The story of mankind
is, in a sense, the story of two men and their families.
The first man, Adam,
is the forefather of us all. Each of us carries a copy of the gigabyte genetic
code programmed into Adam when God brought him into existence. All the variety
and diversity we see among the peoples of our planet have been passed down to
us from this one man. There is only one "human race."
It has been estimated
that the total number of Adam's offspring to date may be as high as 100 billion
Adam/Eve (the first
man) was created along with the higher animals on the very-busy Day Six of
Then God said, "Let the earth bring forth the living creature
according to its kind: cattle and creeping thing and beast of the earth, each
according to its kind"; and it was so. And God made the beast of the earth
according to its kind, cattle according to its kind, and everything that creeps
on the earth according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.
Then God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our
likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of
the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing
that creeps on the earth." So God created man in His own image; in the image of
God He created him; male and female He created them.
Then God blessed them, and God said to them, "Be fruitful and
multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds
of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth." And God said, "See, I have given you
every herb that yields seed which is on the face of all the earth, and every
tree whose fruit yields seed; to you it shall be for food. "Also, to every
beast of the earth, to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on
the earth, in which there is life, I have given every green herb for food"; and
it was so.
Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very
good. So the evening and the morning were the sixth day. Thus the heavens and
the earth, and all the host of them, were finished. (Genesis 1:24-2:1a)
further new creative work by God took place after sunset on that first Friday.
The creation was complete and the story of our race could now unfold.
from this passage is that man was placed on the earth, surrounded by a suitable
eco-system and all kinds of other living creatures. (The birds and fish had
been created on the previous day). Man was to have dominion, over our planet at
the very least. He was to be a wise and benevolent steward, a resources
manager, a caretaker. This
required Adam to be tremendously well-informed about everything. In the next
chapter of Genesis we see that Adam's first major assigned task was to study and
then name all the animals. To get
him started, God planted a cultivated, exotic garden as his home. From the
garden, Adam and his wife could explore the whole planet discovering, utilizing
and managing the vast resources there. The original earth outside the garden
was evidently unkempt, uncultivated and wild, hence the charge to Adam to
subdue it. (The Hebrew word kabash means to bring into subjection by force.)
Today, many erroneously assume that we know more than Adam did,
but the contrary is the case. Adam was taught by God, He lived nearly a
thousand years. Now we are lucky to live 70 or 80 years. Our copies of Adam's
genome are now full of errors and garbage. (2)
something terrible has happened to our race—we no longer appear to have
control over our planet, or our lives.
It would appear that we are systemically destroying the environment, and
ourselves. The story of mankind is one of deterioration and decay (ever
increasing entropy). We have gone downhill a vast distance from where our
father Adam lived before the Fall.
account in Genesis 1 clearly shows God's involvement in every detail of the
work of creation. When the work of creation was finished, God remained involved
in every detail of the daily management of the creation, working in partnership
Chapter Three of Genesis had been lost to us, and was not found in our Bibles,
we would be at a grave loss in understanding what has gone wrong with Adam's
turns out that God made man very much like Himself, and designed us for
relationships. Relationships are possible when there are two or more persons
free to choose to relate to one another. If relationships are about
love—and God is love--each
party must have capacity to refuse the offer of a relationship from
another. To be worthwhile, every
healthy relationship must have lots of give and take and be meaningful,
invigorating, creative and unique—not dull, boring, controlling or manipulative.
The ability to freely choose depends on the existence of more than one viable
option or choice in the world. In fact, to this day, we are all free to reject
God, or to give Him permission to be part of our lives. God has built that option to choose
into the core nature of man.
and Eve at first lived in close harmony with their Creator, (and of course with
each other), until a fallen angel seductively wedged himself in between Eve and
God (and then between Adam and God). The effect of this destructive influence
was that our first parents chose to act in independence of God. Their path was
the delusionary path of "self-realization." In effect, they chose to
act as their own gods.
result was that their relationships with God were severed. (The relationship
between Adam and Eve was severely damaged as well). The Bible calls the path of
living apart from God "the path which leads to destruction. A short verse which helped me as I was
coming to know the Lord 45 years ago is Romans 6:23, "The wages of sin is
death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord."
alone has life, and cut off from the Source of all life, and love, and truth
sets us on a path leading to emptiness, loss of purpose, loss of spiritual
power and truth—not extinction,
but a total shriveling up of what we ought to have been.
worse, this choice of our first parents to live in independence of the Creator
made it possible for a false god to take over and occupy the vacated throne
room of the human heart.
