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Sunday, September 14, 2019

posted Sep 15, 2019, 6:01 PM by Site Administrator

GOD CREATED THE GARDEN OF EDEN

 

Genesis 2:1-25

Key Verse 2:16,17

 

And the Lord God commanded the man, You are free to eat from any tree in the gar4rfden; 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.

 

In the previous passage, we learned about God’s creation of man. We were created in God’s image, in God’s likeness, so holy and righteous, so majestic and beautiful. We were the representatives of God Himself. We also learned that we must be rulers and conquerors in the world. It is God’s command and at the same time, God’s blessing. Because of this blessing, we now know what to do with our life, and how to live our life. Now, in Genesis chapter 2, we see the detailed account of God’s creation of man. The author spends this chapter to show how much God loved the man. May we come to know God’s love for us through this passage.  

 

First, God formed the man from the dust of the ground (4-7). Genesis chapter 1 is the introduction to God’s creation of this present world. Now in verse 4, the author sums up God’s creation of the world, saying, This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created. This present world was not made by accident; its existence is not the result of natural process, but the product of God’s specific plan, wisdom and power. Genesis chapter 2, then, is the special treatise to the creation of man. Look at verses 4b through 6. It was on the sixth day, maybe, after the creation of the animals. At that time, the earth was barren because no shrub or plants sprang up yet. The phrases, no shrub had yet appeared, and no plant had yet sprung up, suggest that they were there, but certain conditions were missing that the grass and other plants did not spring up on the ground yet. Instead, streams came up from the earth and watered the whole surface of the ground. It was right before God created the man. How did God create the man? Look at verse 7. Let’s read this verse together:

 

The Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.

 

 God took some dirt from the ground, and molded it into a shape, like a potter or like an artist molding a sculpture, maybe, six feet tall, 180 lbs, two hands, 10 fingers, two feet, and a big brain. Thus, he formed the man from the dust of the ground, but it was not a living being yet, but just a lifeless body. Then, God breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and it became a living being. As God breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, his heart began to beat, and the blood circulated. The air filled his lungs, and the man began to breathe. The man, suddenly opened his eyes, and sat up and looked around. Maybe, he bowed to God and said, Hello, Lord! Who are you, and who am I?

 

Verse 7 shows that humans were made of two components -the body that came from the dust of the ground and the breath of life that came from God. The real essence of human is the breath of life, which we call, spirit, while the body is just its container. Human is such a unique creature, having both the spirit and the body. Since we have the spirit, we can have spiritual fellowship with God who is Spirit; at the same time, with the body, we can take care of all the physical world God created. We humans stand between God and this world, between the spiritual world and the physical world. Simply, we are God's stewards toward the physical world. 

 

Since we have the body, we have the desires and needs that come from the body such as eating, drinking, resting, sleeping, and playing the soccer. But that's not all. We have the spiritual desires and needs - our spirit yearns the fellowship with God; our spirit seeks God; our spirit wants to worship God; our spirit desires Bible study and prayerJesus described those who are not connected to God as dead people because their spirit is not born yet. People must be born again, only then, both their spirit and flesh are alive. It seemed in the beginning, our spirit and body worked harmoniously. But when Adam the first man sinned, our body was cursed, and it was no longer harmonious with our spirit; instead, now, they - body and spirit - are antagonistic. If we give into the desires of the body, our bodily desires grow stronger and stronger, while our spiritual desires grow weaker and weaker. As people do so continually, their spiritual desire diminishes all the way that eventually they have no more spiritual desire; instead, their fleshly desires control their hearts and life completely, making them animal-men, some even sub-animal men. The other side of the coin is true too. Some people deny their physical desires; instead, they give into their spiritual desires; as a result, their spiritual desires grow bigger and bigger, while their physical desires diminish; as they pursue the spiritual desires continually, eventually, their fleshly desires no longer bother them; their hearts and life are controlled and led by their spiritual desires - they live spiritual life, doing what pleases God, growing up in God's image continually. 

