Back to Basics: Genesis 2

In last week’s article, we took an in depth look at Genesis 1.  A major point was that the Bible never tries to explain God as all people know that the God of the Bible is true.  We also noted that God exists unrestrained by time, space, or matter, and that He is eternal.  After that, we took a day-by-day look into the initial week of creation.  Some key truths from this chapter are that these were literal twenty-four hour periods, the sun set for the first time on day four, and that not every species was created but every kind of creature was.

Chapter two is a very important chapter as it covers a more in-depth creation of Adam and Eve (looking back into the initial creation week), establishes a day of rest, and has the first mention of the tree of knowledge of good and evil.  This chapter is also misused to try and portray a contradiction in the Bible.  A new or immature follower of Christ can easily become confused by these artificial contradictions so one of our primary goals is to educate fellow believers in how to see through such subterfuge.

Verse one starts off by informing us that the heavens and earth, and “all of the host of them” were finished.  This shows clearly that nothing new has been added to creation since Genesis 1 although God has given his creation the ability to diversify within its kinds.  The next couple verses show that God rested on day seven and in verse three we see that He blessed and sanctified that day.  It is important to note that there is no mention of Sabbath or the keeping of it until Exodus 16.

The next couple verses, starting off with “these are the generations,” let us know that this is a historical account of the totality of creation, this is not an allegory or story.  This account had to be given from God to man as no man was around during this part of creation.  We also see that, at least prior to the creation of man, there was no rain but that there was a mist that came out of the ground.  Some people believe it remained like this until the breaking of the firmament and the fountains of the deep during the flood but there is no way to be certain as the Bible doesn’t clarify.  It is interesting to note that in Genesis 7:4 God does not need to explain to Noah what rain was but we do not have enough information to be dogmatic about.

As with verses four to six, seven is looking back to chapter one and the initial creation week.  “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.”  An origin not shared by any other creature.  Remember that in the last chapter God caused the earth to bring forth land animals but here we have God personally fashioning man.  In addition to that, this is no mere creation of a physical shell but the creation of an immortal soul.  Man was a special creation of God, designed no only to have dominion over the earth but also to have a relationship with Him.  This is true not just of Adam but of all mankind.  We were purposed by God to have a wonderful relationship with Him.  If you want to find out what happened that special relationship, after finishing this article read Genesis 3.

This next section is where the blatantly deceitful contradiction is stated to arise from.  Looking back on chapter one we can see that dry land and plants were made, fowl made on day five, and that man is created after land animals on day six.  The deceiver will say that this is contradicted in Genesis 2:8,9 that has man created before plants, and in Genesis 2:19 that has man before land animals, land animals before fowl, and fowl brought forth from the ground as opposed to from the water.  If someone is not familiar with this argument and doesn’t have the time or opportunity to look at the passages in question this may pose quite a conundrum.  Thankfully, we can reveal this intentional and deceitful contradiction.  As we will see in the following verses, both Genesis 2:8,9 and Genesis 2:19 take place after man has been created but before woman, on day six, starting with God planting a Garden (the passage of plants being created after man) and then, wanting to provide Adam with a help meet and for him to realize he needs one, God forms out of the ground every “beast of the field, and every fowl of the air” and brought them to Adam for him to name them (the passage on man before land animals before fowl).  Anybody reading these passages would be able to see the fallacy of this being a contradiction.

As we glossed over in the last paragraph, on day six, after the creation of Adam but before the creation of Eve, God planted a garden, making the earth bring forth every tree that “pleasant to the sight, and good for food.”  Additionally, this is where the tree of life and the tree of knowledge of good and evil were place.  Several verses describe a basic location for the garden.  God then commands Adam that he may eat freely of all the trees in the garden except for the tree of knowledge of good and evil.  The result of eating of that tree would be that in the day he ate of it he would surely die.

After having warned Adam about the tree of knowledge, He then decided that Adam should not be alone.  Verses nineteen and twenty cover God forming beast of the earth and fowl of the air and then bringing them to Adam to name.  After it being determined that none of these animals were a suitable help meet for Adam, the Lord caused him to go into a deep sleep.  While in this sleep, God took a rib from his side, closed his flesh, formed woman and then brought her to Adam who called her woman because she was taken out of man.  Verse twenty-five gives us the original intention of God and marriage.  “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.”  This verse is even referred to by Jesus in Matthew 19:5 and Mark 10:7 when He speaks on the sanctity and intention for marriage.

The chapter ends by telling us that Adam and Eve were both naked and were not ashamed.  This a very important verse that can really help us understand how thoroughly sin has damaged us.  Contrast their innocence with life after the fall, fears of inadequacy, self-consciousness, our need for constant guard against lust – falling to it or tempting others to fall by our lack of modesty.  Verse twenty-five shows us the child-like purity present before the fall to sin in chapter three.

Chapter two really covered a lot of material.  Hopefully, we’ve prepared you to handle any supposed contradictions between Genesis 1 and 2.  It also gives us a perfect glimpse of how God envisions marriage with man and woman becoming one flesh.  In addition to that, this chapter really covers the uniqueness with which God formed mankind as a living soul, capable of having a relationship with Him.  If you are unsure about your relationship with God you can read about the Gospel or contact us, we would love to help you find the answers you seek.

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Real Love Confronts

We shouldn’t be doing what is “popular” or “convenient” but rather that which is right.

From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

— Matthew 4:17

I believe that there are many sincere Christians who honestly think that if they just love everyone and act “Christian-ly” that will inspire people to follow Christ. It is good to love people and behave seemly but real love confronts.  All the lost people around us have a disease, sin, and it is not only killing them but will have larger consequences in the scheme of eternity.  There is, however, a cure and we can help get it to those who need it.  The problem is that we don’t want to tell people that they have this disease and people who believe they’re healthy won’t see the need for the cure.  This is what Jesus was saying in Matthew 9:12.

