As we begin reading a love story told by our Lord through God fearing men
Creation to ca. 2100 B.C.
The Beginning: It is possible to imagine a time when nothing existed? Take away the sun, for example, and the moon and stars at night. What would life be like without them? Take way the clouds and sky and rivers and ocens. Imagine the erth without human beings, aniamls, fish, birds, grass, trees, or plants of any kkind. What would it be like with the earth completely bare? Has the universe existed forever? Was there never a time when it hd a beginning? Surely it must hav had a beginning. But when would that hav been? How would it all have happened? What made it happen? For what purpose, if any, did it happen? Who am I? Where did I come from? Why am I here?
Since recorded history began, men and women of every generation culture, and place have searched for the answers to those questions? Some say it all happened by chance, without any reason or purpose whatsoever. But given what appears to be intelligent design and order throughout the universe, an origin by chance seems hard to accept. And life without meaning seems clearly contrary to the very mind which searches for meaning. So what seems clearly contrary to the very mind from, and why am I here? How did it all begin?
Adam and Eve. The answer is God. God is the Creator of all things. God existed before the universe came into existence, and it was God who made it all happen. What power and majesty must accompany this God! The Genesis account of the beginnings of all things is a revelation which ascribes creation to an all-powerful, all-knowing, and purposeful Supreme Being – a living Creator and spiritual God acting with meaningful deliberation. In documenting the creation of man, the account suggests that God speaks with more than one voice in bringing about his creation. The implication is that there is a fullness to this divine personality, a fullness which will be more completely revealed as the Biblical text unfolds. Of even more significance is the statement that, in some way distinctly different from all other creatures, mankind has been created in the very likeness of God. Surely this cannot mean that the likeness is a physical resemblance, since God existed before anything physical came into being. Therefore it probably suggests that, like God, human beings are essentially spiritual beings, having intelligence, moral consciousness, and freedom of choice. Though limited by human form,mankind is given creativity and permitted to exercise a degree of dominion over God’s creation and the lesser creatures within it. What an amazing thought, that mankind, both Male and female, should be so honored by the Creator! As if to underscore the significance of mankind ‘s creation, the Genesis revelation gives a special account of the first man and woman, known as Adam and Eve. Adam is formed first from elements of the earth, as if God, working like a potter, fastions him from a lump of clay. Then Eve formed from part of Adam’s own body, suggesting a wholeness and unity between man and woman, particularly when the two are joined in the marriage relationship, which instituted with this first couple. Both Adam and Eve share in the uniqueness of having received a divine in breathing of God’s Spirit which sets them apart from all the other creatures. They are given dominion over the other creatures and are set in a garden of lush vegetation in a place called Eden, an area associated with the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, just east of the Arabian Desert in the Middle East. Here in Eden, Adam and Eve live in a time of innocence until both are tempered by a serpent to eat of a particular fruit which God has forbidden them to touch or taste. Although a complete experience is lacking, it appears that the serpent is being used on this occasion by Satan, or the Devil, who will subsequently be identified as God’s adversary in the spirit realm and the great Tempter of mankind to do evil. The effect of Adam and Eve’s disobedience to God is a new acquaintance with sin and the reality of punishment. Their sin not only produces feelings of shame, fear, and blame but also results in more specific consequences to all mankind, who will be seen in each subsequent generation to participate in their own disobedience to God’s will. The ultimate punishment, as far as Adam and Eve are personally concerned, is banishment, from the garden, with all its ease and pleasure. They, like all generations thereafter, must face the hardships and struggles which life on the earth imposes.
First Three Sons of Adam and Eve. In continuing succession of beginnings, the Genesis account records the beginning of the first family. Adam and Eve gave birth to two sons, named Cain and Abel, and later to a third, named Seth. The text will subsequently indicate that over a period of many years the family will include numerous sons and daughters. As there is no indication of other created human beings, it is altogether likely that these first brothers and sisters enter into marriage with each other, despite the sense of inappropriateness which would be felt should that occur in following
Historian Charles Rollin reflects the view of most eighteenth century writers in stating that God is sovereign over history, but deals with nations dependent upon the heart and action of the people. He wrote: “Nothing gives history a greater superiority to many branches of literature, than to see in a manner imprinted, in almost every page of it, the precious footsteps and shining proofs of this great truth, viz. that God disposes all events as Supreme Lord and Sovereign; that He alone determines the fate of kings and the duration of empires; and that he transfers the government of kingdoms from one nation to another because of the unrighteous dealings and wickedness committed therein.” You cannot understand history without understanding Divine Providence.