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In the Beginning: From Paradise to No Dice

Have you ever thought about those first few chapters of the book of Genesis?  The Bible often is either old hat, yeah, yeah, yeah, I’ve heard that all my life, or this is too much to tackle, I don’t know where to start.  Most people fall somewhere between “in church every time the doors are open since birth”  and “I don’t know much at all about the Bible and all I see in Genesis is the start of a very long, overwhelming, somewhat confusing and scary book.”  So let’s break it down and keep it simple.

The Beginning – God created the world and humans

Genesis 1:1   In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

 Genesis 1:11-12   Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb that yields seed, and the fruit tree that yields fruit according to its kind, whose seed is in itself, on the earth”; and it was so.  And the earth brought forth grass, the herb that yields seed according to its kind, and the tree that yields fruit, whose seed is in itself according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.

Genesis 1: 26-27   Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”   So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.

 Genesis 1:29-30  Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food.  And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air and all the creatures that move on the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for food.” And it was so.

Genesis 2:7-9   Then Adonai, God, formed a person from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, so that he became a living being.  Adonai, God, planted a garden toward the east, in Eden, and there he put the person whom he had formed.  Out of the ground Adonai, God, caused to grow every tree pleasing in appearance and good for food, including the tree of life in the middle of the garden and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

 Genesis 2:25   The man and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.

ADAM and EVE were the first people.  They lived in EDEN.  The word Eden means delight.   The Garden of Eden was a beautiful paradise and they lived in a peaceful state of perfection with everything they needed provided for them.  We know this because:

1:  God created the heavens and the earth, all the creatures and man and he looked at what he created and said it was good

2:  God is infallible, he is not the author of confusion, he is a just and loving god, therefore he would not create something imperfect

3:  This was a place God wanted to be, to enjoy his creation and to have fellowship with nature and man

1:  God is the source of true goodness

Genesis 1:31   God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day.

Psalm 16:2   I said to the LORD, “You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing.”

2:  God is Perfect in all His Ways

Holy:  endowed or invested with extreme purity or sublimity; exalted or worthy of complete devotion as one perfect in goodness and righteousness; divine (Psalms 99:9  for the Lord our God is holy)

God is set apart as the only Supreme One whole, intact, and cannot be transgressed or violated.

Isaiah 6:3   And they were calling to one another:  “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.”

Psalms 99:9  Exalt the LORD our God and worship at his holy mountain, for the LORD our God is holy.

1 Corinthians 14:33   For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.

2 Timothy 1:7   For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

3:  Worship is the Core Purpose of Everything God Created Including Man

Psalm 19:1   The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.

Psalm 8:1   O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens.

Psalm 50:6   And the heavens proclaim his righteousness, for God himself is judge.

The Bible tells us that no man has ever seen God with their eyes but it is clear in many places in the Bible that God manifests himself to humans through nature, the wind, fire, a still small voice.   God communed with Adam and Eve in the garden he created.

God is a spirit.  No one has ever seen God.  But we do know that God speaks to man.

John 4:24  God is spirit and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.

1 John 4:12  No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

Exodus 34:5-7  Then the LORD came down in the cloud and stood there with him and proclaimed his name, the LORD.

Deuteronomy 4:24   For the LORD your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.

Genesis 3:8  Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden.

This is what we have so far:

God, a Supreme and Holy being created the earth and everything in it including man for the purpose of His glory, to worship Him, and fellowship with Him
God created an especially beautiful and lush garden called Eden (delight) and filled it with everything man needed to live and enjoy life without toiling
God and man communed and enjoyed each other’s company

So far so good. So what happened?

At this point, if you are of the “in church all my life” camp you may take a lot of the stories in the Bible for granted.  After all, you’ve heard them in Sunday school since you were very small.  If you are new to the Bible and biblical concepts it may have crossed your mind that the entire story of the creation of the world as we know it is contained in a handful of paragraphs.  Does this seem odd to you?

