Sunday, December 22, 2013

THE SIXTH DAY - PART 7

ONE OF THE PURPOSES OF CREATION

As far as we can tell, when God created the animals, he immediately created both sexes of each kind of animal. The purpose was, after all, for the propagation of their own species. This was necessary to fulfill God’s desire that they should multiply on the earth. Of course, for the human
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species, both male and female are also needed for propagation, but there is also a deeper aspect of this particular relationship, an aspect that far exceeds that of the animals.
Eve was not created along with Adam, but rather at a somewhat later period. Moreover, as I noted the previous post, unlike all of the other breathing creatures, she alone was not made from the dust of the ground. Instead, she was made out of the material of Adam’s rib.
Adam himself recognized this uniqueness of Eve. When God brought Eve to him, 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” (Genesis 2:23 NAS).
Adam realized that Eve had not been formed out of the ground like all the other breathing creatures, and even as he himself was. She instead had been made out of his own flesh, specifically out of his rib.
After so recently having named all of the animals,
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Adam was still in the mood for giving names to God’s creatures. He decided that this one that God had brought to him should be called “woman,” because, as he said, she had been taken out of a man.
I also noted earlier (part 4) some of the significance of giving a name to someone. Among other things, it is an indication of responsibility. Adam recognized immediately his responsibility for the well-being of Eve. The writer of Genesis, under the inspiration of God, said it like this: “For this cause a man shall leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and they shall become one flesh” (Genesis 2:24 NAS).
So foundational is this teaching in the husband and wife relationship that Jesus quoted it in teaching of the sanctity of marriage, (Mark 10:7), as did the apostle Paul (Ephesians 5:31). We also often quote this when speaking of the inviolability of the marriage vows. However, the significance of this goes way beyond fidelity in marriage.
Paul recognized this when, after he had quoted the Genesis statement, said this: “The mystery is great, but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church”
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(Ephesians
5:32 NAS).

There is a sense in which an understanding of the relationship between Adam and Eve is foundational for us to have appreciation for the relationship that Christ means to establish with his church.
Adam could not have realized the future significance of this, nor could have Moses, who, we think, was the human author of the book of Genesis. Even today, although we have the word of the apostle Paul to teach us the fact that the relationship between Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden is the beginning of an understanding of Christ and his relationship with his church, find this concept difficult to understand. I might even say that it is impossible for us to understand the full implications of this. All has not yet been revealed.
Nevertheless, this much we can understand. Even from the early days of the dawn of creation, God had in his mind the relationship that he was to form with his church. The editorial comment by Moses is a clear indication of that.
And who is this church of whom Paul speaks? Who is this one that will have such a close union with Christ?
Of course, we first may think of our local church, and if our local church is true to the teachings of Jesus and redemption by his work on our behalf, then that indeed is part of it. But if we were to think that the church of Christ is best understood in terms of a man-led organization or described as some sort of a political or denominational institution, then we would be missing the idea completely.
The very best definition of the church that I can find in the Bible is not an easy one to understand, and perhaps raises more questions that it gives answers. Nevertheless, it is a compellingly beautiful passage and one worth contemplating. I do it often:

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.

Then came one of the seven angels …and spoke to me, saying, “Come, I will show you the Bride, the wife of the Lamb.” And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great, high mountain, and showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God, having the glory of God, its radiance like a most rare jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal.

And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb. By its light will the nations walk, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it, and its gates will never be shut by day—and there will be no night there. They will bring into it the glory and the honor of the nations. But nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who does what is detestable or false, but only those who are written in the Lamb's book of life.
(Revelation 21:1-3, 9-11, 22-27 ESV)

And it all began in the Garden of Eden.

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