Acts 14:15, “The Living God Who Made…” …Everything.

“We also are men with the same nature as you, and preach to you that you should turn from these useless things to the living God, who made the heaven, the earth, the sea, and all things that are in them, Acts 14:15.

We referred to this in our last post, that the Lord Jesus walked on dusty paths in Israel on the planet which He Himself had created.  Of course, in our “enlightened” society, we no longer believe such out-dated ideas as creation by an omnipotent being.  We can look at the marvels of nature – the flit of a butterfly, the soaring majesty of an eagle, the grace of a deer, the speed of a cheetah, the marvelous engineering of a honeycomb, the unbelievable complexity of even a single cell – and are quite convinced that these all sprang – albeit over a v-e-r-y  l-o-n-g  t-i-m-e – from a blob of very hot material which suddenly appeared all on its very own.  We ourselves finally decided to come down from swinging in the trees and began to walk upright, leaving them to our close relatives, the apes, monkeys, etc.

The stories in Genesis 1 and 2, which tell a far different story, are dismissed as irrelevant, disagreeing as they do with the latest “science.”  However, these two chapters are not the only references to creation that are found in Scripture.  As I read through the Bible, I’m struck by how often it’s mentioned.  We’re going to look at these references to see how thoroughly embedded the idea of the divine origin of things is in Scripture.

Genesis.

1:1; also chapters 1 and 2, In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

Genesis 1:1 makes the simple assertion that God created everything by His word and power.  He spoke…and it was so, as in v. 7 and others.  Further, each part was finished and complete as it came into existence.  Ten times in chapter 1, it’s emphasized that the animate part of creation, birds, fish, animals, were to reproduce according to their kind, or its kind.  That’s also true of vegetation, vs. 11, 12.  This doesn’t mean that there wasn’t room for adaptation to changing situations; it does means that guppies give birth to guppies, cocker spaniels give birth to cocker spaniels, and dandelions produce seed for more dandelions.

Furthermore, all this took a mere six days.  There was no need for the millions or billions of years imagined by evolutionary teaching.  If it’s argued that God could have taken such a long time to create, the simple fact that vegetation was created before the sun – how did the plants survive without sunlight for ages and ages?  Further, in Exodus 20:10, 11, as Moses gives the Law to Israel, he said that they were to work six days in the week, “but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD your God….For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them….”   See also Exodus 31:17.

Genesis 1 and 2 record the original creation.  Chapter one deals with creation in general; chapter 2 focuses on the creation of mankind.  Adam was created out of the dust of the earth, v. 7, by a special and unique act of God.  He didn’t “descend” from “other” animals.

Genesis 6:5-7 says that because the wickedness of man was great in the earth, that the LORD was sorry that He had made man on the earth, whom, He said, “I have created from the face of the earth, both man and beast, creeping thing and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them,” emphasis added.  See also 7:4.  God created in infinite variety; things didn’t just “evolve” without rhyme or reason.

Without getting into detail, Genesis 1-11 forms the foundation for the rest of Biblical teaching.  We’ve dealt with this in other posts.  Without these chapters, we have no account of the Fall of man and thus the need for redemption, the wickedness of man and his judgment by means of Noah’s flood, which was not just a “local” flood or else God lied when He said He would never again flood the earth, or the dispersion of nations and the rise of many different languages, see 9:11.

Exodus.

Exodus 20.  In this chapter,  the Lord Himself gives commands as He enters into a covenant relationship with Israel.  We know the first seventeen verses as the Ten Commandments, though there is a great deal more involved in what God promised to and expected of Israel than just a few verses in Exodus.  In His instructions regarding the Sabbath, or the seventh day, God said Israel was to “labor and do all your work” in six days, but was to “remember the Sabbath” and do no work,” because “in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them.”

Just in passing, have you ever wondered why God told Israel to remember the Sabbath day?

The answer is in Exodus 16.  I’ll leave you to read it, but Israel was to “remember” the Sabbath because they had already been given it.

Exodus 31 tells us that the Sabbath, or the seventh day, was given to Israel as “sign forever between Me and the children of Israel forever; for in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth,” v. 17, emphasis added.  I emphasize that the Sabbath was given to Israel because of those who insist that Christians are also obligated to keep it.  We’ve dealt with this in other posts, as well.

Deuteronomy.