When you look around at all of nature and you start to take in the all-encompassing studies of the human body and its functions, the animal kingdom, the plant kingdom, medicine, geology, geography, and the dependence of one upon another in a never-ending ecology and cycle of life it’s too much to grasp.  We cannot even begin.  It makes no difference if  you believe the world is around six thousand years old or if you believe the world is billions of years old.  In either case, we are still discovering new species, still in the dark about a huge percentage of the world in which we live.  So much is still unexplored and inaccessible to humans.

The first few chapters of Genesis might make one inclined to believe that God made all of creation in a week and the next week there was the fall of man.  Well, that could be true.  Or, it could be that Adam and Eve lived in the Garden of Eden for years, hundreds of years, or thousands of years in perfect harmony with God and nature before anything happened.  We simply do not know.

Here is what we do know:

*  Adam and Eve were naked but they did not know it nor did they find any shame in it.

*  Adam and Eve did not have to work or toil in any way.  They were on a permanent honeymoon in paradise and everything they needed was provided for them with no effort on their part save lifting their arm to pick whatever fruit they wanted to eat. 

*  Adam and Eve were not afraid of the animals nor were the animals afraid of them because they posed no danger to one another.  

*  Adam and Eve and all the animals were vegetarian.  It was not until Noah’s Ark came to rest that God gave them meat to eat.

God’s Covenant with Noah

Genesis 9:2   the fear and dread of you will fall upon all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air, upon every creature that moves along the ground, and upon all the fish of the sea; they are given into your hands.

Genesis 9:3-4   Everything that lives and moves will be food for you.  Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything. “But you must not eat meat that has its lifeblood still in it.

Genesis 9:5-6   And for your lifeblood I will surely demand an accounting. I will demand an accounting from every animal. And from each man, too, I will demand an accounting for the life of his fellow-man. “Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed; for in the image of God has God made man.

There was only ONE RULE

Genesis 2:15-17   Adonai, God, took the person (Adam) and put him in the garden of Eden to cultivate and care for it.  Adonai, God, gave the person (Adam) this order:  “You may freely eat from every tree in the garden except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.   You are not to eat from it, because on the day that you eat from it, it will become certain that you will die.”

Take a minute to think about it.  Think of your spouse,  your sweetheart, the guy or girl who makes your heart beat faster.  Then think about an all expenses paid vacation to a paradise.  No list of things to do.  No work.  No alarm clock.  No schedule.  The money is not going to run out.  It’s all-inclusive.  Everything you could possibly need or desire is right there at your fingertips.  No failing economy.  No war.  No death.  No violence.  No crime.  No bickering.  No news.  No media.  No peer pressure.  No health issues.  No obligations.  Nothing to worry about.  Nothing to be anxious over.  Nothing to dread.  No marking off the days until it’s over.  You nor anyone you know has ever experienced a vacation in this way.

The wealthiest person on earth with seemingly unlimited resources has never experienced something like this.  Perhaps a portion of it, but not the complete package.  Even the most financially secure person on this earth would not be free from outside forces.  The backlash of economic downturn and the effects on their bank account.   They are not free of the frailty of the failing human body.  They are not immune from the inevitability of decay and impending mortality.

Adam and Eve were free because they were not aware of any other way of life.  They had nothing to compare it to.

“Where ignorance is bliss, ’tis folly to be wise.”  – Thomas Gray

Maxim:  an expression of a general truth or principle.  Also Proverb, Aphorism, Adage

  • Ignorance is bliss
  • Lack of knowledge results in happiness.
  • You are more comfortable if you don’t know something.
  • What you don’t know can’t hurt you.

The Thomas Gray Archive: “Ode on a Distant Prospect of Eton College” (Lines 99.3-100.5)

The ONE RULE God imposed in the garden of Eden was not a test of obedience.  The ONE RULE was not to make sure Adam and Eve understood that in the scheme of things they were hanging out with God but HE was still the boss.  God was not pulling rank.  God is God.  He does not have to prove Himself to anyone. The ONE RULE was out of love.  God did not want Adam and Eve to be able to see evil.  He did not want them to have to bear the burden of imperfection.

Think about it.  If a child is born to doting parents and extended family and lives in a peaceful, protected, pleasant environment for five years being told they are the cat’s meow they feel pretty good about themselves and about life.  The first day of kindergarten they waltz into the classroom sure and steady.  They are number one.  They have no idea that they possess any imperfection of any kind because they believe what loving parents have told them.  “You are beautiful.  You are smart.  You are more than acceptable.”

