The Story: Week 1
The Story • Sermon • Submitted
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The Bible starts with a simple statement.
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
Now we don't get a lot of information about the creation of the heavens here in Genesis.
But you'll notice that the Heavens were first, and then the Earth.
In the book of Job God says:
“Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you possess understanding. Who set its measurements—if you know— or who stretched a measuring line across it? On what were its bases set, or who laid its cornerstone— when the morning stars sang in chorus, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?
The “Morning Stars” and the “sons of God”.
These beings were present at the creation of the earth.
They existed before us and were also created by YHWH.
I need to tell you this now, because they play a very important role in the story you are about to hear.
Genesis then continues with this beautiful poem that describes God organizing and establishing earth.
for 6 days God refines the newly created earth from a state of Chaos, to a state of goodness.
I don't think this is a literal account.
This is a poem intended to convey some very important truths via metaphor.
First God separates day and night.
Then He separates the water in the air from the water on the ground.
Then God raises up land.
Then God creates vegetation on the land
And so on.
You'll notice that each day of creation gets more and more spectacular.
Until the 6th day, when God says:
Then God said, “Let us make humankind in our image, after our likeness, so they may rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move on the earth.” God created humankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them, male and female he created them.
Humankind is the crowning achievement of Gods creation on Earth because we are made in His image.
The whole point is that “YHWH is the only being capable of creation ex nihlo, and of His creations humankind is His greatest creation.”
Because we stand as His representatives, His imagers, on the Earth.
It also gives us our setting and our characters.
This is a story about God, the sons of God, and Humanity that takes place in the Heavens and on Earth.
Before the 7th day, God gives humans a directive. something only they can do on earth because they are His imagers on earth.
He tells them to multiply, and to subdue the Earth.
That the whole Earth is given to them by God so that may bring it into harmony with Gods perfect plan.
That is the creation account, and the prelude to our story.
Obviously, right now the earth isn't in perfect harmony with God.
There are lots of problems.
Lots of evil.
So what went wrong?
In Genesis 2 we zoom in on the creation of the first man, and the first woman. Adam and Eve.
God makes Adam out in the wilderness and moves him to a garden called Eden.
Eden is more than just a Garden.
Eden is on a mountain, with 2 trees at its center.
The tree of Life, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. (we will just call it the tree of knowledge from now on)
And out of Eden flows a river that splits into 4 different rivers called the Pishon, the Gihon, the Tigris, and the Euphrates.
Eden is a convergence point. With the heavens and the Earth meeting at one place.
Like a Venn diagram.
Eden is Gods home on earth.
All the Earth was good, but only Eden was perfect.
And in Eden, God puts Adam to sleep and creates Eve out of Adam.
Eden is where all the divine beings met with God to be assigned tasks and plan the spread of Eden.
It was in Eden that Adam and Eve were being trained to take on this task of spreading the garden throughout the Earth.
And its In Eden where everything goes wrong.
One of those divine beings, a member of Gods council enters the scene described as a serpent.
This being convinces Eve that God is holding out on her.
The 1 command that God gave in Eden was to not eat from the tree of Knowledge.
That if they do eat from it, they will die.
The serpent tells Eve that, she wont die, instead she will be like God.
All she has to do is take a bite.
She does, and Adam, who is standing with her eats from it as well.
Now, I'm pretty sure that God intended for Adam and Eve to eat from the tree of Knowledge at some point.
But they were not yet ready.
You see, Knowing good and evil in this sense is a powerful, essential, but dangerous thing.
This tree removed the innocent ignorance that Adam and Eve had, and allowed them to make judgement’s for themselves as to whether something was good or bad.
The problem, was that Adam and Eve had not yet completed their training to carry out Gods will.
You cannot Judge whether something is good or bad if you have no idea what good is.
Its like trying to give someone a gift when you have no idea what that person actually likes.
You don't know if what you are giving the person, is actually something they would want or not.
That’s why God kept humanity innocent for the time being, and made things easy by only giving them 1 command.
But they broke that command, and gave up their innocence before they were ready.
Immediately they realize that they are naked, something that isn't sinful on its own, but judgement of each other, and thoughts of lewdness and shame begin to flood their minds.
Is this good or not? I don't know? how do we decide? what do we do? we need to cover up.
God calls out to them, and they are afraid.
They decide its better to lie to God then confess their transgression.
They pass the blame when they are questioned because its better for someone else to face punishment than themselves having to face discipline.
Now God is loving, merciful, and quick to forgive.
But he is also perfect and Just.
You cannot have Justice without punishing injustice.
And so God pronounces Judgement.
Eve will always desire power over her husband, but she will never attain it. Eve will still bring forth life, but she will experience pain during childbirth.
