We are going to continue our study in the book of Genesis as we explore our roots to discover the importance of being firmly rooted in Jesus Christ.
"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth" Genesis 1:1
All things created were made by the Lord in whom we must be rooted firmly
The Bible begins by saying that “in the beginning God created” (Genesis 1:1). In particular, God spent the first few days creating the necessary components for things to be able to grow. If the order of creation had been different, the environment would not have been conducive for sustainable growth. He made light, and then land and water and then separated the water from the land. In other words, God made light, soil and water. The Bible says in Genesis 2:5-6, which is a parallel account of Genesis 1 and the creation story, “Now no shrub of the field was yet in the earth, and no plant of the field had yet sprouted, for the Lord God had not sent rain upon the earth, and there was no man to cultivate the ground. But a mist used to rise from the earth and water the whole surface of the ground.” Now that there were ideal conditions for seeds to take root, “Then God said, ‘Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds. ‘ And it was so” (Gen. 1:11). This concept of things taking root is introduced very early in the Bible. There is no need to start a discussion about what came first, the seed or the plant, the acorn or the oak. God created! The text continues, “And God said, ‘Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds…’. And it was so.” (Gen 1:24) “Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness…So God created mankind in His own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. And God blessed them; and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it…’” (Gen 1:26-28) God intended for human kind to produce after its own kind, in His image. That is why he made them male and female. Even amongst plants there are male and female and they are necessary to fertilize one another. This is why homosexuality is said to be against nature according the teaching of the Bible (Rom. 1:26-27). You cannot reproduce according to the will of God in such cases. But notice that in the reproductive language of plants he uses the terms fruitful and multiply. The man provides the seed and the offspring develops in the woman. Whether she is provided with a male child or a female child as long as humans produce after their kind, we will not cease to exist. This is exactly what most plants do, as one seed produces a fruit or a flower with enough seeds in it to multiply itself. We also started from the ground, harvested by God in creation, and we are intended to produce after our kind. “Then the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being. The Lord God planted a garden toward the east, in Eden; and there He placed the man whom He had formed. Out of the ground the Lord God caused to grow every tree that is pleasing to the sight and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil” Gen 2:6-8
Man Planted in Eden
Man who is also born of a seed, was placed (planted) on this earth (Jer. 11:17; 12:2) and we are intended to have deep roots, not in a stationary, immobile manner, where we are fixed in one place, but in digging deeper into the purpose for why we are here and staying connected (rooted) to the rich blessings of God that only He can provide. The only problem with this garden scene is that many of us are familiar with how the history of man unfolds. We are very aware of a tree that was planted in the garden where we were placed that we weren’t allowed to eat. The tree of the knowledge of good and evil stood opposite of the tree of life. God commanded that in the day that we ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, we would surely die. The passage reads, "Then the Lord God took the man and put him into the Garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it. The Lord God commanded the man, saying, ‘From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die’” (Gen 2:15-17). In other words if man sinned, because God is holy, and he cannot fellowship with sin, he would have to drive man out of the garden where the tree of life would no longer be accessible. Man would not only know spiritual death, being separated from a relationship with God, but he would eventually age to the point where he would suffer physical death. So our very first dilemma was whether we would obey God and stay rooted in the place that He gave to us, experiencing life, or if we were going to disobey God and suffer the consequence of being uprooted and moved away from the blessings and benefits of being fed by the Lord, suffering both physical and spiritual death. Before we review the choice that man made, let us return to the text and see that there was another dilemma because everything made had a comparable mate or one after its own kind with which to reproduce, and yet mankind did not (Gen. 2:20) The text states, "Then the Lord God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him…’ So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then He took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh at that place. The Lord God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man” (Gen 2:18, 21-22). Adam, the first man responded to the creation of woman, saying, “‘This is now bone of my bones, And flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, Because she was taken out of Man.’ For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh” (Gen 2:23-24). The idea of one flesh has much to do with the reproductive process as we will see in discussing the seed types later in our study. So man did what he was supposed to do in loving his wife and he explained to her all of the edicts of God in reference to the Garden of Eden. So what did the first man and woman decide to do with their freedom and fellowship with God in the garden?
The Choice of Being Rooted or Lost
Death would come in two forms if man chose to sin. First in the form of spiritual death and then in the form of phyisical death.
After a close reading of the text, we learn that they chose death! Man was duped by the temptations of Satan and instead of cherishing the presence of God and the fulfilling relationship with his wife, enjoying the beautiful garden where he was planted, he gave it up. Adam was told by the evil one that he would be like God and that God was withholding something from His people rather than giving him full disclosure, so he preferred to take the risk of losing Eden and forfeiting fellowship with God over simply trusting God. The event unfolded in this way, “Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, ‘Indeed, has God said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden’?” (Gen 3:1-2 ) That is not what God said at all! He twists God’s words and gets mankind to think about their limitations rather than their freedoms and the blessings that they already enjoyed. “The woman said to the serpent, ‘From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat; but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat from it or touch it, or you will die’” (Gen 3:3). God never said you shouldn’t touch it. But when Satan is around he will get us to misquote the word of God as well. But there is some wisdom in her view. If you can’t eat it, don’t touch it. This might be a good spiritual lesson for us. Many people see how close they can get to sin without actually sinning. Perhaps that is a sin in itself. We need boundaries. We need to adhere to the word of God. Satan then adds to the word of God by stating partial truths and using conflicting statements. “The serpent said to the woman, ‘You surely will not die! For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.’” (Gen 3:4). They were already like God, made in His image. Their eyes were already opened to the things God wanted them to see, which only included good things, and they could even experience God walking with them in the cool of the day and enjoy the vastness of his rich blessings. Was Satan telling the truth when he said that they would know good and evil? Yes! But they only knew life in abundance and good up to this point. Why would you want to know evil? “When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loin coverings.’” (Gen 3:6-7). Man had forfeited everything! He disobeyed God!