Deuteronomy 4:32.  In this review to a second generation of Israelites of the giving of the Law, Moses simply asks if it’s ever happened before “since the day that God created man on the earth” that God has said and done the things He’s done for Israel?  Again is emphasized the fact that man was created; he didn’t come in any way from “lower” animals.

2 Kings.

19:15.

Then Hezekiah prayed before the LORD, and said, “O LORD God of Israel, the One who dwells between the cherubim, You are God, You alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth.”  

Hezekiah and Israel were in trouble.  Assyria had invaded the land with superior forces, after having overrun a good part of their world.  Jerusalem was surrounded by the enemy and the leader of those forces taunted Hezekiah for trusting in God.  This leader mistakenly thought that Israel’s God was no different from, no more powerful than, the gods of the lands he had conquered: “Who among all the gods of the lands have delivered their countries from my hand, that the LORD should deliver Jerusalem from my hand?” 2 Kings 18:35.

He found out.  When he got up the next morning, he discovered 185,000 of his men dead in their tents, 2 Kings 19:35.  Indeed, as the next verses tell us, he also found out that his own god couldn’t protect him from his own sons, who murdered him while he was worshiping in the temple of Nisroch his god.

2 Chronicles.

2:12.

Hiram also said:

Blessed be the LORD God of Israel, who made heaven and earth….

Hiram supplied most of the materials with which Solomon built the Temple.  Even a pagan king recognized creation.

Nehemiah.

9:6.

You alone are the LORD;
You have made the heaven,

The heaven of heavens, with all their host,
The earth and everything on it,
The seas and all that is in them,
And you preserve them all.

In this worship service of Israel returned to her land after the Babylonian Captivity, the Levites rehearsed the sad history of an unfaithful Israel and the faithfulness of her God, Who is the creator of the heavens and the earth.

Job.

35:10, 11.

But no one says, “Where is God my Maker,
Who gives songs in the night,

Who teaches us more than the beasts of the earth,
And makes us wiser than the birds of the air?”

38:4-11.

Here God answers Job and his three “friends,” though He doesn’t really “answer” them.  He just reveals Himself in chs. 38-40.  We’re quoting only a small part of that revelation, which shows God’s creation and control of this world.

4] “Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth?
Tell Me, if you have understanding
.
5] Who determined its measurements?
Surely you know!
Or who stretched the line upon it?
6] To what were its foundations fastened?
Or who laid its cornerstone,
7] When the morning stars sang together,
And all the sons of God shouted for joy?

8] “Or who shut in the sea with doors,
When it burst forth and issued from the womb;
9] When I made the clouds its garment,
And thick darkness its swaddling band:
10] When I fixed My limit for it,
And set bars and doors;
11] When I said,
‘This far you may come, but no farther,
And here your proud waves must stop!’

The Psalms.

33:6.

By the word of the LORD the heavens were made,
And all the host of them by the breath of His mouth.

90:2.

Before the mountains were brought forth,
Or ever You had formed the earth and the world,

Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God.

115:15, 16.

15] May you be blessed by the LORD,
Who made heaven and earth.

16] The heaven, even the heavens, are the LORD’s;
But the earth He has given to the children of men.

121:2.

My help comes from the LORD,
Who made heaven and earth.

124:8.

Our help is in the name of the LORD,
Who made heaven and earth.

134:3.

The LORD who made heaven and earth
Bless you from Zion!

146:5, 6.

5] Happy is he who has the God of Jacob for his help,
Whose hope is in the LORD his God.

6] Who made heaven and earth,
The sea, and all that is in them;
Who keeps truth forever.

Isaiah.

37:15, 16.

Isaiah 36 and 37 give us Isaiah’s account of Assyria’s invasion of Israel and her miraculous deliverance from the enemy.

15] Then Hezekiah prayed to the LORD, saying: 16] “O LORD of hosts, God of Israel, the One who dwells between the cherubim, You are God, You alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth.  You have made heaven and earth.” 

40:22, 28.

22] It is He who sits above the circle of the earth,
And its inhabitants are like grasshoppers,
Who stretches out the heavens like a curtain,
And spreads them out like a tent to dwell in.

28] Have you not known?
Have you not heard?

The everlasting God, the LORD,
The Creator of the ends of the earth,
Neither faints nor is weary.
His understanding is unsearchable.

45:12, 18.

In these verses, God says,

12] “I have made the earth,
And created man on it.
I – My hands – stretched out the heavens,
And all their host I have commanded.”

