Genesis 1 – Made in God’s Image

This Week’s Devotion Theme: God Created!

Today’s Bible Reading: Genesis 11-12 and Matthew 6

The final piece in God’s creation, on day 6, is humankind.  Man stands out in all of creation, having been made in God’s own image.

Genesis 1:26-28 – Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

27 So God created mankind in his own image,
    in the image of God he created them;
    male and female he created them.

28 God blessed them and said to them, “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.”

Adam and Eve were the first humans, as recorded in Genesis and other places such as in Timothy 2:13 – For Adam was formed first, then Eve.  Adam is mentioned quite a few times throughout scripture, including in the genealogy of Jesus in Luke chapter 3.  But there are many Christians who question if Adam and Eve were even real people.  Why?  Primarily because of Darwinian Evolution.  If Darwinian Evolution is true, then there really were no exact pair of first humans per se, because humans would have evolved slowly from an ape-like ancestor.  For Christians who believe Darwinian Evolution to be true, it has led some to question how there could have been an actual Adam and Eve in that scenario.

But Darwinian Evolution is not possible, as I shared in yesterday’s devotion, and so there is no reason to try to explain away all of the references to Adam in scripture.  Doing so creates the need to start discounting the veracity of a lot of scripture.  Another reason to toss the idea that man evolved is that if you allowed one random step in evolution to occur every hour on the hour (much, much faster than evolutionists suggest it happens), it would take around 6.8 billion years for man to evolve from a single cell, which is too much time, even given the incorrect ancient age of the earth.

The supposed evolution of humans is full of a history of hoaxes, exaggerations, and errors.  For example, you may have heard it reported that humans and chimpanzees have anywhere from 95% to 99% genetic similarity, as this image from the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History claims.

  This is intended to support the idea that humans and chimps share a common ancestor.  But the truth is that that percentage is arrived upon because researchers only compared the most similar sections of the genomes.  But if you compare the entire genomes, it is more akin to a 70% similarity.  And still, there are over 900 million DNA differences that divide humans and chimps!  This is known to be true, but misleading information that states otherwise still appears in museums and in textbooks today.  No wonder so many Christians believe it. 

“There is no encompassing theory of human evolution,” concedes Berkeley evolutionary biologist F. Clark Howell.  “Alas, there never really has been.”

Is there any evidence that points to an actual Adam or Eve?  Yes!  Using comparisons of mitochondrial DNA, which is only passed on from the mother, creation scientists, and many secular scientists agree that evidence indicates all humans are descended from a single pair of humans that lived in the relatively recent past.  (This study was published in the journal Human Evolution in May 2018.)

Another recent study published in Science Magazine (337, p.64-69) suggests that humans haven’t been around very long.  Regarding human genetic diversity, the study concluded, “The maximum likelihood time for accelerated growth was 5,115 years ago.”  This time frame aligns rather closely with scripture, and specifically the time that Adam would have been created.

It is exciting for me to see that real world observation continually confirms the Bible.  As more and more Christians learn these truths, I hope it leads to an abandonment of attempts to throw out or twist sections of scripture that are not compatible with some scientific claims.  In regards to human evolution, you should feel confident that you did not evolve from an ape-like ancestor.  You were specially designed, created in the image of God, just as Adam was, in the beginning.  Jesus confirmed as much in Matthew 18:4 when he said, “at the beginning, the creator made them (Adam and Eve) male and female.”

-Greg Landry

If anyone has any questions or comments they would like me to address on any of the devotions dealing with creation this week, please reach out to me at gregrlandry@gmail.com

Editor: Do you know someone who could benefit from reading today’s devotion? Pass it on. I believe it could really save a life – an eternal life! Evolution has been used to distort God’s truth and lead youth and adults to question God’s existence, power, and love. It’s time to fight back. And how encouraging to know that Science Really IS on God’s side!

And, keep going on your daily Bible reading. Lots of good stuff in Genesis and Matthew!

Believing the Lies

January 1 – Genesis 1-3

Genesis 3 4 (NIV)

The opening chapters of Genesis play out like a graphic novel, presenting us with the dream scenario where the world is perfect, God is dwelling among His creation, and human beings are in perfect relationship with each other and their Creator. Unfortunately, the scene does not last very long, as the human beings forget their Creator and disobey, bringing an end to God’s perfect world. They start to blame each other, are ashamed of the way that they look, and are separated from God’s presence. It is a terrible tragedy, but one that we still experience today.

 

At the very core of this story, and the reason that the humans disobeyed God, is because they believed a lie rather than the truth of their Creator. The serpent in the garden promised the humans that if they ate of the forbidden fruit, that they would “be like God, knowing good and evil.” What is tragic about this story is that the humans are already like God, being made in His image (1:26-28)! They did not believe the words spoken by their Creator, and instead, let the lies spoken by the serpent define and destroy them.

