanship. Day and night they keep on telling about God. Without sound or word, silent in the skies, their message reaches out to all the world." (Psalms 19:1-3, Living Bible)

When Genesis uses the word 'Day' in reference to God's creation, does it literally mean 24 hour days as we know them or does it symbolically represent eras of time? This is a question which has been unfruitfully debated for a long time. The important thing is not how or how long God actually took to create and to organize, but the important thing to realize is that God actually is the Creator of all things. The orderly universe is not an accident or chance happening. It is the intelligent handiwork of God. "The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament showeth His handiwork." (Psalms 19:1) It is much more difficult to believe that the orderly universe is the product of accident and chance, than it is to believe that the orderly universe is the amazing product of an intelligent and personal God.

It is interesting to note that Scripture teaches us that Jesus (the second person of the Holy Trinity) is the creative power of God. The doctrine of the Holy Trinity is implicitly taught in Genesis 1:26, as seen in the use of the plural pronoun "US". "Then God said, 'Let us make man in our image, in Our likeness, and let them rule, etc." As the

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second person of the Holy Trinity, Jesus was involved in the creation of the universe: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him ill things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made." (John 1:1-3) Paul wrote, regarding Jesus: "Christ is the exact likeness and, in fact, Christ Himself is the Creator who made everything in heaven and earth, the things we can see and the things we can't …. (Col. 1:15-16 a Living Bible). The writer to the Hebrews declares the same truth: "Now in these days He (God) has spoken to us through His Son to whom He has given everything, and through whom He made the world and everything there is." (Hebrews 1:2, Living Bible)

It is true that no man can prove the existence of God, but it is also true that no man can disprove the existence of God. God's existence is a basic assumption in the Bible. The Bible says, "The fool hath said in his heart 'There is no god." It is by faith that we assume the existence of God, and it is also by faith that we declare that this world is the product of God's creative powers and genius. Notes the author of the letter to the Hebrews: "By faith – by believing God – we know that the world and the stars – in fact, all things – were made at God's command; and that they were made from nothing!" (Hebrews 11:3, Living Bible)

C. God's Creation of Woman

The creation of Adam in God's own image was the 'crown of God's creation'. As God is a Trinity, so man too is a trinity, that is, man is a tri-unity. Man has a body, a mind, and a spirit. Man is 'three in one' – a tri-unity, just as a spirit. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – a tri-unity (trinity).

Why was Eve created? Genesis 2:20b-24 (Genesis 2:20-24) states: "But for Adam no suitable helper was found. So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man's ribs and closed up the place with flesh. Then the

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Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the The man said, 'This is now bone of my bones flesh of my flesh, she shall be called "woman", she was taken out of man'. For this reason a man will leave his father and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh."

What can be said about woman's creation?

(1) Woman was created as an "equal" to man. She is neither inferior nor superior to man, but is his equal. Equality is symbolized by the fact that she was created from one of the "ribs" of Adam. A rib is close to the heart of Adam. She was not created from a foot bone which would symbolize inferiority. Neither was she created from a shoulder or head bone which would symbolize superiority. The equality of woman with man is especially emphasized in the New Testament. Wrote Paul to the Galatians: "We are no longer Jews or Greeks or slaves or free men or even merely men or women, but we are all the same we are Christians; we are one in Christ Jesus." (Galatians 3:28, Living Bible)

(2) Woman was created as a "suitable helper" for man. Notes Charles Swindall, "On four distinct occasions He passed His approval of His creation.

... God saw that it was good ( 1 : 12) 
... God saw that it was good ( 1 : 18) 
... God saw that it was good ( 1 : 21) 
... God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good (1:31)

But what do you notice about God's statement regarding Adam in Genesis 2:18? God's statement …. it is not good….

This is the first time in all the Bible that God says 'something is NOT good. What is not good? God declares it isn't good for man to be alone. This isn't just a passing comment. In the original Hebrew, the language in which the Old Testament

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was written, the negative is most emphatic, therefore, it appears first in the phrase. Literally it says, 'Not good, is man's aloneness…' God, the Creator, saw man, His creature, in an isolated, alone-condition. He announced that Adam's solitary state was not good. God cared about Adam's 'aloneness'." (Strike The Original Match; page 17, 18)

Most men are not complete without a companion – a loving wife. This is not to say that singlehood is a curse, for God is able to compensate for those who are single. Many a single or widowed person has found the companionship of God to be more precious to them than the companionship of a human companion, during their moments of loneliness.

