12 – Banning Mankind from the Garden (1)
the LORD God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground
from which he had been taken. After he drove the man out, he placed
on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword
flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life (Gen
of Chapter 12
The Complaint Expressed
The Existence and General Role of Satan
The Work of God through Satan in the Garden
Recapping God's Goodness
The Complaint Expressed
previous Part was all about laying down foundation stones of understanding
for approaching the Old Testament. In this next Part we now move on
to consider in detail specific things that happened in the Old Testament
period which raise the ire of those who give little thought to these
have to warn you that if we want answers we need to look carefully
and systematically at the Bible text, and therefore most of these
situations will stretch over two chapters. For example, in the case
of this first complaint, in this chapter we will pave the way by looking
at all that led up to the exclusion from the Garden, and then in the
next chapter we will consider the exclusion itself.
aside those who might write this off and deny Genesis is a part of
history and let's face a claim that might arise from those who do
accept it as part of history.
well, they say, you say this is a part of time-space history,
but if that is true, doesn't it show God in a bad light. Here
we have Adam and Eve who have been led astray by the serpent
– who God must have created and allowed in the garden – so it
wasn't really their fault!
the Garden of Eden show God up in a bad light?
Then we see God dealing with them quite harshly and casting them out
of His presence and out of the garden to get on with life alone. Wasn't
He condemning them to failure right from the outset?
is the complaint that could arise, and we'll need to consider it in
detail, bit by bit.
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need to just check something out in passing, before we go on
– the validity of these early chapters of Genesis.
we trust the Genesis account?
this part of the Old Testament, appears not to receive much attention
from the atheists, for the sake of the Bible student we include it
here as the first of the complaints against the claim that God is
a God of love.
I am writing with the Christian student in mind in this
chapter so that you will understand something more of your
Lord's love. We have already very briefly touched on this in an earlier
chapter but need to look more fully at what happened in the first
few chapters of the Bible. There are some very profound issues here.
approaching these early chapters of Genesis there are two things we
need to acknowledge:
are some things we are not able to be absolutely
time frame for these early chapters is unclear. The assumption
that was once made that Creation and the Fall took place only
five thousand years ago did assume a lot and is almost certainly
and dating of the Fall are almost impossible
of the thinking that brought that figure about, calculated ages of
people given in the family trees that are found in the chapters of
the Bible. The only problem about this is that it ignores the tendency
of Semitic peoples to simply include names that they have who simply
give an overall picture of the line but it is not meant to be a comprehensive
list of people. Thus it is probable that there were many more people
who could have been included in these lists.
link between Adam and 'primitive man' is unclear
we cannot be certain, because we are not told, what connection
there is with Adam and Eve (two historical figures) and other
‘creatures' who went before them – if there is any connection.
That they were primitive people we can be sure.
they come to be different, ‘made in the image of God' with all the
differences from all other animals, as we've noted in an earlier chapter,
is unclear because God hasn't told us. He simply claims to be the
one who has made us in the form that we are and that we are clearly
distinct from the animal kingdom.
they are, as the Bible declares, the very first truly human beings,
then logically ALL
other human beings come from them – and the Bible asserts this. From
what historians tell us, with fair measures of certainty, these original
human being were very much earlier in the historical chain. (Look
back to chapter 7 about History, to catch something of this.)
the history of archaeology, especially as it pertains to the history
of bones, suggests that ‘scientists' have been notoriously bad at
concocting ‘missing links' and jumping to wrong conclusions or even
manufacturing evidence. The past is very unclear generally, based
on massive assumptions.
are things we can be clear about
is often forgotten about the early chapters of Genesis is that
they are remarkably coherent. Unlike mystical writings of the
past, these early chapters almost come in note form but very
clearly and systematically - and as history. Time frames are
not given but events are.
events of Genesis are written as clear, factual history
would be very tempting to take up space talking about the different
uses of the word, ‘day' and arguments for very long periods rather
than 24 hour periods in creation but we'll leave that for others.
here we have certain specifics laid out:
made the world in an order.
the end of that order were human beings who were different from
the animal kingdom.
first two of these ‘new creatures' – ‘made in the image of God'
as we noted in one of the earlier chapters - interacted with God
in a geographical location that fits in with our knowledge of early
history as being ‘the cradle of civilisation'.
also interacted with another creature who communicates the idea
of disobedience to God to them, which they follow with ‘interesting'
consequences, which we will look at later.
about this says it was a clearly defined geographical location at
a specific and significant period of history.
have nothing in history to deny this, only our own godless inclinations.
is possible that the atheists ignore what happened here because they
listen to liberal theologians who start from a materialistic base
and who have suggested that this was myth and never happened. Now
if we are students of the Bible with integrity, we do not start from
our own presuppositions, but simply take at face value what is before
us and assess it objectively. This we will seek to do.
can consider the validity of these early chapters of Genesis in two
We can consider what the rest of the Bible says about the things
We can consider what they teach us and wonder if there is any other
way we can learn these things.
