The Good Life!
4 These are the generations
of the heavens and the earth when they were created,
in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens.
5 When no bush of the field was yet in the land and no small plant of the field had yet sprung up—for the Lord God had not caused it to rain on the land, and there was no man to work the ground, 6 and a mist was going up from the land and was watering the whole face of the ground— 7 then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature. 8 And the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed. 9 And out of the ground the Lord God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
10 A river flowed out of Eden to water the garden, and there it divided and became four rivers. 11 The name of the first is the Pishon. It is the one that flowed around the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold.12 And the gold of that land is good; bdellium and onyx stone are there.13 The name of the second river is the Gihon. It is the one that flowed around the whole land of Cush. 14 And the name of the third river is the Tigris, which flows east of Assyria. And the fourth river is the Euphrates.
15 The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and keep it. 16 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat[d] of it you shall surely die.”
18 Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for[e] him.” 19 Now out of the ground the Lord God had formed[f] every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. 20 The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field. But for Adam[g] there was not found a helper fit for him. 21 So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh.22 And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made[h] into a woman and brought her to the man. 23 Then the man said,
“This at last is bone of my bones
and flesh of my flesh;
she shall be called Woman,
because she was taken out of Man.”[i]
24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. 25 And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.
Genesis 1 review:
In Genesis 1: 26 Then God said, “Let us make man[h] in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
27 So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.
28 And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
Two creation accounts. The first emphasizes God as Creator of all that is, and the nature of creation is good! The second creation account is our passage today and as I said last week, it emphasizes God’s desire to be in relationship with man. And it emphasizes what God has done to bless man with “the good life.” You are familiar with the term, “The good life” right? Well, when you think of that, what do you think of?
From the Mosaic perspective, the source of the good life is for the people of God to obey the Word of God and then God will give that good life to them.
Treasured possession, kingdom of priests, God’s Holy People.
Lets’ look at our two creation accounts, the one focused on all of creation first, and then the one focused on man, let’s see how God intends for us to experience the good life.
- God Created You in His Image.
The reason I say you is because this is the consistent message of Scripture from beginning to end. It’s personal. God not only created Adam, God created you, and from your perspective, that should be VERY IMPORTANT!
Psalms 139: 13 For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them.
- We are made to reflect God’s character
This is the most important idea contained in the concept of being created in God’s image. We do not share God’s qualities of omniscience, omnipresence, omnipotence, always good, completely free etc. But we are meant to reflect some of those things, and especially His goodness.
- Authority over creation
Not in a vacuum doing whatever we want, but wisely as good stewards of what God has created. On a micro level and on a macro level. We need to do what is best for both now and the future, for ourselves and those closest to us as well as for others not so close.
- God blesses man
- Fruitfulness, multiply and fill the earth. (This is the goal)
- Subdue the earth. (Subdue is a strong word. Conquer. There is a reflection of God’s creative work here. Chaos is replaced by order. Darkness, by light. Emptiness by fullness)
- Rule over the animals. (Manage. Responsibility. Care. Order.)
Blessing and peace are two key works in the Bible, especially the OT that express the best life. Only God blesses. Shalom is the result of His blessing.
22 The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 23 “Speak to Aaron and his sons, saying, Thus you shall bless the people of Israel: you shall say to them,
24 The Lord bless you and keep you;
25 the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;
26 the Lord lift up his countenance[c] upon you and give you peace.
27 “So shall they put my name upon the people of Israel, and I will bless them.”
These ideas should be reinforced in the creation account of Genesis 2 and they are!
- Man and the Garden
- Created from the same stuff
Matter is matter. But life is mysterious, miraculous, rare.
What is life? It is different from matter.
- Only God gives life
God is a specialist when it comes to life. We go to the Dr. and they might send us to a specialist. Why? Because there is a lot to know about how things work and what is best. Well, there is a specialist when it comes to life. Only God makes things alive. Life is rare.
Perhaps more importantly, God specifically makes human life! This is very important because at some point we are going to question how we are living and whether or not it is best! How can we judge this? What is the appropriate basis?
- Creation is ongoing
The processes that sustain life are put in place by God so that things will continue to live on. Water sources. Light. And a manager for the garden. We play a part.
- Rules are established
The tree of the knowledge of good and evil. So far there is only the knowledge of what is good! God’s rules for living are very important. They allow one to have access to the tree of life. And they prevent the knowledge of evil!
III. The Sources of Blessing
I will list them in order
Rule over creation. Subdue creation. Manage creation. Work the garden. Name the animals. Biology, Geology, Ecology, Veterinary medicine, Farming, Ranching, Lawn services, Tree work, Mining etc.
For what purpose? Gen 1: reproduction. The ongoing creation. But Gen 2 mentions the relational benefit of marriage. Who does marriage benefit? Well, I guess it depends on the quality of the marriage, but from God’s design: Both spouses are helped by the other. And the children and mothers can survive. How could they without some cooperation? And the husbands and fathers are rendered relevant!
Be fruitful and multiply. How can one do this best? Monogamy! Why? Because kids take a long time to raise.
And finally, we see this as we move along: community beyond family is very important.
Do you want your life to be blessed? Then manage your blessings according to God’s Word!
Ephesians 5:21-6:9; Colossians 3:18-25
Work: Work hard as unto the Lord, not with eye service like a man pleaser. Those in authority are to treat their employees with respect. We are all bearers of the image of God. As best we can, make the job a good job! Recognize that we are all stewards of God’s creation. Function and beauty. Make things that work, that are beautiful, and that are sustainable!
Marriage: Be a suitable helper! This means development, learning to suit one another. Submit to one another. Love one another. Serve one another. Respect one another. Forgive one another.
Family: Children obey your parents. Parents raise children to fear God and don’t exasperate them! Communicate respectfully, but discipline them!
- Fellowship with God
This is the primary source of blessing!
The joy of sharing in and reflecting His character. Knowing His pleasure in your life. A complete awareness of His love and oversight! If you do not have fellowship with God, then the other blessings are threatened!