7 The First Adam got it wrong

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“The First Adam received life, the Last Adam is a life-giving Spirit. Physical life comes first, then spiritual—a firm base shaped from the earth, a final completion coming out of heaven. The First Man was made out of earth, and people since then are earthy; the Second Man was made out of heaven, and people now can be heavenly. In the same way that we’ve worked from our earthy origins, let’s embrace our heavenly ends.”[A]

There are many truth streams that run through the Bible, but none are more critical to our understanding of spiritual salvation than the story of God’s “two Adams.” It has been said that the first four chapters of the book of Genesis represent “the seed–plot of the whole Bible; and not only so, but the seed–plot of man’s entire history.” Here’s why these seminal chapters are so critical to understanding the rest of the scriptures…

Most people are familiar with the First Adam, mankind’s original progenitor, whose history goes all the way back to the Garden of Eden. There is a sense in which the First Adam, who was originally created in the image and likeness of God without sin, “recreated” himself when he rebelled against God and sinned. That second version of Adam sinned himself into existence, becoming a version of man who could do nothing but sin because of his now–fallen human nature. Picking up on the nomenclature of computer software, we can refer to him as “Adam 1.0” (hand–formed by God) and “Adam 2.0” (self–created and rebellious).

Although Adam enjoyed a pretty good start in life, he ended rather badly. The effects of his choices—and those of his mate, Eve—are still rippling down the human family tree to the present day. Those effects include death itself, which was something previously unknown in that originally sin–free Garden. So it is today that, despite regular trips to the gym, improved diet, and “right living,” we ultimately find ourselves to be mortal [literally, death–doomed] after all.

But Adam’s failed legacy goes deeper than physical death. Blaise Pascal said a mouthful with his wry observation, “All men’s miseries derive from not being able to sit in a quiet room alone.”[i] Just one generation after Adam, we find Cain, Adam’s son, murdering his own brother Abel, resulting in his banishment to a lifetime of homeless restless wandering. And sadly, our “brother’s blood has been crying out to God from the ground” in every generation since, as the weapons have gotten more efficient but the intent of men’s hearts remains the same.

Something is Wrong with This Picture

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Bloody_Footprints_Links_Convict_MurderUnless you have lived your whole life on an isolated desert island, you are acutely aware that something is wrong with this world. CNN and Fox News have no trouble filling their continuous 24–hour airtimes with an escalating stream of murder, mayhem, terrorism, and thievery, with no end in sight. Sometimes it feels like you take your life in your hands when you pick up a newspaper.

An article in Slate.com provides a brief snapshot of conditions within humanity’s “neighborhood:”

“It’s a good time to be a pessimist. ISIS, Crimea, Donetsk, Gaza, Burma, Ebola, school shootings, campus rapes, wife–beating athletes, lethal cops—who can avoid the feeling that things fall apart, the center cannot hold? Last year Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, testified before a Senate committee that the world is “more dangerous than it has ever been.” This past fall, Michael Ignatieff wrote of “the tectonic plates of a world order that are being pushed apart by the volcanic upward pressure of violence and hatred.” Two months ago, The New York Times columnist Roger Cohen lamented, “Many people I talk to, and not only over dinner, have never previously felt so uneasy about the state of the world.…The search is on for someone to dispel foreboding and embody, again, the hope of the world.”[ii]

This genetic predisposition that humans have toward violence and mischief is nothing new. Just a few chapters into the Old Testament of the Bible, we hear the very voice of God expressing exasperation with mankind:

The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time. The Lord regretted that he had made human beings on the earth, and his heart was deeply troubled… Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight and was full of violence. God saw how corrupt the earth had become, for all the people on earth had corrupted their ways.[iii]

God is personally experiencing the pain of watching his hand–made creatures destroy each other. It was this endemic violence that precipitated God’s judgment to destroy this metastatic evil. He brought about a worldwide flood, preserving only Noah and his family to eventually resettle the earth after the waters subsided.

Fast–forward to today’s more “enlightened” times. Despite endless government programs, geometrically multiplying laws and regulations, and severe penalties for breaking the “social contract,” we are witnessing burgeoning prison populations and a level of personal and societal chaos that speaks to a deeper, more intransigent cause. Alexander Solzhenitsyn spent eight years in a Soviet gulag following World War II. He entered prison a die–hard Communist, believing that a new social order could create new people. But it was in prison that he discovered that the core issue was not the economic or government system. Solzhenitsyn wrote:

It was only when I lay there on rotting prison straw that I sensed within myself the first stirrings of good. Gradually it was disclosed to me that the line separating good and evil passes, not through states, nor between classes, nor between political parties, but right through every human heart, and through all human hearts.

But amidst all the darkness left behind by the First Adam, like a bright shaft of pure light, another “Adam” appears in the biblical narrative: “The last Adam became a life–giving spirit.”[iv] While the First Adam imparted physical life to his progeny, the Last Adam (Jesus Christ) became the means of imparting spiritual life. The First Adam caused our loss of spiritual life, and the Last Adam was dispatched to impart eternal life. It’s no accident that scripture describes the arrival of the Last Adam as bringing light to an otherwise benighted world:

There once was a man, his name John, sent by God to point out the way to the Life–Light. He came to show everyone where to look, who to believe in. John was not himself the Light; he was there to show the way to the Light.

The Life–Light was the real thing:
Every person entering Life
he brings into Light.
He was in the world,
the world was there through him,
and yet the world didn’t even notice.
He came to his own people,
but they didn’t want him.
But whoever did want him,
who believed he was who he claimed
and would do what he said,
He made to be their true selves,
their child–of–God selves.[v]

The First Adam had gotten into this mess—and we’re in it, too. But God dispatched his hand–picked rescuer (the Last Adam) to save us from ourselves. More on God’s Last Adam in the next chapter of this book. For now, we go on to the story of the First Adam.

From this point on, we focus on the first four chapters of the book of Genesis, which is the very first book in the Bible. To understand these chapters is to grasp the most important concepts regarding spiritual salvation, and these themes are woven into the rest of the Bible.

Three species of man

Adam 1.0

This was the original Adam, as hand–formed by God and infused with a spirit capable of communing with God in a natural, trusting, and loving manner. As Genesis 1:26–28 records, “Let us make human beings in our image, make them reflecting our nature…God created human beings; he created them godlike…” Still, this Adam originated on the earth and was made from the earth.

Adam 2.0

This Adam was self–created when he exercised his free will to rebel against God and went his own way. This is not the Adam intended by God. This Adam was twisted by his own sin into a being who was no longer comfortable in God’s presence and was no longer fit to dwell in God’s physical company. This Adam’s origins were in sin, and this is the Adam from whom we are directly descended. Absent a radical divine intervention through spiritual rebirth, we will always be constitutionally incapable of pleasing God. In Romans 5, Paul puts it this way:

You know the story of how Adam landed us in the dilemma we’re in—first sin, then death, and no one exempt from either sin or death. That sin disturbed relations with God in everything and everyone, but the extent of the disturbance was not clear until God spelled it out in detail to Moses. So death, this huge abyss separating us from God, dominated the landscape from Adam to Moses. Even those who didn’t sin precisely as Adam did by disobeying a specific command of God still had to experience this termination of life, this separation from God. But Adam, who got us into this, also points ahead to the One who will get us out of it.[vi]

C.S. Lewis wrote in his book The Problem of Pain:

The Fall of Man was not, I conceive, comparable to mere deterioration as it may now occur in a human individual; it was a loss of status as a species. What man lost by the fall was his original specific nature…

This condition was transmitted by heredity to all later generations, for it was not simply what biologists call an acquired variation; it was the emergence of a new kind of man—a new species, never made by God, had sinned itself into existence. The change which man had undergone was not parallel to the development of a new organ or a new habit; it was a radical alteration of his constitution, a disturbance of the relation between his component parts, and an internal perversion of one of them. Our present condition, then, is explained by the fact that we are members of a spoiled species.[vii]

Last Adam

The Last Adam was (and is) an entirely different species altogether. Adam 1.0 and 2.0 originated in the earth, and the Last Adam originated in heaven. Therefore, those who descended from Adam 2.0 (which includes all of us) are considered of the earth. But those who through spiritual rebirth become descendants of the Last Adam have heavenly origins. Jesus Christ, the Last Adam, was dispatched out of heaven to come to earth and to rescue those who otherwise would be unable to get to heaven. He did this by becoming our sin–bearer and substitute and by his resurrection from the dead, which provides a way back to heaven for humankind. Scripture describes it this way:

We follow this sequence in Scripture: The First Adam received life, the Last Adam is a life–giving Spirit. Physical life comes first, then spiritual—a firm base shaped from the earth, a final completion coming out of heaven. The First Man was made out of earth, and people since then are earthy; the Second Man was made out of heaven, and people now can be heavenly. In the same way that we’ve worked from our earthy origins, let’s embrace our heavenly ends.[viii]

The Last Adam is literally our ticket to heaven, and the only way a person can have an eternal relationship with God. The entire “benefit package” of Christ’s death and resurrection are offered to humankind, free of charge, by our benefactor Jesus Christ:

Yet the rescuing gift is not exactly parallel to the death–dealing sin. If one man’s sin put crowds of people at the dead–end abyss of separation from God, just think what God’s gift poured through one man, Jesus Christ, will do! There’s no comparison between that death–dealing sin and this generous, life–giving gift. The verdict on that one sin was the death sentence; the verdict on the many sins that followed was this wonderful life sentence. If death got the upper hand through one man’s wrongdoing, can you imagine the breathtaking recovery life makes, sovereign life, in those who grasp with both hands this wildly extravagant life–gift, this grand setting–everything–right, that the one man Jesus Christ provides?[ix]

Death gives way to life

No longer do we need to struggle to “find God,” or to try and “earn his favor.” Enough! Just jump on the lifeboat of God’s grace, and let the Last Adam carry you home.

