The world was made by God, who is loving, eternal, all-powerful, and Triune. And He made it "very good," but what does that mean for us?Greensburg Church of the Nazarene
**not a word for word transcript, but the sermon manuscript**
HOW THE WORLD WAS MADE
PART THREE: THE IMAGE OF GOD
For those of us who are followers of Jesus, we know that understanding the Bible requires Jesus. He is the central figure to the entire contents from Genesis to Revelation. But to many outside the faith, they see the Bible as a rule book. Do not do somethings, you will be a good person. Do other things, and you will be a very good person. While there is some truth to that; however, if the Bible were a law book, it would not begin with the stories it does.
The Bible starts by telling us how the world was made. In these opening chapters, the focus is more on the theological implications than the scientific process, which has been the focal point of our journey. We know that the world was made by God, who is eternal, Triune, all-powerful, and all-loving. And this God made the world very good. Now what does all this means for us?
READING THE TEXT: Genesis 2:15-25
15 The LORD God took the man and placed him in the garden of Eden to work it and watch over it. 16 And the LORD God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree of the garden, 17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for on the day you eat from it, you will certainly die.” 18 Then the LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper corresponding to him.” 19 The LORD God formed out of the ground every wild animal and every bird of the sky, and brought each to the man to see what he would call it. And whatever the man called a living creature, that was its name. 20 The man gave names to all the livestock, to the birds of the sky, and to every wild animal; but for the man no helper was found corresponding to him. 21 So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to come over the man, and he slept. God took one of his ribs and closed the flesh at that place. 22 Then the LORD God made the rib he had taken from the man into a woman and brought her to the man. 23 And the man said: This one, at last, is bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh; this one will be called “woman,” for she was taken from man. 24 This is why a man leaves his father and mother and bonds with his wife, and they become one flesh. 25 Both the man and his wife were naked, and felt no shame. (CSB)
This is the Word of God, for the people of God, thanks be to God.
IN THE TEXT:
God has created the world, the birds, animals, and man. There is only one man tasked with being the caretaker of the entire world. In verse 18, God says, “It is not good for man to be alone.” Out of all the creatures, there is no one like the man. Humans were not created to live alone, nor could their full potential be reached.
This partner for the man could not be any creature, it had to be one that could share in the responsibilities that God had commanded. Also, this partner hard to be able to understand the man’s nature so that they could work together. They had to be the man’s equal.
*** No helper found ***
Verse 19 says, “The LORD God formed out of the ground every wild animal and every birdy of the sky.” If you remember from Genesis 1, that account has all the creatures being formed before humanity. This is not a contradicting account, but rather a step back in the timeline to take a closer look. The writer is reminding us that God created the creatures, then had them pass the by the man.
Some may read this and get the idea that God was surprised that there was no suitable helper, like God had miscalculated somehow. Of course, that is not the case. God knew Adam would not find a suitable helper from the beasts, but God knew Adam needed to know that. At the conclusion of the zoo parade, Adam knew he was out of options.
*** Helper formed ***
God moves to provide Adam with a helper by causing him to fall asleep. Adam being asleep makes it clear that he played no part in forming his own partner, and that it was God who set out to do the work. Unlike the man, who God formed from the dirt, God uses living material from Adam to form Eve. This is does not mean she is a lesser creature than Adam, God does not create any person to be lesser than another person. Remember, in Genesis 1, it clearly states God created them male and female. Both man and woman were formed by God.
Adam wakes up and recognizes Eve as a person equal to himself. Verse 23 records Adam’s reaction, “This now is bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh.” According to the original wording, you could also translate Adam as saying she is “same of my same,” “body of my body,” “life of my life,” or “strength of my strength.” But I think the Nazarene evangelist, Stephen Manley summed up best, with Adam’s words being “she is me!”
FROM THE TEXT:
*** Now ***
While these verses do tell us God’s design for marriage, it also tells us more. A person is not meant to live in isolation. Now, this is not saying that if someone is unmarried they are a lesser person, and nor does it mean they are incomplete without a spouse. What Genesis 2 reveals is that people are created for community.
