Christ in the Old Testament

In , we see God saying “Let Us make man in Our own image.”

Who is the “Us”?

There are several options:
A – God is referring to the angels
B – God is One Person and occasionally despite speaking (or being recorded) as more than One Person
C – There are multiple Persons in the One Godhead

How I process it:
A – Unless there is explicit language elsewhere in the Bible, it’s pure assumption one way or the other as to whether angels are in view. I’m not aware of any such explicit language in the Bible. I’m aware of commentators who hold this view, but as we all know, commentators are not inspired. Let’s see if other options hold more promise.

B – This is certainly within the realm of possibilities, but just like with PointA, unless there is a passage somewhere saying “I am One Person, even though I occasionally refer to Myself in the plural”, it’s anyone’s guess as to whether this is a expression of speech or a description of a reality.

C – Although people like to say that the Trinitarian view is strictly a NT view, there are literally dozens of OT passages that don’t make clear sense w/o a Trinitarian view. is one of many, but hardly the most convincing. There are a number of times in the OT that we see an “Angel” character doing things that are unexpected of an angel. This warrants closer inspection. But first, let’s consider some facts about angels and God:
– Angels are not equal with God.
– Angels cannot grant wishes or blessings of their own accord. They are, by definition, servants and messengers.
– Angels must not be worshiped; they worship God (; ).
– No man can see God and live (Exod 33:20; ; ).

Yet throughout the Old Testament we see things like this:

– Hagar meets an “angel of the Lord”. That “angel” hears her cries and makes a prediction to her about her offspring. When the angel leaves, Hagar claims she has seen God. This “angel” is acting in a God-like fashion, and Hagar is equating this “angel” with God. ()

– Three “men” visit Abraham for a meal. As the dinner discussion ensues, we get the distinct impression that two of them are angels, and the third “man” is speaking on behalf of God – even engaging in negotiations with Abraham. Abraham appeals to him as if he has the ability to intervene in the righteous judgment of God. In essence, Abraham is treating this “man” as God. ()

– After leaving Abraham, this “man” goes down to Sodom and Gomorrah to see the evil and do something about it. When judgment is dispensed on Sodom and Gomorrah, we see not one, but two Lords acting in concert to rain fire and brimstone on S&G. ()

– When Abraham is halted in his sacrifice of Isaac, an “Angel of the Lord” speaks of Himself as the one to whom Abraham was about to offer Isaac. Angels do not receive sacrifices. Clearly this “Angel of the Lord” was God. ()

– Jacob wrestles with a “man”, eventually calling him “God”. Jacob and the Prophets refer to this “man” as both an “angel” and as God. (; )

– Jacob recounts how the “Angel” saved him and prays that this “Angel” will bless his offspring. Jacob is ascribing God-like characteristics to an angel ()

These are from Genesis, but there are many more. We could go on and on throughout the OT showing how this peculiar “Angel” does God-like things:
– The “Angel of the Lord” that appeared to Moses in the burning bush that calls Himself “God” (Exod 3:1-6)
– The “Angel of the Lord” that was the pillar of cloud/fire on the Israelite camp – also called God (Exod 13:21; Exod 14:19; Exod 14:24)

Yes, there are normal angels, but this special “Angel of the Lord” has authority that these other angels do not have. So either there is great confusion about angels in general, or this one “Angel of the Lord” is actually God Himself. If deductive reasoning can’t nail this one down for us, Hosea’s explicit language nips all contrary opinions in the bud. He says this “Angel of the Lord” is “God”.

In the womb he grasped his brother’s heel, and as an adult he wrestled with God. Jacob struggled with the Angel and prevailed; he wept and sought His favor. He found him at Bethel, and there He spoke with him. Yahweh is the God of Hosts; Yahweh is His name.

Yet this “Angel of the Lord” cannot be the same One Person as God the Father. Here are two of many reasons why:
– The phrase “Angel of the Lord” doesn’t make sense if that angel is the one same Person as the Lord. That makes about as much sense as calling me the “servant of the Admin”. If I am, in fact, the admin, what’s the point in calling me the “servant of the admin”?
– Passages like 5 actually describe two distinct Lords working in concert (the one on the ground is presumably the one that had dinner with Abraham the evening before).

For further study on this concept, Google “Christophanies in the Old Testament” or check out this link from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Christophanies_in_the_Old_Testament

This understanding of this “Angel of the Lord” not being a regular angel is not new to Christians of the New Testament. Even Josephus (who was not a Christian) cited the passage, saying that it was a “divine Person” as opposed to a created angel.

