Lesson 6. Imperfect life: I warned you!

 

Genesis 4

Welcome, Bible students, pastors, and church leaders, to the beginning of a new year of exploration and learning in Scope Bible School online lessons. This is our first lesson this new year, and in it, we shall delve into the profound consequences of Adam and Eve’s disobedience in the Garden of Eden. Quick flashback: We ended Lesson 5 on a rather sad note; we witnessed the moment when Adam and Eve, swayed by the serpent’s cunning words, disobeyed God’s command. Instead of heeding the voice of their Creator, they succumbed to temptation.

In today’s lesson, as we unfold the layers of this narrative, we shall pick up right from there; we’ll examine and understand the results of this disobedience, the immediate and long-term repercussions, extending as far as the events leading to the flood in chapter 7.

We shall start off by drawing a comparison of God’s warning to man regarding the consequences of eating the forbidden fruit (find these warnings in Lesson 4) with what actually transpired. In Genesis 2:17, God clearly stated to Adam that eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil would result in death: “But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” The phrase ‘in the day‘ might mean that man’s death was supposed to happen immediately after he put the fruit to mouth. So what we expect to witness is Adam and Eve collapsing dead right there before the serpent, and the serpent walking away smilingly, satisfied. It just didn’t happen that way. We did not see anybody collapsing. As a matter of fact, they were more alive than before—alive enough to see that they were naked! They had never noticed that and it had never been a concern to them. See, the little serpent was right. He had told them they would be more knowledgeable, and here they were more knowledgeable, able to notice their nakedness and a couple of other things that are not recorded in scripture. This is where we come in, our grand task here being to question and draw an analysis on whether God kept His word or if the serpent’s assertion that they would not die held some truth, or whole truth, if you may. Welcome aboard.

Numbers 23:19 “God is not a man, that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?” There! Have you heard that? He does not lie. This scripture emphasizes the unchanging and truthful nature of God; whether it is good or bad that He is declaring, he does not lie about it. He does not even try to please anyone by lying to make them feel good. So if scripture says He does not lie, and yet we are seeing the lie of the year right before our eyes, how do we treat this case? Well, we look more deeply, turning our observation away from the more obvious and physical to the more mystical and spiritual.

If Adam ate of the fruit, he had to die in some way. Something within him had to die or be lost. That thing should’ve been so important and so crucial to his life that its loss would cause physical death and more grave problems than he could ever imagine (I am tempted to use the phrase than he could ever imagine in his little mind, hahaha). And since we don’t see anything physically changing, that thing should be invisible and yet powerful (safe to call it the invisible powerful!). There, you got yourself a movie or book title hahaha).

It was imperative for Adam to understand the deep meaning of God’s warning in Genesis 2 and the seriousness of the consequences of his disobedience. He instead might have thought God must have been having those usual not-so-serious friendly conversations with him (perhaps about how the giraffe deserves its name because of its long neck, or how the swine had ended up having a ring-like snout, etc.). After all, this is my buddy with whom we have the usual evening cup-of-coffee talks. This is just one of them. Oh! How wrong you are, Mr. Adam! This is serious stuff (I am tempted to phrase it this way: this is more serious stuff, bro! hahahah). Since Adam seems not to have taken seriously these instructions to give much thought (probably while sleeping in one of the forest trees that night) about what God really meant (What does death mean? I have never seen anyone or anything die, have I? Will I just stop existing if I eat of the fruit? Will I just disappear? Will I turn into dust again, and will these animals trample on me daily as they do their grazing? Will I lose the breath that God said He breathed into my nostrils? Does physical death in any way relate to the loss of my spiritual life; if yes, which one causes the other, and how much?) it does us less good to go the Adam way. We will therefore do what he failed to do, so that if our paths happen to cross while in heaven’s streets, he might as well pat us on the back! We need to find out the real meaning of death, and its magnitude, how it occurs, and how it shapes the future. If Adam had thought about it in such deep dimensions, trust me, he would not have eaten of that fruit!

