Sermon #1948 Miscellaneous Sermons
Title: “In The Beginning”
Text: Genesis 1:26-28
Subject: The Creation and Original State of Man
Date: Sunday Morning — January 1, 2012
Tape # AA-46
The title of my message today is “In the Beginning.” I cannot think of a more appropriate subject with which to begin the New Year. So turn with me to the first chapter of Genesis, and we will see how things were “In the Beginning.”
The Word of God opens with this simple statement of fact. — “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth” (Genesis 1:1). That is all we are told concerning the original creation. No argument is given to prove the existence of God. Instead, his existence is simply affirmed as a fact to be believed. Nothing is given to gratify the curious minds of men. How long did it take for God to create the world? We are not told. How old is this world? We are not told. We are simply told, “In the beginning God created.” The truth of God is simply stated as a fact to be received and understood by unquestioning faith.
“In the beginning God.” — This is the foundation of all truth. All true doctrine, all true theology, all true religion begins with this. — “In the beginning God.” All human religion and philosophy begin with man and work up to God. The Scriptures begin with God and work down to man.
If we are to understand salvation, we must begin with God. In the Garden of Eden, Adam sinned against God and brought in death; but God was not taken by surprise. In the beginning, before ever the world was created, in anticipation of the fall, God provided his Son as “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (Revelation 13:8), “who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world” (1 Peter 1:20).
In the new creation the sinner who is saved by grace repents, believes on the Lord Jesus Christ and walks with him in the newness of life. But it began with God. In the beginning God chose us in Christ (Ephesians 1:4), and predestinated us to be his children (Ephesians 1:5), and today “we love him, because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19). Everything begins with God. If we understand this fact of Divine Revelation we will not stray far from the truth.
Book of Beginnings
The Book of Genesis is the Book of Beginnings. In fact, the word “genesis” means “beginning.” Someone said, “The Book of Genesis is the seed plot of the Bible.” It contains in seed form all the great doctrines and truths revealed more fully in the rest of the Inspired Volume. In the Book of Genesis…
This list could go on. The incarnation of Christ is prophesied. The substitutionary death of Christ is protrayed. The resurrection and exaltation of Christ are symbolized. The priesthood of Christ is anticipated. And the blessings of Christ upon the Israel of God are declared.
Genesis is the Book of Beginnings. And in this Book of Beginnings everything speaks of Christ.
I want you who hear my voice to know Christ who is the Beginning of the creation of God. In the original creation all things were made by him and for him. He is before all things. He is in all things. By him all things consist. And all things point to him. And the new creation begins with Christ. We must know the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the One who made all things in the beginning. And he is the One who declares, “Behold, I make all things new” (Revelation 21:5).
As we focus our attention on the beginning, I want us to focus our attention precisely on the beginning of humanity, on the original state in which our father Adam, as the head of all the human race, was created, the circumstances in which he lived, and the terrible sin and crime by which our race was plunged into spiritual death and made subject to eternal death and the wrath of God. We will begin in Genesis 1:26-28.
Genesis 1:26-28 “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. (27) So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. (28) And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.”
The wise man Solomon understood that all the problems of men in this world are the result of the sin and fall of our father Adam. Original sin is the origin of all evil, sorrow, and death in this world.
Ecclesiastes 7:29 “Lo, this only have I found, that God hath made man upright; but they have sought out many inventions.”
Ecclesiastes 7:20 “For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not.”
Proposition: God created our father Adam morally upright and righteous, in the image of Christ; but Adam sinned and, sinning, plunged all the human race into sin and spiritual death, under the curse of God’s holy law.
Divisions: I want to show you five things revealed in Holy Scripture about man, specifically about the first man Adam, and consequently about all the sons and daughters of Adam.
1. The Creation of Man
2. The Coronation of Man
3. The Covenant with Man
4. The Corruption of Man
5. The Conversion of Man
1. THE CREATION OF MAN
Our text speaks of a consultation made between the three Persons of the holy Trinity in which God the Father said to God the Son and God the Spirit, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.” And on the sixth day of creation, as the crowning work of his hands, the Lord God — “formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul” (Genesis 2:7).
