Over the years I have written several "book" or "booklets" and many, many, many newsletter and bulletin articles. Because the book market seeks writings to meet specific needs at specific times, my material has never been accepted. I have a tendency to write what is on my mind and so I am left with self publishing. So, with the encouragement from my wife and others, I am beginning this blog in order to put my "ramblings" "out there"! I hope you enjoy!
Please note that while my intentions are to use good grammar, because of the way in which some of the material presented here is presented (orally) the grammar and syntax might not always be the best English. Also note that good theology is not always presented in the best English so there may be times when the proper grammar rules are purposely broken.
Wednesday, February 13, 2013
The First Promise to Adam and Eve - Ash Wednesday - February 13, 2013 - Text: Genesis 3:15
Our text for this evening is Genesis 3:15, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.” This is our text.
This year during the season of Lent and Easter we will follow the thread of God’s promise to send a Savior for all people, demonstrating that, contrary to the new theology of millennialism which teachs that God made a separate covenant with Israel than with the rest of the world, that God made one covenant with all people, a covenant of grace and faith. We will begin in the Garden of Eden when God first made His promise to Adam and Eve, before there was a Jew or Gentile. We will follow that covenant reiterated and its fulfillment narrowed, that is that the Savior of all nations would be born through the line of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David and so forth. We will then move to see the fulfillment of that promise in the announcement of the birth of John the Baptist as the way preparer, as well as in the announcement of Jesus birth to Mary, and Simeon’s words of prophecy to Mary and Joseph at the presentation of Jesus. Finally, we will rejoice on Easter in the fact that Jesus was the Savior of all nations, including all people, you and me and in His resurrection as the ultimate fulfillment and defeat of sin, death and the Devil.
This evening we begin, interestingly enough, in the beginning. In the beginning God created all things out of nothing. Talk about the power of the Word of God, God spoke, “Let there be . . . ” and it was. God said, “Earth,” and there was earth. Today we may wonder how God could have created all things in six days. In Luther’s day the questions was why did God take so long. God is God and He can do whatever He wants. In His Word He, who was there, tells us how He did it.
On the sixth day of creation God crowned His creation with the creation of the man and woman. Adam was created in the image of God meaning that he was, originally, created perfect and holy, without sin. All Adam knew was good. He did not know evil nor what evil was.
After creating Adam and Eve, God put the man and the woman in the Garden of Eden which He had created especially for them. The Garden of Eden was a place for Adam and Eve to live. It was a place that provided for all their needs. It was a place in which they could work, reminding us that work was not a result of sin, but was, in the beginning, a gift from God.
God created everything and gave everything to Adam and Eve. Notice that, like us, Adam and Eve had nothing of their own, but only all that they had was a gift from God. So, along with all that God created, in the Garden He placed two trees, the tree of life and the tree of knowledge of good and evil. God placed these trees in the garden and I would suppose that in order to give Adam and Eve something to give back to Him, because, again, nothing was theirs except what God had first given to them, God gave them the command and the ability to obey His command to not eat from the fruit of the tree in the middle of the Garden, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. And remember, Adam and Eve only knew good.
So, at the end of day six, God rested on Day Seven and everything was perfect. Here I always like to point out that when God is running the show, creating, making, forming, and so forth that everything is indeed good, very good, perfect and holy. It is not until man starts running the show that, as we will see, everything starts falling apart.
Which brings us to the fall into sin. Earlier, sometime between God’s creating the angels and His creating the world, one angel, Lucifer, which means the Light Bearer, or Satan as he has become known, rebelled against God. Perhaps he thought himself to be on par with his Creator and so God created hell for Satan and cast him out of heaven. However, for whatever reason, only God knows, He still allowed Satan to roam about, seeking someone to devour.
