Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 3* PART 4 * BOOK 1
Genesis 2:8 –3:8
Turn back to where we left off in our last segment. We were at Adam having just eaten. And, you remember, we pointed out that Paul writes to Timothy that Adam was not deceived. He wasn’t caught in a moment of weakness as Eve was. But, he knew full well what he was doing and what the consequences would be. He had to make a choice. Is he going to eat and stay with his beautiful help meet, the woman, or is he going to refuse, lose the help meet and remain obedient to the Creator. After contemplation, the last four words of verse 6 tell us all and he did eat.
Now, in our closing remarks I said that the moment he ate a lot of things happened. Turn back with me to Romans chapter 5. The reason I try to clarify this is because several years ago, I was sitting in a service where the gentleman behind the pulpit, made the comment that he didn’t see that there was any such thing as an “original sin” or “the fall”, that our only problem was “sins” per se. I have read even since then where there are those who argue that there is no such thing as an original sin. But, the Bible says otherwise. Turn with me to Romans chapter 5 verse 12, I like to emphasize that when Paul writes it is certainly that part of the New Testament that is particularly in tune with the “Church Age”, the “Age of Grace”.
As he himself says in Romans chapter 11 verse 13 that he is the Apostle of the Gentiles. So, as Gentiles, naturally, he is the one to whom we should turn for our basic doctrines. Verse 12:
“Wherefore, as by one man (he is referring to whom? Adam.) sin entered into the world, and death (let me use the verb, entered) by sin; (in other words, before Adam ate, nothing died. Death was an unknown entity. But, once he ate, sin came in and with sin came death.) and so death passed upon (how many?) all men,…”
ALL, Paul says in Romans chapter 3 – ALL have sinned and come short of the glory of God. No one escapes it because we have been born of Adam. So death passed upon all men.
“… for that all have sinned:”
Let’s define the word death. We like to use definitions as we come up through Scripture. First and foremost, let’s look at physical death because that’s what we are most acquainted with. We see it on every hand. Not only in the human race but also in the animal kingdom, the birds and so forth. But, so far as the human race is concerned, death as we understand it.What is death? I think the simplest way we can put it is that death is separation. Death = separation. In the physical then, it is a separation of the body from the soul and spirit. Death is that separation of that invisible part of us from the body.
As we contemplate this whole makeup of man and his relationship to the physical existence; his relationship to God, it is good to understand some of these things. Whenever the soul and spirit takes flight from this body, we have death.
All through Scripture, even though the preaching I have heard in all of my days, the emphasis is always upon the soul. The saving of the soul and, God is concerned about the soul. But, I have come to the conclusion that God is just as concerned about the body. You see, God is dealing with us not just in terms of the soul and the spirit but the WHOLE man. I beg people to find any place in this Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, where man has anything whatsoever of any worth in this life or in the life to come, separated from a body.
Because once we get into the eternal state, after the great resurrection day, what are we going to have? New bodies! So, God is concerned with the whole man, the body, the soul and the spirit, not just in this life, but even in the life to come.
Physical death is a separation of the body from the soul and spirit and I make the statement, I think that it is very rare and a person has to be in an awful state of pain and misery to really want death. Normally it just isn’t that way.
I have known old people, up in their nineties, who when they are healthy, they would say, Oh, I wish the Lord would come! Or I wish the Lord would take me home. I’m just so tired of sitting here in this rocking chair. But, let that old heart skip a beat and who do they call for? The doctor! Don’t they?
Sure they do. Why? Because even in the best of believers who are ready to go out and meet the Lord, there is still that awesome fear and we don’t want death. That is normal. That’s the way God made us because we don’t want to be separated – body from the soul and spirit. That’s why God has made plans that one day we ARE going to have the body reunited with the soul and the spirit.
Then there is another death that is probably more important. Spiritual death. Spiritual death is a separation. But not a separation from body and soul, but rather a separation from God. The Bible refers to that as the Second Death. That separation from God for all eternity.
In our class at Tahlequah some weeks ago, someone asked a question, if I would cover the difference between Hell and the Lake of Fire. A lot of people don’t know that there is a difference. But, we spent our whole two hour class showing from the Scripture, all the way through, how that, yes, Hell will one day end up in the Lake of Fire, but they are two distinct differences.
We all shrink from either one of these thoughts of death. A thinking individual, (now of course Satan has kept most people from that place,) but a thinking individual will naturally have that same kind of apprehension of a spiritual separation from God as we have a physical separation of body and soul. At least we should have.
It is going to be awful to be separated from God for all eternity. That’s what Hell is really going to be. It’s that separation from God, let alone all the other ramifications. But, death, sin; it all had it’s beginning the moment Adam ate in direct violence and disobedience to that revealed Word of God.
