The Path to the Cross II
The Path to the Cross: In the Beginning part II
7 Apr 19
I was listening to a podcast this past week and heard this - “Christians tend to be some of the least spiritually minded people I have ever met.” The context was this person encounters all kinds of conversations with all kinds of people about all kinds of spiritual things - supernatural / paranormal and so forth - except Christians. Many Christians do not like to talk about spiritual things or spiritual experiences or spiritual phenomena. Yet, we say we believe the Bible is trustworthy and we believe in God, angels, demons, Heaven and Hell.
Does anyone see the dichotomy? The irony? We of all people should be engaged in spiritual conversations …. But for some reason, we tend to take the supernatural out of our faith. That may be extreme … I think you get the point. So, as Passover approaches, I want to put the supernatural - the spiritual - back into the events of the cross and the purpose of Christ’s death and resurrection. To understand that, we must understand Genesis - the first book of the Bible.
If you weren’t here last week, some of this may leave you scratching your head. I posted my sermon notes on Faithlife.com (see handout). The Bible teaches us about our physical realm, but also a spiritual realm where God, angles, etc., reside - different spiritual beings in Hebrew are called ʾělōhîm - classification. And we discovered the idea of a divine council - assembly - hosts. What we discovered is just as God invites us into relationship and participation with Him, He invites ʾělōhîm to do the same in the spiritual realm. We see this in various places throughout Scripture.
So, let’s pick up where we left off in Genesis. Genesis chapter 1 is the cosmic view of creation - including humanity. In
And God said, “Let us make humankind in our image and according to our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of heaven, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every moving thing that moves upon the earth.” So God created humankind in his image, in the likeness of God he created him, male and female he created them.
So God created the earth and gave humanity charge - responsibility over the earth.
Genesis chapter 2 zooms in on the actual creation of ā·ḏām - humanity.
These are the generations of heaven and earth when they were created, in the day that Yahweh God made earth and heaven—
This is significant.
1. This is the first use of the divine name – Yahweh (Yhwh).
In chapter 1, God, Elohim created the universe. In chapter 2 we have His name, Yahweh. When you introduce yourself to someone, or when you want someone to know you - you give them your name. So why is that in Scripture? What does it reveal about God?
Jump down to verse 7
when Yahweh God formed the man of dust from the ground, and he blew into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.
Do you see what is Scripture doing here? It’s taking us from a grand view of creation with this “unknown or unnamed god” to a personal, face to face encounter - to the creation of humanity by an ʾělōhîm named Yahweh.
“Yahweh formed the man” - the word formed carries the idea of a potter shaping clay. Pottery involves hands, fingers, arms, back, muscles, the mind, the heart …. Whether this is literal or metaphorical (does God really have hands?), the intent, the point is critical and don’t miss it …
2. Yahweh is personal and knowable.
There are many religions in the world with many gods - but those gods are out there - somewhere (vast majority are not personal or relational). But not the God of the Bible. He is near, He is personal and He’s knowable.
Go back to
And God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures according to their kind: cattle and moving things, and wild animals according to their kind.” And it was so.
God - ʾělōhîm - that’s all He is in chapter 1. God called animals into existence - from a distance. No physical contact. No getting down in the dirt. No fashioning with His hands Nothing personal. No breath of life. Animals simply exist because God said so.
But with the creation of humanity, this god said, in verse 4, “Hello. My name is … Yahweh” - and He bent down and formed man and woman - that’s relational, personal - He is knowable, and you can know Him even today!!!
Now, there is something else here that truly sets humanity apart from all created beings - the breath of life. We’ll cover this in more detail later but here’s a little food for thought. Life and death is major theme throughout Scripture. To have a personal relationship with Yahweh is to be alive. To be separated from Him relationally is to be dead. He created us to be alive! He created us with purpose! But how many live like the animals do - without purpose and just trying to survive?
What does Jesus say about life?
The thief comes only so that he can steal and kill and destroy; I have come so that they may have life, and have it abundantly.
Not just in heaven ….
Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.
(I propose there is a difference between being saved and being alive …)
That breath of life will play a part in the Passover - the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. So, keep it in mind.
There’s something else significant about this breath of life to think about. Again - a little food for thought that we will develop later as the narrative unfolds. Yahweh formed the man then breathed life into him, which I believe would carry over into the woman and eventually all humanity.
Humans are unique that they have the breath of life. Think of it like this - Yahweh gave Adam a little piece of Himself - a little piece of God in Adam, a little piece of the divine, if you will. Who else has this?
Animals are physical and emotional, but not spiritual.
Elōhîm are spiritual and emotional, but not physical.
Adam is physical, emotional and spiritual (body, soul, spirit).
Adam is of earth and heaven. (a little bit of earth, and a little bit of Heaven).
Why is this important? Again, food for thought - we’ll develop it later - laying out all the pieces. In Gen. 3, Adam, who is in the garden, God’s Kingdom if you will on earth, rebelled against Yahweh (sinned), forfeited immortality, brought death into the world, separation from Yahweh and began to live under a different kingdom, a different the authority - Adam became a slave to a divine rebel - whom we now know as the devil.
Adam, who was physical and spiritual opened the door for physical and spiritual brokenness - to become less than what God intended - thus entered physical death, spiritual death, physical and spiritual separation from God
Because of this, just as sin entered into the world through one man, and death through sin, so also death spread to all people because all sinned.
They went from being in the light to being in the dark! Rather than being whole (physically, emotionally and spiritually) Adam and Eve became broken - and obviously, that is what we are dealing with today - a very broken world full of broken people.
How does God rectify a physical and spiritual problem?
In order to rescue humanity from their dead physical and spiritual status,
We need a Savior who is both physical and spiritual - a person like Adam; but unlike Adam, one who is perfect and sinless.
And of course, we’re talking about the Son of God, Elohim in the flesh - Christ Jesus.
Therefore, since the children share in blood and flesh, he also in like manner shared in these same things, in order that through death he could destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and could set free these who through fear of death were subject to slavery throughout all their lives. For surely he is not concerned with angels, but he is concerned with the descendants of Abraham. Therefore he was obligated to be made like his brothers in all respects, in order that he could become a merciful and faithful high priest in the things relating to God, in order to make atonement for the sins of the people. For in that which he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are tempted.
Do you see how Genesis connects to the Passover and eventually the final restoration of the heavens and earth?
Next week, we’ll talk in detail about the garden, the serpent, and more about life and death. But let me close with this …
Yahweh, God is the giver of life. Sin, rebellion against God, doing life on our own terms brings death. The only way to have life, true life both spiritual and eternal is through faith in the Son of God, Jesus Christ whom died on a cross so that our rebellion could be forgiven.
See John 3 & 5