18] For thus says the LORD,
Who created the heavens,
Who is God,
Who formed the earth and made it,
Who established it,
Who did not create it in vain,
Who formed it to be inhabited:
“I am the LORD, and there is no other,” 

65:17.

“For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth;
And the former shall not be remembered or come to mind.

A similar statement is in Revelation 21:1, where John wrote, “Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away.  Also there was no more sea.”  And Peter wrote in 2 Peter 3:10-13, But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up.  Therefore, since all these things are to be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements melt with fervent heat?  Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells [or, “is at home”, certainly something that can’t be said about this present world].

There’s some discussion about these verses which mention new heavens and a new earth.  I’ve dealt with this elsewhere.  Some say they all refer to eternity, as indeed the verses in Revelation do.  But Revelation also says in 21:4, there shall be no more death….  That’s not what Isaiah 65 says in verse 20:  
“No more shall an infant from there live but a few days,
Nor an old man who has not fulfilled his days;
For the child shall die one hundred years old,
But the sinner being one hundred years old shall be accursed.”

This is not a “mistake” in the Bible.  It is God saying that there is more than one time when He will yet actively intervene in the affairs of men.  While John indeed refers to eternity, we believe Isaiah refers to that time we call “The Millennium,” where the Lord Jesus will rule this world from Jerusalem, where the very physical structure of this planet will be altered, Zechariah 14:4, 6-7, to say nothing of it’s social structure, Revelation 19:15; 20:4-6.  For more detail, see our posts on Revelation 20:1-6 and 20:7-15.

Jeremiah.

10:11, 12.

11] Thus you shall say to them, “The gods that have not made the heavens and the earth shall perish from the earth and from under these heavens.”

12] He has made the earth by His power,
He has established the world by His wisdom,
And has stretched out the heavens at His discretion.

31:35.

Thus says the LORD,
Who gives the sun for light by day,
The ordinances of the moon and the stars for a light by night,
Who disturbs the sea,
And its waves roar
(The LORD of hosts is His name):

51:15.

He has made the earth by His power;
He has established the world by His wisdom,
And stretched out the heaven by His understanding.

Jonah.

1:9.

So he said to them, “I am a Hebrew; and I fear the LORD, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the dry land.”

Malachi.

2:10.

Have we not one Father?
Has not one God created us?

Matthew.

19:4.

And [Jesus] answered and said to them, “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’  Also Mark 10:6.  Adam and Eve were made “at the beginning” of this earth’s history, on the sixth day of creation, and not at “the end” of a few billion years.

Luke.

10:21.

In that hour Jesus rejoiced in the Spirit and said, “I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and revealed them to babes.  Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in Your sight.”

John.

1:3.

All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.

Acts.

4:24.

So when they heard that, they raised their voice to God with one accord and said: “Lord, You are God, who made heaven and earth and the sea, and all that is in them,

14:15.

and saying, “Men, why are you doing these things?  We also are men with the same nature as you, and preach to you that you should turn from these useless things to the living God, who made the heaven, the earth, the sea, and all things that are in them.”

1 Corinthians.

11:9.

Nor was man created for the woman, but woman for the man.

Ephesians.

3:9.

and to make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God who created all things through Jesus Christ.

Colossians.

1:16, 17.

16] For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers.  All things were created through Him and for Him. 17] And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist.

Hebrews.

11:3.

By faith we understand that the worlds [or “the ages”] were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.

Revelation.

4:11.

“You are worthy, O Lord,
To receive glory and honor and power;
For You created all things,
And by Your will they exist and were created.”

10:5, 6.

5] The angel whom I saw standing on the sea and on the land raised up his hand to heaven 6] and swore by Him who lives forever and ever, who created heaven and the things that are in it, the earth and the things that are in it, and the sea and the things that are in it, that there should be delay no longer,
________________

These 35 or so references show that the idea of God creating the earth and the heavens isn’t just some arcane idea found only in Genesis 1 and 2.  It was woven into the very warp and woof of Israel’s existence.  I’m sure there are more references to creation that express it differently than the words I used in searching a concordance.  In fact, three or four showed up which I was typing this, one even heading a program I use to search, and one as I was reading the Bible.  And this doesn’t include the many references to the Lord, or the God, of heaven and earth beside the one I listed.  The God of Scripture wasn’t just some “tribal” god, the god of a bunch of ignorant slaves in Egypt, created by a priestly class to empower it over the people.  He is the God who created the heavens and the earth and sustains them by His power and providence.

