Monday, October 10, 2011

Chapter 2 of The World-Tilting Gospel, by Dan Phillips

So now that we've seen some examples of bad or incorrect worldviews, Dan takes us back to the very beginning in Chapter 2.  "To assemble a worldview based on God's truth rather than the world's lies or our hearts' self-serving deceptions, we must begin at the beginning - as in, 'In the beginning.'"  We see that the first three chapters of Scripture "convey an intense concentration of foundational revelation that is breathtaking in its depth and scope.  It is here that we first encounter the truth of God, His nature, His word, His creation, and His plan for all the ages."  Sounds like pretty important stuff, huh?  I can't stress how important this is to understanding the truth of Who God is and who we are.  So many people have done damage to proper theology by not looking at Genesis 1-3 as being literal history and trying to say it is allegory.  As Dan states, if we get these verses "fundamentally wrong...we get everything else wrong." (emphasis mine)  He sets out to hit these three highlights from these three chapters:
  1. Man's preparation
  2. Man's probation
  3. Man's prostration
First, we have to understand why it is that God put us here.  As we read through the first chapter of Genesis, we see God building upon His creation day by day and the days have parallels that the text of this book works through.  Dan brings out the details of these parallels in order to work up to the "crowning act of creation", and then shows the importance of the creation of man in God's image.  We also see that God tells Adam and Eve to multiply and fill the earth and subdue it...God gives them dominion over all of the life on the earth as well.  And God has prepared man to follow God's command...all they have to do is obey.

That brings us to man's probation.  We've seen what God has told man to do - "Multiply, subdue, chow down."  And he could eat from any tree in the garden except for one.  Dan paints a picture of how good this fruit must have been because there were none of the after-effects of chemicals, no rotting, and I'm thinking that they were no throw-aways.  As for the one tree not to be eaten from, there have been many speculations as to what this tree was and Dan lays waste to a couple of popular ones.  Regardless of what the fruit itself was, it is true that eating of this tree is rebellion and "the tree represented autonomy, the illusion of self-rule."  The point is made that we will never really know what would have happened if Adam and Eve (and all of us) had chosen to listen to God.

And who do they (and we) decide to listen to instead?  The serpent!  We all know the conversation here, but Dan draws out a point from the original language that English just doesn't show us.  I'd tell you, but I want you to read the book and find out for yourself.  Needless to say, the Serpent knew the weak spot to go after and didn't face much resistance in his efforts.  Satan says God wasn't telling the truth and that man could be like God if they ate from the tree.  Dan makes a good point of how people tell this lie today in the following ways:
  • You aren't realizing your potential
  • You aren't fully actualized
  • You aren't authentic
  • You aren't having your best life now
  • You are trapped by legalistic myths about God
  • You should fulfill your destiny
Any of this sound familiar?  This is one of the reasons that I am glad Dan wrote this book...he takes on all of these types of sentiments and takes them back to their origin.  Too many people are unwilling to take a strong enough stand against the false teachers in the world today and so many are being led astray.  And they are facing the same punishment that God told Adam and Eve they would face for eating from the forbidden tree - eternal death.  Dan also takes the time to deal with the objections that it is not fair for God to mete out this punishment to us when we didn't choose Adam and Eve to represent us and we didn't get the chance to make the decision.  And I can't think of a better argument than he puts forth here.  So we see that man has disobeyed God and now is facing the punishment that God had already promised.

So man is supposed to die, right?  Then why are Adam and Eve still breathing?  What gives?  Well, it all depends on what is meant by dying.  The Bible speaks of both spiritual and physical life and death.  Dan pulls from Scripture and adds more depth to the definitions and helps us to see that Adam and Even did dies the moment they ate that fruit, but it just isn't the same picture of death that most of us have.  When you look at the spiritual ramifications, it is pretty grim.  Look at how Adam reacted when God appears in the garden...he hides from God...which is quite silly when you really think about it - you can't be hidden from God.  This is Adam's Creator, with Whom he had enjoyed fellowship and from Whom he received dominion over the rest of the world.  Also, Dan shows that offending God has become acceptable in the eyes of man and then lists the following implications (but in much better detail):
  • God no longer rules man
  • God's glory is not central, but self-preservation
  • Man's perception of God is inadequate
  • Man is evasive about sin
  • Adam blames God
So we see how man reacted...and then we see God's reaction in His response.  Amazingly, He shows grace and promises that He "will send a second Man, a las Adam, to win out where they so miserably failed."  God also lays out the curses on man and the earth for this sin and Adam and Eve are left to deal with the consequences, which we still face today. 

So we now see the wonder of creation and "have learned what the world does not know: what it means to be human."  We can also see how everything went wrong and how far man fell in that short instant of time.  So what about us?  How does this all affect us thousands of years later.  As Dan suggests, "Read on."

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