Covenant Words
Covenant Words

Episode · 6 years ago

The Goodness of God in the Creation of Man

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Rev. Christopher Chelpka

Let's turn our attention to genesis chaptertwo versus, beginning at Verse Four. I'm going to read through verse SeventeenGenesis Two verse for these are the generations of the heavens and the earth whenthey were created, in the day that Jehovah God made the Heavens and theearth, when no Bush of the field was yet in the land, inno small plant of the field had yet sprung up, for Jehovah God hadnot caused it to reign on the earth and there was no man to workthe ground, and a mist was coming up from the land and was wateringthe whole face of the ground. Then Jehovah God formed the man of dustfrom the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and theman became a living creature. And Jehovah God planted a Garden in Eden,in the East, and there he put the man whom he had formed.And Out of the Ground Jehovah God made to spring up from spring up everytree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree oflife was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge ofgood and evil, the river flowed out of Eden to water the garden, and there it divided and became four rivers. The name of the firstwas is the Pishon. It is the one that flowed around the whole landof Havlah, where there is gold, and the gold of that land isgood, but delium and Onyx stoner there. The name of the second is theGIHON. It is the one that flowed around the whole land of cushand the name of the third river is the Tigress, which flows east ofAssyria, and the fourth river is the Euphrates. Jehovah God took the manand put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and keep it.And Jehovah God commanded the man, saying you may surely eat of every treein the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evilyou shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it youshall surely die. This sends the reading of God's word. May bless itto us. Please be seated in our culture, and I think in everyculture, we have various holidays which help us remember certain things. Mother's Dayrecently passed, Memorial Day is coming up. These holidays sort of mark for usthese important events in our lives,...

...such as our birth or history,or the particular acts of particular people in history, the things that they havedone and sacrificed for a good we remember these things and we take the timeto remember them because they have a way of shaping us and shaping the waywe feel and we think. It's not just a matter of giving honor to, let's say, our mothers or our soldiers, but it's a matter alsoof thinking about things, be it our life or our freedom, in aparticular way, understanding the particular things about them. Well, the word ofGod and every passage of scripture is very much like this. It does thesekinds of things. God expresses himself in these ways so that we might givedo honor to God, but so that we also might frame our lives accordingto these greater truths, the truest truths, the truth the word of God.God gives us his word as a way to remind us of the thingsthat we often the things that we often abstract ourselves from. In Genesis,to it is certainly true all these things I'm saying. Is Certainly true ofGenesis Chapter two. Perhaps even in a special way. Here in Genesis ChapterTwo we have the story, the account of God's creation of man, reallya second account. We talked a little bit about this when we covered genesisone, but God addresses this again and gives us more details. He talksus about the talks to us about the creation of man and also the habitationof man, how God made man and where he put him and these kindsof things. In this account, in this story of creation, we beginto learn certain things which frame our lives, for example, and we'll get tothese in a greater detailed way. But we often go about our livesthinking that things simply are as they are or always have been the way thatthey are. But the story tells us that that's not true, that thingshad a beginning, of a place in time where God began us, wherecreation began. These things remind us of our humble beginnings. We are notGod's we were created even out of the dust, the scripture says. Somany implications can be drawn from these kinds of things, and so it's inthat spirit that we will come to genesis chapter two to hear God's word andhear what he has to say to us about how we are to think aboutourselves and him and our lives together. The primary thing that I want tobring across and draw your attention to in...

