“Then the Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground. He breathed the breath of life into the man’s nostrils, and the man became a living person. Then the Lord God planted a garden in Eden in the east, and there he placed the man he had made. The Lord God made all sorts of trees grow up from the ground—trees that were beautiful and that produced delicious fruit. In the middle of the garden he placed the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
....But the Lord God warned him, “You may freely eat the fruit of every tree in the garden— except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If you eat its fruit, you are sure to die.”
Genesis 2:7-9, 16-17 NLT
God made man from the dust of the earth. The essential chemical elements found in soil are also found in humans and animals. Not until recently was this fact known to scientists but God told us this from the beginning!!! God is always right! His Word is TRUE!!! Animals were made on the same day as man (6th day - see Genesis 1:24-31).
The transliteration of the Hebrew word for "living person" in Genesis 2:7 is "nephesh" (pronounced neh'-fesh"). The definition is very specific, depending on the reference usage in various verses in the Bible. Here is a list of definitions depending on the usage:
1. soul, self, life, creature, person, appetite, mind, living being, desire, emotion, passion
A. that which breathes, the breathing substance or being, soul, the inner being of man
B. living being
C. living being (with life in the blood)
D. the man himself, self, person or individual
E. seat of the appetites
F. seat of emotions and passions
G. activity of mind
H. activity of the will
I. activity of the character
We can see that this word is related to the life God gave man. Here, we understand that man is more than a body, he is someone that God made with a soul and spirit as well. Man was created in the image of God (see Genesis 1:26-28). God had deposited His Spirit in man. This is what made him very distinct from animals and everything else in Creation. All other forms of life had animation and created purpose but only man had God's Spirit inside him. Man was able to think, will, and emotionally react. He was made creational, relational - with characteristics like his Creator. Man was given three components:
1. A spirit - the life inside us
2. A soul - our mind, will, and
3. A body - our physical
This is verified in
1 Thessalonians 5:23:
“Now may the God of peace make you holy in every way, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ comes again.”
1 Thessalonians 5:23 NLT
In this passage the Holy Spirit lists the spirit first, the soul second, and the body third. The reason for this is simple: everything about our lives stems from our spiritual condition. These three components make up the one person we are. God is One - Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We are one - spirit, soul, and body. The most important part of us is spiritual. The condition of our spirit determines how we live. Life without God is existence, not living!! Survival not thriving! Life without God is death!
Our original created purpose was to care for God's creation as God's designated overseers. Man was, originally, appointed by God to rule over this earth under His command (see Genesis 1:28). Man was to subdue - KJV (rule and reign over) the world God had created. The Apex of God's creation was man himself. All of the world was made with man in mind. God gave man the responsibility to care for (tend) this earth. His primary form of that care was spiritual. God had commanded man not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. This command was the most important thing that Adam (his name means "man") could do - obey God! Man was free to eat of every tree except this one. Out of all the trees in the garden, only one was off limits. The real issue was obedience! Notice that the tree of life and the tree of knowledge of good and evil were both in the middle of the garden. The decision of which tree Adam would eat from was "central" to everything. As a prominent Christian speaker, Ravi Zacharias, has quoted: "The problem wasn't the fruit in the tree. The problem was the pair on the ground." The tree of knowledge of good and evil was attractive and desirable, but God said no! The challenge to man was obedience vs. disobedience. Well, we know the rest of that story (see Genesis 3:1-7). Immediately, spiritual death occurred. God withdrew His Spirit from man, shame was the result, and man's view of the world was now perverted.
“At that moment their eyes were opened, and they suddenly felt shame at their nakedness. So they sewed fig leaves together to cover themselves.”
Genesis 3:7 NLT
Man tried to cover his sin but his efforts were futile.
God cried out to lost humanity because separation had occurred. No longer could God's Spirit abide with man!
“When the cool evening breezes were blowing, the man and his wife heard the Lord God walking about in the garden. So they hid from the Lord God among the trees. Then the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?””
Genesis 3:8-9 NLT
This is a rhetorical question. God didn't need to find Adam! God knew where Adam was! The question was for Adam to contemplate. He needed to think about where he was now and where he once was. This would serve to torment man throughout history. Man has an innate longing for so much more. This came from our created beginnings. Death was now upon man. The second form of death would now take place as a consequence of sin - physical death. The world was plunged into darkness and a curse was now placed upon the world that was under their command.
Here we are! We are still in this world. The atmosphere and the environment is a constant war! Satan, sin, death, sickness, sorrow, and suffering are the norm. The life we once had is but a longing in our hearts. We now tend the earth with toil and sweat.
“And to the man he said, “Since you listened to your wife and ate from the tree whose fruit I commanded you not to eat, the ground is cursed because of you. All your life you will struggle to scratch a living from it. It will grow thorns and thistles for you, though you will eat of its grains. By the sweat of your brow will you have food to eat until you return to the ground from which you were made. For you were made from dust, and to dust you will return.”
Genesis 3:17-19 NLT
We eat our meals in sorrow until we sink back into the dust from whence we came. All down through the ages we can hear our Maker calling out our name.
As Don Francisco, a Christian lyricist, musician, and singer once said: "The curse has long been broken by Jesus Christ but Adams sons are still prisoners of their fears. We rush to destruction with our fingers in our ears. All the while, God is calling out our name. Adam, where are you?"
What a question!! Put your name in the place of Adam. _______, where are you?
Answer the question!
God must be at the center of our garden and we must eat from His tree of life to live. If we choose to reject the tree of life - the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ, we are still dead in our trespasses and sins. If we want life, as God intended, we must accept God's Son - The Lord Jesus Christ as the payment for our sinful rebellion. We have the opportunity to eat from the fruit of the Tree of Life and let Him deposit His Spirit inside us once more. He will rebirth us into His image and we will live forever!!
Adam, where are you??
Curtis R. Norris
Rev. Curtis Norris