Monday, May 26, 2014

Monday, May 26th

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is 2 Samuel 21-22, Psalm 104, Acts 15
Today's scripture focus is Genesis 3:1-7

Genesis 3:1-7

English Standard Version (ESV)

The Fall

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’?” And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, 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.’” But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” 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. Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths.

Accompanying Bob Deffinbaugh sermon: The Fall of Man
Accompanying John MacArthur sermons: What is Sin?, The Breadth and Depth of Sin, The Origin of Evil,  The Fall of Man Part 1 and Part 2.

MacArthur defined sin this way: Sin is any personal lack of conformity to the moral character of God, or the law of God.

This manifests itself in several different ways.  We sin when we think evil, when we speak evil, when we do evil, and when we do not do good.  Commission and omission are both sin.

Obviously, in order to know what the moral character of God is, and to know what the law of God is, we need to know His Word.  God alone sets the standard for good and evil.

Sin is defiling, it's rebellion, it is ungrateful and presumptuous, it is wearying because it is all-consuming, it's incurably fatal.

God created every good and perfect thing, but God did not create evil.

I liked MacArthur's explanation....
God is not evil.  God does not do evil.  He cannot be tempted to do evil.  He never tempts anybody else to do evil.  God is not responsible for evil.  The source of evil, the source of sin is outside God.  When God created angels and God created humans, He gave them intelligence, He gave them reason and He gave them choice. And there is a sequence.  I put those words in that order for a purpose.
Intelligence gave them the ability to understand things. Reason gave them the ability to process that understanding toward behavior and choice gave them the freedom to determine that behavior.  Intelligence, reason and choice...bottom line, with what they knew and with the ability they had to process that information, they would be brought to a choice and whether angels or men, they would have the choice either to obey God or not to obey God.  Listen to this, to disobey God was to initiate evil.  Evil is not the presence of something, evil is the absence of righteousness.  You can't create evil because evil doesn't exist as a created entity.  It doesn't exist as a created reality.  Evil is a negative.  Evil is the absence of perfection.  It's the absence of holiness.  It's the absence of goodness.  It's the absence of righteousness.  Evil became a reality only when creatures chose to disobey.  Evil came into existence initially then in the fall of angels and then next, in the fall of Adam and Eve.
Just put it this way in your mind.  Evil is not a created thing.  Evil is not a substance.  Evil is not an entity.  Evil is not a being.  Evil is not a force.  Evil is not some floating spirit.  Evil is a lack of moral perfection. God created absolute perfection.  Wherever a lack of that exists, sin exists.  And that cannot exist in the nature of God or in anything that God makes.
Evil comes into existence when God's creatures fall short of the standard of moral perfection.  Now let me take it a step further.  God did not create evil, He did not author evil, He did not make evil.  But listen carefully, very important, God did decree to use evil as a part of His eternal plan
God was not surprised by evil.  He did not create it, but He does use it for His purposes in several ways.  It gives Him the opportunity to receive glory by demonstrating His grace, love, and mercy through the salvation of sinners. it gives Him opportunity to receive glory by demonstrating His holiness, wrath, and perfect judgment. And He allowed sin so that He might destroy it forever.

The source of evil is not God.  The source of evil is the creature.

Evil first began when Lucifer wanted to become like God and instead became as much unlike God as it is possible to be.  And then, knowing that was the result, tempted Adam and Eve to do the same.

The results of Lucifer's and Adam's choices to sin were different.  Lucifer disobeyed God and convinced a third of the angles to do likewise, and it affected only them.  Adam disobeyed God and all of mankind fell with him.

How does Satan work?  Through deception.

MacArthur: Disguising himself as a speaker of truth, he is a speaker of lies. He is a liar and the father of lies, it says inJohn 8:44. And what he wants to do is to get people to believe that God doesn't tell the truth, to get people to believe they have a right to question God and they have a right to doubt that God has told them the truth. He really solicits people to believe God lies and he tells the truth.

Notice the exact words that God says to Adam...
“You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”

I highly recommend you read MacArthur's last sermon on this passage, it was fantastic and really gave me a much better idea of exactly what happened, and what should have happened.  I'm going to try to summarize it, but if you have time, it's an excellent sermon.

At first Satan just brings up the conversation of eating from any tree in the garden and questioned Eve about what God actually said.  The assumption is that you have a right to some sort of human judgment on what God commands and provides.  At this point, Eve should have reiterated exactly what God had instructed them to do and been emphatic that they would honor and trust God.  Satan gets Eve to talk about the prohibition God had placed on them, implying that God was restrictive, narrow, even cruel, while Satan is generous and loves freedom.

