The last writing spoke of God’s eternal purpose, that is, what is it that God wants? He has purposed to express His glory in a Son, a begotten Son – a Son born of Him and we are part of that. Christ the head and we the body expressing to the universe the glory of God – or as it says in Ephesians “so that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places. This was in accordance with the eternal purpose which He carried out in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness and confident access through faith in Him” (Ephesians 3:10-12). This must be the starting point of our understanding of God. If our personal theologies or understanding of God do not extend back before time to God’s eternal purpose we will always be tempted to pick up a particular emphasis which in reality is only part of God’s plan, treating it as if it were the whole. This is important because God is not impressed with our activity no matter how good it looks, if it does not originate in Him in accordance with His eternal purpose.
If we take our giftings and think of them as the be all and end all of our Christianity, then we will continually come into conflict with others when, in fact, our giftings should complement one another. If our overall vision is that of God’s, to the extent that He is able to share it with us His creatures, then we will understand our own God-given purposes in healthy relationship to each other and not make our gifting the centre of our own small fiefdom.
Too often we think that God’s purpose was simply to redeem humanity from sin but as miraculous as that is, it will leave us understanding His purpose as restoring us to that which Adam had before the fall. As one author put it:
“We repent and turn back to the garden, rekindling harmony with God — finding a place once more in God’s family.”
If that is the extent of our understanding, we will miss what Adam could have had but never did – eternal life in union with the Son of God. Instead God said:
“… “Behold, the man has become like one of Us, knowing good and evil; and now, he might stretch out his hand, and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever”– therefore the LORD God sent him out from the garden of Eden, to cultivate the ground from which he was taken.”” (Gen 3:22-23 NASB)
This is significant. It is not as simple as saying that if Adam had been obedient to God and not eaten from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good & Evil, everything would have been fine. There would still have been the issue of the Tree of Life. It is not recorded that Adam & Eve were ever commanded to eat from the Tree of Life, something that might have made more sense – to give them a positive command instead of telling them the one thing they could NOT do. In other words, you have to wonder if there was a reason they were only given a negative command and one that God already knew they would not keep. Could it be that even this was part of God’s eternal purpose in creating a corporate Son through which to express His glory?
Notwithstanding God’s eternal purpose to have a corporate Son through which to express His glory to all of creation, in God’s wisdom and insight this was the most perfect way to accomplish His ultimate goal. It brings to mind Joseph when he said to his fearful brothers: “And you, you intended evil against me, but God meant it for good, in order to make it as it is this day, to keep a great many people alive.” Do you see it? TO KEEP A GREAT MANY PEOPLE ALIVE!
Now many believe that when we become followers of Jesus Christ, we are in fact only returning to our pre-fall Adamic state. They believe that when God breathed the breath of life into Adam, He was imparting His Holy Spirit into man thinking that they lost the presence of the Spirit when they sinned. Others think that the Spirit remains in man giving him life and waiting to be acknowledged. Neither is true and this is the reason that although Adam and Eve had a choice to make, they were no match for Satan’s deception.
Adam was created neither righteous nor sinful. He was created innocent and sinless but not complete. He was morally neutral but formed with a spirit (born of God) capable of relating to God in communion (not union). In Ecclesiastes 12:7 it says that at death the dust will return to the earth as it was (dust to dust, ashes to ashes) and the spirit (breathed into man at creation making him a living soul) to God who gave it. In Ecclesiastes 3:ll it says also: “He has set eternity in their heart, without which man cannot find out the work that God makes from the beginning even to the end.” In Job 32:8 “it is a spirit in man giving them perception, even the breath of the Almighty” and again in Job 33:4 “The Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life.”
The most compelling reason for not believing that the first Adam was indwelt by the Spirit of God (meaning “in Christ” OR “in union with Christ”) is that if he had been created indwelt by the Spirit he would have been a “begotten” son of God and we know that Jesus was the only begotten Son (John 1:14) and remained so until His death and resurrection.
Before that Jesus said: “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” (John 12:24 NASB) And John wrote “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become (the same Greek word as begotten!) children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.” (John 1:12-13 NASB) The grain of wheat dying and bearing much fruit!!!
Although Adam & Eve had communion with God, they would have had to eat of the Tree Of Life to come into union with Christ, as that tree represented Christ who has Life in Himself (John 5:26), and may even symbolize Christ on the cross – something that happened before He imparted His Life to us.
When Adam & Eve ate of the wrong tree, their communion with God was severed. Think of it this way: in ancient Jewish custom when a couple was engaged they were considered married even though they did not consummate the relationship until they went through the marriage ceremony. You can see evidence of this easily if you read about Joseph & Mary and their relationship prior to the birth of Christ. In the same way, Adam & Eve in their spiritual communion with God were engaged but the marriage was never consummated. For this to have happened, they would have to have eaten from the Tree of Life!
Satan, knowing this, did not make a direct assault on Adam & Eve’s spirits but rather appealed to their soul (mind, emotion & will) to convince them that they could find life in themselves apart from God, being as God Himself. If you are not familiar with the tripartite nature of man (which incidentally, corresponds to the Trinity in structure but I don’t want to get sidetracked), it is based on Thessalonians 5:23 which reads:
“Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1Th 5:23 NASB)
In Genesis 2:7 in the ASV it reads:
“And Jehovah God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.”
In 1 Corinthians 15:45:
“So also it is written, “The first man Adam became a living soul. The last Adam became a life-giving spirit.””
God created Adam as a living soul but the last Adam (Christ) became (through the cross) a Life-giving Spirit. So do we really want to go back to what Adam had or do we want to partake of Christ? After the verse in 1 Corinthians it reads:
“…that is not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; then that which is spiritual. The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is of heaven. As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.” (1Co 15:46-49 ASV)
We really do not want to go back to the Garden of Eden. No, we want to go forward and eat of the Tree of Life!
“Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter by the gates into the city.” (Rev 22:14 NASB)