At this point, keeping the scripture in Numbers 23:19 in mind, we shall evaluate how and not whether Adam died. We’ll evaluate that (keeping in mind the last few paragraphs too), along with the spiritual aspects outlined in Lesson 3—yes, you guessed right, the 5 aspects/attributes of the Perfect Life in Genesis 1:26-30. And even some more:

  1. Loss of Attributes: Adam lost the five attributes from Lesson 3—God’s image, nature, authority, dominion, and blessings.

God’s Image: The perfect reflection of God’s image was marred, leading to a distorted understanding of God’s nature.

Nature/Character/Likeness: The inherent goodness and righteousness in man’s nature were tainted by sin.

Authority: Man’s rightful authority over creation, as well as the spiritual realms and principalities/government of Satan, was disrupted, leading to a world marked by struggle and chaos, and vulnerability to Satan’s torment and manipulation.

Dominion: The harmonious dominion over creation was disrupted.

Blessings: The intended state of perpetual blessing was replaced with a curse, a curse that surpasses just hardships and toil. As a matter of fact, henceforth, Adam’s state of life changed from a blessed life/perfect life to a cursed life. It is important to understand this. We shall need to get back to it as a reference in our future lessons.

  1. Sinful Nature/Seed: The devil robbed a man of the above attributes and replaced them with something serious and dangerous: a seed of disobedience, leading to a fundamental shift in man’s nature towards sinful acts; and consequently man developed a great taste for them. Biologists have a term for this, it’s called tropism (the behaviour of an organism to grow wholly or in part tending towards a stimulus, e.g phototropism, geotropism, hydrotropism. Look them up, will you?). So if sinful acts are a stimulus, shall we call man’s acquired behaviour sintropism?

This sinful nature became the root cause and caused the total manifestation of sinful acts such as disobedience, sexual immorality, murder, deceit, selfishness, pride, and rebellion. And yet henceforth, this was bound to be man’s nature all his life.  By definition, sinful nature is the natural setting of man and is the seed of Satan that causes the fruition of sinful acts in man. Sinful acts on the other hand, are the fruits/acts seen outwardly in man’s behavior but being influenced by the sinful nature (seed) unseen.

The appearance of this new nature created an aspect called the Sin problem in man. And this sin problem was and is, as we shall observe across the history timeline an inherent one. By definition the Sin Problem (the first aspect on the Salvation History Timeline) is the situation in which all offspring of man were to born with a sinful nature, and were to be guilty of sin before God as the seed was transferred from one generation to another through blood and genes, just by the act of Adam’s disobedience. Sad.

  1. Separation from God: Man became spiritually separated from God due to sin, as God cannot coexist with sin because man, bearing the stain of sin, became incompatible with the holiness of God. This separation marked a spiritual death as man was estranged from the intimate relationship with the Creator. And just like that God and man became enemies. This is also part of the Sin Problem. Very sad.
  2. Cursed Life: God pronounced curses upon man, woman, and the serpent, leading to a life marked by hardship and struggle (Genesis 3:14-19); which entailed increased pain in childbirth for women, toil and hardship in work for men, and enmity between the seed of the woman and that of the Serpent. Very much sad.

Summary of the Curses

To the serpent: It would crawl on its belly, eat dust, and there would be hostility between its seed and the seed of the woman (her seed would crash its seed’s head and its seed would strike her seed’s heel). The aspect of seed shall be explained in future.

To the woman: Increased pain in childbirth and a desire for her husband, with consequences for her role in the family.

To the man: Toil and hardship in obtaining sustenance from the ground, and mortality.

  1. Expulson from the Graden: Adam and Eve were then expelled from the precious garden of Eden to prevent them from eating from the tree of life, ensuring that they would not live forever with their sinful nature (Genesis 3:22-24). This act suits the assumption that God had started dealing with the sinful nature (let us call it seed) that man had inherited. In this case he did not want the seed to survive forever, so through death, the sin would die in an individual and would not survive forever. But before this, God had clothed Adam and Eve with garments made from animal skins (Genesis 3:21). Many scholars project this as a sacrifice of shedding blood which was made to partially cover for the sinful act of disobedience and prevent God from killing them instantly. Whether these two acts provided a complete solution to the Sin Problem is debatable.

