Gary: Welcome to Search the Scriptures 24/7, a radio ministry of The Berean Call. I’m Gary Carmichael. Thanks for tuning in! In today’s program, we begin a series of classics from our Search the Scriptures Daily archives first broadcast in 2008 with the late founder of The Berean Call, Dave Hunt, and TBC executive director Tom McMahon. This week, they address the question: How Could One Man Bring Death to Everyone? And now, here’s Tom.
Tom: Thanks, Gary. You’re tuned in to Search the Scriptures Daily, a program in which we encourage everyone who desires to know God’s truth to look to God’s Word for all that is essential for salvation and living one’s life in a way that is pleasing to Him. We have been going through Dave Hunt’s book, Seeking and Finding God: In Search of the True Faith. Currently we are in chapter nine, titled, “What Is the Gospel?” in which Dave explains the gospel of salvation. And by explain, I mean, Dave, that you give information to help people understand what man did that separated him from God forever, and what God did – and only He could do – to reconcile mankind to Himself, and of course what mankind must do to obtain the salvation that God has provided.
Dave: He has to receive it.
Tom: Exactly. We’ve been doing this for a number of weeks now, but let me recap what we’ve covered thus far. In the first chapter of Genesis, God declares that everything He created is very good - Genesis:1:31. In Genesis 2, God made Adam’s obedience critical to their relationship by commanding him not to eat the fruit of a certain tree in the garden. He told Adam that the penalty for disobeying Him would be death, that is, his physical life would come to an end and his spirit would be separated from God forever. In Genesis 3, we’re told Satan seduced Eve into disobeying God’s command, and Adam likewise disobeyed God. And last week, and this is where I want to bring us to, last week we started discussing the consequences of Adam’s and Eve’s disobedience, the separation.
Now let me read Genesis:3:7-8: “And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons. And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden.” We have separation beginning right here.
Dave: Yeah, well, Tom, let me go back just a little ways. Adam was not deceived, the Bible tells us. Eve was deceived. She was in the transgression, but Adam had a greater transgression because he knew what he was doing. Eve was deceived; Adam was not deceived. So he, with his eyes open, willingly disobeyed. We can guess about the motive. Well, he didn’t want to lose Eve, because he knew what was going to happen: they would be separated forever. And that reminds us of the fact that women have a power over men. It wasn’t just David; it was Bathsheba. What was she doing out there showing herself off, and so forth? So, the sin was not that there was something special about this tree. There was nothing special about it – we’ve discussed that in the past. It could have been an apple tree, a pear, a peach, who knows what it was? The significance was the disobedience. God said, “Don’t eat of this tree.” Eve believed the lie of the serpent – you know – the serpent has something better to offer than God has. I often tell young people, “If Satan has a better deal for you than God has, follow Satan!”
Why not? Why not take the best deal? But you would only think it was the best deal if you were badly deceived and you were looking at things from a temporary standpoint. For example, well, Christopher Hitchins, atheist, said, “When you’re dead, you’re dead. You won’t know anything. What does it matter? So just live it up.” And Richard Dawkins said, “Live life to the fullest.” Well, what is life for him? Well, you’re just a lump of protein molecules; you are nothing. He even says that it is nothing, that is, there’s no purpose, no meaning. So, here is the lie.
On the other hand, the Bible says, “It’s appointed unto man once to die, and after this the judgment.” So, which are you going to believe? Are you going to go for the bait, the pleasures of this life? Or are you going to obey God and have eternity with Him?
Tom: Dave, this separation…God is serious. He gave them the command. His standard is perfect, His justice is perfect, But this separation was something else. Well, not something else, this is the consequence of their sin.
Tom: Genesis:3:23-24: “Therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the Garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken. So He drove out the man; and he placed at the East of the Garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.”
Dave: Yeah, it’s a bit mysterious. Was there some – we said there is no magic power. There was nothing about the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil; it was the fact that you disobeyed. What happened to this tree of life? Where is it today? Well, we come back to it in the last chapter of the Bible. And man is back in the Garden, there’s the Tree of Life, there’s the Water of Life – the river of the Water of Life flowing out of the throne of God and of the Lamb.
But let’s go back again, if we can, just a little bit. What was so bad about being naked? Why did they know they were naked? I mean, they were naked before, weren’t they? I think the only explanation we can have is that Adam and Eve were perfect beings, without sin, made in the image of God, and they were to reflect the glory of God. I believe there was like a glow of glory about these two beings that were created by God, and here they are, suddenly, wow! Nothing like this has ever been seen, and the angels don’t have that kind of a glory. I think that their sense of nakedness was, suddenly they lost that. It wasn’t physical nakedness so much. They had lost something that they had before. And now, what are you going to do? You’re going to cover it with fig leaves? Try to hide your nakedness? No, that’s not the problem.
