Summary: Created with self-determining freedom
[IN GOD’S IMAGE 8 – THE FALL OF MAN]
This message is part of a series of 90 sermons based on the title, “In God’s Image – God’s Purpose for humanity.” This series of free sermons or the equivalent free book format is designed to take the reader through an amazing process beginning with God in prehistory and finishing with humanity joining God in eternity as His loving sons and daughters. It is at times, a painful yet fascinating story, not only for humanity, but also for God. As the sermons follow a chronological view of the story of salvation, it is highly recommend they be presented in numerical order rather than jumping to the more “interesting” or “controversial” subjects as the material builds on what is presented earlier. We also recommend reading the introduction prior to using the material. The free book version along with any graphics or figures mentioned in this series can be downloaded at www.ingodsimage.site - Gary Regazzoli
Last time we finished up with God placing man in the newly created Garden of Eden.
• It must have been an ideal existence living in a beautifully landscaped garden created by God Himself.
• But in the middle of the garden two trees were different.
• They did not have botanical names, but rather moral names.
• They were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
• We spoke about a moral universe that God has engineered where free agents have been given self-determining freedom and the power to make morally responsible choices.
• Consequences, either good or bad, have been carefully engineered into the process.
• God’s placement of these two trees in the garden creates the possibility of choice.
• But with that choice there comes both a prohibition and a warning from God.
• Genesis 2:15 The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. 16 And the LORD God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; 17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.”
• There are two important principles at work here we need to understand about this situation before we proceed any further.
• The first is God has the right to make two comprehensive claims on His created beings.
• In an earlier session we saw God criticizing ancient Israel for being unfaithful to Him, their Father and Creator
• Deuteronomy 32:5-6 They are corrupt and not his children; to their shame they are a warped and crooked generation. 6 Is this the way you repay the Lord, you foolish and unwise people? Is he not your Father, your Creator, who made you and formed you? (See also Deuteronomy 32:20; Malachi 1:6)
• When we create or make something, whether it is one of my wife’s world famous desserts or this series of sermons, the creator is credited with ownership; they are Susan’s desserts or Gary’s sermons.
• The creator of something has an exclusive and comprehensive claim on that product.
• God by creating Adam and Eve exercised an exclusive and comprehensive claim on them as their Maker or Creator.
• Second, as the one who brought them into existence, He also had the additional claim of being their Father or parent.
• Ephesians 3:14-15 For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name.
• As mentioned, we were created to be in relationship with our heavenly Father as His special children.
• We of all the earthly creation have been given the capacity to understand this special relationship of “fatherhood” in both a physical and spiritual sense.
• Paul by kneeling to the Father is acknowledging God’s claim on his life.
• On a side note, it is only this aspect of fatherhood, that is, as our Creator, who is the only true Father, after whom all earthly fatherhood is named (Ephesians 3:15) that we should ascribe to God.
• We should not ascribe biological, male, patriarchal or sexist characteristics to God the Father. These are characteristics used to describe humans while God is divine.
• So God as both Creator and Father exercises two exclusive and comprehensive claims on His newly created children in much the same way we as parents exercise these claims when we decide to have children.
• Society recognizes and expects parents to take responsibility for the children they bring into the world.