Sermons

Summary: The virgin birth is necessary if prophecy is to be fulfilled. Satan sought to usurp the place of God, appropriating worship to himself. Though he did deceive our first mother, God intervened to ensure that he could not destroy mankind.

“The LORD God said to the serpent,

‘Because you have done this,

cursed are you above all livestock

and above all beasts of the field;

on your belly you shall go,

and dust you shall eat

all the days of your life.

I will put enmity between you and the woman,

and between your offspring and her offspring;

he shall bruise your head,

and you shall bruise his heel.’” [1]

On one occasion, a leader of a major evangelical school scoffed at people he identified as “naïve literalists.” He meant this as a slur against those he saw as benighted individuals who believe the Bible to be true and authoritative. I responded to his slur by identifying myself as a “naïve literalist.” I accept that there were six days in which God created all things. I believe there was a literal Garden identified as Eden. In that Garden a literal man named Adam was placed by God Himself; and from Adam’s side, God crafted a literal woman, Eve. On the authority of God’s Word, I believe there this first man and first woman plunged the creation into ruin. Eve, our first mother, was deceived; and Adam, our first father, chose to rebel against the divine command to avoid eating from the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.

Go back to the beginning, when God created all things, including the animals. However, there were no humans yet. In the first chapter of the Book, we read, “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.”

[GENESIS 1:26, 27]

The second chapter of the Book provides us a more detailed view of the creation of mankind. The LORD God had placed the man in the Garden of Eden, assigning him responsibility to work the Garden, watching over it. When He placed Adam in the Garden, God commanded him, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die” [GENESIS 2:16, 17]. So, Adam received specific responsibilities—Paradise, though idyllic, was not a place of idleness. Work, responsibilities, preceded the fall of mankind!

God knew something Adam didn’t know—Adam was alone. He didn’t recognise his deficit, but God knew. So, the LORD God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him” [GENESIS 2:18]. From the side of the man, God crafted a woman. Adam recognised that she was a complement; now, he was whole. Eve was God’s final creative act during the Creation Week.

Clearly, Adam was thrilled with God’s handiwork. When he was awakened, Adam exclaimed:

“At last! This is

bone from my bones

and flesh from my flesh.

This one will be called ‘Woman,’

because she was taken from Man.”

[GENESIS 2:23 ISV]

At some point after this, no one really knows how long, the serpent approached our first mother with the sly suggestion, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’” [GENESIS 3:1]?

Eve responded with a partially true statement. “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die’” [GENESIS 3:2, 3]. God had said nothing against “touching” the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. A small addition to God’s command had opened the woman to temptation. The serpent, seeing opportunity to strengthen temptation, responded, “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil” [GENESIS 3:4, 5]. Therefore, we read, “So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate” [GENESIS 3:6].

Immediately, Adam and his wife, Eve, realised what they had done. The Word tells us, “Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths” [GENESIS 3:7]. They were exposed before the Living God. There was no way they could conceal their sin, any more than we can conceal our own sin. They learned in dreadful fashion, “Your sin will find you out” [NUMBERS 32:23b]!

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