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Friday, January 1, 2016

Story-shaped


Let the Story Begin!


The metanarrative of the Bible is divided into 14 time periods or eras. The Creation Era covers approximately 2,500 of primeval (or pre-flood) history and Genesis 1:1-11:26 chronicles those five stories: Creation, the Fall, Cain and Abel, Noah, and Babel. Like the first chapter of any book the Creation Era "sets up" the story of the Bible by providing the setting, the main characters, and an intriguing plot between good and evil.
God's story begins with God. 

He speaks and nothing becomes substantial and order comes to chaos.
He assesses what He creates, names it, and affirms its goodness.
He enables the reproduction of life by creating both maturity and seed (He makes things both old and new). 
He creates systems and holds them together.
He establishes perimeters for all of creation. Even man.
He brings man from the dust and shares His life with him.
 He anticipates man’s every need. 
He establishes a hierarchy of authority when He grants man dominion, instructs him regarding the two trees, and creates his counterpart. 
The man and woman have everything they need. They have God who speaks, creates, provides, and walks with them.
He is good. He does good.
A predator mars the beauty of the garden with his own competitive beauty. He speaks to the woman, not because she’s weaker but because her knowledge of God's instructions is second-hand. Will she trust God’s goodness, honor God's designated authoriative order, defer to God’s revealed will or act independently of her man and her God? Will her husband exercise His dominion over every living thing, including the garden predator? Will he appropriate God's promise?
The serpent deceives Eve. She chooses good (what she sees with the eye, what appeals to the stomach, and tempts to independent living) over God while Adam chooses his woman over God. Neither trust in God's goodness and live by God’s word. They eat the forbidden fruit. Thus the plot of the story begins. 
Both man and woman die spiritually.
Both man and woman are now more aware of self than they are of God.
Both hide from God and from one another. 
God confronts the hiding couple; Adam blames God ("this woman You gave me"), Eve blames the serpent. Shirking personal responsibility and blame become a way of life.
God curses the serpent.
God promises to redeem them. 
God outlines the consequences of their sin.
The couple are evicted from the garden. 
God makes the first sacrifice. 
He is good. He does good.

We are all story-shaped. By this story. Adam's failure to live by faith when he refuses to appropriate God's promise brings death. God confronts Adam and Eve's sin and promises a redeemer and gives a picture of redemption when He slays an animal to cover the couple's nakedness. 


Man is sinful and needs redemption. How will God fulfill His promise? How will man live until the Redeemer comes? How will man and all of creation adjust to sin's entry into the world? The plot thickens.


Adam's failure is our failure and God's promise of redemption is our promise. To be appropriated by faith.

Older post
"And the LORD God commanded the man, ‘You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.’ The LORD God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.’”


What on earth happened that day in the Garden of Eden? God had told Adam: "You must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die." God then made a wife for Adam to whom Adam communicated God's instructions. 
Why does Satan come to Eve? Apparently God had not spoken directly to her but to Adam concerning the forbidden fruit (2:16). Adam was responsible for relaying God's instruction to her, which he apparently did because she answers the serpent's question by quoting God's prohibition, but with one minor twist. Not once does she turn to Adam and say "Honey, what did God say?" Nor does Adam clarify God's instructions to his wife. 

Eve makes her decision based upon her perception of good: "When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and appealing to the eye and also desirable for gaining wisdom she took some and ate it." She chooses good over God. Adam readily receives the fruit from the forbidden tree from her hand (Hello! She was standing there naked!). He chooses to ignore the Word of God as the source of wisdom and guidance. He chooses instead to live by sight instead of by faith in God's Word. Adam, therefore, chooses girl over God. 

Adam and Eve's choice to make something other than God's Word the source of wisdom has replicated itself in everyone since. Well, not everyone (as we shall see in the following chapters of Genesis). God clearly laid out His instructions to Adam and gave him one prohibition and promised him that death would occur (which it did) should he eat the fruit from the forbidden tree. Adam quietly, but defiantly, disregards God's Word. 

The Lord Jesus Christ succeeds where Adam fails. In the wilderness temptation Jesus resists Satan's temptation to meet His own physical needs by turning a stone into bread. Jesus combats Satan's suggestive words by stating implicitly, "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God" (Matthew 4:4). Jesus, the last Adam (1 Corinthians 15:45) succeeds where the first Adam fails.
This narrative teaches us a number of truths:
  • God's instructions are clear, but man has a real enemy who distorts God's instructions.
  • Man must not rely upon his ability to make a right decision but must refer to God's Word. 
  • Men are tempted to choose the girl over God and women are tempted to choose the good over God.
  • Women are influential. They are able to influence for good as they submit to God's Word, but they influence for evil when their decisions are based only upon their senses. 
  • Man must know and cling to God's Word.
  • Ever since the Fall man questions the goodness of God or entertains suspicions that God isn't good and that He deliberately withholds good from man. 
God is good and had revealed Himself throughout creation as good and interested in good. Therefore, the enemy always distorts the image of God by questioning His goodness. Your view of God determines whether you will trust Him. Any thought that questions the goodness of God must be taken captive to the obedience of Christ. The Creation story speaks of God's power, wisdom, and GOODNESS while the story of the Fall reveals that we have a real enemy who questions the goodness of God. 

What is your view of God? Do you entertain thoughts about God that are unworthy of Him? Reflect on God's attention to detail in everything that He created and His evaluation of all that He created in those six days. "You are good, and do good; Teach me Your statutes" (Psalm 119:68).
Questions for today's Chronological Bible reading:
Genesis 1:1-3:24
  • What does God's creating plant and animal life with the ability to reproduce tell you about God?
  • What do the days of creation teach us about God? (God is systematic . . . is interested in reproduction . . . )
  • What does God's Garden prohibition teach you about God?
  • How does Adam realize that he has no one comparable to himself?
  • What does God's making Eve from Adam's rib instead of forming her from the dust of the ground tell you about God? About woman?
  • Describe the serpent's conversation with the woman. 
  • What happens immediately after Adam and Eve eat the forbidden fruit?
  • What does this tell you about sin?
  • What are fear, shame, and guilt symptoms of?
  • How does God respond to their sin?
  • What was God's goal in confronting Adam and Eve?
  • How do guilty sinners typically respond to sin's confrontation? (See Proverbs 28:13)
  • How does God demonstrate His love and mercy to the guilty couple?
  • What does Adam and Eve's sin cost them? Cost God? Cost creation?
Turning truth into prayer
Thank the Lord for showing mercy to guilty sinners and for promising to send, from the woman's seed, a coming redeemer. Ask Him to show you where you aren't walking in faith but in the wisdom of man. Ask Him to show you where you are listening to Satan and believing Satan's lies.