So anyway, it’s just symptomatic of what man has been trying to do all the time: they are trying to cover up their nakedness. But there’s no way you can cover the nakedness, and one day we will be brought back – we will be brought into the presence of God in glory again, clothed with glory in the image of Christ, who is the express image – He’s the brightness of God’s glory, the express image of His person. And when we see Him, we will be like Him. That’s the only way that this can be restored; it’s the only way man can be brought back into a right relationship, and I guess that’s what you want us to talk about today.
Tom: Well, Dave, again, consequences – today people are thinking, oh, this is way too harsh! This is unfair – why didn’t He just rap them on the knuckles? I mean, where is divine forgiveness here? Where is leniency? Where is clemency? Or penance? Maybe there is something they could do – some kind of reparation they could bring forth to get past this problem.
Dave: Maybe they could promise to do better the next time.
Tom: Well, Dave, as we know, you talk to most people – those who do believe in an afterlife and a heaven, and so on – and most will tell you, “Well, I’m a better person than I’m an evil person. Yeah, I’ve done some things wrong, but I’ve done a lot more things right than I’ve done wrong.” Why didn’t God go for that?
Dave: Well, it’s not a game of points: How much good have you done? First of all, you can’t do any good; “There is none good but One and that is God.” This is what Jesus said when…
Tom: Romans 3, and in other places in Scripture.
Dave: Right. When the rich young ruler came running up to Him and said: “Good Master, what good thing can I do to inherit eternal life?” Well, Jesus didn’t say: “Well, you can’t do any good.” Jesus made it very clear. Jesus said, “Why do you call me good? There is none good but One, and that’s God…” Oooh, now we’ve got a standard that has been set. Man has sinned, but the standard hasn’t changed, and God will one day send forth His Son in His image who will rescue us, deliver us, not by just setting an example, which we could never follow, but by redeeming us. He’s going to give this perfect life in payment for our sins.
So, people say, “Oh, Genesis 1-3…” (some people say even 1 through 11) “… is just mythology.” No, this is history. And here we see the basics laid out of the problem, as you expressed it, Tom – the problem between man and God. And it doesn’t give us the whole solution yet, but we’ve got the lambs being slain, and we’ve got the skins being…Adam and Eve being clothed with skin.
Tom: Dave, as you know, and I’ve mentioned it on the program, having been Roman Catholic, I grew up going to confession. And I can tell you this: if I went to confession, and I said to the priest that I had taken a cookie, or maybe a piece of fruit before dinner, and I wasn’t supposed to, well, the priests that I know would have thrown me right out of the confessional. Why am I taking up his time? There are people behind me, people with serious things, and so on. Yet here we have a sin: it’s a little…some kind of fruit, a piece of fruit, but it changed the entire universe. Dave, as you know, it’s not just Adam and Eve, but all of their progeny, all of their descendants. Also, I want to read from Romans:8:20: “For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.” That’s because of Adam and Eve’s sin, isn’t it?
Dave: Yeah, it wasn’t just Adam and Eve and their descendants who suffered the consequences. It was the whole universe. Now Satan has already ruined everything, you could say, but he still has access before the throne of God, and he is the accuser of the brethren. But there’s no way that man can claw himself back, or build a stepladder. Now, of course, when we get to the Tower of Babel, this is exactly what man is trying to do: “Let us build us a tower with steps that will reach unto heaven.” I mean, what a stupid idea!
Tom: Dave, some things about the situation of mankind, certain circumstances, the Bible lays it out; it’s very simple. God is the only one that can solve the problem. We’re going to go to Genesis:3:15 in a minute. But as you said, man has been trying from the beginning to work it out himself, to come up with a game plan, and it’s all based on works, all based on what man thinks that he can do to achieve, whether it be heaven, or Valhalla, or you know Moksha, the afterlife in some way, the third heaven for Mormons, and so on.
Dave: Yeah, it’s not just somehow wiping the slate clean, doing a better job from now on, we’ll behave ourselves, and so forth. You’ve got a bigger problem than that because man was made in the image of God. That has to be restored. It’s sin that brought death, separation from God. Now you know, Tom, as well as I do, we talk about “do-it-yourself-kit-religions” and so forth. But what are they about? Well, they can’t solve the problem of sin, once you have sinned you’re a sinner.
Tom: Right, that’s your nature. Can you change your nature?
Dave: Right, no. So, you could say, “I’m sorry, I’m sorry!” It won’t work, and you see it in everyday life. We see it in little children as they grow up. You’ve had five children, you and Peggy – you’ve seen it work out. I wrote the autobiography of a man who was the chairman of the Federal Parole Board. An enlightening book to read, because what did he learn? The would-be parolee will promise the moon: “I’ll never do it again. Just let me out of here! I promise you, I’ll never be back here again. I learned my lesson!”
No, it doesn’t work that way. It’s not man’s willpower, it’s not man’s… “I’m going to turn over a new leaf.” How many times have we heard that? And it doesn’t last very long. Something more basic has to occur. The glory in which man was originally created – that’s going to have to be restored, and only God, as you said, can do that. This is a serious problem, and most of the religions out there: “Well, let’s do more good deeds. Can’t we do some more good deeds? Can’t we do wonderful things for other people, and can’t we wipe the slate clean?”
