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Genesis Framework Part 13


Genesis Framework Pt 13


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Genesis Framework
GF 13 John 12.24
September 20, 2015
Part 13


NKJ John 12:24
"Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain.

Consider the general question, “What does the kingdom of God look like (Greek concept) and how does it function (Hebrew concept)?

If the answer to this was not important, Jesus would not have given so many similis and analogies in order to describe the kingdom of God and the kingdom of heaven during His earthly ministry. As most of you know, we have been following along with exegetical theology from Meredith Kline. While standing on his shoulders we have been blessed to
discover a more extensive and comprehensive view of the Genesis account of creation, and by exegetically peering into the Scripture with him, we have begun to realize more
fully the significance of the Genesis account as a multi-faceted paradigm for the rest of Scriptures, in terms of providing a structuring and unifying principles, helping
us to see more clearly ways God continues to interact with His Creation in developing the kingdom of God.

Today, we will start with specifics of what I believe Scriptures teach regarding the early beginning of the kingdom of God as found in Eden.

I hope you have thought about the biblical account of God’s interaction with man in Eden before now, and that you have developed some degree of personal understanding of what it may have been like for man to be in a close relationship with God in the earliest of times, prior to the Fall.

Traditional ideas of the nature of man’s original Edenic state have tended on the one hand to go beyond the biblical representations by idealizing the natural element of it, and on the other hand tended to underestimate the biblical evidence for the supernatural element in the composition of the kingdom of God in Eden. A good starting place for us would be to form an accurate understanding of the meaning of two biblical concepts: blessing and curse.

In order to maintain a clarity of biblical understanding we sometimes need to nail down the meanings of certain words and terms in the Bible, since we currently may have only a vague idea of their true meanings.

Here’s one, beatitude.

Do we all know what beatitude means? It means, pure blessedness.

The most most important character for us to understand of the use of this word in Scripture is that the word beatitude is used to express an on-going state of being with regard to pure blessedness, and does not merely refer to a momentary, or fleeting experience.

If our concept of the idea of pure blessedness is not appropriately formed by a correct understanding of the biblical evidence of it, we might be inclined to suppose that it necessarily follows from the pure blessedness of man’s original state, that the earth at that time was without anything violent or dangerous, and that the ground was without stones, thorns, and thistles, even that there was no death in the world.

What things have you thought of as characteristic of man’s original state in Eden?

Eden was the localized, visible Presence of the Creator-King.

Ezekiel 28:13f
13 You were in Eden, the garden of God…
14 on the holy mountain of God;

It was a place of divine theophany, a holy place where man heard the voice of God speaking to him so that he would know how to glorify and enjoy his Creator forever. At the first, then, man’s native dwelling-place coincided with God’s in a way and on a scale most suited to man’s nature and condition as an earthly creature.

The Lord assumed the seat of His royal sovereignty on the mountain of God in Eden. God’s name was carried by the people of the realm, as well as the land itself, and all was consecrated to God. To be created in God’s image was to be God’s covenant children, and to have God as Father-Lord was to bear His name, set apart as His holy theocratic family.

Looking at the original order of the kingdom of God in analogous terms of the suzerain model governed by ancient treaty relationships– just as the document itself might contain guarantees of the continuance of the vassal's dynasty, the suzerain would protect his own interests by undertaking to assist his vassal against enemy attack; so also the kingdom of God in Eden was accordingly a protectorate under the guardianship of the treaty overlord, in this case, the divine protectorate of God Himself. Eden, as the homeland of God and of His servant-vassal, was a well-watered and fertile place where all manner of trees grew, the glory of the vegetation kingdom. All the provisions necessary for man’s physical and social needs were provided for there.

image of text

If that were to happen that the vassal did violate the covenant stipulations, the blame would belong entirely to man, the vassal, and not to the Suzerain.

The next key-word for our examination is consecration. Consecration is one of the chief structural principles of the covenantal order of life.

At its highest level, consecration has been identified as the essence of religion. At its elementary level, consecration may be defined as simply the subordination of the interests of one person or thing to those of another.

In the kingdom of God in Eden such subordination of interests was expressed through various forms, and are described in the creation record where sacrifice and death
are especially important.

I will explain…

In the interrelationship of the lower orders of creation to one another there were forms of subordination that did not amount to sacrifice, but to the matter of regulation, as a royal defining of boundaries.