Here it is in a nutshell: Just as one person did it wrong and got us in all this trouble with sin and death, another person did it right and got us out of it. But more than just getting us out of trouble, he got us into life! One man said no to God and put many people in the wrong; one man said yes to God and put many in the right.

All that passing laws against sin did was produce more lawbreakers. But sin didn’t, and doesn’t, have a chance in competition with the aggressive forgiveness we call grace. When it’s sin versus grace, grace wins hands down. All sin can do is threaten us with death, and that’s the end of it. Grace, because God is putting everything together again through the Messiah, invites us into life—a life that goes on and on and on, world without end.[x]

Now on to our discussion of Adam 1.0 and Adam 2.0:

Adam 1.0, As Created

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God formed Man out of dirt from the ground and blew into his nostrils the breath of life. The Man came alive—a living soul![xi]

In God’s image

clayGod proceeds to tenderly create Adam [literally, Hebrew אדם (adam) meaning to be red, referring to the ruddy color of human skin], first by forming his body from the dust of the ground—the very same dust with which he made the animals. But note that the original Hebrew language of the scripture [literally, yatsar] indicates that God did this by squeezing Adam’s body into shape with his own hands, as a potter might form an exquisite piece of art.

Up to this point in the story, God creates, somewhat clinically, using only his spoken word from a distance, and everything obediently falls into place on command. But then God moves in closer, more intimately, and in so doing indicates that there will be a very special portion of his creation that he will form with his own hands and bring to life with His own breath. He confides that this creature will be vastly different from anything that has come before or since—he will be in God’s very own image and likeness. Never had the universe witnessed such a closeness between creator and creature, not even among the angels in heaven. The Trinitarian Godhead expressed in community as God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit gives birth to a mini–reflection of himself. It is impossible to overestimate the significance of this singular momentous event.

And then, God gently lifts his precious creation to his lips and blows his own breath into Adam’s mouth—the breath of life. It doesn’t get any more intimate than this—God elevates Adam above every living species when “The Man came alive—a living soul.” Man becomes a uniquely spiritual being, literally “stamped” or infused with God’s very own image [indicating intimate relationship] and likeness [indicating similarity of character]. Although the angels were spiritual entities, they were never created to be in God’s personal image and likeness, and neither were the animals nor any other living species.

This sets before us the great distinguishing mark of man’s humanity—the joining of his body to the spirit he received in God’s breath of life. In his book Two Men Called Adam, Arthur Custance explained:

What constitutes a human soul is the unification of a human body with a human spirit. In terms of his constitution, man is a body and a spirit: in terms of his soul, man is “simple and indivisible” as the theologians have it. The soul of man cannot be divided and survive as a soul. If the two components are separated, which is the only division that can be made, the soul no longer exists. What God planned was not just the components of man by which He created him in two stages, first the body and then the spirit. When the spirit was infused into the body which had been prepared to receive it, then man “became a living soul” (Genesis 2:7). The living soul is what God created “in his own image.”

Even this is not a sufficient statement, because it suggests a spirit consciously in search of its body. I believe there is no such thing as a conscious spirit without a body. It needs the body’s brain to have consciousness of the real world and even of itself. Moreover, I am confident that, for the Christian, there is no lapse into unconsciousness when we pass into the presence of the Lord, for our spirit is instantly rejoined to its resurrected body. In short, death becomes our resurrection. The soul, therefore, is in the strictest sense indivisible, for the only division that can be made results in the dissolution of the soul. Meanwhile the spirit that has departed from the body passes directly into God’s keeping until the body is resurrected to form its proper home.[xii]

Divine species

Of course, the biblical creation narrative puts away forever the notion of an impersonal “higher power” who is forever removed from his creation or, worse yet, the idea of the Great Vivisectionist who views us as no more than a laboratory experiment. It also discards the theory of evolution with its random selection and “infinite becoming.” Neither is there room for Fatalism with its doctrine of chance. God’s premeditated intention drove every stage in man’s creation, and he saw to the details with his own hands—up close and personal.

But then what about the claims of science about how mankind came along through evolution? Don’t we humans have millions of “close relatives” in the animal and plant kingdom? Here is one such claim by none other than the Smithsonian Institute:

While the genetic difference between individual humans today is minuscule—about 0.1%, on average—study of the same aspects of the chimpanzee genome indicates a difference of about 1.2%. The bonobo (Pan paniscus), which is the close cousin of chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes), differs from humans to the same degree. The DNA difference with gorillas, another of the African apes, is about 1.6%. Most importantly, chimpanzees, bonobos, and humans all show this same amount of difference from gorillas. A difference of 3.1% distinguishes us and the African apes from the Asian great ape, the orangutan.[xiii]

In his book What’s So Great about Christianity, Dinesh D’Souza posed the question:

But doesn’t evolution contradict the claims of the bible? Let’s look carefully at what the book of Genesis actually said….The bible said in earlier verses that the universe was created out of nothing, but it does not say man was created out of nothing. Rather it says that man was shaped from the existing substance of nature. “Dust thou art and to dust thou shall return.” So the bible is quite consistent with the idea that man is made up of atoms and molecules and shares the same DNA found in earthworms, whales, and monkeys. It is true however, that the creation account in Genesis does not prepare us for the discovery that man has about 98% of his DNA in common with apes.

What makes man different, according to the bible, is that God breathed an immaterial soul into him. Thus there is no theological problem in viewing the bodily frame of man as derived from other creatures. The bible stresses God’s resolution, “Let’s make man in our image.” Christians have always understood God as a spiritual rather than material being. Consequently, if man is created in the “likeness” of God, the resemblance is clearly not physical.[xiv]

As molecular geneticist Dr. Georgia Purdom of “Answers in Genesis”[xv] pointed out:

…modern genetic discoveries actually support biblical history! This consistency is seen in the fact that the human genome—for all its diversity—actually has far less diversity than would be expected if humanity were really as old as evolutionists claim.  The genetic evidence is consistent with human DNA being “young” and the human race beginning with a very small starting population (the Bible tells us the starting population was two people!).

…studies and others have shown that the difference in DNA between any two humans is amazingly low . . . only 0.1 percent.  Reflecting on this very low percentage, some scientists posited, “This proportion is low compared with those of many other species, from fruit flies to chimpanzees, reflecting the recent origins of our species from a small founding population.” They also stated, “[Certain genetic estimates] tell us that humans vary only slightly at the DNA level and that only a small proportion of this variation separates continental populations.””

Despite many attempts by humanists to find alternative scenarios, the Bible asserts that, as the bearers of God’s image and likeness, we are direct reflections of the Creator himself. Psalm 8 reflects the dignity, the majesty of mankind, and the central part we play in God’s unfolding scheme for the universe:

I look up at your macro–skies, dark and enormous,
your handmade sky–jewelry,
Moon and stars mounted in their settings.
Then I look at my micro–self and wonder,
Why do you bother with us?
Why take a second look our way?

Yet we’ve so narrowly missed being gods,
bright with Eden’s dawn light.
You put us in charge of your handcrafted world,
repeated to us your Genesis–charge,
Made us lords of sheep and cattle,
even animals out in the wild,
Birds flying and fish swimming,
whales singing in the ocean deeps.[xvi]

God’s loving care

Then God planted a garden in Eden, in the east. He put the Man he had just made in it. God made all kinds of trees grow from the ground, trees beautiful to look at and good to eat. The Tree–of–Life was in the middle of the garden, also the Tree–of–Knowledge–of–Good–and–Evil…God took the Man and set him down in the Garden of Eden to work the ground and keep it in order.[xvii]

Adam is placed in a beautiful garden, “toward the East in Eden.” The garden is filled with flora for food, including two rather enigmatic trees, the “Tree–of–Life,” and the “Tree–of–Knowledge–of–Good–and–Evil.” Adam was instructed to take care of and cultivate this garden. God gave him the not–inconsiderable responsibility of working the ground and keeping things in order. Adam was not created to be idle, but to work and function in support of God’s creation. Although many fanciful renderings in art and literature give the impression that our heavenly destinies will be to strum harps and hang around heaven doing nothing, this early glimpse into man’s original pre–fall commission suggests otherwise.

Divine caveat

God commanded the Man, “You can eat from any tree in the garden, except from the Tree–of–Knowledge–of–Good–and–Evil. Don’t eat from it. The moment you eat from that tree, you’re dead.”[xviii]

Then things get suddenly and unexpectedly solemn, with this rather abrupt caveat—a single prohibition, right in the middle of this virtual cornucopia of blessings. C. H Mackintosh wrote:

In the midst of the fair scene of creation, the Lord set up a testimony, and this testimony was also a test for the creature. It spoke of death in the midst of life. Strange, solemn sound! Yet it was a needed sound. Adam’s life was suspended on his strict obedience. The link which connected him with the Lord God was obedience, based on implicit confidence in the One who had set him in his position of dignity—confidence in His truth—confidence in his love. He could obey only when he confided…the truth and force of this will be seen shortly.[xix]

There would have been thousands of trees and plants in the Garden of Eden, yet just two trees are singled out for special attention. First, the “Tree–of–Life,” which we learn later in the scriptures delivered blessings, nourishment, and healing properties of eternal value. There were no restrictions on eating its fruit—at least prior to the fall. Interestingly, the Tree–of–Life appears again in scripture at the very end of the Bible, with its healing role expanded to include the whole world in the latter days of human history. Here is how the book of Revelation describes it:

Then the Angel showed me Water–of–Life River, crystal bright. It flowed from the Throne of God and the Lamb, right down the middle of the street. The Tree–of–Life was planted on each side of the River, producing twelve kinds of fruit, a ripe fruit each month. The leaves of the Tree are for healing the nations. Never again will anything be cursed. The Throne of God and of the Lamb is at the center. His servants will offer God service—worshiping, they’ll look on his face, their foreheads mirroring God. Never again will there be any night. No one will need lamplight or sunlight. The shining of God, the Master, is all the light anyone needs. And they will rule with him age after age after age.[xx]

There is a strong similarity between the powers of the Tree–of–Life in the latter days and the work of the Holy Spirit in today’s world during the Church age.

