“Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?” Genesis 3:1
The dictum “Question authority” has reigned supreme in the western world for almost half a century. It was repeated so loudly and often in the late 60’s and 70’s that it became axiomatic; today, its truth is assumed, rather than proven. But is this really the best approach? The serpent certainly thought so, but his question led to spiritual disaster.Read More
“Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, ‘Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?” Genesis 3:1
In choosing a surrogate to approach Eve with an insidious temptation, Satan chose a serpent – an animal that was known for its intelligence. The New King James Version’s rendering “cunning” is somewhat misleading, implying something negative. No doubt the translators chose this word because in this chapter the serpent’s cleverness is being misused for evil purposes.Read More
“Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made.” Genesis 3:1
Ever since one unforgettable but safe childhood encounter with a highly venomous snake I have always had an antipathy towards reptiles. A well-known herpetologist named Bill Haast ran an above average mini-zoo called “The Miami Serpentarium.” He also produced antivenin for hospitals in multiple countries. At one time he was in the Guinness Book of World Records for having survived more venomous snake bites than anyone else. (Reputedly he made antivenin from his own blood, but this sounds rather apocryphal to me.) He would conduct a daily demonstration with venomous snakes and lizards for any interested visitors. Being five years old, I was standing at the front of the crowd watching the demonstration. Suddenly he dropped a krait snake about six feet away from me (it could have been farther, but I assure you in my memory it looms closer and larger!) Happily, the snake was totally uninterested in the crowd who were fleeing apace in the opposite direction (all except for my fourteen year old big brother who has always loved snakes – he dashed forward to take photos of the beast.)
Since then, I have had a love/hate relationship with snakes: by compulsion I need to watch documentaries about them and visit them at zoos. On the other hand, I frequently have nightmares involving my demise from the savage bites of these insidious creatures. Yet as I open Genesis 3, I put aside my personal aversion towards reptiles to examine the unwitting animal that was a mere pawn and foil for a more dangerous being, whom Revelation 12:9 refers to in these famous words: “So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.” By the Holy Spirit’s inspiration, John gives us his eventual and destined end. But in Genesis 3, we see Satan in his first battle against mankind, coming in the form of a beautiful and “shrewd” (NET) serpent. In next week’s post we will consider the long and painful history of that Old Serpent’s combat against humanity. What is more, we will contemplate evil and its effect on the present world, learning how it got here and what the solution for it is.
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“And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.” Genesis 2:25
This verse takes us back to the idyllic time before the fall of mankind. It closes the more detailed account of God’s creation of human beings. We may look back and derive certain lessons from the first two chapters of Genesis.Read More
“And Adam said: This is now bone of my bones And flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, Because she was taken out of Man.” Genesis 2:23
The past four decades brought about much strife over the so-called “battle of the sexes.” Gender issues remain highly contentious and creep into the academic and business worlds, to say nothing of literature and the nightly news. Many polemicists affirm that there are deep divisions between men and women that are irreconcilable. Others contend that there is really noRead More
And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place. Then the rib which the Lord God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man. Genesis 2:21-22
Anesthesia has only been commonly available to human beings for about the last century and a half. Anyone who’s read about horrific battlefield hospitalsRead More
“Now a river went out of Eden to water the garden, and from there it parted and became four riverheads. The name of the first is Pishon; it is the one which skirts the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold. And the gold of that land is good. Bdellium and the onyx stone are there. The name of the second river is Gihon; it is the one which goes around the whole land of Cush. The name of the third river is Hiddekel; it is the one which goes toward the east of Assyria. The fourth river is the Euphrates.” Genesis 2:10-14
God created this world with abundant natural resources – chief among them is water. Astronomers and physicists continue to search for this life-sustaining commodity among the planets. Amazingly, it is quite rare, unless you happen to live on earth where it is common. This is not surprising, for the universe itself manifests many instances of fine tuning. In other words, but for the Almighty’s creative mind and power superintending the physical processes of the creation, life would have been impossible.