For example; in Genesis 1 the realms of light and darkness, the order of the day and night, are pictured as subordinate to the dominion of the sun and moon.

NKJ Genesis 1:16
Then God made two great lights: the greater light( the sun) to rule the day, and the lesser light( the moon) to rule the night.

But when we move along to the use made of the soil by the plants or to the way the air is utilized by the birds and the land by the beasts, or the waters by the fish of the seas, something more is involved. There is a clear sense here of a royal extraction of tribute in the form of an assimilation of lower elements into higher orders, and in the process these elements undergo conversion and loss to some extent. This, we may appropriately regard as an elementary form of sacrifice.

Brace yourself for this aside…

The Greek word Greek word for the position or ranking (pronounced tax'-is) means the action involved in forming an arranging, an ordering of something, a positioning, a ranking

When we pay our taxes, we are essentially paying tribute to the established dominion ordering that God has placed over us, and by His establishment of governmental
authority we properly come under it. Do we not regard the payment of taxes as an elementary form of sacrifice? Apart from the consecration of purely material creation,
such as the sun and the moon, when something belonging the organic, the living level of creation, as when plants are assigned as food for animals and men, death is an
appropriate term for this form of sacrifice.

Read of the consecration principle in action…

NKJ Genesis 1:28- 30
Then God blessed them, and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth."
29And God said, "See, I have given you every herb that yields seed which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree whose fruit yields seed; to you it shall be for food.
30"Also, to every beast of the earth, to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, in which there is life, I have given every green herb for food"; and it was so.

NKJ John 12:24
"Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain.

NKJ 1 Corinthians 15:36
Foolish one, what you sow is not made alive unless it dies.

In this elementary sense at least, death was certainly part of the pattern of consecration that informed the world-structure from its beginning. This also lends explanation for the abundance of God’s provision of instructive nature-parables observable through general revelation to man in Eden, and through special revelation given to modern man in the Bible. They serve well to illustrate the consecration principle which was a significant element in the meaning of both the obligations and sanctions of the covenant.

God taught by special and general revelation in Eden.

By means of general revelation, man saw exemplified in these real-life nature-parables, the kind of subordination and devotion that was required of him as the covenant-vassal by his Lord and he saw something of the meaning of the death with which he was threatened in the curse sanction of the covenant.

Now the question is before us– is there a connection to be made that man before the Fall was permitted to sacrifice animal life for his own higher interests under terms in keeping with the pattern of the consecration principle, as a function of man’s dominion over all the things of the earth? Since all creatures were subordinated to man’s dominion and, as far as we have seen, sacrifice and death were an integral part of the original order as particular expressions of the consecration principle, there would
appear to be no obvious principal objection to man having the right to kill animals to provide himself with animal flesh for food or animal skins for clothing or for other

A quick look at Psalm 104.21, which alludes to the language of Genesis, seems to indicate that the Creator had from the outset granted to predatory beasts to feed on
other animals...

Psalm 104:19-22
19 He appointed the moon for seasons; The sun knows its going down.
20 You make darkness, and it is night, In which all the beasts of the forest creep about.
21 The young lions roar after their prey, And seek their food from God.
22 When the sun rises, they gather together And lie down in their dens.

If this is so, it would be a total anomaly if animal flesh had not similarly been consecrated to the higher interests of man. Paul also speaks in a manner reflective of the terminology of Genesis 1:31

KJV 1 Timothy 4:3-5
3 Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.
4 For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving:
5 For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.

KJV Genesis 1:31
And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.

Geneva Bible Notes: 1Ti 4:3
Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.

(1) He sets down two types of this false doctrine, that is, the law of single life, and the difference of meats.

(2) He proves that he justly called such doctrines devilish, first, because the teachers of them make laws of things which are not their own: for have they created the meats?

So, you ask, what about the idyllic prophetic descriptions of an eschaton in which carnivores are turned herbivorous?

Is that not a compelling argument?

For one thing, it must be remembered that the future world is not a simple return to conditions at the beginning. Also. it could be just as easily argued that the prophesied
future may be a new feature introduced in the act of consummating the kingdom order. Furthermore, the redeemed are depicted as feasting, with no suggestion of vegetarian scruples. In the resurrection manifestation of Christ, we find a particular episode where the risen Lord prepares a meal and eats of the flesh of the fish, suggesting that the
sacrifice of such a living creature to the use of higher beings ought not to be considered as an imperfection in the resurrection order of things.

