Tag Archives: atonement

Creator, Creation, and the Cross (Part 3)

And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. (Genesis 2:7)

          Last week, in Part 2, we studied the overall creation. In today’s study, we focus on the creation of man, the fall of man, the resulting curse of death on the whole creation, and God’s solution for restoration.

Part 3, The Cross

          Some misunderstand the second chapter of Genesis thinking that it is a second creation account. However, this is a recapitulation of Day Six to focus on the creation of man. The Bible is the account of God dealing with mankind from beginning to end, hence the reason for the recap.

          Genesis 2:7-9 shows God placing man in a perfect environment. Unlike the animals, God “formed” – Hebrew yâtsar, to fashion as a potter molds a clay vessel – man out of the dust of the “ground” – Hebrew ‘ădâmâh, the feminine form of “adam.” God “breathed” into man the “breath of life,” distinguishing man from the animals. Humans are NOT animals. God placed man in a special garden – a place where God and man could commune.

          In the Garden of Eden, God planted all kinds of luscious fruits and vegetables for man to enjoy without restriction. In the center God planted two unique trees. One was the unrestricted Tree of Life and the other was the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil (Genesis 2:9) Adam could eat all he wanted from the Tree of Life, but he was strictly forbidden to eat of the second tree. “And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die” (Genesis 2:16-17). It should be noted that at the time God gave the prohibition, the woman had not yet been created.

          Not long after – I believe it was within two weeks – Satan, the serpent, entered the Garden to destroy God’s perfect creation (Genesis 3:1-6). In executing his strategy to destroy mankind by separating him from his Creator, Satan employed three tactics that he has not changed in over 6000 years. He introduced doubt in God’s Word – “Yea, hath God said” (v. 1). Next he slandered God’s Word – “Ye shall not surely die” (v. 4). Finally, he accused God of withholding benefits – “God knows … ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil” (v. 5).

          Eve succumbed to Satan’s tactics by the same three weaknesses that we all have as humans. The beloved Apostle John described them this way. “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world” (1 John 2:16). Eve “saw that the tree was good for food” – lust of the flesh. She saw “that it was pleasant to the eye” – lust of the eyes. Finally, She saw that it was “a tree to be desired to make one wise” – the pride of life. As Solomon says, “there is no new thing under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 1:9).

Eve ate of the fruit “and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat” (Genesis 3:6). Adam was in on the conversation, so he knew exactly what was taking place. God gave the command to Adam directly. Eve got the command second hand from Adam; therefore, Adam had the greater responsibility. So, why did Adam not intervene?

When they ate of the forbidden fruit, “the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked” (Genesis 3:7). I believe that when they were first created, God clothed them in light [‘ôr (אוֹר)] and when they sinned, they lost the cover of light and could see their nakedness.[1] Having their guilt exposed, they feared to face their Creator and they hid themselves. Obviously, they were not acquainted with God’s omnipresent nature. Scripture records that “they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day” (Genesis 3:8). The Hebrew word translated “voice” is qôl, which can also be translated as “sound” or “noise.” God, the Father, is “spirit” (John 4:24), therefore it is unlikely that a spirit would produce any kind of sound. However, God the Son having a physical body like that of His creation which He created in His image, would make noise as He walked through the Garden. He called out to Adam – as if He did not know where Adam was hiding. Rather than confront them directly, He gave them the opportunity to confess their sin. God seeks confession and repentance. God seeks man: “For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10). Man does not seek God: “there is none that seeketh after God” (Romans 3:11). God patiently waited for a confession (Genesis 3:11). “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). However, instead of confessing and pleas for forgiveness, God got excuses. Adam blames God for the woman (Genesis 3:12) and blames the woman even though he bore the greatest responsibility. The woman blamed the serpent (Genesis 3:13), and the serpent had no one to blame but himself.

With no confession or a plea for forgiveness forthcoming, God pronounced a curse upon man and upon all of His creation because of man. However, God did not end it there. He also provided the promise of redemption. “And I will put enmity between thee [the serpent/Satan] and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; [He] shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel” (Genesis 3:15). This is known as the “Protevangelium” – the “First Gospel.” It is The first promise of the Savior. He would be the “seed of the woman” previewing the Virgin Birth. The serpent (Satan) would bruise His heel (at the cross), but in the end, He will bruise Satan’s head (Revelation 20:10).

In the meantime, God the Son, instituted the first blood sacrifice[2] to atone for sin (Genesis 3:21). “Atone” means to “cover.” It was a temporary covering for sins. Death now entered the world as God (Jesus) sacrificed an innocent animal to make coverings of skins (‛ôr, עוֹר) for Adam and Eve. Initially, God clothed them with (‘ôr, אוֹר); now He clothed them with (‛ôr, עוֹר). This began the practice of offering animal sacrifices to atone for sin. Jesus would be the ultimate sacrifice to atone for sin, once and for all. Through His perfect sacrifice of His own blood, He won redemption for His fallen creation. Still, there must be a choice. One can choose the Tree of Life, i.e. the cross, or one can continue on the “broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction” (Matthew 7:13) and be “cast into the lake of fire” (Revelation 20:15). There are no other options.

If you are not sure of your eternal destiny, please read my page on “Securing Eternal Life.”

