Advertisements

Tag Archives: Religion

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?“]

Advertisements

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?“]

The Bible Narrows Its Focus

"These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens," (Genesis 2:4)

“These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens,” (Genesis 2:4 KJV)

There is a significant change that occurs in the book of Genesis between the third and fourth verse of Chapter 2. It is a change so dramatic that some have speculated that perhaps a different writer altogether had picked up the pen which the first writer had laid down. We have what appears to be a recounting or retelling of the Creation account that was given in Chapter 1 and we have a new name given to God.

The name referring to God in Chapter 1 is a generic Hebrew term for Deity (Elohim). The name referring to Him beginning here in Verse 4 is a personal name for God (Jehovah) and is written in many versions of the Bible as, “LORD” (all capitals). This name was regarded as so sacred among the Jews that they would substitute the Hebrew word for “Lord” (Adonai) when they spoke it, lest they should be guilty of blasphemy for inadvertently failing to properly reverence the most precious name of God Almighty. God commanded that His name must not be taken in vain (Exodus 20:7), so they avoided speaking His name entirely to prevent the chance of such an infraction.

The explanation for why Moses would suddenly begin to use the personal name of Jehovah rather than the generic Elohim here in Verse 4 of Genesis 2 can be found if we consider the direction that the narrative is taking. Chapter 1 gave us a “bird’s-eye view” of Creation, while Chapter 2 will narrow the focus to mankind. Chapter 1 was an overview, while Chapter 2 is more specific. Chapter 1 gave a summary of the entire Creation process, while Chapter 2 goes into detail concerning the creation of man. God is the God (Elohim) of all Creation, but He is the Lord God (Jehovah) of mankind. The use of His personal name in relation to mankind speaks of the special and unique nature of our relationship to Him.

This same pattern is repeated again and again throughout the Bible. A general overview will be given, followed by a more detailed examination of a certain portion. The Word of God begins by considering the entire Universe and then “zooms in”: first on the Earth, where man will dwell, then on the land, where man will walk, then on the Garden of Eden; the specific “address”, so to speak, of the very first man and woman. After the Flood, the focus will first be on the entire world as the description is given in Genesis 10 of the branching out of the descendants of Noah throughout the Earth. Then, the Bible will begin to “zoom in” again by focusing on a specific nation, then a specific tribe within that nation, then a specific family, until we ultimately find the pinpoint of the Word of God firmly fixed on a stable in Bethlehem, more than 2,000 years ago.

Genesis 2:4 brings into focus the generations of the heavens and the Earth on the very first man, Adam. The Book of Matthew will open up the New Testament with a “book” of the generations of Jesus Christ (Matthew 1:1-17). Genesis brings the attention of all of Creation to mankind. Matthew brings the attention of all of mankind to Jesus Christ.

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

Loren

loren@answersfromthebook.org

[This post was originally published August 1, 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 Rested From His Work

"Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made." (Genesis 2:1-2)

“Thus the heavens and the earth were completed, and all their hosts. By the seventh day God completed His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done.” (Genesis 2:1-2)

When we rest from our work, it is usually because we are tired. Or, we rest from our work in order to do more pleasurable, leisurely activities. Sometimes, we take a rest from our work so that we might return to it with a refreshed perspective and attitude toward it. Whatever the specific reason, we tend to associate resting from our work with renewing our energy so that we can work more effectively when we resume working.

But what does the Bible mean when it says that God rested from His work? God doesn’t get tired (Isaiah 40:28), He doesn’t need to sleep (Psalm 121:4), and we can be certain that He never needs to take a break in order to get a fresh perspective or attitude. So why did He rest on the Seventh Day of Creation?

For one, God rested from His work in order to show us that we should take the time to rest from ours. When giving His commandments to Israel, God would provide for a day of rest each week that was modeled after His own resting in Genesis 2:2 (Exodus 20:9-10). God demonstrated the importance for people to make adequate time for rest here at the very beginning.

But even more than this, we find a key to understanding the reason for Genesis 2:2 by looking at Genesis 2:1: “Thus the heavens and the earth were FINISHED…” God rested from His work, primarily, because He was done! Genesis 1:31 stated right before this that God saw everything and that it was “very good.” He didn’t need to add anything to His work, it was complete. We don’t normally leave our offices at the end of the week because all of our work is finished, but at the end of that very first week, God rested because His work was finished.

It was God’s perfect, completed work that provided everything man needed to live on this Earth. God provided everything necessary by His work, Adam and Eve did not need to labor for it. God was resting from His work and all that they needed to do was enter into that rest with Him.

There is a rest that God has invited us into, as well. This rest is a spiritual rest, not a physical one. Just as God provided everything needed for the man and woman to live in the Garden of Eden, He has provided everything needed for us to live with Him. The rest that Adam and Eve were invited to enter into was completely provided by the work of God, and so is this rest. Jesus Christ completed the work (John 17:4) and declared it finished (John 19:30). God has completed the work necessary for us to enter into this rest, all we need to do is trust in Him.

“So there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God. For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His.” (Hebrews 4:9-10)

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

Loren

loren@answersfromthebook.org

[This post was originally published July 31, 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?“]

%d bloggers like this: