The Human-Like Presence of God

Most people tend to think of God as some “Father Time” being that is portrayed on television – kind of like an old man with a long white beard, a long white robe, and a staff.   Or sometimes they think of Him as a Spirit type being that is incomprehensible to the human mind.  Regardless of how you picture God, did you know God was very active and physically present in a human type of way in the book of Genesis?

From the very beginning of the book, we see God speaking when He says, “Let there be light.”  And God spoke again when He gave a direct command to Adam not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.  His speaking was an audible sound.  Audible enough for Adam to hear it and, in some form of language, to communicate His purpose.  What language did He speak?  Only God knows.  But God had to also physically show the tree to Adam.  How would Adam have known one tree from another?  The Bible says the trees were “pleasing to the eye and desirable for food”, so God had to point out the “bad” tree to Adam in order to help him to understand which one he should stay away from.  God couldn’t hold Adam accountable for something he would not have known.  So I fully believe that there was a taking to and a showing of the tree, which indicates an intimate human type of interaction.

Later in Chapter One and then in Chapter 2, we see God creating and “operating”, so to speak,  on Adam when he takes a rib from him to create Eve.  How did he cause a deep sleep to come upon Adam?  Was it induced by some type of medicinal plant?  Was it supernatural?  The Bible doesn’t tell us.  But it does say, “and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and closed up the place with flesh.”  So it is a physical type of surgery.  And it is a surgery that Adam knew about.  He didnt’ just wake up and there was the woman and he went on with his day.  Adam is noted as saying, “she is now bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh.”  Indicating that he knew full well what had occurred.  So either God told Adam ahead of time what He was doing, or after Adam awoke and saw the woman, God must have told him what had occurred.  Either way, God is the “surgeon and creator” here, another intimate type of human- like interaction with His creation.

Then, in Chapter 3, we see God walking in the garden.  We know He was physically walking because the Bible states “the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking.”  In order to hear something, two surfaces must come into contact.  So maybe it was God walking against the brush, or stepping on a twig.  Again the Bible is not clear on how they heard Him, it just says, they “heard him walking in the Garden in the cool of the evening.”  So God was in a physical type of form walking to find Adam to have a personal conversation with him.

Later in Chapter three, we see God making garments for Adam and Eve, which means he had to put to death an animal or two in order to use their skins for clothing.  How did he do that?  Did he physically kill the animal, or simply cause it’s heart to stop beating?  The Bible, again, doesn’t tell us. But God had to kill the animal, skin the animal, dry the skins, in order to use the skins.  He didn’t simply wrap Adam and Eve in the bloody hide of the animal He had just killed.  This was a process.  So here we see God in a laborer type of role.

So, you are probably asking yourself, what is the purpose of these examples?  The examples are here to show the intimate type of relationship that man once had with God, to show that God walked and talked with man.  To also show that God created man for His pleasure, and He desired to be with His creation.  But because of man’s sin, God could no longer physically dwell with him because God cannot be a party to sin.  And so, He sent them away from His perfect creation and put cherubim to guard the entrance so they could not return.  But this was not the original plan of God.  Man had altered that plan and had changed the perfect to the imperfect.  Never again would this type of relationship occur.  But God was not done with man.  God had created another way for man to have an intimate relationship with him.  And that was thru the birth, death, and resurrection of His son, Jesus Christ.

 

Let the Punishment Fit the Crime.

As a young child, I remember misbehaving and having my mother pronounce punishment for whatever “crime” I had committed against childhood humanity.  I used to think, at times, that her punishment was unjust and didn’t fit my offense.  And along those same lines, the punishment given to Adam and Eve certainly didn’t fit their offense.

After they had eaten from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, the Bible states that the eyes of both of them were opened – opened to the realities that there were dark forces in the world to counter the goodness they had only known from God.  Opened to their human condition and the world in which they lived.  And opened to the fact that they had disobeyed God, and He would find out. It almost paints a picture of  a childlike existence in the Garden until they had eaten the fruit and their eyes were opened, doesn’t it?