 Suddenly, they are thrust into  a world of comparison.  Susie’s blonde curls are prettier than your straight brown hair.  Johnny is smarter than you and can do the puzzle faster.  Prior to knowledge of Susie and Johnny life was pretty sweet.  Now doubt has crept in.  Worry.  Competition.  Inadequacy.  Vying for place.  Jockeying for position.  Now there is striving.  Now there is the possibility of hurt.  Disappointment.  Loss.  Anger.  

The Fall of Man more appropriately titled:  The End of Paradise or The Honeymoon is Now Officially Over

Genesis 3:1-5   Now the serpent was more crafty than any wild animal which Adonai, God, had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You are not to eat from any tree in the garden’?” The woman answered the serpent, “We may eat from the fruit of the trees of the garden, but about the fruit of the tree in the middle of the garden God said, ‘You are neither to eat from it nor touch it, or you will die.’” The serpent said to the woman, “It is not true that you will surely die;  because God knows that on the day you eat from it, your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” 

Don’t you love how Genesis just glides over the fact that a wild animal, a snake no less, is chatting casually with Eve?  It is commonly held that Moses wrote the Pentateuch, the first five books of the Bible, of which Genesis is the first.  It is generally understood that this was a result of divine revelation from God so that Moses could record for posterity the beginning.  So just picture Moses hangin’ out with God writing down all the things God is telling him and what he must have been thinking.  Do you wonder if Moses found it extremely bizarre for Eve to be getting snack advice from a snake?   But again, this goes back to the premise:  ignorance is bliss.  Eve had no knowledge of fear.  There was nothing to fear.  Not even a talking snake. 

Eve goes first and Adam follows

Genesis 3:6-7   When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it had a pleasing appearance and that the tree was desirable for making one wise, she took some of its fruit and ate.   She also gave some to her husband, who was with her; and he ate.   Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized that they were naked.   So they sewed fig leaves together to make themselves loincloths.

Big sigh.  With knowledge comes responsibility.

The first case of passing the buck

Genesis 3:8-13   They heard the voice of Adonai, God, walking in the garden at the time of the evening breeze, so the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of Adonai, God, among the trees in the garden.   Adonai, God, called to the man, “Where are you?”   He answered, “I heard your voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, so I hid myself.”   He said, “Who told you that you were naked?   Have you eaten from the tree from which I ordered you not to eat?”   The man replied, “The woman you gave to be with me — she gave me fruit from the tree, and I ate.”   Adonai, God, said to the woman, “What is this you have done?”   The woman answered, “The serpent tricked me, so I ate.”

Talk about a monumental game of not it!  Isn’t that what children do?  Not me.  Not my fault.  Eve blames the snake but Adam.  Poor, poor Adam.  He doesn’t just blame Eve, he blames God!  “The woman YOU gave to be with me — she gave me fruit from the tree,” 

Everybody gets a spanking

The Snake

Genesis 3:14-15     Adonai, God, said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, you are cursed more than all livestock and wild animals. You will crawl on your belly and eat dust as long as you live.  I will put animosity between you and the woman, and between your descendant and her descendant; he will bruise your head, and you will bruise his heel.”

The Woman

Genesis 3:16   To the woman he said, “I will greatly increase your pain in childbirth. You will bring forth children in pain.  Your desire will be toward your husband, but he will rule over you.”

The Man

Genesis 3:17-19   To Adam he said, “Because you listened to what your wife said and ate from the tree about which I gave you the order, ‘You are not to eat from it,’ the ground is cursed on your account; you will work hard to eat from it as long as you live. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat field plants. You will eat bread by the sweat of your forehead till you return to the ground — for you were taken out of it: you are dust, and you will return to dust.”

What you must realize is that all of creation, though it may seem immense and overwhelming to humans, is neat and orderly to God.  When He created the world He established certain principles that permeate all of existence.  We identify them through the disciplines of mathematics and physics, chemistry and biology.

