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Sunday, July 9, 2017

Pondering God's Mercy

God's Mercy is Beyond  Comprehension
Have you ever thought of the terrible sin Adam and Eve committed? 

Our loving Father walked and talked with them every day, but they chose to believe the lies of the serpent.

They doubted God's command, damaged the perfect world He'd created for them, and rejected His generous love. 

He had every right to destroy mankind, but His mercy prevailed.

The Old Testament is the story of God preparing mankind for our redemption. In every book, God whispers clues of His plan, giving an unfolding revelation of Jesus, the coming Deliverer. 

And the very first clue comes when God addresses the serpent after the Fall: "And I will cause hostility between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring. He will strike your head, and you will strike his heel." Genesis 3:15

Whispered within this verse is the promise that Satan and his demon offspring would be at odds with Eve and her offspring. But the most important offspring of woman, Jesus Christ, would crush Satan's head--a fatal wound.

While the taste of the forbidden fruit was still on Adam and Eve's lips, God was already whispering about His gracious way to save them. 

Bible Study:

God's Mercy is Beyond  Comprehension

Why are we held accountable for Adam's sin? Why were we born into this fallen world with a fallen human nature when we didn't eat the fruit from the forbidden tree? 

This question has no definitive answer. Scripture gives us clues, but we must extrapolate(1) those clues to come to conclusions. And the reason God sometimes only gives us clues is because we don't need a full understanding of some concepts here on earth, or perhaps because we couldn't understand the complete answer with our finite minds. This is but another proof that His intellect is far higher than ours, another proof that He is God and we aren't. (See Deuteronomy 29:29 and Isaiah 55:9.) 

So why examine a question with no definitive answer? Because we find meaning in the clues God gives us. 

1. First, let's confirm that we are born fallen. 
Secular psychology teaches that we are born good. Then we are corrupted or improved by environment. But the Bible tells us we are born damaged. Environment has a great impact on us, but not as great as our personal choices. If you doubt this, read Bad Blood

Genesis 5:1-3: "This is the written account of Adam’s family line. When God created mankind, he made them in the likeness of God. 2 He created them male and female and blessed them. And he named them “Mankind" when they were created. 3 When Adam had lived 130 years, he had a son in his own likeness, in his own image..." 

The image of God in man* was damaged when Adam chose to sin. No longer innocent and now possessing the knowledge of good and evil, Adam brought death to mankind and decay to our world. 

He and Eve violated the ONLY rule God gave them. 

Genesis 3:22:  "And 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 [thus bringing sin into eternity].'” 

2. So why are we born with a damaged image of God when we didn't eat the forbidden fruit? 

Adam and Eve were created innocent, but untested. When tested, they chose to sin and this damaged God's perfect world and our human nature. 

Theologians give several possible answers for our relationship to Adam's sin. Some believe Adam was our federal head. He represented mankind so we are accountable for Adam's sin. Others believe that Adam's sin caused our fallen human nature which causes us to sin. Both views arrive at the same Scriptural conclusion that all men are sinners in need of a Savior. 

So whatever we believe about the first Adam, one thing is for sure: we did NOT deserve the "Last Adam's" representation:

1 Corinthians 15: 45-49: 45 So it is written: “The first man Adam became a living being; the last Adam [Christ], a life-giving spirit. 46 The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual. 47 The first man was of the dust of the earth; the second man is of heaven. 48 As was the earthly man, so are those who are of the earth; and as is the heavenly man, so also are those who are of heaven. 49 And just as we have borne the image of the earthly man, so shall we bear the image of the heavenly man." 

Christ represented us on the Cross and saved us though we didn't deserve it. 

*God was not damaged, but His image in mankind was damaged. And when the Bible uses the term image, it's not talking about physical looks but spiritual character. Man still bears the image of God, but not as Adam and Eve originally did.
(1) to project, extend, or expand known data to explain something unknown. Most non-essential doctrines that divide true believers are based on extrapolation although some Christians defend them as if they were clearly explained in God's Word. 

So, I'd love to hear your comments. Had you already thought through this concept? Or were you taught about it in a Sunday School or Bible study?

Copyright 2013, Gail Burton Purath, BiteSizeBibleStudy.com

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