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Author Archive: Loren

Why Does God Allow Temptation?

"Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?" (Genesis 3:1)

“Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, “Indeed has God said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden?” (Genesis 3:1)

The very last verse of Genesis 2 says that Adam and Eve were both naked and they were not ashamed. In other words, they were completely innocent, they were unaware of what evil was. The third chapter of Genesis opens up with the serpent approaching Eve and asking her a question.

The most obvious question that we might have regarding this whole dialogue which results in the loss of innocence and the entry of sin and death into the world is this: Why did God allow the man and woman to be tempted in the first place? Wouldn’t it seem that God would bear responsibility for not shielding them from this danger?

In order to answer this, we must look at temptation itself from God’s perspective and determine what the purpose for it might be. From our standpoint, temptation is nothing more than a chance to fail, it seems like it is only a source of agony and suffering for us. But God allows it for a very real purpose.

The flip side of temptation and the possibility of falling that comes with it is that it also carries the opportunity to stand against it. Not only is the chance of failure there, so is the chance of success. It is through this trial of our faith that our character is built up and the reality of our trust in God is proven. God doesn’t allow temptation in order to tear us down, but to “prove” what we are made of. We might fail at times, but the temptations that we face will ultimately reveal our strength in Christ, not our weakness in the flesh.

“You shall remember all the way which the LORD your God has led you in the wilderness these forty years, that He might humble you, testing you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not.” (Deuteronomy 8:2)

Temptation doesn’t prove to God what we are made of, He already knows that, but rather it proves to us what He is made of. It humbles us and causes us to trust in Him and not ourselves. Adam and Eve had been given one single commandment to follow. If there had never arose any temptation to break it, the commandment would have been meaningless. Whether or not they truly believed and trusted God would never have been known to them if they did not have the opportunity or motivation to put that trust to the test. They could have stood against the temptation, they did not need to fall. They could have held fast to the Word that He had given them and not obeyed the voice of another. But they did what I am certain any of us could have easily done in the same situation; they took their eyes off of God if only for a moment and rather than proving God’s glorious provision, they proved man’s utter helplessness apart from Him.

The way to overcome temptation is not by firmly planting your own two feet into the ground and resolving to stand strong. It is to keep your eyes on God and to resolve to stand in Him. Temptation is not a chance to see if you can resist it or not, it is a chance to know that God can keep you from falling if you will keep your trust in Him.

To Jesus Christ goes all glory. In service to Him,

Loren

loren@answersfromthebook.org

[This post was originally published August 16, 2009]

**Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the New American Standard Bible (NASB) © The Lockman Foundation and are used by permission.

[If you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ or you are not certain where you are headed when this life ends, I invite you to read the article “Am I Going To Heaven?“]

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God Instituted Marriage

"And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh." (Genesis 2:23-24)

“The man said, “This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called woman because she was taken out of Man.” For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.”(Genesis 2:23-24)

Marriage is the very first institution that God gave to mankind. God first showed Adam his need for a wife and then He Himself provided for that need. What a beautiful picture of the providence of God!

We should notice the process that God undertook in providing a mate for Adam. In Genesis 2:18, God sees the man’s need and declares that it is not good for him to be alone. In verses 19-20, God presents the animals that He has created and bestows the privilege to Adam of naming them. But there was no helper fit for the man. The idea here is not that God presented all of these animals for Adam to choose a “pet” from. God already said in verse 18 that He was going to make a helper for the man. This process of observing all of God’s creatures with their own mates would doubtlessly have made Adam aware that he himself had no mate of his own.

So, God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man. What an awesome thing to know that we can sleep deeply as God provides for our needs! As Adam slept, God took from the man’s own body and formed the woman from his side. God then presented the woman to her new husband and He joined the two together. Adam, in his gratitude for God’s provision, gladly receives her as he had his own body. Verse 24 summarizes the magnitude of the institution of marriage and defines what it truly means.

From start to finish, God is the One Who perceived the need, showed the need to Adam, and then provided for that need. It was God’s actions that brought the very first marriage into being and it was He Who defined what that marriage would be. This is why man must not tamper with the sanctity of marriage nor is he at liberty to redefine it in any way. God Almighty has stipulated what marriage is and what it means. This is also why we should never take the dissolution of any marriage between a husband and wife lightly.

