It is utterly unthinkable that a gracious and holy God made man at the beginning as he is to-day. Never was the world in such a sorry plight as at the present time. God is almost universally banned (for pleasure is eagerly sought after while preaching is neglected); vice stalks abroad with increasing boldness; suspicion and fear prevail in every land. The earth bids fair to become a veritable shambles ere long. Something has happened to the gifted creature called Man. What has gone wrong with our race? It should be obvious to the most casual thinker that no one can inform us reliably concerning the origin of man and his breakdown but the Creator Himself. All that is told us from other quarters are mere fancies, worse than valueless, misleading and ruinous.
A reliable account of the beginning
Twenty-five centuries after the creation of man God caused to be written His own story of the great event. He had just taken a nation into special relationship with Himself. Israel was to be His witness in the midst of a world then wholly idolatrous. It was important that His chosen people should have the truth in a reliable form, the only antidote to the Satanic fabrications that were everywhere current. Accordingly, Moses was commissioned to write the interesting book of Genesis, which has been appropriately called "the seed plot of the Bible". Genesis is either a revelation from God, or a worthless collection of fables and legends, of which all should be aware. If Genesis is not true, we know nothing whatever of the origin of our race, and of the little world in which we all move and live. Is it believable that a beneficent Creator would leave the earths millions in such impenetrable darkness?
"Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen", the Lord once said in another connection (Rev 2.5). We must therefore go back to the beginning and inquire what man was at the first, if we would understand the depths to which he has descended. Man was created on the last of the creative days. Birds, fishes, and beasts all existed before him. When God wanted the man, the procedure was markedly different from all that had gone before. When God wanted the lower creatures, He said, "Let the waters bring forth", "Let fowl fly", "Let the earth bring forth" etc. However, when man came into view, God did not say, "Let the earth bring forth a man", but, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle" (Gen 1.26).
The two stages of mans creation
The creation of man was in two stages. "The Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground (his physical frame), and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul" (Gen 2.7). Hence the life of man does not essentially exist in the body, as in the case of the beast; it is distinct therefrom, and derived directly from the Creator. This puts man on a higher plane than all the creatures under and around him. They have no hereafter; man has; and of all other creatures man is lord and head.
Behold then "The first man Adam" (1 Cor 15.45)! Made in the "image" of God, he represented Him in rule; made after His "likeness," he was pure as his Creator. Physically perfect - such an one as no eye has since beheld; endowed with language from the first, able to name intelligently all the beasts and birds that paraded before him, able also to describe happily his wonderfully-formed bride; fitted withal for intercourse with his Maker. Ape-like? Chattering savage? Perish such degrading thoughts! The theory of evolution is a Satanic lie.
Adam stood alone at the beginning. Prove another man contemporary with him, and the whole fabric of Holy Scripture falls to pieces. For it is undeniable that the Bible is the history of two men, the first and the Second (1 Cor 15.47). The first by his disobedience brought in ruin and death; the Second by His obedience has made life and blessing possible for all who believe in His Name.
A garden divinely planned and planted was mans earliest bourne. Nothing was lacking to meet both his needs and his innocent pleasure. Just one prohibition was given - necessary as a moral test. Into that fair scene came the serpent. Whether Satan assumed this form for his evil purpose, or whether he employed a reptile instrumentally, is immaterial. The rebel had forfeited his own happiness forever by pride and self-will; in his malignity he would drag down to share his ruin Gods latest-formed creature. He approached the woman (the "weaker vessel") with a doubtful question as to Gods word. This method should have closed the matter at once. Gods word is not to be debated, but obeyed. The deceiver is still employing the same tactics! He is still saying, "Hath God said?", adding immediately his own flat contradiction. Alas! Men would rather heed Satan than their God! With what delight did our Lord say when on earth, "Blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it" (Lk 11.28).
Eves part in the Fall
The womans first blunder lay in parleying with the intruder; her next was her independent action in ignoring him who was her head; and she completed her sin by influencing the man also. Sad lessons are here! Let us never listen to those who would throw doubt upon the Word of God; let no woman ever forget her God-given place and seek to lead and teach where instead she should follow and learn. The world is full of these ruinous evils.
Adams Part in the Fall
The Spirit of God does not admit that Adam was deceived. With him the eating of the fruit was open transgression (1 Tim 2.14). Men sometimes scornfully inquire whether we really believe that all mans troubles are to be traced to the eating of this fruit. It would be more correct to say that our troubles are due to the fact that he preferred the fruit to God, so lightly did he esteem the glorious and gracious Being who created him, and loaded him with benefits.
The serpent promised our first parents opened eyes. The first result of this was to bring home to them the fact that they were no longer suitable to God, and so they fled from His presence. Satans aim ever since has been to blind men (2 Cor 4.4), and the first effect of the gospel is "To open their eyes, and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins" (Acts 26.18).
The peacefulness of Eden was no longer for Adam and his wife. They must go forth and toil and suffer, yet still watched over by the unchanging God. Death was now their portion, in His righteous government. But before their expulsion they were privileged to hear the divine sentence upon him who had deceived them, and in what they heard there was ample rest for faith. Genesis 3.15 is the germ of all prophecy. Our Lords unique birth, as the womans seed, not the mans, the suffering of the promised One, and His ultimate triumph over the enemy, are all set forth in this marvellous passage.
Christ the only hope
All hope for man centres in Christ. Impossible it is that man alone should ever retrieve his position, or rid himself of the triple yoke of sin, Satan, and death. But the Christ has come; man indeed, but not of Adams order. He is Gods "Second Man", and in resurrection He is the "Last Adam a quickening spirit (1 Cor 15.45). In His death He not only made expiation for all that we had done, He also endured the condemnation of all that we were. All who believe in His Name have been set up anew by God in the risen One, as clear of all judgment as He, and as divinely loved and blessed. Earth is lost for us (we are but sojourners in it), but heaven is ours, through grace. Truly, "where sin abounded, grace did much more abound; That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord" (Rom 5.20-21).