In saying that woman was created to be a "suitable helper" for man, no feminine inferiority is implied. It is true that a woman is to be in loving submission to her husband, for the husband has been given the awesome responsibility of leader and head of his home. The 'head-ship' of the man does not imply superiority and the 'submission' of the wife does not imply inferiority. There is equality between male and female, but there is divinely-created order for the home. Husbands are lovingly to lead, wives are gladly to submit, and children are willingly to obey their parents. Ephesians clearly states these truths: "A man must love his wife as a part of himself; and the wife must see to it that she deeply respects her husband obeying, praising, and honoring him. Children, obey your parents; this is the right thing to do because God has placed him in authority over you." (Ephesians 5:33-6:1, Living Bible)

(3) Woman was created for the fellowship of love and to demonstrate the meaning of the I-Thou relationship between God and Man. Notes Suzanne de Dietrich, "God is, in his very nature, the one who gives himself. Thus a solitary individual cannot really reflect the God of

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love. Only a human couple, in the kind of unity that the family represents, can reflect something of what God is really like. Nothing could emphasize more clearly how wonderful it is to be a human being than the favor that God confers on man and woman, of being able to give themselves fully to each other, as he gave himself to them, and of being able, by means of this mutual giving, to create new life. Later on we find Paul taking up the same theme: 'Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her' (Ephesians 5:25)". (God's Unfolding Purpose; page 35) "The Christian reader will be struck by the fact that it is the man-woman community which is to reflect God. God does not create man in isolation. He creates him as a community, as man and woman. The Trinitarian God is a fellowship of love and can only be reflected on the human plane in a loving relationship. Only a human 'we' can reflect something of the divine 'us' … The man-woman relationship is the first nucleus of the wider community which is to be called into being. The I-Thou relationship between God and man is to be reflected in the I-Thou relationship of man and woman." (Suzanne de Dietrich; The Witnessing Community; page 22,23)

D. God's Assigned Task To Adam (Blessedness of Work)

Genesis 2:15 states: "The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it." Work itself is not a curse from the fall; it is the agony and the stress associated with work which is a curse. God created a 'good world' but not a "completed world". God willed to create a world in which man would have the opportunity to manifest creative abilities. From the raw products of the world, man is to create! Man and woman are to be co-creators with God in bringing children into the world. Man is to create a beautiful garden. by laboring. Man is to create cities and to create nations. Man is a co-creator with God!

It is true, according to Genesis 3:17-19, that the ground was cursed after Adam disobeyed God.

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Therefore, work is more difficult now than it was before the Fall. As one man notes, "In Eden, Adam tilled and tended the garden as the Lord had instructed him because he wanted to; although he perspired and needed rest, necessity and desire were one thing to him. In exile Adam worked because he had to. He toiled as before, but the joy had gone out of it, and only necessity was left." (Christianity Today; Aug. 27, 1971; page 7)

"However, even now after the Fall of Man, work can be transmuted from a mere necessity for earning a living into an opportunity for realizing personal self-hood and personal fulfillment. Through the redeeming grace of Christ, man can come to see work as a means of making and fulfilling himself, and not merely as a means of earning a livelihood. God created a world filled with raw products which man is creatively to work on, and through working on them, to make himself. "The highest reward that a man can receive for doing his best …. is not what he gets for his work, but what he becomes by it." (Sermon Builder; Sept. 1971; page 23)

What is the Biblical understanding of "work"?

  • Work was a blessing given to Adam, long before he fell into sin. He was to dress and tend to the Garden of Eden. He was to prepare his own food from the trees of the garden (Genesis 1:29-30);
  • Work became more difficult following the "Fall", since consequence of the Fall was thorns and thistles (Genesis 3:17-19);
  • Work now provides opportunity for one to perfect his own character and to glorify God.

If work is basically a good thing (in spite of the fact that work is often fraught with difficulty because of the "Fall"), how then should a Christian youth choose his life's work? Notes Elton Trueblood, "The world is one, secular and sacred, and the chief way to serve the Lord is in our daily work."

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A person should look at work as an opportunity to perfect his own character, that is, work should result in one becoming a more disciplined person – a disciple of Jesus Christ. Notes one, "There is no salvation from work; there is only salvation in work work, that is, caught up in discipleship." (Christianity Today; Aug. 27, 1971; page 8)

The work we do must contribute to God and to man and to the world, and not take away from any of these relationships.