 

We were slaves to sin, because, when we didn't know Jesus, we lived according to our fleshly desires; at that time, we didn't bear any good fruit, but the shameful and sinful fruit, deserving death penalty. But now by God's grace, our sins are forgiven in Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit gave birth to our spirit, and we are given another chance to live our life. In this second chance, we must not mess up again. If we live according to our fleshly desires in this new life, we die, bearing bad fruit again - then, what's the meaning of Jesus' salvation grace to us? Instead, we must bear good fruit in our life in this second chance. Therefore, now we have an obligation in Jesus Christ, that is, to live according to the spiritual desires, instead of living according to the fleshly desires. The Bible writes: Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation-but it is not toward the sinful nature, to live according to it. For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. (Rm 8:12-14) 

 

Second, God planted the Garden of Eden for the man(8-15). Look at verse 8. Now the Lord God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed. After creating the man, He chose a certain area on earth, and made it beautiful and gave it to the man as his special gift. While the rest part of the earth was all barren, the Garden of Eden was beautiful-- all kinds of fruits that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. There were a lot of gem stones also. Actually, if it was just for solving food problem, God did not need to make the fruits beautiful - making them tasty should be more than enough for survival. Or, if it was just for solving the man's lodging problem, God did not need to give him a lot of gem stones. Why did God give such things to the man? He did so because he could see that with such beautiful fruits, with such special materials, the man would be really excited and happy. When we think about these carefully, we can see that God's real intention was not just to provide the man with minimum things for his survival, but to make him enjoy his life freely - with all kinds of fruits that were pleasing to the eyes and good for food, with all kinds of gem stones. The word, Eden means, Delight. God indeed provided everything the man needed to enjoy a delightful life. God had deep concern for man's true happiness and satisfaction. A delightful life, this is what God desires for us to enjoy in Him. A river was flowing in the garden, and it was separated into four headwaters. All the ancient human civilization developed by the river, because the river provided them with most essential things for human life - water to drink, to wash, and fish to eat, and transportation. Wherever the river flowed, there was a chance for human life to flourish and communities to be developed. God's blessing was present in the Garden of Eden, and God designed that His blessing would spread to the four corners of the world from the Garden of Eden. When God's blessing is found in someone's life or in some place, God never wants His blessing to stay with that person or in that place alone, but it may spread to others, even to the ends of the earth. God's blessing has reached you, and now it is God's will that from you, His blessing may spread to others, even to the ends of the earth. 

 

Look at verse 15. Let’s read this verse together:

 

The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.

 

Here, the expression, to work it and take care of it, shows what the man should do with God's special gift - the Garden of Eden. Obviously, God did not put him there so that he could just lie back in a hammock drinking beer all day long. He must work it and take care of it so that the Garden might be in a good shape all the time and thereby, he could enjoy it continually, even forever. If he neglected this, then, probably, flood might damage the garden here and there, many plants might die, animals might be injured, and when things went that way continually, the Garden might be like a thick jungle, completely out of control. Adam the first man must work it and take care of it, then, he would enjoy God's blessing continually, even forever. “Work it and take care of it.” This is what God wants us to do. A beautiful family is God's blessing. But when people don't take care of their families properly, they lose God's blessing - their families are broken, they have deep wounds and scars, bitterness, and their children suffer terribly. God gives us a job with which we are amply provided. But if we don't take care of this blessing by neglecting our duties, or getting tardy all the time, we will be fired. A beautiful church is God's blessing. We must take care of this church so that good spiritual environment may be preserved, and that we may be encouraged to love God and serve Him wholeheartedly. Otherwise, sin of the world smears into our church, and humanistic people increase in number, influencing other people, then, the church loses its spirituality, and it becomes like a social club in the world. God must be the focal point of our church – our church’s goal must be God’s name be hallowed, God’s kingdom come to our hearts and life, to our families and campuses, God’s will be done in our life, in our family, in our state, in our country, and in the world. When God's blessing is given, we must work it and take care of it so that we can enjoy it continually - this is what God wants us to do.

 

When we think about this passage carefully, we can see that God has deep concern for our happiness - His heart's desire for us is that we may enjoy a delightful life. And for this, He is willing to provide everything we need - beautiful scenery, delicious fruits that are pleasing to our eyes also, and even gem stones - gold, aromatic resin, diamonds, sapphires, rubies,... Many people think that God wants to utilize them for his purpose, but that’s not true. Frankly speaking, what can you, humans with those feeble limbspossibly do for God who is Almighty? He is all powerful and all sufficient, and he does not need our help. On the contrary, it is God who does everything for our happiness, and for our happiness, he gave us the Garden of Eden as his special gift. And for our happiness, He commands us to work it and take care of it. Trust in God and do what God commands you to do, and you will find yourself enjoying a delightful life as God has designed. 

