In the last part of our study we saw how God reacted to Satan, Eve and Adam in the Garden of Eden. God tested Adam and Eve and they failed – especially Adam –
“For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression.”
Adam was formed first. God gave him the commandment not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Adam knew better, but when tested “fell into transgression.”
Maybe he didn’t want to live without having Eve with him (knowing she would die), but whatever his reason he made a bad choice. It led to grave circumstances.
It’s important to remember that God was not caught off guard by what Adam and Eve did in the Garden of Eden. Satan didn’t secretly slip into the garden without God knowing he was there. God didn’t have to make up stuff when He spoke to Satan, Eve and Adam. Everything God said to them was something He determined to say to them “before time began, before the foundation of the world.” Everything God revealed to them in the garden was tied to His Great Reveal.
“And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. Then the Lord God called to Adam and said to him, ‘Where are you?’ So he said, ‘I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself.’ And He said, ‘Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you that you should not eat?’ Then the man said, ‘The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate.’ And the Lord God said to the woman, ‘What is this you have done?’ The woman said, ‘The serpent deceived me, and I ate.’ So the Lord God said to the serpent: ‘Because you have done this, You are cursed more than all cattle, And more than every beast of the field; On your belly you shall go, And you shall eat dust All the days of your life. And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel.’ To the woman He said: ‘I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception; In pain you shall bring forth children; Your desire shall be for your husband, And he shall rule over you.’ Then to Adam He said, ‘Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat of it’: ‘Cursed is the ground for your sake; In toil you shall eat of it All the days of your life. Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you, And you shall eat the herb of the field. In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread Till you return to the ground, For out of it you were taken; For dust you are, And to dust you shall return.” Genesis 3:8-19
Based on what we read in the brief exchange between God and the first humans, life changed in massive ways from what they had known before their test with Satan.
They would experience –
- blame others
Does that sound familiar?
The important thing to remember is that God pronounced at a particular place and time what He had already decided to do in eternity – before time and space.
Let me say that again –
God pronounced at a particular place and time what He had already decided to do in eternity – before time and space.
We MUST understand that the kind of life we live is not a mistake. It is not an oversight. It is not something outside of God’s will. What we experience in this life is central to God’s eternal purpose –
“And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” John 3:14-17
“… knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.” 1 Peter 1:18-19
“Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God, who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began, but has now been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.” 2 Timothy 1:8-10
The End From The Beginning
“Remember the former things of old, For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me, Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things that are not yet done, Saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, And I will do all My pleasure,’ Calling a bird of prey from the east, The man who executes My counsel, from a far country. Indeed I have spoken it; I will also bring it to pass. I have purposed it; I will also do it.” Isaiah 46:9-11
How can God know the end from the beginning? Because He is eternal. His counsel, which is eternal, will stand in time and space. He will do ALL His pleasure, which is also eternal.
With that in mind, let’s look at the beginning and compare with the middle and the end –
Beginning – “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 … 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 2:8-9, 23-25
Middle – “I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception; In pain you shall bring forth children; Your desire shall be for your husband, And he shall rule over you … Cursed is the ground for your sake; In toil you shall eat of it All the days of your life. Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you, And you shall eat the herb of the field. In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread Till you return to the ground, For out of it you were taken; For dust you are, And to dust you shall return.” Genesis 3:16-19
End – “And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, ‘Behold, the tabernacle of God iswith men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” Revelation 21:3-4
God knew the end from the beginning. God knew in eternity what the beginning would be, what the middle would be and what the end would be.
“And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the middle of its street, and on either side of the river, was the tree of life, which bore twelve fruits, each tree yielding its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. And there shall be no more curse, but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and His servants shall serve Him. They shall see His face, and His name shall be on their foreheads. There shall be no night there: They need no lamp nor light of the sun, for the Lord God gives them light. And they shall reign forever and ever.” Revelation 22:1-5
Human beings were made in the image and likeness of God. They started life in a beautiful place surrounded with good things, but God had determined in eternity to do something special with them in time and space. God made a decision in eternity so we could make a decision in time and space.
Adam and Eve made their decisions in the beginning that would plunge the human race into a middle time that would surround all people with death, sorrow and pain. That will eventually end and lead to a time of life and joy without pain or fear.
So, since God knows the end from the beginning, why would He want the middle time? Why not go straight from the beginning to the end?
You may not like the answer, but it is apparent from everything we read in the revealed Word of God – the middle is central to God’s epic journey and our epic journey.
The Epic Journey
I find it helpful to deal with what’s “really real.” What’s really real is that God determined in eternity to start an epic journey that would include creation, corruption, and redemption in time and space. We are on that journey with God.
Christians do not believe, as deists do, that God created the universe but doesn’t intervene in any way – letting the universe run itself. Christians believe that God created the universe with a masterful purpose and is intimately involved with how everything in time and space works with His plan.
The Apostle Paul understood what God was doing and why. That’s why Paul was able to write this –
“ For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body. For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance.” Romans 8:18-25
Wow! Now that’s an epic journey. From creation to corruption to redemption. That is the journey we are on with God.
In the next part of our study we will see how Adam and Eve responded to what God said to them and what He did to them.
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Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.