At Faith Baptist Church we went through a short series in Genesis, spanning through the first three chapters. The beginning of the Bible I’ve always found thrilling. God’s absolute power is placed on full display as He divides light, darkness, sea, earth, and sky. His intentionality is seen in the union of bird and sky, fish and sea, beast and earth, man and woman. There is so much activity in these opening chapters. I always find myself gripped with excitement.
During our time in Genesis I found something beautiful for the first time. After the heavens and the earth are established God blesses Adam and Eve with His law. Many of us don’t consider law a blessing, but that is it’s exact function in the garden of Eden. In Genesis 1:27-30 God informs Adam and Eve that they are to enjoy one another and have children, extend the garden, rule over the living creatures, and eat the food of the land. Later in Genesis 2:17 God’s law warns that death will come if one eats from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Every instruction given to the first couple were invitations to a life of flourishing: build a family, rule over the animals, eat off the land, avoid death.
There are a number of word pictures I could mention when thinking about the law. Blessing is not the first image I visualize. Law is a serious matter. In fact, Adam and Eve are severely punished for breaking God’s law. But as I keep looking at the perimeters God places around His creatures I see in greater detail how His law blesses. The Bible teaches those who are taught God’s law are blessed (Psalm 94:12). In Psalm 119, King David testifies that the Law of God comforts (vs. 52), is more valuable than gold (vs. 72), sweeter than honey (vs. 103), and blesses those who walk in them (vs. 1).
At the end of our time in Genesis I walked away with a new perspective. The law God presented to Adam and Eve were boundaries that separated joy from grief, innocence from guilt, and life from death. He desired for His children to live with Him in a beautiful paradise. However, God and His law became a restriction rather than a blessing in the eyes of Adam and Eve. Both reduced God and His law as second best and ate the forbidden fruit. As a result sin and death entered into the garden.
I find in myself, and in many others, the false notion that I can do as I please and still hold favor with God. I can give credit to His existence, acknowledge His wisdom and power. My ‘knowing things’ is enough to keep Him happy. But we know this isn’t an accurate easement of godliness. Adam and Eve knew this and they were punished. The Apostle John teaches that believers are those who love God and observe His commandments (1 John 5:2). I have found the more I work on loving the Lord, the more joy follows in obedience. What I found helpful in my journey through Genesis is God’s law is a light leading to peace, love, joy, and ultimately Himself. May we learn to love Him greater and cherish the blessing His law is to us.
In Christ by His Grace,
Pastor Daniel Lawson