DISCOVERwho you are and why your life matters to God.
LEARNwhy this world is not as God made it.
WORSHIPbecause Jesus has opened the way back into God's blessing.
The first thing Adam knew, he was staring into the face
God had formed his body from the dust of the ground, but it
lay there lifeless, like a corpse until God breathed into it.
Then Adam became a living being (Genesis 2:7), and in his
first moment of conscious existence, he knew that his life
had come from God.
God is invisible, but right from the beginning of the Bible
story, He has been reaching out to make Himself known.
That's why He made Himself visible to Adam. We call this
a "theophany," an appearance of God in visible form. It was
God's way of creating a relationship.
God introduces Himself as our Creator and therefore our
owner. He made you in His image (1:26), and you are of
unique value to Him. God chose to bring you into being.
He did that on purpose, and you will discover that purpose
as you get to know the One who created you.
The Garden of Eden
The Bible tells us that "the Lord God had planted a garden
in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had
formed. The Lord God took the man and put him in the
Garden of Eden" (2:8, 15).
We cannot be certain about the garden's location, but it is
important to grasp that it was a real place. It was located
near the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers (2:10-14), which run
through modern Iraq.
God prepared a place for Adam, and God put him there.
He does the same thing for us. The Bible says that God has
determined the exact places for all of us to live (Acts 17:26).
The place where God puts you will not be perfect. Even
Eden was exposed to the possibility of evil. But there is no
better place to be than where God has set you down. You
are not where you are by accident but by the plan and the
purpose of God.
God gave Adam the responsibility of naming the animals
and caring for the garden (2:19). Work is a good gift from
God, and God took pleasure in what Adam was doing. It
may be hard for you to imagine that God would enjoy the
documents you prepare, the components you assemble,
or the home you create . but He does.
A Marriage Made in Heaven
The Lord God made a woman from the rib he
had taken out of the man, and he brought her
to the man. (2:22; EMPHASIS ADDED)
I'd love to have seen the expression on Adam's face! God
appeared to Adam and said, "Adam, I have someone I want
you to meet!" I have no doubt that Adam's jaw dropped wide
open. He certainly seemed pretty pleased! He said, "This is
now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh" (2:23).
God brought them together. Try to picture that in your
mind. The Lord God takes her hand and puts it into his
hand and says, "Here is the partner I have made for you!"
When two people marry, God does in an invisible way
what He did for Adam and Eve in the garden. If you are
married, try to picture God taking your hand and the hand
of your spouse and joining them together. When you know
God has joined you together, it will help you weather the
most difficult times.
A Loving Command
God came into the Garden of Eden as a visitor, making
Himself known and cultivating a relationship with the man
and the woman. He did not impose Himself on them but
gave them the opportunity of choosing a relationship of
faith and obedience with Him.
God gave Adam a single command that was, like all His
commandments, a wonderful expression of His love. "You
must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and
evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die" (2:17).
God had made everything good, and so "good" was the only
thing that Adam knew. The purpose of God's command was
to keep him from evil.
The Origin of Evil
The Bible does not give us a full explanation of the origin of
evil, but it does tell us where it started. Alongside the visible
world that we know, God made an invisible creation in
heaven and filled it with angels.
The devil was one of these angels. He became inflated with
pride and tried to usurp the position of God (see Isaiah
14:12-14). His rebellion was unsuccessful and led to his
being excluded from the presence of God and cast down to
the earth. So right from the beginning of human history,
there was an enemy bent on destroying the work of God.
His first aim was to introduce the man and the woman to
the knowledge of evil.
Recruiting for the Rebellion
Satan came into the garden with the aim of recruiting
the human race into his rebellion against God. Spirits are
invisible to us, and so when Satan wanted to communicate
with the first man and woman, he came in the form of an
alluring serpent. He presented himself as a friend and began
to question the single commandment God had given.
"Did God really say, `You must not eat from any tree in the
garden'?" (Genesis 3:1). If Satan could create confusion in
Eve's mind about what God had said, he would be well on
the way to gaining power over her.
Then Satan suggested that God had exaggerated the consequences
of sin. "You will not surely die" (v. 4). In effect, he
said, "How could you possibly believe that a single act of
disobedience would lead to something as drastic as death?"
But his third suggestion was the one that tipped the scales
for Eve, and her husband. "God knows that when you eat
of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God,"
he said (v. 5).
Adam and Eve decided that they wanted this knowledge of
evil. They disobeyed God's single command and they got
what they wanted. We have all lived with it ever since.