So….

What does this mean to the average Christian, or even an unbeliever, for that matter?  It means that if Genesis 1 and 2 are untrue, then there is no explanation for the origin of the earth or mankind, it just happened; there are no absolutes (except that one), there is no real “higher being” to whom we are accountable, there is no need for redemption and, thus, no reason for the birth, life, or death of the Lord Jesus, and, finally, nothing beyond the grave after all.

But these chapters are true and even a cursory glance at this world, corrupted and ruined as it is because of the wickedness of men, still shows evidence of the handiwork and wisdom of its Creator.

Do you know this God?  More importantly, do you know His Son, the Lord Jesus?  He came to this planet He created; He walked its dusty paths, breathed its air and died on one of its hills.  But He didn’t stay there; He rose from the dead, ascended into the heaven He created, and one day will return from there to judge the world and restore things to righteousness.  He came to die for sinners like you and me, and those who receive Him as Lord and Savior, those who throw down the weapons of their rebellion against Him, will live and reign with Him forever and ever.

Do you know this God?

The living God who made…everything.

 

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Hebrews 1:10-14: Made Higher Than the Angels, part 3.

Perhaps you are wondering why in the world we have spent so much time on this subject.  Well, the writer of Hebrews did.  We believe he was guided by the Holy Spirit.  What he wrote, therefore, is important.  Beyond that, though, there are other reasons.  There are at least two religions in this world, both of which teach falsehood about the Lord Jesus, which claim angels brought the revelation to their founder.

There are many people who look to angels, or spirits, or whatever – horoscopes and such – to guide their daily lives.  Besides that, there are many things, even in church,which draw our attention away from the Lord.  Recently, I saw a facebook post in which someone wanted folks to mention their church and pastor if they thought he was a great pastor.  I understand that.  At the same time, how about a church with a great Savior?

During the days of Charles Spurgeon, the great English preacher, it was a common practice to “church-hop.”  That is, because there were many great preachers in London at the time, some folks would go from church to church to “sermon-taste.”  It’s said that when folks left these other churches, they would say, “What a great sermon,” but when they left Metropolitan Tabernacle, Spurgeon’s church, they would say, “What a great Savior.”

That’s what we need, folks –

A great Savior.

Because we are great sinners.

The Bible tells us of that great Savior – the Lord Jesus Christ.

In our previous posts, we’ve looked at the writer’s arguments proving the Lord’s superiority over angels.  These involved His person and His position.  This last post on ch.1 will focus on the final two evidences of that superiority.

1.  His Power, 1:10-12.

As we look at these verses, we are reminded about how much the Bible deals with origins and outcomes, and how little really it deals with what goes on in between.  It doesn’t ignore that, certainly, but it reminds us that this world isn’t all there is and that what we can see isn’t all there is.  Verses like Romans 8:27-30 and Ephesians 1 and 2, especially 1:3-12, 21; 2:7, emphasize more what God does than what we do.

The three verses in the title of our post encompass the entire history of creation.  Perhaps this is to remind us of the brevity of our own lives and the speed with which it goes by.  I’ll soon be 75, Lord willing, and I’m kind of taken aback when I remember something in the past and realize that it happened 50 or 60 years ago!  So long a time ago, and yet it seems so short!

The Past, v. 10, “You, LORD, laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of Your hands.”   This is a quote from Psalm 102:25-27.  The Psalmist wrote this praise to Jehovah, or the Father.  The writer to Hebrews directs the Psalm to Jesus, the Son.  Another, incidental, proof of the deity of the Lord Jesus.  No faithful Hebrew could ever have done this if Jesus were not truly God.

The verse contrasts the Lord Jesus with His creation, and shows His greatness.  His is the workmanship behind everything, perfect workmanship, whether seen through microscope or telescope.

How long ago was “the beginning”?  Only God knows for sure, but likely not as long as we’re commonly told.  The only reason to believe that it happened billions of years ago is to allow for the time required by the theory of evolution.  There have been those who’ve tried to figure out when the beginning was by looking at the chronologies in the Bible.  The KJV of my youth had a note that Genesis 1:1 happened in 4004 B.C.  The difficulty with that is that the Bible was never given to establish a chronological time-line, but to establish connection between us and Adam.  I have no difficulty with the idea that the earth is more than 6,000 years old.  I just don’t think that it’s billions of years old.

