Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Bible Doctrine Series-The Original Status of Man

The Original Status of Man. A. His Moral Nature. 1. Man was created positively holy. This is sometimes called unconfirmed creaturely holiness. He had a holy nature but not a holy character. A holy character comes by experience or the exercise of choice. 2. Man was not created neutral. Man was not created neither sinful nor holy. Nor was he ignorant of the difference between good and evil. He had a head discernment or descriptive knowledge, but not experiential knowledge. B. His Mental Endowment. 1. Man had an intellect totally free from the debilitating effects of sin that have come from the fall (Romans 8:7; Ephesians 2:3). 2. Man had the ability to perceive the innate characteristics and traits of animals and give them names accordingly (Genesis 2:19). Adam named all the kinds of air breathing land animals in a matter of hours on Day 6 of creation. 3. Man had a language system and a vocabulary that enabled him to communicate with God and his fellow man—Genesis 2:15. C. His Dominion over Creation. Genesis 1:28; Psalm 8:1-9. 1. Man’s original dominion was based on his superior and unfallen intellect, his qualitative distinction from the rest of creation (as a result of the image of God), and the natural docility of nature prior to the fall. 2. Man’s original dominion was ruined by the fall. Hebrews 2:9 shows the present state of affairs. 3. Man’s present dominion is based on a God-placed, instinctive fear of man in the animals—Genesis 9:2. 4. Man’s original dominion will be restored in the Millennium—Isaiah 11:6-9. Millennial conditions are a good illustration of what the original arrangement was. D. His Responsibilities. 1. Fill the Earth—Genesis 1:28. 2. Subdue the Earth—Genesis 1:28. 3. Rule Over the Animals—Genesis 1:28. 4. Cultivate the Garden—Genesis 2:15. 5. Have a Vegetable Diet—Genesis 1:29-30. 6. Abstain From the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil—Genesis 2:17. E. His Diet. Genesis 1:29-30. Originally man (and the animals) was vegetarian. His source of food consisted of “every herb bearing seed” and fruit trees. Since there was no death of any form, man did not eat meat. Animals, for that matter, did not become carnivorous until after the fall. Not until after the Flood was man officially permitted to eat meat (Genesis 9:3). F. His Purpose (true today also)—Isaiah 43:7. The fall of man into Sin—Genesis 3:1-24. A. The Test. 1. The Nature of the Test. a. The tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2:17; 3:6-7) was an ordinary, literal tree without any magical powers in its fruit. The tree did not bring about the knowledge of good and evil and cause death through any physiological effects inherent in its fruit. b. The power of the tree rested with God, and the damage came through disobedience. Yet the tree was necessary in the arrangement. They had to partake of that particular tree in order to violate God’s will. c. An experiential knowledge between good and evil would result from eating the tree. Adam and Eve had descriptive knowledge from God. But God wanted them to have this knowledge by experience, as He has it (cf. Genesis 3:5, 22). d. An experiential knowledge of good and evil could come by obeying and doing right (as God always does), or by disobeying. Satan was formally correct in 3:5. What he failed to say was that by disobeying they would receive this knowledge from a depraved and spiritually dead standpoint. 2. The Purpose of God. a. The purpose was to gain the experiential knowledge between good and evil by obeying and thus develop a holy character. God wanted to develop their holy nature into a holy character, and this comes by experience. b. Note the formula: Adam and Eve were able not to sin because of their natures. God wanted them to be not able to sin—confirmed in holiness. After the test, man is not able not to sin. c. If Adam and Eve would have passed the test, presumably God would have permitted them to eat the tree of life and they would have been confirmed in holiness and in physical life forever. 3. The Time of the Test. a. The Bible does not indicate how long after their creation this episode occurred to Adam and Eve. b. It could have been anywhere from two days to over 100 years after their creation. 1) Adam and Eve (who were created on Day 6) must have lived through the 7th day because God blessed it. It is unlikely that God would have blessed it and cursed the rest of the world on the same day. So the fall could have happened on Day 8 of earth history at the earliest. 2) Adam was 130 when Seth was born (Genesis 5:3). Seth was born after Cain killed Abel. Cain killed Abel after Adam and Eve were expelled from the Garden. Assuming Cain and Abel were in their teens or early twenties, nearly 110 years could have elapsed before the fall occurred. (This also assumes that Seth was born within a year or so after Abel’s death.) B. The Temptation. Genesis 3:1-7. 1. The Method. a. Satan’s method was to employ an ordinary serpent, then the most “subtle” (crafty, cunning) of the animals. b. Satan’s method was also to employ: 1) Doubt—3:1. “Yea, hath God said?” 2) Distortion—3:1. “…Every (lit., any) tree” Cf. 3:3 “Neither shall ye touch it”. God had not prohibited “touching.” 3) Denial—3:4. “Ye shall not surely die” c. Satan himself must have sinned against God and was expelled from the 3rd heaven sometime between chapters 2 and 3 of Genesis (cf. Ezekiel 28:12-16). 2. The Means. Satan used a three-fold means on Eve. He used the same means later on Jesus, and uses it today on all believers. 1 John 2; 16; Matthew 4:1-11; Genesis 3:6. a. Lust of the flesh—“good for food”—stones into bread. An appeal to physical appetite. b. Lust of the eyes—“Pleasant to the eyes”—kingdoms of the world. An appeal to the aesthetic. c. Pride of life—“desired to make one wise”—pinnacle of the temple. The social appeal. 3. The Advantages of Adam and Eve. a. A clear, uncomplicated command from God. b. Abundant evidence of God’s love and goodness in the Garden. c. A talking animal (should have aroused suspicion). C. The Effects. Genesis 3:8-21. 1. On Adam and Eve. a. Spiritual death—separation from God. b. Physical death—the seeds of mortality were sown in their bodies. This includes the death-bringing toil that their labor became. c. Expulsion from the Garden—so they would not eat of the tree of life and be confirmed in an unsaved, depraved physical condition forever. d. Loss of dominion. e. Change in anatomy—Eve seems to have had a structural change in her body that resulted in severely painful childbirth. 2. On the Serpent. The serpent also underwent a structural change, going from an apparently upright creature to one that crawls on its belly, in this; it was cursed “away from” the rest of the animals (3:14—not “above” or “more than”). 3. On the Animal Kingdom. Carnivorous instincts arose. 4. On the Plant Kingdom. Thistles and thorns were introduced. 5. On Creation As a Whole—the bondage of corruption (Romans 8:19-22). 6. On the Human Race. a. Sin (corruption, depravity)—Romans 5:12, 19. This is passed on by inheritance. b. Condemnation—Romans 5:16, 18. This is passed on by imputation. c. Death (physical, spiritual, eternal)—Romans 5:12, 15, 17; 1 Corinthians 15:21-22. This is passed on by inheritance and imputation. Dr. Ken Copley is available for counseling, conferences, and local church meetings.

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