A Unique Planet With Divine Fingerprints All Over It
John Lennox, an Oxford mathematician and Christian believer, points to the scientific understanding of this fine tuning of the universe in his book, God’s Undertaker: Has Science Buried God?, quoting fellow mathematician Sir Roger Penrose in these words:
Try to imagine the phase space…of the entire universe. Each point in this phase space represents a different possible way that the universe might have started off. We are to picture the Creator, armed with a ‘pin’ – which is to be placed at some point in the phase space…Each different positioning of the pin provides a different universe. Now the accuracy that is needed for the Creator’s aim depends on the entropy of the universe that is thereby created. It would be relatively ‘easy’ to produce a high entropy universe, since then there would be a large volume of the phase space available for the pin to hit. But in order to start off the universe in a state of low entropy – so that there will indeed be a second law of thermodynamics – the Creator must aim for a much tinier volume of the phase space. How tiny would this region be, in order that a universe closely resembling the one in which we actually live would be the result?’
His calculations lead him to the remarkable conclusion that the ‘Creator’s aim’ must have been accurate to 1 part in 10 to the power of 10123, that is 1 followed by 10123 zeros, a ‘number which it would be impossible to write out in the usual decimal way, because even if you were able to put a zero on every particle in the universe there would not even be enough particles to do the job’.*
Citing astrophysicist Hugh Ross, Dr. Lennox affirms that the chances of a life-sustaining planet like earth existing are 1 in 1030.
The Sound Of Many Waters
The rivers, oceans, and rainfall all show that God providentially designed this planet with mankind’s well-being in mind. As Paul told the Lycaonians: “Nevertheless He did not leave Himself without witness, in that He did good, gave us rain from heaven and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness” (Acts 14:17.) Yet in spite of the Lord’s kindness towards human beings, people frequently squander – sometimes ignorantly and sometimes intentionally – the resources that the Creator has placed on the earth.
At times one group of people with-hold needed water and food from others to advance their own cruel political and social agendas (one thinks of Stalin’s treatment of Ukraine’s wheat in the 1930s, Mobutu Sese Seko’s plundering of Zaire’s mineral wealth in the 1980s-90s, and Qaddafi’s theft of Libyan oil over his three decades of tyranny, to name but a few examples.) In spite of these all too common instances of human evil, it does not change the fact that God fashioned this planet to meet man’s needs. This ought to produce thankfulness, “for in Him we live and move and have our being…” (Acts 17:28.)
*John C. Lennox, God’s Undertaker: Has Science Buried God? Oxford: Lion Hudson, 2007, p. 70.
Photo credit: NASA
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“Out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them. And whatever Adam called each living creature, that was its name. So Adam gave names to all cattle, to the birds of the air, and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper comparable to him.” Genesis 2:19-20
There’s a common misconception that modern science and theism are completely incompatible. To borrow divorce court language, God and scientific endeavor suffer from “irreconcilable differences.” In actuality, there is no incongruity between the Creator and rigorous examination of His creation. We derive the English word “science” from the Latin scientia, meaning “knowledge.” Our Maker is not a “check your brain at the door” type of deity. From the beginning of the creation, God has encouraged mankind to investigate His works which display His wisdom and power. This is readily seen in His treatment of our firstRead More
“And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” Genesis 2:16-17
People sometimes caricature the rift between Adam and Eve and their Creator as being a matter of stolen “apples.” Of course, this betrays an ignorance of the Scripture’s sophisticated narrative of the history of mankind’s progenitors. The tree was not an apple tree, but rather “the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” What is more, people often criticize God for seemingly overreactingRead More
“And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.” Genesis 2:9
There is a common misconception about God: many people erroneously assume that He does not want them to enjoy life – that He is a sort of cosmic-killjoy. Nonetheless, from the beginning of creation the Almighty demonstrates His desire to bless mankind and give them lasting joy. The problem is that humans have a skewed understanding of well-being. Many of the things that we love in this world are self-destructive. The drunk loves his drink; the addict loves herRead More