For these reasons (which is well supported by many other passages in Scripture, and nowhere contradicted in Scripture), it is best to conclude that this “Angel of the Lord” is One with God – the Second Person of the Trinity: the Messiah. With this understanding, we can safely conclude that is direct support of a Trinitarian view of Creation. Even without spelling it out for us explicitly, this is where Occam’s Razor takes us.


26 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.” (ESV)


26 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.” (ESV)


11 And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, (ESV)


10 Then I fell down at his feet to worship him, but he said to me, “You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God.” For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. (ESV)


33 Did any people ever hear the voice of a god speaking out of the midst of the fire, as you have heard, and still live? (ESV)


The Lord spoke with you face to face at the mountain, out of the midst of the fire, while I stood between the Lord and you at that time, to declare to you the word of the Lord. For you were afraid because of the fire, and you did not go up into the mountain. He said: (ESV)


The angel of the Lord found her by a spring of water in the wilderness, the spring on the way to Shur. And he said, “Hagar, servant of Sarai, where have you come from and where are you going?” She said, “I am fleeing from my mistress Sarai.” The angel of the Lord said to her, “Return to your mistress and submit to her.” 10 The angel of the Lord also said to her, “I will surely multiply your offspring so that they cannot be numbered for multitude.” 11 And the angel of the Lord said to her,

“Behold, you are pregnant
and shall bear a son.
You shall call his name Ishmael,
because the Lord has listened to your affliction.
12 He shall be a wild donkey of a man,
his hand against everyone
and everyone’s hand against him,
and he shall dwell over against all his kinsmen.”

13 So she called the name of the Lord who spoke to her, “You are a God of seeing,” for she said, “Truly here I have seen him who looks after me.” (ESV)


18:1 And the Lord appeared to him by the oaks of Mamre, as he sat at the door of his tent in the heat of the day. He lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, three men were standing in front of him. When he saw them, he ran from the tent door to meet them and bowed himself to the earth and said, “O Lord, if I have found favor in your sight, do not pass by your servant. Let a little water be brought, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree, while I bring a morsel of bread, that you may refresh yourselves, and after that you may pass on—since you have come to your servant.” So they said, “Do as you have said.” And Abraham went quickly into the tent to Sarah and said, “Quick! Three seahs of fine flour! Knead it, and make cakes.” And Abraham ran to the herd and took a calf, tender and good, and gave it to a young man, who prepared it quickly. Then he took curds and milk and the calf that he had prepared, and set it before them. And he stood by them under the tree while they ate.

They said to him, “Where is Sarah your wife?” And he said, “She is in the tent.” 10 The Lord said, “I will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sarah your wife shall have a son.” And Sarah was listening at the tent door behind him. 11 Now Abraham and Sarah were old, advanced in years. The way of women had ceased to be with Sarah. 12 So Sarah laughed to herself, saying, “After I am worn out, and my lord is old, shall I have pleasure?” 13 The Lord said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Shall I indeed bear a child, now that I am old?’ 14 Is anything too hard for the Lord? At the appointed time I will return to you, about this time next year, and Sarah shall have a son.” 15 But Sarah denied it, saying, “I did not laugh,” for she was afraid. He said, “No, but you did laugh.”

16 Then the men set out from there, and they looked down toward Sodom. And Abraham went with them to set them on their way. 17 The Lord said, “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do, 18 seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him? 19 For I have chosen him, that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing righteousness and justice, so that the Lord may bring to Abraham what he has promised him.” 20 Then the Lord said, “Because the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is great and their sin is very grave, 21 I will go down to see whether they have done altogether according to the outcry that has come to me. And if not, I will know.”

22 So the men turned from there and went toward Sodom, but Abraham still stood before the Lord. 23 Then Abraham drew near and said, “Will you indeed sweep away the righteous with the wicked? 24 Suppose there are fifty righteous within the city. Will you then sweep away the place and not spare it for the fifty righteous who are in it? 25 Far be it from you to do such a thing, to put the righteous to death with the wicked, so that the righteous fare as the wicked! Far be that from you! Shall not the Judge of all the earth do what is just?” 26 And the Lord said, “If I find at Sodom fifty righteous in the city, I will spare the whole place for their sake.”