God the Father would again present a bride to Someone in a similar way that He did for Adam. The Church would be called the “Bride of Christ” and would be described as His “Body.” If you are a part of the Body of Christ, then you are “flesh of His flesh” and “bone of His bone.” Jesus loves us and receives us just as He receives and loves His own body. Blessed are they who are called to celebrate with Him at His marriage supper (Revelation 19:9).

To Jesus Christ goes all glory. In service to Him,

Loren

loren@answersfromthebook.org

[This post was originally published August 14, 2009]

**Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the New American Standard Bible (NASB) © The Lockman Foundation and are used by permission.

[If you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ or you are not certain where you are headed when this life ends, I invite you to read the article “Am I Going To Heaven?“]

Does God Have The Right To Command Us?

"And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die." (Genesis 2:16-17)

“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 will surely die.” (Genesis 2:16-17)

Here in Genesis 2:16, we have God’s first commandment to man. With all of the blessings and gracious gifts that He had bestowed upon Adam and Eve, God laid down but one single rule that they were to follow; do not eat of a certain tree within the Garden of Eden.

One of the gravest and most severe forms of outright rebellion that people throughout history have taken against God is to question the fact that He even has the right to issue them commandments. It does not matter to them how easy the commandment might be to follow, they resent the fact that they have been given any commandment at all. They reject the idea that anyone, even their Creator, would retain any authority over them whatsoever. They feel that they have absolutely no one to answer to and are free to define their own morality, behaving any way they choose.

But God does have the right to command mankind. Why? Because He is the One Who has created us. We are under His authority because we live in His Universe. Here, at the very beginning of the Bible, God issues a single commandment to Adam . He makes no bargain with Adam, the Lord offers no promise of particular benefit or incentive for Adam’s continued obedience. He simply commands Adam to refrain from eating of one particular tree, and then tells him of the consequences that would result from disobeying.

The fact of the matter is that Adam was already enjoying the fruits of obedience to God. God’s blessing was on him and he had been given EVERY other tree in the Garden for food. Think about that for a minute: every single other tree was given to him without restriction. Every one. God had placed a boundary around one single tree and left the rest of the trees open for Adam and Eve to freely partake of.

The devil’s very first words to Eve in Genesis 3:1 are, “Indeed, has God said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden?” He is subtly bringing to her attention the fact that God has placed a restriction upon her and Adam’s behavior. God has exercised His authority over the woman and her husband by placing a limit, a boundary upon their actions. This is what their rebellion would signify: the rejection of God’s right to command their behavior.

Do we ourselves not do the same thing at times? As simple and easy as this very first commandment are the commandments of Christ (1 John 5:3). Our liberty in Jesus allows us to partake of the fruit of a thousand trees, yet we so often eat of those few that He has set a boundary around. In our flesh, we, too, often resent the meager limits that are placed upon us and by doing so we question our Lord’s right to command and regulate our actions. We may not actually say such words, but our disobedience reveals our attitude.

If we love Him, we will keep His commandments (John 14:15).

To Jesus Christ goes all glory. In service to Him,

Loren

loren@answersfromthebook.org

[This post was originally published August 12, 2009]

**Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the New American Standard Bible (NASB) © The Lockman Foundation and are used by permission.

[If you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ or you are not certain where you are headed when this life ends, I invite you to read the article “Am I Going To Heaven?“]

Was The Garden Of Eden A Real Place?

"And a river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted, and became into four heads." (Genesis 2:10)

“Now a river flowed out of Eden to water the garden; and from there it divided and became four rivers” (Genesis 2:10)

Where was the Garden of Eden located? Today we are unable to pinpoint the exact location of it. We cannot be certain of the specific spot where it was. It is likely from the description given that it was somewhere in the Tigris and Euphrates Valley. No parameters are given concerning its size, perhaps it filled that entire valley. We may not be able to identify its precise site, but we can determine that the Garden is presented as an actual place.

That the Garden of Eden was not a symbolic or mythological paradise can be seen by the fact that specific landmarks are given in relation to its locale. Genesis 2:10-14 names four rivers which flowed out from a single source that originated in the Garden. The rivers are given by name and we are told about the lands into which they flowed. It would seem unlikely that Moses would provide such specific details if he were writing about a fictional place.

