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The Ax and Ox – Chapter 3 – Man

In Case You Missed It:
Introduction
Chapter 1
Chapter 2

“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them… And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good.” (Genesis 1:27-31)

God Made Man Good

Where did mankind come from? God created mankind. That’s what the word of God says. God created the world and He created it good. And it wasn’t until God finished everything he created, including mankind, that He said He what He created was “very good.” (Genesis 1:31). “everything created by God is good,” (1 Timothy 4:4).

He created us “upright.” Ecclesiastes 7:29 says, “God made man upright…” Upright means more than just walking on our two feet! Apes can walk on two feet but they weren’t created “upright.” Upright means a moral compass to do good. He created us very good, to do very good things. However, it doesn’t take us very long to look around and see that there are a lot of people in the world doing very bad things, ourselves included. I’ll get to this later. For now, the important point I am making is that it started out well for us and the world was made good by a good God. 

Arguing about Evolution is Unnecessary

I don’t want to argue too much about the details around how God created mankind. I believe the first couple chapters of Genesis tell us everything we need to know, which, in fact, does not often seem like very much. The point is that God did it; He made Adam and Eve from the elements found in the ground and breathed life into them. 

The first couple chapters of Genesis very well may be literal, but they are also written in poetic form, called prose. This explains why day and night are created on the first day, but the sun moon and stars (our references for day and night) aren’t created until the fourth day. How can you have a “day” without the sun? It also explains why mankind is created on the sixth day after vegetation on the fourth day but in Chapter 2 we are then told mankind was created before any vegetation. “When no bush of the field was yet in the land and no small plant of the field had yet sprung up—for the Lord God had not caused it to rain on the land, and there was no man to work the ground, and a mist was going up from the land and was watering the whole face of the ground— then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.” (Genesis 2:5-7). So did man come before or after the plants? These kinds of questions were posed to me by a highschool literature teacher of mine during class, and unfortunately for me and all those young adults in class with me, no answers were given. Only doubts were provided that day. 

Chapter 1 of Genesis is in poetic form. Here is a chart showing the order of the first six days and how they align with corresponding future days: 

Day 1Day and NightDay 4Sun, Moon, Stars
Day 2Sky and WaterDay 5Fish and birds
Day 3Earth and plantsDay 6Mankind

Day and night is the realm where the sun moon and stars reign. The sky and the water host the fish and the birds. The earth and the plants sustain mankind. Poetry is less concerned with chronology or the order of events. The main point is that God made the world. Chapter 2 of Genesis then zooms in on the creation of Adam and Eve and how those events took place.

Just a note about evolution; some people believe and teach that humans “evolved” over thousands of years. The Bible seems to say that God formed man from the dirt within a literal 24 hour day. While I do believe that God created man simply by speaking and that it happened as fast as God wanted it to happen, I still think that a person can be a Christian and still believe (even though I think they are wrong) in what is called “theistic Evolution” or the directing of God to make man over a longer period of time than a day. I believe there are more problems with that theory, but even if one holds to theistic Evolution or a god-directed evolution, those people are still believing in something quite miraculous. It’s amazing that mankind and anything else exists at all. Why is there anything? The Bible answers this question: God made it. This is actually why I think defending theistic evolution is totally unnecessary because if the “miracle” of human life took place over billions of years, there is nothing that says the miracle couldn’t have happened in 7 days. If the earth appears to be a million years old there is no reason God couldn’t have made it that way. In the same way, Adam and Eve could have been made to look like 25 year old adults when they were actually only a day old. Theistic-evolution is, in my opinion, an unnecessary mind game one tries to use in order to make the miracle of life seem less miraculous and more scientific. At the same time, I have to say that I think faithful Christians still hold to this view, and I don’t think they are crazy, mostly because of the poetic nature of Chapter 1. How exactly God created everything is truly a mystery, and isn’t as important as knowing that He made it. 

The main reason I bring up this topic is because Christians should not be close minded to scientific discoveries and be so dogmatic, or emotionally defensive, about parts of Scripture that are relatively vague and beside the point of Scripture. It’s not worth the effort. A very small but growing group of people still believe the world is flat because the Bible says heaven is “up!” When Jesus said, “I am the door,” (John 10:9) we don’t have to wonder how big of a door he is, or from what kind of wood he is made. Sometimes God uses poetry and metaphor. We don’t need to stop our ears to science and put our heads in the sand. The point of the Bible is Christ. Knowing and understanding that is hard enough to get right without arguing about secondary matters. The Bible in no way ever attempts to be a science textbook. It’s a story about God and his Son from start to finish. Christians ought to save their breath from defensive arguments against so-called scientific facts, especially those that are really just educated guesses called theories, and instead show their neighbors the love of God. Someday we’ll all find out what exactly dinosaurs were. Until then, let’s be willing to learn, but also be willing to discuss things that have eternal value.

God Gave Adam and Eve Everything They Needed

When God created mankind, he created them in paradise! He gave them the vacation that we long for today. They already had it. The first humans, Adam & Eve, our great-great-great-grandparents, were in need of nothing. It was always warm enough and not too warm. They had all the food that they needed. They needed no clothing. Their homes and their shelter was the garden itself. They needed no walls because there was no bad weather and there were no people to steal from them. Everything was good.

