Romans – The Gospel of God (Part 32)

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.”

In our last study we looked at God’s Eternal Plan that Father, Son and Holy Spirit purposed together “before time began.” Genesis 1 is a recounting of how God revealed the Plan and how it culminated in God’s crowning achievement – man (male and female). God (elohim) made (na’a’seh – let us make) man (adam) “in Our image” (besalmenu), “according to Our likeness” (kidmutenu).

The Plan to Rule

From that beginning point we learn that God had two plans in His relationship with man. The first plan was to rule.

Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.’ So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” Genesis 1:26-27

Part of God’s plan in creating a living being “in Our image, according to Our likeness” was to “have dominion over” other created beings (e.g. fish, birds, cattle, every creeping thing that creeps on the earth). The word “dominion” is a translation of the Hebrew word wĕyirdû in Genesis 1:26 (“let them have dominion over”) and ûrĕdû in Genesis 1:28 (“have dominion over”). Both words come from the word râdâh, which means “to reign, rule over, subjugate, dominate.”

Genesis 1:26-28 is a brief overview of God’s creation of man (male and female). Genesis 2 is a detailed view of God’s crowning creative achievement. Knowing that God purposed and planned the unfolding events of creation “before time began,” watch closely to see what God did and said.

“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 being. The Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden, and there He put the man whom He had formed. And out of the ground the Lord God made every tree grow that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Now a river went out of Eden to water the garden, and from there it parted and became four riverheads … Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it. And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, ‘Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.’ And the Lord God said, ‘It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.’ Out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them. And whatever Adam called each living creature, that was its name. So Adam gave names to all cattle, to the birds of the air, and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper comparable to him. And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place. Then the rib which the Lord God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man. And Adam said: ‘This is now bone of my bones And flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, Because she was taken out of Man.’ Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.” Genesis 2:7-10, 15-25

God created adam in a very personal way – “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 being.” The Hebrew word translated “formed” is wayyîṣer and comes from the word yâtsar, meaning “to fashion, frame, to shape, form.” The word was used for the work of a potter in making something from clay. God “formed, fashioned, framed” adam from the dust of the ground and “breathed into his nostrils the breath of life.” The Hebrew word for “breathed” is nâphach, which means “to inflate, to puff, to blow.” The outcome of God’s creative action in forming adam and breathing the breath of life into his nostrils was that “man became a living being.”

God apparently created adam in a place called Eden, then moved him “eastward” to a garden where God had created trees that were “pleasant to the sight and good for food.” God placed adam in the garden of Eden “to tend and keep it.” The Hebrew word for “tend” is ʻâbad and means “to dress, till, work, labor, serve.” The Hebrew word for “keep” is shâmar and means “to guard, protect, preserve, hedge about, attend to, keep watch for.” This was part of God’s plan from “before time began” for man to rule the Earth with Him.

Two of the trees in the garden of Eden are identified as the “tree of life” and the “tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” The Lord God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” This is the Supreme Ruler commanding the human ruler about a particular danger in the garden. It was one of the trees God had created, but it was the fruit of this tree that adam was not to eat. The result of disobeying God’s command would be to “die.”

The fact that God created a tree of the “knowledge of good and evil” and that eating its fruit would lead to death is important to note as we see the revealing of God’s eternal plan in time and space. The fact that God created and identified another tree as the “tree of life” is also important to note. One tree contained the fruit of life, while the other tree contained fruit of death. It would appear that God’s eternal plan contained an important aspect of life and death in time and space. We’ll see more about that in our next study.,

Another aspect of adam sharing rule with God was naming “every beast of the field and every bird of the air.” In Genesis 1:26 God said that adam would “have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” God the Creator brought the animals and birds to adam the ‘earth ruler’ to be named. That demonstrates purpose and planning.

It was during the naming of the animals and birds that adam realized there was no helper comparable to him. God completed the creative purpose and plan described in Genesis 1:26-28 and “caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place. Then the rib which the Lord God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man” (Genesis 2:21-22). Adam understood the physical and emotional relationship involved and named her “Woman, Because she was taken out of Man.” 

In one statement – “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over” – God revealed a major part of the plan Father, Son and Holy Spirit designed “before the beginning of time.” Is there anything else to God’s eternal plan? There is and we’ll learn about that in the next part of our study of Romans.

“Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”

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