Hope in a Curse!
The Lord God said to the serpent, .
"Cursed are you." (3:14)
When a person or thing is "cursed," it is consigned to
destruction. So when God cursed the serpent, He was
announcing that evil would not stand. When God spoke
about a Deliverer who would crush the serpent's head,
Adam and Eve must have been overjoyed (v. 15).
A Curse Deflected
To Adam he said, . "Cursed ." (3:17)
Adam must have held his breath. God had cursed the serpent,
and now He was looking straight at Adam as He spoke
that ominous word again.
Adam must have thought that he would be utterly
destroyed, but he was in for a surprise. Instead of saying to
Adam, "Cursed are you," as the Lord did to the serpent,
God said, "Cursed is the ground because of you" (3:17).
God deflected the curse away from Adam so that it fell on
the ground and not on him directly. God kept His judgment
away from Adam, creating room for future reconciliation.
On the day he sinned, Adam discovered the grace and
mercy of God. The curse that should have been on him
went to another place.
Out of Eden
Our first parents were banished from Eden (3:23), where
they had known the blessing and presence of God. Life
became a struggle in a hostile place, where they were
exposed to all kinds of danger from wild animals.
Over time, they would notice lines and wrinkles in their
skin. They would experience pain and discover that the
"death" God had spoken about was a terrible reality that
they could not avoid.
God placed cherubim-angels representing His judgment
and holiness-at the entrance to the garden, along with a
flaming sword flashing back and forth, barring the way to
the Tree of Life. It must have been a terrifying sight.
The Shattered Sword
Try to imagine yourself standing with Adam and Eve outside
Eden, looking back at the angels and the flashing sword of
judgment. There's no way back for you into the presence of
God. If you tried, the sword would cut you down.
But as you look, someone comes out from the presence of
God and stands beside you. Then He turns and advances
toward the flaming sword. You cringe as you look. The
sword is flashing back and forth, and you can see what will
happen to Him when He gets there. But He keeps walking
forward, steadily, and relentlessly.
The sword strikes Him . and kills Him. It breaks His
body, but in breaking His body, the sword itself is broken.
The sword that killed Him lies shattered on the ground.
By His death, the way back to the presence and blessing
of God is opened.
That's what happened when Jesus died. The judgment that
keeps us out of God's presence struck Him. It was spent and
exhausted on Him. The sword of God's judgment broke
itself on Him, and so the way back into God's blessing is
wide open for all who will come.
Pause for Prayer
I acknowledge You are my Creator and owner. I thank You
that You have made me in Your image. I want to come to
know You better.
I recognize that You are the only One who can deliver from the
power of evil. I see that the world needs to be delivered from
evil, and I acknowledge that I need to be delivered from its
power in my own life, too.
Thank You that Jesus Christ has come into the world so that evil
will not stand. Thank You that, by His death, He opened the
way back into Your blessing and into Your presence for all who
will come. May I be one of these people.
In Jesus' name, amen.
Questions for Discussion
1. What have you inherited from your parents for which
you are thankful?
2. What difference does it make if you were created by God
or are a product of evolutionary forces? What are the
implications of each?
3. Can you remember a situation where you felt guilty
and genuinely were? How did you deal with your feelings
4. God desires each of us to regain the life our first parents
enjoyed in the garden. What would have to happen to
make that possible?
THE STORY CONTINUES .
God continued to give good gifts to our first parents,
but outside of Eden, their struggle with evil intensified.
When Eve held her first son, Cain, she must have hoped
that he would be the deliverer God had promised. But he
killed his brother and became the world's first murderer. As
the generations advanced, evil multiplied and people knew
little about the living God.
But God would not abandon the human race. He appeared
to a man called Abraham, promising to bless him and,
through him, people from every nation on earth (Genesis
12:1-3). From that point on, the Bible follows the story of
At the height of a famine in Canaan, Abraham's grandson
Jacob moved with his family to Egypt. The migration saved
their lives, and over the next four hundred years, the people
God had promised to bless grew from a large family to a
nation of almost two million people.
As they grew in number, the Hebrews were oppressed and
became slaves. God raised up Moses and, despite the determined
resistance of Pharaoh, delivered them from Egypt. God
brought them into the desert at Sinai and made a covenant
with them. They would be His people and the Lord would
be their God. Then God gave them the Law .
Chapter TwoThe LAW
DISCOVERlife's ten greatest struggles and how to prevail in them.
LEARNhow the Law brings us to Jesus Christ.
WORSHIPas you see how Jesus turns God's commands into promises.