Wednesday, April 18, 2007

God's Perfect Order

"Then God said, 'Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and every creeping thing that creeps of the earth.' And God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them (Gen. 1:26-27)."

The use of the word "us" here indicates that man was to be created after the council of the Divine Godhead, or maybe even the whole host of heaven. It also appears evident that when God used the term "let us make man" that he intends to impress the mind of man with a sense of something extraordinary in the formation of his body and soul. The use of the word "Aadaam," or "Adam," which is translated "man," is intended to set man apart from all other created "flesh" or "beast of the field."

When He says, "Our image according to Our likeness," it must be that He refers to man's soul. Now, we know that the Divine Being is infinite, thus he is not limited, and therefore he can have no physical image after which he made the body of man. The image and likeness then must necessarily be intellectual, his soul, which is the seat of his intellect or mind, must have been formed after the nature and perfections of his God and his identity is with the spirit and soul of God, not the flesh body of man. Thus the mind of man coming forth out of the hands of its Creator was endowed with most extraordinary capacities; it was in the likeness of the mind of God.

Chapter 1 of the book of Genesis, verses 26-31 is a synopsis (a brief summary) of the sixth day creation. In Genesis chapter 2, verse 7 we find a more detailed account of the creation of man.

"Then the Lord God formed man of the dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living being (soul)."

God is life; in Him there is no death; He has no beginning of days and no end of days, God is eternal life! Therefore, when God "breathed" into the man He gave man of His "Spirit of Life." Man became an eternal being or soul. Thus God produced a spirit formed after the perfections of his own nature. God is the fountain whence man's spirit issued, hence, the stream must resemble the spring which produced it. God is holy, just, wise, good, and perfect; so must the soul be that sprang from him: there could be in it nothing impure, unjust, ignorant, evil, low, base, mean, or vile. It was created after the image of God; and that image, the Apostle Paul tells us, consisted in righteousness, true holiness, and knowledge {Eph 4:24; Col 3:10}. Hence, man was created wise in his mind, holy in his soul, and righteous in all his actions.

The heavens, cosmos, the universe, the earth and all that is in it serve a specific purpose in God's plan. In the beginning God created all things according to His sacred purpose and in His perfect order. He first created a suitable environment for all that He would place upon the earth. He created the sky for the foul of the air and provided a source of food for them. He created water for the fish of the sea and provided a source of food for them also. He created the environment before He created the birds or the fish. When God created man, by His Spirit man became a living eternal soul and by the indwelling of God's Spirit he continues to live. This is known as the "Law of the Spirit of Life {Rom. 8:1}." Man was unique---he was born of God a living soul---thus he was created to live and function perfectly, not only in a created environment, but also in the environment of God's presence; apart from God's presence man malfunctions.

God's glory is seen in His love, perfection, pureness, moral beauty, righteousness, power and authority. Man was to be God's son, His "seed" or offspring and the image of His splendor and glory. A seed has within itself the ability to reproduce in the proper environment. Just as a seed of an oak tree has within its self the ability, when placed in the proper environment, to become a forest of beautiful oaks, like so man was to live in the environment of God's loving presence and "be fruitful and multiply" and fill the earth with all of God's love, brilliance and glory.

Authority is derived from knowledge, God is an all knowing and wise God, therefore He is the source of all authority. Man's authority is derived from God through faithful obedience to the revealed will of God. God's word is His expressed authority; apart from knowledge, wisdom and obedience to His word, man has no authority from God. Man must first know, submit to and be disciplined by the word of God before he is granted authority. Adam would, through divine knowledge and wisdom, recognize the authority of His Father and in submission to God he would be a conduit and vessel of His Father's glory. Through obedience to the revealed will of God (faith) He would exercise dominion, or control over God's creation. He would be the king and high priest of the kingdom that God created for Him.

In the same way Jesus, The Word of God, by faithful submission to the Father, is the King and High Priest and a conduit and vessel of God's glory in this present age. He, The Word of God, is the seed of God in the earth. Thus God's glory is multiplying through Christ and His offspring.

God loved man whom He had created, and He prepared a special place for him.

"Then the Lord God planted a garden toward the east, in Eden and there He placed the man whom He had formed (Gen. 2:8)."