The reason for the expulsion is two-faceted: First, it was a consequence of the act of disobedience whereby man was expelled from the garden into a life of suffering, as seen in Genesis 3:21-24 as a punishment. It would be ironical, laughable and a bad taste in the mouth of God for man to continue enjoying previledges of the garden even after antagozing his creator. Second, in some way God had to find a way of putting the subject/cause and target of his anger (man), so far away from His sight and presence that He would not keep looking at him– lest he gets reminded of how filthy the subject looked– as He worked out a possible solution, and lest He breathes His anguish onto him and the Kingdom Blueprint plan come to a sad end. He would not let Satan completely sanitize the Blueprint, so by all means Adam had to be kept alive (also because his kind was still singular, the only one through which the other offspring would arise, so destroying him would wipe out mankind completely before he even multiplied). Therefore, the expulsion was not only a punishment but also a way of God shielding man from the immediate as well as long-term consequences of his sinful act and his sinful nature if he remained in His sight. The former is also the reason why God made the aforementioned sacrifice when he made animal skin-clothes, and also the reason to support the fact that God does not tolerate sin. For in the presence of God, the object of sin has to die, and staying far aloof from it would be a way of preserving it.

 

Analysis of the SIN PROBLEM: The Tree Analogy and the DNA Analogy

The sinful acts portrayed in the subsequent chapters of this Bible narrative, chapters that show life outside of the garden, i.e 4 (the murder of Abel), 6 (Wickedness through the sons of God and daughters of man) and 11 (the tower of Babel) were indeed the first fruits of man’s sinful nature, a tip-on-the-iceberg reflection of the dark influence of Satan’s nature within man, and more so a true depiction of how serious the Sin Problem was. These actions were just the beginning of a downward spiral into more significant and graver sins; and as we can presume, it is from witnessing such events as these that Adam and his wife (and their descendants down the genealogical line) started understanding the depth of the command God had given them, and yet more was to come– the physical death and return to dust (They would learn that spiritual death would sooner or later cause physical death).

The story of the flood and Naoh’s ark (which was triggered by the evil events in chapter 6, though sinful acts had been building up for quite a while) can be used to best explain the two Analogies that depict the seriousness of the Sin Problem as seen through its persistence, the ability to blend with man’s system and the ability to be inherited. Apostle Paul states, “For the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). Sin is so deeply ingrained that it cannot be removed or treated by anything other than death.  A thief is only considered innocent when he is killed; sin only exists when the sinner is still alive. That is the concept that is seen through the events where God killed people massively, as a way of wiping out sin; but because he did not kill all of them sin somehow survived through the remnants.

 

The Tree Analogy

Consider a resilient tree (a myrtle tree, for instance) that naturally and effortlessly bears fruit; if one were to merely cut off its branches or fruits, he might do little to stop the tree from bearing fruit, as its life force and capacity to bear fruit lie deeper within its roots. The roots provide the shoot system with all water, sap, and mineral salts that help the tree carry out all the relevant life processes like photosynthesis, transpiration, respiration, etc that lead to fruition (if you are to destroy this tree to eliminate fruition, you have to scoop it by its roots out of the ground; the fruits might not whither immediately, but with time they start dying and falling off). Similarly, the sinful nature in man is persistent, and the flood merely acted as a temporary reset rather than a complete eradication of sin.

 

The DNA Analogy

The sin seed had become deeply and strongly ingrained in the very DNA of man. The event of the flood, while wiping out those who died with their sin, did not eradicate the presence of sin. Those saved in Noah’s ark carried it to the next generations, demonstrating how sin survived through them. The sinful nature, akin to a recessive trait, may not always be visibly expressed (phenotype), yet it can be passed down through generations in the genetic code (genotype).

