Episode 3: The Creation of Mankind & Understanding Sin

Peace to Live By Episode 3: The Creation of Mankind & Understanding Sin - Daniel Litton
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[Transcripts may not match broadcasted sermon word for word, and may contain extra material that was cut from the broadcast due to time constraints]

       I hope everyone is doing well this morning.

       In today's day and age, one would assume by listening to our culture that people were not created by God. Culture seems to purpose that people are their own gods, and that they are answerable to no one. But the reality is that God did indeed create the human race, just as he created the universe, and the earth and everything that is in it. Eventually, people do have to answer to God.

       Today I am going to ponder the creation of mankind by God. This will include discussing the reasoning behind the fact that we, as humans, are created in God's image and likeness. Today I am also going to talk about the fall of the human race, including the fallen nature of people. I will discuss the following: the total depravity of mankind, and types of sins (which includes sin of omission and commission).

       First, I want to look at the foundational passage for the topic of God creating the human race. It is found in the first chapter of Genesis. Before I read this passage, I want to state that I believe, we as Christians believe, that this creation account, as recorded in Scripture, actually happened. This is part of human history, the beginning of human history. We read the following: “Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth." So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them” (Genesis 1:26-27, ESV). There are several things I want to note from this foundational passage. Number one: man was created in the image of God. Are we then to assume that God looks like a man? Well, we have to be careful here. But I will say that God the Son clearly looks like a man, as was the case when he walked on the earth, and as is the case now even in heaven in the flesh. There is more, though, to being created in God's image than the mere subject of appearance. Second, consider that we as human beings have a free will, personality, and the ability to make plans, among other things.

       What are some other passages that talk about the creation of mankind by God? Going back to Genesis, we read in chapter 2 what happened in the relationship between God and man right after God created him. Let's look at that passage:

15 The LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it.... 18 Then the LORD God said, "It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him." Now out of the ground the LORD God had formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him. So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. And the rib that the LORD God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. Then the man said, "This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man." (2:15, 18-23, ESV)

So, first, after creating man, God put Adam to work in the garden. It was his to work and to keep. Second, God noted that it was not good for man to be alone, and He sought to give him a helper that would be suitable for him. This means that God never intended to dwell completely and entirely with the man; otherwise if he was going to, the man would not have been alone. Why this is the case, however, I do not know. Third, Adam named the animals by God's will, but did not find any among them that was a suitable helper for him. Fourth, God decided that a woman needed to be created for the man.

       It is good to note here that though the woman is called "helper" in the text, this does not mean in any way that the woman was less valuable or less important in comparison to the man. Nor does it mean that an unmarried woman is supposed to be spending her time helping men (see 1 Corinthians 7:34-35). In John 15:26, Jesus notes that God the Holy Spirit will be given to the Christian as his or her "Helper" after Jesus leaves the earth (ESV). Jesus is noted as being a helper for the Christian with his or her weakness in Romans 8:34. Being a helper therefore does not mean a person is less significant. In the two instances I just mentioned, God is obviously more important than the one being helped. It is noted in Ephesians 5:25 that a husband is actually supposed to give himself up for his wife just as Jesus gave himself up for the church. Furthermore, the Apostle Peter notes that a husband's prayers will be hindered from reaching God if he does not honor his wife (see 1 Peter 3:7).

       How important is man to God, though? Is he important at all? Indeed, he is important to God. Let's look at a passage in Genesis 9 after Noah and his family survived the flood of the earth. This is The Lord God speaking:

"Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in his own image. And you, be fruitful and multiply, teem on the earth and multiply in it." Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him, "Behold, I establish my covenant with you and your offspring after you, and with every living creature that is with you, the birds, the livestock, and every beast of the earth with you, as many as came out of the ark; it is for every beast of the earth. I establish my covenant with you, that never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of the flood, and never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth” (9:6-11, ESV).