Notes:


[1]  “Bare Naked” — https://erniecarrasco.com/2018/04/29/bare-naked/

[2]  “The First Sacrifice” — https://erniecarrasco.com/2014/02/16/the-first-sacrifice/

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Clothing

Fashion-And-Modern-Youth

Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with change of raiment.   (Zechariah 3:4b)

Someone asked about clothing. How did it develop, and what does the Bible have to say about it? If you consult secular sources, you may learn that “Evidence suggests that human beings may have begun wearing clothing as far back as 100,000 to 500,000 years ago.”[1] Of course, those guesses find their basis in evolutionary thought, which is inconsistent with biblical chronology.  These same sources admit that “It is not known when humans began wearing clothes, but anthropologists believe that animal skins and vegetation were adapted into coverings as protection from cold, heat and rain…”[2] We can agree that clothing has been important in human history from the very beginning.  “The wearing of clothing is exclusively a human characteristic and is a feature of most human societies.”[3] I do not know this for a fact, but I would venture to say all human societies, even the most primitive, wear some type of clothing.

As for what the Bible has to say, Genesis 2:25 tells us that both the man and the woman were naked at the time of their creation. Genesis 3:7-8 tells us that after they sinned, they discovered that they were naked, and were ashamed. Why were they ashamed? I cannot be dogmatic about this, but I think that when they were first created (in the image of God), they had an aura (light) about them. I arrive at this conclusion from examples given in the Bible of individuals, like Moses, acquiring a glow or radiance about them from being in the presence of God. Angels are described as having this glow (Acts 10:30). Jesus had this glow at His transfiguration (Matthew 17:2), and He has it in the descriptions of Him given in Revelation 1:16. So, I believe Adam and Eve had this glow about them, and when they sinned, the light went out, and they saw that they were naked. More than that, they recognized that they had lost something of the image of the One in whose image they were made. They lost their identity with their Creator, and they were afraid (Genesis 3:10).

At the end, God (and I believe this was God in human form – the pre-incarnate Christ) sacrificed innocent animals (probably sheep or goats), and He made clothes to cover the fallen couple. There is an interesting but subtle play on words here with the Hebrew word for skins – ‛ôr. It is pronounced the same as the Hebrew word for light – ‘ôr – but it is spelled differently. The former is spelled with an aleph (א), and the latter is spelled with an ayin, (ע). Before the Fall, they were clothed in light, ‛ôr, and after the Fall they were clothed in skins, ‘ôr. That Jesus shed the blood of innocent animals in order to provide coverings for His fallen creatures, Adam and Eve, speaks of “atonement” – Hebrew kâphar meaning “to cover.” We see in this a representation of the Gospel: Jesus, the innocent Lamb of God, shedding His blood to cover our sins.

Our clothing, then, should serve as a reminder of our sinfulness and of God’s provision for covering that sin. Like the fig leaves Adam and Eve sewed together (Genesis 3:7), our clothing is inadequate to cover our sins. Clothes wear out, they get dirty, or they fall out of fashion. Daily we have to change one outfit for another. However, in heaven, our clothing will not wear out or have to be replaced.[4] “After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, … These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb” (Revelation 7:9, 14). I do not know, but I think that our “robes” will be that same “light” which covered Adam and Eve before the Fall.

Do you have your heavenly wardrobe reserved? If you are not sure, here are some other articles that may help answer your questions:

No One Escapes Judgment

You Don’t Go to Hell Because You’re A Sinner

Only One Way In

Notes:


 

[1]  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_clothing_and_textiles accessed October 9, 2015.

[2]  Ibid.

[3]  Ibid.

[4]  See “Clothing In Heaven” https://erniecarrasco.com/2014/11/30/clothing-in-heaven/

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The First Sacrifice

For Adam and Eve, this was the first time the first couple witnessed death. Innocent blood spilled to cover the consequence of their sin.  (Romans 6:23)

For Adam and Eve, this was the first time the first couple witnessed death. Innocent blood spilled to cover the consequence of their sin. (Romans 6:23)

“Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them.” (Genesis 3:21)

Recently someone asked me a very interesting question: “Did God use human form to sacrifice the first animals, or was that done spiritually, without a body?” Of course, this is one of those questions for which we cannot give a definitive/authoritative answer. The problem is that the Bible does not provide enough detail for us make an assertive statement one way or the other. Consider our text above: “Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them” (Genesis 3:21). That is it. That is all we have to go by. Anything beyond that is pure speculation on anyone’s part.

However, having said that, I believe that God took the form of the pre-incarnate Christ and performed the sacrifice before them – in their sight – so that they could witness for themselves the price or cost of their sin. Some innocent animal’s blood had to be shed in order to cover (atone for) their sin. Since they had never killed anything or experienced death in any way, they had to see how this was done in order for them to continue the practice. That they continued the practice is evidenced in the following chapter where Abel sacrificed a lamb from his flock (Genesis 4:4), while Cain offered “the fruit of the ground” (Genesis 4:3). Cain’s offering was rejected by God because it did not follow what God had prescribed in the beginning (Genesis 4:5).

This same practice of sacrifice was followed by Noah after the Flood (Genesis 8:20), by the patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (Israel), and finally by the children of Israel after they came out of Egypt. I believe this practice of sacrifice was handed down, generation after generation beginning with Adam, and it was learned by the example given by the pre-incarnate Christ who would ultimately be the perfect Lamb of God.

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