Summary: Adam declared his independence from God by his disobedience and his deliverate act of defiance. Because of him, the word "sin" entered the human lexicon.
Adam’s Declaration of Independence
February 10, 2008
For the next few weeks, I want to concentrate my messages on a few of the Bad Boys of the Bible. They are, to be sure, a mixed lot: Adam, Cain, Abraham, Jacob, and Samson. I can make the case that some are worse than others. I can also argue that none of them were completely free of redeeming qualities. Some of them are those we count among our heroes of the faith. Yet even these heroes had their Achilles heels. Even these heroes had their times of trouble.
None of these men were all “bad” nor were they all “good.” They were a mixture of the two. When they were good, they provided us with a glimpse of God in action. When they were bad, they were bad with a capital “B.”
I thought that Lent would be an appropriate time to look at these bad boys. I think that next year, we will spend some time with the bad girls. Lent is an appropriate time to do this because it is in this season that we are brought face-to-face with our own “badness.”
No, we are not terrible people. None of us here are bad to the core. In fact, I believe that all of us here today are much more “good” than “bad.” Still, we all have our moments, don’t we? We all have those times when our goodness gets away from us. We all have those times when sin enters our lives and we turn away from God. We all have those times when we intentionally or accidentally, walk away from the positive values we have been taught. We all have those times when we just find it easier to be bad.
The season of Lent confronts us with our badness and forces us to acknowledge our sin. The season then asks us to seek forgiveness from God and then promises salvation through the empty tomb of Easter.
But to get to the empty tomb, we first have to go through the cross. To get to salvation, we first have to journey out of our sins. To get to the light of forgiveness, we first have to experience the darkness of disobedience.
I believe that these bad boys can assist us in coming to grips with our sins. I think that they can then show us the path out of the abyss so that we can stand on the mountaintop of God’s grace, forgiveness, and healing.
All of that discussion brings us to our first bad boy - Adam. I think that a lot of us have had mothers who have told us that if we can’t say something nice about someone, then just don’t say anything. Let me at least keep the first part of that admonition. As I said, not all of the bad boys we are going to talk about were bad all the time. Adam is no exception.
To begin with, Adam was special because he was formed in the image of God. When you read the first two chapters of Genesis, you find something interesting. In chapter one, God creates by speaking. He speaks and the light is created. He speaks and the sky is created. He speaks and the waters are separated from the earth. He speaks and the sun, the moon, and the heavens are created. He speaks and the plants are created. By way of contrast, chapter one does not say that human beings were created by speaking. It only says that people were made in God’s image.
Chapter two gives us a little clearer picture of the creation of human beings. God took a more hands-on approach when it came to Adam. Adam was much too important to just speak into existence. God took a little extra care and extra effort with Adam. Chapter 2:7 says that the man was formed from the dust of the ground, and God breathed life into him. Clearly, there is a special relationship here.
He was given authority over the animals. Adam was the one who was given the responsibility to name everything in the animal kingdom. If it weren’t for Adam, we wouldn’t know the difference between an ant and an aardvark. Without Adam, we would most likely call a horse a cow and a dog a cat. We would look at a duck-billed platypus and not know what to call it at all.
God made Adam and enjoyed a special and unique relationship with him. Adam was given a remarkable level of freedom, but from the first it is clear that God is still the one who is in charge. Adam was put in the midst of the Garden of Eden, with its lush vegetation, fruit bearing trees, and everything needed to sustain human life. All of it was for Adam to subdue, and use, and exercise dominion over.