27 Abraham answered and said, “Behold, I have undertaken to speak to the Lord, I who am but dust and ashes. 28 Suppose five of the fifty righteous are lacking. Will you destroy the whole city for lack of five?” And he said, “I will not destroy it if I find forty-five there.” 29 Again he spoke to him and said, “Suppose forty are found there.” He answered, “For the sake of forty I will not do it.” 30 Then he said, “Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak. Suppose thirty are found there.” He answered, “I will not do it, if I find thirty there.” 31 He said, “Behold, I have undertaken to speak to the Lord. Suppose twenty are found there.” He answered, “For the sake of twenty I will not destroy it.” 32 Then he said, “Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak again but this once. Suppose ten are found there.” He answered, “For the sake of ten I will not destroy it.” 33 And the Lord went his way, when he had finished speaking to Abraham, and Abraham returned to his place. (ESV)


24 Then the Lord rained on Sodom and Gomorrah sulfur and fire from the Lord out of heaven. 25 And he overthrew those cities, and all the valley, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground. (ESV)


11 But the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” And he said, “Here am I.” 12 He said, “Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him, for now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.” (ESV)


24 And Jacob was left alone. And a man wrestled with him until the breaking of the day. 25 When the man saw that he did not prevail against Jacob, he touched his hip socket, and Jacob’s hip was put out of joint as he wrestled with him. 26 Then he said, “Let me go, for the day has broken.” But Jacob said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” 27 And he said to him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Jacob.” 28 Then he said, “Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with men, and have prevailed.” 29 Then Jacob asked him, “Please tell me your name.” But he said, “Why is it that you ask my name?” And there he blessed him. 30 So Jacob called the name of the place Peniel, saying, “For I have seen God face to face, and yet my life has been delivered.” (ESV)


In the womb he took his brother by the heel,
and in his manhood he strove with God.
He strove with the angel and prevailed;
he wept and sought his favor.
He met God at Bethel,
and there God spoke with us—
the Lord, the God of hosts,
the Lord is his memorial name: (ESV)


16 the angel who has redeemed me from all evil, bless the boys;
and in them let my name be carried on, and the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac;
and let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth.” (ESV)


24 Then the Lord rained on Sodom and Gomorrah sulfur and fire from the Lord out of heaven. (ESV)


12:1 Ephraim feeds on the wind
and pursues the east wind all day long;
they multiply falsehood and violence;
they make a covenant with Assyria,
and oil is carried to Egypt.

The Lord has an indictment against Judah
and will punish Jacob according to his ways;
he will repay him according to his deeds.
In the womb he took his brother by the heel,
and in his manhood he strove with God.
He strove with the angel and prevailed;
he wept and sought his favor.
He met God at Bethel,
and there God spoke with us—
the Lord, the God of hosts,
the Lord is his memorial name:
“So you, by the help of your God, return,
hold fast to love and justice,
and wait continually for your God.”

A merchant, in whose hands are false balances,
he loves to oppress.
Ephraim has said, “Ah, but I am rich;
I have found wealth for myself;
in all my labors they cannot find in me iniquity or sin.”
I am the Lord your God
from the land of Egypt;
I will again make you dwell in tents,
as in the days of the appointed feast.

10 I spoke to the prophets;
it was I who multiplied visions,
and through the prophets gave parables.
11 If there is iniquity in Gilead,
they shall surely come to nothing:
in Gilgal they sacrifice bulls;
their altars also are like stone heaps
on the furrows of the field.
12 Jacob fled to the land of Aram;
there Israel served for a wife,
and for a wife he guarded sheep.
13 By a prophet the Lord brought Israel up from Egypt,
and by a prophet he was guarded.
14 Ephraim has given bitter provocation;
so his Lord will leave his bloodguilt on him
and will repay him for his disgraceful deeds. (ESV)


26 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.” (ESV)


1:1 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. (ESV)

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5 comments to Christ in the Old Testament

  • Cool – another topic that I’ve been delving into a little more as time allows. Who are the “us” in this verse, and what (exactly) does it mean to be made in God’s image (this is tricky), and why did all of Genesis use a singular form of God (in the past tense) in describing his creative work…up until

    26 John answered them, “I baptize with water, but among you stands one you do not know, (ESV)

    that is…and then, in

    27 even he who comes after me, the strap of whose sandal I am not worthy to untie.” (ESV)

    it jumps right back to singular past tense, and in specific reference to

    26 John answered them, “I baptize with water, but among you stands one you do not know, (ESV)

    !?!

    Well, I’ll start with the “us” aspect, and what, exactly, does the “us” mean? Was God speaking to the Angels? Don’t know. But, here is one person’s thoughts:

    I was recently reading some notes from a Sunday school class about said subject.

    “What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him? For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and has crowned him with glory and honour.”