That brings us to the “Tree–of–Knowledge–of–Good–and–Evil,” the fruit of which Adam and Eve were specifically prohibited from eating because it would “kill them.” Note that this command of God was issued to Adam and not Eve—she hadn’t come along yet. Too often, Eve gets faulted for being the first one to have taken the forbidden fruit when tempted, but it was Adam who heard God’s voice of caution.

But what would Adam know about the concept of death? Evidently, Adam was originally created with at least head knowledge of death and its consequences. Though he may not have personally experienced death in the still–pristine Garden of Eden, the natural fear of it was apparently hard–wired into his conscious mind. In Two Men Called Adam, Custance wrote:

Man has a brain that is clearly a kind of computer. This is what man HAS, but it is not what man IS. Man is truly a spiritual creature but he is an incarnate, embodied creature, unique among all other creatures because of the uniqueness of the origin and destiny of both his body and his spirit…the bond which exists between spirit and body, a bond often commented upon by theologians in the past from Thomas Aquinas (1224–1274) to James Orr (1844–1913), and right down to a number of present writers. All have sensed the closeness of this bond which arises out of or generates in man a strong sense of personal identity, far more profound than is to be observed in any animal. It is a form of consciousness that is related entirely to the spirit’s awareness of its own body, which is now acknowledged by some of the best modern students of animal life as being unique to man.

James Orr made much of this bond and attributed to it the abhorrence of physical death which seems to have characterized man’s thinking throughout history. The spirit in man, though burdened by the body that spoils so many of his highest aspirations because of its demands, nevertheless is so strongly attached to it that it fears the rupture of death throughout life. The most dramatic and most perceptive definition of death, and the truest theologically considered, is still “the separation of the spirit from the body.” This is what death is.[xxi]

Death is widely viewed as a purely physical, natural phenomenon where we just go “poof” out of existence at the end of our lives. But the Bible describes death in terms of separation—the more familiar first separation occurring when the human spirit leaves the body which then returns to dust. But what about the spirit which is derived from the life of God himself and never ceases to exist? The Bible makes clear that all men are destined to exist consciously forever…somewhere. That somewhere is the big question and constitutes the major subject matter of the rest of the Bible.

Woman derived from man

An old joke goes like this…

After God created Adam, and Adam had been in the Garden for a long time, he started to get a little lonely. So, Adam went to God and said, “This Garden is amazing, but I’m starting to get a little lonely; is there anyone that you can send to keep me company?”

God answered, “I have the perfect person. She will help you with almost everything. She’ll clean, cook, wash you clothes, be your friend, and even rub your feet after a long day. She is perfect in every way!”

Adam said, “That sounds great! How soon can you send her?”

God replied again, “I can send her right away, but there is one thing … it’s going to cost you an arm and a leg to get her.”

Adam thought for a moment, and then said, “What can I get for a rib?”

…Sorry, just couldn’t resist.

God said, “It’s not good for the Man to be alone; I’ll make him a helper, a companion.” So God formed from the dirt of the ground all the animals of the field and all the birds of the air. He brought them to the Man to see what he would name them. Whatever the Man called each living creature, that was its name. The Man named the cattle, named the birds of the air, named the wild animals; but he didn’t find a suitable companion.

God put the Man into a deep sleep. As he slept he removed one of his ribs and replaced it with flesh. God then used the rib that he had taken from the Man to make Woman and presented her to the Man.

The Man said,
“Finally! Bone of my bone,
flesh of my flesh!
Name her Woman
for she was made from Man.”
Therefore a man leaves his father and mother and embraces his wife. They become one flesh.
The two of them, the Man and his Wife, were naked, but they felt no shame.[xxii]

God then “fashions into a woman” Eve, not from the dirt of the ground as with Adam, but by putting Adam to sleep and removing one of his ribs—this made them both of “one flesh” and therefore directly connected genetically. The intimacy, beauty, and goodness of this gift from God was not lost on Adam, as he beheld this wondrous creature who had been literally derived from his very own body.

They “were naked, but they felt no shame.” Of course, there would be no shame at that time. We recall that “God looked over everything he had made; it was so good, so very good!” Kristalyn Salters–Pedneault, PhD, an expert in personality disorders, explained:

Shame is an emotion in which the self is perceived as defective, unacceptable, or fundamentally damaged. Shame is often confused with guilt, which is a related but distinct emotion in which a specific behavior is viewed as unacceptable or wrong, rather than the entire self. People who experience traumatic events are prone to shame, particularly if they blame themselves for the event. Shame can be a particularly problematic emotion because it is associated with a desire to hide, disappear, or even die [emphasis added].[xxiii]

For you and me, born hundreds of generations after Adam and Eve, the idea of “feeling no shame” is utterly foreign. We seem to be haunted with shame from birth and, as life progresses, shame can become a dominant factor in the direction of our lives. Dr. Alen J. Salerian, psychiatrist and medical director of the Washington, DC, Psychiatric Center Outpatient Clinic, observed that shame is a complex emotional response that all humans acquire during early development. He added:

But there’s mounting evidence that problems occur when shame or humiliation becomes an integral part of a person’s self–image or sense of self–worth. Over the past two decades, psychologists, psychiatrists and other mental health professionals have reported that abnormal styles of handling shame play an important role in social phobias, eating disorders, domestic violence, substance abuse, road rage, schoolyard and workplace rampages, sexual offenses and a host of other personal and social problems.[xxiv]

These two innocents, Adam and Eve, are now free to roam their Eden and live in perfect harmony with God and the wondrous universe that was created for their enjoyment.

The old serpent reappears

The serpent was clever, more clever than any wild animal God had made. He spoke to the Woman: “Do I understand that God told you not to eat from any tree in the garden?”

The Woman said to the serpent, “Not at all. We can eat from the trees in the garden. It’s only about the tree in the middle of the garden that God said, ‘Don’t eat from it; don’t even touch it or you’ll die.’”

The serpent told the Woman, “You won’t die. God knows that the moment you eat from that tree, you’ll see what’s really going on. You’ll be just like God, knowing everything, ranging all the way from good to evil.”[xxv]

Scripture describes the serpent as clever, and so he was. But, contrary to our modern impressions of a serpent, he was also incredibly beautiful, seductive, and winsome. It wouldn’t be until after the serpent had wreaked havoc upon God’s vulnerable creatures that his beauty would be permanently removed and replaced with the form we see today in serpents:

God told the serpent:

“Because you’ve done this, you’re cursed,
cursed beyond all cattle and wild animals,
Cursed to slink on your belly
and eat dirt all your life.”[xxvi]

This was a formidable being with powers of persuasion unmatched among men. Adam and Eve didn’t stand a chance in this arena, and they abandoned their only defense by engaging in a discussion with this Devil, employing nothing but their own wits. Their only defense then—and our only defense now—against the Devil is the word of God, and to attempt to go toe–to–toe on the strength of our own debate skills and intellect is to invite calamity. Let’s see how their ill–advised debate unfolded.

First of all, he didn’t approach Adam, he approached Eve—a less risky strategy. Had Satan approached Adam and had he been summarily refused, it would had been “game over,” making a second pass down the road much more challenging. Adam had received the prohibition about eating from the tree directly from God; we can only assume that Eve heard it second hand through Adam. This made her more vulnerable to cross–examination and manipulation.

For just a moment, let’s personalize this. Instead of seeing Adam and Eve as some ancient backward Neanderthals, imagine it was you or me, for we are told that God saw these two parents–to–be as acting federally (representatively) for us all. Just as with them, it seems that no matter how good things get for us, we still want more. A Garden of Delights, close intimacy with their Creator, and a loving partner just weren’t enough for those two. The serpent planted doubts in their heads with clever questions challenging God’s good intentions, and then he delivered the clincher—the offer of knowledge and the power that goes with it. All it took was to reach out and grab from the Tree–of–Knowledge–of–Good–and–Evil—never mind that God had specifically warned them that, should they do so, they would “surely die.” We read of no other prohibitions given Adam and Eve; they were free to live and play and love without restriction, yet something in them wanted more. The rest, as we say, was history.

Never one to show all his cards, the serpent simply asked a question, a loaded question that was designed to undermine Eve’s confidence in God’s good intentions toward them both. Her big mistake was to admit the question into her mind in the first place, thinking she could out–reason this powerful angelic being. In doing so, she moved away from the only real power she had against the serpent’s sneak attack—the word of God. Here lies a message to all of us: Satan is too powerful for our intellectual arguments and “popgun” defenses. The only thing he respects is power, and that power is God’s word. Even Jesus Christ did not attempt to confront Satan on his own as they stood toe–to–toe early in the Savior’s public ministry:

And the tempter came and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.” But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.’”[xxvii]

Eve, sadly, hesitated before this clever interrogator and found herself on the enemy’s turf. There is much to learn from this ancient exchange in view of the near–universal dominance of rationalism and secular humanism in modern societies. It has become fashionable to attack the veracity and authority of the Bible, which leads to a dangerous downward spiral. A “refined rationalism” leads to skepticism, and skepticism leads to outright atheism. Look no further than modern college campuses, where children of faith enroll as freshmen and, under the withering glare of academic deconstructionism and philosophical skepticism, graduate as practical atheists.

