Genesis in the 21st Century by Pastor John Samson
If, like me, you believe the Bible to be the (theopneustos - God breathed) word of God, then you believe some fairly amazing things - things that just sound incredible to so many in our generation.
Take the book of Genesis for example. If you believe Genesis to be the word of God, as I also do, then you are in some good company. The Apostle Paul wrote:
"Therefore, just as through one man (Adam) sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men..." Rom. 5:12.
Jesus also seemed to be convinced that Genesis was literal history: Matthew 19:3-6:
3 Some Pharisees came to Jesus, testing Him and asking, "Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any reason at all?" 4 And He answered and said, "Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning MADE THEM MALE AND FEMALE, 5 and said, 'FOR THIS REASON A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER AND BE JOINED TO HIS WIFE, AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH '? 6 "So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate."
If you believe that Genesis is literal history, then think about the ramifications of this in the 21st century. You believe that some guy by eating a piece of fruit in some garden, thousands of years ago, thousands of miles away, is the cause of all the suffering experienced in this world. Do we realise how this sounds to our sophisticated, technologically advanced society around us? It not only sounds quite ridiculous but it seems to indicate a total overeaction on God's part! God plunged the entire human race and in fact, all of creation, into a dramatic and terrible corruption. Every human being and every animal experiences death now. Creation itself longs to be released from the dreadful penalty of Adam's sin (see Romans 8:19-22).
Well, either we believe a ridiculous notion here, or else, we have not in any way understood the serious nature of sin. Sin is cosmic treason! Sin is an assault on the unblemished and infinitely holy character of God. God obviously felt He had every right to punish sin in the severe way He did. The wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23), not because God is mean and nasty, but because sin deserves this kind of punishment. And this is not just true of sin in general, but every sin in particular. Every one of my sins deserve this, as does yours. And if for one moment we think the punishment is extreme, I think it is because we have never fully grasped the sheer and utter magnitude of the glory and holiness of God.
If we start with the holiness of God.. and then begin to view sin and its consequences in the light of it, then all begins to make sense. What should amaze us is not that God punishes sin severely. That's just a manifestation of justice. No, what should amaze us is that God sent His Son into the world to redeem rebels that have not only commited high treason against Him, but loved the fact that they did so. We loved the darkness rather than the light. We were dead in trespasses and sins, and but for the grace of God, would have loved our sin until we were eternally punished for it in a place of torment with no possibility of parole, a place called hell.
Next time you might be tempted to think God has been severe in His dealings with sin, let it remind you instead of just how serious God is about His holiness, and just how serious we should be about it.
What must amaze the angels is not the fact that sin is punished. They know this all too well. No, what must amaze them is that even one sinner will be found around the throne of God in eternity, rejoicing in the Lamb who was slain for him, who purchased his redemption. No fallen angel will ever be numbered amongst the redeemed. Yet, there will not be just have one sinner singing the song of redemption in the heavenly throng, but such a number that no man can count, out of every tribe, tongue, people and nation (Rev. 7:9; 5:9). Hallelujah, what a Savior!