Nope, nope, you will never wipe the slate clean. That’s one of the most solemn things that I learned as a little boy, maybe 7 or 8 years old. You can’t get it back! You can’t change the past! And I was in a situation, I won’t go back into that, but I just groveled on the floor before my father. He didn’t have to spank me. I had such a conviction of sin. I had borrowed – I didn’t intend to steal it – ten cents, but I was going to put it back! I was going to go to my kitty and put it back the next week.
No, no, there is no way I could change the past! You can’t wipe out the past; you can’t wipe the slate clean! Only Jesus can do that…
Dave: …when He pays the full penalty. And people say – they say a lot of things, Tom, and I don’t want to prolong this because you want to move on, but it’s not right for an innocent man to die in the place of the guilty. Why should an innocent man suffer the consequences of the guilty? That’s not just! Why would Christ…? This gospel doesn’t make any sense! Why would Christ die for us? We deserve to die, and yet out of that comes redemption?
Well, it’s what Paul writes about in Galatians:2:20. If we know the Bible, we’ve got the answer to all the questions. And Paul says, “I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live; yet not I but Christ liveth in me, and the life that I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” Well, you’re not going to do that by turning over a new leaf. Furthermore, this isn’t just an innocent man dying in my place, which they would say, “It’s classic injustice.” No, this is something that goes deeper. I have been crucified with Christ – I’ve been transformed, I have been made a new person. You experience that, Tom?
Dave: It’s amazing what happened to me when I came to Christ.
Tom: Well, Dave, you’ve just laid it out for us. Man is in a hopeless condition/situation. Only God can provide the solution. We go back to Genesis:3:15, we find the first indication that God is going to solve the problem for mankind. Genesis:3:15: “And I will put enmity… [now here we have the Lord speaking to Satan, in the form of a serpent] …and I will put enmity between thee and the woman and between thy seed [that is, the followers, enemies of God, really – the followers of Satan, those who are in rebellion against God] and her Seed [her seed being Jesus, the seed of the woman]. It [that is, Jesus, the seed] shall bruise thy head, and thou [Satan] shalt bruise his heel” [that is, Jesus’ heel].
So, this is an indication that Christ is going to…I rather doubt that Adam and Eve understood it at the time, but we can certainly see it – looking back from the Cross, this side of the Cross, looking back to God presenting this. Certainly the heel of Jesus was bruised by Satan, and Jesus’ being on the cross. But Satan is dealt by the Cross a death blow.
Tom: Yeah, he’s still out and about, but his time is coming. So, Dave, we have – you referred to Genesis:3:21, we have another indication – you mentioned earlier that Adam and Eve tried to hide themselves, and then cover themselves, cover their nakedness with fig leaves. That won’t do the job, will it? But there is something that will cover, and has covered, their sin, our sin, and that is the blood of the Lamb. So, what does God do? Genesis:3:21: “Unto Adam also and to his wife did the Lord God make coats of skins and clothed them.”
Dave: Well, Tom, again, it doesn’t make sense to the mind. How is this going to…? He’s clothed them now, and the animal lovers wouldn’t like that.
Tom: No, PETA would be up in arms.
Dave: Right, but blood had to be shed, and that skin became their covering. Something happened at the Cross that has changed history. All of history looked forward to the Cross, all of history now looks back – that was the dividing point in history.
I am trying to think of a hymn…
I know not why God’s wondrous grace
To me He has bestowed,
Nor how unworthy, yet Christ in love
Redeemed me for His own.
He chose me, redeemed me, bought me – why would He do this, it is amazing! But tell me another solution. There’s no other solution.
Tom: Without the shedding of blood there is no remission: that’s Hebrews:9:22. God had to pay the full penalty for our sins.
Dave: And only He could do it.
Tom: Right. Dave, next week – we’re out of time now – but next week we are going to go from there, from the Garden of Eden through Old Testament history and give some examples of how God gave indications, gave types, symbolisms, that relate to the solution to mankind’s problems: the death of Jesus on the Cross throughout the Old Testament.
Dave: Right. And they are beautiful, and you can’t explain it away.
Gary: You’ve been listening to a special edition of Search the Scriptures 24/7 with Dave Hunt and T.A. McMahon, a radio ministry of The Berean Call. The complete radio discussion of Dave’s “Seeking and Finding God” is available from The Berean Call. We offer a wide variety of resources to help you in your study of God’s Word. For a complete list of materials and a free subscription to our monthly newsletter contact us at PO Box 7019 Bend, Oregon, 97708. Call us at 800.937.6638; or visit our website at the bereancall.org. I’m Gary Carmichael, thanks for tuning in and we hope you can join us again next week. Until then, we encourage you to Search the Scriptures 24/7.