A first reading of these passages would suggest that Satan’s deception of Eve, and then of Adam, was in tempting them to become “like God, knowing good and evil.” They thought that by taking of the Tree–of–the–Knowledge–of–Good–and–Evil, they would somehow enter a heightened state of awareness that would put them in God’s league. In this tragically twisted transaction, they would gain wisdom through having their “eyes opened” to know evil, and magically, good things would follow. Of course, the opposite occurred. How could good come from evil? Their contact with evil subjected them for the first time to shame, guilt, and embarrassment. They ended up in the bushes attempting to cover up and hide from their benevolent Friend who had brought only good into their lives.

Eve played fast and loose with God’s word, as transmitted through Adam, and sat by quietly as it was openly contradicted—by a serpent, no less. When God’s word loses its authority over our hearts, our conscience and minds soon follow. Eve in effect bowed before her new “authority figure” in worship, all because she bought into this strange creature’s audacious claim that God was trying to deprive her of something, that he was holding out on her. How easily we brush aside God’s word and uncritically embrace the musings of a total stranger! Sound familiar? C.H. Mackintosh wrote:

It is of the utmost importance to see that what really stamps man’s character and condition is his ignorance or knowledge of God. This it is what marks his character here, and fixes his destiny hereafter.[xxviii]

This is generally evidenced by the quality of a person’s life, whether characterized by the persistent presence of evil or good. The fruit points to the source, which is the knowledge—or ignorance—of God.

In a sense, all men—not just Christians—are “believers.” Everyone believes either in the true God as revealed in the Bible or in one of the thousands of twisted versions of God—in the Devil himself. In their initial exchange, Satan knew that if he could persuade Eve to change her beliefs about God, he could also begin to erode her sense of who she was. It could be said that our view of ourselves will rise no higher than our view of God.

So it is not surprising that, from the beginning, Satan has targeted man’s perceptions of God with a barrage of distortions and misrepresentations. Men can be cultured moralists, devout religionists, or renowned philanthropists, yet still be ignorant of God and therefore as far away from him as the worst of sinners. Eve removed herself from the loving care of her true God, abandoning his word, and began to rely on her own “common sense”—a wobbly crutch indeed.

I am either governed by God or by Satan—there is no middle ground. Free will, per se, does not exist; if I am self–governed, I am really Satan–governed, though I may not realize it. Remember that famous Bob Dylan song, Gotta Serve Somebody?

You may be an ambassador to England or France
You may like to gamble, you might like to dance
You may be the heavyweight champion of the world
You may be a socialite with a long string of pearls.

But you’re gonna have to serve somebody, yes indeed
You’re gonna have to serve somebody,
It may be the devil or it may be the Lord
But you’re gonna have to serve somebody.[xxix]

Adam 2.0, Sinned into Being

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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 desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate.[xxx]

In surprisingly few words, this heartbreaking passage records the single most calamitous event in human history. It is also loaded with instruction. Note the order of appeal of that fateful tree as presented to Eve and, by extension, to Adam:

  • “good for food”
  • “delight to the eyes”
  • “desirable to make one wise”

Writing much later in the New Testament, the Apostle John strikes a remarkably similar note when describing the distinguishing marks of what he refers to as “the world”:

Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever.[xxxi]

These passages, written thousands of years apart, echo each other almost to the letter. Things haven’t changed much from the time of Genesis to the present day. The same things that the Tree–of–Knowledge–of–Good–and–Evil offered in Eden are still trapping men and making headlines in today’s newspapers. Note the parallels:

  • “good for food” = lust of the flesh. Bodily appetites: lusting after food, drugs, alcohol, or sex, among other things
  • “delight to the eyes” = lust of the eyes. Visual appetites: lusting after riches, wealth, stuff, bling, and more
  • “desirable to make one wise” = boastful pride of life. Heart appetites: pride and arrogance, lusting after power, status, education, titles, degrees, recognition, position, to name but a few

Who among us can claim total freedom from these seemingly irresistible temptations? They literally saturate our culture and frequently dominate our personal motivations. The Book of Ephesians describes the original spiritual condition of the Christians in the church of Ephesus before they were saved:

And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.[xxxii]

The Apostle Paul is describing the condition of all mankind as descended from Adam of Eve before being born again into a brand new spiritual state. Note also in this passage, the “unholy trinity” of spiritual enemies that are arrayed against us:

  • “the course of this world” = the world. External: the dominant godless worldview, now in its postmodern stage. Believers are warned not to follow after this belief system: “Do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore, whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you think that the Scripture speaks to no purpose: ‘He jealously desires the Spirit which He has made to dwell in us?’”[xxxiii]
  • “the prince of the power of the air” = the Devil. External: God’s ancient enemy who was once a powerful heavenly angel. The Devil’s most devastating powers lie in his ability to deceive and blind us to the truth: ”And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, in whose case the god of this world [the Devil] has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.”[xxxiv]
  • “by nature children of wrath” = the flesh. Internal: Our sinful nature as inherited from our parents all the way back to Adam and Eve. “Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.” This explains why Jesus was so emphatic about our need to be born again and to receive a new spiritual nature that is not “spring–loaded” to the sin position.

At last, the stage was set for Eve to take the fateful plunge: “She took from its fruit and ate.” Unwilling to trust God for her provision, she bought into the serpent’s lies and careened headlong into a “world of hurt.” How often we take, how often we eat, without a thought to the God who loves us and wants the best for us. Do we think we know what is ultimately good for us? My experience working with addicts argues otherwise. Once a drug takes hold of one’s mind and body, the resultant lusting, craving, and desiring drives ordinarily law–abiding, sane, and responsible people toward life–destroying behaviors that would otherwise be unthinkable. The ruling principle is: “I must have it—and have it now!” Everything and everyone must take a back seat to the narcissistic addict’s demands for satisfaction.

There is much to ponder about that last stage in our passage: “and ate.” To begin with, we are told that “she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate.” Wasn’t Adam the one to whom God spoke directly, admonishing him to avoid eating of that fateful tree? Wasn’t that before Eve was even created? Where was he during the discussion between the serpent and Eve? He sat idly by while Eve conducted the negotiations that would end up dooming them both and then uncritically took what was offered to him by his wife and gulped it down.

It is one thing to touch something or even to take something. But it is a much more solemn commitment to eat something. Eating is permitting something to go inside of us, letting it be digested, permeating the cells and organs—making it an integral part of us. It has been said that “you are what you eat,” and nowhere was this truer than in the case of Adam and Eve. That fruit, of which we know little, was the basis for the internal corruption and spiritual sickness that soon followed. God knew what he was talking about—spiritually, they “surely died.” For evidence, look no further than their immediate reactions:

Immediately the two of them did “see what’s really going on”—saw themselves naked! They sewed fig leaves together as makeshift clothes for themselves.

Welcome to “Eden–gate.” They “saw themselves naked!” They suddenly saw “what’s really going on” and were consumed with guilt, shame, and terror. The next step was obvious to their now–corrupt minds: hide! They immediately resorted to covering up, conniving, and deception. Sound familiar?

When they heard the sound of God strolling in the garden in the evening breeze, the Man and his Wife hid in the trees of the garden, hid from God.

God called to the Man: “Where are you?”

He said, “I heard you in the garden and I was afraid because I was naked. And I hid.”

God said, “Who told you were naked? Did you eat from that tree I told you not to eat from?”

The Man said, “The Woman you gave me as a companion, she gave me fruit from the tree, and, yes, I ate it.”

God said to the Woman, “What is this that you’ve done?”

“The serpent seduced me,” she said, “and I ate.”[xxxv]

So, how did the serpent deliver on the promises he made to Eve? In the end, what was Satan’s “benefit package”? Adam and Eve suddenly got a conscience, something they didn’t need in their previously innocent state. And yes, that conscience gave them the “knowledge of good and evil.” The trouble was that it turned them both into cowards, cowering before their God. And yes, their eyes were now opened so that they could know good but without any internal power to be good. And now they knew evil but without the innate ability to stay away from it. Rather than somehow empowering them, this “carnal knowledge” exposed their own nakedness, and they became, as Mackintosh described them, “degraded, powerless, Satan–enslaved, conscience–smitten, terrified creatures.”[xxxvi]

It is commonly believed that a conscience is a good thing and that somehow it will eventually lead even the worst offenders to do the right thing. To the contrary, Adam and Eve’s new inner voices led them, for the first time, to experience shame, self–loathing, remorse, and emotional pain. And worse, it drove them to cover up what they were feeling with fig leaves, of all things, like when an ostrich hides his head in the sand. Does he believe he’s fooling anyone? They felt naked, and their first impulse was to hide behind something they made with their own hands. This sad moment constituted the birth of religion, even as we know it today in its many forms.

Here we see the difference between true Christianity and human religion: it all depends on where I start. If I believe I’m naked—that is, exposed to guilt and shame—I’ll follow in Adam and Eve’s footsteps and do everything I can to cover up. If, however, I believe that I’m clothed with a God–approved covering, I will cease my frenzied search for something to hide behind and will simply rest in God’s provision. The sad legacy of religion is that, for man, it invariably turns out to be “a bed too short for him to stretch himself upon, and a covering too narrow for him wrap himself in,”[xxxvii] as Mackintosh described it.

Adam’s first reaction upon hearing the voice of God in the Garden was stark terror. Not because anything had changed in the character of God but because Adam sensed that something had profoundly changed within himself. In the presence of God’s blinding holiness, Adam felt unworthy, unclean, and unfit, whereas previously he was perfectly comfortable in God’s presence. Adam’s response—that of fear of God’s wrath—has, sadly, characterized mankind’s reaction to a direct encounter with God ever since. The prophet Isaiah, one of God’s greatest voices to a largely disobedient Israel, had one such experience:

In the year that King Uzziah died, I [Isaiah] saw the Master [God] sitting on a throne—high, exalted!—and the train of his robes filled the Temple. Angel–seraphs hovered above him, each with six wings. With two wings they covered their faces, with two their feet, and with two they flew. And they called back and forth one to the other,

“Holy, Holy, Holy is God–of–the–Angel–Armies.
His bright glory fills the whole earth.”

