The Beginning of Human Society
As man tries to figure out how we came to be, the Bible is very clear on this ... God created man ... Gen 2:7. This is the beginning of human society. Given this, the Bible provides a great overview of human society. Because sociology is the study of societies, let's take a brief roadtrip down the hallway of Sociology 101, and take a look at the all-inclusive human society, mankind, from God's perspective, including a roadmap of sorts as to how we are where we are today.
Since God says that He created the heavens and the earth ... Gen 1:1, and He created man in His image ... Gen 1:27, let's begin by learning a few things about God before we look at mankind. Then as part of our roadmap, from the beginning until today, we will take a look at Satan, Adam and Eve, mankind, and Jesus Christ.
Who is God
One thing that trips people up is trying to understand the connection between there only being one God, and yet God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. When you think about it, it really isn't too difficult. For example, when you're speaking about a family, you usually say “the Smiths” or the “Smith family”. Either way, a single unit is represented but consists of more than one member. Make sense? So, there is only one God, eternally existing in three persons, the same in substance but distinct in subsistence; God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit ... Gen 1:1, Gen 1:26, Deut 6:4, Isaiah 6:8, Matt 28:19, John 10:30, often referred to as the Trinity. Let's take a closer look at each of the three members.
God the Father
The first member of the Trinity is God the Father, who is the father over all creation, the nation Israel, the Lord Jesus Christ, and all believers in Christ ... Acts 17:29, Exodus 4:22, Matt 3:17, Gal 3:26.
God the Son
The second member of the Trinity is God the Son, Jesus Christ. Christ is the Father of eternity, the image of the invisible God, creator of the Universe, Savior to the world, King of Kings and Lord of Lords, intercessor for all believers ... Isa 9:6, Col 1:15-18, Luke 2:11, 1 Tim 4:10, 1 John 4:14, Rev 19:16, Heb 7:25.
And most importantly for all of us, Christ is the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world ... John 1:29. Please be aware that the time will come when all people will bow before Jesus and confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of the Father ... Phil 2:10-11. It doesn't matter if you say you do not believe in Christ, one day you will bow before Him.
God the Holy Spirit
The third member of the Trinity is God the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit gave life to creation, order, adornment and preservation ... Psalm 104:30, Job 33:4, Isa 40:12, Job 26:13, Psalm 33:6. Some of the works of the Holy Spirit are to convict the world of sin, regeneration, and indwelling all those who believe in Christ ... John 16:8-11, Titus 3:5, 1 Cor 6:19.
Now that we've looked at the three members of the Godhead, let's look at the nature of God.
Nature of God
How to describe God ... certainly no easy task, however, the Bible does provide several insights into God's nature. Among them are:
Righteous and Holy
Sovereign and Just
God is the supreme ruler and judge over all. The time will come when God will judge all people and nations, and every person who has ever lived will bow down to God and give praise ... Psalm 93:1, Psalm 9:7, Eccl 12:14, Rom 14:11.
Compassionate, Gracious, Merciful
Continuing on our roadmap, we need to learn about Satan. Have you ever wondered about Satan ... who he is, how he came to be, and what his purpose is? Let's take a look.
Satan was one of God's creations. Before creating man, God created the angels ... Heb 1:5-7, and the most beautiful of all the angels was Satan, called by the name Lucifer because of his shining brightness. Lucifer was the seal of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. His coverings were precious stones such as rubies, topaz, diamonds, and so forth. He was placed in a position of prominence guarding the throne of God. He was blameless from the time he was created until unrighteouness was found in him ... pride in his heart. Lucifer became proud because of his beauty ... Ezek 28:12-17.
As a result of his pride, Lucifer said in his heart, he would ascend into heaven and set his throne above God's stars and become like the most High God ... Isa 14:12-14. Lucifer wanted the angels to worship him rather than God. Since Lucifer could not get his way, he rebelled against God and took many angels with him. As a result of his rebellion, God cast Lucifer, as well as the small minority of angels that rebelled with him, out of heaven ... Rev 12:9, Ezek 28:12-19, Isaiah 14:12-15, Luke 10:18.