Ecclesiastes 4:9 says, “Two are better than one because they have a good reward for their efforts.” Again, this is not simply referring to marriage, but the human experience. God designed us to fulfill our purpose together. Even now, God has gathered those who believe in Jesus and the power of the gospel in His Church. Those in the Church are to be God’s vessels sharing that through Jesus everyone can be restored to the “very good” for which God designed us.
*** Ow ***
Sin is what separates us. God’s design, His will, is for everyone to be united in Him. But when Adam and Eve sinned in the garden, it destroyed not only their relationship with God, it also forever damaged the personal connection. Instead of being naked with no shame, they had to cover themselves.
That was not the only damage to the relationships created by sin. In Genesis 11, all of humanity shares a common language. In their sinfulness, they gathered to build a tower to the heavens as a monument to human greatness. Greatness achieved without God, exalting themselves. To prevent them from completing this abomination, God confused their languages. Human arrogance, sin, caused us to split off into groups based on language.
As people, we fear those who are different from ourselves. With our hearts corrupted by wickedness, desperate to cover our own shame and feel superior, we gather with those like ourselves. Whether it is political allegiance, race, country, religion, or even gender, the selfishness within those groups is ruled by sin.
*** Wow ***
During his ministry, Jesus demonstrated how the Kingdom of God is different. Jesus collected people to follow him, and they were an odd collection. Some were women, unheard of in that period. Then the twelve disciples were a mixed assortment of men. Andrew, Peter, James, and John were fisherman. Matthew was tax collector, viewed as a traitor to his own people. Simon the Zealot was part of a group that believed God was calling them to throw off the Roman oppression. Judas was a thief. Thomas, Nathaniel, Philip, Thaddaeus, and James the son of Alphaeus had jobs that were so ordinary and unremarkable that no one bothered to record what they were. Regardless, it did not matter to Jesus who they were before, all that mattered was that they followed him. Following Him did not eliminate their differences, but united them in His presence for the Kingdom’s cause.
After Jesus died and rose again, the disciples were gathered in Jerusalem. They were all in a room, along with some of the ladies, when the Holy Spirit was poured out upon them. This is recorded in Acts 2. But do you know that these Jews were not the only one to receive the Holy Spirit in Acts? The Holy Spirit is poured out on the Samaritans (Acts 8). Despite Peter’s doubts, he goes to a house full of Gentiles, and the Holy Spirit is poured on out on them. (Acts 10) That event was so unbelievable, the apostles had to call a board, which ended with them acknowledging what happened. (Acts 11)
Why is that significant? Because what began with Jesus, the Holy Spirit continued after the Resurrection. What was continued? The undoing of sin’s curse, the barriers that arose thanks to the tower of Babel and the original sin in the garden. The power of Christ’s resurrection is more than enough to overcome any difference that exists between people if you and I are willing to believe. Therefore, Paul writes in Galatians 3:27-28, “For those of you who were baptized into Christ have been clothed with Christ. There is no Jew or Greek, slave or free, male and female; since you are all one in Christ Jesus.” We are free because of Jesus, not only from our sin, beyond no longer having to desire sin, but also the side effects of sin that make us fearful and distrustful of others. Christ frees us to love others, even those we think the differences are too much to overcome.
BEYOND THE TEXT:
Ephesians 2:12-16 says, “… you were without Christ, excluded from the citizenship of Israel, and foreigners to the covenants of promise, without hope and without God in this world. But now in Christ Jesus, you who were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, who made both groups one and tore down the dividing wall of hostility. In his flesh, he made of no effect the law consisting of commands and expressed in regulations, so that he might create in himself one new man from the two, resulting in peace. He did this so that he might reconcile both to God in one body through the cross by which he put the hostility to death.”
Essentially, Jesus died and rose again to restore to God his “very good” creation. He died to restore you, and if you believe than you are free! If you are truly free, then your heart’s desire is for all to come to salvation in Jesus, and you are not afraid of any difference that might come in the way. Because you know your God is greater than any barrier that could stand in the way.
Season 1 Episode 33, "Most important question." The text for the message is from Mark 8:27-30, part 1 of a series called The Son of Man. The question we are trying to answer is "What is the most important question?"