Saturday, October 8, 2011

Adam and the other Adam

Two weeks ago in our deep Bible study, La Roca (The Rock), we read through the creation story (the first 4 chapters of the Bible). At one of the other Bible studies during the week, Alejandro brought up the passage in Romans 5 about Jesus being the second Adam. This got me thinking about the comparisons between Adam and Jesus, their identity, purposes, and their temptations. Here's what I learned...

So Adam and Eve are created at the beginning of the world. The first thing God does in chapter 1:28 is bless them. Then he gives them a role. They were to be fruitful and multiply. To subdue the earth and everything in it. To govern and steward EVERYTHING: the plants, the fish, the birds, the animals, everything. They also received names. Adam is literally Hebrew for "man" and may also mean "ground". Adam gave his wife her name. He called her Eve, which means "living", for she would be the mother of all living.

Here's my side note. I think names are fascinating. In the Old Testament, parents used names to prophetically speak over their children and give them an identity from birth. Some times the names were funny, like Isaac, Abraham and Sarah's son, which means "laughter" because they BOTH laughed when God told them they were going to be parents in their old age. Of course their are the tragic names, too. Just take a look at the names Leah gives to her sons born of Jacob in Genesis. You can almost hear her lamenting, her struggles, her longings in each of her sons names. When Adam and Eve received their names, they, too were receiving identity. (Another aside, just look at the name God gives himself when Moses asks by what name he should be presented as in front of Pharaoh... "I AM WHO I AM."). Okay, let's go back to the story.

Adam and Eve received a blessing, their names, and identity, and a purpose. Then enters temptation. The very next thing that happens in the story is the temptation of man. Genesis 3, the serpent is shrewd. Basically he's smart. All he does is ask a question. About the truth. About what God had just spoken over them.

"1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”
 2 The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, 3 but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’”
 4 “You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. 5 “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”"

The serpent comes in and made Eve question her identity, her blessing, and her purpose. And she gave in. We all know the can of worms that opened.

Enter Jesus. Jesus also received a blessing straight from God. In Matthew 3:13-17 recounts the story that as soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” This is weighted. Can you feel the weight of this statement? Packed in this is a blessing, an identity, and a purpose. Jesus' purpose is all over the Old Testament. So many prophecies were spoken about his coming. The book of Isaiah is full of them. Of course the one spoken in Matthew 2 by the magi is just one example, but embedded in Jesus' story. “‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.’ Jesus also received a name. Matthew 1:21-23 says "She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”(which means “God with us”). Interesting, right? Remember that thing about names? Jesus is the Greek form of the Hebrew name, Joshua, which means "The Lord Saves". He was also called Immanuel, "God with us". Hmmmm...Catching on? Jesus' identity was in his name, too.

Ok. So Jesus gets a blessing, a name, an identity, and a purpose. So what happens next? Temptation. Matthew 4. And what is Jesus tempted with first? Food. Hmmm. Interesting. He was hungry. He had been fasting. Eve was also tempted by food, but she lost there. Jesus quotes back scripture. What does Satan attack next? The identity. "Are you sure you're the son of God? Prove it." Isn't that what God had just told Jesus? You are my son, in whom I am well pleased? Just like he told Adam and Eve, You are created in my image and it is very good. Again, Jesus stands firm and uses scripture (truth) to resist. Then Satan questions Jesus' authority.

Let's step out of the story again. When God created Adam and Eve, he gave them all authority of the earth, right? All the kingdoms of the earth were under their dominion...plant, animal, human. When Satan tempted Eve he wanted her to fall in the same way he did. Satan wanted Eve to try to be like God. This is the same thing Satan (i.e., Lucifer, one of the angels created by God who lived in heaven until he was thrown down) wanted.  Isaiah 14 tells this story about when Satan was expelled from heaven (emphasis mine):

12 How you have fallen from heaven,
   morning star, son of the dawn!
You have been cast down to the earth,
   you who once laid low the nations!
13 You said in your heart,
   “I will ascend to the heavens;
I will raise my throne
   above the stars of God;
I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly,
   on the utmost heights of Mount Zaphon.
14 I will ascend above the tops of the clouds;
   I will make myself like the Most High.”
15 But you are brought down to the realm of the dead,
   to the depths of the pit.

Satan knows that the consequences of wanting to be like God, above God, greater than God is death. It's the punishment he received. He wanted Adam and Eve to experience the same.

With Jesus it was the same. In his final temptation, Satan tries to get Jesus to take a short cut in reclaiming all authority over the earth. Both Satan and Jesus knew the prophecies spoken about what Jesus had to go through to redeem the world and take back all authority over the earth. Satan was in effect offering Jesus a cop out. But Jesus did what Adam and Eve failed to do. He stood strong. And he used the truth that God had spoken over him and over his people to fight temptation.

How does this apply to our lives? God created us, right? And when we accept Jesus into our hearts and choose to be obedient to him, the Bibles says he breathes his Holy Spirit into us. At that moment, I believe he also speaks a blessing, a name, an identity, and a purpose over us. The best example of this in the New Testament is what happened with Saul (Paul), which you can read in Acts 9. Our stories may not be as dramatic as Paul's, but I believe we all have one, nonetheless. If our lives follow/mirror that of Adam/Eve and Jesus, what will happen next? Temptation. James 1:13-15 says:

"When tempted (personal note: notice is says when not if), no one should say,
“God is tempting me.”
For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone;
but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed.
Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin;
and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death."

Isn't this exactly what we saw with Eve? So the truth is, when we accept Christ into our hearts and he has breathed his identity and purpose over us, we will be tempted. But there is hope!!

"So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted,  he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it."
1 Corinthians 10:12-13.

James 1 continues in verse 2; "Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.  But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do."

The truth is we will be tempted. But we can stand firm just like Jesus did. God will provide a way out for us. We can always ask him and he will ALWAYS give us the answer we need.

What is our part in this? Know who you are. Know your identity. Know your name. What does your name mean? What does your name say about you? Know your purpose in life. Know what tempts you. If you don't know the answer to any one of these questions, ask God!! He's PROMISED you the answer!! It may take time and patience to hear God's voice if you're not familiar with listening to it or for it, but he will answer!! These answers can be used against temptation. Above all, memorize scripture. Just like Jesus did. It is soooooo useful for winning against temptation and the sneaky lies of the enemy!!!

1 comment:

  1. Hi, Julie. I am Shannon DeCourcey's mom. I've been following your blog since we decided to allow Shannon to serve in CR long-term next year. Your blog is helping me to get to know the area and people a little better. Thanks so much for sharing your heart with those of us in the States.

    I wanted you to know how much I appreciate this particular post. I lead a ladies life group at our church and this past week we were talking about our identity in Christ, so your blog entry was very timely. I shared it with the ladies so that they could read it, too.

    Thanks again for sharing. I am praying for your ministry in CR.