I will stop reading the passage here. God wanted Noah and his sons to multiply the earth, as today we are all decedents from these people. It was important to God that the earth be populated by men bearing his image. Next, God creates a covenant with both man and animals. That is, he will not destroy "all flesh" by a great flood again. Nor shall the earth be destroyed by a great flood. We still have floods today, but they can never kill "all flesh" or destroy the earth completely. I also want to reiterate that the covenant God made included animals. As an aside, it is interesting to observe that God has made a covenant with animals.

       Now I want to look at a passage from the Psalms to get a different perspective of God's creation. Let's read the words of King David in Psalm 8:

When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him? Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor. You have given him dominion over the works of your hands; you have put all things under his feet, all sheep and oxen, and also the beasts of the field, the birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea, whatever passes along the paths of the seas. O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! (8:3-9, ESV)

It really is amazing that God cares so much for man. God has to do so much to keep things in order, and yet he is mindful of man. This text points out, in particular, that man has dominion over God's works, not just the animals. This is both good to know and encouraging at the same time.

       But in light of this, it is also important to note the following passage from John 1. It says the following: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (1:1-5, ESV). Notice how the Word of God says, "In him was life, and the life was the light of men." It is through God that we can truly be fulfilled in this life, and definitely in the next. Without God, there is no life. The passages notes, "The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it." Satan and his demons cannot triumph over God.

       Let’s consider the second area of discussion today. Sin is an important subject. We, as believers, want to make sure we are always in the right with God. Broken fellowship with God is not something we want to have in our lives, and therefore it is necessary to understand sin―what it looks like―so that we can seek to please God by eliminating sin from our lives.

First, let's start this discussion by giving sin a definition. I would define sin as any thought, word, or deed that goes against the will of God for our lives. This definition encompasses both the non-Christian and Christian alike, as sin is not dependent upon a person's spiritual state in regard to a relationship with God. It is written in Romans 3:23, "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God," (ESV).

       Some sins are indeed secret, hence the notion of thought. With our minds, we can sin against God without others around us even knowing about it. Sin always starts inside the mind of a person. The Apostle Paul puts such as great emphasis on controlling one's mind. He notes in 2 Corinthians 10:5, "We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ," (ESV).

       On the other hand, some sin is clearly visible to everyone else around, thus like a sin that originates from word or deed. Some people cannot hide their sins. Paul notes the following when talking to Timothy, "The sins of some men are conspicuous, going before them to judgment, but the sins of others appear later. So also good works are conspicuous, and even those that are not cannot remain hidden" (1 Timothy 5:24-25, ESV).

       Before I discuss the specifics of sin, though, let us note that the depravity of both men and women means that the human is evil in the fallen nature (see Matthew 5:45, 7:11). With the Christian, we are a new creation, and all things have become new. Again, the Apostle Paul notes that, "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come" (2 Corinthians 5:17, ESV). Original sin is the fact that the human nature of man is affected by the sin nature that has steamed from the first sinners―both Adam and Eve.

       I will take a look here at the passage in Genesis where the first sins occurred. I'll pick up the passage after Satan tempted Eve with cunning reasoning: “So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths” (Genesis 3:6-7, ESV). The Apostle Paul notes, as we read previously, "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God," (Romans 3:23, ESV). The only exception, in human history, of a person never sinning has been found with The Lord Jesus Christ himself. Not only do we read this, but also we can look at this passage: "For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God" (2 Corinthians 5:21, ESV). So, Jesus never sinned. Even in the midst of all of Jesus' temptations with Satan in the wilderness, he did not falter (see Matthew 4). He lived a perfect life, here on the earth, in front of God without sinning at all. Indeed, he was in human flesh just like we are, and just like anyone who has ever lived (see John 1:14).

       But we still retain the sin nature, in this life, until we get our new bodies. The Apostle John notes that, "If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us" (1 John 1:8-10, ESV). In regard to our new bodies, Paul talks about this in 1 Corinthians 15. Particularly, he notes, "For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality" (15:53).

       It is important for us to take a 'big picture' view in light of all the things that we do. Indeed, I may sin against my neighbor, and it may seem like it is only against him or her, and that God has nothing to do with it. But we need to realize in our 'big picture' view that God has to do with everything, and that any sin against anyone else would indeed offend God himself. Even when a person does wrong against another person, it is inherently against God. For instance, if I break a covenant with another person, I break it with that person. However, I also prove to be a liar. It is written in Psalm 51:3-4, "For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you may be justified in your words and blameless in your judgment” (ESV).