Belief in evolution and the belief in creation are the viewpoints of two opposing religious systems, one which says that man is the creation of God and one which says that “god” is the creation of man.

Whenever the beginning was, the Lord Jesus was there.

The Present, v. 11, “They will perish, but You remain; and they will all grow old like a garment.”  The contrast is again between creation and its Creator.  Creation is perishing, wearing out, passing away, 1 Corinthians 7:31.  The Second Law of Thermodynamics also tells us this.  Our planet, like some old clothes, is wearing out, and all the “patching up” we can do isn’t going to stop it.

The Future, v. 12,  “Like a cloak, You will fold them up, and they will be changed.  But You are the same, and Your years will not fail.”   This picturesque verse shows the tremendous power of the Creator, the Lord Jesus.  One day, He will fold the universe up like a worn-out piece of clothing and replace it, 2 Peter 3:10-13; Revelation 20:11; 21:1.  How foolish we are to act as if this world, this life, will last forever.

2.  His Promise, 1:13, 14.

But to which of the angels has He ever said, “Sit at My right hand, till I make Your enemies Your footstool?”

 Certainly, no mere angel ever had such a promise made to it.  There’s a lot of discussion about what these verses mean, as well as other verses which deal with the Second Coming, but surely it may be noted that the time is coming, and we believe very soon, when every knee shall bow, …and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,” Philippians 2:10, 11.  “Even so, come, Lord Jesus”!

Angels only have a role of service, v. 14.  The Son is “King of Kings and Lord of Lords.”

He has willing subjects.

Are we among them?

March Memories: Creation and the Fall of Adam and Eve, Genesis 1-3.

[As we continue our “March Memories,” we think it’s good to back to the beginning – of everything.  On every side, atheistic science and materialism tell us that there is no God, and there is nothing that we can’t figure out in a laboratory or raise in a petri dish.  I just watched a TV show that asserted that Noah could never have built the Ark the Bible describes because he didn’t have the technology to build such a craft.  We still haven’t figured out for sure how the Egyptians built the pyramids, but we know for sure that Noah couldn’t have built the Ark!  There’s lots of stuff “back there” that we haven’t figured out how they did it, or even in some cases what it is, but they still did it!]

As we come to the book of Genesis, we find that it tells us where everything came from, not from some random cosmic explosion, but from the power and wisdom of God.  So Genesis is the real Origin of Species, long before, and in opposition to, Darwin.  It tells how the earth came to be, and where man came from.  It accounts for the entrance of sin into the world, revealing that man is a moral being, different from all other earthly creatures, in contrast to evolution, which tells us that he’s just a highly-developed version of them.  It accounts for the nation of Israel, as well as for the origin and distribution of many of the other nations of the world.

Genesis is also the “foundational” book of the Bible.  It tells of sin and redemption, and forms the basis for most of the rest, if not all, that the Bible says on these subjects.  Its first redemptive promise contains in a verse (Genesis 3:15) the whole of prophecy given in the rest of the Bible.

Here are some ways Genesis might be outlined:

1.  The Beginning of Human History, chs. 1-11.
2.  The Beginning of Hebrew History, chs. 12-50.

or –

1.  The Beginning of Man’s Residence on the Earth, chs. 1, 2.
2.  The Beginning of Man’s Rebellion on the Earth, chs. 3-11.
3.  The Beginning of Man’s Redemption on the Earth, chs. 12-50.

or the more familiar –

1.  Creation, chs. 1, 2:  Preparation for Man.
2.  The Fall, chs. chs. 3-5:  Presumption of Man.
3.  The Flood, chs. 6-9:  Punishment of Man.
4.  The Tower of Babel, chs. 10, 11:  Perversity of Man.
5.  The Patriarchs, chs. 12-50:  Preference Among Men.

As we look more closely at the opening of Genesis through this outline, we see:

Creation, chs. 1, 2: Preparation for Man.

A.  It opposes many errors, among them:

1.  Atheism.  “In the beginning, God…,” Genesis 1:1.  NOTE:  the Bible was written to people who already believed in God, and, in many cases, who had had personal dealings with Him.  The Bible never attempts to “prove” the existence of God, though His creation (“nature”) has many proofs for those who will see them, Psalm 19:1-4; Romans 1:18-20.

2.  Pantheism.  That is, God is everything, and everything is God.  There is a modern version of this called “panentheism,” which, while maintaining that God is everything, also maintains that He is greater that everything.  Creation is “contained” within Him.  Scripture shows that God is indeed the Supreme Creator and Sustainer of everything, but also that He is distinct from everything.  He IS everyWHERE; He IS NOT everyTHING!