The Scriptures speak plainly about Adam and describe him as “The first man Adam” (1 Corinthians 15:45). — “And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation” (Acts 17:26). — I cannot add anything to all that has been said and written about the creation of man. I simply want to remind you of those things obviously revealed in the Word of God. I hope you will be led, in the consideration of these things, to worship, trust and adore our Creator. As we consider the things taught in Holy Scripture about the origin of man, we should all stand in awe of God, declaring with David…
Psalms 139:14 “I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.”
Image of God
In his original state man was created, body, soul and spirit, in the image of God. Without question, that means many, many things. It certainly includes the fact that man was created with intellect, emotion and will. It certainly includes the fact that man was given dominion over all creatures in the earth and over the earth itself. And it certainly includes the fact that man, as he was created by God, was given a living, undying, immortal soul. Let me direct your attention to just three things involved in our being created in the image of God.
1. Man was created in the image of God physically. — Others debate the issue, but I have no doubt at all that it man’s creation in the image of God includes, though it is not limited to, the erect posture of man’s body. Man’s erect body is one of many things which distinguish him from four-footed beasts. I am fully aware that God is not a physical Being. — “God is Spirit.” He does not have physical parts or a physical body. However, our Lord Jesus Christ, who alone is said to be “the Image of the invisible God,” does possess a physical body. When God said, “Let us make man in our image,” he had in mind the physical as well as moral image of the incarnate God who would come into the world in the fulness of time. In other words, the first Adam was made in the image of the last Adam.
John Gill was exactly right in stating that by the erectness of his body — “Man is fitted and directed to look upward to the heavens, to contemplate them, and the glory of God displayed in them; and even to look up to God above them, to worship and adore him, to praise him for mercies received, and to pray to him for what are wanted.” Gill goes on to say that the uprightness of our bodies — “Instructs men to set their affections not on things on earth, but on things in heaven. Indeed, it is natural for every man, whether in any great distress, or when favored with an unexpected blessing, and when he receives tidings that surprise him, whether of good or bad things, to turn his face upwards. In the Greek language man has his name, anthropos, from turning and looking upwards.”
2. Man was created in the image of God morally. — I mean by that that our father Adam, in his original creation, was righteous. He was created with an uprightness and rectitude of character, holy and righteous. We read it earlier — “God made man upright” (Ecclesiastes 7:29). Adam was free from all error, weaknesses and mistakes of character as well as free from all sin. He was perfect. His will was biased toward God. His affections flowed out to his Creator. His thoughts were pure. His deeds were holy. There was no sin in him, no propensity toward sin and no inclination to sin.
To quote John Gill again, “This righteousness of his was natural, and not personal and acquired. It was not obtained by the exercise of his free will. It was lost, not got, that way.”
Note: It is the fact that man was created in the image of God places special sanctity upon all human life. — “Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man” (Genesis 9:6).
3. Adam was created in the image of God typically. — I mean by that that the first Adam was created by God to be a type, picture, and representative of the last Adam, our Lord Jesus Christ. The first Adam was a picture of the last Adam. He was “the figure of him that was to come” (Romans 5:14).
1 Corinthians 15:45-47 “And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. (46) Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. (47) The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven.”
As we were lost by the work, the sinful work and disobedience of the first Adam, so we are saved by the righteous work and obedience of the last Adam.
1 Corinthians 15:21-22 “For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. (22) For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.”
Romans 5:12 “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:”
Romans 5:18-21 “Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. (19) For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. (20) Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: (21) That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Man was originally created in the image of God. And, as man was the crowning work of God in creation, God crowned him above all his creatures. Let me show you, in the second place, what the Bible says concerning…
2. THE CORONATION OF MAN
Psalms 8 “O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! who hast set thy glory above the heavens. (2) Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength because of thine enemies, that thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger. (3) When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; (4) What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him? (5) For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour. (6) Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet: (7) All sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field; (8) The fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas. (9) O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth!”
This is a subject worthy of much more attention than I can give to in this message; but here are a few things which will display the high honor God placed upon man, exalting him above all his creatures.
The Lord God planted the Garden of Eden for man.
Genesis 2:8 “And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed.”
No one has any idea where Eden was; but it was a perfect spot for the perfect man whom God had made.
