Evangelist and Bible teacher in the Eastern Cape. B.A. and H.E.D from University of South Africa and M.A. Abilene Christian University
People Just Like Us: Biblical Characters - Number 1.
Anyone who reads the Bible will soon realize that the people who are described in the pages of God’s Word are real people. They are people just like you and me. No better and no worse, needing help as we do to make meaning of their lives and in defeating the sin that threatens. The Bible describes people “warts and all”, with no holds barred. At the same time some of the Old Testament accounts that record the same time in history, do choose to add or leave out certain details to suit their overall aim.
So the books of 1 and 2 Chronicles leave out some of the negative facts about David and Solomon that are recorded in 1 and 2 Kings. Chronicles, being a history recoded by the priestly scribes, take a kinder view of the kings and so while the adultery with Bathsheba and the murder of her husband by David is described fully in Kings, it is left out of Chronicles.
As we look in this study at a variety of Old and New Testament characters it is certain that you and I will see some characteristics that are also apparent in our lives. No one character will reflect us fully, but taken together they will give us a view into our lives and perhaps what we need to do to improve them.
Adam and Eve are an obvious place to start because they fully represent all of us. We are children of Adam and Eve and share in their humanity. Let’s take a closer look at their lives.
The example of Adam and Eve
- They were placed in a beautiful place. As God looked at creation he is recorded as saying: “it is very good” (Genesis 1:31). Here is the full creation of a wonderful world that provides food and water. With the promise of this world comes a responsibility “to take care of it” (Genesis 2:15).
- There was also the provision of a human relationship between someone in need that is Adam and someone to help him, that is Eve (Genesis 2:18). A direction for man and woman to leave their parents and be joined together to “become one flesh” (Genesis 2:24).
- But with this beautiful creation came a warning not to eat from one of the trees in the garden, the tree of “the knowledge of good and evil” (Genesis 2:17). God retained the right to decide what was good and evil. A responsibility that God knew mankind could not handle. We need to always go to God and his revelation to really know what is good and what is evil.
- Satan comes into the picture to do what he does well; to bring temptation and sin, delivered and wrapped in the many packages that he puts it in. “Don’t listen to what God has warned against”, he says proudly. “Do your own thing. After all if you eat of the tree that God warned against, you will be equal with God”. He is described as “the father of all liars”.(John 8:44)
- The problem is that to reject God’s way is the ultimate in human foolishness, as the rest of the Bible testifies to over and over again.
The lesson for us
- We are blessed with a beautiful world that can be experienced, explored and enjoyed to the fullest.
- With this gift comes the responsibility to take care of it. Everything that we see around is evidence that we have done a poor job of tending to the world of creation on a human and physical level. Global warming, violence and war, disparity between the haves and the have-nots, are all indications that we as humans, have chosen to eat from the tree of good and evil and then have chosen evil at every turn.
- God really knows best. As we live our lives the temptation comes to thinking that we know better than God. So a humanistic viewpoint takes over from a godly viewpoint and this leads to all kinds of problems. One of the big challenges in life, even seen from a religious point of view, is to decide what really comes from God and what comes from the many false teachings that have filtrated into the world. Here Satan has had a field day bringing confusion and despair. “In vain do you worship me, your teaching are but rules taught by men” (Matthew 15:9).
- Be careful of influences from others. Satan influenced Eve and Eve influenced Adam. We need to take God seriously and learn to take a lead in doing what is right rather than what others often say. Learn to be discerning and develop the skill and honesty to decide that is in fact right or wrong. Take a stand in your life and destiny. Go back to God’s Word.
- It is easy to believe lies. Somehow Jesus who claims to be the truth, and the way and the life (John 14:6) is rejected for the lie that he did not exist. Again Satan wins when humans again fall for his lies like Adam and Eve did.
Conclusion: Adam and Eve stand for every human who ever lived. We face the same problems and challenges, and the second Adam, Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:45), brings hope, joy, salvation and eternal life.
NKJV Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.