Genesis 2:16-17 a Call to Know God and Enjoy Him Forever

“And the LORD God commanded the man saying, You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die” (Gen. 2:16-17). It was a call to adore and acknowledge the goodness and greatness of God. His goodness was seen in the invitation to eat from every tree of the garden, trees that were pleasant to the eye and good for food; his greatness was seen in the prohibition to eat from one tree, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil-a sign that God alone was God, and man was to have no other gods before him. In sum, it was a command to know God and enjoy him forever.” -Reformation Worship, pg 3

The First Doctrine Rejected in History

“The first doctrine to be denied, according to the Bible, is the doctrine of judgment [Genesis 3:4, “You will not certainly die.”]. In many disputes about God and religion, this pattern often repeats itself, because if you can get rid of that one teaching, then rebellion has no adverse consequences, and so you are free to do anything.” -D.A. Carson

Like Adam and Eve, (And Unlike Nudist Colonies) We Cover Our Shame

“Do you know that there is a theory to nudist colonies? Oh, I know that some nudist colonies are merely an excuse for sexual orgy. But the best nudist colonies–if I may speak of nudist colonies on a moral scale–have a certain philosophy to them. The idea is that if you could be completely open and transparent in one part of your life, then sooner or later you could foster openness and transparency in every part of your life. So we begin with physical transparency–complete openness, nakedness–and maybe down the road we’ll all become wonderfully open, candid, honest, caring, loving people. It never works. But that’s the theory. The reason it never works is that we have so much to be ashamed of; there is so much we need to hide.”

BTW NOTE: Thus, Adam and Eve in the garden being naked and unashamed before the Fall speaks of a profound freedom that was lost in the Fall, but can be regained in Christ.

Me-Centered More

“Have you ever thought about what exactly the Serpent offered Eve in that fateful conversation in the garden? What he offered Eve was “more.” What he offered Eve was transcendence, but it had a fatal flaw. It wasn’t connected to God! Here was an offer of an “above and beyond” glory, but it was a replacement for the transcendent glory that can only be found in God. Notice the thundering implication of these five simple words, “You will be like God.” The Serpent was saying, You know, Eve, there is a greater, more satisfying glory than anything you have yet experienced. Your life can be much, much more than it has already been. Why, Eve, you can have it all. If you would just be willing to step outside of God’s narrow boundaries, you wouldn’t need to be connected to him, because you would be like him. These manipulative words of the enemy appear to offer greater transcendence but are really shrinking it dramatically. The glory that the Serpent holds out is no glory at all. Let me state it this way: When I opt for a me-centered “more,” what I actually get is always much, much less.” – Paul Tripp

Michael Horton, God of Promise, Chapter 2, “God and Foreign Relations”

In this chapter, Horton goes into the Ancient Near Eastern background behind the biblical concept of covenant. Surprisingly, many of the covenants in Scripture have similarities to these secular treaties (cf. Kline, Hillers, Mendenhall), specifically Hittite suzerainty-vassal treaties. He then explains how these Hittite treaties worked, their form, and the rituals involved in confirming them.

The covenant is important for understanding God’s relationship to man, because there can be no “natural relationship” between them (contrary to pagan and various pantheistic claims). God’s relationship with man is a by-product of the covenant and God’s condescension to our level).

These covenants, particularly Israel’s, were intended to bring stability and security. Even though Biblical covenants manifest clear similarities to ANE secular law, when YHWH becomes the suzerain, they develop religious connotations.

Horton then gives his modus operandi for studying the Biblical covenants in this book: Law–> Prophets–> New Testament.

Lastly, Horton discusses the differences between the Biblical covenants and suzerainty treaties, the quintessential difference is that YHWH forbears and is gracious to Israel when she fails to fulfill her covenant duties: grace is the difference. He also discusses the role of the Israel’s kingdom in redemptive-history in relation to Adam and Christ. He also discusses the idea of the “royal grant” or “patron covenant” (which is another ANE secular treaty).

Back to the God of Promise Table of Contents.

God of Promise can be purchased here.