NEWTON’S LAWS OF MOTION are three physical laws that form the basis for classical mechanics. They describe the relationship between the forces acting on a body and its motion due to those forces. They have been expressed in several different ways over nearly three centuries, and can be summarized as follows:

First law:   Every object continues in its state of rest, or of uniform motion in a straight line, unless compelled to change that state by external forces acted upon it.

Second law:   The change of momentum of a body is proportional to the impulse impressed on the body, and happens along the straight line on which that impulse is impressed.  If a force generates a motion, a double force will generate double the motion, a triple force triple the motion, whether that force be impressed altogether and at once, or gradually and successively.

Third law:   When two bodies interact by exerting force on each other, these forces (termed the action and the reaction) are equal in magnitude, but opposite in direction.  i.e.  for every action there is an equal but opposite reaction.

The three laws of motion were first compiled by Sir Isaac Newton in his work Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica, first published in 1687.

Newton gets credit for writing these laws down and that’s OK but in actuality these of course are not Newton’s Laws but God’s laws.  Newton identifies these as physical laws but not only is God smarter than Newton, He also thinks bigger.  One may also imagine that God has a pretty decent sense of humor.

First law:   Every object continues in its state of rest, or of uniform motion in a straight line, unless compelled to change that state by external forces acted upon it.

Eden Translation

Eve was traveling in a straight line of obedience until she was compelled to change by the external force of the serpent’s urging.
Adam was traveling in a straight line of obedience until he was compelled to change by the external force of  Eve’s urging

Second law:   The change of momentum of a body is proportional to the impulse impressed on the body, and happens along the straight line on which that impulse is impressed.  If a force generates a motion, a double force will generate double the motion, a triple force triple the motion, whether that force be impressed altogether and at once, or gradually and successively.

Eden Translation

Eve was not moving in the direction of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge until the snake generated a suggestion.
Adam was not moving in the direction of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge until Eve, reacting to the force of the snake’s suggestion, issued some force of her own now doubling the force on Adam.

Third law:   When two bodies interact by exerting force on each other, these forces (termed the action and the reaction) are equal in magnitude, but opposite in direction.  i.e.  for every action there is an equal but opposite reaction.

Eden Translation

Cause and Effect.  For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.

The serpent caused harm to God’s creation. The punishment issued was you are cursed more than all livestock and wild animals. You will crawl on your belly and eat dust as long as you live.
Eve disobeyed and opened a Pandora’s Box of troubles and then instead of owning up to her part she pointed the finger at the serpent. The punishment issued was I will greatly increase your pain in childbirth. You will bring forth children in pain.
Adam disobeyed.  Adam failed to be the leader and stand up for right regardless of what Eve did.  Adam not only passed the buck to Eve, he pointed a finger of blame at God.   The punishment issued was the ground is cursed on your account; you will work hard to eat from it as long as you live. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat field plants. You will eat bread by the sweat of your forehead till you return to the ground.

The serpent set the ball rolling by approaching Eve and planting the seed of doubt in her head.  Essentially, the serpent told Eve God was a liar and had a hidden agenda for imposing the ONE RULE.  The serpent told Eve “It is not true that you will surely die; because God knows that on the day you eat from it, your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

The serpent was twisting the truth.  It was true that eating the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge did not kill you.  i.e.:  it was not poisonous.  The ingestion of the fruit was not what killed you.  Death was the inevitable outcome of gaining more knowledge than humans can handle or than God would allow them to handle for their own good.

A good analogy would be don’t drink and drive or you will die.  The act of ingesting too much alcohol and then driving a motor vehicle does not kill anyone.  But the result of the loss of motor skills, reaction time, and clear judgement create an environment that inevitably leads to the worst possible outcome.  There is no denying it.

In reality, the truest statement possible is that the only thing that ever kills anyone is their heart stopping so that blood is no longer pumped through the body and oxygen is not supplied to their cells.  That is truly the only thing that ever kills anyone.  The infinite list of things that “kill” people are only mechanisms for stopping the heart and oxygen supply.

The Shedding of Blood

Genesis 3:21   Adonai, God, made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them.

