God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.
The first book of the Bible is actually a compilation of the stories of 8 men and their Creator. Our Lord tells His story in Genesis chapter 1 through 2:3 and after that each story begins with the phrase “These are the generations of … ” or “This is the account of …”. Adam’s story begins at 2:4 and continues through chapter 5 and explains why the creation account of chapter 2 differs slightly from that of chapter 1. Noah’s story is told in chapters 6 through 9, with the account of his sons Ham Shem and Japeth in 10 and part of 11. Shem’s story begins in 11:10 and ends in 11:26. Terah’s story covers 11:27 through 25:11 and is really the life of his son Abraham. Ishamel’s story requires only 7 verses, 25:12 through 25:18 whereas Isaac’s story begins in 25:19 and continues through the end of chapter 35. Much of Isaac’s story describes the life of Jacob. Isaac’s oldest son, Jacob’s twin Esau, gets one chapter, 36, and then the rest of Genesis has Jacob telling the story of his 12 sons with Joseph in the starring role. It is my firm conviction, from archaeological discoveries and other extra-biblical sources, that Moses had the written accounts of these men in his possession when he compiled them into the book of Genesis. This week we’ll begin telling the stories of these 10 men as if from their own lips.
Adam’s Story … Part 1, In The Garden. Gen. 2:4 through 2:25
I guess you could say everything started with me, at least from the human standpoint. Although I didn’t arrive till the creation work was all but finished, everything that came before was for my benefit, to provide me with food, shelter and a pleasing environment.
The Lord had planted a large and beautiful garden, rich and lush, that covered most of what you call the Middle East today. If you know anything about oil, you know it comes from decayed vegetation. The largest known oil reserves are under the sands of Middle Eastern desserts, which means that the whole area was once rich in vegetation. Since both the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers flow through there today the general location of the Lord’s garden is pretty well established.
Like I said, I was a relative late-comer to the creation and so when I arrived the Garden of Eden, as He called it, was already there. Aside from its lush vegetation, the garden teemed with an incredible variety of other living creatures as well. So beautiful was it that when the Hebrew descendants of my family describe Paradise they use a word whose root means garden, a reference to the Garden of Eden. And to think, the Lord had placed me in charge of it all. Wow!
After the Lord instructed me that I was free to eat any fruit or vegetable in the Garden except those that grew on one of the trees in its middle, the one He called the Tree Of The Knowledge Of Good And Evil, He brought me every animal He had created, and whatever came out of my mouth when I saw each one became its name. We were all made of the same basic elements as the Earth and it was about then that my name became obvious. Adam is the Hebrew word for man and comes from adamah, the Hebrew for earth or ground.
To facilitate the propagation of all the species the Lord established the process of procreation and had formed male and female versions of each of His creatures except me. So He put me into a deep sleep and from one of my ribs, He made a female version of me, a “womb-man” or woman. The Lord knew just what I wanted and the moment I saw her I fell deeply and hopelessly in love. It was a pure and innocent love, absolutely unconditional, like no other emotion the Lord has ever given us. I never wanted to spend even a moment apart from her.
I hope you’ll take a moment now and think about our situation. We were young and in love, beautiful people in a beautiful idyllic setting without a care in the world and in intimate non-stop fellowship with our Creator. Our minds, unfettered by the debilitating effects of sin, were free to soar among the very thoughts of God, our senses enjoying to the fullest the countless pleasures He had created just for us. We walked and talked with Him as He taught us of the wonders of His Love. There was peace and harmony in the Garden, peace between us and our Creator (Who loved us as the highest and best examples of His creative ability, created in His own image) and peace among all the species of His Creation. It was truly Heaven on Earth.
Now contrast that with the world’s view of man’s initial appearance on earth. Emerging from some primordial soup, growing first fins then legs, living in caves and digging in the dirt for food, resembling a monkey more than a man with an intellectual capability on par with the least of them, this ape-man stumbles aimlessly into one discovery after another that over the course of time accidentally results in us today. Or as Frank Peretti has so aptly put it, “From goo to you, by way of the zoo.” This view has early men hardly able to communicate with an ape, let alone God, and only by chance emerging superior to their so-called relatives. Not only does it violate the natural laws its proponents espouse, but even they are slowly being forced to admit that even if their theory could work, there hasn’t been enough time since the beginning for all this to happen. (Maybe some of us are descended from apes after all.)
Pardon my strong opinions, but I was there. I walked and talked with God and enjoyed all the limitless pleasure of His Garden and His Company. That experience so profoundly impacted me and was so deeply ingrained in my psyche that even today its memory is clear enough in the minds of my descendants that they long to go back there. They define Heaven in terms of my experiences in the Garden and indeed the two have much in common. The story of our eviction and the provision the Lord made for our return is on tap for next time. But for now take this advice from one who knows. Fall on your knees today and thank God for providing The Way back to the Garden.