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Sermon14 Gen2-3 Guide

Gen 2:16-17,23-25,3:1-12,14-19, recitation verse Gen 2:16

The praise and honor and glory be to our heavenly Father who seeks true worshipers who worship Him with the Spirit and truth.

The literal meaning of ‘misery' in English is 'extremely sad and horrible.' If you imagine the accident of an explosion or the aftermath of a war where everything is in ruins, it would be easy to understand its meaning and nuance. In Christianity, humans are seen as beings who are in a pitiful state due to sin. This not only means being in a sad and miserable state because of sin but also implies the inability to solve this problem. We describe the first problem as total depravity and the second problem as total inability in theological terms. But when we approach it this way, there is a tendency for humans, who are the most rational and moral beings among all creatures and have achieved tremendous progress in science and civilization, not to understand or acknowledge their own wretchedness, that is, their total depravity and total inability. However, when we realize the perfect ability, righteousness, holiness, and happiness that humans originally had in Eden, the paradise, when God created them, we can easily realize how truly wretched our current state is in comparison. The passage in Genesis chapters 2 and 3 discusses this issue. In Genesis chapter 1, after God created all things and reached the peak of creation, He created humans, the most magnificent of His creations, in His own image. He created them as male and female, and commanded them to be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth, subdue it, and have dominion over all the creatures that God had made, so that humans would live reflecting and representing God. And then, in today's passage, chapters 2 and 3, it explains the significance of the image of God bestowed upon humans in the process of God's creation, the one commandment given by God to humans, and the relationship between humans and God, humans and other humans, and humans and all creatures. After that, it describes the consequences of Adam and Eve disobeying God's command not to eat of a certain tree, and it explains the grace that God prepared for humanity in response to this sin. I hope that we can explore and meditate on these contents together.

1) Genesis chapter 2, the passage we read today, mainly focuses on God's creation and detailed accounts with a primary emphasis on humans. God created man and woman, in His image, and intended them to live together, helping each other. Specifically, the reason why God created woman from a man’s is, because although man and woman are independent individuals, since they came from the same body, they were intended to be united to become one body. Furthermore, humans, who bear the image of God, has amazing wisdom and authority to give its name over the creatures, to be able to instantly recognize the characteristics of each creature that God created and to give them fitting names. Moreover, God commanded humans to have dominion over all things in Genesis 1:27), yet in chapter 2, this commandment meant nurturing and caring for God's creatures, assisting them to fulfill God's purpose in creation, and preserving them.

2) Furthermore, humans, who were created in the image of God, were not only meant to have intimate fellowship with God but also to love and live together with one another. However, God gave humans one specific prohibition: "You must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it, you will certainly die." Louis Berkhof refers to this as the "covenant of works." This commandment taught them that the criteria of good and evil rests with God, and the judgment of good and evil belongs to God.

3) However, in the following chapter 3, Adam and Eve, by the temptation of the serpent, which was Satan behind, committed the sin of eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. As a result of this sin, the serpent was cursed to crawl on its belly and eat dust, Eve would experience increased pain in childbirth, and Adam would have to toil for his survival throughout his life. And also Human beings were punished to die, i.e., physical death after the aging, spiritual death in which they can no longer have intimate fellowship with God as well as eternal death, which is everlasting punishment in the hell.

4) In addition, the first sin resulted in an inner change, i.e., the image of God within human beings was severely corrupted. Their intellect, which was once filled with true and complete knowledge of God, became filled with ignorance, distorted discernment, unbelief, and pride. Their righteous hearts and wills were filled with rebellion, stubbornness, and opposition to God. Their holy and pure emotions became tainted and impure. Consequently, they refused to submit their will to the will of God and instead determined their own future by themselves, resulting in their rebellion against God. As evidence of this, in chapter 4, we see that when God accepted Abel's offering, which was presented in faith, but did not accept Cain's offering, which was presented according to his own thoughts, Cain in strong jealousy, killed his brother Abel. Furthermore, he rejected God's command to help and protect one another, and even complained about the severity of the punishment for his sin, rebelling against the will of God. This is an example of living according to one's own thoughts and desires rather than God's will.

