O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?
Awhile back I participated in a podcast series entitled, "Exploring the Garden Scene." During that time, Michael Bennett wrote and asked me, "Can you get a covenant creation out of Genesis 1-3 without using anything from the rest of the Bible?" I was incredulous! Yes, the question came from a professing preterist, who prides himself on "logic," and he was completely serious. I asked him in response, "Pick any passage from the Old Testament prophets that you believe is about the kingdom of Christ. Now, can you get the gospel out of that passage without using anything from the rest of the Bible?" He never answered me. Go figure.
The more I study Genesis creation, the more I realize just how much we are missing when we isolate it from the rest of the Bible. Recently I replied on our NCMI forum to a discussion about the nature of Adam's transgression in "eating" from "the tree of the the knowledge of good and evil," and what that tree represents in the garden scene. Here are some parallels between Genesis and the New Testament to consider:
Jesus said to the pharisees:
John 5: 37 And the Father himself, which hath sent me, hath borne witness of me. Ye have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his shape. 38 And ye have not his word abiding in you: for whom he hath sent, him ye believe not. 39 Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. 40 And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.
Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life...
The pharisees believed that through obeying the law, they had eternal life. In other words, they trusted in self-righteousness.
they are they [the Scriptures and the law] which testify of me.
What was Jesus saying? Paul explains:
Romans 3: 19 Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty ["sin revived, and I died"] before God. 20 Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.
Galatians 2:16 Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.
The pharisees thought that "in them" (in the works of the law, in self-righteousness) they had life, but all the law did was show them their guilt. The purpose of the law was never to bring them life, it was to lead them to Christ (the tree of life):
Galatians 3: 24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.
This is what Jesus was referring to when he said to the pharisees, "search the Scriptures....for they testify of me." But they were worshiping "the creature" (the law, and their own effort to keep it) rather than "the creator" (the Savior the law pointed to).
Now for the parallels to the garden scene:
Genesis 3: 6 And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food ["in them you think you have eternal life"], and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. 7 And the eyes of them both were opened ["sin revived, and I died"], and they knew that they were naked ["that every mouth should be stopped and the world would be guilty before God"...for by the law is the knowledge of sin"]; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons. 8 And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden. 9 And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? 10 And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.
Notice also in the above passage, that they sewed fig leaves together to cover themselves, and yet, even after they had covered themselves, they were still aware of their nakedness before God, and were ashamed. Why? Because "by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin."
Here is an undeniable parallel to the garden scene that brings to a fine point what the fig leaves with which Adam and Eve tried to cover themselves represent:
Isaiah 59:1 Behold, the LORD'S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: 2 But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear. 3 For your hands are defiled with blood, and your fingers with iniquity; your lips have spoken lies, your tongue hath muttered perverseness. 4 None calleth for justice, nor any pleadeth for truth: they trust in vanity, and speak lies; they conceive mischief, and bring forth iniquity. 5 They hatch cockatrice' eggs, and weave the spider's web: he that eateth of their eggs dieth, and that which is crushed breaketh out into a viper. 6 Their webs shall not become garments, neither shall they cover themselves with their works: their works are works of iniquity, and the act of violence is in their hands.
We must understand that it was their works of law which God calls "works of iniquity." Again, why? Because by the law is the knowledge of sin. Attempting to be justified (declared innocent) by keeping the law only further reveals our true guilt. This is the self-perpetuating lie of "the serpent": first, in the garden, it told them that the law could bring them life; then, when their eyes were opened and they realized they were guilty and ashamed before God, they attempted to cover themselves with garments of their own making (ie, more self-righteous works). I think this is why Jesus told the pharisees that their father the devil was "a murderer and a liar from the beginning." The lie of the serpent has always been the same: what you believe will bring life (righteousness, and presence with God) instead brings death (guilt, shame, and separation from God).
Now, look at how beautiful this is (and notice again the parallel to the garden scene):
Revelation 3: 15 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. 16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. 17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing [she saw that the tree (the works of the law) was good for food, and desirable to make one wise..."in them you think you have eternal life"] ; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: 18 I counsel thee to buy of me ["Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price".... ie, "not by works of righteousness we have done, but by His mercy he has saved us!"] gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness does not appear.
When Adam and Eve tried to cover themselves with fig leaves (their own works) they were still naked and ashamed, they were kept from the tree of life, and expelled from the presence of God to toil vainly in a "dry and thirsty land where there was no water." Now, when Christ covers us with white raiment (His righteousness, the garments of our salvation), the shame of our nakedness does not appear, we are given right to the tree of life in the presence of God , and invited "to drink of the water of life freely." That is what the entire Bible is about from beginning to end. Fig leaves in Genesis, to white raiment in Revelation.
Hey Tami - I was hoping to listen to the podcasts from the "Exploring the Garden Scene" series but the link is not working. Would you please help me find these? Thanks sis!
Hey, Wanda, thanks for the heads up! I fixed the link above and here is the new link:
I re-did our website, and while the main site address is the same, the sub pages will all be different. So I am fixing links whenever I see them. I hope you enjoy the podcasts!
Thanks Tami! I will start working through it next week!