 

Unfortunately, this isn’t just a story of the past, but a daily struggle that every human being faces today. The teenage boy is told that he isn’t worth anything because he failed to perform well at a sporting event. The young girl is told that she is ugly because she doesn’t match what the pictures show in the magazines. The elderly man is told that he is no longer useful since he can’t operate the same way as he could in his youth. The barren woman is told that she has no purpose because she struggles to bear children in this world. And the list continues to go on and on…

 

These are all lies that the serpent still tells God’s creation, in order to drive them into despair and death (see John 10:10). We see and feel this on a daily basis; we all buy into the lies of the serpent, forgetting the truths that God pronounces over each of us. Scripture tells us that God loves us (John 3:16), that He has plans for us (Jeremiah 29:11), that we are chosen in Christ (Ephesians 1:4), that we are forgiven of our sins in Jesus (Romans 8:1), and that God made each and every one of us in a very special, personal way (Psalm 139:13-14).

 

Today, I want to encourage you to listen to the truths of your Father and forget the lies you’ve been told. You are valuable. You are precious. You are loved. You belong to Him. God cares deeply for you, and wants you to come into a real relationship with Him like our ancestors had in the Garden of Eden. Come before Him through the blood of Jesus and rest, knowing that your Creator tells you the truth.

 

Talon Paul

 

Day 1 of the 2020 Chronological Bible Reading Plan

 

Here’s a link to BibleGateway.com where you can read, or listen to, today’s passage:

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Genesis+1-3&version=NIV

 

 

God’s Presence and the Garden

Genesis 2 8

Text: Gen 2:4 – 3:24

 

Yesterday we began talking about the presence of God, starting with the creation account in Genesis 1:1-2:3. We saw that God not only created the earth as a place for us to live, but also as a place for him to be present with us. The heavens and earth are God’s temple.

 

As we move on in Genesis, starting with 2:4 and going to the end of chapter 2, we find another creation account, and its focus is different than the first, paying special attention to humans and what seems to be agriculture. We are introduced to a garden, and people to cultivate and rule over it: Adam (which literally means man or mankind) and Eve (which literally means living or life). The garden also includes two special trees, the tree of life, and tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The tree of knowledge could have easily been called the tree of certain death, because God promises they will die if they eat from it. But they can eat from anything else.

 

This garden is a special place. It seems to be a focal point, almost like a holy of holies for God’s cosmic temple. It is sacred space that he shares with his creation. God walks in the garden and is present there with Adam and Eve. Can you imagine just sharing space with God, doing some gardening, and God just walks by, like it was a normal thing? “Oh, hey God.”

 

That kind of closeness and intimacy with God in his presence was how it was for Adam and Eve, until something happened. There’s a talking serpent. This mischievous serpent character convinces Eve that she won’t in fact die if she eats from the tree of knowledge, she’ll just have knowledge like God. This is tricky because it has just enough truth in it. Maybe you would call it a white lie, but still a deception. Eve eats from the tree of knowledge, and Adam follows suit.

 

As Adam and Eve ate from the tree of knowledge, they disobeyed God’s direct command and took matters into their own hands, going down a path to prematurely obtain the knowledge of good and evil. They likely had a childlike innocence about them before, and maybe God would have in time revealed this knowledge of good and evil to them in his way, in his time. Well, now things were going to be different for them. They suddenly realized they had no clothes and hid from God. They were ashamed. God finds out what they did (surely he already knew what they did) and kicks them out of his garden.

 

The consequences were very serious. God has cherubim (winged creatures sort of like a sphinx, not at all like a baby with wings) and a flaming sword guard the entrance so they can’t enter and eat from the tree of life. They are exiled from the garden, they are effectively sentenced to death by no longer having access to the tree of life and God’s presence. They will have to work much harder to grow food to survive, and some other fun consequences.

 

Reading an account like this makes you think a lot. What sorts of things are symbolized by the tree of life, and tree of knowledge? What is a serpent doing there? Are we really talking about fruit? I have no definitive answers to these questions. The beauty of this passage is that it forces you to think more every time you read it, and I believe that is why it is there.

 

The garden account is ripe with symbolism to interpret. While it is an account about real people, it is written in a way that makes it much bigger than that. Adam and Eve can be seen as archetypes for us, meaning the things that are said of them are also true of us. Adam is formed from dust (Gen 3:19), so are we (Ps 103:14). Eve is made from one of Adam’s sides, while we recognize that men and women are each other’s halves in a way. They face temptation and shame, so do we. They do things in defiance against God, and so do we (Rom 3:23), and as a result of that defiance, they exiled themselves from God’s garden, as we frequently exile ourselves from God’s presence when we sin, in a way. Their story is much like ours.

 

This isn’t the most encouraging chapter in the story of God’s presence. It’s one of the lower places we could go in scripture. The reality is that sin and the presence of God are not compatible things. Sin, separation from God, and death are all connected, if not three heads of the same monster. Of course, God knows this, and still wants to be present with us, so there has to be some kind of remedy for sin. Ultimately, we know that remedy to be Christ, but there was a progression to get there.

 

Tomorrow we’ll look at Exodus 40 – how God used a man named Moses to renew his presence among his people.

 

-Jay Laurent