Usurper is that fallen angel Satan. He now occupies the throne within Adam's
children, the control room of the spirit, where God ought to be dwelling. The
devil or Satan, is described in the New Testament as "the prince of the
power of the air," and "the god of this world." In effect, Adam
abdicated the original dominion God gave him, and Satan moved in.
common question asked by many inquirers today is, "Why did God create a
world with so much evil, violence, suffering and death?" Or they make the
statement, "I can't believe that a loving God would allow all this
suffering and injustice." The Biblical answer is that the original
creation has been ruined and man has fallen from his original place of power
and dominion where they lived in fellowship with God. Had our first parents not
freely chosen to live apart from God, we could all still be living in Paradise.
The message of the Bible is about restored dominion for us.
even in man's estrangement from God, there is in each of us a striving to be
what God designed us to be. We still try to manage our lives, exploit the
resources of the planet, and struggle with our relationships with one another,
even though we constantly fail in all these areas. Estranged from God, we lack
the wisdom and the wisdom, to make good choices and to exercise authority
can see what has changed since the Fall in regards to man's loss of dominion by
looking at the oldest book in the Bible, the Book of Job. When the book opens,
Job is seen to be a wealthy, godly patriarch residing in the Middle East. A
series of horrific disasters befalls him. He is powerless to stop them. A long
struggle within Job unfolds in which God finally reveals why Job's trials were
permitted by a loving God.
of the Book of Job is allowed behind the scenes to see what Job does not know
about ensuing events which God is bringing to pass in his life.
conference between God and the angels (who serve God in the overall government
of creation), Satan is seen to play a big role in bringing about Job's
sufferings. It is actually God who is moving Satan against Job for Job's
greater good, though this is not clear until the end of the book. Satan's
powers (when he given permission to exercise them) are violent and destructive.
However, what Satan does is always by God's permission and there are always
limitations placed upon him. If not he would destroy us all.
way, at the beginning of the book of Job there are three main characters: God,
Satan, and Job. At the end of the book, only God and Job are to be seen.
Bible describes the present world system (kosmos)—the prevailing world-order--as a fallen
system built and managed by the fallen angel Satan. Should we suffer any
delusions about our present helpless, powerless condition as sinners, living in
a fallen world-order, under the dominion of this fallen angel, the Bible
vividly describes what happens when a son or daughter of fallen Adam chooses to
move over into the family of the Second Man, Jesus of Nazareth.
"And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins,
in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to
the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of
disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of
our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by
nature children of wrath, just as the others.
But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with
which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together
with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made
us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to
come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us
in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not
of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.
For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God
prepared beforehand that we should walk in them." (Ephesians 2:1-10)
much freedom do the natural-born sons and daughters of the first Adam now
possess? Not much! In our natural-born state we are all "dead in
sin," unresponsive towards God, and headed by our very nature towards even
further estrangement from God and real life. Millennia of research have not
altered the mortality rate of Adam's children. It remains a flat 100%. All
efforts to improve the core state of man, apart from God, continue to fail.
Here is where the Second Man
comes in to rescue us from ourselves. The writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews
takes note of the fact that we do not today see man exercising his role as
master steward of the creation (4):
For He [God] has not put the world to come [i.e. the age to come
which will follow the age we now live in], of which we speak, in subjection to
angels, [implying that the age we live in now is under angelic management].
But one testified in a certain place, saying: "What is man that
You are mindful of him, Or the son of man that You take care of him? You have
made him [man] a little lower than the angels; You have crowned him with glory
and honor, And set him over the works of Your hands. You have put all things in
subjection under his [man's] feet." For in that He put all in subjection under
him, He left nothing that is not put under him.
But now we do not yet see all things put under him [man].
But [instead] we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the
angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that He, by
the grace of God, might taste death for everyone. For it was fitting for Him,
for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to
glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. For
both He who sanctifies [makes whole] and those who are being sanctified [us]
are all of one [new family], for which reason He is not ashamed to call them
brethren, saying: "I will declare Your name to My brethren; In the midst of the
assembly I will sing praise to You." And again: "I will put My trust in Him."
And again: "Here am I and the children whom God has given Me."
Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He
Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him
who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and release those who through
fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. For indeed He does
not give aid to angels, but He does give aid to the seed of Abraham. [i.e.,
salvation is not offered to the angels].Therefore, in all things He had to be
made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in
things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For
in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are
tempted." (Hebrews 2:5-18) (5)
Here is wonderfully good
news! The Son of God became a man and entered our world to fix everything, and
to restore our lost humanity, and our lost dominion. The Apostle Paul contrasts
the two Adams in the Epistle to the Romans,
"Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world,
and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all
sinned--(For until the law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when
there is no law. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those
who had not sinned according to the likeness of the transgression of Adam, who
is a type of Him who was to come.
But the free gift is not like the offense. For if by the one man's
offense many died, much more the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the
one Man, Jesus Christ, abounded to many. And the gift is not like that which
came through the one who sinned. For the judgment which came from one offense
resulted in condemnation, but the free gift which came from many offenses
resulted in justification. For if by the one man's offense death reigned
through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift
of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.)
