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Saturday, January 19, 2013

What Went Wrong?

NOTE: These blog posts are based upon messages preached at Straight Paths Bible Church. To hear the audio version of this message go to

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth. (Genesis 1:27-28)

God prepared Adam to live in harmony with God and others.

In creating the physical world God took what was "without form and void" and arranged it all in perfect order. Not only that, but He made it so that order would be sustained as long as the earth remains. When God made man He also started with the dust of the ground that was without form and void of life. Then he formed man out of the dust and breathed into him the breath of life and man became a living soul - a living, breathing soul apart from God that had the ability to reason, make choices, feel emotions, and love. Then God began the work of preparing the man to live with others.

God never intended for the human race to consist of only one man and one woman. From the beginning God's plan was for them to multiply and fill the earth. Since this is the first man the things that God does to prepare him to begin the human race are very important. First, the Lord God planted a garden and there He put the man. God "planted" a garden - this means He did not just speak it into existence. He did not seek out a really nice place that had grown up wild. The garden was "planted" by God, so therefore it had been thought of, planned, arranged and given order and purpose by a Maker. This showed Adam by example how he was to exercise his role as the one having dominion over the things of the earth. They were there for him to manage and arrange and cultivate, as well as for his pleasure and his sustenance. Adam was to give order to his dominion and life, just as God does with his.

Then God taught Adam how to communicate with language, which is most important if the human race is going to consist of more than one man alone. Man now has the ability to communicate what is in his heart - thoughts and feelings, hopes and dreams. He is also able to comprehend and feel what is in the heart and mind of another beside himself.

God established a moral sense in Adam so he could live in harmony with God and others and not be selfish.

Then God taught Adam the basis of morality and established in him the fact that there were boundaries for his behavior. The law God gave to Adam was very simple - of all the trees of the garden he could freely eat, but of one certain tree he was not allowed to eat. It was the most basic and simple way to instill in Adam that he was free to choose for himself, but that in choosing he must take into account the wishes, rights, and authority of another. It was the most basic and simple way to teach Adam how to choose NOT to satisfy himself, and to yield to the desires of another. Adam must yield to God's authority and rights before he will consider the rights of another person of any importance. This is why a person who is submitted to God's authority and lives with God's law in view will treat others with respect and will defer to them rather than please themselves at the expense of someone else.

For even Christ pleased not himself; … (Romans 15:3)
This simple command established in Adam's mind that there were boundaries for him to live within, and that all his choices were not to be made simply on the basis of satisfying himself. For even two people to live in harmony there must be laws to govern their behavior, and God, not man, establishes these laws. If there is more than one person in the world then an individual cannot do as he pleases without affecting others. Even in a world that starts out perfect, if people choose to disregard the moral law of God and live selfishly, without any regard or concern for others, it will soon degenerate into misery and hatred and violence. Instead of everyone being free to do as they please they will all find themselves being abused by the lusts, hatred, and violence of others. They will find that life has become filled with fear and worry, and about little more than struggling to avoid the abuse and oppression of others. So there must be some rules to govern men or this thing will not work, and will eventually simply self-destruct. This is what God is establishing in the beginning by forbidding Adam from eating of the one tree in garden.

So now all is in order: God is the King, Adam has his domain, a free will, the ability to communicate with God and others, a place where he belongs, a job to do, and well defined boundaries for his behavior and the fulfillment of his God-given desires. Now it is time for God to put the final finishing touch on his creation - a woman for Adam.
And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. (Genesis 2:21-22)

 There is no doubt that Adam communicated to his wife everything that God had done up to this point. She knew their place in God's creation, and she knew the boundaries for their behavior that had been set by God. Eve heard the commands of God from her husband, who heard them from God.

Enter the serpent.

Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. 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. (Genesis 3:1-6)

Satan came in the form of a serpent to the woman. We know it was the devil because the Bible identifies him plainly.