The word Eden in English means, "delight." Eden is translated from a Hebrew word Aden; the Hebrew meaning of Aden, in the context in which it is used in Genesis, chapter two, is the place (or spot) of the open door to the moment of God's presence. In God's loving presence is the perfect environment for man to be all that God created him to be. Eden was indeed a place of delight, a special place of the open door to Gods loving presence.

"And out of the ground the Lord God caused to grow every tree that is pleasing 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 (Gen. 2:9)."

There are two trees in the garden we see as symbols, not literally trees. One is the tree of life and the other is the tree of the knowledge of good and of evil. They are better understood if we view them as persons---persons who teach.

Now the "naachaash" or "serpent," as this Hebrew word "naachaash" is popularly translated, was from among the beast of the field {Gen. 3:1}. Weather the word "serpent" as used here is the proper translation, or if it is used symbolically, has been the subject of many a debate; correct translation or not---we cannot say---but we will remain consistent with the popular translation and use it as representing the "beast" that was overcome and possessed by the spirit of Satan and became "sin in the flesh" to be used against man. This "beast of the field" was apparently endowed with the gift of speech and other intellectual skills that became the tools of Satan's evil schemes. Thus the tree of the knowledge of good and of evil, we see as the unrighteous person of the serpent or beast who had become the mouthpiece of Satan, thus he teaches the will and ways of Satan. In this so named serpent, who we believe to be "the tree of the knowledge of good and of evil," we see "good" as Satan perceives good; and "evil" as Satan perceives evil. The fruit of the serpent's lips is words of unrighteousness that subjects the hearer to the will of Satan and brings death to the total being of man when he listens to and believes him.

The tree of life is a righteous person, a teacher of the will and ways of God. The teacher is the Word of God in the person of the Holy Spirit. The fruit of His lips is love and true knowledge, wisdom, power and authority from the Father. In the Word of God we see love, life, peace and harmony or righteousness; a righteous fruit that sustains life for the total being of man when he listens to and believes Him.

God is the source of all that is good. Therefore the doing of good is in Him. God is aware of and can discern, and is able to judge evil, but He does not know or conceive evil. There is no evil thoughts in Him, thus the doing of evil is not present in Him. He is the foundation and the source of all truth, knowledge and wisdom. His wonderful attributes include joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and complete self-control.

"God is love---- (1 John 4:16)."

The root of the tree of life is straight from the heart or soul of God; thus the root or source of the tree of life that makes the tree what it is and determines what kind of fruit it bears is divine love. The tree of life is in God's image, thus the tree has all of His wonderful attributes and the fruit it bears is the sweet fruit of righteousness having in it the "seed" or "word" to bring forth another tree in its likeness.

Our Lord teaches; "A pupil is not above his teacher; but everyone, after he has been fully trained, will be like his teacher (Luke 6:40)."

If the pupil "eats" or rather "listens to and believes" the teachings of the tree of life he is "eating" the fruit of righteousness or rather he is partaking of the righteousness of the Word of God. Afterwards, when he is fully trained he will be like his teacher; he will be in His image having all His attributes.

In summary of the purpose of the two "trees" we understand that man, being created in the image of his Creator, has a free will as his Father has a free will. We see man has set before him two choices; one is the tree of life, which is the Word and the life giving Spirit of God; and the second choice is the tree of the knowledge of good and of evil. Both are teachers; the first teaches with authority and power the truth from a heart of love. The other is one who beguiles; he is a deceiver and a liar, teaching perversion from a heart of selfish lust. The first tree offers and inheritance of love, eternal life, peace and prosperity and all the treasures of God's kingdom. The latter offers an inheritance of an earthy life of lust of the flesh; compared to the riches of the kingdom of God, lust is a mere bowl of soup for the flesh of man (see Gen. 25:29-34). The end result of a life filled with lust is hate, strife, adversity and an eternal existence of the soul suffering death "in the lake of fire (Rev. 20:15)."

God desired Adam to demonstrate his love by acts of faith through his willingness to live "by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord (Deut. 8:3; Matt. 4:4)." Now the substance of faith is the word of God heard, believed and obeyed from a heart of love. If Adam would be submissive to God and live by the word of God he would demonstrate his love by faithfulness toward God and maintain his image, countenance and authority. To be submissive is to voluntarily subject ones self to the authority of another; it is an act of faith which is an expression of love. Failure to obey God's word would demonstrate his lack of love and faith toward God and result in loss of image, countenance of glory, and authority. And again, the Holy Scripture teaches us "God is love;" and "the one who does not love does not know God, for God is love (1 John 4:8)."

