Monday, May 19, 2014

Eden: Beginning of the Family Line

We’ve touched on the fact that God’s character is more clearly seen in the Eden story in Genesis than anywhere else in the Bible with the exception of Calvary. In Genesis 1, we read that God created male and female. Immediately following, we ask this: what is the very first thing they experience that Scripture records immediately following?

It’s there in the first line of verse 28. He blessed them. God blessed them.

The initial experience mankind had of the creator God was that He is and was by nature foremost to be known as a God who blesses. The highest priority he had for us, there in moment one, was blessing — and for us to come to know Him as a blesser.

The New Testament puts the same priority on it: “He who comes to God must believe that he is” — that makes good sense — “and that he is a rewarder” — that he is a blesser — “of those who seek Him”.

God wants to be known as a blesser, and here he blesses man and woman first.

In what way did He bless them? It’s manifold, of course — the blessing of life, the blessing of companionship with each other and fellowship with Him, the blessing of the surrounding beauty of creation and so on and so forth. But it’s interesting also to note not what all the implied blessings of Eden were but rather what the first expressed blessing of Eden was. The first recorded blessing is … what?


Sometimes I think we imagine that children were God’s gracious provision to deal with the consequences of sin; a crutch of sorts. You see, after the Fall, Adam and Eve would be subject to death. They would die physically — and if that’s it, the human race is over. So, if we’re lazy in our thinking, we might imagine children are God’s response to the existence of sin. We might think that God — to preserve life — told Adam and Eve “Go ahead and have kids. Everyone will die eventually, of course, but if you reproduce fast enough there will always be another generation coming down the road”.

But children weren’t God’s provision for sin; instead that blessing preceded sin’s arrival on the scene. For long before sin entered Eden, God said, “The first blessing I want to give you, the first one I want to name, is children”.

Do you get the sense as you read through Scripture that God loves children in a special way?

I’ve wondered sometimes why the Lord Jesus didn’t, like Melchizedek, simply inexplicably appear on the world scene. He could wander in from the desert or the wilderness at age 30 or so with no known history, then spend 3-1/2 years healing people, ministering and teaching. Surely that would have made a wonderful and enigmatic story. People would’ve whispered all sorts of curious and intriguing ideas: “Nobody knows where he comes from. We have no idea who his father and mother were. Perhaps he really is Messiah. Maybe he’s from God.”

That would’ve been an exceedingly interesting manner of arriving.

How much more interesting, then, that God chose to ratify children by Himself becoming one and growing through the full human process of maturation. Salvation comes through a child. But perhaps too, other verses come to mind — verses about pure and undefiled religion involving the care of orphans, verses encouraging children to approach the Lord even at the busiest of moments or verses warning against the seriousness of causing a child to stumble. It appears God is rather fond of children.

How sad then to read just last week — I think CNN had the article — that in the USA (and Canada isn’t too far behind), if you are a black mother chances are greater now than 50% that your pregnancy will end in an abortion.

It’s horrifying to many of us. I assure you it’s appalling to a God who loves children and sees them as the primary testament to His character as a blesser.

God is seeking to bless people through children — children are a blessing. Underline that please. They’re a blessing. And it’s amazing the euphemisms we use to deny it: ‘A woman’s right to choose’. That sounds like a good thing. It’s her ‘right’ to choose not to be blessed by God? What a shame. God loves children and the first recorded blessing in Genesis is the blessing of children.

So we have this bountiful blessing. God creates a garden and fills it with every good thing. He puts man and woman in there with a purpose and He just pours out blessing.

There was never a moment like there was in Eden. Everything God had in his heart to do for his people, he did. He never had to be reserved in His affection for mankind. Before the Fall, God never had to say, “I would love to do this for them, but …”

Do you get the feeling that there are ways in which God would like to bless you, and He can’t, because you’re so compromised in your sin? I get that feeling a lot. I don’t like that feeling.

Adam and Eve in those days didn’t ever have that feeling. They could just say, “Lord, we’d love this. Wouldn’t that be a good thing?”

And he’d say, “Yes, that would be a good thing. Have it.” God in Eden shows Himself first to His creation as a blesser.

It is only in a sin-fogged world that we no longer see it quite so plainly. 

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