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Archive for February, 2012

At first Adam called the woman God created “Ishshah.” We don’t know what language Adam actually spoke, but that’s how it’s been passed to us through the Hebrew. At present, we can’t go back to any older language for information. “Ishshah,” is Hebrew for “Woman.” That name in Genesis 2:23 doesn’t seem to us to be very personal, but to Adam it was. She was the first woman, and they were “one flesh.”

“Ishshah,” with the same spelling, also has another meaning, but it has proved difficult to research. It is listed in Strong’s Hebrew Dictionary (#801), but apparently not in Strong’s Concordance, and I can’t spend any more time on it right now. Most English Bible versions translate Ishshah as the phrase, “offering (or sacrifice) made by fire.”

Another word “Eshshah,” (#800) is the feminine form of a Hebrew word (Esh) for fire. I know there are exceptions, but women seem by nature to be more self-sacrificing creatures than men, especially toward their children. They share something special with God in the giving of life. My own mother was the most selfless person I’ve ever known, and others would say the same thing of their mothers. That’s probably the main reason for the Biblical link between the word “woman,” and a “fire offering.”

The name “Eve,” which means “life-giving”, implies being sacrificial beyond simply having a child. Genesis 3:20, and surrounding verses, sound as if Adam gave her this name around the time they left Eden. “Eve,” comes to us from the Greek “Eua,” which in turn comes from the Hebrew “Chavvah.” Genesis 3:20 tells us that Adam called her Chavvah because she was the mother of all human life (“Chay” is “life” in Hebrew). The interpretation of her name is given to us right in the verse.

Genesis 4:1 says, “Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain…” Various versions of the Script say this somewhat differently, but the meaning is the same. I think the archaic expression “knew,” conveys a broader meaning than more modern wording.

I assume that quite a bit of time passed from the creation of Adam and Eve until Cain was conceived. Genesis 1:27-28 tells us that after creating Adam and Eve, God blessed them saying, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth…” Everything that God created was intended to be a blessing.¬†Based on the fact that God instructed them to reproduce, I think it’s safe to say that Adam and Eve also “knew” each other in a physical sense before eating from the Tree of Knowledge, but that Eve did not conceive until afterward.

Contrary to Genesis 1:28, some churches teach the opposite. I think that’s one reason so many fail to recognize that the forbidden fruit had something to do with the interpretation of all knowledge, and not only one aspect of it. That failure allows the serpent a great deal of wiggle room. It gives him more leverage to twist that which was meant for a blessing into something much less. Many times in life, it’s difficult to tell where the blessing ends, and the curse begins.

When questioned about divorce in Matthew 19:3-6, Jesus reasserted the original intention for male and female, “…they are no longer two but one flesh.” Later in that section (19:14) he said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” Think of these things in terms of love, and not of laws and rules. God continues to desire the best for us, and the greatest possible nurture for our children.

I’m borrowing these thoughts from the song “One Way,” by the late Larry Norman. God wants to take “children of the land,” raise us out of the dust, and transform us into “children of the sky.” God wanted to allow us to share in the creation of children of heaven.

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“Cursed is the ground because of you; in toil you will eat of it… thorns and thistles it will bear… till you return to the ground, for from it you were taken…” That which is termed a curse in Genesis 3:17-19, would be classified by Evolutionism as “survival of the fittest.” Man was persuaded by the serpent that things didn’t have to be as God said; all of creation has now drifted into a struggle for survival because of that. Chance and change are results, and not the original causes.

Evolutionists think that the struggle was going on for millions of years before man, and that man arose out of if. That view flatly contradicts the Script. If that were true, then the earth was cursed to begin with, and was not “very good,” as Genesis calls it. God didn’t desire change, but he must allow man to get a taste of it.

A woman must now go through a lot of pain to give birth to a child. That’s a unique aspect of the curse that they alone experience, but they endure it because of the blessing in it. It seems kind of strange that God didn’t use the word “curse” when speaking directly to the woman in Genesis 3:16.

When 1st. Timothy 2:15 speaks of a woman being saved by childbirth, that doesn’t mean that women must bear children to be saved. It means that in anticipating a child, and in the painful birth process, women often come to identify with God. They gain a better understanding of God’s own pain and longing for us. They can better understand the cross of Jesus, which is symbolically compared to childbirth (John 16:21, and Isaiah 53:10-11).

That may partially explain why more women than men attend church, and why greater percentages of them become Christians. Eve was the first deceived; it could easily have been the other way around, but that’s just the way it happened. The part Adam played was more deliberate. He may have accepted the forbidden fruit from Eve partially because of his love for her. Oh well; all for one, and one for all.¬†Now however, more males than females remain under deception, continuing to reject Jesus. “Man is the measure of all things,” or so he has come to think.

Before Adam and Eve departed from Eden, God clothed them in garments of skin (Genesis 3:?). I don’t think we can grasp the seriousness of that occasion. I absolutely think the correct interpretation of the Script is that death did not exist before Adam and Eve. Now all creatures experience death because of man, and not only the creatures, but the creator also. Believe it or not, the “Lamb of God,” the only “begotten” son of God, has died for us. We’re all in this together.

The eating of meat was not “sanctioned” by the Script until after the flood of Noah. Creation was originally intended to be vegetarian. The post-flood world was a much less hospitable place for life, and many people became hunter-gatherers to keep from starving. Many of these tribes retained a vague concept of sacrifice. It was a commonly held belief that animals sacrificed themselves for man.

