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The Daily Word of Righteousness
God's Unfolding Plan, #8
And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. (Genesis 2:15)
We shall turn now to the Divine gifts, requirements, opportunities, and punishments as they were applied to Adam, the patriarchs, Noah, Abraham, and Israel, and as they now are applied to the believer who worships God under the new covenant.
It is difficult for those of us who are following Christ to comprehend the application of the four factors to Adam and Eve. We who are required to hate our own life, to offer our body as a whole burnt offering to God, are astonished at the minimal demands made on the first man and his wife.
God gave to Adam and Eve a beautiful Paradise in which to live. It is likely they were blessed with strong, healthy bodies and minds with which to enjoy the pleasures that abounded on every hand. This was the grace, the favor of God, that freely was given to them.
God asked them to work the garden and take care of it. Also, they were commanded not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
The opportunities that lay before them were to be in the image of God their Father, to be in union with one another, to be fruitful and multiply, filling the earth with people, and to have dominion over the creatures of the earth.
The punishment for eating of the forbidden tree was loss of the Presence of God, slavery to sin, pain in childbirth, the dominance of the man over his wife, and wearying labor on a cursed earth.
The grace of God was bountiful toward Adam and Eve. The requirements were minimal. The opportunities were rich and kingly. The punishment was the devastating loss of Paradise and immortality.
From Adam to Noah, people were given the grace of life. They had physical bodies with which to enjoy life on the earth. Although abiding under the Divine curse, the earth was luxuriant and beautiful to the eye.
The only requirement up to the time of Noah seems to have been that of conscience. In fact, conscience has directed people of all ages to practice righteousness, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with God. Also, the members of mankind have had the opportunity to be in the image of God and to call on God as His children, to be in union as husband and wife, to have children and grandchildren, and to exercise dominion over nature.
The punishments that followed the transgression of the laws of conscience until the days of Noah are not stated clearly. But then the flood came. We know that Christ preached to the disobedient people of Noah's day when He descended into the spirit realm, immediately after His crucifixion (I Peter 3:19,20). According to the Scripture, the dead live according to God in the spirit realm but are judged according to people who are alive on the earth (I Peter 4:6).
God gave to Noah the special grace of warning him of the destruction to come. God termed Noah righteous and showed him how to preserve his family and himself during the months of devastation.
The Divine stipulation was that Noah continue to walk in righteousness, according to his conscience and that he build the ark. Also, Noah was required to obey specific directives that came from the Lord.
To be continued.