    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. (ESV)

    (KJV)

    or “What is man that You take thought of him, And the son of man that You care for him? Yet You have made him a little lower than God, And You crown him with glory and majesty!”

    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. (ESV)

    (NASB)

    The scripture was read by someone from the KJV and then in discussing it, someone else in the class criticized the KJV for translating the word angels incorrectly. In the Hebrew text the word used is elohim which, according to the gentleman who spoke, only refers to God. So he stressed that mankind was made a little lower than God and we are at least equal to or superior to the angels.

    Although it’s true that elohim refers to God the majority of the time in scripture, we must compare scripture with scripture to find out what the translation of the word should be. Our answer is found in

    2:1 Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it. For since the message declared by angels proved to be reliable, and every transgression or disobedience received a just retribution, how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? It was declared at first by the Lord, and it was attested to us by those who heard, while God also bore witness by signs and wonders and various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.

    Now it was not to angels that God subjected the world to come, of which we are speaking. It has been testified somewhere,

    “What is man, that you are mindful of him,
    or the son of man, that you care for him?
    You made him for a little while lower than the angels;
    you have crowned him with glory and honor,
    putting everything in subjection under his feet.”

    Now in putting everything in subjection to him, he left nothing outside his control. At present, we do not yet see everything in subjection to him. But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.

    10 For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering. 11 For he who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one source. That is why he is not ashamed to call them brothers, 12 saying,

    “I will tell of your name to my brothers;
    in the midst of the congregation I will sing your praise.”

    13 And again,

    “I will put my trust in him.”

    And again,

    “Behold, I and the children God has given me.”

    14 Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, 15 and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery. 16 For surely it is not angels that he helps, but he helps the offspring of Abraham. 17 Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. 18 For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted. (ESV)

    where the writer describes this Psalm as being messianic– “Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; thou crownedst him with glory and honour, and didst set him over the works of thy hands: “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.” (

    You made him for a little while lower than the angels;
    you have crowned him with glory and honor,

    Hebrews 2:9

    You made him for a little while lower than the angels;
    you have crowned him with glory and honor,

    Hebrews 2:9

    But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone. (ESV)

    )

    Bible versions, such as the NASB, that translate the word as God in Psalms turn around and translate the word as angels in Hebrews. Why? The word angels is how it really should be translated in the context of scripture since the Psalm is messianic and spoke of how Jesus would humble himself to take on the form of feeble humanity. The KJV translators got it correct because they knew the importance of comparing the whole word of God to make sure they translated properly. They knew that the New Testament revealed what was concealed in the Old Testament.

    But God always supplies us with two or three witnesses (additional verses) as verification, so let’s see if anywhere else in scripture we find the principle of man being lower than the angels–

    “And Jesus answering said unto them, The children of this world marry, and are given in marriage: But they which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage: Neither can they die any more: for they are equal unto the angels; and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection.”

    34 And Jesus said to them, “The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage, 35 but those who are considered worthy to attain to that age and to the resurrection from the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage, 36 for they cannot die anymore, because they are equal to angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection. (ESV)

    (emphasis added)

    In this passage, Jesus clearly states that once the saints are given their resurrected bodies, they become equal to the angels. We understand from the scriptures our resurrection is a promotion from our present corrupt state. Therefore, if we get a promotion to become equal to angels, then we are at this time lower than (inferior to) the angels.

    Still, there is one more witness attesting to the fact that angels are presently higher than us. Peter spoke about prideful humanity in

    2:1 But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed. And in their greed they will exploit you with false words. Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.

    For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to chains of gloomy darkness to be kept until the judgment; if he did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a herald of righteousness, with seven others, when he brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly; if by turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes he condemned them to extinction, making them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly; and if he rescued righteous Lot, greatly distressed by the sensual conduct of the wicked (for as that righteous man lived among them day after day, he was tormenting his righteous soul over their lawless deeds that he saw and heard); then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment, 10 and especially those who indulge in the lust of defiling passion and despise authority.

    Bold and willful, they do not tremble as they blaspheme the glorious ones, 11 whereas angels, though greater in might and power, do not pronounce a blasphemous judgment against them before the Lord. 12 But these, like irrational animals, creatures of instinct, born to be caught and destroyed, blaspheming about matters of which they are ignorant, will also be destroyed in their destruction, 13 suffering wrong as the wage for their wrongdoing. They count it pleasure to revel in the daytime. They are blots and blemishes, reveling in their deceptions, while they feast with you. 14 They have eyes full of adultery, insatiable for sin. They entice unsteady souls. They have hearts trained in greed. Accursed children! 15 Forsaking the right way, they have gone astray. They have followed the way of Balaam, the son of Beor, who loved gain from wrongdoing, 16 but was rebuked for his own transgression; a speechless donkey spoke with human voice and restrained the prophet’s madness.

