Understanding Man (Genesis 1-3)
By Ray C Stedman
In this brief study on Understanding Man, I have attempted to bring into focus some of the principles of true psychology and true anthropology. It is by these biblical principles that all secular studies ultimately must be measured, for here is the revelation of things as they really are with respect to mankind.
Our task is to find clues to unravel the greatest mystery ever written–the story of man. We are seeking to understand ourselves, both as men and women “in Adam” and also as the new men and women we have become if we are “in Christ.” But we must begin with the first Adam because what he was, we are.
It always strikes me as strange that anyone can deny the reality of the story of the Fall of man, especially when the very man who denies it is himself repeating it, perhaps dozens of times a day. Temptation follows the same pattern with us that it did with Eve in the garden of Eden, and the process is absolutely relentless.
We may think, sometimes, that our guilt is hidden from the eyes of men, since no one else knows about it, and nothing has come down on us. Yet within us, whenever we yield to evil, a darkness falls and death tightens its grip upon our throat.
Here, then, is a study aimed at first, understanding the unchanging process of temptation in our lives, and then, at unfolding the unchanging process of God’s grace which seeks us out and restores us.
But the grace of God often goes unrecognized for what it is. In this passage of Genesis, if we understand it properly, God has revealed more clearly than perhaps anywhere else in the Bible how unwilling he is that any should perish. Far from merely pronouncing judgment on Adam and Eve, he gives them an assurance of life beyond the death of their bodies, and a clear promise of a Redeemer to come.
I hope your heart will be lifted with fresh encouragement as mine has been, when you discover the loving purpose behind God’s expulsion of the first man and woman from the garden. On that purpose hangs the whole truth of the gospel of Christ. –RAY C. STEDMAN