And "---without faith it is impossible to please Him (God)--- (Heb. 12:6f)."

Thus we can clearly see that without faith working from a heart of love there is no countenance, image or authority of God and no eternal life from God in man.

"Then the Lord God took the man and put him into the Garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it (Gen. 2:15)."

God had created a kingdom and made Adam lord and king to rule and reign over it. Thus Adam became caretaker of the domain that God had prepared for him.

"And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, 'from any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you shall surely die (Gen. 2:16-17)."

God gave man all His commandments and the Law of sin and of death. God had made Adam a high priest and steward of His word and His law. Man was given full understanding that he had a choice, but a wrong choice would result in darkness and death. If Adam would listen to and believe God from a heart of love he would not be judged. But if he did not believe and obey he has been judged already (see John 3:18).

Note: Woman had not been created at this time; she was still a rib in man's side.

In modern day thinking when we think of man we think in terms of male only. When we think of the female we think of her in terms of woman. According to God's word when He created man He created them male and female. He first created man male; then He created man female. If man were male only, he would stand-alone; the seed would be incomplete.

"Then the Lord God said, 'it is not good for the man to be alone, I will make him a helper suitable (corresponding to or in the image of) for him.' And out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the sky, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called a leaving creature, that was its name (Gen. 2:19)."

Authority from God is a companion of faith toward God. Here Adam (man) exercised his authority by naming all the living creatures.

"And the man gave names to all the cattle, and to the birds of the sky, and to every beast of the field, but for Adam there was not found a helper suitable for him (Gen 2:20)."

Of course God knew there was not a helper corresponding to or in Adam's image among the beast of the field, but God wanted Adam to know, realize, and understand that his bride would be one taken from him and "fashioned or built" by God in the likeness of him. She would be perfect as he is perfect; a living soul as he is a living soul and have all his divine attributes.

"So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then He took of his ribs, closed up the flesh at that place. And the Lord God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man (Gen. 2:21-22)."

The seed was now complete. The man (male) now had a companion in his image. She had all of his divine attributes; therefore she was the glory of man.

Thus the apostle Paul writes,

"For a man ought not to have his head covered, since he is the image and glory of God; but the woman is the glory of man (1 Cor. 11:7NAS)."

Woman was a gift from God to man to help him be the progenitor or the forefather of all mankind ("it is not good for the man to be alone, I will make him a helper-").

And continuing the apostle writes further,

"For indeed man was not created for the woman's sake, but woman for the man's sake (1 Cor. 11:9)."

According to God's perfect plan and order they would bear children in God's image and fill the earth with His glory.

"And God blessed them and God said to them, 'be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky, and over every living thing that moves on the face of the earth (Gen. 1:28)."

Adam's countenance, God's glory radiating forth from him, was to be a badge of authority. By the authority of God's word and in love he was to rule and reign over all that God had created. He gave man an environment of His loving presence to live in and to "be fruitful and multiply" and fill the earth with His glory (see Gen. 1:29-31)."

Adam was a steward of God's gift; he was woman's husband, the manager and authority of their domain.

Concerning authority the apostle Paul writes,

"But I want you to understand that Christ is the head {authority} of every man, and the man is the head {authority} of a woman, and God is the head {authority} of Christ (1 Cor. 11:3NAS)."

When God gave Adam the commandments the woman had not been "fashioned" from the rib of Adam (see Gen. 2). Authority is derived from knowledge of and obedience to the will of God. Adam had such faith, thus he was appointed the high priest and teacher.

In instructing the women of the church at Corinth the Apostle Paul asks,

"Was it from you {woman} that the word of God first went forth? Or has it come to you only (1 Cor. 14:36NAS)?"

Adam and Eve are a type of Christ and His bride, the church (Rom. 5:14ff). In the same manner by which our Lord, King, and High Priest, Jesus teaches His bride ("that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by washing of water with the word---Eph 5:26f)" so Adam taught his bride.

Again we visit this scripture,

"A pupil is not above his teacher; but everyone, after he has been fully trained, will be like his teacher (Luke 6:40)."