God Gave Adam and Eve More Than They Needed


I want to emphasize here how truly good it was, because I think it matters later when we talk about how things became not so good. I think we have a very difficult time even imagining how good it was, because we are so used to living in a world that is very bad. Even our best imaginations of how good the garden paradise must have been like only lead us to our best memories here on earth, which is in a broken state. Maybe we can remember the feelings of joy we had as children, or that special vacation in the sun we had on the beach, but these pale in comparison to how truly good it was. There was nothing but joyful activities to do and joyful work, if it could be called work, because it was filled with such pleasure. There were no laws or rules except one. We’ll talk about that later. Our first parents were simply told to be fruitful, enjoy themselves and life with God, and to trust in their God, their friend and provider, who walked with them. And that is the pinnacle of everything that was good about the garden; not the pleasures of the world, or the ability to be carefree, and have every need met, but to be able to walk with Him, the very creator of the universe everyday; to look him in the eyes and to have friendship with him. We were given everything we needed and more

There Is No Evil Where There is No Lack

When you already have everything you want, you do not need to lie or cheat or steal or murder or lust. All evil comes from a lack of something, or a perceived lack of something. God’s Word says that’s why we have fights and quarrels because we don’t get what we want. (James 4:2) Imagine always having everything you want. That’s what Adam and Eve had. Our first parents, Adam and Eve, did not know this discontentment (at least, not at first).

Paradise Will Not Be Less Than What We Can Imagine 

What I love about the picture of paradise that the Bible describes is that we don’t have to pretend that paradise was so completely different from the world so that we cannot imagine it’s pleasures. The Garden of Eden was the beginning of the intention of how we were to live forever. We don’t have to think heaven is boring as though we will just float around on a cloud and sing to God forever. Just imagining all of the good things that we experience in this life, with the addition of never being discontent, being able to walk around free and wanting nothing. We can imagine instead being governed, not by a silly human president or king, but by the one who made it all, who truly loves his creation, and wants to spend eternity with us. This gives us a small glimpse into what paradise was like and therefore what paradise will be like. 

One Rule Gave Opportunity For Us To Trust And Love God 

There’s one more topic I want to mention before moving on to the next chapter and that is regarding a tree in the garden, namely the Tree Of The Knowledge of Good And Evil. I want to emphasize the goodness of the Tree. Our God is perfectly good, and only does good things, and so even the creation of the Tree Of The Knowledge of Good and Evil was a good thing. 

I’ve speculated that the fruit of the Tree Of The Knowledge of Good and Evil was meant to serve another purpose of which we are just unaware. Although Adam and Eve were commanded not to eat of the fruit of the Tree, I believe they were to do something with it at some point with God’s permission when they were ready. But even if the only purpose of the tree was to remain where it was in the garden for everybody to see, and to constantly need to obey the command not to eat of it, this still served a good purpose. 

It is often asked why God would have tempted Adam and Eve with the Tree. Actually, God didn’t tempt Adam and Eve. And in fact, He has never tempted anyone. “Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one.” (James 1:13). There was a tempter in the garden which we’ll discuss. But if God is all-knowing and knew that Adam and Eve would disobey him and fall into sin, why put the Tree there? As we see with Jesus, simply being tempted with evil is not evil. Jesus was tempted in every way and without sin. (Hebrews 4:15) And the things themselves, that we are tempted with, are not usually evil in and of themselves. A new car is not evil. Stealing one is. The Tree was good, and although it may have provided some temptation, temptation is not evil. If anything, it provided a way for humanity to trust in God. Since we’ve already established that God is always good, and since this Tree was part of the original design, we can conclude that having to trust God has always been part of what it means to be human. At the very least, the Tree provided the opportunity for trust.

God Was Not Bored Or Lonely

God didn’t create because he was bored or lonely. This is something I used to think about as a child, and it was often something I overheard people saying, and was often asked about when I was a pastor. This idea of God being lonely comes from asking ourselves why God created anything in the first place. We’re trying to get into the mind of God, which is something we cannot comprehend. We are told in Scripture over and over that what God does is His glory and our enjoyment. He created us to glorify Him and to allow His creation to take part in the joy He has always had infinitely within Himself. God was sharing his joy. God was happy and joyful and needed nothing before he created the world, He needs nothing now, and He will continue to need nothing. 

Everything that God does is for his glory. I think we’ve heard that answer, and we don’t understand it, so we try other ways to answer the question about why God created the world. Instead perhaps we ought to understand what glory is. Glory means “weighty.” It’s the feeling you get watching a storm, or seeing a whale surface. We stand in awe. God receives the glory from us when we enjoy Him. He also receives glory when he triumphs over evil. God is perfectly just, and he shines when He destroys evil, rather than letting evil go on. So everyone and everything brings God glory in one way or another. Either we enjoy him and bring Him glory, or are rightly destroyed by Him since we are evil, and bring glory that way.

IN SUMMARY

The Ox: There is no evil where there is no perceived lack.
The Ax: God made mankind good for His Glory and our joy.

• God made mankind good
• The Bible is not attempting to be a science textbook
• Adam and Eve were given more than they needed
• Paradise was, and will be, wonderful
• The Tree fostered trust
• God has never been bored or lonely
• God in his generosity made us for His glory and our joy

GOSPEL MEMORIZATION GRAPHIC

“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them… And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good.” (Genesis 1:27-31)

EXAMPLE OF HOW TO SHARE THE GOSPEL

After every couple chapters I will write example of how you can share what you’ve read with others, and we will build upon these sentences until the end of the book:

“Let me tell you about the Gospel, which is the good news that we read about in God’s Word, the Bible: God exists and He is good. He made mankind good and upright…”

In case you missed it,
there are 8 chapters total, and
all the published chapters
so far are listed here.

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