Therefore, as through one man's offense judgment came to all men,
resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man's righteous act the free
gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life. For as by one man's
disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man's obedience many will
be made righteous. Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound. But
where sin abounded, grace abounded much more, so that as sin reigned in death,
even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus
Christ our Lord." (Romans 5:12-21)
favorite passage of mine is found in Colossians. The writer sums up the role of
the Son of God in the creation, and in the coming grand restoration of all
things by Jesus:
He [Jesus] has delivered us from the power of darkness and
conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption
through His blood, the forgiveness of sins. He is the image of the invisible
God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created that
are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or
dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and
for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist (are held
together and sustained). And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the
beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the
preeminence. For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should
dwell, and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on
earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross.
And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet
now He has reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you
holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight—" (Colossians
similar scripture opens the letter to the Hebrews:
"God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time
past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His
Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the
worlds; who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His
person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by
Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,
having become so much better than the angels, as He has by inheritance obtained
a more excellent name than they."
about the present state-of-the world? The present world population is over 6.8
billion – and climbing. What fraction of mankind has accepted God's
gracious offer of a restored (brand-new) relationship with Him? Superficial profession
of faith doesn't count, what matters is a real spiritual inner connection in
each person—allowing the resurrection life of Jesus to permeate us and
prepare us for the age which is to come. Clearly the real followers of Jesus
around the world remain a minority.
as we see in the case of Job, God has never stopped ruling over the entire
creation and managing it in every detail. We are not helpless pawns in the
hands of the devil even in our rebellion, God is in sovereign control of
everything that happens.
angels may now be involved in the affairs of men but these angels are still the
agents of God and must do His bidding. God rules over the universe but at this
time He does not REIGN on earth. That situation is soon to change. The most oft-prayed prayer in
Christendom for the past 2000 years is about to be answered. (5, 6)
C.S. Lewis' science fiction Trilogy, earth is depicted as "the dark
planet" ruled over by a "bent angel." The place where evil is
ultimately dealt with, dethroned and eradicated, is on our planet not somewhere
else in outer space.
factor in God's current management of earth through angelic intermediaries is
"common grace." What
common grace means is that God floods our entire world moment by moment with
mercy and love and aid to everyone. God greatly restrains evil making daily
life for everyone viable. Even very evil dictators and criminals eat, sleep,
make love and live out their lives in relative comfort and ease—because
of common grace. (7)
is One Man who is now running the
whole show. One man, the head of a whole new race, is now exercising perfect
dominion over everything. Further, this man Christ Jesus is already sharing the
power of His dawning kingdom with those who are in His family.
teaching of the New Testament is that now, at this very moment, there is a Man
in heaven appearing in the presence of God for us. He is as certainly a man as
was Adam or Moses or Paul; he is a man glorified, but his glorification did not
de-humanize him. Today he is a real man, of the race of mankind, bearing our
lineaments and dimensions, a visible and audible man, whom any other man would
recognize instantly as one of us. But more than this, he is the heir of all
things, Lord of all lords, head of the church, firstborn of the new creation.
He is the way to God, the life of the believer, the hope of Israel, and the
high priest of every true worshiper. He holds the keys of death and hell, and
stands as advocate and surety for everyone who believes on him in truth.
Salvation comes not by accepting the finished work, or deciding for Christ; it
comes by believing on the Lord Jesus Christ, the whole, living, victorious Lord
who, as God and man, fought our fight and won it, accepted our debt as his own
and paid it, took our sins and died under them, and rose again to set us free.
This is the true Christ; nothing less will do. (from the pen of A. W. Tozer)
majority of people in the world will continue to refuse the grace and mercy of
God to the very end. That is their choice. Our fall into self-centeredness was
deep and total, and many are not willing to be helped by God. No matter, God's
program is on track in the midst of the growing chaos of our age.
has been elevated to the highest throne of heaven. His work of fixing things
was, in effect finished at the Cross. We are all simply waiting for the Father
and the Spirit to bring all things under His full dominion.
"Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who,
being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but
made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in
the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself
and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.
Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the
name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should
bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth,
and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of
God the Father."
follow Jesus as Lord are not only part of a whole new family, a whole new
creation, we are inseparably joined to Christ, and we are destined to share
that new creation with Him.
message to the world is a plea: give Jesus permission to bring you into His
family and to include you in His grand plans for an everlasting future. Jesus
has fully paid the entire price which makes are total restoration possible. He
does not desire our self-efforts and our self-energized good deeds. He wants to
reoccupy the throne of our hearts just as today He is seated on the High throne
of heaven. After that, when we freely choose Jesus Christ as Lord, He does the
"For Christ's love compels us, because we are
convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all,
that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died
for them and was raised again. So from now on we regard no-one from a worldly
point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the
new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ
and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world
to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And he has
committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ's
ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on
Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin
for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God." (2
3. Ray Stedman's commentary
on Genesis One is most helpful,
"Notice also in this account that
man stands as the link between God and creation. He is a mediator. The Lord
Jesus Christ, when he appeared as the second Adam, the perfect man, is also
said to be a mediator, but between God and man. Here the man, Adam, is created
as the mediator between God and all animal life. He is made in the image of
God, which links him with God. In Psalm 8, David cries, "... thou
hast made him little less than God," (8:5a). That is an accurate
translation. The King James Version says, "a little lower than the
angels," but the word is literally Elohim, the same word that is used here in this passage for
God. Man is also said to be the governor of the created world, to have dominion
over the fish and birds, over the cattle, and even over the creeping things
upon the earth.
At this point we must deal briefly with
man's relationship to the animal world. Here we must part company entirely with
the theory of evolution. Mr. Darwin said that man is the end product of animal
life, that he is the highest of the animals, is linked to them and descended or
evolved through interminable ages, from animal life. The impression received
from his ideas is that man is not really very far removed from the animals,
that there are close links which tie man to the highest of the animal life,
especially the apes, who are most like us in the animal creation.
Ever since Darwin every monkey in the zoo
has been asking himself, "Am I my keeper's brother?" That accounts,
of course, for the discouraged look on their faces.
If you take a walk through a museum of
natural history you will see dioramas that picture the descent of man. In these
you will see ungainly creatures with huge slumping shoulders, a slouching gait,
protruding jaws and heavy eyebrows, who are said to be the links between the
apes and man. Anyone visiting such a museum is almost driven to the conclusion
that this is all very well substantiated, that science has established the fact
that man does come from the animal world.
But the actual truth is that there is no
evidence whatsoever that links man to the animals -- none whatsoever. Actually,
the gap between man and the highest of the apes (and scientists themselves
admit this) is at least as great as the gap between the ape and the amoebae.
There is no close connection whatsoever. Science is at a total loss to account
for the sudden appearance of true man, with his amazing faculties not found in
the animal creation. Through the decades since Darwin, scientists have been
looking for the links that would establish a connection, but these links do not
exist in fact -- only in imagination and plaster of Paris...
Jesus Christ was also an immortal being.
He did not need to die, and he did not die by any effort of man. He said,
"I have power to lay down my life and l have power to take it again,"
(John 10:17-18). He did not die because of the effects of crucifixion -- he
died because, on the cross, he dismissed his spirit by an executive act of his
own will. He laid down his life in that way.
The first Adam was also an immortal
being. His body did not need to die. But if his soul had been placed in a
mortal body, then the second Adam is not like us. According to the Scripture,
the second Adam came to become man as man was made in the beginning, entirely
like us. He became one with us. The writer of Hebrews says,
...he had to be made like his brethren
in every respect, (Hebrews 2:17a)
Thus the Bible denies that men evolved,
as some scientists would tell us, that he was created directly by the hand of
God. We will say more on this as we come to other studies, but I want to point
this out here: Man is now being redeemed by the grace of God, and to be
redeemed means that he has fallen from what he once was.
Redemption is a process of restoring him
to what he once was. We know from the Scriptures that when the redemptive act
of God is complete man will stand before God, body, soul, and spirit, all made
in the power of an endless life. Thus this record strongly suggests that the
body of Adam did not come from the animal world.
That brings me to the final point here in
Verse 26, which is the purpose for which man was made. He was given dominion
over all of the created universe. He was made to govern and to master the world
in which he was placed. Even though man has fallen he has never forgotten that
command, and this accounts for his unending persistence in trying to master the
forces of earth, to climb the highest mountain and explore the deepest sea and
to utilize the animal creation for his own purposes. But also, the effect of
the fall is seen in the amazing fact that the man who was placed in this world
to govern it is now on the verge of destroying everything.
If evolution be true, and man is, as the
evolutionists tell us, the highest achievement of evolution, then what kind of
progress is it where man, who represents the zenith of evolutionary
achievement, is found to be crueler than any animal could be and whose obdurate
madness is threatening to bring the whole thing down in total collapse,
destroying all animal life as well as himself? Yet, despite the fact that man
has lost his ability to master, the desire to do so still remains as a kind of
racial memory within us. And that desire in itself is a picture, on the
physical level, of what redeemed man is called to be on the spiritual level.
Here we come to the great purpose of this passage. It is not here to teach us
what our instincts already have informed us, that we are made to govern. It is
here to illustrate to us that when we become redeemed we are called to reign in
life, to master life... Born to Reign, by Ray C. Stedman.
Keller, The Kingdom of God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism, Dutton, 2008.
Don't miss Ben Stein's movie Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed,
now showing nationwide..
April 27, 2008