But Eve adds to God's prohibition and includes "Neither shall you touch it".  We don't know for sure if Adam told her that to keep her away from the tree, or if she simply makes it up herself, but either way, it's making God appear more harsh.

She should have defended God's wisdom and goodness.  Instead she's being drawn down a slippery slope - thinking that Satan is more devoted to her joy, freedom, fulfillment, and satisfaction than God is.  The very same lie we buy into when we sin.

when you sin you believe that you will get greater joy out of your personal fulfillment by violating God's law then you would get if you obeyed it...which means you believe the lie....
As soon as one does not completely, unreservedly and wholeheartedly trust in the wisdom and absolute goodness of God, as soon as one does not believe that the purposes and the commands of God are for our best and highest joy, sin has entered the heart.
And then Satan goes past subtleties and outrightly accuses God of lying.  And Satan accuses God of lying about judgment.  That's exactly what Satan wants the whole world to believe - that there is no absolute authority and therefore, no judgment.

So that's how Satan works. First you question God, then you question God's goodness, then you believe that the real satisfaction is in the sin. And then you begin to hedge on the absolute character of Scripture as its authority, and then you begin to hedge on the fact that you're going to have to pay a consequence for your sin. And Eve made all those wrong choices. They're the same wrong choices that you make today when you sin.
Why would God be so restrictive?

