In Light of His Glory Pt. 2

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From one man, Adam, he made every man and woman and every race of humanity, and he spread us over all the earth. He sets the boundaries of people and nations, determining their appointed times in history. He has done this so that every person would long for God, feel their way to him, and find him—for he is the God who is easy to discover! It is through him that we live and function and have our identity; just as your own poets have said, Our lineage comes from him.’

Acts 17:26-28  (TPT)

In Genesis 1:26-28, God gave man what is considered a Cultural Mandate, and sometimes called the “Creation Mandate” to wisely exercise dominion over the earth and subdue it. [1] Genesis 1:28 says,  “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”

God saw all that He had made, and it was very good (vs. 31). He calls all humans, as those made in his image, to fill the earth with his glory through creating what we generally call culture. This mandate is given to all people. It was given to Adam and Eve as the first representatives of humanity, and then given to Noah in Genesis 9:1.

Human beings were created by God with free will to choose and enjoy sweet fellowship with Him, to have many children; to flourish, and to take charge over the earth. He looked at His creation and saw it was good. “God has created us in his image, so that we may carry out a task, fulfill a mission, pursue a calling,” writes Anthony A. Hoekema in his book Created in God’s Image.

Adam and Eve’s place in God’s created order gave them authority over all of creation.  But something happened in the garden that changed everything.  The serpent deceived Eve and Adam ate of the forbidden fruit. Thus sin entered into the world. Satan said to Eve, “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil” (Gen. 3:4-5). When Eve saw “that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves” (Gen. 3:6-7). 

So what happened? The “eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves“ (vs. 8). They heard the sound of God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and hid from Him among the trees of the garden. They were afraid so they hid themselves from their Maker. What did a loving Father do? He clothed them with garments of skin He made for them. The Lord God said, “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever” (vs. 22). As an act of love, grace and mercy He banished them from the Garden of Eden and placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword to guard the way to the tree of life so they would not live forever (vs. 23).

The consequences of giving in to temptation were the opposite of what the devil said would happen. Adam and Eve’s choices can be seen as unbelief, idolatry or greed. But it was also an act of disobedience. A rejection of God’s authority.  They broke the law of God.  “Everyone who sins is breaking God’s law, for all sin is contrary to the law of God (1 Jn. 3:4). As a consequence, man’s moral judgement became skewed or twisted.

William Wilberforce, a British politician, philanthropist, and a leader of the abolitionists, describes sin this way: “Sin is considered in Scripture as rebellion against the sovereignty of God, and every different act of it equally violates his law, and if persevered in, disclaims His supremacy.” [2]

It’s important to understand God’s character and heart toward mankind. God made the world and everything in it. He gives life and breath and everything else to everyone. We live and move and exist because of Him. “He is therefore Lord of heaven and earth, that is, he is the rightful owner, proprietor, and possessor, of all the beings, powers, and riches of the upper and lower world, material and immaterial, visible and invisible.” “He has made the nations of men, not only all men in the nations, but as nations in their political capacity; he is their founder, and disposed them into communities for their mutual preservation and benefit.” [3]

God’s response to man’s original sin was judgement tempered with grace. Adam and Eve were evicted from the garden, denied access to the tree of life but their lives were spared. Adam’s actions set the tone for human behavior down the years. His choices have become deep-rooted in the character of every human being. “Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned” (Rom. 5:12).

The Apostle Paul in Romans 5:14-15 says, “Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who is a pattern of the one to come. But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many!” Verse 19 says  “For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.”

Sadly, because of our sinfulness, we have a tendency to worship creation or to abuse it. The same holds true for the spheres of authority we have been given. We disobey God whenever we abuse our authority or whenever we abandon it. The image of God is seen most clearly in us when we are exercising our authority in loving and wise ways for His glory to be revealed in the earth.

Blessings,

Dr. Francine

Note: All Scripture is taken from the New International Version (NIV) unless otherwise noted.

1.What is the cultural mandate? Who is it given to?, https://www.9marks.org/answer/what-cultural-mandate-who-it-given/

2. William Wilberforce, A Practical View of Christianity, 149.

3. Matthew Henry Bible Commentary (complete)

 

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