Adam will no longer be able to have his needs provided for, but instead will have to be the provider and protector. He will spend all his days working, toiling, and striving without rest just to keep his family and himself alive.
And the serpent, the divine being that transgressed Gods law, would be cast to the earth forced to crawl on his belly forever eating the dust of the earth.
But in Gods Judgement a hope is revealed.
And I will put hostility between you and the woman and between your offspring and her offspring; he will strike your head, and you will strike his heel.”
One day, a descendant of the woman will come face to face with that very same serpent.
In that day the serpent will wound the Descendant, but in doing so will be crushed.
A promise that the cause of this evil, will be defeated entirely.
God Removes Adam and Eve from the garden, in their current state, they cannot exist in the immediate presence of God.
His holy Fire would consume them in agony.
God also blesses them by cutting off access to the tree of life.
For if they never die, they would forever remain in this tragic state of imperfection.
God, gods, and humanity
God, gods, and humanity
Adam and Eve were removed from Eden, but God would not abandon His creation entirely.
They could no longer be in Gods immediate presence, but God would still lead, instruct, and protect them from a distance.
Over time Eve would bear children to Adam and the Bible tells us of 2 in particular.
Cain and Abel.
Abel always honored God. He sought Gods will, and God blessed him for it.
But Cain gave the least that he could.
He grew jealous of Abel. and the Favor God had shown his brother.
Rather than turn to God entirely, Cain decided to remove the competition.
God warned Cain not to give in to wrath, but Cain would choose for himself what he thought was good, and murdered his brother out of contempt.
Cains descendants would follow suit.
Progressively getting more violent, more greedy, more power hungry with each generation.
Humans would become worse and worse, and the divine beings in the heavens would take sides.
Seeking a chance to exalt themselves over humanity as a whole.
These transgressions against YHWH by both the created gods and man would reach a culmination in Genesis 6 where we read:
The Nephilim were on the earth in those days (and also after this) when the sons of God would sleep with the daughters of humankind, who gave birth to their children. They were the mighty heroes of old, the famous men. But the Lord saw that the wickedness of humankind had become great on the earth. Every inclination of the thoughts of their minds was only evil all the time.
These beings would come and breed with humans of whatever their chosen faction.
Human women would give birth to these “demi-gods” who would serve the wills of their fathers and themselves.
Ultimately leading humanity further astray.
This event is actually talked about in other ancient myths. Particularly Mesopotamian myths.
Where the act is treated as a good thing, and not as a transgression against God Most High.
But the Bible says that this was not good, and not approved by YHWH.
God is facing rebellion by both His Heavenly and Earthly family.
So God decides to crush the rebellion and wash the earth from its wickedness with a flood.
But, again, God refuses to abandon Humanity entirely.
God calls to Noah, a descendant of Adam and Eve, the only man who seeks to follow YHWH.
And commands him to build an ark and preserve life on Earth, both human and animal.
Noah, though He is mocked by fellow humans, Obeys Gods commands, the flood comes and drowns the Earth with only those on the ark being spared.
There is some debate as to whether this flood covered the entire Earth literally, or what was the known world at the time.
Personally I swing either way depending on the day, but whats really important is knowing that the flood was brought to eliminate these quasi-human demi-gods that served their fathers and further harmed humanity. Yahweh's children.
Humanity continues through the line of Noah, but humanity is still a broken creation prone to acts of sin.
Hundreds of years pass, and Humans gathered together to create another city.
Here, in this city they decide to build a tower reaching to the heavens.
An attempt to reclaim humanity's place that Adam lost so long ago.
Genesis 11 tells us:
Then they said, “Come, let’s build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens so that we may make a name for ourselves. Otherwise we will be scattered across the face of the entire earth.”
A seat at Gods table in the heavens.
This, again, is an act of rebellion.
An attempt to over rule Gods decree this time by force.
In response to this, God confuses their languages and scatters the people across the earth.
Because of this event the place was called Babel, today we know it as Babylon.
In Deuteronomy 32 we get more information on this event. Something really important.
Remember the ancient days; bear in mind the years of past generations. Ask your father and he will inform you, your elders, and they will tell you. When the Most High gave the nations their inheritance, when he divided up humankind, he set the boundaries of the peoples, according to the number of the heavenly assembly.
You see, up to this point, Humanity has sought to follow any and everything other than God.
They have constantly rebelled against Him.
They have served lesser gods, rebellious created gods.
They have served themselves. Their own desires.
And this event is the straw that broke the camels back.
God divorces humanity.
Essentially God says “Fine, if you don't want to follow Me, then have at it. I will assign gods to you. Members of My council. Lesser than I the Most High. If you wont follow Me, then follow them.”
He gave all of humanity over to His council, but since it is His council, He gets a portion as well.
God takes 1 man out of Babylon as His inheritance.
A man who we know as Abraham.