Uprooted by Sin
The first man and his wife not only touched, but took and tasted of the forbidden fruit. At that moment they knew that they were naked and removed leaves from a fig tree to cover themselves and then hid behind the trees of the garden. The Lord came looking for Adam and his wife and they hid because they were naked and they knew it for the first time. The blame was passed from one to the other until God simply told them of their plight. We all know this is Adam’s sin as the leader of his home, but ultimately the consequences for sin are shared by everyone involved, including me and you. The Lord pronounced the curses of sin and in particular that there would be enmity between the seed of woman and seed of Satan. The text reads, "And I will put enmity between you and the woman and between your seed and her seed; he shall bruise you on the head and you shall bruise his heel” (Gen 3:15). This not only shows that the woman also has seed and these are her offspring, but it also shows that Satan will have his own children that would make him their father and live for his evil intentions. This was the beginning of the battle between good and evil. It is also the first announcement of the Savior, Jesus Christ. Eventually, the Messiah would be born of a virgin and righteousness would win after taking a light wound to the heal, as in the process, the head of Satan would be crushed. The serpent of old was told in advance of his defeat and of the consequences for his temptation of mankind into sin. On his belly he would go for the remainder of his life and he would be cursed more than all other living creatures. The world has never been the same since these words were spoken. Even after the Messianic promises have been fulfilled in Christ and His death on the cross, the world will forever be changed. Now we must face the battle that still rages between evil and righteousness to make certain that we are in Christ and have our sins washed away, so that we may have the ability to dwell with God eternally. Adam’s sin led to the death of all men because, all have sinned, but in Christ all shall be made alive (I Cor. 15:22). Adam’s sin would forever alter the way this world would operate but the overall plan was to redeem the world through Jesus. What happens next in our history is extremely critical. The Lord tells the woman that in bearing the seed of man her pain would be multiplied until the offspring (her seed) was born. For the man in working the seed that was planted in the soil the difficulty of his work would be increased because of thorns and thistles that would now grow up with his crops. He would work by the sweat of his brow in order to simply eat bread. Both the man and woman would experience labor pains when growing seeds as a result of their sin. Mankind was then informed that the very ground that he worked would be the place to which he would return in death. Dust to dust! The Lord at this point made animal skin coverings for the man and his wife (Gen. 3:21) as the fig leaves were not acceptable to cover the nakedness of the man and his wife. Their nakedness is represented by sin and the only thing that can remit or atone for sin is blood (Heb. 9:22). This was the first evidence of a blood sacrifice on account of sins, as an animal had to be killed to provide the skins that they would now put on to cover their nakedness. This is also symbolic of how the coming seed of Jesus Christ will become the ultimate sacrifice for the sins of the world and will deal the final death blow to the head of Satan. We who are Christians are clothed in Christ. The Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world was coming (John 1:29, 33), but until then, the whole of mankind would operate as the life of a flower (Psalm 103:15; I Peter 1:24), appearing for a short time and then dying. Just because the sin of man is covered (atoned) does not mean that we don’t have consequences that will follow our actions of disobedience. God moved the man and his wife away from the garden, and from that time, to this very day, it has been our aim to find our way back to the tree of life and have this intimate fellowship with God once again. “Therefore the Lord God sent him out from the garden of Eden, to cultivate the ground from which he was taken. So He drove the man out; and at the east of the garden of Eden He stationed the cherubim and the flaming sword which turned every direction to guard the way to the tree of life” (Gen. 3:23-24). God knew that if man would eat of the tree of life he would live forever and at this point man was not worthy, as a sinner against a holy God. Where is the tree of life today? How can we get back to intimate fellowship with God? Does anyone know? In the book of Revelation we are promised that if we overcome sin in this life that we will one day be granted to eat from the tree of life (Rev. 2:7). This was stated to a congregation of Christians. I want to make this very practical for us. As his people, we also find, that if we enter the Paradise of God that we will have full access to the fruit and leaves of the tree of life and its lasting benefits, where we will reign with the Lord forever and ever (Rev. 22:1-5, 14-15). We have stated the purpose for introducing the subject of being rooted. If we like Adam, choose after being planted here by the Lord, to live in disobedience and do not walk in the newness of life, bearing fruit for the Lord, we will be forever separated from Him, away from His glorious presence, in eternal death. God does not want anyone to perish or in using our illustration of a tree that produces bad fruit, to be cut down, cut off, and thrown into the fire. He wants us to live eternally. If we are firmly established in the Lord and do not allow sin to overcome us but overcome the evil with good, we will enjoy the abundance of God’s paradise once again.