Drop down to verse 14 still in Romans 5.
“Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure (or the type) of him that was to come.”
Sometime we are going to show the relationship, as Paul shows it here, that as Adam the Federal head of the human race, as Adam sinned and caused death to come upon the human race; so also, the second Adam, or the last Adam or Christ, that is what He is referred to in the New Testament. Christ is referred to as the second Adam. Christ by virtue of death was able to impart LIFE.
So even though we may look at the whole complex picture and we may say God wasn’t really fair by causing the whole human race to come under the condemnation of sin when it all was because of one man. But, the whole Sovereign act of God is that just as sure as Adam brought death and the separation from God upon the whole human race, Christ came back and restored all of that.
But, it is based on choice. It isn’t automatic. That’s universalism and we have to reject that. As man is now given full opportunity to choose, he can have salvation. It is free for the asking. Remember how many times I have said, people will say, “It’s just too simple.” And yet if it were one bit more difficult, what would they say? “It’s too hard, I can’t do that.” It is so simple and God has done that because we are all sons of Adam. So never lose sight of that.
Let’s look at one more New Testament verse. Turn over a few more pages to Ephesians. Come through the Corinthians, Galatians to Ephesians chapter 2. I usually pick out verses that are the most clearly stated. Where there is just no doubt about what God is trying to tell us in His Word. Ephesians chapter 2 verse 1, where again Paul is writing to the believers. Paul always writes to believers. But he is writing to the believers at Ephesus and the surrounding Churches. And he said:
“And you hath he quickened, (or made alive) who were (in the past tense. What’s the next word?) dead in trespasses and sins;”
What does that mean? They were without Spiritual life. Then he goes on in verse 2.
“Wherein in time past ye walked (he wasn’t talking about physical death, he was talking about spiritual death, because these people are still living. So the people of verse 1 who have been made alive, who were dead, still they were walking in the flesh) according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience;”
Who are they? The children of Adam, who have disobeyed by virtue of Adam’s disobedience. Now verse 3:
“Among whom also we all had our conversation (or our manner of living) in times past (here it comes again) in the lusts (desires) of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature…”
Naturally. You know what that means? I don’t care how sweet those little two year olds are, how quick will they sin? As one fellow I read one time last winter, he put it this way. “Just as soon as they can.” And, isn’t that true? Why do they do it? Oh, because they are children of Adam.
This is what Paul means. That we are practitioners of the things of this world. We are desiring the lusts and the pleasures of life because it comes naturally. I always have to be reminded of that popular song of generations gone by. What was it? “Doing What Comes Naturally.” Isn’t that what the human race does? They give in to their natural inclinations and they are simply doing that which comes naturally. This is exactly what Paul says here. That we were by nature – naturally:
“… the children of (what?) wrath, even as others.”
We will point that out a little more clearly later. But, let’s go back to Genesis, for just a moment. Back to chapter 3 verse 7. Adam has eaten and immediately everything takes place. First and foremost, we have the proof of it in:
“And the eyes of them both were opened and they knew that they were naked;…”
Now we have to compare. Let’s think again about chapter 2 and verse 25, so that you pick up this tremendous change that had just taken place.
There is a lot of speculation as to what that was. Some have imagined that they had some kind of an ethereal euphoria around them before sin came and that disappeared and suddenly they could see their fleshly nakedness. But whatever it was, it really doesn’t matter, what we have to understand is that in chapter 2 verse 25 they were naked.
Remember it was a warm tropical climate, they didn’t need it for warmth. They were both naked, the man and his wife, and they were not ashamed. In other words, it never bothered them. They could even walk that way in the presence of God in the cool of the day with no problem. But, now as soon as they had eaten, and they had been disobedient, what does that nakedness do? Oh, it drives them with some kind of guilt and the first thing they want to do is cover it. Let’s read on.
“…and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.”
The first thing I like to ask my classes is: Does God tell them to do this? No! So, the Scripture doesn’t say that Satan suggested it, but I wouldn’t be too surprise that maybe that’s what happened. I’m not saying it did, but something prompted them to want to cover their physical nakedness. So, they took the largest leaves that they could find and they sewed the leaves together and made themselves aprons.
Now remember, God had nothing to do with this. This is what we call the “energy of the flesh”. This is man doing what HE can do. Let’s look at Proverbs, chapter 14 verse 12.
It wouldn’t hurt to memorize this verse and lock it into “your computer” because this verse is so appropriate under so many circumstances. In fact, I will use it again when we get to chapter 4, when Cain comes along with his sacrifice. But, Proverbs chapter 14 verse 12, it is just a simple statement.
