Genesis 3:15 Questions

 

After posting What Does Jesus Birth have to do with Creation?, we received a couple of questions concerning the posting.  I pray this helps to answer their questions and yours.

From: Bernie J

After reading your article, “What Does Jesus Birth have to do with Creation?” I have a few questions.

“Had there been millions of years before Adam, as so many well-meaning Christians believe because of evolution, then death and disease would have been part of the creation that God pronounced as being very good.  If Adam saw that death was very good, then why did God use the warning of death to keep him from eating of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil?

“If there had been millions of years of death and disease prior to Adam’s sin, then death would not have been a punishment for sin.  If death is not a penalty for sin, then why, in 1 Corinthians 15:26, is it referred to as the ‘last enemy.’  And lastly, if death is not a penalty for sin, then why did Jesus have to die on the Cross. If He didn’t have to die on the Cross, then there was no need for Him to be born in human form and we would have no cause to celebrate Christmas.” 1

As a Bible believing Christian, I feel God could have created everything in a nano-second, but He took six literal days to give us a “pattern for living.” Thus, my question deals with your concept of death, and it has nothing at all to do with evolution.

My understanding of death is that all souls are eternal, conscious after death, and will be sent to Paradise or Hades. In turn, death and Hades will be cast into the Lake of Fire.

I see God’s warning of death to keep Adam from eating of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil as referring to ETERNAL SEPARATION FROM GOD and not simply physical death of the body alone. As I see it, somehow your entire argument in the second paragraph loses force. Have you not created a “straw man” that doesn’t exist? And have you not used circular reasoning to prove your point?

Or, what am I missing here?

Response:

 

Bernie,

 

Thanks for your question.

 

Frist I need to clarify the difference between soul and spirit, which in English are sometimes used interchangeably.   In the Hebrew, there is a difference.  The Hebrew term used for ‘spirit’ is nephesh.  Nephesh is used to refer to all creatures that breathe through their nostrils, including man.  This is also considered the physical aspect of life.  When a body dies, the nephesh also dies.  When God told Adam that he would surely die, He was referring to the nephesh life as dying.  The issue of not death before sin refers to nephesh or physical death.  Had that death exists prior to God’s declaration of everything being VERY GOOD, it undermines the entire Gospel message of Christianity.

 

However, when Adam sinned, it also created a spiritual death in the form of a separation from our holy and righteous God.  That separation was first evidenced when Adam hid in the Garden when he heard God approaching.  Sin has caused man to hide from God ever since.  One of the things that makes evolution so appealing is that by believing in evolution, man feels he can effectively hide from God.  Without any intervention, this separation is eternal.  This is where Christ’s death on the Cross comes in.  Scripture is clear that those who confess their faith in Christ will have everlasting life.  Those that do not will have everlasting separation from God, i.e. Hell.

 

When you combine both aspects of death and eternal separation, there is no strawman.  I hope this helps.

 

As for your comment “I feel God could have created everything in a nano-second” I couldn’t help but be reminded of Martin Luther’s comment to those in his day that tried to advocate that God created everything in one day.  Luther responded, “How Long Did the Work of Creation Take?    When Moses writes that God created heaven and earth and whatever is in them in six days, then let this period continue to have been six days, and do not venture to devise any comment according to which six days were one day.  But, if you cannot understand how this could have been done in six days, then grant the Holy Spirit the honor of being more learned than you are.  For you are to deal with Scripture in such a way that you bear in mind that God Himself says what is written.  But since God is speaking, it is not fitting for you wantonly to turn His Word in the direction you wish to go. [emphasis mine]”

 

 

From: Ted M

In your article ”What Does Jesus’ Birth Have to do with Creation?” posted on December 17, 2011 by R.L. David Jolly, it was stated, ” The only sacrifice that could ever be made to cover the sins of the created could only be made by the sinless Creator.  God then promised Adam and Eve in Genesis 3:15 that He would in time make that ultimate sacrifice of God the Son, the very Creator of mankind for mankind.”.   Gen 3:15 states , ”And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.”. My question, am I missing something in this scripture?  Or is this reference a miss quote? Respectfully Waiting for a reply.

 

Response:

 

The ‘seed’ God is referring to here is Christ and is the first promise of the Messiah to come. The following, pasted in below, was taken from Matthew Henry’s Commentary and I hope it helps to answer your question:

 

The serpent cursed, The promised Seed.

 

God passes sentence; and he begins where the sin began, with the serpent. The devil’s instruments must share in the devil’s punishments. Under the cover of the serpent, the devil is sentenced to be degraded and accursed of God; detested and abhorred of all mankind: also to be destroyed and ruined at last by the great Redeemer, signified by the breaking of his head. War is proclaimed between the Seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent. It is the fruit of this enmity, that there is a continual warfare between grace and corruption, in the hearts of God’s people. Satan, by their corruptions, buffets them, sifts them, and seeks to devour them. Heaven and hell can never be reconciled, nor light and darkness; no more can Satan and a sanctified soul. Also, there is a continual struggle between the wicked and the godly in this world. A gracious promise is here made of Christ, as the Deliverer of fallen man from the power of Satan. Here was the drawn of the gospel day: no sooner was the wound given, than the remedy was provided and revealed. This gracious revelation of a Saviour came unasked, and unlooked for. Without a revelation of mercy, giving some hope of forgiveness, the convinced sinner would sink into despair, and be hardened. By faith in this promise, our first parents, and the patriarchs before the flood, were justified and saved. Notice is given concerning Christ. 1. His incarnation, or coming in the flesh. It speaks great encouragement to sinners, that their Saviour is the Seed of the woman, bone of our bone, Heb 2:11, 14. 2. His sufferings and death; pointed at in Satan’s bruising his heel, that is, his human nature. And Christ’s sufferings are continued in the sufferings of the saints for his name. The devil tempts them, persecutes and slays them; and so bruises the heel of Christ, who is afflicted in their afflictions. But while the heel is bruised on earth, the Head is in heaven. 3. His victory over Satan thereby. Christ baffled Satan’s temptations, rescued souls out of his hands. By his death he gave a fatal blow to the devil’s kingdom, a wound to the head of this serpent that cannot be healed. As the gospel gains ground, Satan falls. (Ge 3:16-19).

Knowing Scripture

The Bible is the written Word of God, and it is treasured by many. But it is also an ancient book about people and cultures very different than us. Thus, while we know we should read it, many of us have a hard time understanding the Bible.

In this updated edition of Knowing Scripture, R. C. Sproul helps us dig out the meaning of Scripture for ourselves. The author says, “The theme of this book is not how to read the Bible but how to study the Bible.” He presents in simple, basic terms a commonsense approach to studying Scripture and gives eleven practical guidelines for biblical interpretation and applying what we learn. With a minimum of technical jargon, Sproul tackles some of the knotty questions regarding differences of interpreting the Bible, including

  • discovering the meanings of biblical words
  • understanding Hebrew poetry, proverbs and parables
  • approaching historical and didactic passages
  • being careful with predictive prophecy
  • discerning how culture conditions the Bible
  • choosing and using Bible translations, commentaries, Bible software and other helps

Knowing Scripture is a basic book for both beginning Bible readers and experienced students of Scripture.

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“This little book should be required reading for any beginning student of the Bible.” Christianity Today

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