Authority carries with it responsibility; "speaking the truth in love" Adam was to teach her, protect and provide for her; she was taken from him and he was and is to continue to be her source. Man, as male and female, is one complete seed and is the "crown jewel" of God's creation. Together as one they would live in the environment of God's love and be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth with His glory.

Man is not greater than his Creator and Teacher, and woman is not greater than the man whom God gave as her source (see 1 Cor. 11:9); and the children are not greater than the man and woman who bear and teach them. But each has their place in God's perfect order and each has their own beauty and glory from God. Each member of the family of man is to be in the perfect harmony and unity of love and embrace and uphold the other. In the environment of God's loving presence they are to be a mutual blessing, and in the unity of love, embrace, and uphold one another. Selfishness is not in God's plan; that is of darkness.

"And the man said, 'This is now bone of my bones, (the bones are the source of life giving blood for the body) and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of man (Gen. 2:23)."

Eve was taken by God from the body of Adam who was in the image of God; and fashioned her into a bride suitable or corresponding to him. God did not breathe the breath of life into Eve. She received God's life giving Spirit through Adam. God then RE-UNITED them as man and wife (see Gen. 2:24).

Metaphorically speaking, in the work of the cross God caused a deep sleep to come upon the "second Adam" (His Son Jesus) and from His side He took water (a symbol for the word of God) and blood (the life giving Spirit of His Son) and fashioned (or is building, see Matt. 16:18) a bride, a helper for His Son. Jesus is the teacher and steward of His bride. His bride is created from Him and He is her source for all things. The church is called the Body of Christ because she is taken from the body of Jesus, the Word of God. She is flesh of His flesh ("and the Word became flesh" John 1:14f) "and bone of His bone" (blood of His blood and life of His life; see Rom. 8). The true church is the Living Word of God, Christ's body, "a pillow and support of the truth" (see 1 Tim 3:15). The church receives the life giving Spirit through Jesus in the same manner as Eve received the life giving Spirit through Adam. The church is being "fashioned" into His image just as Eve was "fashioned" in the image of Adam.

In the day of the resurrection, when the bride is completed, God will present His Son with the gift of His bride and she will be RE-UNITED with Him eternally.

"For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, and remain until the coming of the Lord, shall not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ shall rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore, comfort one another with these words." (1 Thes. 4:15-18).

We revisit the following Scripture to emphasize our heavenly Father's perfect order for mankind that we may be found pleasing to Him.

"But I want you to understand that Christ is the HEAD (authority) of every man, and the man is the HEAD (authority) of every woman, and God is the HEAD (authority) of Christ. Every man who has something on his head while praying or prophesying, disgraces his HEAD (authority) (1 Cor. 11:4)."

The Apostle is saying that the uncovered head of the man while praying or prophesying is a sign of his reverence and submission to his Lord and Teacher. A man whose head is covered is not displaying the image and glory of Christ while praying or prophesying and he disgraces his Lord and Teacher.

"But every woman who has her head uncovered while praying or prophesying, disgraces her HEAD (authority, namely her husband and teacher); for she is one and the same with her whose head is shaved (1 Cor. 11:5)."

The women whose heads were shaved were the harlots of that time who were a type of the women who had no authority of God or man upon their life. But a woman who has her head covered while praying or prophesying has the sign of her reverence and submission to the authority of Christ and her husband.

"For if a woman does not cover her head, let her also have her hair cut off; but it is disgraceful for a woman to have her hair cut off or her head shaved, let her cover her head (1 Cor. 11:6)."

Here the Apostle is saying, if the woman refuses to wear the sign of authority (covering) she might as well shave her head in the same way as the women of the world; to not have the sign of authority over her is a disgrace to her husband and to Christ.

"For a man ought not to have his head covered, since he is the image and glory of God; but the woman is the glory of man. For man does not originate from woman, but woman from man; for indeed, man was not created for the woman's sake, but woman for the man's sake. Therefore the woman ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angles (1 Cor. 11:7-10)."

The "symbol", which is of faith, is for the angels to recognize the submission of the woman to the Lord and to the man's authority in order to minister to her. Just as man is the image and glory of God so is the woman the image and glory of man. In the same manner Christ is the image and glory of God and the church is the image and glory of Christ.

"Let a woman quietly receive instruction with entire submissiveness (voluntary subjection)--(1 Tim. 2:11)" in the same manner as the bride of Christ receives instruction from Him.