When Lucifer was kicked out of heaven, he became the archenemy of God and his agenda was and is to thwart the purpose of God ... the name Satan means "advesary". After getting thrown out of heaven, one of the first acts of defiance we see in Satan attempting to thwart God's purpose was his plan to bring the entire human race under his dominion and control ... 1 John 5:19, Eph 2:2, 2 Cor 4:4. This dealt with Satan devising a plan to deceive Adam and Eve into disobeying God's command not to eat the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. If Satan could do this, then the dominion that Adam and Eve had over the world would go to him because they would be joining him in rebelling against God. In addition, Satan knew that whatever decision Adam and Eve made would effect all of their descendants from that point forward. Suffice it to say Adam and Eve did eat the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. For more on this, please see the section on Adam and Eve.
Now that we know the origin of Satan, let's see what the Bible has to say about his character and purpose today.
Character of Satan
First and foremost, Satan is a liar, more specifically, he is the father of lies, and he is a murderer ... John 8:44. Satan is a confirmed sinner ... remember, he became full of pride ... 1 John 3:8. He is an adversary and an accuser ... 1 Pet 5:8, Rev 12:10.
Purpose of Satan
Since the beginning, Satan has been attempting to overthrow God. He was successful in getting Adam and Eve to disobey God, however, he tempted Christ to disobey God and worship him instead but was not successful ... Matt 4:1-11.
Satan works in the lives of those who do not believe in Christ by blinding their minds to the gospel of Christ ... 2 Cor 4:4. Also, when someone does hear the message of Christ, Satan will take the word out of their heart so they will not believe in Christ ... Luke 8:12.
Adam and Eve ... the start of Mankind
We can't do a roadmap without looking at God's first human creations, Adam and Eve ... the beginning of mankind. Adam and Eve were the first two humans that God created and placed them in a place called the Garden of Eden. God says that He created Adam in His image, and from Adam's rib, He created Eve. One of the privileges that God gave to Adam and Eve was to talk with God face-to-face because God actually walked with Adam and Eve in the Garden.
It was God's intent for Adam and Eve to reflect his glory to all creation and to live forever in this Garden with Him. Within the Garden, there was no sickness, no pain, no grass to mow or weeds to pull, or even death. And because God created Adam and Eve for a true and loving relationship with Him, God gave Adam and Eve a free will. After all, who wants to force someone to love them? Anyway, Adam and Eve could choose to follow God's purpose for their lives and live in willful submission to Him or they could choose to reject God's plan for their lives.
In the Garden of Eden existed a tree called the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Out of all the trees in the Garden, God commanded Adam and Eve not to eat the fruit of this tree or they would surely die. This was God's way of giving Adam and Eve a choice as to whether they would obey Him or disobey ... remember, God gave them a free will to make their own choices. Doesn't seem like a difficult choice, does it? After all, wouldn't we all think if God told us not to do something we wouldn't? Yeah, right!
As it turns out, Satan came to Eve one day and told her that if she ate of this fruit she would be like God and that was why God forbid them to eat the fruit. Satan lied to Eve. The reason God did not want them eating of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil was so they would not have the knowledge of sin and its consequences. You might think this was unfair of God to give them this choice but He had to give them a choice because otherwise their relationship with Him would not be out of love ... it would be forced.
Adam and Eve opted to believe the lie of Satan and ate of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. When they ate the fruit, their eyes were opened and they knew they were naked. When they realized this, they sewed fig leaves together to cover their nakedness. This decision would have an ultimate impact on the entire human race.
Later that day, Adam and Eve heard God walking in the Garden, and they hid themselves from Him. Although God knew where they were, He called to them and asked where they were. Adam came forward and told God they had hid because they realized they were naked. God asked if they had eaten of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Adam said yes. As a result of this rebellion, God cursed the ground and would mulitply the woman's pain in childbirth. God also slayed an animal to make coverings for Adam and Eve's nakedness. Can you imagine their horror when they watched an animal be killed as a result of their sin? Remember, they had not seen death before.