In genetics, the terms genotype and phenotype are crucial. The genotype refers to the genetic makeup of an organism, while the phenotype is the observable characteristics resulting from the interaction between the genotype and the environment.

Now, let’s apply these genetic concepts to the scenario of Noah’s flood:

Genetic Makeup (Genotype): In this context, let’s consider the genetic makeup of individuals as representing their spiritual nature. The sinful nature, represented by the presence of sin in their genotype, is analogous to carrying a recessive sin trait in their DNA. This is invisible to the naked eye.

Observable Characteristics (Phenotype): The observable characteristics, or phenotype, would be the outward behavior of individuals – whether they appear righteous or sinful based on their actions.

Now, let’s illustrate the analogy:

Before the Flood: The evil generation before the flood had a dominant sinful genotype, and their sinful behavior (phenotype) was evident in their actions. The presence of sin was both in their genes and in their deeds.

During the Flood: God, in His judgment, decided to wipe out this sinful generation, essentially eradicating the dominant sinful genotype from the population.

After the Flood (Noah’s Family): Noah’s family (His wife, Shem, Ham, Japeth and their wives) saved in the ark, had a recessive sin genotype. Though their sinful nature might not have been visibly expressed (phenotype) in their actions, they still carried the potential for sin within their genetic makeup.

Genetic Transmission: When Noah’s family repopulated the Earth, they transmitted the recessive sin genotype to their offspring. While these descendants might not have exhibited overtly sinful behavior, the potential for sin was still present in their genetic code. This genetic analogy helps us understand why, despite the eradication of the sinful generation through the flood, sin persisted in the world. The saved family carried within them the recessive sin trait, which was passed down through generations, contributing to the ongoing presence of sin in humanity. This nuanced understanding reflects the complexity of God’s plan and the intricate ways in which spiritual traits, like genetic traits, can be transmitted through generations.

The inability to remove or treat sin by any means highlights the seriousness of the Sin Problem threat to God’s Kingdom Blueprint. The Kingdom plan faced a perilous situation, as the presence of sin in humanity posed a significant challenge. The intricate plan of God needed a solution that went beyond human and Satanic understanding. Why? Because in God’s plan man was to reign with Him, and therefore man had to be holy. But here was man on the loose, living as he wished and doing everything opposite to what was required of him to fit into the kingdom;  he had believed Satan’s lie, succumbed to disobedience, and brought sin and death into the world and though he might understand that the ideal lifestyle to live was with God and doing what pleased Him, yet he could not.  His system was completely corrupted; he had become an agent of his own destruction. The only resolution left was divine intervention that addresses both the consequence of sin, takes away the sin problem and the restoration of the relationship between God and man through and by, though difficult to achieve, man. Difficult because man had become an accomplice of Satan, God’s but also man’s arch-enemy. One other profound challenge was this– the devil, having knowledge of God’s blueprint, had corrupted it initially. Therefore, any plan to save man had to be concealed, indirect, woven into intricate events, and shrouded in mystery, ensuring that the adversary would be unable to comprehend it. So God began by choosing a few individuals, a few names…

See you next week.

3 thoughts on “Lesson 6. Imperfect life: I warned you!”

  1. Our God is the God Who utilizes resources, I think,He could eradicate Man after his disobedience and create another Man,because according to today’s lesson, I’ve learned that the only way to destroy a tree, it’s to scoop it by it’s roots out of the ground for it’s roots provide it the capacity to live and bear fruits.
    I’ve seen how God decided to wipe out the sinful generation with floods during the days of Noah but still Noah’s family Carried the sin genotype with them and the sinful nature was transmitted to their offsprings,,…… Oooh God!!!!!
    But still our God never fails 💪

    1. But God didn’t destroy man as devil’s plan was but He still looked for a possible way of saving man from the sinful nature……
      Oooh,!!! Glory be to our God.

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