...this chapters the goodness of God.The goodness of God is something that comes out very strong in chapter one,where we read and God made these things and they were good, good,good, even very good. But it comes out in this chapter as well, not only for the the explicit language of goodness, but also because there'ssomething of a an argument going on here. In our fallen state we often attributeto God the evils in the world. We often see the world and wesee the evils and the suffering and things that are around us and wesay, well, surely this is because of the one who is in charge, this is because of God, who made things as they are. Butthese chapters are here in large part to remind us that God made us goodand that he is himself good. So I want to focus on that goodnessof God this morning as we look at this text. But let's begin witha brief reminder that the scriptures in many places, in many ways called Godgood. God, for example, is infinitely good. We might say Psalmone hundred forty five says, give thanks to him, bless His name,for Jehovah is good. We of thanks to God. We bless God's namebecause he is good. His steadfast love endures forever, because he is good. Well, not only as God infinitely good, he is abundantly good.Psalm one nineteen says, oh, how abundant is your goodness, which youhave stored up for those who fear you and worked for those who take refugein you? The scriptures also tell us that the doubts, doubts we haveabout God's goodness, are easily answered, at least in a certain sense.Listen to Psalm thirty four eight. Oh taste and see that Jehovah is good. Just taste and see, like grabbing a piece of fruit off your counterand simply enjoying it, and you will know that it is good, assimple as that. Oh taste and see. Well, how do we taste thegoodness of God? Apart from his scriptures, God gives us many otherways in which we know his goodness, and we can start quite literally,with that piece of fruit on your counter. God is good and we taste itin the sweetness of fruit and in the nutrition of our bread axe fourteenseventeen makes this point explicitly when the apostles speak to these pagans and they sayof God. Yet he did not leave himself without a witness, for hedid good by giving you as from heaven and fruitful seasons, satisfying your heartswith food and gladness. See what he...

...says here in the in a psalmthat I read earlier, and Psalm One nineteen, we read that God's abundantgoodness is stored up for those who fear him, for his loved ones,for those called ones of his. But God, on top of that,also pours out his love on those that he had, that those whom hehas not called, those who do not believe in him, those that rebelagainst him and fight against him and hate him and attribute goodness to other thingsand evil to him. But here, these apostles of God say, no, this is not the case. You, you who do not believe in God, know him because of his witness. He did good by giving you rainsfrom heaven and fruitful seasons, satisfying your hearts with food and gladness.So many other things we could look at, and but in all these things wesee that in God's gifts, in his provisions, in his care,in his abundance, in his affinity, in his steadfast love. God isgood, very good, even singularly good, uniquely good, as Jesus puts itin the Gospels. No one is good except for God. But despiteGod's infinite abundance and steadfast goodness, it's hard to believe this because of theevils in the world. The evils and the sins and the suffering that wefeel and we face in our lives are like great big black rain clouds thatcover up the sun. And when it happens for so long and in sucha hard way, people begin to wonder. Has the goodness of God even disappeared, or was it ever there in the first place? When life,from beginning to end, feels like one vanity after another, would it feelslike just one a crazy thing, one suffering thing, one dreadful thing afteranother, people begin to ask, perhaps you have begun to ask, whereis God and if he is there, is he really good? You knowwhat I'm talking about. All the lives, all the death, all the lustand covetousness which fills our world, and all of it we see,beginning right here in the opening chapters of Genesis, not genesis too, butgenesis three, which will come to and do time. We're man's sins againstGod for the very first time and brings about all of these evils in theworld. Perhaps all of them, or at least nearly all of them,can be seen early on in these first few chapters of Genesis. Blames,shifting riffs between men and women, between...

...brothers and if families, injustices,murder lies death. When you read these chapters of genesis and the descent ofman in his newly fallen state, into that sin and misery, in thisstate of death, we see these big black clouds rolling in onto the earth, death itself, and it covers up the sun and it makes us askis God good? But Genesis too is a reminder and an argument and aproof the God is good and that the sun is still there, though wemay not always see it because of our sins, because of our evil,because we're often blinded by the darkness in our own hearts, the goodness ofGod is still there and always has been, always will be. Genesis too takesus back to the beginning of God's goodness in the world. And tellsus that it hasn't always been this way, that the clouds, so to speak, rolled in the earth has not always been perpetually dark and evil,that the goodness of God in the world, that the goodness of God was inthe world before our sins blinded us to the sun. And I wantto draw your attention, and in this particular line of thinking, to twothings, the goodness of God and his creation of Man. In the goodnessof God, in the habitation of man, you all know, I hope,what a habitat is, place where a creature lives or dwells. Herewe see God's creating a particular habitat for his chief among his creation for man. We see his goodness in that, in the habitation of man, andalso in the creation of man. Let's look at the first one, God'screation of man, and see his goodness there. If you go back tochapter one, I'm you'll see several things there. Let me read, beginningat Verse Twenty Six. Then God said, let us make man in our image, after our likeness, and let them have dominion over the fish andthe sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and overall the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth. SoGod created man in his own image and the image of God. He createdhim male and female. He created them and God blessed them and God saidto them be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and havedominion over the fish of the sea and...