3.  Materialism.  That is, “matter” is eternal and, as such, has always existed.  This begs the question, “Where did matter come from in the first place?”

4.  That everything came unintentionally and spontaneously into existence, i.e., “The Big Bang.”

B.  Genesis reveals the origin of the universe and of the earth.  It doesn’t particularly tell us “how” or “why.”  Theistic evolution, in a sincere but misguided attempt to align Scripture with atheistic science, doesn’t see what the Bible says about origins.  I have no difficulty with the idea that the earth is more than 6,000 years old; I just have trouble with the idea, as we’ll see in a moment, that it’s billions of years old.

Herbert Spencer, an eminent scientist who died in 1903, taught that everything exists in one of five categories:  time, force, action, space or matter.  Moses already knew that, millennia earlier.

1.  time – “In the beginning”
2.  force – “God”
3.  action – “created”
4.  space – “the heavens”
5.  matter – “and the earth.”

C.  Genesis has many features which don’t agree with evolution.  Among them are:

1.  It has an intelligent Creator, not a mindless cosmic catastrophe, followed by aimless and random development.

2.  The earth was created before the stars!  They were made on the fourth day, when the earth already existed.

3.  Plants were created on the third day, before the Sun, which was created with the other stars on the fourth day.  If the “days” are geologic ages, as evolution claims, then how did vegetation survive without the Sun to nourish it?

4.  On the first day, God created “light” as something distinct from Himself, Who is light, 1 John 1:5.  On the fourth day, creating the Sun, He created “time.”  Our concept of time would have relevance nowhere else in the universe.

5.  Each kind of animal was created fully developed.  It had no need for further “development,” apart from adaptation to climate or environmental changes.  There are many instance of such development within species; there is no evidence for development between species.

6.  Each creature was made with the ability to reproduce according to its kind, 1:11, 21, 24, not mutate into another, entirely different, kind.

7.  Sea creatures were created on the same day as birds.  Birds did not evolve eons later from the dinosaurs.

8.  In a separate act, man was created from the dust of the ground, 2:8.  He did not “evolve” from “lower” animals, nor did God simply choose one or two from a number of already existing hominids with which to form a special relationship.

The Fall, chs. 3-5:  Presumption of Man.

1.  Note that man fell because of a discussion over whether the Word of God was to be accepted “literally” or not.  That discussion is alive and well today.

2.  Note that man fell because he decided to replace God as the moral authority as to what was “good” or “evil.”  The essence of sin is the disagreement with God over jurisdiction:  who decides “good” or “evil”?

3.  Because of his sin, man fled from God.  Left to ourselves, we’re still fleeing.  This doesn’t mean that men and women can’t be “religious;” witness the number of religions in the world, but how many of them, even those who claim to believe the Bible, actually follow the Bible, or believe it’s authoritative?  How many people even read the Bible and have any real idea about what it says?

God must seek us, if we are to “find” Him, Isaiah 65:1.

4.  Man was taught that, because of his sin, the only way he could continue to live physically was through the substitution and death of an innocent sacrifice.  All religion revolves around this central issue:  how may a man or woman live before God, regardless of how “live” is defined, or whomever or whatever God is said to be.

5.  Because of man’s sinfulness and God’s holiness, God’s justice bars the way to the tree of life, Genesis 3:24.  All religion seeks to answer the question asked very early in Biblical history, “How can man be righteous before God?”  “…Or how can he be pure who is born of woman?”  Job 9:2; 25:4.

To put it another way, how can I satisfy God’s justice and the holiness His word and nature require?  How can I escape the penalty for the disobedience I’m guilty of?  It is only Biblical Christianity (for there is a great deal in “Christianity” that is not Biblical) that proclaims the answer foreshadowed by the slain animals and coats of skin.  The only way God’s justice has ever been or ever will be satisfied is through the sinless life and shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.  By His death He paid forever the penalty demanded by a broken Law, and by His sinless life He obtained that righteousness imputed to believing sinners, by which and only by which they and we will ever be able to stand before God uncondemned.

Friends, if we have committed even one sin, and who among us wouldn’t have to admit to that, we are lost and undone without the Lord Jesus.  O blessed life, that did what we could not, and blessed death, that did what we dare not!
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(originally published, April 9, 2013) edited and new material.