0E047C61-A822-4738-91B6-F07AF6D5AAFCBut because of their disobedience, God pronounces judgement.  He could have simply destroyed them and started over with the creation of human beings.  But God does not do that, even though their disobedience certainly warranted death.  Do you notice that He does not start with the woman who was the first one to disobey Him?  He starts with the serpent.  And the words He uses are, “Because you have done this”, done what you might ask?  The serpent had tempted Eve in her naïveté.  When Satan entered the serpent, he did not go and tempt the man.  The man had the direct command of God and knew exactly what God had told him. However, the woman did not.  She had heard the command from man and when the serpent played on the words, she didn’t know the exact truth.  Therefore, since the serpent went against God’s command for established humanity, God not only changes the physical appearance of the serpent, but He adds to the punishment of the serpent the eternal damnation that would be coming to him in the future.  And the very woman that he tricked would produce generations of people from which Jesus Christ would come.  Notice God says, “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush you head and you will strike his heel.”  So the descendent of the woman, Jesus Christ, would deal a death blow to Satan and that best that Satan would do would be to organize events to culminate with Christ’s death upon the cross.  But little did he know that very act would bring about salvation for all of mankind whom the serpent had desired to see fall short of God’s grace and enter into eternal damnation with his trickery.

And to the woman, God adds no scolding at the beginning, as He did for the serpent, and as He would do to the man.  He simply pronounces judgement on her and  woman’s punishment speaks of her very function – childbirth.  God increased the pains that she was going to experience and gave her an internal struggle that would always cause her to want to rule over her husband, kind of like she did in the garden.  However, God would never allow woman to rule man again, although there would always be an internal desire to do so.

But for Adam God offers an additional scolding, “Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat of it’…God is telling Adam that he should have known better because he had received the direct command from God Himself.  And that no matter what the woman said, Adam should not have listened to her.  So God curses the very function of man – which was labor.  And then He introduced the death factor, “By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.”

Up to this point there had been no death.  And the very thing which God had told Adam at the beginning was now going to come to pass – “but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.” And it wasn’t just man who would die.  Animals were also affected.  The animals that had done nothing wrong were now under the curse because of man’s sin.  And the first to animals to die would be used for their skin to cover the nakedness of the man and the woman.

And so, as in many sins, there were innocent victims. Victims who had done nothing to deserve their punishment and had committed no crime.

Who Ate the Forbidden Fruit?

83F1B7A3-2062-4937-B912-BF8E9FC8B907One of the most talked about occurences in the Bible is when “Eve” ate the forbidden fruit.  Pretty much everyone knows that story.   But the part I find very interesting is that Adam was with her there in the Garden at the tree, and Adam was as big a part of the sin as she was.

As you recall, God made Adam first.  And after creating Adam, God gave a command to him saying, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it, you will surely die.”   So isn’t it interesting that here they are, Adam and Eve, in the middle of the Garden, next to the tree that God said to stay away from?  And here is Eve, having a conversation with a serpent.   And here is Adam nearby.  You know Adam was nearby, because the Bible tells us that he was with her.  And here at the tree, is a serpent talking to the woman – that same woman that Adam was supposed to love and protect, and yet Adam does nothing.  It’s not like there was city traffic to drown out the conversation. He heard it.  But Adam never corrects the serpent when he is falsely telling Eve that she would not die, which was completely contrary to what God had told him.  As a matter of fact, Adam does nothing but willingly join her in her sin.

If you look further into the man and his behavior over in Chapter Three verse twelve of Genesis,  we see God in the Garden calling to Adam, not to Eve.  When Adam explains he was hiding because he was naked, God asks Adam a question.  He says, “Have YOU eaten from the tree that I commanded YOU not to eat from?”  Then Adam, still not protecting his wife or taking any kind of responsibility, blames not just Eve, but he blames God.   He says, “The woman YOU put here with me – SHE gave me some fruit from the tree and I ate it.”

