Saturday, July 23, 2011

The World-Tilting Gospel - A Study & Review Part 2

This is a continuation of a series studying "The World-Tilting Gospel: Embracing a Biblical Worldview & Hanging on Tight" by Dan Phillips. Note: Block quotes in italics are from the book, and used with permission.

In Chapter 1, we learned that our hearts are deceitful, conniving, and stricken with a spiritual cancer that distorts our view of ourselves and God. In Chapter 2 of "WTG", Dan returns us to the beginning of creation and we find out what God did, how we came about, and what led to our ultimate downfall.

Where Everything Starts

The opening paragraph for Chapter 2 is as follows: 

To assemble a worldview based on God's truth rather than the world's lies or our own hearts' self-serving deceptions, we must begin at the beginning -- as in, "In the beginning."

 The first 3 chapters of Genesis begin to establish the truth of God, His nature, His word, His creation, and His plan for all the ages. We also find ourselves: how we were created, what God intended us to be, why He created us, and how we messed it all up. If our understanding of these three chapters is correct, then it follows that our understanding of the rest of the Bible will be correct. If we get it wrong, then we get everything else wrong, too.

Man's Preparation

If we want to know what God wants from us as Christians, we must have a firm Biblical grasp of His intention in making man in the first place.  

By His word alone, God created the cosmos. He created the heavens and the earth (Genesis 1:1). At this very beginning, the earth wasn't yet ready for living things, but the Spirit of God "was hovering over the face of the waters." (Genesis 1:2). Verses 3-25 cover the first 5 days of creation. Dan makes a point to note that both the third and sixth days had two parts. On the third day, God spoke and dry land separated from the waters, and then he spoke and plants and fruit trees grew from the new soil. After each stage, God called His creation "good". 

On the sixth day of creation, God commanded into existence the animals of the earth and said that it was "good". The second stage of the sixth day is when God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth." (Genesis 1:26, NKJV). 

Man was created to be God's representative on earth, not an exact copy of God, since God is Spirit, but a finite, created mirror representing the glory of the infinite, uncreated God. Verse 27 says, "So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them." (Dan notes verse 27 as the first bit of poetry in the Bible). After this, God pronounces it very good.

Man and woman were created and commanded to "Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth." (Genesis 1:28, NKJV).

It is established here that man and woman were not equal with the rest of creation but above it. They were instructed to have dominion - to take charge - over everything else on the earth. God was in charge of them. Adam and Eve had everything they needed to follow God's commands, and they enjoyed the company of God Himself in the Garden of Eden. They truly had a personal relationship with God.

Man's Probation

If we want to know what God wants from us as Christians, we must have a firm, Biblical grasp of how we got to be in the mess we are in today.

 Dan writes that man's probation was two-fold: God gave positive commands and one negative command. Adam and Eve were to have children, take charge of everything on the earth, and they were free to eat from every tree in the Garden (Genesis 2:16) except one. They were forbidden from eating from the tree of knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2:17). 

When Eve encountered the Serpent, though he was speaking to her, he was really trying to bring down Adam. The Serpent spoke as though he was a friend, looking out for Adam and Eve. He begins by asking, "Has God indeed said, 'You shall not eat of every tree of the garden'?" (Genesis 3:1b NKJV). Eve responds that they were allowed to eat from every tree except the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. In verse 3b, Eve tells the Serpent, "God has said, 'You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.'". The Serpent then tells Eve that not only will they not die, they will be like God (Dan notes that the Hebrew text could also be read as "as gods"). Eve ate the fruit and convinced Adam to eat it as well, and everything instantly changed for them. God gave them only one prohibition, and they failed the test!  

Man's Prostration

If we want to know what God wants from us as Christians, we must have a firm Biblical grasp of how extensive and how serious is the damage that sin has done to us as a race.

Although Adam and Eve didn't physically die immediately after they ate the fruit, their act of disobedience caused their spiritual death that started the process that would eventually lead to the death of their bodies.

As soon as they ate the fruit, they felt a separation from God. They were aware of their nakedness and were ashamed. They were afraid and tried to hide from God when He called out to them. God knew what they did, and Adam and Eve "knew that He knew". What was once a glorious, personal relationship with God became terrifying. Their thoughts turned to self rather than toward God and His glory, and they not only lost sight of Him but they lost hold of each other. 

God redeemed them, but they were turned out of the Garden. For the rest of their physical lives, they encountered struggle and difficulty. Adam had to work the ground for their food; Eve would bear children with pain. All these things they would endure until they died.


God created Adam in His image to rule for Him, and He created Eve to be Adam's helper, to work together in harmony to serve God. God gave them the intellect and wills to obey Him and carry out His glory. 

The Serpent convinced Eve that rebellion wouldn't lead to death, but that she and Adam would be like God, knowing good and evil. They immediately lost the enjoyment of God's presence and started down the path of deception, guilt, struggle, strife and eventual physical death when they disobeyed God. 

Personal Thoughts

It was much later in my own walk that I understood that the whole Bible was relevant to the Christian faith. The first chapters of Genesis tell us what God did, what man did, and why we need a Savior today. All through the Old Testament we see examples of God's commands and man's disobedience, and we also see examples of God's grace in dealing with that disobedience. It's all a foreshadowing of Christ.

 I thought that chapter 2 of "WTG" did a good job of explaining God's creation and how Adam and Eve's disobedience affects all of us.

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