What the rest of the Bible says about the early chapters Genesis
1 & 2 explain all about Creation
refers to God as Creator (Gen 14:22)
spoke of Him as Creator (Deut 32:6)
psalms speak of His creating work in an historical sense (see Psa
referred to His creating works (see Prov 8)
prophets spoke of Him as Creator (e.g. Isa 40:28)
the N.T. the apostle John starts with this (Jn 1:3)
apostle Paul taught it (e.g. Col
the end, the Revelation of John still declares it (see Rev
Adam and Eve as historical figures
Luke takes his genealogy of Jesus back to Adam (Lk 3:38)
clearly taught about Adam in an historical context (see Rom 5:14,
1 Cor 15:22,45,
1 Tim 2:13,14)
also made historical reference to Adam (Jude 1:14)
Paul refers to Eve (see 2 Cor 11:3, 1 Tim 2:13)
Satan – as the Serpent
Gospel writers refer to Satan (e.g. Mt 4:10, Mk 1:13 etc.)
referred to Satan (e.g. Mt 12:26,
referred to his activity here (2 Cor 11:3)
Other figures from the early chapters
of the N.T. writers identify Cain in historical contexts (see Heb
11:4, 1 Jn 3:12,
Abel (see Mt 23;35, Lk 11:51,
Heb 11:4, 12:24 )
identified Enoch (see Lk 3:37)
as did the writer to the Hebrew (Heb 11:5) and Jude (Jude 1:14)
referred to Noah and the flood in an historical context (Mt 24:37,38)
all these examples in mind and remember Paul's description of the
Old Testament: “God-breathed”
(2 Tim 3:16)
The lessons from these passages
the early chapters of Genesis (and the many other references to them
that we have briefly mentioned above) and we have no understanding
- about how the world came to be,
and are left with chance and meaninglessness,
- of the nature of the world as God
made it – perfect,
- of how it came to change – the Fall,
- of the responsibilities of mankind,
- of the work of Satan,
- of the wonder of God's love, grace
and mercy here.
this, perhaps, the reason there has been such an attack on these chapters
by materialistic, atheistic liberals?
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The Existence and General Role of Satan
what about Satan? Why did God make him and why did He allow
him into the Garden of Eden? A wider reading of the Bible clearly
indicates that this serpent that we find in Genesis 3 is indeed
Satan, a fallen angel. Why did God make angels if He knew that
some of them would rebel against Him and be cast out of heaven?
Satan's role in the Bible essential
For the sake of space I will not justify these descriptions of what
happened, which are there in scripture, but simply move on to consider
the ‘why' of it all. If you are not a Christian and not concerned
with Satan's role in God's plans, you may want to jump to the end
of this section – but please note the conclusion at the end.
is clear from the Bible that God USES Satan
for His own purposes. The following are some of those purposes
as shown in the Bible
God USES Satan
will need to look up each of the references in your own Bible to catch
the full meaning.
To reveal men's hearts
Chron 21:1 Satan rose up against Israel and incited David to
take a census of Israel – he was to reveal David's underlying sin
of pride – in the parallel verses (2 Sam 24:1) it is seen as God
who was behind it (to deal with the sin).
To bring judgement on unbelievers
9:11 They had as king
over them the angel of the Abyss, whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon,
and in Greek, Apollyon. (both names mean “Destroyer”).
To bring discipline to believers
Cor 5:5 by putting this sinful believer out of the church's
protection, it enabled Satan to come against him and humble him
and bring him to repentance.
To subjugate unbelievers
Jn 5:19b the whole world is under the control of the evil one.
is allowed to rule where there is unconfessed sin, i.e. over unbelievers.
To maintain humility in our lives
of the key things God does with his children is to seek to develop
character in them. As pride is always lurking, sometimes God
allows us to be attacked so that we maintain our reliance upon Him
and realise that of ourselves we are nothing.
Cor. 12:7 Because Paul received wonderful revelations from
God, to keep him from getting puffed up, he was given a thorn in
the flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment him and keep him from
To develop faith & righteousness in our lives
is one of the key elements God wants to develop in our lives, and
so often He does this by allowing us to encounter trying circumstances
where our faith is both revealed and developed. Similarly,
such testing times are to reveal and bring about greater righteousness
Peter 1:7 – trials are testings, and testings reveal our faith
– such revelation of our faith brings honour in heaven.
Peter 5:8-9 – Satan seeks to attack us, but we are to learn
Peter 1:4-8 – the testing of our faith develops our lives in
To bring about trials whereby we can be rewarded
trials, that involve Satan, make us rely upon God, His word and
His Spirit and so the outcome of the battles we fight is that we
appreciate Him, His word and His Spirit more and more.
blesses the people who patiently endure testing – testing develops
us and God blesses through it.
