Adamís life is the figure of our life when "we walk as men" (I Cor. 3.3). Fallen Adam is the type of man in SELF, as he makes or unmakes his own nature. In contrast, Adam - ruling all creatures, is the type of man in Christ, as God makes him. The "Garden Temptation" is there whenever we sin. The very same scene is being reenacted every day in every man upon the face of earth. This is how it happens:
We are the "garden" of the Lord where He plants His Pleasant plants and where grow the noxious weeds of the self-life. We too, are still under the commandment of the Lord to "dress and to keep" our garden. We are responsible for what happens in it! In our garden are the same elements of the "original temptation". The players within are:
MAN = the understanding of the spirit
WOMAN = the will (the desires and affections of the soul)
SERPENT = some lower desire or emotion in us that satan can use. (He has been given permission to eat upon our "dust" or carnality)
The will (our desires and affections) is first attacked, seduced by some lower sense or emotion which seems to promise more happiness. "If I just had this, Iíd be happy!" We permit our passions to rule over us, rather than commanding them to be subject to our understanding. The understanding cannot be led to consent to sin except by the will - the part of the mind which loves. The will is to be subject and obedient, as a woman to her husband. That is the divine picture.
What happens when we are tempted? The will yields, and becomes self-will. By it, the man, or understanding is seduced. The head goes wrong when the heart is first seduced! In every fall - even today - the heart perverts the head; the will tempts the understanding. How many times have we grieved, "If I had only listened to my Ďbetter judgementí! Instead, I got Ďcarried awayí with my desire." This, if you can receive it, is enacted daily as we make our choices from the desires of the soul, or from the understanding of the spirit.
In every restoration, it is out of the heart, or will that the new life must come. There has to be "a change of heart" before any restoration can come. "The womanís Seed" was divinely given to overcome evil. This seed is born out of the womb of human affections, "...for with the heart man believeth unto righteousness..." Rom. 10:10.
TO KNOW is yet the snare - the promise of forbidden knowledge is still the bait to draw us aside. You hear it on every hand: "Think what youíre missing! Just try it once and then youríll know how much fun it is! Everyone else is doing it!" If the will is enticed by that desire to KNOW some new thrill, or experience something new, it is soon overcome, and is put in bondage. James 1:14, 15 "...when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin, and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death."
The sentence on the woman in the Garden was pain in bringing forth, and being ruled over by her husband. In an inward sense, the fallen will has pain in bringing forth other forms of life (from self). A dear friend of mind is suffering much pain because for ten years she Ďsat on the fenceí trying to please her husband, whose soul desired the pleasures of sin. When she turned back to the Lord (the spirit), her husband wanted no part of her. Her pain is now in the reaping of what she had sown all those years. She had Ďlost groundí with God and is having a struggle to pray and get into the Word, which used to be her joy. God never left her, just as He did not leave Adam and Eve, but she felt alienated from Him because she chose her own way, to walk independently of God! The principles of the THE GARDEN have never changed! They work just the same way they did in our first parents.
Eve is called "the mother of all living," and it is true that only by the will is another life produced. The will is the opener of all evil or good in the creature. As we love, we live. Therefore, "keep the heart (keep the garden!) with all diligence, for out of it are the issues of (good or bad) life." Prov 4:28. "From within, out of the heart, proceed evil thoughts" Mark 7:21.
(1) Let us trace manís way in the Garden so that we can discern what happens in our garden within when we are subject to temptation. First, there was a suggestion questioning Godís love. "Hath God said, Ye shall not eat?" Gen. 3:1. There is here a subtle suggestion that the commandment was imposed by power, rather than by love. The words imply: "God grudges. He cannot really love you." The serpent does not mention all the blessings God has provided. He fixes his argument on the one thing denied. He questions what God does, and thus opens the temptation. (Have we not heard them, "God wants to take everything away from me that I really like. I have a free will. I have some rights. My parents are just old fogies... I do not have to listen to them," and so on).
Eve was drawn to be Godís judge, rather than His worshipper! We get out of our place when we judge God. (How many accusations have we had against our Maker because He didnít do things our way! Or, we were reaping what we had sown, and we put all the blame on God for Ďbeing mean to usí.) Eve meets this question with knowledge (as men still do). She reasons with Satan instead of worshipping God. She utters truth, while her soul drinks in the lie. When doubts of Godís love are received, creature love comes in. The fundamental lie is believed: God does not love! Every other lie is possible after this. If God loves us not, we will try self and creatures and creature love!
