Posted by: mikenicholsblog | January 1, 2015

in the beginning…

What would it be like to have just one day where everything was perfect?  A day where there was no sickness, pain or war.  A day where everyone loved each other and there was no selfishness or greed. It would have to be a day where sin was completely absent … and that isn’t going to happen.  In His time the Father will make all things right, but what once was a perfect world is now scarred.  Adam, a man who everyone knows about but very few really know, lived in that perfect world and was a perfect man.  But something happened!

A true confession … I tend to read quickly over the chapters dealing with Adam and Eve (and it has always been that way). Maybe you do too. It’s interesting because these chapters are typically read on the very first few days of most yearly Bible reading plans. Maybe it’s because the story is so familiar and we gloss over it as we look ahead to the mountain that lies ahead in the next 364 days. This year, our challenge at Journey on Word is to tell the stories of a collection of characters in the Story. We believe that their story IS our story. Adam’s life is a great way to start the year.

To understand any story, we must know the characters of that story.  Adam was “born” on the sixth day of creation.  God chose to form him from the dust of the ground.  His residence was a garden (Eden). A defining characteristic of Adam was perfection.  The first man had a job; he was put in the garden to be its caretaker. You could call him the gardener of Eden.  He was also given an incredibly unique responsibility … naming all the animals that the Lord brought before him.  Adam was blessed to reside in a garden that was perfect in every way, filled with all kinds of beautiful trees.  Two of those trees were of particular importance:  the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. They were located at the very center of this glorious garden.  Even though Adam was a perfect man living in a perfect place, there was something missing.  The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone.” God put Adam into a deep sleep and took one of his ribs. We all know who was formed from that rib, and in that sacred creative work, the institution of marriage was established.

What a life! Without a doubt, not one of us can fathom what it was like. Can you even imagine being the gardener in a place with perfect food, tending to a weed-free garden in a curse-free world?  I think not!  Understanding and defining what Adam’s life was really like is beyond our ability. His world was perfect, and his life was designed by God.  Explaining a man formed from dust, a woman formed from a rib and a man coming up with a name for every animal is too much for our finite minds to truly grasp (careful with your thoughts on that last one, ladies), but that is how God ordained  it to be as the story of creation began. How could we ever say that their story is our story when we look at Adam and Eve?

After a perfect beginning, however, something happened.  As Adam (and then Eve) lived perfect lives, God chose for them to have freedom of choice.  Remember the tree of the knowledge of good and evil?  They were not allowed to eat of it. My study has led me to believe that the fruit of this tree was denied as a test of obedience.  And people everywhere know what happened! Romans 5:12 tells us that, “sin entered the world through one man and death through sin.” A perfect world was forever changed by a single act of disobedience.  Praise God, this not how the story ends!  Jesus Christ was sent to reconcile sinful man back to God.  What grace!

So we can truthfully say Adam’s story IS our story. Adam’s story is a familiar and simple one. There was a choice to be made, and he disobeyed.  But however familiar and simple, it is a story that is fundamental to knowing who we are and Who we need.  We are confronted daily with good and evil and often fail miserably, but all Christ-followers have been redeemed and set free from the power and penalty of sin.  We can’t live in perfect world, but we have a perfect Guide to lead us until the glorious day when Christ returns and God makes all things right again!


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