what he's saying to her is the reason God doesn't want you to do this is not because He's a good God and He wants to protect you from death. The reason God doesn't want you to do this is because He's a bad God and He's jealous and He doesn't like rivals and He doesn't want competition. See that would be Satan's personal testimony. After all, he tried to be the rival of God, tried to compete with God as we learn in Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28, he tried to compete with God and got thrown out of heaven for it. So it sticks in his craw that God will not tolerate a rival. And so there's a certain amount of truth in this. But from Satan's viewpoint, it's not because God is all glorious and holy, it's because God's character is flawed.... Doesn't want you to eat that fruit because you know what? That fruit is not only not going to kill you, it is so good, not only will it not kill you, it will make you like God....
on the surface that's a good thing. After all, we're all trying to be like Christ. The Holy Spirit is trying to make us like Christ. That's a good thing. So there's a certain half truth and that's the way Satan usually operates. But for Eve to be like God in Satan's scheme, she has to disobey God. For us to be like God, in God's scheme we have to obey God. So he's got the thing completely reversed. ....And he says you're going to be like God, you're going to know good and evil.
Now that's a half truth. They did know good and evil, Adam and Eve did, that's right. Over in chapter 3 verse 22, "Behold, the man has become like one of us knowing good and evil." But as I said last time, they didn't know good and evil the way God knows evil. They knew good before but they began to know evil not the way God knows it, God knows it like the physician who offers the cure to the cancer victim. They know evil like the cancer victim who is dying from it. They knew evil experientially. It wasn't that they knew evil...Oh, now I understand what evil is. It wasn't that, it wasn't some kind of cognitive thing, it wasn't some rational thing. They knew evil by doing it....
 The Fall already came before she even ever took the fruit. And I remind you, there's nothing magic about the fruit....This isn't the Aesop Fables. There's nothing magic in the fruit. It was not that that brought about some change in her nature. It was the moment that she first distrusted God that catapulted her into sin. ... So they knew evil when they distrusted God's character. And the evidence that they distrusted God's character in the heart came when they disobeyed His Word by taking the fruit...
It goes from the mind to the emotion. It goes from thinking to feeling. Now in her mind, now follow this, her goal has changed. Now this is a monumental change. Up to this time the goal of Eve in life was to glorify God, right? ....There was never any thought about self-fulfillment. There was never any thought about personal pleasure, personal gain. Those thoughts didn't exist. Now there is a new thought in her mind, it is this...self-fulfillment....
It isn't the glory of God any more. It isn't the honor of God any more. She is being seduced by her physical appetite. She looks and she sees this as good for food.
Now let me ask you a question. Do you think she was hungry? Think she was starving in the garden? No. There was plenty of food. There was food all over the place. But she had come to believe that there was something satisfying in this food that she had never enjoyed in any other. And this is lust....Secondly, she not only sees that it's good for food, but she also sees that it's a delight to the eyes.... there's a third element. She also saw that the tree was desirable to make her wise...
These are the same three approaches that Satan still uses...still uses them....First John 2, listen to this, 15, "Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him." Now here is verse 16, 1 John 2:16, listen to this, "For all that is in the it comes...all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the boastful pride of life is not from the Father but is from the world."
....the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life. It all fits in there somewhere. The lust of the eyes, the pride of life, the lust of the flesh...
"She took from its fruit and ate." Are you surprised? I'm not surprised, not...not knowing where she is by this time, it went from the mind to the emotions and the emotions overpowered the will and the will produced the behavior. She took from its fruit and ate. A simple act, very simple act with massive impact, massive impact. And then it simply says, "She gave also to her husband with her and he ate."..
you say, "Does Adam have less guilt?" No. In fact, whenever you look at the Scripture in other places, the Scripture always holds Adam accountable, not Eve, right? First Corinthians 15:22, "As in Adam all die..." Eve has immense guilt, no question, so does Adam. Eve was deceived by the serpent through the whole process. Adam just joined in the sin for reasons or explanations we don't know. But both of them disobeyed God. God did say don't eat, and they disobeyed God. And that's sin.
You say, "Well then why doesn't it say as in Eve all died?" Because there's a principle of headship in the Bible and it starts with Adam and it never ends. And it works in marriage just as well as it works in the trinity as it works in the church. There's a principle of headship. And the husband is the head, right? First Corinthians 11, "The husband is the head of the wife as God is the head of Christ." And so he then becomes the responsible one. By God's design, headship is in the man. Man then bears the responsibility...
So the one that God had given to Adam to be his helper became the instrument of his disaster and death.....
 the sin of Adam as the head is how sin enters the world. And it enters the world and with it comes death, spiritual death, physical death and eternal death. And that death spread to all men because all sinned. You say, "Well how in the world did we all sin?" We all sinned in the loins of Adam...we were all there....We were all there and when he was corrupted, then everything he produced was corrupt....
Somebody asked the question...Well, it's not fair. How can we be held responsible for Adam's sin when we weren't there? How can we sin in Adam when we weren't there?
Well, ask yourself this. How can we die and rise in Jesus Christ when we weren't there?
Or you say, "How can we be held responsible for what Adam did?" On the other hand, how can you be saved by what Jesus did?
Well the answer is because that's the way God designed it. That's how God designed it for His glory. God allowed this in order that sin might come, in order that He might destroy it so that it wouldn't any more be a possibility, it would become a reality and He would destroy it and in the process He would save sinners who believed and judge sinners who did not. And therefore He would put Himself on display as to His power, as to His grace and as to His justice. And He couldn't display His power and He couldn't display His grace and He couldn't display His justice in that way if there weren't sin. So God allowed it. Just as we fell in one man, we rise again in one man, the last Adam, Jesus Christ...
 verse 7, "The eyes of both of them were opened," immediately bang, their eyes were opened. What did they see?... They were aware of their wickedness. They knew they were naked. They had been naked for who knows how long. They knew they were naked, all of a sudden, and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loin coverings....
They were in the same garden, looking at the same spouse, in the midst of the same creatures, under the same sky, but all of a sudden into their pure world of relationship, into their sexual innocence came perverse evil thoughts. And sin clung to their innocence. And they felt it strongly and they felt exposed and they felt shameful about feelings they had never felt before. Their purity was marred. They were shocked by thoughts that were wicked and impure. Even that pure gift of marriage was so polluted as to make them feel that they needed to hide their loins from God and from each other. That very part of their body which was the source of joy and the source of life because a source of guilt and a source of shame and they were embarrassed to be naked. And they did an appropriate thing. They sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loin coverings. This is a feeble effort to cover their shame and to cover their guilt....
They could cover their bodies. It was a nice try. It was reasonable, it was a good thing to do. But they couldn't really hide their sin.... 
in order for God to make them a garment of skin, what did God have to do? Kill an animal, that's the first time. And the little analogy that I would make here, you can try to cover yourself with your own fig leaves, but in the end you can only be covered by God in a sacrifice. In the end, that's for God to do, to cover sin....
Like Lucifer, Adam and Eve fell so far there was nothing good in them. They fell so far that they were absolutely embarrassed and full of shame. They fell and an avalanche of sin was loosed that would never stop. They pulled a stone from the mountain and were horrified to discover that the fatal rock slide would bury all humanity and its environment in the dirt and rubble of sin. Satan had done his work and he disappeared from the garden. And they were left to face God. 
Sorry, I ended up having to quote a huge chunk - it was just so good!

I often think, if only Adam and Eve hadn't sinned.  If only!  But God had purpose even in this.  Now that evil had risen to the surface, God would continue His plan to eventually destroy it completely. And it's not a matter of if, but a matter of when. There's no sense in looking back before the fall and wishing for what never was when we have the promise of what's guaranteed to come.

Tomorrow's scripture focus: Genesis 3:8-13
Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage passage: 2 Samuel 23-24, Psalm 105, Acts 16

1 comment:

Miriam said...

Wow, that was really well and thoroughly explained. Great post!