Transcending Eden | Part 1
In the Beginning
Beginning a new series today: TRANSCENDING EDEN
- Transcend / transcend time = to go beyond the historical space and time in which an event occurs
- What happens in Eden doesn’t stay in Eden
What we learn from the first three chapters of Genesis is FOUNDATIONAL TO THE WAY WE APPROACH THE WORLD.
In these chapters we learn
- who God is,
- our beginning,
- the human condition,
- and the cure.
Consider just some of these questions that get their answers in Genesis
- Is a beginning necessary?
- Is God necessary?
- Who is right: science or Scripture? And do I have to pick a side?
- What is so good about humans anyway? Aren’t we just a higher class of animal?
- Where does Human Ingenuity and Creativity come from?
- Do I have a purpose? Does being Fruitful and Multiplying refer to more than having babies?
- What’s so special about gender?
- Is morality simply a cultural issue?
- Why is there suffering?
- Is there any hope?
All of these questions and many more get their answers in the first 3 chapters of Genesis
An understanding of the Epic of Eden is imperative
Without a biblical understanding of the epic of Eden we slip into the black hole of CULTURAL IMPULSE and the RELIGION OF ATHEISM
- Atheists claim that they are free from religion – THIS SIMPLY ISN’T TRUE
- Religion – any religion – is a system of belief that affects the way you approach the world
- Atheism asserts that there is no God, (most) deny supernatural, deny eternal, and therefore our only existence is the here and now and our past is simply the product of chance and so is our future[i]
- That is a system of belief in itself that completely affects the way someone would approach the world
- For too long, people have bought into the lie that there are people with religion (Christians, Buddhists, Mormons, Muslims, etc.) and then there are people without religion (Atheists) thereby giving Atheists a free pass to indoctrinate our entire culture to a system of belief that
- Rejects creation
- Rejects supernatural
- Rejects Divine
- Rejects a moral absolute
- Man becomes the center of the universe
Without an understanding of the epic of Eden pillars of basic humanity crumble
|WITHOUT an Understanding of the Epic of Eden||WITH an Understanding of the
Epic of Eden
|1.||Life is devalued, collection of molecules, Abortion[ii]||Divine significance, Life Begins at Fertilization|
|2.||Euthanasia (elderly, handicap)||Sanctity of Life|
In a Sept 2015 article in the Boston Globe: Harvard University for the first time is allowing students to choose their preferred gender pronoun from a list including such gender-neutral identifiers as “ze, hir, and hirs,” a move the college said is aimed at increasing inclusion on the campus…
At Harvard, the change will not affect the students’ overall gender assignment, meaning each student will still be classified as a male or female by the college, regardless of preferred pronoun. This male/female gender assignment is a particularly important for determining housing, where Harvard ordinarily requires single-gender living arrangements.[iii]
New T-shirt on Amazon: “There are more than 2 Genders” BUT only two sizing categories Women’s and Men’s
|Male and Female Identity and Value|
|4.||Marriage Confusion & Dissolution||Biblical Marriage|
|5.||Loss of Appreciation/Beauty
Richard Dawkins: “When you look at certain scenery, you think it is so beautiful because your ancestors believed that there was food out there, and that particular neurological feature that helped them survive has now come down to you; and that’s the reason you see it as ‘beautiful.’”
Also says something like this: “The love you feel for your kids or your spouse is a conditioned response that our genes have programmed within us in order that we propagate our DNA faster than our neighbors do.”[iv]
|There is beauty that points to our Creator|
Sartre (an honest atheist that takes atheism to its bitter end) said that the atheists’ problem starts with good news. Once you dispense with God, he says, the good news is you can do what you want, guilt free, no dread of retribution. If you get away with it on earth, you get away with it forever. The bad news is when you dispense with God you lose all intellectual bases for declaring anything to be inherently right or wrong.[v]
Darwin’s survival of the fittest wasn’t limited to zoo animals but rather applicable to humans as well
|Moral Absolutes (Creation subject to a Creator God who is the unchanging basis of the Law)|
MY POINT: We must have an understanding of the Epic of Eden if we are going to understand
- who God is,
- our beginning,
- what’s wrong,
- and what’s the cure.
Illustration: Trail map.. Arboretum.. Knowing the paths, knowing where I wanted to go really wasn’t helpful until I first knew where I was.. My beginning
Mall Map: Aren’t you thankful for the big red dot: “You are here”
We need to know our beginning
Bereshith: In the Beginning: Genesis
Bereshith is Hebrew title = In the Beginning
Greek word for beginning is Genesis which is where we get our title
Moses writer, 1446 BC, Pentateuch
- The Scriptures, both Old Testament and New Testament, affirm that Moses was the author of the first five books of the Bible (Genesis through Deuteronomy; cf. Exodus 17:14; Deuteronomy 31:24; Joshua 8:31; 2 Kings 14:6; Romans 10:5; and 2 Corinthians 3:15).