See, Adam is given a woman as a suitable helper for him, specifically created by God.  Adam is so happy with the woman he says, “This is now bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh, she shall be called woman, for she was taken out of man.”  Then God gives Adam a command, “Don’t eat from that tree.” (Paraphrased).  ADAM was the person God directed the command to.  So Adam must have told Eve, because she acknowledges she knew the “rules” when she is having her conversation with the Serpent.  Then God asks ADAM a question, “Have you done what I told you not to?” (Paraphrased), and Adam turns the tables on BOTH God and Eve.  Do you see that?

If I could take liberty with his words, he is, in effect, saying, “Well, partly this is your fault, God.  I mean, after all, YOU are the one who put her here with me.  I really didn’t have a say in the matter.  Then SHE deceived me and gave me some fruit.  You see, I had no idea where she got the fruit from, so I ate it.  So I am not at fault in any way here.”  But Adam did know where she got the fruit.  He knew the entire time.  He was with her.  He did not intervene to stop the sequence of events.  He did not own up to his sin.  He did not obey God.  That is why God punishes Adam.  Because he was no better than Eve.

So the next time someone blames Eve for the fall of humanity, remind them who was supposed to be her protector.  Remind them who was with her.  Remind them that it was both Adam and Eve who disobeyed God.  Adam was not dragged along a road.  He walked down it willingly and knowingly.  It was him and his disobedience along with Eve’s disobedience that led to the fall of humanity that fateful day in the Garden of Eden.

 

 

 

Bone of my Bone, Flesh of my Flesh

The creation of Eve calls into question why God chose to make her from Adam’s flesh, when He could just have easily created her in the same manner in which He created Adam – from the dust of the ground. How is it that the creation accounts of Adam and Eve are so very different, yet the Creator is the same?

Looking at the verses in Chapter 2: 18-20, we see that Adam was busy naming the animals that God had caused to come to him after He formed them out of the ground. Did you catch that?  Did you catch that God formed the animals in the same manner in which He formed Adam – from the ground?  And although God formed C9B1223D-E781-4A66-AD49-49DA315DF24Bthe animals from the ground, the Bible never tells us that ‘He breathed into their nostrils the breath of life and they became a living being’ , as it does for the Creation of Adam.  So what gave the animals their life?  The Bible doesn’t say.  It simply says they were formed from the ground, and as living creatures, they were brought to Adam for him to name them.  So God could have breathed into them, or He could have caused life to come into them in another way.  We simply don’t know.

But what does it say about Eve? Is the Bible telling us that her creation was somehow inferior since she was not formed in the same unique and creative manner as Adam and the animals?  Far from it.  When a rib was taken from Adam to create Eve, God was using the very DNA from his best creation, His perfect creation of a human, and replicating that in the woman.  Yet, he was doing more than that.  He was showing the woman that without the man, she would not be in existence, and therefore, creating an order for the family.  Just as a woman is very protective of a baby that comes from her womb, I think that by creating woman from man, God was creating something for Adam to care for, love, and protect.  It was bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh.  Just as an infant is that to the mother and the bond of love in an unbreakable one.

The part of Genesis Chapter two that is most intriguing is in verse 24, when it states “for this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife…”  Why would this be here in this spot?  There were no fathers and mothers at this point.  In fact, if we believe the Creation account, there were no other beings on the face of the earth except for Adam and Eve.  And while I believe every word in the Bible is inspired from God,  there is also a human element to it.  And here is where I believe that is evident.   For how can it state anything about fathers and mothers, and leaving them to be with a wife? There had been no marriage?  Therefore, there could also be no wife.   There was simply man and there was simply woman.  The terminology of wife and marriage had not yet come.  And to me, the placement of that sentence here makes no logical sense because immediately after the statement, the writer turns his writing back to the creation saying, “the man and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.”

Regardless of the reasons why the writer placed that there, this part of the Chapter is dedicated to woman being created to be a suitable helper for man.  And I think it is setting up the “fall” in the Garden of Eden, because as we will see next time, Adam is with Eve in the Garden when she eats of the fruit.  He did not intervene, did not protect her, in fact he joins her, and that is why God also punishes him.  And the animals?  Well they would also have to suffer because of man.