...over the birds of the heavens andover every living thing that moves on the earth. And God said, behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face ofall the earth and every tree with seed and its fruit. You shall havethem for food and to every beast of the earth and to every bird ofthe heavens, and do everything that creeps on the earth, everything that hasthe breath of life, I have given every green plant of food. Andit was so. And God saw everything he had made and behold, itwas very good. So here in chapter one, in this first account ofGod's creation of man, we see several things. We see unity and communitywithin his creation, mirroring even the trinity itself. We see that he blessedthem, he bestowed this goodness on them. We see that he gave them goodcommands commands which even now us or inspire us and and encourage us.He calls them to extend this goodness that they found in the garden throughout thewhole world, so that the goodness that they enjoyed there would be multiplied andmultiplied and multiplied and multiplied. And on top of Latte all of that,he gives them good provisions as well, good commands, a good blessings,good provisions, providing at every moment along the way. No wonder he declaresat the end that all this was very good well, this creation of man. God's goodness in the creation of man continues in chapter two, when wesee God's very special care in his creation of man. We hear of some, not all, but of some, of the details of how we weremade. In Verse Seven we read that Jehovah, God formed the man ofthe dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life,and man became a living creature. We don't have with any other aspect ofcreation this kind of attention, this kind of hands on care that is beinggiven here. God is showing a great nobility that he gives a to thehuman race, to mankind, he fashions us, he makes us personally anddirectly. He breathes into the man's nostrils life and in that breathing man becomesa living creature. This very special care on reminding means us of who weare, that we are those who are made beautiful, those who are madeto carry and hold the glory of God, even though it may be in ajar of clay or dust. God's special creation of man reminds us ofour great dependency on him. And that's...

...okay, isn't it? Because,as we've been saying, God is good. You could finally and remark, justas a last thing, mark as a last thing, that God makesus in his image. If you're familiar with scripture and haven't thought a lotabout this, they just may not seem like such a big deal, simplya point of fact. But consider the other things that God could have done. We could have been made in the image of the stars or in theimage of the planets, or the image of fire or plants or a lion. Are All kinds of things within creation that God could have shaped us andformed us after marvelous things, wonderful things, majestic things, but God didn't choosethe stars or lions or anything else. He made us in the image ofhimself. It's a marvelous thing to consider. It should humble us toa great degree, but it should also lift us up to know how muchcare and concern and how highly God has placed us in the world. But, as we will come to see, he placed us in a high positionto be a servant to him, to bring glory to him and not toourselves. This, of course, is the very essence of goodness, whatit means to receive from a good God, depend on a good God and giveback to a good God. It's what it means to be human,it's what it means to be good. Well, in addition to God's creationof man, we see God's goodness in his habitation of man in chapter two. I won't spend any time on chapter one here, but in chapter twothere's so many obvious features. Take a look at verse nine or listen toit. And Out of the Ground Jehovah made to spring up every tree thatis pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life wasin the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of goodand evil you have here God placing man not just in a place but ina garden, and not just in a garden, but a garden that hasbeen cultivated by the master gardener himself, causing trees and things to rise upthat serve this dual purpose of being pleasant and also being fruitful or providing food. Here man is placed in a wonderful place that isn't merely utilitarian. Itdoesn't just get the job done, and that even in a perfect way.But God says that they are pleasant to...