5) Through today's passage, we would like to share some grace together. First, it is important to note that the result of eating the fruit of good and evil, i.e., the fact that human beings determine good and evil by themselves, is not limited to what has been mentioned before. I mean, as the Bible states that their eyes were opened after eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, this means that they began to judge good and evil even for themselves. Previously, they were unashamed even when naked, for God saw that everything He created was good. However, after eating from the tree to start to judge good or evil by themselves, they felt shame when they saw their nakedness and began to cover themselves with fig leaves. Additionally, Adam became to see Eve as the one who caused them to sin instead of the one as "bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh" in a loving manner and also as God declared, a relationship dynamic emerged where women sought to control men and men sought to dominate women. In regards the relationship with God, they also became beings who hid from God, unable to engage in the intimate fellowship they once had in the Garden of Eden. In summary, the first sin of Adam and Eve resulted in separation not only from God but also from the people they loved and even from themselves and all creatures. This loss of primal blessings and grace led to a sense of guilt, moral decay, and a fall into impotence. It was indeed a tragic state of human misery. However, even in this miserable situation, the graces that God prepared His grace for Adam and Eve have to be remembered as the second point as follows: a) God proclaimed the protoevangelium, first gospel that one day the offspring of the woman would crush the head of the serpent, and then when Adam responded in faith by giving Eve the name Hawwah, meaning "mother of all living beings," b) God made garments of animal skins for Adam and Eve and clothed them, signifying that they needed to put on God's righteousness, since the self-made coverings of leaves could not hide their shame or sin, rather God's garments reminded them of the need to be clothed with His righteousness. J.M. Boice said that in these verses, we can find primitive order of salvation: the conviction of sin and proclamation of proto-evangelism (Gen 3:14-19), faith expressed in the naming of Eve by Adam (Gen 3:20) and the justification symbolized by the clothing of Adam and Eve with the skins of animals (Gen 3:21).[1] As such, we have to know that this grace was given to us also, who sinned against God with the arrogance to judge good and evil by ourselves so that we were saved by grace. I pray that we may appreciate His grace so that we may declare His grace to the world as His image bearers and the receivers of His grace.

Key Questions as Small Group Activity

Q1: We have examined how frightening the consequences was when human beings ate the forbidden fruit of good and evil to judge good and evil by themselves. However, God did not create us as the beings incapable of discernment. Therefore, discernment and condemnation must be clearly distinguished. As Jude 9 said that "But when the archangel Michael, contenting with the devil, was disputing about the body of Moses, he did not presume to pronounce a blasphemous judgement, but said, “The Lord rebuke you,” we can clearly understand that our discernment regarding good and evil should be lived in a way that pleases God, without sitting in a position of criticizing and condemning others. After contemplating the difference between discernment and condemnation, I hope you may share your thoughts to learn from each other.

(Through this question, I hope we may see the difference between the life of discernment and judgement.)

Q2: When we examine our lives closely, we can see how much we have lived according to our own thoughts, wills, and judgments, just as Adam and Eve did. We have condemned people too easily, as a result, and have been entangled in many conflicts. However, even in the face of such enmity towards God, He bestows His grace. I wonder if we are truly aware of that grace. Why do you think God bestowed grace upon Adam and Eve in this way? Did He also bestow the same grace upon us, who commit the same sins as they did? I hope that by reflecting on the grace bestowed by God and sharing our thoughts, we can also share grace with one another.

(Through these questions, I hope we can realize that the first sin of Adam and Eve is not solely their own but also our sin too. Additionally, I hope we can understand that despite this, God showed grace to us when we acted as His enemy and recognize that God has given us this grace in order to proclaim the gospel of grace to the world.)

Love you. Thank you. God bless you.

Prayer Note

Dear ( God’s attribute which you found Today ) God!

Thanks for ( something you received through the sermon or even during the week )

Praise, gratitude and glory be to You, Lord!

Today, I realized my sin (pains) that ( the sin God reminded through the sermon ),

please forgive (or heal) me and help me not to repeat ( the sins you recognized ).

I learned that ( something you learned through the sermon )

Please help me to live in that ( learned way of life )

I pray in ( Jesus’ attribute you find ) Jesus’ name. Amen.

[1] Boice, J. M. (1998). Genesis: an expositional commentary (p. 235). Baker Books.


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