- Most significantly Jesus himself confirms Mosaic authorship (cf. John 5:45–47)[vi]
- In confirming, Moses as the author Jesus is also confirming the validity of Genesis – that its source was accurate and divine
1.) Was a rigorous oral tradition in place
2.) Certainly written record
2.) BUT EVEN GREATER than words of man were the words of God
- Moses was especially in the presence of God (face glowed, veil)
- Moses perhaps was more of an editor than an author
Genesis is from the mind of God through the pen of Moses
Very important because only God was there in the beginning
>>>> “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” <<<<
“In the beginning”
Time stamp – we are bound by time but God is not
Finite vs infinite
Finite bound by time
“In the beginning” says as much about what was before time as it says what is about to occur at the beginning of time
There was someone before time
1.) Before there was time there was GOD
Everything has a beginning but God
Abraham called on the name of the Lord, the Everlasting God
Habakkuk said that God was “from everlasting”
Before the mountains were born
Or You gave birth to the earth and the world,
Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God.
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.
Rom 16:26; 1 Tim 1:17
Paul called Him “the everlasting [eternal] God”
1 Tim 1:17
Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.
God is declared as Him who is and who was and who is to come
Everything has a beginning but God
Before there was time there was God
1.) God is complete – He lacked nothing before creation and He lacks nothing now
- He is totally self-sufficient and needs nothing more than Himself in order to exist or to act.[vii]
- Out of His glory He created
- THEREFORE we are not the point of His creative works
- WE ARE the product of His creative work for His glory
2.) God is uncaused – He is the origin of all things.. unmoved mover
- Everything that exists is grounded in God.. THE creator.. OUR creator..
- Our beginning point for understanding who we are is to know our beginning comes from God
- Sin – the Gospel – makes no sense without an understanding that our beginning comes from God
2.) Before there was time there was PURPOSE
1.) God Created
- EVERYTHING = “heavens and the earth”
25 “To whom then will you liken Me
That I would be his equal?” says the Holy One.
26 Lift up your eyes on high
And see who has created these stars,
The One who leads forth their host by number,
He calls them all by name;
Because of the greatness of His might and the strength of His power,
Not one of them is missing.
- EX NIHLO – from nothing
- God created from nothing for something
2.) Charles Dickens: “The whole difference between construction and creation is exactly this; That a thing constructed can only be loved after it is constructed; but a thing created is loved before it exists.”
3.) You and I are not chance collections molecule in bowl of cosmic soup with no plan or purpose – GOD CREATED YOU IN LOVE WITH A PURPOSE
Before there was time there was PURPOSE
Our primary purpose is to glorify God
3.) Before there was time there was GRACE
“In the beginning” phrase in the Hebrew beckons an end – the beginning is the starting point of a period of time
Even in the beginning, God is declaring that Christ is returning
God is declaring that your origin matters but your destination matters even more
By His Grace, He has already made the way
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, 4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him.
Before there were the heavens and the earth, God chose you to be one of His children.
Charles Haddon Spurgeon said, “God certainly must have chosen me before I came into this world because He never would have chosen me afterward.”
1 John 4:19
We love Him, because He first loved us.
How miraculous that – before there was time – God has chosen us in GRACE
When left alone to ourselves, we would never have chosen Him.
God has prepared and pointed
Christ has paid your debt
Holy Spirit IS calling you to MERCY and GRACE
Do you know – with no doubt – your destination?
[i] Stanley J Grenz, et. al. Pocket Dictionary of Theological Terms (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1999) 16.
[ii] Ken Ham, CEO of Answers in Genesis identified Abortion, Euthanasia, Marriage and Moral Relativism in a 2014 debate with Bill Nye noted atheist.
[iii] Astead W. Herndon, “Harvard Allows Students to Pick New Gender Pronouns,” Boston Globe (September 2, 2015). Accessed from https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2015/09/02/harvard-allows-students-pick-new-gender-pronouns/C0EXpZHw09zwCzo4hVhjdJ/story.html
[iv] As quoted by J.D. Grear in a sermon entitled “In the Beginning” on January 10, 2016. Accessed from http://www.summitrdu.com/wp-content/uploads/sermons/2016/01/2e-In-the-Beginning-Gen-1-2.pdf
[vi] Hughes, R. Kent. Genesis: Beginning and Blessing. Preaching the Word. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2004.
[vii] Wiersbe, Warren W. Be Basic. “Be” Commentary Series. Colorado Springs, CO: Chariot Victor Pub., 1998.