Summary: Where did we come from? What is our problem? Where is the answer? Where are we going? God answers all these for us in scripture.
Where did you come from? The answer to this question determines to a large degree the answer to other questions such as:
Why are you here? What is your purpose?
Where are you going?
Genesis 1 begins the story of man. Here God tells us where we came from, how we, and everything else for that matter, got here. You probably know the words…
1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth…
What follows verse 2 tells of creation with three themes: God said, God saw, and God separated. Everything is organized according to God’s plan, even the days of the week.
God prepares an environment for life, and then he speaks living things into being. It’s beautiful! God said, God saw, and God separated. Then in verse 26 God has a conversation with himself:
Let us make man in our image and after our likeness, and let them have dominion over all other living things. Verse 27 says: 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.
Do you believe this? Is this really true, or is it just a legendary mythical account from the fertile imagination of some religious story teller of the past? If it is true, and I believe it is, then you and I are more fearfully and wonderfully made than we can begin to imagine.
Where did you come from? God! But, you didn’t just come from God, you are unique among the creatures God made, you are made to be like Him! This, is what gives us our dignity. This is why it is ok to kill a cow and have hamburger, but to kill a human and have him for dinner is… not ok.
You and I are made in God’s image, after God’s likeness, made to be like God. Did you get that? Don’t yawn. Let it sink in a minute. If you came from God and are made like God, how should I treat you? How should we treat one another? Is it any wonder that the Bible also says, “If you do not love your brother whom you have seen, you cannot love God whom you have not seen.”
Adam and Eve were like God. They were blessed by God. They enjoyed the close company of God’s presence without fear or shame.
In the garden long ago, love was all there was to know. Pure innocent and free, like we were meant to be, long ago.
We came from God. We were made to be like God.
So, what is the problem?
Genesis, again, holds the answer. Chapter 3 tells the story. Everything God made was good, very good. But then things change. There was this tree and this serpent. God had put Adam and Eve in a perfect place, a garden called Eden, where they could eat from any tree except one, the tree of knowledge of good and evil. God said to Adam, “Do not eat from it, because in the day you eat of it you shall surely die.”
Adam and Eve are in the garden and the serpent comes along and a strange conversation ensues. He speaks to the woman. Did God say you shall not eat from any tree in the garden? Eve actually answers him. We can eat from the trees in the garden, but God did say, “You shall not eat from the tree that is in the midst of the garden, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.” Then the serpent replies, “You will not die. God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
Don’t you wish Adam had jumped into action and said, “Liar, liar, pants on fire!”? But no! He just stood there and watched as Eve took the bait.
Now they have two messages, one from God and the other from the serpent. Who will they listen to? God who made them? Or this strange serpent who seems to know so much, and accuses God of lying and withholding something from them?
The serpent’s offer is that they will become like God if they eat. The truth is, they are already like God! He made them to be like him! They can’t become more like God by disobeying God! That’s twisted! Besides, if God is so bad that he lies and withholds good things from them, why do they want to be like him?
But the fruit looks good. There’s a sparkle of delight in it and Eve stops thinking about God’s warning and starts thinking about her own wanting, her desire, her yearning for this new forbidden wisdom. So she decides. She reaches out for it. Was her heart beating faster? Was there excitement of anticipation in her hands? Was she nervous? She took the fruit, ate it, and gave to Adam who was with her, and he ate. And in that moment, the human family fell into sin and separation from God. Their eyes were opened, not in God’s likeness, but in shame and nakedness, fear and sin.