The foundations trembled at the sound of the angel voices, and then the whole house filled with smoke. I said,

“Doom! It’s Doomsday!
I’m as good as dead!
Every word I’ve ever spoken is tainted—
blasphemous even!
And the people I live with talk the same way,
using words that corrupt and desecrate.
And here I’ve looked God in the face!
The King! God–of–the–Angel–Armies!”

Then one of the angel–seraphs flew to me. He held a live coal that he had taken with tongs from the altar. He touched my mouth with the coal and said,

“Look. This coal has touched your lips.
Gone your guilt,
your sins wiped out.”[xxxviii]

Note that the God–appointed solution to Isaiah’s sin was not a handful of fig leaves or even priestly robes, or grand ecclesiastical ceremonies, but something more elemental—the fire of God’s righteousness. The enormity of sin needed to be matched and directly overcome by the power of God. This is no place for the piddling efforts of sin–infused man.

Returning to Adam, there he stood before God, every shred of “plausible deniability” out the window, experiencing fear for the first time. If his handmade coverings could have done the job, why then was he afraid? His conscience wasn’t fooled. Deep down, Adam knew the enormity of his predicament, and he was frozen in terror at the prospect of meeting up with God in judgment.

How sad that Adam was so ignorant of the Friend with whom he had walked so often in the Garden. Adam had received nothing but good things from God. Did he not understand that he was formed by God’s loving hand and was provided with everything necessary to meet his needs? Sadly, the serpent got to Adam first and convinced Adam that God was anything but love and that, if he blew it, God would instantly rain down wrath upon him. Yes, God is holy, and Adam’s sin had created a distance from God, but do we imagine that God was caught by surprise by Adam’s rebellion or that he was not prepared in advance to address this seemingly insurmountable problem?

One of the insidious effects of sin is to turn people into virtual narcissists, focused only on self. This can be observed in the addiction recovery community, where people have been driven to feed their out–of–control addictions, regardless of the effect on other people—especially those closest to them. This narcissistic tendency blinds us to the knowledge of who God is and, as we instinctively turn away from him, we simultaneously turn away from the only remedy for our predicament. Adam and Eve thought they knew all about the God who created them—his eternal power and divine majesty having been revealed in the great sweep of the created universe. But up to this very pivotal moment, they had no concept of the powers and potentialities of God’s “softer” side. As this dimension was revealed to them, it would literally shake the heavens to their core and would alert the evil forces throughout the universe that they were up against an unimaginable power which would be the eventual undoing of all evil ever perpetrated.

Not only had God created mankind, but also, after mankind had sinned, he was fully prepared to personally come down and save it. In the process, humanity was about to be introduced to a dazzling display of God’s love, mercy, compassion, tenderness, and long–suffering—just when they needed it the most. The powers of heaven stood by breathlessly as these two cosmic traitors were called out to face the mighty hand of their personally offended God. These same angels had personally witnessed what happened when Satan and his angelic compatriots rebelled—it was decisive and cataclysmic. Surely God would deal with Adam and Eve in the same way. Surely his reputation as righteous and holy would call out for the stiffest punishment.

Yet scripture records, “When they heard the sound of God strolling in the garden in the evening breeze, the Man and his Wife hid in the trees of the garden, hid from God. God called to the Man: ‘Where are you?’” In this singular question lies two truths: first, that Adam was lost and didn’t know it, and second, that God was there to show him the way back. Did God not know where Adam was? Of course he did—it was Adam who didn’t know where Adam was. And so it has been with mankind ever since.

Herein is that unimaginable power—God’s grace. In the face of open rebellion, God comes as a seeker of sinners to provide a refuge from what they had done within himself, the injured party! Why God sees such value in a sinner will be for eternity to reveal. Scripture is full of heartwarming stories of lost sons, lost coins, and lost sheep. Jesus himself said, “For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”[xxxix] Yes, God created man using his power. But to seek and to save men still in their lost estate and helpless, this is pure grace. Amazing grace. Those precious words, “Where are you?” are still ringing through time and space to every one of us, as well. He is saying, “I’m here. I haven’t gone back to heaven and shut the door. I’m looking for you—however deep in sin you may be. I love you and cherish you. I will not rest until you are here with me. There is still hope for you. Come, let’s sit down and reason together.”

So, in the face of the gentle inquiry of a gracious God, how did Adam respond? Regrettably, we see in Adam the terrible depth of evil into which he had fallen, and we witness the birth of the “victim mentality.” All Adam could do was look around and find someone else to blame. He blamed his nakedness for driving him to hide, he blamed the woman for giving him the forbidden fruit, and then he dared to blame God for giving him the woman. Everyone ended up guilty but Adam! Adam had lost all insight into himself being blinded by sin, with no idea of his predicament, no concept of what it would take to get out of it. The ultimate lost–ness is not knowing that you are lost. Sadly, that is still mankind’s besetting condition to this day. C. H. Mackintosh wrote:

Here, then, was man’s terrible position. He had lost all. His dominion—his dignity—his happiness—his purity—his peace—all was gone from him; and, what was still worse, he accused God of being the cause of it. There he stood, a lost, ruined, guilty, and yet, self–vindicating, and, therefore, God–accusing sinner.[xl]

From that point on, Adam and Eve were driven by forces within themselves that they were experiencing for the first time, pushing them to take control—the only possible reaction by people who had just declared themselves gods of their own lives. Note the immediate response to their eyes being opened:

  • They knew that they were naked, and they experienced immediate guilt, shame, and fear.
  • They sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loin coverings. The Eden–gate cover–up begins.
  • They hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God—running and hiding from terror of judgment: “I was afraid because I was naked, so I hid myself.”
  • Finally, they resorted to manipulation. They accused God and each other of bringing this on: “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me from the tree and I ate.” In attempting to shift blame, they presented us with the first recorded case of the victim mentality. And because they had “dissed” God, they believed He would buy into their game.

The greatest deception of them all

But the greatest deception was to follow—a self–deception which came from Adam and Eve themselves. In running for cover, sewing fig leaves together, and making coverings for themselves, they believed that they could erase the effects of their sin and once again make themselves presentable to God, in other words that they could present to God a personal righteousness [the condition of being presentable and acceptable to a holy God] by meritorious works of their own hands. This deception had taken root not only in our first parents’ hearts but also was passed along intact to every one of us at birth.

God told the serpent:

“Because you’ve done this, you’re cursed,
cursed beyond all cattle and wild animals,
Cursed to slink on your belly
and eat dirt all your life.
I’m declaring war between you and the Woman,
between your offspring and hers.
He’ll wound your head,
you’ll wound his heel.”

He told the Woman:

“I’ll multiply your pains in childbirth;
you’ll give birth to your babies in pain.
You’ll want to please your husband,
but he’ll lord it over you.”

He told the Man:

“Because you listened to your wife
and ate from the tree
That I commanded you not to eat from,
‘Don’t eat from this tree,’
The very ground is cursed because of you;
getting food from the ground
Will be as painful as having babies is for your wife;
you’ll be working in pain all your life long.
The ground will sprout thorns and weeds,
you’ll get your food the hard way,
Planting and tilling and harvesting,
sweating in the fields from dawn to dusk,
Until you return to that ground yourself, dead and buried;
you started out as dirt, you’ll end up dirt.”

The Man, known as Adam, named his wife Eve because she was the mother of all the living.[xli]

And now, a transition. man did the sinning, the denying, the minimizing, and the accusing, and he came to the end of his desperate “defense” without the slightest sense of relief from guilt and shame and was still in terror of what was to become of him. Finally, as those in Alcoholics Anonymous would say, he “hit bottom” and realized that he “can’t do this himself.” At last he reached the point where God could step in. When man reaches the end of himself, he reaches the place where God can begin. Adams’s conscience drove him into hiding, and God’s revelation drew him out. Instead of finding a terrifying God of judgement and wrath, Adam found a God with a plan. Although Adam’s plan was to run and hide, God’s plan was to rescue, redeem, and make right. Here then is salvation—when man’s total inability meets God’s total capability.

It’s as though the whole universe became silent, as God’s resolute voice revealed the wondrous plan of redemption as expressed in the words,

God told the serpent: “Because you’ve done this, you’re cursed, cursed beyond all cattle and wild animals, cursed to slink on your belly and eat dirt all your life. I’m declaring war between you and the Woman, between your offspring and hers. He’ll wound your head, you’ll wound his heel.”[xlii]

This astounding prophecy about a war—literally a continuing blood–feud that begins in the Garden and continues forever—describes battle lines that are drawn from the highest heavens to the lowest parts of the earth. On the one side of the battle is the serpent with his intrinsic evil powers, supported by hosts of demonic allies. On the other side is a mysterious person prophesied to come sometime in the future, only described at this point as the Woman’s (Eve’s) offspring. These two forces will eventually meet in a final conflict which will be fatal to the serpent (“He’ll wound your head”) but, in the process, Eve’s offspring will be seriously wounded (“you’ll wound his heel”). We learn later in scripture that Eve’s offspring is none other than the Messiah, Jesus Christ, who, in the process of destroying the serpent and his kingdom, is subjected to terrible suffering and physical death, but returns in victory through resurrection.

