Man and Sin: Who Are We? What Happened? What Is Our Destiny?
The Article: The Meaning of Man: His Duty and His Delight (Genesis 1:26-31; 2:4-25)
We live in an age where technological advances have far outstripped our ethics; we have a lot of “power,” but no clear moral benchmarks to aid us in the use of such power. One reason we lack the moral foundation is because we have left the doctrinal foundation of creation and who we are before a holy and wise creator. In this article the author seeks to explain who we are and where we came from according to the early chapters of Genesis 1-2. It is here that we get solid answers to difficult questions. The text of Genesis couldn’t be more contemporary.
Man was created in God’s image and therefore possesses dignity. This has to be understood and embraced as a world view if we are to grasp the hideous nature of abortion, euthanasia, and a host of other sins. This does not mean that we as Christians condemn those who have committed these sins, but we need to loving affirm our subordinate place in God’s creation and the attendant dangers we invite when we court such autonomy.
At least two things flow from our dignity and the fact that we are created in God’s image. First, we are able to carry out the work he has given us to do, though after the fall this will be much harder. Second, according to our dignity, God has established the paradigm for human sexuality and the expression of intimacy between a man and his wife. This article will explore both of these issues in connection with our creation.
1. Explain why a solid understanding of creation theology is necessary for thinking about moral issues today? Generally speaking, how would the doctrine of natural evolution tend to destroy solid moral foundations?
2. What does the word “dignity” mean in connection with the creation of man? What are some implications for the way we treat other people? Read James 3:9.
3. How do you view your work differently as a result of studying Genesis 1-2?
4. What does the order of creation teach you about the respective roles of the husband and wife in the marriage relationship? Think through the meaning of “image” and how it relates to both the man and the woman.
5. Summarize Genesis 1-2 in your own words.
The Article: The Fall of Man (Genesis 3:1-24)
Have you ever wondered why God was so harsh with Adam and Eve when they ate the fruit which they were commanded not to eat? Wasn’t it a little unfair to banish them (and us) from the Garden just because they did something which apparently amounted to little more than getting their hand caught in the cookie jar? And so goes the common ridicule from the world. But a sovereign, holy, and merciful God does not weigh these things in such light and trivial ways.
Indeed, the question of man’s disobedience and sin is simple on the one hand, and quite profound and far reaching on the other. This article seeks to explain some of the most important facets of our sin and separation from God by focusing on an verse by verse analysis of Genesis 3. The article will deal with the temptation itself, in all its subtleties, as well the consequences for the man, his wife, and the Serpent. You will see that God’s wrath is both punitive and therapeutic; he justly punishes man, but always provides a way for man to return to him.
1. Compare and Contrast Genesis 1-2 with chapter 3-4.
2. How did the Serpent approach Eve and why was it so seductive? How does he do that to us today (cf. 2 Cor 11:3)? After studying the section on “Man’s Sin” can you walk another person through Genesis 3 and explain it to them? There will come a time when you will need to do that for another Christian struggling with related issues.
3. What are some of the consequences of the sin of Adam and Eve? How does the narrative (i.e., the story) convey that?
4. How does God respond to their sin? What is the first question he asks? Why? For whose benefit did he ask the question?
5. What was the punishment on each of the parties? How does it reveal God’s sovereignty (i.e., He is the one in control), his wrath, and yet his grace as well?