Whatever you know of the condition of man before the Fall, you must recognize that the Fall initiating a major breakdown of God’s established order leading immediately to a reversal of it from blessing to curse.

Now after the Fall:

Beasts of the earth not only kill other beasts, but man as well, even though God by common grace, places a innate level of fear of man in predatory beasts, it only serves as
a curb, not as an absolute prevention.

KJV Genesis 9:2
And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth, and upon every fowl of the air, upon all that moveth upon the earth, and upon all the fishes of the sea; into your hand are they delivered.

This is effectively saying, you are now on your own here…

Man is inclined not only to kill beasts of the earth for provision, but also other men. The threat of the death-penalty acts only as a curb, not as an absolute prevention.

KJV Genesis 9:5
And surely your blood of your lives will I require; at the hand of every beast will I require it, and at the hand of man; at the hand of every man's brother will I require the life of man.

Any discretion guidance that God would have otherwise communicated to man as to avoiding certain animals unsuitable to him for health reasons would no longer be forthcoming.

KJV Genesis 9:3
Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things.

The same kinds of thorns and thistles which already existed, but were kept in subordination by God under His order of dominion and to bless man, would now have free reign to become a total nuisance by invading man’s pristine fields. No longer would thistles simply be something aesthetically interesting to look at, nor be in subordinate consecration to the higher interests of man.

KJV Genesis 3:18
Thorns also and thistles shall it (the earth-ground) bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field;

Man does surely die, the consecration principle is reversed, man’s flesh is given up in sacrifice to the lower order interests of the most elementary level of creation– earth.

KJV Genesis 3:19
In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.

Back to the notion of blessing, as a state of beatitude.

The fact is that blessing for man does not consist in the absence of things like death, but rather in man’s dominion over them; or in another way, in their subordination to man who is in full subordination to Christ and in their service to the Lord’s interests.

The curse on man consists in the reverse of this relationship; not in the mere presence of things like death, but in man’s falling victim to them.

Basically, blessing and curse are in opposition to one another.

As they relate to man they are simply the consecration principle working in two different directions.

When the subhuman realm is consecrated to man, a state of beatitude exists, when man is made subservient to, or victim of, the subhuman, a state of curse exists.

When the modern-day unbelieving pagan piously states, “Oh, I don’t mind dying, I would even consider it an honor to become food for an alligator,” they seek to embrace the curse, having no idea of what they are actually saying. So, at the beginning man in his righteousness as king upon the earth, knew subhuman death as working for the maintenance and renewal of man’s life; through the death of plants and animals, their life in turn nourished by the sacrifice of the soil– that is the state of beatitude.

Man, the sinner, fallen, laid low in the earth, dust unto dust, reduced to a part of the soil to nourish vegetation growing above him– that is the state of cursedness.

It is only when death in this later way victimizes man himself as the wages of his sin that it assumes the character of the great last enemy to be destroyed by Christ.

The Bible does not require us to think of the character and working of man’s natural environment as radically different before the Fall. The elements that could be turned against man were already there in nature.

Adam’s world before the Fall was not a world without stones, thorns, dark watery depths, or death. But it was a world where angels of God were given charge over man to protect his every step and to prosper all the labor of his hand.

Many will be surprised on the Day of Judgment when they discover that it was just as the Word of God says; only the righteousness of Christ is able to save you.All men are sinners and no one can save himself. God is just, so He must punish sin; but He is also merciful, moreover gracious, and offers His Son as the perfect sacrifice in order to purchase a place for you in heaven, which He offers to you as the free gift of eternal life.

Jesus is God Incarnate

In order to pay the debt of our sins, He came from Heaven, having been sent by the Father, where He lived a life of perfect obedience to the Father even unto the shameful death upon the cross in order to pay the debt of your sins.This gift must be received by faith, believing that Jesus’ perfect life and Cross Work was His complete and necessary Atonement for your sins, in your behalf.Faith is a gift that comes by the Power of God the Holy Spirit working in a person’s innermost being. The Holy Spirit has the authority and power to quicken your dead spirit, to make it come to life. If you have not done so before this moment, ask Jesus to forgive you your sins, tell Him you’ve stop trying to be your own savior, and ask Him to come into your life right now, and to give you eternal life. Then, in faith believing, thank Him for the gift that He is giving you, the one He paid for in full in your place, in Jesus’ name,AMEN


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Copyright September, 2015
Rev. Jim Craig
All Rights Reserved

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