A Christian youth, in choosing a job, must choose that type of work which will best benefit others and which will best glorify God. Rather than being self-centered, a youth must be God-centered and others-oriented when he decides what, professionally-speaking, he will do with his life. That Is, a youth must see his job as a vocation or as a "holy calling" from God. Notes Elton Trueblood, "The concept of vocation changes radically and crucially the way in which a young person approaches his life work or preparation for it. Apart from this concept his major questions often have to do with probable income, personal advancement, manner of living and choice of location. There is no doubt that many now choose their work with these specific considerations uppermost in their minds, for it is the 'natural' way. However, one who chooses in the light of vocation has a wholly different standard. His central interest is not in money or professional advancement, but in how he can make the best strokes to help clean up the mess of the world before it is too late. His motto is, 'Work while it is day, for the night cometh when no man can work.' The young person 'who has caught the vision implicit in the idea of vocation looks out at the world and tries to see how its need can be matched by his own latent powers. This, as millions know, is the way in which Albert Schweitzer determined to study medicine after he had already proved himself successful in another profession. The man who lives by the principle of vocation has substituted concern for advancement." (Common Ventures; page 88, 89)

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Trueblood continues, "Our happiest moments are not those in which we ask how to be happy, but rather those in which we so lose ourselves in some creative task, which seems to us important, that we forget to take our own emotional pulse. When we plant trees, write books, build houses or make roads, we often find that we have been having a wonderfully good time and that we are not immediately driven to do something to have' fun'. We had had, all along, something better than anything which commercialized and self-conscious entertainment can ever provide." (Ibid; page 93)

"The worldly-minded man says that leisure is man's true end, and so he builds one labor-saving device after another, shortens the workweek, lengthens the pay and vacations, and waits for the day when machines will do all the work." {Christianity Today; August 27, 1971; page 7} And yet, with increase in leisure and commercial entertainment, there is an increase in boredom, which is another way of saying that life does not consist in the abundance of "leisure and entertainment a man can consume, but rather in the amount he can give to his fellowman by means of the creative labors of his hands. Happiness comes not by grasping but rather by giving. Man is built to work, not to be idle.

Scriptures look upon the idle man with scorn:

"Go to the ant, O sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise." (Proverbs 6:6)
	"A son who gathers in summer is prudent, but a son who sleeps in harvest 
	brings shame." (Proverbs 10:5)

Note 2 Thessalonians 3:10-12 Living Bible.

In spite of the fact that, since the Fall, the ground has produced thorns and thistles and, in spite of the fact, that man must work by the sweat of his brow (Genesis 3:18-19), work is meant to be seen as a blessing from God and as an opportunity for man.

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CHAPTER 1

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

  1. Tell why you agree or disagree with the following statement: "Whatever else can be said of man, this can be said with certainty: What man is now, he was not intended to be at the time he was created!"

  2. What is the most frightening capacity with which Man was created?

  3. Name several of the "Key Relationships" which are revealed in the first three chapters of Genesis.

  4. Based on speculation, what feasible explanation can be offered to explain the reason for Satan's presence in the Garden of Eden at the time of Man's creation?

  5. From a logical viewpoint, what evidence is there that this Universe is the result of creative genius, not the product of accident or chance?

  6. Cite Scriptural references that indicate that the second Person of the Trinity i.e., Jesus Christ – was involved as creator of the world.

  7. From a careful study of Genesis, chapter 2, what three statements can be made regarding Woman's creation?

  8. Is there evidence from Scripture (Genesis 2:1-25) to indicate that "Work" was not a result of the Fall of Man, but that "Work" was a part of God's original plan when He created Man?

  9. Tell why you agree or disagree with the following statement: "Even though joy had gone out of Work, following the Fall of Man, even now after the Fall of Man, work can be transmuted from a mere

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    necessity for earning a living into an opportunity for realizing personal selfhood and personal fulfillment."

  10. What factors should a Christian youth consider (in contrast to those factors that a non-Christian youth considers) in choosing a job or a profession in life? Why?

  11. Tell why you agree or disagree with the following statement: "Our happiest moments are not those in which we ask to be happy, but rather those in which we so lose ourselves in some creative task, which seems to us important, that we forget to take our own emotional pulse."

  12. Tell why you agree or disagree with the following statement: "Life does not consist in the abundance of leisure and entertainment a man can consume, but rather in the amount he can give to his fellowman by means of the creative labor of his hands.

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