God gave Adam everything he needed in the Garden of Eden to maintain and enjoy his life.
Genesis 2:9-10 “And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil. (10) And a river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted, and became into four heads.”
The tree of life was a type and picture of Christ, the Tree of Life in the midst of the Paradise of God.
Proverbs 3:8 “It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones.”
Revelation 2:7 “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.”
Revelation 22:2 “In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.”
That tree was filled with fruit to sustain Adam in life. It was God’s gift to him and represented the fact that his life was from God, maintained by God and depended upon God. Thus, even in his daily meals, Adam lived by faith in God and worshipped him.
There was also a river in the Garden with four heads, by which both the Garden and all the earth was watered. This river symbolized life, vitality and refreshment. It was typical and representative of Christ, the gospel of God’s free grace in him, the Spirit of God, the Word of God and the everlasting love of God, all of which are represented to us in the Scriptures under the symbol of water.
Psalms 46:4 “There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High.”
John 7:37-39 “In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. (38) He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (39) (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)”
Revelation 22:1 “And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb.”
The gospel of Christ, like this river, goes forth out of Zion to water the earth, making it fruitful everywhere. The Spirit of God, like a mighty river, flows with living waters of grace to all who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. Christ himself is a river, a fountain opened for cleansing from sin. And the everlasting love of God toward his elect is a pure river of the water of life, flowing to sinners through all the earth. It is a river with four blessed heads, or branches.
Š Sovereign Election
Š Effectual Redemption
Š Irresistible Grace
Š Eternal Life
Romans 8:29-30 “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. (30) Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.”
Adam was placed in the Garden to dress it and keep it.
Genesis 2:15 “And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.”
There was no toil or fatigue involved in the work, but Adam’s worship of God had as much to do with tending the Garden as it did with walking with God in the cool of the day. Even in innocence, man was not without work. Even the angels of God have work to do by which they serve him. They are ministering spirits sent forth to minister to God’s elect. The work Adam was given was the most honorable work imaginable: — He was God’s gardener!
As we have already seen, God gave Adam dominion over all his creation. The Lord God made Adam king over everything (Genesis 1:28) and gave everything in the earth to him to use and enjoy as he saw fit for the glory of God (Genesis 1:29-30). Then he brought every living creature to Adam to be named by him.
Genesis 2:19 “And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof.”
What a brilliant man Adam must have been! Even Plato was overwhelmed by the brilliance of that mind that gave names to all things, saying that it must have been more than human.
Then the great and wise Lord our God made an helpmeet for Adam.
Genesis 2:21-25 “And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; (22) And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. (23) And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. (24) Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. (25) And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.”
Adam was formed first, then Eve. They were not equal partners in a self-gratifying relationship. They were a man and woman, husband and wife, living together in love for God and for one another. Their relationship is a beautiful picture of Christ and his church.
Š As Adam was put into a deep sleep for Eve’s creation, so Christ was slain for the life of his church.
Š As Eve was taken from Adam’s side, so the church is born from the wounded side of the second Adam.
Š As Eve was created for Adam, not Adam for Eve, so the church exists for Christ.
Š As Eve was to be obedient to Adam in all things, so the church is to be obedient to Christ in all things.
Š As Adam was in all things responsible for Eve, so in all things Christ is responsible for his church.
Š As Adam willingly became sin and died under the wrath of God because of his love for Eve, so Christ willingly became sin and died under the wrath of God because of his love for us.
Š As Adam by his disobedience brought Eve into death and condemnation, so Christ, by his obedience brought his church into life and blessedness.
Š As Eve was created the same day that God created Adam but was brought forth from Adam on another day, so God’s church (his elect) was created when Christ stood forth as our Adam and is brought forth on another day.
3. THE COVENANT WITH MAN
Genesis 2:16-17 “And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: (17) But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.”
We know that this commandment given to Adam by God was a covenant because God says so.
Hosea 6:7 “But they like men (ADAM) have transgressed the covenant: there have they dealt treacherously against me.”