    17 These are waterless springs and mists driven by a storm. For them the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved. 18 For, speaking loud boasts of folly, they entice by sensual passions of the flesh those who are barely escaping from those who live in error. 19 They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption. For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved. 20 For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. 21 For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them. 22 What the true proverb says has happened to them: “The dog returns to its own vomit, and the sow, after washing herself, returns to wallow in the mire.” (ESV)

    . He talked about rebellious sinners who are so full of themselves that they have no regard for government authorities or spiritual authorities in heaven and how they go so far as to rail against spiritual beings.

    Then in his explanation of how angels in heaven do not rail against other angels like prideful humans rail against certain angels, Peter states in

    11 whereas angels, though greater in might and power, do not pronounce a blasphemous judgment against them before the Lord. (ESV)

    that angels are “greater in power and might” than humans. This means they are higher than us in the ranks of God’s creation.

    So, saints of God, let’s not think of ourselves more highly than we ought to think.

  • Adam and Eve made in God’s image…

    The bible says that God was pleased with the creation of man. Man (i.e. correctly translated from the Hebrew text “mankind”) was made in His image, and God said it was “good” (very good). This is curious because after examining the Genesis account of Adam and Eve, while apparently some of Adam and Eve’s attributes were reflective of God’s image (e.g. God made them like Him spiritually, in a manner that could communicate with God), many of their attributes were not reflective of God’s image nor were they good, or so it appears to me. Still, all of their attributes were intentionally and solely placed within them by God their creator. That brings into question of what, exactly, did God mean when he said that man was created in his image and that it was good?

    The bible is clear as to the special attributes that are unique to God. The bible says that God is only light and there is no darkness in Him. He is perfect, righteous and holy, intolerant and incapable if sin. Simply, He has no “moral free will” in regards to sin for He cannot sin or choose to sin. He is sovereign; the supreme and absolute authority who is all knowing, all perceiving, all powerful, and always present. God is immutable, eternal, and self-existent. Interestingly, none of those qualities were given to Adam and Eve (i.e. there’s no scriptural support in Genesis or elsewhere in the bible to indicate otherwise). The bible is clear that one of Satan’s lies was that if the forbidden fruit was eaten, Adam and Eve would “be as gods” providing further verification of what they were not (gods or “little gods” as some would like to proclaim) prior to their fall.
    On the flip side, God deliberately equipped Adam and Eve with attributes that were completely foreign and hostile to God’s innate being (elaborated on below), or so it appears to me. To complicate matters, God withheld other attributes that would have enabled Adam and Eve to prevail over Satan when confronted with the opportunity to sin (also elaborated on below).

    The Genesis passage provides strong insight regarding the characteristics of Adam and Eve, descriptions that clearly identify their questionable natures. Since Eve fell first let’s start with her. Eve possessed a coveting spirit for she could be tempted. She possessed a spirit of rebellion for she could willfully disobey God. She also possessed a spirit of resentment for she felt slighted that God withheld some of his attributes from her. She also harbored a spirit of pride because (like Satan) she desired to be like God instead of humbly accepting the role of earthly dominion given to her by God. Adam also harbored at least some of these characteristics (if not all since Eve was created from Adam) for he also willfully rebelled and disobeyed God’s instructions to not eat the fruit from the tree of knowledge.

    Adam and Eve also shared other “not in God’s image” attributes. Both lacked wisdom and discernment; neither showed any inclination to challenge the authority of the tempter nor did they perceive him as being deceitful or dishonest. Neither possessed the astuteness to bring the tempter’s bogus claims before God prior to eating the forbidden fruit. The bible says Adam and Eve lacked knowledge of good and evil (the qualities enabled from the fruit of the tree of knowledge) and consequently possessed no innate conscience, no silent voice to influence them through times of trial. Some may question the “lack of conscience” finding, but there’s nothing in the passage to support a different conclusion. Frankly, if a person lacks all knowledge of good and evil, even if they had a “silent voice” to prick them, to what framework would they apply that advice? The vocabulary of the conscience would be foreign and unknown. I’ve heard some try and lobby that both had knowledge of “good” since God said what he created was “good”, but to reach that conclusion one has to add words to the text that don’t exist and make inferences about their behaviors that the text does not support.