“There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof (that is, of the ways that man thinks are right) are the ways of death.”
They will never cut it. The one word I put on all of this is rationalization. We all like to rationalize, don’t we? I don’t care what kind of a difficult situation we are faced with, the first thing we start doing is rationalizing. How can I get around this? How can I circumvent it?
Alright, Adam and Eve were confronted with the fact the Lord, Himself, is going to come down and want to walk with them in the cool of the day. Now they have to start rationalizing. How are they going to get around this? They now realize their nakedness. So, maybe they say, if we cover our nakedness with fig leaves, if we fix ourselves some covering, God won’t really notice and we can get away with it. See? Now, that is man’s thinking even today!
When we get to chapter 4 we are going to look at Cain. Cain is going to say, “But God, I know you don’t really expect me to go over the mountain and barter with my brother Abel. Surely you will accept what I am going to put together.”
So he rationalizes. And, he thinks he can get away with it. He does which seemeth right to a man. People are doing it today. All you have to do is just ask people that you come in contact with. This is not original with me, I think it was either with Campus Crusade or one of the Youth working groups, Navigators or somebody. But instead of just asking somebody; Are you a Christian? You ask the question in this way. If you were to die tonight or tomorrow, on what basis do you think God would let you into His heaven? That is the perfect way of putting it. On what basis do you think God should let you into His heaven? My, you will start getting as many different answers as you have people to ask.
Some will say, Well I am doing the best I can. I’m keeping the Commandments. I’ve joined the church. I am a good member. I give. I’ve been baptized in water. I’m a good parent. I’m a good citizen.” See, these are all things that seemeth right unto a man. But what is the end thereof? Death.
We often think of some of the other major religions of the world and we have had some good discussions on these in our other classes. Like I said, when you have two hours we have time for those. My, we have discussed more than once. How about a good Mohammedan? In many cases they are better than some of us, morally, and all of these things. They’re religious. They practice their prayer times and everything else. They read their Koran. Are they going to make it? No. They are doing what seems right to men. But, in the eyes of a Holy God, they are far short.
Not only them, but you take all of the religions of the world, whatever it may be. I always like to make a good definition of religion. Believe it or not, the Bible never speaks of religion in a good way. There is only one place and even then it is not a strong point. Usually religion is used in a bad sense. For example, when Paul in Galatians speaks of having practiced the Jewish religion more strongly than any of his peers, how was he speaking of it? That’s all it was – it was religion. He knew nothing of a relationship with God at that time.
So, I like to look at it this way. Religion, regardless of whether it is the one we already mentioned or whether its Buddhism, or Hinduism or anything else, is man’s attempt to some how reach and merit favor with God. That’s religion.
Just like Proverbs says. Man says, well, if I do this then certainly God will be pleased. That’s what Adam and Eve thought when they sewed the fig leaves. It was an act of religion. “Surely if we cover our nakedness God will accept us.”
But you see, what we call true Christianity, I mean TRUE Christianity, a real salvation experience, is just exactly the opposite. It is God reaching down to unworthy sinful man. See the difference?
All the religions of the world are going to attempt to somehow merit favor with God. And they may be well taken, they may be good as far as they go, but, they can never merit favor with God. They have to look at it from this point of view. It’s what God has done for man. When we see that, we have the battle won.
If you will, come back to Genesis once a again. So they sewed themselves fig leaves and covered their physical nakedness. But, what area have they still not dealt with? The spiritual.They have now tried to deal with the physical, but there is no way they can restore that fellowship with the Creator. That’s broken. Sin has broken it.
“And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife (did what? Hid!) hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden.”
They thought they were covered. But you see when the chips are down, what do they suddenly realize? Those apron leaves aren’t going to cut it. They are in no shape to meet God. So, what do they do? They run and they hide.
Run back to John’s gospel chapter 3, to show that the human race hasn’t changed one iota. Remembering what we just read. Even though they think that they have covered their bases, they have sewn their fig leaves, and yet when they are confronted with the Holy Creator God, they run and hide. John’s gospel chapter 3. Jesus is speaking. If you have a red letter edition, it will be in red.
“And this is the condemnation that light is come into the world, (of course, he was speaking of Himself) and men loved (what?) darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. (Now remember what Adam and Eve did. They went and hid) 20. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, (what’s the opposite of coming to the light? They go to their darkness. See? That is still the same way today. Men will not come out of the darkness seeking the light, but they will always run and hide.) lest his deeds should be reproved.”
Now, I have one final thought and it’s time to quit. No sinner ever goes looking for God. God looks for the sinner.