He said to Adam, “In the day thou eatest thereof,” not if you eat thereof! The sin and fall of Adam was typical of and made way for the coming of the second man, the Lord from heaven, the Lord Jesus Christ and the new covenant of grace in him (Psalm 76:10). The breaking of this covenant, Adam’s disobedience to God led to the sin, corruption and death of the whole human race. So, fourthly, let me show you what the Word of God says about…
4. THE CORRUPTION OF MAN
The Scriptures teach emphatically and constantly that which is commonly referred to as the doctrine of original sin. That is to say, — All men and women became sinners when Adam sinned and are born as sinners, utterly depraved.
Psalms 51:5 “Behold, I was shapen in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.”
Romans 5:12 “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.”
The fall of the first Adam made room for the obedience of the last Adam. Adam’s sin made necessary Christ’s righteousness. Our ruin by Adam made room for our redemption, resurrection and restoration by Christ. So, let me show you, in the last place, a beautiful picture of…
5. THE CONVERSION OF MAN
After Adam and Eve sinned, the Lord God came seeking the fallen pair.
Genesis 3:9 “And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?”
The Lord God himself preached the gospel to the guilty couple.
Genesis 3:15 “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.”
Before he drove them from the Garden, God made a sacrifice for Adam and Eve and clothed them with the skins of an innocent victim.
Genesis 3:21 “Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them.”
This is exactly what God did for us in the sacrifice of his dear Son upon the cursed tree.
Isaiah 53:10-11 “Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. (11) He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.”
2 Corinthians 5:21 “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”
1 Peter 3:18 “For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit.”
“For he hath made him [to be] sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” — The Spirit of God does not here tell us merely that our Lord Jesus Christ was made a “sin offering,” though he certainly was made an “offering for sin” and a “sacrifice for sin” (Isaiah 53:10; Hebrews 10:12). Sin offerings were made to God for sins committed against him in the typical Mosaic age. The priests in the Old Testament received sin offerings from the transgressors, and offered them to God upon the altar of the tabernacle to make atonement for them. The priests first made sin offerings for themselves and then, after making sacrifice for their own sins, they could offer sacrifices for the sins of the people (Leviticus 4:1-5:13; 6:24-30; 16:6, 11-15, 24).
Our dear Savior certainly was not made a sinner. On Calvary’s cursed tree “he was numbered with the transgressors” (Isaiah 53:12). Our Lord Jesus Christ, God’s darling Son was numbered with murderers, adulterers, blasphemers, and thieves and robbers, and died as the chief of them. The Holy One of God died on Calvary as the sinner’s Substitute. He died on the cross that had Barabbas’ name written on it. He died on the cross that had my name written on it. Hanging before God in the place of chosen sinners, the Lord Jesus Christ died for our sins under the wrath of God.
Dying as our Substitute, he spoke in the words of a sinner, crying, “My God, my God, Why hast thou forsaken me? Why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring?” (Psalm 22:1). Being made sin our all-glorious Christ was treated by God as a sinner. — “Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he [was] wounded for our transgressions, [he was] bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace [was] upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:4-6).
Our Savior was treated as a sinner, but never was he a sinner actually or morally. Rather, he was made to be something worse. He was made to be sin itself. All that sin is, in all its ugly, hideous, obnoxious vileness, everything that is the exact and complete antithesis of righteousness he was made to be, when he “bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed” (1 Peter 2:24). What a change! The righteous became, was made, unrighteous. The Holy One was “made sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him!” Sin is what Christ was made to be because of his union with God’s elect, being put to death for us. Righteous is what God’s elect made to be because of our union with Christ, who conquered death, hell and the grave by his death upon the cursed tree as our Substitute.
“In the beginning” God created man, God crowned him with dominion over all his creation, God made a covenant with man, but man was brought into corruption by a great fall, and God stepped into his creation to convert fallen man and make all things new. So it is today, in this day of new beginnings, God our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ is still making all things new in the new creation of his grace.
(2 Corinthians 5:17-21) “17 Therefore if any man [be] in Christ, [he is] a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. 18 And all things [are] of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. 20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech [you] by us: we pray [you] in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God. 21 For he hath made him [to be] sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”
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 The creation of the world was a work that involved all three Persons in the Holy Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, even as the works of redemption and providence involve all three of the Divine Persons.