After a journey to outer space you may be wondering if the writer is wandering.  There really is a method to this madness!  Most bible studies grind through the Bible in a slow progression.  We are going on an overview, a high altitude pass over the entire bible.  Let’s focus on major spiritual themes, so we will recognize landmarks as you study in greater detail later.  The Old Testament confirms the new, and both give proof of Christ.  Last week we looked at “In the beginning” with a tour of the universe.  The creator has more work in progress as we continue. 

ABOUT GENESIS

Don’t get hung up on the science of creation.  I will not be offended if God used a slow or a fast process of change to achieve his goals.  Scientist: you acknowledge the possibility that space and time can be warped, so consider a shortened process.  Literal theologians:  the word suggests that a day to the Lord may be more than our normal day, so lighten up.  (How long was a day before there was a sun or an earth or to rotate?)  Neither one of you was there, or knows all that God does.  He may be speaking in simplified terms that our little minds can grasp.  We accept prophesy of a bush as being about the re-birth of Israel.  Were we looking for a literal tree instead? 

Let a scientist call it “evolution,” but we know it is no accident.  Even the odds makers in Las Vegas wouldn’t give you good chances on that.  We have math called statistics that would make a good case against accidental evolution.  I don’t care about the tool; I care about the craftsman who used the tool. 

Let’s focus on the creator more than his creation tools, as he can explain himself in person if you maintain a relationship with him.  Prayer, Bible Study, and Godly company will keep you in tune with the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.  If one is out of balance, the others will help even us up.

DON’T SWEAT THE DETAILS; CONSIDER THE MESSAGE!

God revealed Messiah many times in the Old Testament, but he was still not recognized by many, even to this day.  Was John the Baptist literally Elijah or just figuratively?  The Pharisees and Scribes would deny him even if he called fire down from heaven on them!  If you have a personal relationship with the messenger, you have your own reasons to hear the message.  Don’t let others lead you away from the evidence he gives you.

ADAM:  THE FIRST OWNER

And 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 fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.  So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.  And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.  Gen 1:26-28 (KJV)

God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.  John 4:24 (KJV)

Being created in his image may refer to the spiritual image rather than a fleshy image, as God is not flesh, but spirit.  We have his image of dominion, as we have ruled the earth.  Among all creatures we are unique for our pattern of domination by design.  God became flesh as Yeshua, to experience and demonstrate righteous life for man.

Adam was the first to fellowship with God.  Are evolutionists having problems again?  Could God put the gift of a spirit in one uniquely created primate?  Other primates may have been progressing towards that one which received that gift.  What about the lack of meat eating animals? The Garden of Eden was a sheltered area in the midst of an untamed world: 

And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed. And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Genesis 2:8-9

Perhaps the whole world was not ideal, only that garden of man.  And later the area was sealed off, suggesting that it was isolated, possibly by geographic barriers.

So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.  Genesis 3:24

A bad decision caused this, and an evil spirit brought the tempting idea:

Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?  And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden:  But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.  And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:  For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and YE SHALL BE AS GODS, knowing good and evil. Genesis 3:1-5

SO YOU WANT TO BE LIKE GOD, HUH?  Adam pointed at his wife to pass the blame of course:

And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.  Genesis 3:12

Adam and Eve both knew the rules.  The Serpent is the one who presents the lies.  We chose which to live by.  We still have to listen to authority now.

Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work, To speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, shewing all meekness unto all men.  Titus 3:1-2

If we ask to be as gods, you will have to go his way, not the way of the flesh.  It will take a bit longer for man to find this way.

REDEMPTION BY BLOOD (SKINS)

Sin required punishment, which was death.  God already knew that man would fail, and he provided an animal to take our place in death.  He covered their sins with the skins (and blood) of innocent animals:

 Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them.  Genesis 3:21

 During a survival-training course I was required to kill a rabbit to eat in our camp.  The organizers provided tame rabbits so we could catch them with little effort.  The lesson turned out to be different from just survival though.  The act of striking that little tame bunny to kill it was unforgettable.  Israel would be required to kill their own sacrifice under the law to give them that experience.  We need to know how our sin stains our life and those around us as well.  Eventually man would have to pay the cost in human blood, that of one called the “Lamb of God”.  The entire Old Testament is filled with previews and examples of the coming Messiah.

ON THIS EARTH-MORTALS LIKE JESUS

With knowledge of good and evil, we still want more.  We are still mere mortal flesh, subject to temptation and weakness.  God would come here the same way, in weak flesh, and not make a big deal about it.  He knows what we feel, because he felt it too.  He was seen as one of us.  This second Adam would be from heaven, God in the flesh.

Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.  Matthew 1:23

SUCCESS” IS JUST TEMPTATION – ALL IS VANITY

Since Adam, we all have temptations now.  Solomon tried every adventure in life, including madness.  God let him taste everything so we would not have to be hurt the same way.  He had enough money, looks, and power to be out of control, and he nearly lost it all to sin.  His wives led him to false worship. 

STRONG, HANDSOME, WEALTHY, AND POPULAR: ALL IS VANITY

What would happen if I suddenly become wealthy, intelligent, handsome, and “buff” for the first time?  I have no idea how to act if someone says I look nice.  Only a few kind souls have complimented me in real life.  Gawsh, how will I act?   Solomon had it all, and discovered it was all vanity.  He recovered his wisdom at the end of Ecclesiastes to point the right way.

Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. Ecclesiastes 12:13

If I have all the opportunities that Solomon had, I still have one responsibility.  No open door is good unless God opened it.  All I get from great achievement is the same need:  to wait on God for direction.  When I have a lot of opportunities, I just have a lot of responsibility.  More temptation, more decisions, more prayer!

JESUS CAME AS AN UNDESIREABLE…The cure for sin would come in weakness, not in strength.

For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Isaiah 53:2-3

He had all the power of the universe, and came in humility.  He felt the flesh under the curse, with thorns, poison ivy, biting bugs, fatigue, and temptation.  He took on our sins so we could prosper and have good health.  But like the Old Testament saints, we are incomplete without the healer.  Like Adam, we still have to fear and obey Him.  Our choice of fellowship, behavior, and worship belongs to our God.  We are called to obey the laws and leaders of our church and nation.

HIS LOSS (PAIN) IS OUR GAIN

You can discover new abilities now, because he helps us to grow.  You are never too young or old to learn and grow stronger.  You can find new youth in physical health, and mental discoveries.  You can inspire others by pointing the way to the Promised Land, if you are willing to be brave and let God teach you. 

I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.  I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.  Notwithstanding ye have well done, that ye did communicate with my affliction.  Philippians 4:12-14

Paul is not saying that he can do whatever he pleases by faith.  He is saying that he can endure his prison sentence by grace, knowing that Christ is our source in good or bad times.  We can grow, if we do it in God’s way, not our own. 

Your patience with fellow man delivers you from the temptation to join them in sin.  Your agony in life is better than the shortcut of sin.  Authorities in this nation have decided to protect the public from the danger of drugs.  They did this for our good, and we should respect that.  God ordained the lawmakers and the police to protect us.  In Christ we are examples to the world.

We were created to be the image of God, reflecting his patience and humility.  God intended to make us like him…in his time.  If we seek to display carnal power instead of spiritual strength, we are rebellious.  His works produce life, not our works.  Faith will produce his works in us with patience. God has provided himself as the sacrifice of blood to cover our sins.

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