    Using the facts of Genesis as the basis for determining Adam and Eve’s condition, and not meaning to sound sully toward them (they were God’s creation), but the passage describes the mental prowess and spiritual condition of both to be little more than naïve simpletons; helpless, foolish beings who were totally dependent on God’s intervening protection for keeping them out of harm’s way, which brings me to my next observation about their predicament. In spite of the “not in God’s image” attributes given to Adam and Eve by God (i.e. rebellious, coveting, prideful, and resentful attributes) as well as the positive attributes and instruction that were deliberately withheld by God (i.e. knowledge of good and evil, wisdom, astuteness, discernment, as well as knowledge of the tempter along with his tactics), and in spite of the stakes for failing being incredibly high (they were not permitted a learning curve, simply a ‘one and done’ warning was given and enforced), God did not intervene with His protection when the tempter came. And God did not place Adam and Eve in front of a run of the mill charlatan (obviously). No, this was the father of all lies, the master deceiver Satan himself, the most wicked, skilled deceiver and manipulator the world would ever know. And, it gets worse. God in his sovereignty knew this encounter would happen. As a result of Satan’s rebellion, and in a belittling act of humiliation and punishment for all the heavens to see, God struck him down (as a lightning bolt) from heaven to the planet earth, the same earth on which Adam and Eve were placed. The book of Revelation affirms this (the dragon, Satan, was thrown down to earth). I find this curious to say the least, but I digress. God obviously allowed Satan in the garden and knew the encounter with Adam and Eve would happen. Still, nowhere does the text indicate that God offered any instruction to Adam and Eve for dealing with the Tempter prior to their encounter nor did he offer to intervene as their protector once the Tempter was encountered.

    Based on the facts found in Genesis, is it possible to reach any other conclusion that God deliberately set both Adam and Eve up to fail? God did not make Adam and Eve sin. He did, though, intentionally place them in circumstances that predictably led to their sinning and rebelling against God. God deliberately gave Adam and Eve all of their attributes (both good and otherwise) while intentionally withholding the spiritual attributes, instruction, and protection that would have allowed them to defeat, or at least potentially defeat the tempter…or so it appears to me based on the facts presented in Genesis. Some may try and say that Adam and Eve could have just said “no” to the tempter, but that doesn’t hold water. A naïve, foolish creature that possesses a rebellious nature, with no knowledge of good and evil and void of discernment will always desire to sin when tempted for there is nothing within that person to keep them from choosing otherwise.

    The Bible is explicitly clear that God chose his own before the foundation of the world, so Adam and Eve’s fall was hardly an unforeseen calamity. Our need for a savior was not the result of the fall, but was already in place before the fall. Consequently, what played out in the garden appears to be little more than a sequence of events that happened exactly as God knew would happen, emphasizing the futility of man (i.e. mankind) and his total inability to resist sinning or save himself outside of God’s intervening mercy and Grace. All of this strikes me as curious, to say the least, unless it is framed within the doctrine of total depravity, with any “good” done by mankind the direct and exclusive result of evil being restrained by God with salvation being entirely the result of God’s mercy and grace.

    Some unanswered questions remain about this passage, at least for me:
    • In what ways was man created in God’s image? He gave them dominion over the earth, and He gave them the ability to communicate with Him spiritually, but was there anything else? The text indicates that man was void of God’s unique qualities (perfect, holy, sovereign, etc, etc) yet possessed the characteristics of fallen angels. Hmmm. Consequently, I’m not really sure what “created in God’s image” really means unless it’s limited to a very small subset of God’s attributes. The bible states in multiple passages (including the Genesis passage referenced above…”be as gods”) that man was made below the angels (

    8:1 O Lord, our Lord,
    how majestic is your name in all the earth!
    You have set your glory above the heavens.
    Out of the mouth of babies and infants,
    you have established strength because of your foes,
    to still the enemy and the avenger.

    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! (ESV)

    : 4-5;

    34 And Jesus said to them, “The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage, 35 but those who are considered worthy to attain to that age and to the resurrection from the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage, 36 for they cannot die anymore, because they are equal to angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection. (ESV)

    ;

    11 whereas angels, though greater in might and power, do not pronounce a blasphemous judgment against them before the Lord. (ESV)

    ). The bible also states that God incarnate (Jesus) was humbly required to inhabit the form of a man for His earthly mission, a form that was below the angels (Heb.2: 7, 9). Consequently, at best, it sounds like the man creation (a non-Deity) was barely, and I mean barely given any of the creator’s qualities in spite of the text stating “made in God’s image”.

