Humanity’s Relationship with the World, Part 1 (The Covenant & the Cross #35)

Today’s passage of Scripture is Genesis 3:11-12 which reads: “And he [God] said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat? And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.”

Allow me to share with you some commentary on this passage from the Reformation Study Bible edited by theologian R.C. Sproul: “The questions which God asks prod Adam and Eve to confess their guilt. God asks Satan no questions, simply consigning him to judgment. Adam and Eve show their allegiance to Satan by distorting the truth, accusing one another, and ultimately accusing God. Their efforts to conceal their sin only expose it.”

Today’s quote about the Bible is from R.C. Sproul. He said: “We fail in our duty to study God’s Word not so much because it is difficult to understand, not so much because it is dull and boring, but because it is work. Our problem is not a lack of intelligence or a lack of passion. Our problem is that we are lazy.”

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

The uniqueness of man’s stewardship position is amplified in the Genesis 2 account of Creation. Adam is placed in a specific location, the garden of Eden, with guidelines given to manage it. The location of this garden has been debated, but if the Flood was as extensive as indicated later in Genesis, the garden was obviously destroyed in the rearrangement of the earth’s surface. As previously noted, the purpose of the garden would seem to be an initial geographic limitation to the work that Adam was to do personally. Obviously, one person (or couple) could not directly oversee an entire globe. This was the reason behind the command in Genesis 1 for humankind to multiply and, as a whole, to manage the world.

Adam’s position of world manager was illustrated by the fact that he named the animals. In Israelite culture, the giving of a name was viewed as a demonstration of a superior position. One of the problems of this section is its relationship with Genesis 1:24-25, which places the creation of the animals prior to the creation of man. (“And out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field.”) The text suggests two possible solutions. First, the Hebrew grammar leaves open the possibility that the animals had been created earlier and brought to Adam at this point. Second, the terminology (“beasts of the field”) raises the possibility that the animals named at this point were only those we call domesticated animals, that is, those with which man was to have a special working relationship.

The world over which man had responsibility is not the same as the world in which we live. The environment was perfect. We read that there was no rain, but only a daily overnight mist to water the ground. One theory that has been inferred from the changes created by the Flood is that originally the earth was covered by a water-vapor canopy that protected it from harmful radiation and maintained a uniform climate both around the globe and throughout the year. The surface area of the land regions was probably much greater than today, including all of the land above the continental shelves. In addition, there apparently was only one continent that was more spread out, for presumably the high mountain ranges had not yet been squeezed up. These factors all changed as a result of the Fall and the Flood.


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