A DIFFERENT WORLD
The world which God created “in the beginning” was a very different world to that in which we live today. All things have not “continue(d) as they were from the beginning of creation” (2 Pet.3v4). The purpose of this article is to draw attention to some of those differences, the changes which took place as a result of Adam’s sin and the moral lessons & implications for us today in all of these things.
THE WORLD BEFORE THE FIRST MAN
The first thing to notice is that God’s work was a complete creation: “and the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good” (Gen.1v12). “The works were finished from the foundation of the world” (Heb.4v3). Today, a tree bought from a nursery may take two or three years before it yields a useful crop of fruit. In the beginning, everything was created fully-grown, mature – the trees “yielding fruit” – which Adam & Eve were commanded to eat – Gen.1v29 & 2v16. So also with the living creatures which God created. God did not make baby birds in nests but birds able to fly “in the open firmament of heaven” (Gen.1v20). He created “great whales” and many other aquatic creatures able to swim & survive in the seas.
A very significant difference is described in v.30: “…to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth…I have given every green herb for meat…”. All animals and birds, as created, were vegetarian. This should not surprise us for, as will be shown in the next article in this series, in the kingdom they will revert to this state. The kingdom of God, when established on the earth under the rule of the Lord Jesus Christ, will be Eden restored.
However, there was a serpent in Eden, a creature unlike modern snakes. He was a beast of the field, he was made by Yahweh Elohim & he was more subtil than any other beast (all Gen.3v1). The Hebrew word for “subtil” aruwm occurs eight times in the Book of Proverbs and there it is always translated “prudent”. Jesus taught his disciples that they should be “wise as serpents” (Mt.10v16). After the transgression the appearance of the serpent was changed “upon thy belly shalt thou go” (Gen.3v14) and he was deprived of the power of speech.
Another significant difference between the world as created and the world of today is stated in Gen.2v5-6: “…the LORD God had not caused it to rain upon the earth…but there went up a mist from the earth and watered the whole face of the ground”. We are not told when the first rain fell. We know that the Flood was caused in part by intense rain, whether this was the first rain which fell on the earth we know not – except that in Gen.8 God speaks of setting his bow in the clouds as an assurance that he would not flood the earth again. If there had been rain before the flood then from time to time the rainbow should have been seen on the earth but Gen.8v12-17 indicates that it had not been seen before.
Certainly there was no rain in Eden. There was, however, a river: “And a river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted and became four heads…Pison…Gihon…Hiddekel…and Euphrates” (Gen.2v10-14). This was indeed a remarkable river – but it has a parallel in Eze.47v1-10 – a river which dramatically increased in volume as it flowed away from its source. Natural rivers don’t do this, their volume is augmented by tributaries flowing into them – the river which flowed out of Eden was the source water for four great rivers which watered the then land mass of the earth. This, incidentally is further additional information, telling us that the geography of the earth then was very different from what it is now.
Another indication of how different the newly created world was, is that; since water flows downhill, and the river watered a vast area, the Garden of Eden must have been the highest point on at least that part of the earth! This too foreshadows the Millennium when “the mountain of the LORD’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it” (Is.2v2). Jerusalem, particularly the Temple Mount, will be the highest point on the earth!
Scripture indicates that the high mountain ranges of this present world (Alps, Andes, Himalayas, Rockies, etc. were formed after the flood: “Thou coverest [the earth] with the deep as with a garment, the waters stood above the mountains” (Ps.104v6) is an inspired commentary on the Flood – but note the next verses which describes what happened at the end of the deluge: “At thy rebuke they fled; at the voice of thy thunder they hasted away. The mountains ascend, the valleys descend unto the place which thou hast founded for them” (v.7-8AVm). Thus the high mountain ranges of the present constitution of things – with their fossil bearing sedimentary rocks – were formed immediately after the flood – so the flood waters did not have to be deep enough to cover the present mountain systems of the earth.
There were no thorns or thistles in the world as created – Gen.3v18 tells us that these came into existence as part of the curse which God brought upon the ground (v.17) as a result of Adam’s sin. Man’s toil was evidently greater after the curse: “in the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread…” (Gen.3v19); “This same shall comfort us concerning our work and toil of our hands because of the ground which the LORD hath cursed” (Gen.5v29); “I will not again curse the ground any more for man’s sake…” (Gen.8v21) – does this imply an alleviation of the curse after the flood?
ADAM & EVE IN THE GARDEN
Just as with the rest of the creation, when it came to the making of man “in the image of God”; Adam & Eve were formed as adults, able to “multiply” and capable of responsible obedience to their Creator. They were able to hear his word and were expected to obey it – they were “very good”. They were commanded to eat “every herb bearing seed” (so there were no poisonous plants in the original creation) and “every tree in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed” (Gen.1v29). So man, as created, was vegetarian. Before Adam was formed of the dust of the ground “there was not a man to till the ground” 2v5 – so Adam was truly “the first man” (1 Cor.15v45). Before Eve was “builded” from the side of Adam “there was not found an help meet for him’” 2v20. Eve was therefore “the mother of all living” 3v20. These verses completely rule out the possibility of any other humanoid race existing on the earth at that time.