"Wives, be subject (submissive) to your husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church. He Himself being the Savior of the body (Eph. 5:22-23)."

In likeness to man's wife, by being submissive to Jesus, the bride of Christ is a conduit or vessel of the authority of Jesus. The church has no authority apart or independent of Jesus.

"For this cause a man shall leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave to his wife, and they shall become one flesh (Gen. 2:24)."

Here is a law given based upon the principle of the creation of the woman being taken from the side of man. Note that nothing was mentioned about the woman leaving her father and mother. This is a natural thing that happens when she becomes one with her husband. She is now "flesh of his flesh and bone of his bones." The same Greek word that translates "source" in English also translates "father". The natural father is no longer the source for the woman's needs (both spiritual and material) but her husband is now her source. Just as God is the source (father) for man's needs so is the husband now the source for his wife.

Jesus is the open door to the source (our Father) for all our needs, both spiritual and material. Man is to stay in God's loving presence through His Son Jesus and be a loving husband for his wife and father to his children. He is to love them, to take care of their daily needs, and to teach them God's word.

"Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her; that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she should be holy and blameless. So Husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies, He who loves his own wife loves himself; for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church, because we are members of His body. 'For this cause a man shall leave his father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.' This mystery is great, but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church. Nevertheless let each individual among you also love his own wife even as himself and let the wife see to it that she respect her husband (Eph. 5:25-33)."

Husbands are to grant their wives honor as a fellow heir of the gift of eternal life.

"You husbands likewise, (likewise, meaning "doing what is right without being frightened by any fear", see 1 Pet. 3:6ff) live with your wives in an understanding way, as with a weaker vessel, since she is a woman; and grant her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered (1 Pet. 3:7)."

Men should do all things out of love and faith toward God, not out of fear!! Men are to be the leaders and teachers in their homes and in the church.

"But for you, speak the things which are fitting for sound doctrine. Older men are to be temperate; dignified, sensible, sound in faith, in love, in perseverance (Titus 2:1-2)."

"Likewise urge the young men to be sensible; in all things show yourself to be an example of good deeds, with purity in doctrine, dignified, sound in speech which is beyond reproach, in order that the opponent may be put to shame, having nothing bad to say about us (Titus 2:6-8)."

Returning to Adam and Eve we read,

"And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed (Gen. 2:25)."

They were not ashamed because they were innocent. Adam was in the image and the glory of God and the woman was in the image and the glory of the man (1 Cor. 11:7).

All was in perfect order according to God's perfect plan.

The preceding lesson deals with God's plan for man from the beginning of creation. Since Adam and Eve failed, through disobedience, God is continuing His plan in Christ and His bride, the church. Christ Jesus is the perfect example for the husband. He gave His life in service to His bride, the church. God's chosen apostles had great insight into God's holy plan for man, both male and female. If we follow their instructions carefully we will fulfill God's plan for mankind and become the perfect bride for His Son and fill the earth with His glory. Christ and the church are examples that should be followed by husband and wife in their relationship also. (see Eph. 5:22-32).

Some of the apostles writings seems harsh to modern day man because of the weakness of the flesh or carnality. These men were men of God writing and teaching the word of our sovereign God and it serves us well to pay close attention for fear that we error; the greater the error, the greater the discipline; where there is no error discipline is not necessary. But let discipline have its perfect work without complaining. Let each one of us accept our position in God's plan; for who are we to say to our Creator, "Why did you make me male?" Or---"Why did you make me female?" Or---"Why did you not make me an apostle or prophet?" Or---Why did you make him to have authority over me?"

Man, both male and female, has departed from God's plan. It is my firm conviction that man {the male) has no authority from God to rule over (that is to govern) anything or anybody unless he is a man of God. A man, to qualify as a man of God, must be a man who has the love of God and revelation knowledge of the will of God and be in obedience to it; a man of faith. Love and faith precedes authority. A man with such love and faith knows how to properly exercise his God given authority with love and compassion. A woman with such love and faith knows how to summit to such authority with love and compassion. Let the man in the position of authority and responsibility recognize the love and faith of the women of God and allow them to serve in the capacity in which God has called them for fear that he attempts to usurp God. Let the women of such love and faith recognize the God given authority and responsibility of the man and thus respect him according to the instruction in God's word lest she finds herself in rebellion.

James C Sanford

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