God’s eternal plan for time and space is underway. First, we saw creation. Next, we saw corruption. The third and final part of God’s plan is redemption.
How would God introduce the idea of redemption into His plan? He already did –
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.Genesis 3:14-15
Adam and Eve sinned against God and plunged creation into corruption. God immediately introduced redemption. It was an eternal plan based on the Son of God’s death and resurrection that would be carried out in time and space –
… 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 1:9-10
The Birth of Sin
God sent Adam away from the Garden of Eden “to till the ground from which he was taken.” Adam was a farmer and Eve was a farmer’s wife. It wasn’t long before they started a family – the first human family –
Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, and said, ‘I have acquired a man from the Lord.’Genesis 4:1
Eve didn’t forget how Satan had deceived her and what God had said to Satan –
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.Genesis 3:15
Eve was looking for the “seed,” the male child who would “bruise” the head of Satan’s seed. She thought her firstborn son, Cain, was that man.
Eve became pregnant again and had another son. She would later have other children, but Cain was the one she thought at first would be the “Seed” who would defeat Satan.
The first human pregnancy on earth is a fascinating study – and not just because of what the baby would do as an adult. Something Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians gives us tremendous insight into what was going on in that first pregnancy –
The body is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption. It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power. It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.1 Corinthians 15:42-44
The Greek word for “sown” is σπείρω (speiró). The idea is of sowing or scattering seed. The Hebrew word translated “seed” in Genesis 3:15 is זָ֫רַע (zar‘ă) and means “seed, descendants.”
Adam “knew” (had sexual relations) with Eve and she became pregnant. From what Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 15 we see that the body that would become Cain was –
- sown in corruption
- sown in dishonor
- sown in weakness
- sown a natural body
That is the direct result of the “sin” that entered into the world when Adam and Eve disobeyed God.
Cain’s personal story is sad in many ways, but not surprising given what God told Eve in the garden –
I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception; In pain you shall bring forth children.Genesis 3:16a
Eve and all women who would become mothers after her would experience sorrow and pain during pregnancy and childbirth. Since God pronounced that He would “greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception,” it would appear to be part of God’s eternal plan.
Pain and sorrow play an integral part in God’s plan for humanity. It appears to be an important part of the epic journey we are on with God. Pregnancy and childbirth are hard to go through, but it’s amazing how quickly women are ready to go through it again to bear more children. They have a very special connection with their children that men don’t have. It’s the way God intended. Babies are nurtured inside their mother’s womb until time for birth. Birth for both mother and child is painful, but their external reunion is amazing to see. As a father and grandfather I have marveled at the phenomenal closeness mother and child experience with each other.
I’ll share more about this in future articles, but I’d like to point out something that is an important part of God’s eternal plan. That is the importance of “overcoming.”
The pain mothers experience during pregnancy and childbirth is an example of the journey we are on with God.
Jesus addressed this when He spoke with His disciples prior to going to the Cross –
These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.John 16:33
We can all “amen” that! We do experience tribulation in this world and we can be of good cheer because Jesus has overcome the world.
In the Book of Revelation, Jesus addressed seven churches in Asia Minor and told each of them to overcome. Notice how Jesus promises a reward for overcoming.
He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God. Revelation 2:7
He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes shall not be hurt by the second death. Revelation 2:11
He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give some of the hidden manna to eat. And I will give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written which no one knows except him who receives it. Revelation 2:17
And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations— Revelation 2:26
He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels. Revelation 3:5
He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more. I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God. And I will write on him My new name. Revelation 3:12
To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. Revelation 3:21
It’s clear from what Jesus told His disciples and the churches that overcoming was an important part of His eternal plan for humans. In this life we will have tribulation (θλῖψις, thlipsis – trouble, persecution, affliction, distress, tribulation), but we can be of good cheer (θαρσέω, tharseó – of good courage, good cheer, bold) because Jesus has overcome (νικάω, nikaó – conquer, victorious, overcome, prevail, subdue) the world.
The eternal plan of God was for God the Son to overcome the world with all of its tribulations, trouble, afflictions, distress and persecution and for us to overcome through His victory –
So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: ‘Death is swallowed up in victory.’ O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?’ The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.1 Corinthians 15:54-57
Living this life is hard. God never lied to us. He told our first parents, Adam and Eve, that life would be hard and would end in death. Jesus said we would experience tribulation in this world, but we could take courage in the fact that He had overcome the world. Jesus also reminded His followers that there are amazing rewards waiting for those who overcome.
One of my favorite sections of Scripture that addresses this issue is in Romans 8. It is most encouraging –
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written: ‘For Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.’ Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.Romans 8:31-39
The Apostle Paul also addressed the issue of overcoming in the context of serving God through obedience and sacrifice –
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.Romans 12:21
The Apostle John wrote about Christians overcoming Satan and the world –
I write to you, fathers, Because you have known Him who is from the beginning. I write to you, young men, Because you have overcome the wicked one. I write to you, little children, Because you have known the Father. I have written to you, fathers, Because you have known Him who is from the beginning. I have written to you, young men, Because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, And you have overcome the wicked one. 1 John 2:13-14
For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome. For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? 1 John 5:3-5
And there we have the secret to overcoming the world – believe that Jesus is the Son of God. That’s the eternal plan. God the Father wants the world to believe that Jesus is His Son.
What is Satan’s plan to oppose the eternal plan of God? Deceive people so they won’t believe that Jesus is the Son of God.
In the next part of our series we will look at the growth of sin and the part it plays in God’s eternal plan.
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Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.