    • Why did God say the “mankind” creation was good (very good) when evil aspects were an inherent part of their being? On one hand, God said that everything he created was “good” (I can’t find any biblical support that contradicts this, that at the time anything was created by Him it was qualified as other than “good”) including all creatures (e.g. catfish, orangutans, etc), plants, bugs, light, water and so forth, as well as all of the inanimate particles of the universe, so simply being characterized as “good” doesn’t carry with it a unique endorsement. All aspects of God’s creation were (and remain) awesome and mind boggling, but none of His creation was given a truly unique accolade beyond “good” by their creator according to the Genesis text. Obviously, we (as one of God’s creatures) were also categorized as “good” because God said so. So, were we characterized as “good” simply because we were one of His awesome creations? I’m thinking “yes”. Whatever God created or creates is “good” and serves to function accordingly within his grander sovereign plan. Therefore, the man creation was also “good” but not uniquely categorized from God’s other creations.

    Thoughts?

  • Below is the interpretation of

    1:1 In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. (ESV)

    by a Jewish rabbi.

    ANALYSIS:

    When one reads the very first verse of the Bible, one may not see how it could possibly be used by Christianity to prove a Christian claim. However, Christians see in this verse an indication of the trinity, the belief that Gd is made up of three ‘persons,’ the Father, the son, and the Holy Spirit. To understand how Christians see this, one must read the verse in the original Hebrew. Transliterated, it reads,

    B’reysheet Bara Eloheem Et Hashamayim V’et Ha-aretz.

    Christians see that the word in the verse used for ‘Gd’ is the word ‘Eloheem.’ They point out that the ending of ‘eem’ indicates a plural in the Hebrew language, and they are right: usually the ‘eem’ at the end of the word indicates a plural. For example, ‘sefer’ is ‘book,’ while ‘sefareem’ is ‘books.’

    However, not all words with ‘eem’ on the end are plural. For example, the word ‘mayeem’ is ‘water,’ and not ‘waters.’ One would not say, ‘pass the waters,’ one would say ‘pass the water’ as in English. The same is true for the word, ‘paneem,’ which means ‘face’ and not ‘faces.’

    In the above examples, in order for the nouns to be understood as plural, whatever verbs and adjectives that apply to ‘paneem’ and ‘mayeem’ would have to match, and also be plural. However, the verb in

    1:1 In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. (ESV)

    is Bara, and is not in the plural, which would be Bar-u. This means that the Hebrew does not recognize the word for Gd, Eloheem, to be in the plural.

    The most important response to this Christian claim is to understand that there is no reason to assume a plural reference to Gd must mean three. A plural is simply more than one, and can indicate 2, 3, 5, or even 235,000. There is nothing to indicate that any plural reference to Gd must specifically mean three. If one was required to see plurals, in relationship to Gd, to be references to a trinity, would that meant that someone with a ‘paneem,’ a ‘face’ in Hebrew, would have to be three-faced?

    The way in which someone interprets a biblical verse will be influenced by that reader’s experiences and beliefs. A Christian assumes that the plural references to Gd always mean three, because a Christian begins with the assumption that Gd is a trinity. However, what if a Hindu, with the belief in multiple gods, read the same verse? The Hindu certainly could claim that the verse referred to the multiplicity of Hindu gods, while the Christian would claim that the verse referred to their trinity, and the Jew will maintain that it refers to an absolute one Gd. Of course, the Jewish claim will be based on the verb being in the singular, and the existence of other words that, like Eloheem, appear to be plural but are not.

    Furthermore, the Jewish claim will be based on the Jewish idea of absolute Monotheism, that Gd is One and indivisible. However, Christians and Hindus are free to reject the Jewish claim, which is what makes them Christians or Hindus. Were they to accept the Jewish understanding of this verse, leading them to the Jewish understanding of Gd, that Gd is One and Indivisible, it would be a first step to abandoning their own religions, just as if Jews were to accept the Christian understanding of this verse it would be a first step in abandoning their Judaism.

    It also must be noted that the word ‘Eloheem’ is also used in the Bible to refer to pagan idols.
    In the Ten Commandments we read,

    Thou shalt have no other gods before me. [

    “You shall have no other gods before me. (ESV)

    ]

    And the word in that verse used for ‘gods’ is the same word, ‘Eloheem,’ that we have in Genesis.