...the site. Are Reminder that beautyis important to God, not just getting things done. But here we haveman, a placed in a habitation that is beautiful, that is pleasant tothe site. There is there are these trees, there is a river towater the garden. We read in verse ten a river flowed out of Edenand into the garden, where it divided and then became a four rivers.On top of that, this river that is feeding and nourishing the garden sothat it might never go dry, might never have a problem. That wholearea is surrounded by precious stones. We read of a one place where theriver pishon flows around the whole land of Havla where there is gold and bedeliumand onyx stone. In this we have even outside of the guard and evenoutside of Eden, there are other lands in which God has placed beautiful andnumerous, abundant good things and treasures, though the garden of Eden is aspecial place and a special care is made for man there. Man, ashe begins to contemplate his command to have dominion over the whole Earth and spreadout to the glory of God, he, even as he knows it, hasa got, has an earth set before him that is that is good, that is full of resources and and precious metals and plants and trees.In all these things we see God's goodness in creating this habitation for man,a beautiful place, a pleasant place, a place that is well provided forand is indeed very wonderful. These are the obvious features of chapter two,but there are less obvious features as well, a number of things throughout this chapterthat link what is going on here in the garden two things that willcome up later in Israel and the peat that in Israel's history, in particular, the Temple of God and then again the new heavens and the new earth, or this final temple or heavenly Jerusalem that the New Testament speaks about.To put it another way, what we have here in genesis are the beginning, is the foreshadowing of the temples that God would make, the God wouldmake and dwell with man. How do we see this? We see itin a number of ways. First, we see it in the detail thatthe garden was placed in the east. This is in Verse Eight and Jehovah, God planted a Garden in Eden, in the east. So in theeast of Eden God placed this garden on...

...this the fact that it's in theEast is important because this is the sun rises out of the East and throughoutancient Near Eastern literature, and in the Bible as well, often depicks aplace. It's a symbol for the source of life, for the source ofhealth and and even of God Ezekiel, and numerous chapter or numerous passages throughouthis Ekiel we see he has a close relationship with the east. God,for example, calls him and places him in the east when he goes tospeak with him, and there are other connections there in is ekiel with thetemple in the east. So in addition to being the in the east.We also see that the garden of Eden is on a mountaintop. One waywe know this from the text, is that these rivers are flowing down.Water flows down. These rivers are flowing down out of Eden, out ofthe garden, to these other lands to feed these lands. And we havethis on this sense of this mountaintop image in which the garden has been placed. This comes up in a number of other portions of scripture, and EzekielFourteen, for example, and we read that you are on the Holy Mountainof God when guard and imagery is used to condemn the king of tire.On top of that, throughout the scriptures, when God comes and visits with hispeople in communes with them, it's off and on mountain tops, atHoreb at Sinai, and then again in Hebrews and twenty two, even ofourselves and Mount Zion. You have come, Hebrews says, to Mount Zion,the city of the Living God, the heavenly Jerusalem. We often thinkof heaven is being a sort of return to Eden, or perhaps a returnto eden realized or actualized, a glorified Eden. Well, if it's truethat are the new heavens and the new Earth are compared to Mount Zion.It would make sense that the original Eden was also on a mountain. Inaddition to these things, we also have the river of Eden mentioned. Psalmforty six four says there is a river whose streams make glad the city ofGod. Again, from Ezekiel forty seven, one and eight, we read thatat river is said to flow out of the Temple and heal anything ittouches. This is similar to the descriptions of the river we are given ofthe river in Eden, this water that is feeding the land and and nourishingit. Add on top of this, God's presence in a way that isvery similar to his presence in the temple, his close communion with man, dwellingwith him and being with him. The image of the angels, they'reas also will be depicted in the temple. Here we will see angels later inthe garden, shutting off and barring...

