by Don R. Richards
Back to 1996
Genesis 1 - 3
There is no better place to begin a "Tour of the Bible" than at the beginning.
In addition to the basic historical background involved in the creation of the earth, the Garden of Eden and man, the first three chapter's of Genesis provides us a number of important doctrinal concepts. We do not have the time or space to cover it all, or in any great detail, but we do wish to touch a few. In looking at these early facts and historical background, it becomes important for us to study the Scriptures in their entirety so that each of us might "study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." 2 Tim. 2:15.
We have numerous theories taught to us and our children about how the earth was created. Scientists have never been able to grasp, from a scientific perspective, just how the earth was formed: we hear the "big bang" theory that earth started with an explosion; and we hear tile evolution concept that it all started with a tiny organism and evolved into man the plants and the animals. These and other theories are speculation, and the scientists involved admit so.
Genesis gives us a complete basis for the formation of the heavens, the earth and mankind. We should teach it to our children so that they have the proper context when they are exposed to theories of creation.
It is important we teach our children the creation as it is taught in Genesis. They may learn various theories involving the earth's creation, but we need to make sure our children have a clear understanding as to what the Bible teaches. If you will closely read the first chapter of Genesis, you can see where some of the scientific theories have developed "between the lines."
The first chapter of Genesis deals with the creation of the earth, ending with the creation of man. The second chapter of Genesis describes the Lord's making of the Garden of Eden and or Eve. The third chapter describes man's breaking of God's law in Eden and the consequences that resulted therefrom.
Genesis tells us that God created the heavens and earth. The earth was initially without form and was void, and that "the Spirit of God" moved upon the face of the waters.
On the first day God created "light" with His simple command for light and then divided the light from the darkness, calling the light "day" and the darkness "night."
On the second day, God divided the waters and the Heaven.
The third day involved tile separation of dry land of Earth from the waters and seas. God then made the Earth vegetated including "fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself" This tells us God created fully grown, matured trees.
The fourth day involved God's setting "lights" (sun, moon, stars, etc.) in the sky "to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years". This has been interpreted by some to be an endorsement of astrology to determine destinies, but that is not the "signs" God intended. In fact, practices in astrology were condemned in the Scriptures (See Isaiah 48:12-13, Matthew 12:38-39).
On the fifth day was developed abundant sea life and "every winged fowl" to multiply in the earth.
Two creations were involved in Day 6. First, we are told God let the earth "bring forth" living creatures, including cattle, insects and beasts. Then came a special creation that we learn about in the last part of the first chapter of Genesis, as well as from the second chapter: man.
Notice the wording of the 26th verse of Genesis 1: "And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness..." Why is the plural form of God used here? This is our first notice that God involves the Trinity... the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
"So God created man in his own image" . . . "male and female created he them." God then gave them dominion over every living thing that moveth upon the earth," as well as an abundance of food.
We know God made the first man, Adam, from the dust of the ground and breathed into him the "breath of life." And God stated "It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a help meet for him". We are told God put Adam into a deep sleep and took from Adam's side to make woman, whom Adam called Eve.
We are then provided insight as to how the Lord perceived a marriage: "Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh." Both Adam and Eve were naked, but were not ashamed.
We also learn that from "out of the ground" the Lord made every beast and fowl and brought them to Adam to name: "and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof."
With His work complete on the heavens and the earth, God blessed and sanctified the seventh day and rested.
The Garden of Eden:
About a third way through the second chapter of Genesis, we learn of the special garden planted by the Lord "eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed."
We do not know the exact location of Eden, but from the biblical description, many speculate it to have been located in what is now the country of Iraq because of the specific references to the Euphrates and Tigris Rivers. In that garden we are told God made four different types of trees: two general types, and two specifically identified trees: trees pleasant to the sight, trees good for food, and thenthe "tree of life" and the "tree of knowledge of good and evil."
The Lord put Adam into the garden, told him to keep it and issued a specific command: "Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die."
We just hit upon another major point. Why did the Lord tell Adam he would die by eating fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, if he would not die? What we learn is that Adam would not physically die from eating of the tree, but that he would die in another manner.
The third chapter of Genesis startsoff telling us how cunning the serpent was and how tile serpent went after Eve, tempting her to eat from the forbidden tree, insisting she would not "die." Instead, the serpent insisted Eve would have her eyes opened, knowing good and evil. Eve tasted of the forbidden tree's fruit, found it tasted good and looked good, and gave it to Adam to also enjoy.
After eating of the fruit their eyes were opened and they realized they were naked; they sewed fig leaves in an apron for themselves and hid when they heard the Lord in the garden. When the Lord called out to them, Adam announced he was hiding because he was naked. The Lord responded by asking Adam "Who told thee that thou wast naked?" The Lord knew Adam and Eve had eaten from tile forbidden tree.
Adam blamed Eve and Eve blamed the serpent. The Lord cursed the serpent, greatly multiplied the sorrow of the woman, cursed the soil for the man's sake and sentenced the man to the "sweat of thy face" to earn his food from the ground all the remaining days of his life, and then to return to the ground from whence he came: "for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return." A life free of pain was lost, leisurely gardening was changed to heavy labor, and physical death was prescribed.
The Lord then clothed Adam and Eve and expelled them from Eden, banishing them forever from access to the "tree of life." The Lord set Lip a flaming sword and Cherubim "to keep the way of the tree of life."
It was man's original sin in disobeying God's command, and the result therefrom, that each of us has inherited.
Next: The sons of Adam and Eve
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