    To be accurate, the word, ‘Eloheem’ comes from the root which means ‘power.’ The Bible uses the word ‘Eloheem’ to mean Gd, because Gd is the Ultimate Power, however when it does so, it uses a verb that is singular, not recognizing the subject ‘eloheem’ as plural.

  • Below is the interpretation of

    26 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.” (ESV)

    by the same rabbi:

    ANALYSIS:

    One sees the same problem (as we saw in

    1:1 In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. (ESV)

    ) resulting in a plural reference to Gd, in another verse commonly used by Christians in an attempt to prove that their concept of the trinity is to be found in the Hebrew Scriptures.

    Because the above also refers to Gd in the plural, ‘Let US make man.’ Christians will claim that this plural reference to Gd indicates the trinity. However the same objection mentioned above regarding

    1:1 In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. (ESV)

    can also be applied here. Just because the term ‘us,’ referring to Gd is in the plural, it does not necessarily have to referring to a trinity. Plurals are more than one, and this plural can also be interpreted to mean 2 or 3 or 3 million. It can be interpreted by Hindus to indicate the multiplicity of their gods, as well.

    To understand the Jewish interpretation of this verse, please note that preceding this verse, Gd had called upon the Earth to aid Him in the creation of plant life as well as animate life:

    And Gd said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so. 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 Gd saw that it was good. [

    11 And God said, “Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind, on the earth.” And it was so. 12 The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed according to their own kinds, and trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. (ESV)

    ]

    And Gd said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so. And Gd made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and Gd saw that it was good. [

    24 And God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures according to their kinds—livestock and creeping things and beasts of the earth according to their kinds.” And it was so. 25 And God made the beasts of the earth according to their kinds and the livestock according to their kinds, and everything that creeps on the ground according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. (ESV)

    ]

    Judaism believes that human beings are made up of both flesh and blood (the material) as well as the soul (the spiritual). The Earth provides the material while Gd provides the spiritual. Furthermore, when a person dies, Judaism believes that the flesh and blood of the deceased goes back to the earth, while the soul returns to Gd. This is seen in Ecclesiastes, where it explicitly states this:

    Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto Gd who gave it. [

    and the dust returns to the earth as it was, and the spirit returns to God who gave it. (ESV)

    ]

    From the Jewish perspective, in saying, ‘Let us make man,’ Gd was speaking to the Earth, which is evidenced in the biblical account just a few verses before when he also used the Earth in the Creation of plants and animals.

  • What a Jewish rabbi said about

    26 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.” (ESV)

    ANALYSIS:

    One sees the same problem (as we saw in

    1:1 In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. (ESV)

    ) resulting in a plural reference to Gd, in another verse commonly used by Christians in an attempt to prove that their concept of the trinity is to be found in the Hebrew Scriptures.

    Because the above also refers to Gd in the plural, ‘Let US make man.’ Christians will claim that this plural reference to Gd indicates the trinity. However the same objection mentioned above regarding

    1:1 In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. (ESV)

    can also be applied here. Just because the term ‘us,’ referring to Gd is in the plural, it does not necessarily have to referring to a trinity. Plurals are more than one, and this plural can also be interpreted to mean 2 or 3 or 3 million. It can be interpreted by Hindus to indicate the multiplicity of their gods, as well.

    To understand the Jewish interpretation of this verse, please note that preceding this verse, Gd had called upon the Earth to aid Him in the creation of plant life as well as animate life:

    And Gd said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so. 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 Gd saw that it was good. [

    11 And God said, “Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind, on the earth.” And it was so. 12 The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed according to their own kinds, and trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. (ESV)

    ]

    And Gd said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so. And Gd made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and Gd saw that it was good. [

    24 And God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures according to their kinds—livestock and creeping things and beasts of the earth according to their kinds.” And it was so. 25 And God made the beasts of the earth according to their kinds and the livestock according to their kinds, and everything that creeps on the ground according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. (ESV)

    ]

    Judaism believes that human beings are made up of both flesh and blood (the material) as well as the soul (the spiritual). The Earth provides the material while Gd provides the spiritual. Furthermore, when a person dies, Judaism believes that the flesh and blood of the deceased goes back to the earth, while the soul returns to Gd. This is seen in Ecclesiastes, where it explicitly states this:

    Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto Gd who gave it. [

    and the dust returns to the earth as it was, and the spirit returns to God who gave it. (ESV)

    ]

    From the Jewish perspective, in saying, ‘Let us make man,’ Gd was speaking to the Earth, which is evidenced in the biblical account just a few verses before when he also used the Earth in the Creation of plants and animals.

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