It shouldn’t have been a great leap of faith to understand instead, that God sacrificed everything for the survival of man. That is, he permitted man, for lack of a better word, to take the life of animals, in order to live. It isn’t far from there, to grasping that God has given his life for our lives. He has been more adversely affected by the curse of change than you and I (Galatians 3:13). He has seen it all.

The departure from Eden was like a death in itself. I’m sure that YHWH Elohim felt nailed there even then, watching Adam and Eve leave their garden. He is (ref. Revelation 13:8) the “Lamb, slain from the foundation of the world.”

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There were two trees in the midst of the garden of Eden; the tree of knowledge, and the tree of life. There was no prohibition against eating from the tree of life. Adam and Eve could have chosen life instead of unbridled knowledge. God continues to offer us a choice, but if man thinks he can create Utopia through knowledge, then he had better think again.

The word “utopia,” can mean either “good place,” or “no place.” There is no such thing as paradise without God, no matter how desperately it’s wanted. I understand that we must try to make our world a better place. Without hope, and without a dream, we resign ourselves to fatalism. Our dreams, and our buildings are fragile though. Someone is always tearing them down to make room for something bigger. Mans attempts to build a more utopian society have led to much violence over the course of history.

I can’t help but see the contrast between my poor paradise, and the Paradise of God. I once thought that you could obtain some measure of success if you would work. I still recommend work, but it takes more than that. Then there’s the promise of education. Some say you’ve got to work smarter, not harder. There’s truth in that also, but no guarantee. It’s hard to weigh the risks against the cost.

God understands that we need hope, but also that it must be in him. Dreams that aren’t grounded in reality ultimately do us more harm than good. Jeremiah 29:11 (NKJV), “I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” God has a dream for each of us, but we must choose to go with him. We can’t keep running the other way.

Some interpret Genesis 2:5-6 to mean there was no rain until the time of Noah. I’m not certain of that interpretation, but it is possible that the river of Eden welled up from a great underground source. God created a paradise for man along the river, and the tree of life was in the midst of the garden, along with the tree of knowledge (Genesis 2:9). God barred Adam and Eve from Eden, not only to protect paradise from man, but ultimately to keep it for them. The geographical area of Eden was later destroyed by Noah’s flood.

Revelation 22:7, speaks of the “tree of life in the midst of the paradise of God.” The river flowing through the paradise of God (Revelation 22:1-2) springs from “the throne of God, and of the Lamb.” The tree of life grows along both sides of the river. The garden of Eden was designed following the same basic pattern as the new paradise of God will be. In the new paradise however, knowledge will only grow to its proper height. The days of mindless experimentation will be past.

There were two criminals crucified along with Jesus. Initially, both of them mocked Jesus, as did most of the crowd gathered there. As the excruciating day wore on, something changed the mind of one of them (Luke 23:42-43). Something convinced him that Jesus really was “the Lamb of God.” He decided, as I have, that he would love to have a king like Jesus. Since there is no one else like him; it must be him.

So, how do we reach the tree of life in the paradise of God? The one criminal finally stood up for Jesus against the other (about as well as he could stand in his circumstances). He said to Jesus, “Lord, remember me when you come into your kingdom,” and Jesus answered, “…today, you will be with me in Paradise.” Revelation 22:17, “…Let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely.”

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If a tree once existed that would have enabled Adam and Eve to live forever, then it’s possible that science could stumble upon some secret that would have a similar effect. Scientists have suggested that someday we may gain the knowledge to “extend our lives indefinitely,” so the Bible and science are in general agreement about the possibilities. They predict the same things, but a different overall outcome.

These things are not as fantastic as they may sound. I’m mentioning them because I don’t want anyone to be caught by surprise if science stumbles upon some secret of life, previously known only to God. Often, even the church is unquestionably accepting of science. For example, many would reject a “supernatural” appearance of Antichrist, but wouldn’t recognize him in the guise of science.

Man wants knowledge, but he wants to be the one who decides between right and wrong for himself. We fuss and fight all the time over that very thing. Man wants knowledge without God. Man wants love, but he thinks that to be loved is to be worshipped. Man wants things the way he wants them, and not the way they should be. He wants to be loved, but he fails to love.

Man wants paradise for himself, and thinks that everyone else messes it up. Man wants life, and he will kill to get it. He wants life without God. Man wants freedom, but he doesn’t want freedom for God. Man has nailed the hands and feet of God to a tree. Just as the people around us get dragged into our mess, so does God, and sometimes Jesus gets in the way of what people want to do.

We think that he’s interfering with our quest for life, but it’s actually just the opposite. He said that he had come so that we could have life. Most often, when the word “tree” appears in the New Testament, the original Greek word was either “dendron,” or “suke.” Some verses say that Jesus was crucified on a cross (Greek “stauros”), and a few verses such as Acts 5:30 use the word “tree.” It’s just saying the same thing in a different way, but using the word “tree” allows some added symbolism.

The Greek word for “tree” in these verses is “Xulon,” which usually refers to something made from the wood of a tree, as is a cross. That draws my attention to something else. The expression, “Tree of Life,” is rarely used in the New Testament (Revelation 2:7, 22:2, 22:14, and some manuscripts 22:19). Xulon is the Greek word that’s translated as “tree” in each of those verses. He was crucified on a “Xulon,” and it is the “Xulon of Life.”

In Eden, man ate from the Tree of Knowledge (“Ets Daath” in the Hebrew), and began trusting in his own knowledge. Man lost the way to the Tree of Life. The antidote to believing in man, is to believe in Jesus (the) Christ. His cross (his death) is the way to life. Death has bruised his heel (Genesis 3:15). The heel that was so bruised, scrubbing against the wood of the cross, will someday crush the head of Death (literal death, but also Daath, or man’s knowledge).

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