Series on Genesis,I God's creation, J The Conflict of Creation, Text:3:9-14.Title: An Environment of Hostility.

Introduction

We've seen the beauty and wisdom of God reflected in His creation and we have seen the entrance of sin and death into that creation. We want to focus now on another of the negative effects of Adam's disobedience. Last message we looked at death. Now we look at hostility. All of man's vain strivings for peace, all the wars and rumors of wars, come back to roost at this text. Failure to see this only results in more failure and disappointment which is what we read in the newspapers everyday. When the ministry of Teen Challenge can operate in Philadelphia successfully rescuing youth from drugs, and crime and multimillion dollar government programs fail: and when organizations like Bethany Christian Services can do more to help unmarried pregnant girls, and hurting families and unwanted children than the well-funded agencies of the government, then we know that the real problem is spiritual and if we do not go back to Genesis we will forever fail.

I Conflict with the Creator V.9-11

In verses 9-11 we read, But the LORD God called to the man, “Where are you?” He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.” And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?” God’s question elicits a confession of fear on Adam’s part. Once he enjoyed and delighted in God, now he is afraid. The fear is born of enmity. God's friendship is betrayed. If you eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the midst of the garden you will surely die and the covenant of friendship will be broken. Adam’s fear is a tax his conscience pays to guilt and a symptom of his estrangement.  Fear is the most misunderstood emotion in the Bible. Sometimes people say Christians are never to fear God. Others suggest that Christians fear God but it is not a real fear.  These oversimplifications only confuse the issue. The fear of God is based not on our state, but on his person. We fear him because of who He is. This fear relates directly to our subjective grasp of our standing before him. First of all, unbelievers fear God’s wrath as Adam did. According to Exodus 15 the conquest of Canaan was successful because the fear of God fell upon the inhabitants. Believers who know God also experience fear. First of all they experience fear because of the greatness of God's power and holiness, and this fear is pleasing to the Lord. Psalm 34 commands this. Fear the Lord you his saints. This fear yields obedience. Secondly believers fear God because of what he is able to do to them temporally. God may save us eternally and yet punish us in this life. In Acts 5 when Ananias and Sapphira are struck dead, it says, Great fear seized the whole church. Neither of these fears paralyze us. They are genuine, but they are seen in the context of God’s grace. When general George Patton was commended for his bravery in battle in World War II, he said he was not brave, he was a craven coward. He never went into battle without shaking like a leaf, and sweating like a horse. He said later in his autobiography, I learned early in life never to take counsel of my fears. He had the right context for his fear. But, lastly, even believers may experience fear of the final judgment because of the weakness of their faith. The neglect of the means of grace, sin, and grieving of the Holy Spirit lead to a weakening of our assurance. We are told to give diligence to make our calling and election sure. When we fail to do this we may question our own faith. Indeed we ought to question it and redouble our efforts. II Corinthians 7:1 says that, for believers, holiness is perfected out of the fear of God. On the other hand, fear makes the world suppress the knowledge of God, deny his truth and persecute His people. The only answer to this is peace between God and man. In Ephesians 2:16-18 Paul speaks of the mission of Christ in these words, His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace,  and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.

II Conflict with the Companion


The immediate consequence of conflict with God is conflict with one another, for we read in verse 12, The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.” Adam accepting no responsibility, blames Eve. What a terrible wedge is instantly driven between them. How the bliss of their love is rent asunder by these words, and when we read on to the curse that God lays upon Eve's life we discover that what is in view is that the ordained lordship of her husband will become oppressive, verse  16, To the woman he said...Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you. John Trapp reminds us, “The devil loves to fish in troubled waters.”  And so, Cain slew Abel because God did not accept his sacrifice. And, Lamech his descendant boasted over his murders, and the wickedness of man became so great that God destroyed the earth with the flood in the days of Noah. Still that enmity persisted in the heart of man so that in Genesis 14 in the life of Abraham we discover a lengthy account of war. All of the marriage problems, social ills and conflicts between men come back to this scripture. If God is not our friend then those who are made in his image are not our friends either. When the Quaker sect began it was opposed by the Puritans. The great Puritan preacher Richard Baxter wrote a pamphlet in which he lumped the Quakers with “drunkards, swearers, whore mongers, and sensual wretches” and other “miserable creatures.” and then—just in case he had not yet insulted them enough—he insisted that Quakers are no better than “papists.” The Quaker leader James Naylor announced that he was compelled “by the Spirit of Jesus Christ” to respond to these harsh accusations. He proceeded to characterize his Puritan opponent as a “serpent,” a “liar,” and “child of the devil,” a “cursed hypocrite,” and a “dumb dog.” This came from pious men. No one is immune. We cannot learn to relate to one another unless we first relate to our creator and then behave like his friends. The answer to this is found in the Prince of Peace of Isaiah 9. In Isaiah 65 his kingdom is described The wolf and the lamb will feed together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox, but dust will be the serpent’s food. they will neither hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, says the Lord.

III  Conflict with the Creation

In verses 13 and 14 Eve identifies the serpent as responsible for the transgression, Then the LORD God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” So the LORD God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, “Cursed are you above all the livestock and all the wild animals! You will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life. We are all familiar with the expression, the devil made me do it. Though he is a powerful and crafty enemy he cannot change our hearts. Ultimately sin must come from us. Satan can create all the conditions conducive to sin but not the sin itself. What we need to see is that Eve’s statement is the parent of all modern sociological theory. People become criminals, drug addicts, families become dysfunctional, laziness becomes epidemic, and all of this happens because of the environment, they say. The environment is an overwhelming inducement. and people need our compassion, but in the end it is the people that sin not the environment, and so there is a war with creation. Romans 8:20-22 says, for the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope  that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. C.S. Lewis wrote, “Nature never taught me that there exists a God of glory and of infinite majesty. I had to learn that in other ways. But nature gave the word glory a meaning for me.” Even in a fallen world the Bible says the heavens declare the glory of God and the skies proclaim the work of His hands, yet the curse is so pervasive it affects every aspect of our lives. The curse in Genesis does not say that only the serpent is cursed, but that he is cursed above all others. So even micro-organisms are affected by this curse, and the environment becomes difficult and dangerous to man. And, because man is a sinner he aggravates the problem by pollution, and it is a vicious circle. Again the only answer to this conflict is the Prince of Peace. I saw two well known films, “Dances with Wolves ,” and “Last of the Mohicans.”  Hollywood is bent on teaching us that the Indian had the answer. In his religion like the religions of the far east  man is one with his environment. They may have managed some aspects of the environment better, but friends, they were savages killing and murdering one another and fighting endless wars before a white man ever stepped foot on this continent. Christ is the answer because with the removal of sin comes the new world of Isaiah 11 which is introduced by the messiah. He is the fruitful branch from the stump of Jesse, David’s son, who delights in the fear of the Lord and then in verses 6-9 we read,  The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them.  the cow will feed with the bear, their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox. The infant will play near the hole of the cobra, and the young child put his hand into the viper’s nest. They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain, for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the lord  as the waters cover the sea. In that day the root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples; the nations will rally to him, and his place of rest will be glorious.

Conclusion

A new heavens, a new earth, is born out of the cross and it is glorious. Our existence on this planet will always be characterized by conflict until the Prince of Peace returns. I think we should try to minimize the effects of our enmity with God, but let's keep our priorities straight. The conflict will not be terminated by congressional laws, or middle east peace talks, or marriage counsellors. It will terminate when the Savior comes again and our first task will always be to help people find Him who is our peace.