There is a cosmic reality that few take seriously. It is this: Man and God must meet someday. Sooner or later, we must all meet our maker. No matter how far Adam and Eve could have wandered after their fall, no matter how deep the hole they dug to hide or how carefully disguised in fig leaves they were, God knew exactly where they were and what they needed. King David came to delight in God’s omnipresence, as recorded in Psalm 139:

God, investigate my life;
get all the facts firsthand.
I’m an open book to you;
even from a distance, you know what I’m thinking.
You know when I leave and when I get back;
I’m never out of your sight.
You know everything I’m going to say
before I start the first sentence.
I look behind me and you’re there,
then up ahead and you’re there, too—
your reassuring presence, coming and going.
This is too much, too wonderful—
I can’t take it all in!

Is there any place I can go to avoid your Spirit?
to be out of your sight?
If I climb to the sky, you’re there!
If I go underground, you’re there!
If I flew on morning’s wings
to the far western horizon,
You’d find me in a minute—
you’re already there waiting!
Then I said to myself, “Oh, he even sees me in the dark!
At night I’m immersed in the light!”
It’s a fact: darkness isn’t dark to you;
night and day, darkness and light, they’re all the same to you.[xliii]

So, the bigger question is, will I be meeting God in judgment or in gracious acceptance? The difference lies not in whether I consider myself to be a “good” or “bad” person but solely with the terms upon which I choose to approach him. Will it be on my terms, based on personal merit, skillfully crafted excuses, and rationalized self–justification? Or will I approach God on his terms, unreservedly accepting my lost condition as a sinner, and falling upon the exclusive God–appointed remedy for my condition. This, we learn, is the sacrificial work of another, who substituted himself for us and paid the penalty for our sins:

He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.[xliv]

These are God’s terms, and there is no room for negotiation or amendment.

The instant a man comes to know his own true state before a holy God, he will not be satisfied until he finds rest in God himself. The reason that so few reach this state is that they are still deluded by their belief in “a righteousness of their own,” a spurious and deadly fallacy. The divinely quickened (or enlightened) man soon lets go of such notions and earnestly searches for God’s remedy, wherever it may be found.

Sin’s ghastly price

Here we find a timeless message: sin makes everything harder. Remember the curses pronounced on Eve: “I’ll multiply your pains in childbirth; you’ll give birth to your babies in pain. You’ll want to please your husband, but he’ll lord it over you.” And to Adam: “The very ground is cursed because of you; getting food from the ground will be as painful as having babies is for your wife; you’ll be working in pain all your life long. The ground will sprout thorns and weeds, you’ll get your food the hard way, planting and tilling and harvesting, sweating in the fields from dawn to dusk, until you return to that ground yourself, dead and buried; you started out as dirt, you’ll end up dirt.” Harsh. From a life of ease in a God–blessed garden to banishment to a hostile outside world. All because of sin.

For more contemporary examples, look no further than today’s addiction recovery field, where men and women have made bad choices (sin) and have had to face up to their consequences every day. Their lives have been scarred by broken relationships, destroyed careers, wiped out finances, jail terms, the challenges of reintegrating into society, and untold wasted years. The same is true for all of us. Who among us can’t say, “I wish I had this or that to live over again?” Sin has so infected our world that we hardly notice its presence except when some particularly egregious crime is committed—one that is impossible to ignore. (How about “radical Islamic terrorism”?) But we’re all in this together—even Mother Teresa. God sees no difference between a “little white lie” and adultery:

“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…”[xlv]

The simplest definition of sin is falling short of the glory of God—that is, anything that falls short of God’s own perfection. By that measure, can any one of us claim “immunity from prosecution”? And at the heart of it all is the belief that we can find happiness and satisfaction apart from God, by putting ourselves above God. C. S. Lewis wisely said:

The moment you have a self at all, there is a possibility of putting yourself first—wanting to be the center—wanting to be God, in fact. That was the sin of Satan: and that was the sin he taught the human race. Some people think the fall of man had something to do with sex, but that is a mistake…what Satan put into the heads of our remote ancestors was the idea that they ‘could be like Gods’—could set up on their own as if they had created themselves—be their own masters—invent some sort of happiness for themselves outside God, apart from God. And out of that hopeless attempt has come…the long terrible story of man trying to find something other than God which will make him happy.[xlvi]

We humans are endlessly creative in finding ways of blinding ourselves to our own potential for evil (or for good, for that matter). We often credit ourselves with being nice, or law–abiding, or generous. But what if we could see behind the veil to see what we could have been in God’s hands? Just getting away with the minimum is hardly cause for praise or pride.

Again C. S. Lewis shed light:

Some of us who seem quite nice people may, in fact, have made so little use of a good heredity and good upbringing that we are really worse than those whom we regard as fiends. Can we be quite certain how we should have behaved if we had been saddled with the psychological outfit, and then with the bad upbringing, and then with the power, say, of Himmler? That is why Christians are told not to judge. We see only the results which a man’s choices make out of his raw material. But God does not judge him on the raw material at all, but on what he has done with it. Most of the man’s psychological makeup is probably due to his body: when his body dies all that will fall off him, and the real central man, the thing that chose, that made the best or worst out of this material, will stand naked. All sorts of nice things which we thought our own, but which were really due to a good digestion, will fall off some of us: all sorts of nasty things which were due to complexes or bad health will fall off others. We shall then, for the first time, see every one as he really was. There will be surprises.[xlvii]

It could have been worse

At this point in our story, it is good to be reminded that God could have righteously abandoned Adam to face these insurmountable obstacles on his own. After all, Adam got himself into this quandary, so he could just get himself out. That would be where the demands of righteousness and the rule of law would go if this were in a normal courtroom. But thank God that this was no normal courtroom, nor was the judge in any way limited to the usual options. It was time for God to act and, in the process, to reveal his nature in its fullest, starting with grace and mercy. In this we learn that this God would never leave Adam to solve such enormous problems on his own. Yes, Adam got himself into this terrible mess but, to God’s everlasting credit, he stepped in and made the entire matter between himself and the serpent, removing Adam to a safe distance to observe the ensuing cosmic conflict. We are now at the heart of the gospel, and we can see why it is so often referred to as good news. Really good.

It is tempting to blame Eve for everything that befell humanity in the Garden of Eden and, in the process, to ignore the rather startling declaration by God that Eve was destined to become the very channel through which mankind would eventually be saved. To be clear, the serpent was the source of the ruin. Eve was a pawn, however guilty of mistrusting God and disobeying orders she may have been. But God had plans to turn the serpent’s work into the source of its own defeat. God leaves the discerning observer a subtle hint through the name he chooses for Eve. After the fall, it would be natural to call Eve “the mother of all dying,” but the name she was given by God was the opposite, “the mother of all living.” In God’s eyes, Eve’s “seed” would eventually produce the savior of the world—a fact that could only be understood by God himself at the time. Although Adam and Eve could have been understandably plunged into deep despair at what they had done, this promise to Eve would sustain them through the dark season of loss of Eden and life in the harsher, more hostile world outside. At a human level, we might view this whole episode as unmixed tragedy, but wait until you see what God had planned next.

Last Adam Foreshadowed

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Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways! For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who became His counselor?[xlviii]

mazeWho isn’t fascinated by mysterious secret keys, cryptography, the use of codes and ciphers to protect critical intelligence—especially ancient spiritual secrets? Well, we have now arrived at a seminal passage of scripture in the book of Genesis, one that is dripping with weighty spiritual meaning yet is worded in such a way that the casual reader could easily dismiss it as insignificant. It is impossible to overstate the importance of this passage and its potential for unlocking the mystery of God’s plan to redeem mankind from its self–inflicted calamity. We stand upon sacred ground as we reverently approach this deceptively simple passage:

God made leather clothing for Adam and his wife and dressed them.[xlix]

Recall that Adam and Eve had impulsively “sewed fig leaves together as makeshift clothes for themselves” after the searing reality of their spiritual nakedness had set in. Up until that point, they had never experienced shame and had no reason to cover up, run, or hide from their friend God. They wrongly thought that their problem was physical and of course did the natural thing and took the whole matter into their own hands. What a perfect illustration of mankind’s incurable addiction to religious observance, endless rituals, and man–powered methods, all intended to win God’s approval. There they stood, wrapped in the pitiful products of their own hands, the best ideas their sin–fevered minds could conceive, and heartily encouraged by the freshly empowered serpent who was more than ready to blind his new charges to the truth about their true spiritual condition.

But just then, God stepped in and took control. Disappearing briefly, God returned with two blood–stained animal skins for Adam and Eve to wear in the place of their flimsy fig leaves. And with this solemn act on God’s part, death is introduced to a place that had seen nothing but life. How else can animal skins be produced but by killing and skinning the animal—animals that had no part in the sins that led up to this fateful moment. This, then, constitutes the great doctrine of divine righteousness whereby a God–appointed covering is provided for these two guilty sinners. The covering involves the shedding of blood, the giving of an innocent life for a guilty one, and it assures that God will be satisfied—not with the sinner per se but with the offering that the sinner provides as covering. So covered, the sinner knows he can rest and enjoy the peace of God—not because of anything he has done but because of something God has done for him. To attempt to find rest elsewhere constitutes a frightful deception that victimizes even well–intended (but misinformed) seekers. Jesus warns:

“Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.”[l]

Progressive revelation

Now some might ask, if this passage is so important, why not just spell it out so that a child could understand the full extent and implications of what it is saying? Why did God shroud it in mystery in the first place? That raises the principle of progressive revelation, which postulates that God often chooses to reveal himself and his plans in graduated installments, beginning early on with broad outlines and successively filling in more details in later prophetic passages, perhaps hundreds of years apart in authorship. Why so? Scripture reveals that the Bible was never intended to be a secret document, locked up in some cosmic vault, only to be read by a cadre of hand–picked specialists. This is the word of God and, as such, is shed abroad equally to principalities, powers, angels, and men throughout the universe. This means that, while you and I may read his word for guidance, instruction, and direction for our lives, there may be other beings, hostile to God’s purposes, also studying his word for a very different purpose—to discern God’s plans so that they might thwart or delay their effects. That explains these words of Jesus regarding how God reveals himself to a decidedly mixed audience of believers and those hostile to his message:

As He said these things, He would call out, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” His disciples began questioning Him as to what this parable meant. And He said, “To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God, but to the rest it is in parables, so that seeing they may not see, and hearing they may not understand.”[li]

Satan is as familiar with scripture as the finest Bible expositor, able to study, edit, twist, and distort God’s word to suit his own dark purposes. So, knowing this, why would God fill the ancient serpent in on his plans so that the enemy could respond accordingly?