John 2:13,14 – it is a battle with Satan which we can win with
God's word, and as we battle we rely on that word more and more.
John 4:1-6 – our battle is also with Satan's agents; we are
to overcome in the mind and we overcome by the Holy Spirit within
us, as we overcome we realise the wonder of who it is within us
more and more.
2:17 – our reward, as we overcome Satan's attacks, will be
intimacy with Christ.
2:26-28 – as we obey Jesus and have the victory so he is preparing
us to take authority, both in this world and the next.
To teach us how to fight
we face such trials we learn how to overcome.
3:2 God did this only to teach warfare to the descendants
of the Israelites who had not had previous battle experience.
grew in their knowledge
of the Lord and how to fight as they opposed the enemy. We do the
same in the spiritual sphere.
To demonstrate God's power over the enemy
need reminding who is who in the battle. Jesus IS Lord!
His intent was that now, through
the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known
to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms.
we triumph God is glorified in the heavens.
1:21-27 As Jesus cast out a demon God was glorified.
13:6-12 As Saul triumphs over Elymas God was glorified.
So, to reiterate, it is clear from the
Bible that God USES Satan for His own purposes,
and they are mostly corrective! Remember that
is the primary goal behind much of God's dealings with sinful men
– to correct them, bring them to their senses, so they return to a
place of relationship with God where they can receive His blessing.
We'll see later how significant
that blessing is.
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The Work of God through Satan in the Garden
God uses Satan
Satan was apparently not created for these express purposes, God takes
and uses his rebellion for His purposes. As Joseph once said to his
brothers who had intended to harm him:
intended to harm me but God intended it for good to accomplish what
is now being done, the saving of many lives.”
it is that in this fallen world where Sin dominates, Satan is allowed
access for the sake of God's overall purposes. The story of Job
is the classic instance of this.
supreme overriding principle that comes out in these considerations,
and which complies completely with what we have suggested in
Chapter 10 when discussing the judgment of God, is that God
uses Satan to bring correction to a faulty situation.
used Satan in Eden to reveal weaknesses
‘used' in Eden
why was Satan allowed access to the Garden of Eden and to Eve? If
God uses him, what was God aiming to do through him here? It was,
we suggest, to reveal a number of things,
which come out in chapter 3 of Genesis:
fact that we have the capability to make responsible choices,
fact that our choices have consequences which we have to live with,
vulnerability of the hearts of Eve & Adam to temptation,
immaturity of the couple who had not yet learned to rely upon God,
taking for granted the love of God which they had experienced in
immaturity and inability to take responsibility, but instead make
same things apply equally to us today!)
when the temptation comes, when Satan came with improper and faulty
suggestions to her:
did not respond with a reference to offending God who clearly loved
them so much, and
did not call to God for help.
God appeared later on, they hid and did not openly come to Him acknowledging
what had happened. Of course God knew this, but Adam and Eve and future
generations (right up to this minute) needed to face the truth which
is that without God:
are vulnerable to getting it wrong and
strong enough to resist temptation AND
take God's love for granted!
way or another, we aren't revealed in a very good light!
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Recapping God's Goodness
need to take a few steps back if we are to catch something of
the reality of this situation. To appreciate something of the
awfulness of what happened, we need to look again at God's goodness.
God's goodness in Eden
God's provision for mankind:
saw all that he had made, and it was very good.
God's assessment of the world He had made was that is was “very good”
then it was VERY good! And this
was after the account of how He brought into being the world we know:
God said, "I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of
the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They
will be yours for food.
our possible surprise, God's original provision for mankind was that
they should eat from natural products – NOT meat. But He speaks about
EVERY plant and fruit and the implication is what modern biologists
and horticulturalists tell us, that there are incredible numbers and
varieties of edible plant life. It was an abundant provision.
But the provision didn't stop there. In chapter 2 there is further
explanation and more is said about this provision:
the LORD God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground--trees
that were pleasing to the eye and good for food
perhaps take this food provision for granted, so used are we to it,
but note the description: “pleasing
to the eye and good for food.” There is nothing
‘grey' about this provision; it is lavish, abundant, colourful and
good! But it is not only food in the provision from God. He made man
LORD God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone. I will
make a helper suitable for him."
has a social concern for the man on his own – he needs company,
he needs someone to complement him – so the Lord creates Eve.
also see later on that God Himself visited the couple daily;
they knew His presence with them.
about God's provision in Eden was excellent!
about this says that God couldn't have done any more in His good provision
for them. He has made them in His own image which, we saw in chapter
4, meant that He gave them the abilities
to communicate, think, plan, reason, invent, create, write, work,
order, purpose and enter into the fullness of what they were designed
to be, or put another way, He
has given us self-consciousness, imagination and conscience, and ability.
conclusion of this brief consideration is that God's love was clearly
revealed to Adam and Eve through His wonderful provision for them
in so many ways:
the capabilities He gave them,