Humanity’s Relationship with God, Part 1 (The Covenant & the Cross #30)

Today’s passage of Scripture is Genesis 3:6-7 which reads: “And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.”

Allow me to share with you some commentary on this passage from the Reformation Study Bible edited by theologian R.C. Sproul: “Sin is essentially man’s failure to trust in God, an act or state of unbelief, an assertion of autonomy. True religion consists of communion with God based on trust and issuing into obedience. Eve’s decision was based on practical values, aesthetic appreciation, and intellectual gratification. Through the Fall, man becomes a rebel: surrounded with sufficient motives to trust and obey God, he chooses disobedience against God. Salvation depends entirely upon the Lord, not the rebel. By God’s appointment, Adam represented the race as its federal head and brought death upon all. He also represents, as a model and prototype, mankind’s hostility against God.”

Today’s quote about the Bible is from C.S. Lewis. He said: “In most parts of the Bible, everything is implicitly or explicitly introduced with “Thus saith the Lord”. It is not merely a sacred book but a book so remorselessly and continuously sacred that it does not invite — it excludes or repels — the merely aesthetic approach. You can read it as literature only by a tour de force… It demands incessantly to be taken on its own terms: it will not continue to give literary delight very long, except to those who go to it for something quite different. I predict that it will in the future be read, as it always has been read, almost exclusively by Christians.”

Our topic for today is titled: “Humanity’s Relationship with God (Part 1)” from the book, “The Promise and the Blessing” by Dr. Michael A. Harbin.

Because of its consequences, the Fall may be regarded as the most significant event in the history of the world. First, the Fall hurt every relationship in which every person in history has been involved. This includes relationships with God, fellow humans, their environment, and even themselves. Second, as a result of the Fall, there have been several judgments on humankind. The most significant was the Flood, which drastically rearranged our entire environment, producing a new climate and affecting the geological record. Third, because of the Fall, God provided a means of reconciliation that involved the incarnation of Jesus the Messiah and His crucifixion and resurrection. These three consequences intertwine to provide the theme for the entire Bible.

The first and most important relationship broken was that between humankind and God. We recall from our overview of Genesis 1 three key aspects of the original relationship. First, man was a created being and was finite — made specially by the same God who made the rest of the universe. We think of humankind as the pinnacle of creation, so it is very humbling to realize that we are made of the same physical material as the universe in which we dwell. Still, when humankind was created, God declared that the result was “very good.” Second, humankind was a unique creation, specifically described as being in the image of God. What this term means is somewhat uncertain, but there are aspects that we can pick up through studying various descriptions of God and humankind (that is, through theology).

First, Scripture distinctly states that this phrase applies to both male and female. Beyond this, we might note that humans are spiritual beings, which distinguishes them from animals. A number of other traits might be observed, including rational and abstract thinking ability, a will, creativity, verbal communication, and a sense of humor. While other aspects can be suggested, these suffice to point out that humankind is unique. Third, man had a special relationship with God that involved cognitive communication. God put Adam in charge of the garden and gave him commands to carry out. Adam was presented with the animals and gave them names that reflected their character.

The narrative suggests that, on a daily basis, Adam had communion with God as he walked through the garden. Many theologians believe that when God appeared during Old Testament times in human form (a “theophany”), it was a manifestation of the second person of the Trinity, the Son, who would become incarnate as Jesus the Messiah thousands of years later in history. This special relationship with God is key to the brokenness of the Fall.

After Adam and Eve ate of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (which was not an apple, whatever it was), their first reaction was to make fig-leaf coverings because they were naked. It would seem that at least part of what is addressed is their new feeling of guilt and shame, which resulted from their disobedience. Then, when God appeared in the garden, they hid. When God asked them why, they admitted that they now feared God. Not only was the relationship broken, but fear had replaced the earlier openness and trust.

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