If you truly love someone, you care more about their well-being than about their opinion of you.  For example, if you have a loved one who has a drinking problem you will not simply “be nice to them while acting sober” instead you will confront them with the problem.  That would not be easy and would most likely make them upset with you.  However, they need to recognize and admit that there is a problem for them to start looking for a solution.  This is the exact same principles as confronting non-believers with sin, they need to see their predicament before they’ll seek the remedy.

Now this comes with a caveat, we are not here to condemn people.  Jesus didn’t come to condemn the world (because it’s already condemned) but to bring salvation.  We cannot go to people in self-righteous indignation but rather as people who once bore that very same disease.  It is imperative that we tell them of God’s law that they are violating.  Therefore, we must warn them of the consequences, not just of hell but eternal separation from God.  Only when they recognize the serious peril they’re in will they look for a Savior.

Hebrews 10:14 states, “How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?”  The word preacher here doesn’t means the pastor of church but rather people who proclaim the Gospel of Christ.  The real difficulty lies in the fact that many that claim to follow Jesus Christ aren’t willing to bring the true message of the Gospel to those who so desperately need it.  Moreover, it seems that many are resistant to confronting people with sin and calling for repentance but instead just want to show love and kindness.  However, real love confronts, and if there are lost people around you who will die and face eternal separation from God and you aren’t sharing the cure then you don’t really love them.

For more information and what the Gospel is click here!

How Will They Know, Part 2

Last week we looked at how the modern church and the way it’s perceived play apart in the growing discord between professing believers.  (If you missed it or want a refresher you can click here)  One of the main reasons is that a church may be portraying weak or absent doctrine on important issues. The second factor is that some believers forego church because of weak doctrine or disagreements with how a church operates.  Separation from the body of Christ allows misunderstood or incorrect reasoning of Scripture to go unchallenged and can lead to disunity, as well.  This week we will address a far more insidious and poisonous factor.

The second major factor in the discord between followers of Christ is an increased penchant for preaching opinion instead of scripture.  Every day there is a new controversial topic or issue to weigh in on and this is magnified by social media.  Our first and foremost concern when establishing an opinion on the topics we deal with is to determine where it stands regarding the Bible.  Our stance must align with Scriptures and oppose anything contrary to the Word of God.  These issues are straightforward, with a solid ground in God’s Word, but not all issues are right or wrong.  Some matters are inconsequential and some are not very clear cut.  With these issues, all that we can form is an opinion or preference.  We all have opinions and preferences and there is nothing wrong with that as we are all different.  The problems arise when we let them divide us from those who feel or think something different.  There are many people who want to portray their opinions as Scriptural and denigrate or belittle other followers of Christ because they don’t hold the same regards.

This political season highlighted the problem as there were plenty of post of people condemning other Christians for voting for Trump or voting against Trump or voting 3rd party.  This same hostility is seen for ministries, governmental policy, or any number of other issues that don’t fall under Scripture. These conflicts often pop up in the public view, either verbally in real life, or online on Facebook or other social media.  This is very damaging as it is the spiritual equivalent of the body of Christ undergoing an autoimmune disease.  This is not a very encouraging sight to the lost people of the world.

 Our Creator is the only one capable of determining what is right and wrong.  Anything wrong is sin, any action, word, or thought contrary to the will of God.  When a person pushes their opinion as right and people who disagree as wrong they have usurped God’s authority.  Even Paul understood this in 1 Corinthians 7 when he states that is his opinion that it is better for people to remain celibate and focus their entire life on spreading the Gospel.  He specifies that this not a commandment so anything that tries to state that God requires people to be celibate is not truthfully communicating the Bible.  This same topic is addressed in Mark 7 when Jesus calls the Pharisees out for holding traditions of men while laying aside the commandments of God.  Considering the second greatest commandment is that we love our neighbor as yourself this is exactly the scenario we have when believers start bashing other believers because they do/don’t support a political policy, do/don’t vaccinate, do/don’t keep the Sabbath (Romans 14, Colossians 2), should/shouldn’t have musical instruments in church, and on and on and on.

Going hand in hand with this is that people who push an opinion as a moral truth generally maintain an air of self-righteousness, looking down on, and even belittling, those who don’t agree with them.  This is reminiscent of the parable of the Pharisee in Luke 18 who felt he was more righteous than other men because he fasted twice a week and gave tithe of all that he had.  Jesus goes on to say that the publican who came to God in humility begging for mercy was justified, not the self-righteous Pharisee.

In John 13, Jesus speaks with his disciples that remained at the last supper after Judas, His betrayer, had departed.  In verses 34 and 35 He says, “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.  By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.”  Jesus is speaking to believers about how they treat other believers.  “All men” should know who the followers of Christ are by how they treat other followers of Christ.  Jesus already gave the two greatest commandments, to love God and to love our neighbors as ourselves, why would He give this new commandment?  He gave this commandment because beyond Christ, no one should be closer to us than fellow believers.  Yes, we should love the lost as we love ourselves but we cannot fellowship with them as we should with our brothers and sisters in Christ.  Instead of tearing each other down we should be lifting each other up. 

Romans 14:19 gives us a clear path to follow, “Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.”  In regards to our fellow followers of Christ we need to strive to make peace and try and help them in their walk with the Lord.  If they err, in humility we bring them the truth of the Bible, seeking to restore them.  If they are troubled, we should gather around them to provide support.  When they have questions, we should search the Scriptures and help them to find the answers.  We are all adopted into the family of God, let’s treat each other like the brothers and sisters we are.