(2) The second phase of manís way is the denial of Godís truth. "The serpent said, Yea shall not surely die" Gen. 3:4. Love being doubted truth is next attacked. God is treated as a liar! Know this, that if God loses His place, something else must take itís where God is not trusted, Satan will be. (This explains the rise of satanism today - if God is Ďdeadí, then Satan will be worshipped, and evil will be desired rather then good). Manís happiness in sin rests on believing the devil. Man, who doubts Godís love and truth, must trust the creature. (e.g. "This president will turn things around!") If men ask him to sin, he will obey them, for they are now in the place of God to him. If we BELIEVE GOD, we are FREE. If we do not trust Him, we are the slave of anyone stronger or cleverer than we!
(3) The third stage of the Temptation was: Taking Godís place openly. "Ye shall be as godís" Gen 3:5. If the first two lies are believed, God loses His character in the heart of man. SELF may now therefore seek to be "as God." Self-glorying seems not to be sin, but is rather encouraged. Now, judging good and evil seems almost to be our work, so readily do we pass sentence on everything! ("...take away from the midst of thee the yoke, the putting forth of the finger and speaking vanity..." Isa 58:9). If God is dishonored, SELF will be the centre - until, like Nebuchadnezzar, understanding is lost and we become like a beast, knowing only the things of the carnal realm.
In the midst of his deception, Satan mixes some truth, for God says, "The man is become as one of us." A truth perverted may bind most strongly! Many are in deception because there was truth at the start, and they never noticed (or they excused it) when error came in. A saint of earlier times was asked, "What is the most dangerous doctrine?" His answer was, "Godís own truth held carnally and to exalt self."
In this temptation is: (1) the lust of the flesh (good for food); (2) the lust of the eye (pleasant to look upon; (3) the lust of the mind, the pride of knowledge - a tree to be desired to make one wise. In this state, man actually believes that sin is blessedness: not to sin and do so he will is considered bondage. He thinks evil is good, and self-pleasing brings joy!
We cannot know God in any degree until we first know ourselves in some measure. The Psalmist David pondered this age-old question: "What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him? Psalm 8:4. God alone can reveal manís nature to him.
And then, do we know God? Do we know anything of what should be our true relations to Him? What are some of our thoughts about our Maker? Do you wonder: Is He for us or against us? Is He friend or foe? Is He a stranger or a Father? Can I trust Him? Is it really possible to know Him? Godís Word about Himself is: "He that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him."
Does the Bible shed light upon knowing ourselves and knowing God? Is there any remedy in it for our lack of understanding? Yes, indeed, there is! In its opening pages it tells us how man became what he is, even fallen for a while from God, yet not forsaken by Him.
The Bible shows a lower creature who suggested a lie as to God and man. The lie accused God of being grudging - being one who would deny His creatures that which was pleasant to their eyes and good for food. Further, the creature accused God of being untrue. Said, he, "Ye shall not surely die; For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evilí Gen. 3:4,5. He accused God of desiring to withhold from His creation that which would open their eyes so that they, knowing good and evil. would be like Him. Satan convinced them that in self-will and disobedience they could be like God!
The first man, taken in by the lie about Godís nature, did not understand that the very reason God created man in the first place was the very essence of His Being is Love. Love is not one of His attributes. It is what He is. God IS Love! And this Love purposed to make His creation into His image and likeness (after the Spirit) as stated by Him in the opening chapter of the Bible.
The first result of believing the lie was that man learnt that He was naked. The covering of the light of God which had once overshadowed him was gone and he saw his nakedness and hid himself. Then he covered himself with fig leaves of self-righteousness and when God spoke to him, he covered his disobedience with excuses: "The woman you gave me, Lord, she did it" (Still today we accuse the excuse the blame someone else for our disobedience!)
Next, man began to hold hard thoughts of God, and in turn, had high thoughts of himself. Even his idols show his thought of God. The heathen offered their firstborn to the fire that roared in the gaping maw of the jaws of Moloch or Baal. By this act they hoped to assure the salvation of the rest of their household. All heathen gods must have their wrath appeased. Such is manís concept of God. But the God of Love protested such actions with those words: "Because they have forsaken Me, and have estranged this place, and have burned incense unto other gods. and have filled this place with the blood of innocents, ...which I commanded not, not spoke it, neither came it into My mind" Jer.19:4,5.
The natural man expects no good or pleasure from God. He is unable to pass money, or things without being drawn to them, but he can pass by God, morning, noon, and night. He can eat without Him; He can drink without Him; buy and sell without Him; live without Him; and even try to die without Him. The serpentís lie tells us that He restricts and punishes us all out life, and at the end, damns most of His creation to endless pain and hellfire.
