February 8, 2015

The Garden of Eden

God personally and intimately forms man from the dust of the ground, and woman from the rib of man. God then graciously grants them a priestly work of extending the Edenic garden blessings to the whole earth.

Scripture:  Genesis 2:4-17

Sermon Notes:

  1. On the seventh day, when His work was complete, God came to rest, to dwell in, and to fill His creation, hinting that the universe is a cosmic temple.
  2. Genesis 2 is a detailed account of creation Day 6.
  3. The plain sense of the text in Genesis 2 is about dust, trees and man.  But we also need to look at the deeper mystery that's contained in the text.
  4. God comes down and enters into covenant with man. He is the majestic Elohim but He is also the Lord who is close, personal, and intimate as He forms Adam out of the dust.
  5. God takes particular, special care in forming and breathing life into man. He does this continually for all His creatures.
  6. God is the author of life and He sets our days. Both abortion and euthanasia are a direct attack on God (Psalm 139).
  7. God graciously puts Adam in a fruitful and beautiful “garden of delights” full of nutritious and delicious food.
  8. The four rivers indicate cosmic wholeness, and spread the blessings of Eden to the four corners of the earth.
  9. God gave Adam the blessed task of guarding, protecting, and maintaining the garden. 
  10. Work was created as a blessing.  We are priests in God’s temple-world to work and to keep it.
  11. God speaks to and commands the man, and in this we see the privileged status of humans in God's creation.
  12. The two trees in the garden are not magical, but stand in the garden as visible signs or sacraments.
  13. The tree of life is a reminder to Adam that God who planted the tree is the author of life.
  14. The tree of the knowledge of good and evil serves to teach that God not only sustains but also governs Adam's life. 
  15. God, not Adam, defines good and evil.  It is for our good to live in obedience and submission to God.
  16. If Adam breaks the covenant, then the blessing of the garden is forfeited. The covenant is dead and Adam returns to dust.
  17. Adam disobeyed, and we are now dead in our trespasses and sins. But in Christ God is restoring and remaking us.
  18. Jesus is the tree of life and we go to Him to feed and find life.
  19. When we have our eyes fixed on Christ we enjoy deep unity despite differences of opinion (cf. Romans 14:1-5).
  20. God defines right and wrong; we must not legalistically impose our own rules upon others.
  21. The kingdom of God is about righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit (Romans 14:17).

Application Questions:

  1. What is the plain-sense history of the Genesis 2 account?
  2. What is the significance of the way God created man and woman?
  3. What are the features of the garden and what was Adam’s task in it?   What is the significance of the four rivers?
  4. Why did God plant the two “sacramental” trees in the garden?
  5. How does Isaiah 51:3 portray the restoring work of God?
  6. How can we find unity and restoration in Christ?
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