To illustrate… Remember in Chapter 1 of this book, we talked about D–Day, which ushered in the beginning of the end of the Nazi regime in World War II? Suppose General Eisenhower, Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces in Europe, chose to publish his plans, in advance, to invade the European continent, complete with dates, maps, and headcounts? Sounds silly of course, but for God, his plans to invade human history and take back the earth from Satan’s control required the same level of utmost secrecy. He pulled it off right under Satan’s nose and did it, not with a display of “shock and awe,” but through a vulnerable, submissive “lamb unblemished and spotless,” all alone on a cross. Here is how the Apostle Peter reports it:

Knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ. For He was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you who through Him are believers in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.[lii]

If ever a mission required extreme stealth it was this one. Had Satan been privy to God’s plans, he would have done everything he could to make sure Jesus died at a ripe old age in his bed surrounded by family and friends rather than at the hands of a blood–thirsty mob in a gruesome public execution—a death which was to break Satan’s hold on the world and to bring God’s kingdom to earth.

As it was, by the time Satan figured out what was happening, it was too late to do anything about it. All he could do was look back in retrospect and attempt to connect the dots of revelation and try to figure out how he missed the whole thing—that is, God’s ingenious plan of salvation. That plan not only satisfied God’s offended holiness while fulfilling the “legal” claims of divine righteousness against sin, but also extended heartfelt mercy and grace toward fallen humanity. And at the heart of God’s plan lay the principle of the substitutionary death of a totally innocent sacrifice in the place and stead of a totally guilty recipient. God was indicating that it was no longer possible to approach him directly, as Adam and Eve had become accustomed to in the Garden before their fall. From then on, approaching God and being considered “righteous” would involve the presentation of an acceptable sacrifice of blood. Without the spiritual covering that sacrifice provided, sinful man would be hopelessly separated from a holy God and thus unable to enter his presence, no matter how “religious” he was or how much he “cleaned up his act” in the process.

In the light of New Testament revelation, we learn in retrospect that, throughout the Old Testament of the Bible, God was revealing his redemption plan in a sequence of sacrificial protocols. First, there were sacrifices offered by one man for his own sins. And then, later, one man could offer sacrifices for himself and his whole family, and, in the latter part of the Old Testament, God initiated the priesthood and temple sacrifices making it possible to offer offerings for the whole nation of Israel. The entire sequence was leading up to the final and ultimate sacrifice, where the long–promised God–man would offer one sacrifice on behalf of the whole world—a singular sacrifice infinitely superior to the animal sacrifices of the Old Testament which were, after all, mere shadows of things to come:

But when the Messiah arrived, high priest of the superior things of this new covenant, he bypassed the old tent and its trappings in this created world and went straight into heaven’s “tent”—the true Holy Place—once and for all. He also bypassed the sacrifices consisting of goat and calf blood, instead using his own blood as the price to set us free once and for all. If that animal blood and the other rituals of purification were effective in cleaning up certain matters of our religion and behavior, think how much more the blood of Christ cleans up our whole lives, inside and out. Through the Spirit, Christ offered himself as an unblemished sacrifice, freeing us from all those dead–end efforts to make ourselves respectable, so that we can live all out for God.[liii]

We see the sacrificial sequence beginning with the first deaths (at God’s own hands) of unidentified animals in the Garden of Eden to provide spiritual coverings for Adam and Eve following their rebellion. Just one generation later, we see the same principle of sacrifice as the required means of approaching God in the dramatic episode of Cain and Abel, with Cain offering an unacceptable bloodless sacrifice, the work of his own hands, while Abel obediently offered God an animal sacrifice and was accepted in God’s sight.

Generations later, Noah and his family offered animal sacrifices after landing safely following the flood that wiped out all of humanity. Then, the great Patriarch Abraham offers sacrifices to God for himself first, and in one extraordinary test of his faith toward God, offering his own son Isaac to God. God miraculously provided a ram for Abraham to offer instead. Note that God did not require human sacrifice (nor has he ever)—a blasphemous practice that was routinely followed by the pagan nations of Mesopotamia.

And sprinkled throughout the Old Testament are further reminders of the way righteous men, in acknowledgement of their sinful condition, always came to God with an acceptable blood sacrifice as a covering for their sins and to win God’s approval. There was the great man of faith Job, who offered sacrifices to God on behalf of his wayward friends. There was the patriarch Jacob (later to be renamed Israel), who offered sacrifices for his entire family. Moses and Aaron later initiated the great Jewish priesthood and system of ritual animal sacrifices on behalf of both individuals and, as pictured in the Day of Atonement, the entire nation of Israel. This process became more formalized, with the multiplied animal sacrifices offered in the great temple in Jerusalem.  The latter stage lasted for hundreds of years, ending only with the Roman destruction of the temple in 70 A.D.

But—don’t miss this—these sacrifices were not efficacious in themselves but were pointing forward in time to an event so momentous, so final, as to end all sacrifice for all time. In his agonized but victorious exclamation, “It is finished!” Jesus declared that the ultimate sacrifice—that of himself—was now complete. This was the culmination of an era, and there would no longer be a need for literal blood sacrifices as the means of approaching God. By faith in the person and work of Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary, any sinner could approach God and be confident of acceptance by the Father. The book of Hebrews puts it this way:

Every priest goes to work at the altar each day, offers the same old sacrifices year in, year out, and never makes a dent in the sin problem. As a priest, Christ made a single sacrifice for sins, and that was it! Then he sat down right beside God and waited for his enemies to cave in. It was a perfect sacrifice by a perfect person to perfect some very imperfect people. By that single offering, he did everything that needed to be done for everyone who takes part in the purifying process. The Holy Spirit confirms this:

“This new plan I’m making with Israel
isn’t going to be written on paper,
isn’t going to be chiseled in stone;
This time I’m writing out the plan in them,
carving it on the lining of their hearts.”

He concludes,

“I’ll forever wipe the slate clean of their sins.

Once sins are taken care of for good, there’s no longer any need to offer sacrifices for them.”[liv]

Back to our D–Day illustration, Omaha Beach had been taken on Christ’s cross of Calvary. A toehold yes, but enough to assure eventual victory—all won by a lone man on a naked hill, abandoned by all, and left for dead. Yet the note of triumph is sounded and as the New Testament book of Acts records, we witness the first stages of the kingdom plan to go “on to Berlin!” That chapter is being written by the church triumphant to this very day.

God said, “The Man has become like one of us, capable of knowing everything, ranging from good to evil. What if he now should reach out and take fruit from the Tree–of–Life and eat, and live forever? Never—this cannot happen!”

So God expelled them from the Garden of Eden and sent them to work the ground, the same dirt out of which they’d been made. He threw them out of the garden and stationed angel–cherubim and a revolving sword of fire east of it, guarding the path to the Tree–of–Life.[lv]

God then makes the rather shocking statement that, because Adam and Eve had now acquired a working knowledge of evil as well as good, they had become dangerous to themselves and others. For evidence of this uniquely human propensity to grandiosity and rebellion, we read just a few chapters of Genesis later that Adam and Eve’s descendants inherited their original parents’ rebellious streak in full strength. They believed that they could reach heaven on their own and, in so doing, become masters of their own destinies. Here is how the story goes:

At one time, the whole Earth spoke the same language. It so happened that as they moved out of the east, they came upon a plain in the land of Shinar and settled down.

They said to one another, “Come, let’s make bricks and fire them well.” They used brick for stone and tar for mortar.

Then they said, “Come, let’s build ourselves a city and a tower that reaches Heaven. Let’s make ourselves famous so we won’t be scattered here and there across the Earth.”

God came down to look over the city and the tower those people had built.

God took one look and said, “One people, one language; why, this is only a first step. No telling what they’ll come up with next—they’ll stop at nothing! Come, we’ll go down and garble their speech so they won’t understand each other.” Then God scattered them from there all over the world. And they had to quit building the city. That’s how it came to be called Babel, because their God turned their language into “babble.” From there God scattered them all over the world.[lvi]

Today, as then, mankind largely insists upon remaining free of any higher power, believing that they truly are the “captain of their soul.” Poet William Earnest Henley reflected this fateful delusion perfectly:

Out of the night that covers me,

Black as the pit from pole to pole,

I thank whatever gods may be

For my unconquerable soul…

…It matters not how strait the gate,

How charged with punishments the scroll,

I am the master of my fate,

I am the captain of my soul. [lvii]

C.S. Lewis observed:

What Satan put into the heads of our remote ancestors was the idea that they could ‘be like gods’—could set up on their own as if they had created themselves—be their own masters—invent some sort of happiness for themselves outside God, apart from God. And out of that hopeless attempt has come nearly all that we call human history—money, poverty, ambition, war, prostitution, classes, empires, slavery—the long terrible story of man trying to find something other than God which will make him happy.

God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing.[lviii]

Because Adam and Eve had become exposed to the whole moral spectrum, knowing good and evil, they had become “like one of us,” but with one critical difference—they couldn’t handle it! Although God could know about evil and yet not be influenced by it in the slightest, Adam and Eve had made the fateful step of personally becoming acquainted with evil and therefore had unwittingly come under its power. They would not be able to resist evil. Their consciences would tell them what is right, but they would find themselves powerless to avoid doing wrong, due to an overwhelming new drive within themselves, which is known as the flesh, as we learn later in scripture.