Gen.2v25 tells us that Adam and Eve in their “very good” state were naked and not ashamed. By implication from Gen.3v8 they were not afraid of angels who “walked in the garden in the cool of the day” – why should they be? Here is another situation which, as the next article will show, foreshadows the kingdom age.
THE CONSEQUENCES OF EATING THE FRUIT
God had commanded: “But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die (Gen.2v17). Adam and Eve did eat of the fruit of this tree and certain consequences followed. For the first time in their lives they experienced shame: “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” (Gen.3v7). They covered the nakedness they had now become aware of – but they still felt naked when “they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden…” (v.8). Although Adam was now adequately clothed in fig leaves he said “I was afraid, because I was naked” (v.10) i.e. his nakedness was more than just physical – it was a moral nakedness in the presence of God. Here was a big change from the Adam of Gen.2v25 – and that change was transmitted to his descendants – Gen.32v30, Ex.3v6, Dt.5v26, Jud.6v22-23, & 13v22-23 are a few examples of men displaying fear when confronted by an angel. Similarly nakedness and shame are associated together in the rest of Scripture in contrast to Gen.2v25, e.g. Ex.32v25, Is.20v4, 47v3, Jer.13v26, Phil.3v19, Rev.3v18 & 16v15.
There is no indication that Adam or Eve experienced sorrow before they ate of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Why should they? Everything that God had made was “very good” (Gen.1v31). Yet after their transgression we read: “…in sorrow shalt thou bring forth children…in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life” (Gen.3v16-17). Again, the experience of sorrow has been the lot of mankind ever since Adam and Eve were expelled from the garden – this was a change – and it was passed on to their posterity: “And Adam…begat a son in his own likeness after his image…” (Gen.5v3). Yet, as will be seen, sorrow will eventually be removed.
Another change which came as a result of their eating the fruit is stated by God himself: “Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil” (3v22). In this state, God would not allow the man to eat of the tree of life and life forever – therefore he was sent out of the garden and the way to the tree of life was barred by the Cherubim (v.23-24). Again, this change was transmitted to Adam’s descendants, so that the apostle concludes “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Rom.3v23). As a result of Adam’s sin death came into the world (Rom.5v12). God said, “because thou hast hearkend unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree…unto dust shalt thou return” (Gen.3v17/19). There is no escaping the implications of these words in Rom.5 & Gen.3. Death is in the world as a result of Adam’s sin. Everything that God had created was viewed by him as being “very good”; death, however, is an enemy – “the last enemy” – which will be destroyed at the end of the Millennium – 1 Cor.15v26, Rev.20v14 & 21v4. The effect of these transmitted changes is clearly seen when Gen.1v31 is compared with Gen.6v5: “And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good” – “And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually”. This latter state of mankind is the direct result of the consequences of the sin in Eden being transmitted throughout the posterity of Adam.
The great contrast in Rom.5v12-21 is that the disobedience of the first man brought sin & its consequence death into the world and the obedience of the “last Adam” (1 Cor.15v45) brought justification (righteousness) and life.
THE AGES OF THE PATRIARCHS
Another significant change which is recorded in the book of Genesis is in the lifespan of mankind. Gen.5 records that Adam lived 930 years, Jared 962 & Methuselah 969. Gen.11 states that Shem lived to 600 years, Eber 464, Serug 230 and Terah 205. Subsequently the records show the lifespans of the patriarchs diminishing until, at the close of the book of Genesis, Joseph dies at 110. This is perfectly reasonable in the light of the statement in Ch.1 that man, as created, was “very good” and that, unless he ate of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, there was no death sentence hanging over him. The human organism was initially “very good’ but deteriorated as the effects of sin marred successive generations. This will all be reversed for the mortal population in the millennium when men and women will again live to great ages.
The fact of men living to great ages before the flood has been disputed on the grounds that the three chronological accounts (The Hebrew Massoretic text, the Samaritan Pentateuch & the Septuagint) do not agree and therefore we cannot be certain of the chronology of the time. This assertion is not valid however because the Septuagint chronology (which differs in many places from the Hebrew) has Methuselah living fourteen years beyond the flood and is therefore incorrect. As long ago as 1815 Gesenius concluded that the Samaritan Pentateuch was a vulgar text with many corruptions and far inferior to the Hebrew. However, whatever one’s views on these three texts may be, it is a fact that all of them have Adam living 930 years, Seth 912, Enos 905, Cainan 910, Mahaleel 895 & Noah 950 – so one cannot simply dismiss these great ages on the grounds of textual differences between manuscripts. The correct thing to do is establish which manuscript is correct (the Hebrew) and then use the information it contains to construct a chronology.
The Bible teaches catastrophism, particularly in the Creation and the Flood. God’s creative and destructive power was manifest in these early times. All things have not “continue(d) as they were from the beginning of creation” (2 Pet.3v4). The same power of God is about to be manifest again in the earth, first to overthrow and destroy the kingdom of men and then to create new heavens and a new earth wherein dwelleth righteousness (v.13). Since the whole system in the midst of which we live is to be overthrown with all the thinking of men which underpins it, what manner of persons ought we to be in all holy conversation and godliness as we wait for that day? (v.11).
 Cited in “The Chronology of the Old Testament”, Dr. Floyd Nolen Jones p.10
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