One of the issues facing the Western church is that we have institutionalized Christianity as a religion rather than lifting up the person of Jesus Christ. Those within the church need to revisit the person of Jesus, whose sharpest reprimands were for those self-righteous persons. Jesus never turned his back on a person expressing a need.
Paul challenged us with this comment, "For me to live is Christ, and to
die is gain" (Philippians 1:21). Christians are challenged to judge
those within the church rather than those outside of the church (see
First Corinthians chapter five). Those of us within the church must
remember it is our responsibility to be witnesses of what God has done
for us and allow the Holy Spirit to do the convicting (See John
04“You will not surely die,” the serpent said to the woman.
05“For God knows that the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened,
and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
Genesis 03:04-05 (N.I.V.)
All one needs to know about the human dilemma is found in these two verses. Often the focus is placed on the sin and the ensuing fall. Satan tells the truth and in so doing, is able to deceive Eve.
Adam and Eve have much to learn at this time in a similar way an infant lacks cognizance. As a mother prepares everything for her baby, God created a pristine environment for the first man and woman to exist with a healthy life. The sole secret to their survival was living in relationship with God – nothing more and nothing less.
Satan came with strong evidence that God’s warning lacked complete accuracy. He simply told Eve, “Look at me, I rebelled against God and do I look dead to you. Does something dead talk and move about?” This would be a convincing argument to persuade someone against what God had told them.
The first issue is that Adam and Eve had no perspective about life and death. Until Eve is confronted, “death” was simply an abstract warning, they would have been unsure as to its implications. Satan, who had worked in God’s sphere, did know the difference and used their ignorance against them.
Verse five is the curse that afflicts human beings to this day. Satan subtlety changes intimacy with God from relationship to religion. Christianity emphasizes living in relationship with God through the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ. Religion emphasizes human beings attempting to discern between what is right and what is wrong. To correct the broken relationship, Satan offers broken humanity the idea that with their effort they can correct the severed position that they had enjoyed.
Indeed human beings eyes were opened and Satan spoke the truth, they now knew good and evil, right and wrong. The undiscovered aspect that confuses human beings is that Satan states that people will know both good and evil. He does not promise us that we will be able to discern between the two.
The brilliance of God is this; God gives the Hebrew people a religion. Christians miss the nuance of this. The truth of the matter is that Christians strive to abide by some aspect of the Law rather than living in the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ.
Satan is the one who wants people to live by religion, as human discernment of right and wrong becomes the determining factor in how one chooses to live. God gives the Hebrew people a religion to show them that they are unable to live to God’s standard. The Hebrew Religion is not given to save people but to show them the fallacy of human attempts at living to please God (see Paul’s discussion in Romans 07:04-13).
Through the law we see the human inability to live, as we should before a Holy God. God expresses to a broken and fallen humanity that there is need of a saving force to reestablish the relationship that was broken in Adam and Eve’s action.
Being "called out ones" gives a different perspective on what we identify as the "church". Rather than gathering in our temples and cathedrals, we are as the Seals in the Navy. We remain in the world but we are expected to perform at a much higher level.
Rather than focusing on programs and activities, the main emphasis should be impacting those who are hurting, no matter what the reason. All to often we recognize people for their God given skill and entertainment value than their involvement with the broken, impoverished, and alienated people.
Genesis 1:27 states that human beings are "created" in the image of God. One of the issues that might be considered is what does it mean to be created in the image of God. The Bible also states that God created human beings in two genders, which implies until finite time that which had existed, and that had been created was without gender.
It seems that a possible conclusion from this is that it takes two genders to reveal a more complete picture of God. If one generalizes the attributes of both genders, one notices that certain characteristics are more prevalent in one gender than the other. Without taking into consideration the traits of both, one may have a limited view of the totality that is God.
A final observation is that when it states that human beings are created in the image of God, one must look outside of the confines of the physical universe. As the Apostle John tells readers, "God is spirit and those who worship God, must worship God in spirit and in truth" (John 4:24), one may begin to grasp the significance of being created in the image of God. If one thinks about it from this perspective, then the way human beings are created in God's image is that people are separated from the remainder of the animal kingdom because each person receives from God the Spirit.