The fact that Adam and Eve and all the creatures of the Garden of Eden were vegetarians becomes pertinent at this point.  When there was no sin there was no shedding of blood.   When God created man and woman they were innocent, unaware of anything corrupt or imperfect. Once sin entered with its imperfection, changes had to be made.  They now needed to be clothed to cover their shame.

God covered them with clothing made from skins. While the Bible is not expressly detailed or specific about the kind of skins, intelligence dictates that the skin or pelts/fur of animals is meant. This means that an animal had to die.  When you skin the animal for its pelt there is going to be a lot of bloodshed. Hence the first instance of the symbolism of shed blood as a covering for imperfection.

Death was not a punishment for eating from the Tree of Knowledge

Genesis 3:22-24   Adonai, God, said, “See, the man has become like one of us, knowing good and evil. Now, to prevent his putting out his hand and taking also from the tree of life, eating, and living forever — ” therefore Adonai, God, sent him out of the garden of Eden to cultivate the ground from which he was taken.   So he drove the man out, and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden the k’ruvim and a flaming sword which turned in every direction to guard the way to the tree of life.

It is a mistake, and one religion and doctrine has run wild with, to understand or believe that death was a punishment for eating from the Tree of Knowledge.  How many of you are a little freaked out just reading that?  How many have been taught or have some inherent sense that God is out to get you?

We just went over what the punishments were to the serpent, to Eve, and to Adam.  They were all punished for their participation in breaking the ONE RULE.   Death was not a punishment.  The death of the human body was the outcome of eating of the Tree of Knowledge just like God said it would be.  Knowledge is a burden that crushes.

Matthew 11:28-30   Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

Psalm 55:22   Cast your burden on the Lord, And He shall sustain you;

1 Peter 5:7   Cast your cares upon the Lord, for He cares for you.

Genesis 3:22 Adonai, God, said, “See, the man has become like one of us, knowing good and evil.”  refers to the Trinity.  God the Father, God the Son – Jesus Christ, and God the Holy Spirit.  God the Trinity put Adam and Eve out of the garden of Eden so they couldn’t have access to the Tree of Life.  This was not punishment either.  This was an act of love.

Is your next question, “How in the world can anyone see Adam and Eve being kicked out of paradise where they were provided for night and day into a dry, barren land of thorns and thistles where they had to suddenly know how to be farmers just to scrape together enough to eat an act of love?”

Well, consider this.  Imagine your worst day ever.  Really bad news.  Loss.  Hurt.  Disappointment.  Depression.  Pain.  Anger.  Helplessness.  Hopelessness.  Your body is worn out and falling apart.  You are tired and tired of being tired.  What if on that worst day ever you saw eternity stretching out before you with no hope of your misery ending.  That’s bleak.  That’s hell.  You can’t commit suicide because you can’t die.  You can’t escape.  You are forced to keep on living knowing this is as good as it’s ever going to get.  Chances are you’d simply at some point just check out.  Your body might still be alive but your mind would go elsewhere to escape.  You’d be a zombie.  The walking dead.  Wishing you were dead.

Psalm 116:15   Precious in the sight of the Lord Is the death of His saints.

Revelation 14:12-13    Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus. Then I heard a voice from heaven saying to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.’”  “Yes,” says the Spirit,  “that they may rest from their labors, and their works follow them.”

God the Trinity put the plan of salvation into act in Genesis 3:24:  So he drove the man out, and he placed at the east of the garden of ‘Eden the k’ruvim and a flaming sword which turned in every direction to guard the way to the tree of life.

This ensured that the next time humans had access to eternal life it would be eternal life in an eternal state of perfection, peace, love, joy, and hope.

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Next Page  >   The Fall of Man:  What Exactly Is Sin?

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Number 1 in a series  ->  In the Beginning: From Paradise to No Dice
Number 2 in a series  ->  The Fall of Man:  What Exactly Is Sin?
Number 3 in a series – >  The Fall of Man:  No Laws, No Sin
Number 4 in a series – >  The Fall of Man:  Separation from God
Number 5 in a series – >  The Fall of Man: All Men Declared sinful

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2 comments on “In the Beginning: From Paradise to No Dice

  1. Pingback: Too Smart For Your Own Good

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