I have a sneaky suspicion that this series is going to be longer than the five posts that I originally envisioned it to be. I hope that you will bear with me.
It’s vitally important that one comes to understand that the whole Bible is ultimately about Jesus, and that includes all of the Old Testament and of course the New Testament in its entirety. Jesus, the only begotten Son of God, who came to us in the flesh, in human form, is God the Father’s answer or remedy to the problem that humanity has to initially acknowledge and come to understand, i.e., that we are, in and of ourselves, wholly incapable of changing who and what we are. I should clarify this, superficially we can change ourselves, outward conduct, some of our habits etc, but we’re not talking about superficial, we’re talking about our own self focusing nature, the root core of our being, how we really think and reason in our mind as well as our outward expressions. When we talk about ourselves or others being “good”, that is a comparison with other human beings. When we are comparing ourselves and God, that is a totally different comparison. Once we become aware of some of the attributes of God, the difference in comparison becomes self evident relatively quickly.
So what God does, as He breaks it down for us, is He begins to tell us in Genesis, in terms that we can comprehend, what transpired from what was, to what currently is. And the reason why I am spending some time on this is because it is CENTRAL to understanding everything else that follows in God’s revelation of Himself to us in His Holy Word. You don’t need a solution to a problem if there isn’t a problem.
Like Jesus said in Mark 2:17 NASB: “And hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick; I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” Understanding who and what we are is absolutely essential.
I mentioned previously that I believe there are four witnesses to the reality of God. God’s Word – the Holy Bible, Jesus Christ – God’s Son, our conscience and finally nature itself, which includes all that we can see and understand of our universe.
Our conscience or moral compass if you will, is where God’s moral code comes into play, knowing right from wrong, what is fair and what isn’t fair, for ourselves and others. And ultimately, whether we believe that God exists. We have a tendency to think that we don’t really have a problem. We have a tendency to focus on the mistakes that others commit and seldom on our mistakes. And even if we do examine our own actions and thoughts, we underestimate the totality of our own deficiencies, especially when it comes to interaction between ourselves and our Creator, who is holy and we who as unbelievers, are not holy.
So what we see, right from the very beginning of God’s revelation of Himself to us, is the gradual unfolding of how we came to be as we are and the reality of sin which is in essence, anything that goes against God’s holy and righteous ways, thoughts and standards. And most importantly, our total and complete inability to be one in union with our Creator, via our own efforts and endeavours, in and of ourselves, whatever they may be, coupled with God’s answer or plan to deal with, this specific problem, through His Son.
In Genesis God tells us of course that He has created all that we see, including ourselves. Because we are His creation and He created us in His image, His love goes out to us and He desires us to be in communion with Him. In fact God tells us that He created us for His own pleasure. How do we know this? Genesis 1 describes for us not only the fact of an ordered creation by God, but also God’s response to His creation. Five times, you recall, God stands back, as it were, and takes stock of his creation. Each time the text says, “And God saw that it was good” (verses 4, 12, 18, 21, 25). And when all was finished and man and woman were created in his own image, it says, “And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good.” To me, this signifies that God was pleased with His work. When He looked at it, it gave Him pleasure. He was pleased and happy with his creative effort.
Now God could have created creatures that basically functioned as robots but in His wisdom He chose not to. Robots don’t comprehend and appreciate love and can’t reason independently above the level that they have been programmed to function within. In other words, there are limits beyond which a robot cannot go. God didn’t want that. He wanted us to be able to love and appreciate Him for who He is, in totality, so He gave us the ability to independently reason and decide for ourselves, in short, He gave us free will to decide for ourselves.
Initially with Adam and Eve, they basically took God at His word, they trusted Him in everything that He said, they relied in God for their well being without any thought that would indicate otherwise. We’re talking about total trust and reliance, much like a young child has total trust and confidence in their parents. There was no concept of sin, there was no concept of wrongdoing. But that changed. Without getting into all the why’s involved, the reality of what we are given to understand is that the way it was, was challenged by the option to think and decide, independently of God, for ourselves. Those words “independently of God” are critical. There is nothing wrong with using our own intelligence and reasoning, as long as it includes taking into account, the ways, thoughts and standards of God. It’s when we abandon His ways, thoughts and standards and fly solely upon our own ways, thoughts and standards that we run into problems. It’s like a young child of say four or five years old, who totally rejects the guidance, provision and loving protection of it’s parents and decides that from this day forward, they and they alone will be responsible for their own decisions.
From God’s perspective that’s a big problem and the rest of this “bird’s eye overview” of God’s revelation of Himself to us, His creation (Back to Square One), will deal with how God in His wisdom, illustrates and explains the reality of this problem and His solution or plan to remedy it.
It’s also important to note, that the strength of God’s witness, in His Holy Word, intensifies, as one considers the lengths to which God used the nation of Israel to exemplify these realities and the totality of God’s holy nature is increasingly revealed, coupled with the duality of the path, mission and attributes of the coming Redeemer/Messiah.
More to follow.
Worthy is the Lamb! Blessings!