Because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.[lix]

As Genesis 3 closes, God again calls our attention to the fascinating Tree–of–Life, which delivered blessings, nourishment, and healing properties of eternal value. There were no restrictions on eating its fruit—at least prior to the fall. But now, in their fallen condition, Adam and Eve could never be allowed to eat of the Tree–of–Life and could be forever frozen in that agonizing condition. They would never physically die if they ate of its fruit. They would be eternally trapped in their now–fatally flawed “bodies of this death,” dominated by a spiritual nature set against the will of God, never to have the hope of redemption or resurrection. Such a hideous race of people would multiply and spread its misery throughout the earth for all eternity. God was too merciful, too compassionate to permit such a thing. The Tree–of–Life needed to be put out of reach until God would redeem and restore his fallen creatures to heaven–ready condition.

The angels–cherubim with a flaming sword would assure that they could never return to the earthly Garden of Eden. But note, scripture says that “he threw them out of the garden and stationed angels–cherubim and a revolving sword of fire east of it, guarding the path to the Tree–of–Life.”[lx] It does not say that the angels–cherubim were to bar all access to the Tree–of–Life forever; instead, they would be “guarding the path to the Tree–of–Life.” In other words, there was indeed a legitimate path leading to that tree, but not one open to physical entry by fallen men. The path to the Tree–of–Life was to be paved in an entirely different way, a spiritual way, provided in due course when God had first “cleared the path” so that resurrected man could eat of the Tree–of–Life in his new and redeemed condition.

This brings us to the genius of God’s plan of redemption for mankind: to provide a way back to the Tree–of–Life, one which bypasses the limitations of man’s sin–stained bodily existence and provides him with a brand–new body through resurrection from the dead. With his new body, he can eat freely of the Tree–of–Life in heaven without limitation. God’s plan centers on the arrival of a savior who would himself be the path to the heavenly Tree–of–Life. Here is how Jesus puts it:

“Don’t let this throw you. You trust God, don’t you? Trust me. There is plenty of room for you in my Father’s home. If that weren’t so, would I have told you that I’m on my way to get a room ready for you? And if I’m on my way to get your room ready, I’ll come back and get you so you can live where I live. And you already know the road I’m taking.”

Thomas said, “Master, we have no idea where you’re going. How do you expect us to know the road?”

Jesus said, “I am the Road, also the Truth, also the Life. No one gets to the Father apart from me. If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him. You’ve even seen him!”[lxi]

Jesus understood that he would have to personally endure a terrible journey through suffering, death, and burial before he could open the path to resurrection, first for himself, and then for every person who would follow him to eternal life. And just like Jesus, we who embark on that path must go through a death of sorts, an identification with Christ’s death, even though it happened more than two thousand years ago. Romans 6 explains:

For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin.[lxii]

And God’s plan is not limited to individual believers in Christ but includes the whole creation, which was also marred by the sin in the Garden of Eden:

For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body. For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees?[lxiii]

And the means by which all of this was accomplished was the offering up of a perfect sacrifice for man, as foreshadowed in those animal skins which clothed Adam and Eve. Although those original animal skins provided temporary coverings during their lives on earth, the blood of Jesus provided a permanent, eternal seal upon the salvation of all who believe, forming the basis for confidence in approaching God, not on our own recognizance, but on through a righteous sacrifice offered by our perfect sin–bearer. The book of Hebrews explains:

Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.[lxiv]

No more running and hiding, covering up and accusing. No more fearing God. Here we have complete redemption and more. Much more.

Then the Angel showed me Water–of–Life River, crystal bright. It flowed from the Throne of God and the Lamb, right down the middle of the street. The Tree–of–Life was planted on each side of the River, producing twelve kinds of fruit, a ripe fruit each month. The leaves of the Tree are for healing the nations. Never again will anything be cursed. The Throne of God and of the Lamb is at the center. His servants will offer God service—worshiping, they’ll look on his face, their foreheads mirroring God. Never again will there be any night. No one will need lamplight or sunlight. The shining of God, the Master, is all the light anyone needs. And they will rule with him age after age after age.[lxv]

Finally, as we close this critical chapter of Genesis, we are reminded that our first parents were banished from the Garden of Eden as a discipline, not as a punishment, with a view to their eventual restoration to a place of blessing and favor at a much later time. Although the damage had already been done by sin, God provided a substitutionary offering (the animal), while announcing the lifetime temporal consequences of their betrayal and banishing them to a harder—but not doomed—earthly life. Had they not received God’s one and only covering, Adam and Eve and the entire human race would have no hope and would have perished apart from God. Likewise today, when people reject God’s one and only savior, their only available covering, they too will perish.

So, with the grim history of the first Adam behind us, let’s read on to see not only how Adam’s sin rippled down through human history to the present day but also how God made it possible for you and me to be covered, delivered, and saved from its devastating effects. And then we go on to describe a sure way to a heavenly destination where “things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard, and which have not entered the heart of man, all that God has prepared for those who love Him.[lxvi]

_______________

Notes: Chapter 7. The First Adam Got it Wrong

[i] http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/b/blaisepasc133380.html#KIW7zj5XfCuh0q2a.99

[ii] Mack, Andrew, and Steven Pinker. “Why the World Is Not Falling Apart.” Slate Magazine. N.p., 22 Dec. 2014. Web. 23 Apr. 2016.

[iii] Genesis 6:5–6, 11–12 New International Version (NIV)

[iv] 1 Corinthians 15:45 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

[v] John 1:9–13 MSG

[vi] Romans 5:12–14 MSG

[vii] Lewis, C. S. The Problem of Pain. New York, NY: HarperOne, 2001. Print.

[viii] 1 Corinthians 15:45–49 MSG

[ix] Romans 5:15–17 MSG

[x] Romans 5:18–21 MSG

[xi] Genesis 2:6–7 MSG

[xii] Custance, Arthur C. “Two Men Called Adam: A Fresh Look at the Creation/evolution Controversy from a Different Point of View–– the Theological.” 4th Ed. Edited by E.M. White, R.G.Chiang. 2010. Doorway Publications, Canada.

[xiii] http://humanorigins.si.edu/evidence/genetics

[xiv] D’Souza, Dinesh. What’s so Great about Christianity. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Pub., 2007. Print.

[xv] “Did We All Come from Adam and Eve?” Answers in Genesis. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Aug. 2015.

[xvi] Psalm 8:3–8 MSG

[xvii] Genesis 2:8–9, 15 MSG

[xviii] Genesis 2:16–17 MSG

[xix] Mackintosh, Charles Henry, and Wilbur M. Smith. Genesis to Deuteronomy. Neptune, NJ: Loizeaux Brothers, 1980. Print.

[xx] Revelation 22:1–5 MSG

[xxi] Custance, Arthur C. “Two Men Called Adam: A Fresh Look at the Creation/evolution Controversy from a Different Point of View–– the Theological.” 4th Ed. Edited by E.M. White, R.G.Chiang. 2010. Doorway Publications, Canada.

[xxii] Genesis 2:18–25 MSG

[xxiii] Salters–Pedneault, PhD Kristalyn. “What Is Shame?” N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Sept. 2015.

[xxiv] “Shame: The Quintessential Emotion.” Psych Central. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Sept. 2015.

[xxv] Genesis 3:3–5 MSG

[xxvi] Genesis 3:14 MSG

[xxvii] Matthew 4:3–4 NASB

[xxviii] Ibid., p. 30.

[xxix] http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/bobdylan/gottaservesomebody.html

[xxx] Genesis 3:6 NASB

[xxxi] 1 John 2:15–17 NASB

[xxxii] Ephesians 2:1–3 NASB

[xxxiii] James 4:3–5 NASB

[xxxiv] 2 Corinthians 4:3–4 NASB

[xxxv] Genesis 3:7–13 MSG

[xxxvi] Ibid., p. 31.

[xxxvii] Ibid., p. 32.

[xxxviii] Isaiah 6:1–8 MSG

[xxxix] Luke 19:10 NASB

[xl] Ibid., p.33.

[xli] Genesis 3:14–20 MSG

[xlii] Genesis 3:14–15 MSG

[xliii] Psalm 139:1–12 MSG

[xliv] 2 Corinthians 5:21 NASB

[xlv] Romans 3:23 NASB

[xlvi] “Dangerous Idea.” A Favorite C. S. Lewis Quote of Mine. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 Jan. 2016.

[xlvii] http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/482608–the–bad–psychological–material–is–not–a–sin–but–a

[xlviii] Romans 11:33 NASB

[xlix] Genesis 3:21 MSG

[l] Matthew 7:13–14 NASB

[li] Luke 8:8–10 NASB

[lii] 1 Peter 1:18–21 NASB

[liii] Hebrews 9:11–15 MSG

[liv] Hebrews 10:11–18 MSG

[lv] Genesis 3:22–24 MSG

[lvi] Genesis 11:1–9 MSG

[lvii] Allen, Austin. “Invictus.” Poetry Foundation. Poetry Foundation, n.d. Web. 26 Dec. 2015.

[lviii] “Five Timeless Quotes by C.S. Lewis | Bible Gateway Blog.” Five Timeless Quotes by C.S. Lewis | Bible Gateway Blog. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 Jan. 2016.

[lix] Romans 8:7–8 NASB

[lx] Genesis 3:22–24 MSG

[lxi] John 14:1–7 MSG

[lxii] Romans 6:5–7 NASB

[lxiii] Romans 8:22–24 NASB

[lxiv] Hebrews 10:19–22 NASB

[lxv] Revelation 22:1–5 MSG

[lxvi] 1 Corinthians 2:9 NASB

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