Wednesday, October 18, 2017

A Living Soul: Genesis 2:7–25

Wednesday, August 28, 2013, 6:00
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A Living Soul

September 8, 2013

Genesis 2:7–25

Key Verse: Genesis 2:7

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Introduction

Before “the Fall,” heaven and earth was a true Paradise. Therefore our Creator—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—blessed the seventh day; for He had finished His work. There was nothing more to do except see and enjoy His finished creation. God sanctified that day, set it apart that the full glory of His handiwork could be seen. David saw the glory of his Redeemer/Creator: “Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; and his greatness is unsearchable. One generation shall praise thy works to another, and declare his marvelous works” (Psa. 145:3–4). If Adam had not sought his own will, instead of that of his Creator, he would have had a beautiful paradise to pass down to the next generations.

Genesis 2:4–6 teaches us that the Creator gave man a Garden in which to live. In general, the whole earth was good and vibrant, filled with plants and animals alike. In particular, God set apart a special Garden where mankind, male and female, would begin their life—as man and wife. They were to live and be caretakers of a glorious planet from generation to generation under their Creator. God did not create man, male and female, until He had finished his work. The Spirit records the end of His finished work in these words: “And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew; for the Lord God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was not a man to till the ground. But there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground.”

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Man Was Given a Living Soul—Genesis 2:7

Man was created to till the ground with much pleasure, to enjoy the fruits of the land, and to have a domain under the Creator of all that He has done. Our physical bodies are not unlike those of the animals in that they are created to live and breathe and have some system of life and reproduction. As with the earthworms, which burrow in the soil helping to aerate and break up the ground, to the birds of the air, God created His animals with a purpose; even as the sun and the rain have their purposes. All of creation has a purpose. Man, male and female, were created, not only with a physical body, but with a soul: “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” Our position toward the birth of our children today is that, though the body comes from our parents, its soul is a direct result of God’s breath. Our souls come from God in a very unique way—the breath of God. The glory of God is seen in this creation of man by Calvin, that “it was endued with a soul, whence it should receive vital motion; and that on this soul God engraved his own image, to which immortality is annexed.”

Our Confession teaches: “After God had made all other creatures, He created man, male and female, with reasonable and immortal souls, endued with knowledge, righteousness, and true holiness, after His own image; having the law of God written in their hearts, and power to fulfill them” (Ch.4. 2). These three characteristics of the soul made after the image of God is expressed in the three words “Truth, Righteousness, and Justice.” In other words, writing in our hearts (souls) the Truth, enabling us to live moral and righteous lives to His glory, and knowing true mercy and love toward one another. Men, transgressing God’s law, twisted the truth, making decisions of their own about what is right and wrong, and being unjust by writing their own laws.

Discussion: What does it mean for us to have a living soul?

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He Planted a Garden—Genesis 2:8-9

God prepared a special place for Adam. In this garden, the Lord God made trees to grow that were “pleasant to the sight, and good for good; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.” All of the earth was fertile and rich in beauty and wonder. However, the grace of our Lord was revealed in a special garden filled with food for the body, and joy for the eyes of Adam. Nothing was withheld from man that would make him crave for more. There was for Adam a memorial, a tree that would continually remind him that His life came from the Lord God alone: the “tree of life.” As Calvin wrote, “as often as he tasted the fruit of that tree, he should remember whence he received his life, in order that he might acknowledge that he lives not by his own power, but by the kindness of God alone.” We also must go to our “tree of life,” Christ Jesus; and we must remember that we do not live by bread alone, but by the very Word of God, that it is by grace alone that we live, not of ourselves it is a precious gift of God.

Discussion: What does God’s garden tell us about the Lord and man?

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The Creator Commands Man—Genesis 2:15–17

The Lord God took Adam and put him in the Garden of Eden “to dress it and keep it.” Thus began man’s dominion over the earth. The Lord God commands Adam, saying, “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.” In Adam’s dominion, he would enjoy the grace of God’s hand, rejoicing in the eating of the tree of life. In contrast, due to his disobedience to the Lord who created and blessed him with honor, he would surely die.

The whole earth was given to man. Adam would begin the generations to come. His labor would be a delight to both soul and body. The fruits of his labour would be pleasant. There would be no thought of idleness or wickedness that would abuse God’s Creation. His diligence would bring only joy.  As stewards of God, mankind would conduct themselves as faithful custodians of His Creation, under His authority and providential care.

It seems hard to believe that Adam would transgress God’s commands, and lose all that was graciously given to him. The Lord God tests Adam as to whether he would truly subject himself, to be obedient to his Creator. Adam’s wisdom would rest upon his subjection as a steward before God. “Therefore, abstinence from the fruit of one tree was a kind of first lesson in obedience, that man might know he had a Director and Lord of his life, on whose will he ought to depend, and in whose commands he ought to acquiesce. And this, truly, is the only rule of living well and rationally, that men should exercise themselves in obeying God” (John Calvin).

Tragedy comes from transgressing God’s Law. Obedience leads to righteousness and to blessings from God our Father. Adam had the threat of punishment (death), to confirm the authority of God’s righteous Law. The sad commentary on Adam and generations to follow is this: “So much greater, then, is the wickedness of man, whom neither that kind of commemoration of the gifts of God, nor the dread of punishment, was able to retain his duty” (Calvin). Thus, we need Christ and His righteousness. Let us not be hesitant or wimpy in our proclamation of the Gospel of Christ our King.

Discussion: What is the meaning of God’s command to Adam?

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He Gave Adam a Wife—Genesis 2:18, 21–25

God had purposed to create man, male and female, to be fruitful and multiply, and to have dominion, in obedience to Him, over all the earth. God reveals how He created Eve, and the purpose in giving Eve to Adam. The design of God in creating a woman for Adam is in these words of the Lord God: “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a help meet for him.” When man is alone, because of sin, he seeks adulterous ways to satisfy both his loneliness and meaning in life. This happens in marriage as well as out of marriage. Man or woman seeks satisfaction on his or her own terms, and it is found wanting.

Man without woman means that he could not express himself as a true man in covenant with God. He could not execute God’s purpose to be fruitful and multiply. The Lord God caused a deep sleep to come upon Adam. As he slept, God took one of his ribs, closing up the flesh. He took the rib and made a woman, bringing her to Adam. This method of God reveals His intention was to let Adam know creation of Eve was of Him alone. Adam was like a building only begun, not yet finished, until Eve was formed. Solomon testified, “For I was my father’s son, tender and only beloved in the sight of my mother” (Prov. 14:3). This can only be experienced within the marriage of male and female, which is father and mother.

The male is to “leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife; and they shall be one flesh.” And, being naked, they “were not ashamed.” There was nothing shameful in their looks, nor in the purpose of their lives. Only in Christ can a marriage be made between man and woman, where there is no shame. Shame comes from sin and guilt alone. Unity in marriage, beauty of sex, wonders of family, and so on, is seen in God’s creation of Adam and Eve.

Discussion: What do you see in the marvel of God creating Adam and Eve?

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Lessons are based on the International Sunday School Lessons for Christian Teaching, copyright © 2013 by the Committee on the Uniform Series.

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