And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. (Revelation 12:9)

And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, (Revelation 20:2)

Eve's first mistake was in taking counsel from an inferior creature.

Satan appeared to her as a serpent and she is conversing with this creature that is her inferior. We should always look up for counsel, not down. When we begin to listen to the lower elements of this wicked world and allow them to reason with us about what God has said and what is right and wrong we are on the same road to destruction that Eve in here in Genesis 3.

Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. (Psalms 1:1)

The devil lied to the woman and boldly contradicted what God had plainly commanded her husband. This was the first lie that was ever spoken on the earth and it was the first lie the woman had ever heard. An innocent mind is very vulnerable to lies because they naturally believe what they are told to be true. Words are supposed to be true, you know.

Eve is not the only one who has listened to the serpent's lie - all of us have. Every sin begins with a lie and ends in misery and death. Eve became convinced that there was really no danger in sin and in fact, there was actually some benefit to be found in it. She thought she would be better off after she had eaten the fruit. All temptation to sin follows the same path. There is not one of us who has not done the same thing as Eve, but she did it only once and we have done it many times.

The devil's lie that won her over was that she would be as a god.

What he was saying was that she would be able to make up her own mind about wat was right and wrong. She could become her own moral authority. He suggested to her that she had no need of any other authority in her life - she could make up her own mind. Thus, the devil's first lie was about "freedom of choice."

So the devil convinced Eve with lies that all men should have the right to decide for themselves what is right and wrong and live accordingly without any regard for what God says. Does that sound familiar? Is not this the philosophy of the generation in which we live? Almost everyone, including most professing Christians, believe they have the right to decide for themselves what is right and wrong, and very few really believe the Bible is true anymore, so they have believed the same lie the Serpent's has used from the beginning. The devil convinced Eve that God was lying to her and oppressing her and was depriving her of what she could have out of life. The devil convinced Eve that her rights superceded everything else and that life could only be lived to the fullest if she indulged herself in everything that was pleasant to look upon, good for satisfying her lusts, and might make her wiser than others.

Her faulty reasoning, based upon lies, led her to cross the line and take that step that changed everything forever.

With this she took of the fruit of the tree and did eat thereof. She flushed her entire life down the drain with one little decision and one little act. At this point her husband did not matter. His feelings, his life, and how the consequences of her actions might affect him were not even considered by her, and if they were she did not care. Their life together was forever changed but in her moment of temptation and deception she threw it all away. It was not only the two of them who were affected by what she did but death was brought upon all God's creation, and the entire human race.

That is what went wrong with this world. That is what is still wrong with this world. The Serpent is still doing what he did in the garden and his original tactic works so well he has never had to change it. We sin because we listen to the lies of Satan and not because we have defective DNA or some physical quality that "makes" us sinners. In a perfect world with perfect, undefiled bodies, Adam and Eve sinned; how much more difficult is it in a world defiled and filled with sin now! We not only have the voice of the serpent wooing us and lying to us, we have the billions of sinners who are just like him saying the same things to us. Until we understand the truth about WHY we sin we will never have any hope of being delivered from its power.

The good news is that God did not abandon us because of what happened in the garden.

The Bible refers to Jesus as the "last Adam" and He is called the "KING of KINGS and the LORD of LORDS." He is able to reverse the process and set things back in the proper order in the lives of those who will hear and believe the truth, instead of lies. By beginning to reason based upon truth instead of lies a person can be brought into the light and to a saving knowledge of the Gospel of Christ. They enter his kingdom and Jesus becomes their King when they are born again. From that point their lives are ordered by God and his Word, instead of their lusts and opinions. Since they are accountable to God they treat their fellow man differently than sinners do. Since they live under the direction and influence of God they love other people and try to be a blessing and a help to them instead of using and abusing them for their own selfish interests. They are made to be overcomers, and do not live under sin's power any longer. This makes it very easy to distinguish them from those who are still in bonds of iniquity.

NEXT: What Sin Hath Wrought - Part 1

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