 

Third, “The tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil” (9; 16-17). In the middle of the Garden of Eden, there were two special trees - the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The tree of life is one major theme that penetrates the entire Bible from Genesis to Revelation. In Genesis 3, we see God saying, The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever. This shows that, even after sinning and being cursed by God, if they ate from the tree of life, they would live forever. So, the tree of life is not about eternal life that we can enjoy through having fellowship with God; rather, the tree of life was about having physically everlasting life. Our physical body is subject to the law of physics. If you use your joints, walking, jumping and running a lot, your joints deteriorate. Living forever means that this aging process is completely reverted and all the tissues and cells in your body are completely renewed and refreshed each and every day. The tree of life was for this purpose - complete refreshment, renewal of our body so that wemay be ever new, ever fresh, full of life power, we stay youngforever. How great it must be when we are completely renewed and refreshed each and every day - our body will be full of life, no sorrow, no worry, no fear, but you can enjoy your life freely to the full. Actually, this is what all humans desire; this is what the First Emperor of China looked for; and this is what many scientists worldwide search for even today. But this is not what God allows humans to do, because living forever with sinful nature is not good at all. So, God banished them from the Garden of Eden so that they would not eat from the tree of life and live forever with sinful nature. His plan was to get rid of sin from humans and restore them to their original status and then, let them eat from the tree of life and live forever as He originally had planned in the beginning. This is what God’s redemption plan is about. God pursued this for several thousand years. For this, God sent His Son to the world to die on the cross to solve man's sin problem and then, after restoring everything, in the New heaven and the New earth, He let them eat from the tree of life and live forever in his kingdom. This is what we see in the last chapter of the Bible, Revelation 22, and that's the conclusion of God's redemption or restoration plan. God says in Revelation 22:14, Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates in to the city. The tree of life produces 12 different kinds of fruits, yielding its fruit every month; it restores, recharges and refreshes our body completely; even its leaves are for the healing of the nations. How great it will be when we eat the fruit! If you want to taste it, you must wash your robes, which means, repentance and living a clean life in Jesus Christ.

 

In the Garden of Eden, Adam was free to eat from this tree. Did he eat from this tree before his transgressionMost likely! If I were there, above all other things, I would first eat from this tree; on the first day, I would work for God wholeheartedly, and then, eat from this tree. Actually, the task of naming all the animals and birds alone must have taken many days, or weeks or even months. During this time, he must have eaten from the tree of life, and he was recharged and refreshed fully. But after sinning, he could not be recharged any longer; then, this one time fully charged life lasted for about 930 years. But when his life battery ran out, he could not be recharged, thus, he simply collapsed. 

 

But there was one tree, which God commanded the man not to eat from - the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Look at verses 16 and 17. Let’s read these verses together: 

 

And the Lord God commanded the man, 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.

 

This is called Adam’s Bible, very short and easy for Adam to memorize the entire Bible. Here, God told the man about the danger of eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. This shows that, even if the man was like God as a sovereign being, he was not god like Him. Even though he was free, it did not mean that he could do whatever he wanted. Instead, there was a certain danger in his life, and he must avoid it; otherwise, he would surely die. How would he know about that danger? He did not know it on his own, but God knew it and warned him about it. That’s what God’s commands are about. This tells us a lot about humans. We have freedom to do whatever we want, because God created us as sovereign beings just like Himself. Yet it does not mean that we can do whatever we want, because, in our life, in the world, there are many dangers, which we must avoid; otherwise, we end up doing what we are not supposed to do, and as a result, we dieThat’s why God gives us his commands, telling us what to do and what not to do. Never be vainly conceited; never think that you can do whatever you want to do. Instead, remembering that there are many dangers in your life, be very careful to obey what God commands – that’s how you can enjoy a wonderful life in Jesus Christ continually.

 

God could have programmed the man not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil just in the same way He forbid lions from eating grassThen, the man would never even think about eating that forbidden fruit. But God did not do so. Instead, He was willing to take that risk by confirming with him his freedom to do whatever he wanted, because He wanted the man to choose to obey God's command out of his own choice. When the man did so, it would be obvious that he honored and respected God and he had his heart's desire to please God. When he did so, God would be pleased because the man chose God out of many other choices. Then, the relationship between God and the man would become personal and their love would be mutual. When Jesus came, Satan offered him many good looking ways of life with wealth and power and glory, but Jesus turned down all these offers, and chose to obey God's command, even if it meant for him to live a poor life and die on the cross for others; by choosing to obey God's command, he remained in God's love, and God really loved him. As humans, we are free to do whatever we want; it seems that there are many ways of life we can choose - the life of pursuing great wealth, or the life of pursuing a comfortable life with a good career, or the life of pursuing a romantic relationship or a happy family, or even the life of pursuing fame as scientists. But when we choose to obey God and live according to God's plan and purpose, rejecting all these options, we prove that we have our heart's desire for God - that is love; when we choose to obey God's will despite so many pains and difficulties, there we prove that we truly love God.With your freedom, what do you want to do? To gratify your own desires in the world? Or, to please God?