It would stand to reason, then, that since the Garden itself was an actual place, the events and objects mentioned in connection with it would be real and literal, as well. There is no Biblical basis for concluding that the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil and the fruit which grew upon it were mythical or metaphorical, nor is there any support in Scripture that would suggest that Adam and Eve were not actual people who literally ate thereof. Eden is directly referred to by writers such as Isaiah, Ezekiel, and Joel while Adam is specifically mentioned in 1 Chronicles, Job, Luke, Jude, and throughout Paul’s Epistles. It seems that the future writers of Scripture took Moses at his word and believed the literalness of his account, maybe we would be wise to do the same.

The reason that some have suggested that the events and places described in the first few chapters of the Book of Genesis are not literal is not because the principles of sound Biblical analysis and the fundamentals of Scriptural exegesis have led them to such conclusions, but rather because of their own personal distaste for the supernatural. They feel embarrassed by the fantastic nature of the narrative and therefore seek to marginalize it in order to retain the appearance of intellectualism and sophistication. They take a similar approach in the New Testament when it comes to the miracles of the Lord Jesus Christ.

The problem with taking this approach to interpreting the Bible is, where do you draw the line? Once you reject one thing because it doesn’t appeal to you, it’s easy to reject other things. If you are going to wince at the believability of the first three chapters of the Bible, how are you going to accept the ones that follow? You simply cannot embrace John 3:16 and Romans 10:9 while rejecting Genesis 3:4-6. You either believe the Word of God or you do not. God has not given us the privilege of deciding which portions of His Word we like and which ones we don’t.

To Jesus Christ goes all glory. In service to Him,

Loren

loren@answersfromthebook.org

[This post was originally published August 9, 2009]

**Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the New American Standard Bible (NASB) © The Lockman Foundation and are used by permission.

[If you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ or you are not certain where you are headed when this life ends, I invite you to read the article “Am I Going To Heaven?“]

God Breathed Life Into Man

"And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul." (Genesis 2:7)

“Then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being” (Genesis 2:7)

Human beings were created differently than any other of God’s creatures. God commanded the earth and the waters to bring forth every plant and animal, every fish and bird. But when it came time to create man, God “formed” him.

As a potter fashions clay into the shape he desires, the Lord took the dust and clay of the Earth and formed man into what He desired. Then He breathed life into his nostrils. This “breath” was the spirit of man, complete with its own will, its intellect and reason, and its capacity for morality and fellowship with his Creator. All of the things that separate man from the animals. Man was made a living soul.

With a body that was created from and tethered to this Earth, and a spirit that was breathed into him by the God of Heaven, so would the foundation be laid that would eventually become man’s struggle between that which is of the flesh and that which is of the Spirit. This dichotomy within the very nature of man would serve as the type and metaphor for the struggle within every believer as he is drawn toward the things of God in his spirit, yet pulled toward the things of Earth within his flesh.

The human body, as intricate and wonderfully made as it is, is not what defines a person. It is this spirit which God breathes into him. It is this spirit which bears the image and likeness of God. It is this spirit which died the day that Adam and Eve ate of the fruit of the forbidden tree, and it is this spirit which must be “born again” if we are to ever live in the presence of God. Since the Fall of man in the Garden of Eden, people would be born with a corrupted spirit. People are not born as a “living soul”, but as a “lifeless spirit.”

When we make Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior, He breathes a spirit into us that is full of life. It is an incorruptible spirit that comes from the Holy Spirit and bears the image of God. We move from spiritual death to Spiritual life and are made a new creation in Jesus Christ. When we die, our bodies return to the dust of the Earth from which they came, but our spirits return to our Heavenly Father who breathed them into us when we placed our faith in His Son.

To Jesus Christ goes all glory. In service to Him,

Loren

loren@answersfromthebook.org

[This post was originally published August 6, 2009]

**Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the New American Standard Bible (NASB) © The Lockman Foundation and are used by permission.

[If you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ or you are not certain where you are headed when this life ends, I invite you to read the article “Am I Going To Heaven?“]

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