- Rick LoPresti
Two great questions
Man supposes questions for the great issues of life: what came first, the chicken or the egg?, are we alone in the universe?, why does God allow evil?, can God make a rock bigger than He can pick up?, How much wood would a woodchuck chuck? Man likes to question God, although he does not have the authority to do so (Is 40:13, Rom 9:20). Man can pray and ask God things, but to challenge His authority and integrity is a foolish error. God has the authority to question man. God is the Creator and Lord of everyone.
So, what was the first question God ever asked a man? The Lord told Adam that the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was forbidden, and He warned him of the consequences of disobedience (Gen 2:16-17). Adam and Eve sinned, felt shame for the first time, and tried to hide from God (Gen 3). We cannot hide from God (Ps 139, Jer 23:24). A variation on an old saying can go like this: you can fool some of the people some of the time, and you can even try to fool yourself sometimes, but you cannot fool God any time. After Adam and Eve sinned, they vainly attempted to cover their shame without confessing and repenting. This never works. No matter how long people seem to get away with things, they will ultimately have to face God (Ecc 8:11, Acts 17:30-31, Rom 14:10, 2Cor 5:10, Rev 20:11-15). The insanity of sin is that we act surprised when we hear about accountability to God (Acts 17:32, Acts 24:25). Yet Adam and Eve made their own failed coverings and hid from God. The Lord came into the garden and asked Adam a simple question, “Where art thou?” It was not that God did not know where Adam was because he had chosen such a great hiding place. God knows everything and is everywhere. God was giving Adam a chance to repent. It was a spiritual question, not a geographical one. He was asking Adam to confront what sin had done to him spiritually in his relationship with the Lord. Adam had never been ashamed or had hidden from God before.
Sin separates us from God (Is 59:1-2). That is its greatest curse. It is not unpleasant circumstances or even physical death; although those are also real consequences. God told Adam in the day he ate the forbidden fruit, he would die. Adam die not die physically that day. In fact, he lived over 800 years after he sinned (Gen 5:3-5). Some people do not believe men used to live so long. Why should that be incredible? We are supposed to live forever (Gen 3:22, Jn 3:16). Evolutionists believe our ancestor is a combination of rock, water, and energy; although they have no explanation of how this idea defies all the laws of science. Evolution provides no explanation of the origin of life, matter, energy, or information. Some evolutionists even believe life on earth was started by aliens, although there is absolutely no evidence for that. Isn’t science supposed to be based on reasoned study of evidence? Yet they mock believers in the Bible. So how did Adam die the day he sinned? He died spiritually, and death also began to work in his body. When a flower is plucked from a plant, it is dead right then. It is disconnected from its source of life. However, it takes a week or two to actually shrivel and manifest the death that has been working in it all along. Compare the genealogy of Genesis 5 (which people mock), and the genealogy of Genesis 11, which shows a dramatic decrease in lifespans after the flood. It continued to decrease to what we see today, which is accurately described in Psalm 90:10 as 70 to 80 years. By the time of Joshua this was considered a full lifespan (Josh 14:10, 2Sam 19:32 & 35). Even evolutionists acknowledge that many animals used to live much longer than they do now. For example, there is evidence of giant versions of reptiles and sharks, both of which continue to grow throughout their lives. If these animals lived longer today, they would get just as big, but sin brought death to the whole creation (Rom 3:23, Rom 8:19-23).
God’s question to Adam is the one we all must confront? Where are you in your relationship with God? How are you doing spiritually? Are you dying in sin and shame (Rom 6-8), or have you been born again to newness of life in Jesus Christ (Jn 3:3-7)? We are either dead in sin or dead to sin (Eph 2). Are you hiding your sin like Adam (Job 31:13), or have you confessed and forsaken it (Prov 28:13)? Are you close to God or distant? We are either close to God and distant from sin, or we are close to sin and distant from God? God and sin cannot be in fellowship. We must choose (Deut 30:15-20, Josh 24:15).
God asked 3 more questions of Adam and Eve before they were driven from the garden. The next question God asked a man was to Cain (Gen 4). Cain was Adam’s firstborn. Then came Abel. Cain and Abel both brought sacrifices to God. God accepted Abel’s but rejected Cain’s. People often say it was because Cain brought of the cursed earth and Abel showed the typology of the bloodshed and death of Jesus by bringing an animal from his flock. This is not the best interpretation of this passage. Sacrifices of grain were part of the sacrificial system later in the law of Moses. In the King James version, they were called meat offerings. Today, we use the word meal as in corn meal. The bigger problem with Cain was not the content of his offering but his spiritual condition (1Jn 3:8-12). Cain had jealousy and hatred in his heart toward his brother. It surfaced after his offering was rejected. God told Cain his offering would be accepted if he did well, and He warned him what would happen if he did not (Gen 4:5-7). This clearly shows the problem was not with the content of Cain’s offering, but how his heart was not right with his brother. “The sacrifice of the wicked is abomination: how much more, when he bringeth it with a wicked mind (Prov 21:27).” “The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD: but the prayer of the upright is his delight (Prov 15:8).” God does not want outward religious acts as much as He wants our heart to be in the right condition (Mt 5:21-25, Mt 9:13, Mt 12:7, Mt 13:18-23, Mt 23:23-28).
So, God’s second question to us is “How are your relationships with other people?” When John addressed the situation with Cain and Abel in 1John 3, he applied it to us. He said the if we do not love others, we are murderers just like Cain. He said love is the measuring stick as to whether or not we are Christians. He was just repeating what Jesus taught. “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another (Jn 13:35).” John continued this theme in 1John 4. In these 2 chapters, we have a clear description of how loving God, keeping His commandments, and loving our brother are all inseparable. When someone who supposed he was an expert in the scriptures asked Jesus what the greatest commandment is, the Lord answered in summary: love God and love your neighbor (Mt 22:35-40, Mk 12:28-34, Lk 10:25-28). This led directly to the parable of the good Samaritan (Lk 10:29-37). Each of the 3 accounts of this conversation have valuable statements in them. In Matthew, it says, “On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” In Mark, it says, “There is none other commandment greater than these.” In Luke it says, “This do and thou shalt live.” Jesus was quoting Deuteronomy 6:4-5 and Leviticus 19:17-18. Paul and James also taught that these two commandments summarize the whole law (Rom 13:9-10, Gal 5:14, Jam 2:8). We should even love our enemies (Mt 5:43-48). A man’s prayer can be hindered by problems in his marriage (Mal 2:10-16, 1Pet 3:7). How is your relationship with God, and how are your relationships with others? These are the two great questions that summarize who we are and what we do.