 

When we think about the command, we can see that God did not demand Adam to do anything, because it was not the command of doing something, but the command of not doing one thing - simply, don't do it, and you are free to do whatever you want - no burden, no pressure. It is like God commanding a poor college student, “Don’t drive Ferrari.” God did not require him of anything for his life. God's intention was not to restrict Adam of anything. Also, when we think about the statement, when you eat of it, you will surely die, we see that the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was like deadly poison. God put such lethal poison in the garden, and warned the man about it, saying, Be really careful! When you eat of it, you will surely die. Many people blame God for this, saying that, because God put the tree there and gave Adam the command, Adam was tempted and sinned. As a father, I will never put such lethal poison in my house. If I ever put deadly poison in my house, then, it means that it must be there - there must be an absolute reason why it must be there, and after putting it there, I would warn my children about it thoroughly, saying, Never, ever come closer to that; never eat it. It is deadly. Other people say that God put the tree there and commanded the man not to eat from it to see whether Adam would obey him or not; simply, they think that God tested him with this tree and the command. But again, no father tests their children with such poison - what if...? Then, it is our logical conclusion that there was an absolute necessity for God to put the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the gardenIt meanthat, if the tree was not there, the man would be in greater danger

 

What greater danger was there? What absolute necessity was there that God had to put the tree and give the man this command? With this command, one thing became clear to Adam that there was God who was above him, and that he must obey God's command. Simply, by giving his words of command, God established this spiritual order between God and the man. Establishing this spiritual order was so crucial for Adam that even if there was such a great danger, God still did so. Man was above all other things; he was king, ruler; also, he was so beautiful, powerful, wise, and insightful; he was so awesome and wonderful that all the creatures honored and respected him; they loved him and obeyed him happily. Then, there was danger that Adam would think of himself too highly, thinking that he was the one to be praised and honored. Actually, that's what happened to an angel, called, Lucifer. When God bestowed upon him such beauty and power and exalted him highly, he wanted to be equal with God; he went beyond his position and became God's enemy, Satan. God never wanted such a terrible thing happen to his beloved creature, humans. So, by giving this command, God made Himself present in the life of Adam, establishing the spiritual order between God and him. Now with perfect freedom he had, Adam must keep this spiritual order by choosing to obey God's command out of his own choice, and for his own happiness and life; as long as Adam remained in this spiritual order by obeying this command, he was king, ruler over all God's creation; as long as he remained in this spiritual order, he was free to enjoy God's blessings, a delightful life in the Garden of Eden. But once he went beyond this spiritual order, he would surely die; keeping this command was the matter of life and death - absolute command. 

 

In the beginning, the man was sinless, completely pure and innocent; he was beautiful and glorious; he was in the right relationship with God, enjoying such wonderful fellowship with Him. Yet, God said to him, When you eat of it, you will surely die. In the same way, in the New Testament, for his disciples, even his 11 apostles, Jesus issues his command with a warning, saying, Remain in me,… apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. (Jn 15:4-6) We can see how serious Jesus is about this. Yet, so many people ignore his warning; they conveniently go beyond Jesus’ will and purpose in their career matter, or in their marriage matter, in their family matter, in the matter of raising their children. They think that because they still go to church, or say that they believe in Jesus, they will be okay. All these people really wither moment by moment, losing thejoy of salvation in their hearts, losing such peace and happiness in them, and they just go through the motion instead of having real life in JesusWhen God says, For when you eat of it, you will surely die, they must pay attention to his message. When Jesus says, If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned, they must take his message seriously. 

 

God’s command is not restricting, but God gives us his commands, showing us what we must do and what we must not do so that we can avoid all dangers in life and enjoy a truly blessed life. His commands lead us to really beautiful, fulfilling and fruitful life. Jesus says, I know that his command leads to eternal life. (Jn 12:50) Let’s accept God’s commands and keep them. 

 