Satan took the form of one of God’s creatures, a serpent, and according to the text, the serpent was not what it is today, but Satan taking the form a of a serpent tempted Eve and in tempting Eve he also tempted Adam who was standing right beside Eve watching the whole series of events as they unfolded. Satan tempted Eve to doubt God, to believe that God was holding back from her, as it would seem he believed about God prior to his own rebellion. Satan tempted Eve to believe she could be like God herself.
Eve believed Satan, and why should she not believe, after all she only knew good. She did not yet know evil and lying. Eve believed Satan and doubted God and ate of the forbidden fruit, she also gave some to her husband Adam who also ate thus he too disobeyed and sinned. Adam had been created first and so he was the one in authority, the one who was responsible in this whole scenario. We call this the order of creation, that is that God created Adam first and so God would hold him accountable. This order of creation has never been negated and is still in effect in our world today. Adam’s disobedience began with the fact that he did not step in and send Satan off in the first place. Like many men and husbands in our world today, Adam shirked his responsibility. And fortunately or unfortunately, none of these events escaped God.
God knew what had happened. He knew Eve and Adam had been disobedient and so being a just God He entered the scene to disperse justice, which came in the form of a curse. God came walking through the Garden and He came calling for Adam. Adam where are you? It was Adam who was in charge as He was created first and so God calls him to account for his actions and the actions of his wife, Eve. Of course, Adam does what most men do today, he passes the buck and blames his wife, Eve and truly even blames God Himself for having put the woman in the Garden with him. Eve blames the serpent and so the buck is passed on.
God is God and so He cannot be deceived. God knows what has happened and now He must deal out the just punishment, which was promised, death. The curse which is inflicted on all creation is that Adam will now have to work hard, because thorns and thistles will grow and stifle his gardening. Eve will have pain in her most joyous experience, childbirth, and she will continue to struggle with her husband, seeking to usurp his authority. And the serpent will be changed so that now he will have to slither on the ground and eat dust.
Yet, God being not only just but also being a merciful God, He also gives a promise, even the greatest promise, that is that He will fix what man has broke. Man has broken his relationship, his perfect relationship with God and now only God can fix that relationship and His promise is that He will.
God’s promise is to send a Savior, a Messiah, One who would take care of the punishment inflicted on those who disobeyed and ate of the forbidden fruit, that is One who would die. God’s promise is, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.” God’s promise is that He would send a substitute to take the place and the punishment for His people. A substitute means someone who is like the one being substituted. In other words, the substitute for human beings will be a human being, thus an offspring of the woman. In order for this substitute to be a substitute, however, He must also be perfect, having no sin of His own, thus He would also have to be truly God, because only God is or can be perfect. Finally, this substitute, in order to complete His substitutionary act, must not only die, suffering a bruising death, physical and eternal spiritual death, hell, but He will also have to defeat Satan, with a complete defeat.
Notice that God’s promise to Adam and Eve came before they had any children, which means this promise was made before there was a Jew or Gentile and so His promise was for all people, of all places, of all times, you and me included.
As Lent begins we are reminded once again, as we are or at least should be reminded every year, of our part in Jesus’ suffering and death. It was not only because of Adam and Eve’s sin, not only because the earth has been cursed, not only because we are conceived and born in sin, but also because of our own actual sins, sins we commit, sins of commission and sins of failing or omitting to do as we should, sins of omission, that Jesus had to come and die to pay the price for our sins.
Even before God began creation, He knew what was going to happen. Even before God began creation, He could look through time and He could see us, you and me, we call this God’s foreknowledge, that He knows all things even before they happen. Because of His great love for us, for you and for me, He set into motion, not only creation, but also our redemption. Yes, you and I put Jesus on the cross. Yet, He went to the cross willingly because of His great love for us. At our Baptism He put faith in our hearts and made us His children. As we confess our sins and hear His words of absolution, as we hear His Holy Word read and proclaimed, as we partake of His body and blood in His Holy Supper, we are strengthened in our faith, we participate in His life, death and resurrection, and we are given His robes of righteousness. And all we can do is rejoice and give Him thanks, for Jesus’ sake. Amen.