This article is a part of the Biblical Hope series. To start this study from the beginning, click here: Biblical Hope.
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness. (Genesis 1:1-4 ESV)
Why didn’t God begin the Bible with man in the Garden? He wanted to inform us that there is a story before the “Story.”
Principle 1: Spiritual Precedes the Natural
God creates the world, but it is without form and void.
“tohu va bohu” – chaos and confusion, or emptiness.
However, the Spirit of God was hovering over it from the beginning.
Then, God declares, “Let there be light.”
Without mention of any source, He proclaims the light to be good and separates it from the darkness (still no sun, moon or stars, only light).
Principle 2: Darkness is real
The world we come into is preceded by darkness, but the light of God overcomes the darkness, and with it, the elements of chaos, confusion, emptiness and meaninglessness. In Genesis 1, three times it is said that God separates the darkness from the light, because it is ‘good.’
Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and 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. And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” (Genesis 1:26-28 ESV)
- Nature of man – fashioned in the image of God
- Role of man – given dominion over other created beings
- Calling – be fruitful; Equipping – by way of blessing
- Needs of man – food, companionship, meaningful work
Principle 3: Never downplay the nature of anyone made in His image. It is unique in creation and awesome in capability.
Principle 4: Never underestimate the power of dominion
Question: Why did God create man with needs? Answer: To cause his reasoning mind to equate needs with supplies
Ultimately pointing to his greatest missing Need, the Messiah
Then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature. And the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed. And out of the ground the Lord God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, hand the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. (Genesis 2:7-9 ESV)
The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. (Genesis 2:15 ESV)
- The uniqueness of man: Formed from dust
- Indwelled with a spirit and soul [neshma, nephesh]
- Given a place and a purpose
- He has senses that attract him to things pleasant
Principle 5: With position comes responsibility
God gave man the freedom to name the animals without interfering. (don’t blame God if you don’t like the names)
So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. Then the man said, “This at last is 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 his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. (Genesis 2:21-24 ESV)
Aloneness is not good. God creates companionship through division.
Principle 6: The eternal purpose of God is oneness.
It is prophetic in nature, yet requires cooperation: leaving and cleaving. It will become the basis of the purpose of the church with the prophetic conclusion of a Bride making herself ready for an awaiting Groom.
- Pleasant, plentiful, overflowing (one river flows in, four out)
- Filled with variety and value
Principle 7: The Presence of God in the life of man is life at its best.
It literally overflows into nations, yet formed with resource and refreshing.
Next article: The Fall of Man
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