FourthIt is not good for the man to be alone (18-25).Look at verse 18. The Lord God said, It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him. After each day’s creation was over, God said, Good. After finishing his six days’ creation, he said, Very good! But now, in the Garden of Eden, in his special gift for the man, he found something that was not good, that is, the man was alone. So he decided to make a helper suitable for the man. So what did he do? He first brought all the animals to Adam and asked him to name them. Without knowing what’s going on, Adam named all the animals one by one, using his wisdom and insight. When he saw an animal with a character of barking, he named it, dog, – the root of this word has the meaning of barking. One animal ran fast skipping joyfully, so he named it horse, which has the meaning of skipping. In this way, he named all the animals accordingly and finished the job successfully - maybe, it took several weeks, or months. As the conclusion of this task, verse 20b reads: But for Adam, no suitable helper was found. The reason why God brought all these animals and birds to Adam and asked him to name them was to see if any of his creatures would be a suitable helper for Adam. But Adam never named any animal helper, coworker, or even wife. Wheww!!! Thank Adam! SGod decided to make one newly. He first put Adam into deep sleep (the first anesthesia in history), and while he was sleeping, he took out one of his ribs and closed up the place with flesh. It was the first medical surgery ever performed in history. Then, from the rib, he made a woman and brought her to the man - the first genetic engineering ever performed in historyGod brought her to the man - God was the matchmaker. When Adam saw her, he immediately recognized what she was about - a creature that was taken out of man, so he defined her, Wo-man. And he fell in love with her and made his love confession, saying, This is now the bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh.” It was the love at the first sight. And they married.The whole event went wonderfully, more exciting, touching and romantic than Hollywood movies.

 

Here, we see what women are about. Woman's official title is, a helper suitable. The expression, a helper shows that God made her for this specific task, the mission of helping the man to do God's work more effectively. Man was for God's mission and now woman was for God's mission also. Together, they form a dream team for God's mission. That was God's design. And God would fulfill this purpose through marriage. So, marriage is what God designed for his own purpose; it is God's institution.

 

In this passage, we find what marriage is about, the truth of marriage. Now, everybody marries when he or she comes to their age. Also, nowadays, people do not want to marry so that they can enjoy their lives freely. And even, these days, the concept of marriage has been corrupted, and many are confused about marriage. What is marriage? Where did it come from? What is the purpose of marriage? Marriage is something God established for His own purpose. Adam had no sense of problem; he was just happy to do God's work and enjoy the Garden of Eden. But while he was working hard for God, it was God who had a sense of problem, saying, It is not good for the man to be alone. So, he established marriage to make everything good in his creation. Sometimes, zealous young people say, I will be like the apostle Paul, serving God alone without marriage. And they work hard, even serving 20 Bible studies a week. But God says, “Uhh! What is that? Not good.Marriage is from God, and for God's mission, so we must marry for the sake of serving God's mission more effectively. And when we marry for God's mission, then, God says, Very good,and we are happy. Also, it was God who prepared the marriage partner. He was the One who had searched for a suitable helper for Adam, even going through all his creatures; he was the matchmaker. So, their marriage was established by God. Marriage is from God, for God, and by God - this is the truth of marriage. 

 

Today, people reject God and do not live by the truth. Especially, in the matter of marriage, they do not hold onto this truth of marriage; people don't marry for God and by God, but for themselves and by themselves. They marry relying on their emotions and feelings, saying, I love him. Sadly, the foundation of their marriage is their ever-changing emotions and feelings. One year later, their romantic feelings are gone, then, they have no reason to keep their marriage relationship. Or even at the slightest challenge of life, such as character differences, or some bad habits such as just throwing their dirty socks on the floor, their feelings change completely, and the foundation of their marriage is gone. Some others marry for a practical reason such as financial benefits - that is the foundation of their marriage. Then, when they do not need such benefits, they have no reason to keep their marriage relationship. At life's challenges, all their own foundations of marriage are destroyed so easily, and so many families are broken, and so many people are left with such wounds and scars, sorrows and bitterness, and their children are confused, scared and scattered. This broken family is a source of all kinds of evil in our society. And now bad people corrupt marriage more and more that people don't know what marriage is about. Marriage is an institution God established for His own purpose; our marriage should be established for God and by God. Then, no more broken families will be there, and no more children will suffer.  

 

Look at verse 24For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh. Before marriage, a man belongs to his parents’ family that was established for God and by God, but now through marriage, he forms a separate unit with his wife. Then, this new unit is ready to serve God’s mission powerfully. In this way, new and independent units for God’s purpose spread continually through marriage until the whole earth is filled with people who have the image of God. Marriage is God’s divine institution that serves God’s purpose. Marriage stands at the center of God’s plan. With this marriage, God’s creation was indeed completed.

 

Verse 25 describes the first marriage couple’s happy life, by saying, The man and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame. They had confidence in each other, and they had nothing to hide from each other. This kind of perfect trust relationship is possible only in the families established by God and for God.

 

In this passage, we learned about God’s deep concern for mankind. His desire is not to use us for his purpose, but to bless us for our own happiness. Out of his deep concern for our happiness, he gave us the Garden of Eden, his command, and established marriage. Only if we live according to his desire and purpose, then, we will truly enjoy our life, and we will be happy. Let’s trust in God that he has deep concern for our happiness, and by faith, obey his commands. This is the way of true happiness. 

 

One Word: God Created The Garden Of Delight For Us

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