...the garden from man that he mightnot enter it. Lots of the plant many of the plant imagery, fromthe tree of life to the plants and the gardens and other animals. Thiskind of Eden, sort of imagery will be depicted in the temple in thecurtain, in the minorahs, in the in the lights, in the engravings, in the sea and the bowls and all kinds of things. Many,many connections are made between the Temple and Eden. You add on top ofall of this man's God's command to man to work and keep the garden.This is a command that will be used in numbers three of the priests thatare car called to guard and keep the temple. All this to say,all these connections begin to show US something very important. The atom is notjust a gardener. Adam is not just a man who has been placed downin a garden and called to be a farmer the days of his life,but he is being styled after a priest, after a king, who is torule in a city, who is to lead worship in this temple.He is being brought into close communion with God, communion that here is broughtinto the garden and is doing extend over the whole earth, but later willbe contracted into a smaller form in the Tabernacle and the temple. These thingsteach us our main point of the goodness of God. God doesn't just setman on earth and call him to complete some kind of random task gardening,I guess no. He calls him to work in the earth and to dothese things to the glory of God, as one who is acting even asa priest, one who is worshiping, one who is leading as a kingand ruling according to God's law, all in close connection with him, aswe will read later when it comes to eve, that they spent time inthe garden together with God, hearing him, walking with him, talking with him, knowing this close communion with God. Everything we see here a speaks ofthe goodness. And so when we can look at our lives and weconsider the evils that are in the world, the suffering that is in the world, we cannot go back to God and say, look at what youhave done, because God made the world good. He put us in thisbeautiful place to work and to worship, to be close to him and andall of our lives and to be close with each other. He calls usto be united with him and and to...

...and to enjoy his presence, tofeed off of his goodness and to know the sweetness of his presence. Thesins and the evils and the suffering that we have and we face in thisworld doesn't come from God, as we know from genesis to it comes fromman, as we know from Genesis Chapter Three. The last verse I read, Verse Eighteen, says, but of the tree of the knowledge of goodand evil, you shall not eat, for the day that you eat ofit you shall surely die. We're going to focus on this tree and thethe curse that fell out from it when we get to chapter three. Buthere we get the command, the very clear command, that God says youshall not do this. But man does the thing that he shall not andhe does die. He enters into a state of death on which eventually endsin his physical death and continues on in eternal spiritual death. But it's notjust at the point of his death that death begins, but and his wholelife is now untainted and covered and polluted by death and deathly things, bycursed things, by suffering things, by evil things. Life on earth becomesdifficult and hard. The goodness of God should not be in question. Infact it should be made all the more clear when it's put in relief againstthe sinfulness of man. Another way you could put that is when you thinkabout genesis chapter two and the great goodness of God. It should also causeyou to think of the great evil that man did when he fell and thegreat evils we commit when we commit against a God who has made us inthis way. But I want to tell you that, as genesis goes onand as God's revelation goes on, we see these expressions of his goodness unending. We see expressions of his goodness not only in the creation of man butalso in the salvation of Man. We see it in this creation and habitationin a new way. Despite Man's evil, despite man's fall, despite man's rebellionand all the evils that we now face in this world because of it, God, in his goodness, enters into the world again through his sonand brings about what we call new creation and new habitation. That's what Hebrewswas talking about that I read to you. You have now come to Mount Zion, the city of the Living God,...

...the heavenly Jerusalem. It's what revelationtalks about when it pictures the new heavens and the new earth and thiskind of garden of Eden like language. Well, how do we get tothat point? We get to that point through the great king of this newcreation, this new heavens and the new earth. Jesus Christ. Jesus comes, and when he comes, he doesn't just demonstrate his goodness and this miracleor that miracle, providing wine for a wedding feast or food for people whoare hungry out in the desert. He shows us these things to point tohis ultimate goodness and being willing to die for us so that we might regainthe communion with the God desires for us. God takes this curse upon himself.The dark clouds of evil and sin come over Jesus Christ on the Crossso that they might not come over us anymore, so that the sting wouldbe taken out of death, so that the evils and the suffering that weface might be finally subdued, so that the evil one who tempts eve andCauses Adam to fall would be put to an end, destroyed and ruined forever. This is why God comes into the world and so we see his goodnessdisplayed yet again and in this wonderful and saving way, in Jesus Christ.So when we think about the things that we face in this world, theevils and the suffering, the curse and the death, we cannot go toGod and blame him when he is one good and to he has saved usfrom evil and has brought about all good and promised us all good that wemight live and drest and dwell and reign with him forever and ever and JesusChrist, we have the answer to evil, provided by God himself. This weshould praise God for, we should thank him for, even as weare humbled by our own sinfulness. Let us pray.

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