After God clothed Adam and Eve, He sent them out of the Garden for two reasons: 1) so they would not eat from the Tree of Life and live in an eternal state of death and alienation from God, and 2) to cultivate the ground from which man was taken. As a result of this act of rebellion, the entire human race became separated from God.
... Genesis 2 and 3
Now that we have better understanding of God, Satan, Adam and Eve, let's pull it all together and see what God says about the human race in general. How did Satan's rebellion, and Adam and Eve's disobedience impact the human race?
- Since Adam and Eve were the first of the human race, all of their descendants took on their nature, a sin nature, meaning everyone from that point forward had the capacity to sin and does sin. Their sin condemned the entire human race ... Rom 5:12.
- The entire human race was sold into slavery to Satan by Adam's wilfull disobedience to God ... 1 John 5:19, 2 Cor 4:4, Rom 6:20.
- All of creation was impacted by Adam and EVe's act of disobedience, and the earth and entire universe was placed under a curse. Instead of man having dominion over nature, nature took dominion over man, which explains why we have tornados, earthquakes, hurricanes, and all other forms of natural disasters. Man lost his dominion over nature ... Rom 8:19-23.
- When Adam and Eve sinned, death and wickedness entered the world, and the human race was alienated from God and died spiritually, passing this spiritual death to all generations ... Gen 2:17, Gen 3:22-24, Rom 5:12, Eph 2:2, Rom 3:10-18.
- Everything bad or evil in the world is a direct result of Adam and Eve's sin as well as the sins of the entire human race which in turn gave Satan complete control over this earth ... Gen 3:16-19, Luke 4:5-6, Rom 5:12-19.
- Because everybody has a sin nature and has rebelled against God, nobody can get to heaven or be reconciled with God on the basis of their good works or human efforts ... Rom 3:19-20.
How does God view mankind?
- God views every person as a sinner because we all have a sin nature, which is the capacity to sin, and we do sin ... Rom 3:23.
- No one is good. When a rich, young ruler called Jesus good and asked how to obtain eternal life, Jesus said no one is good, only God ... Mark 10:17-30. If you think you're good, moral, self-righteous, think again.
Now that we know we all have a sin nature, we are separated from God, and no one is good, now what? Did God have a plan? You bet He did! God's Word says that God is longsuffering, not wanting anyone to perish but all to come to repentance ... 2 Pet 3:9!
Now, we get to the end of our roadmap ... Jesus Christ. Since all people from Adam to present have a sin nature, we have all been separated from God. But the good news is that God made away to reconcile all people back to Himself. When Adam and Eve sinned, God promised that He would send a Savior, from the seed of a woman, to redeem the human race from slavery to Satan and to restore man back to Himself. The rest of the Old Testament is the story of God preserving a righteous bloodline through whom the Savior would come and Satan's attempt to stop the Savior from coming.
To reconcile mankind back to Himself, God had to find a man who was not under Satan's dominion and control. Since there was no man who could fulfill this role, God decided that He Himself would enter the human race and become a man and, as a man, take the authority back from the devil and become the representative of an entirely new human race. This is where Jesus Christ, the Son of God, comes into the picture.
The Bible says the following:
- For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever would believe in Him would not perish but would have everlasting life ... John 3:16.
- Jesus says that He is the way, the truth, and the life, no man comes unto the Father except through Him ... John 14:6.
- God demonstrated His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us ... Rom 5:8.
- God made Christ, who knew no sin to become sin for us, so that we might become the righteouness of God ... 2 Cor 5:21.
- Remember, the wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life through Christ ... Rom 6:23.
What does this mean for you and me? It means that Christ paid the fine for our sins. He shed His blood on the cross to cover our sins and reconcile us to God, at least those who want to be reconciled back to God. It says in the Bible that there is no greater love than to lay down one's life for his friends ... John 15:13, which is exactly what Christ did.
Now, how do you respond to what Christ did for you? Do you accept his death as payment for your sins, or do you reject it? Just as God gave Adam and Eve a freewill to make their own choices, He does the same with you. As it was then, God doesn't want forced love. He wants you to love and obey Him because you want to. Who do you know who has ever loved you enough to die for you? The choice is yours.