       Next let's look at sin of omission. What is sin of omission? Sin of omission is not doing the good one knows that he or she should do, that which he or she knows is the right thing to do. The Apostle James notes that, "So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin" (James 4:17, ESV). Now, let's look at a passage where The Lord Jesus Christ talks about doing the good we ought to do. Turn with me to Luke 22, and I will read verses 29-37. I will pick up a passage in the middle of a conversation between Jesus and a lawyer:

But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, "And who is my neighbor?" Jesus replied, "A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him. And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, 'Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.' Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?" He said, "The one who showed him mercy." And Jesus said to him, "You go, and do likewise." (Luke 22:29-37, ESV).

Notice how Jesus points to the least expected person at the time―the Samaritan―as doing the good, the right thing. So, the sin of omission is that time in which a person is not a Good Samaritan.

       Finally, let's look at the sin of commission. This sin could be the most widespread of the different types of sin. This is when a person's will violates the will of God in that a person does what he or she wants to do, and not what God wants him or her to do. It's choosing our way over God's way. Now, the Apostle Paul notes several key areas in which a person can do this. Let's look at this passage found in 1 Corinthians 6: “Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God” (6:9-10, ESV). Now, from this list we see a variety of different types of sins we can commit. Let's also consider this passage in Galatians 5: “Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God” (5:19-21, ESV). It is important to note that this list is not exhaustive, as Paul said, "and things like these."

       But our goal in life, as Christians, is to not commit these sins or anything like them. Rather, God gives us a list of characteristics, a persona, in how we are supposed to act. God states: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another” (Galatians 5:22-26, ESV). So then, we can see from this list the things that we are supposed to do to be pleasing to God, and to love our neighbor as our self. Indeed, modeling these good things is a struggle for us all, but it's one we need to have.

       So, in conclusion today, perhaps you have been listening to what I have been talking about, about the creation of mankind by God, or perhaps what has caught your attention is what I talked about in regard to sin, or the total depravity of mankind. If what I have said today has been new to you, and you have believed that it is true, but you do not know God, you do not know Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior. I am here to tell you today that you can have eternal life, and peace with God through a personal relationship with his Son, Jesus Christ. God will forgive you of any and all sins that you may be carrying with you today. God opens his plan of salvation to anyone who would believe in him. If you would like to know that you have eternal life, and you would like to be set free from the bondage of sin, from the weight that the burden of sin puts on people's lives. If you want to be set free, there is hope for you today. You can know God the Creator, the One who created the heavens and the earth, and everything in them that is. All you have to do is pray a simple prayer, something like this:

God, I am a sinner. I have sinned my whole life, doing what I wanted to do, and not what you would have had me do. I believe that Jesus came to the earth as a man in human flesh, and died on the cross for my sins, to pay my sin debt. I believe that Jesus rose on the third day from the grave, and that he now dwells with you in heaven. I do believe that Jesus is Lord and Master of the universe, and that everything is in his control. Please, Father, transform my life. Make me like Jesus.

If you have prayed that prayer today, you can rest assured that you are now part of God's family and that you will be spared from any of God's wrath to come, which includes any punishment after this life.

       Let's pray:

Father, I thank you for the study of your Word in regard to these topics of the creation of mankind, and the study of sin, and understanding that we are all fallen. I pray Father that anyone who has accepted Jesus today as their personal Lord and Savior would be strengthened by the power of your will, and that you would build that person up, making him or her like the Lord Jesus Christ. I pray for us Christians who already know Jesus, as our personal Lord and Savior, I pray that would be sensitive to your Spirit, and aware of any ongoing sins in our lives, and that we would take swift action, to get rid of that sin which may be lingering in our hearts, and hindering our relationship with you. So, Father, bless us as we go about the rest of today. In Jesus' name I pray, Amen.

-Daniel Litton