In spite of manís believing a lie about God, that God grudges and is not true, and a lie about man, that in disobedience and self-will he shall be as God, his Maker still seeks after him. The Call came, "Where art thou?" meaning, "Why are you not with Me?" Hear the pathos of it! We have imagined that God wrathfully casts our first parents out of Eden, yet the truth is that He still loved and yearned over the. But He could not grant them His nature in the rebellion of selfhood.
After the Call came a Promise concerning the Womanís seed who would come to crush the serpentís head (Gen. 3:15). The Promise is not to old Adam but to the Seed or New Man who shall be born and by whom man shall regain paradise.
To the Promise, a Gift is added. "The Lord God made them coats of skins and clothed them." Sin had broken Godís Rest, so He works to restore. Our covering of self-righteousness is not sufficient. We need the full covering of the Lamb of God Who was slain before the foundation of the world for our sins, that we might know once again the intimacy of the shelter of His loving arms. Knowing our nature, what man is, we can then come to our Father and realize His Name - His nature which Jesus declared by His works and His words when He walked in the likeness of sinful flesh.
This you must know - hide not yourself from your own flesh, if you would know the beauty of Him Who is working His nature in you. If you would pass over into the Kingdom Age, you must know yourself and know your God!
(1) Let us consider the fruit of manís way, or disobedience, for it affects our way even today, for the natural man, and even Christians to a degree, still react in the same way. First: man received a bad conscience. Gen. 3:7 tells us, "Their eyes were opened, and they knew they were naked." They sought to hide it, so "They sewed fig-leaves together, and made themselves aprons," They hid only as much of their nakedness as they saw before them. But, "God made them coats." He covered them all of their sinful condition by that which had died - signifying that He would come into their state and redeem them full from their sin! Man cannot bear his condition, so he has to hide it in some way. This is why men so love the world - outward things make them able to hide their naked, shameful condition. A man has to have a fancy car to bolster his ego; he has to "keep up with the Jonesís, and so on. All of this, in a measure, keeps man from facing himself - he hides behind it.
(2) A further fruit of sin is that "They hid themselves from the presence of the Lord." God now has to call out to them, "Where art thou?" He is saying, in effect, "How come you are not with Me? Why are you hiding from Me? It was necessary for them to learn the place to which disobedience had brought them, but God did not reproach them. He simply asked, "Why are you not with Me?"
At our natural birth, the umbilical cord is cut and the child is separated from its mother. After the fall, Adam perceived himself to be separate - to be now an agent having "free will" to know good and evil; to be as God, independently of Him. He lost his awareness of a loving Creator Who had created him to be brought forth in His image and likeness, and that the fall could not keep Him from His divine purpose. This separation does not happen with God - He does not sever His cords of Love unto us! He says, in His Own Word; "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?" Then are listed all the things that could separated us, and then He declares that none of them can separate us from His love! (Rom. 8:34-39). I know of many whose lives the Lord has saved by divine intervention before they were ever serving Him.
(3) Another fruit of disobedience is self-justification - clearing yourself by blaming another - accusing God, Satan, the "woman you gave me". The excuse may be true, but there is no confession of guilt in this way. A personís troubles are blamed upon another, when God is asking, "How come you are not with Me?" That is the real issue and the answer to all our woes.
(4) External fruits of sin have to do with manís body and his dwelling place where sorrow and toil are his portion. This we all know so well. More important to consider is that man is excluded from paradise, the realm of the Spirit of God. Fallen man is driven out, lest he eat and live forever in his fallen condition. This is love.
Old Adam is shut out, but the Seed can enter through the flaming sword and past the cherubim. The Head first passed and now His members may also pass. For man in Christ, the Last Adam, the way is open and we are invited to enter. But for the natural man to seek by selfhood to enter paradise to hold communion with the spirits there, he would become deceived and would be taught by Ďangels of lightí. Israel is forbidden contact with the spiritual world through "enchanters, witches, charmers, consulters with familiar spirits, wizards, or necromancers" because God would speak to them by a Man, a Prophet like unto Moses. For those who pass by the fiery sword and cherubim, pass on beyond the "forms of truth" and worship that is not yet spiritual communion. Wishing to die to self and their own righteousness, they meet the flaming sword - that Word of God which divides asunder soul and spirit within them. Flesh cannot pass this sword for this shard sword will cut it asunder. But such Love is granted that we find that "in dying we live", and we enter a much purer relationship where we can humbly appreciate all that Love has provided for, and at last KNOW HIM - whom to know is life eternal!
We strongly recommend that you read THE LATENT POWER OF THE SOUL by Watchman Nee which sheds more light on the subject of the soul.
In the account of our beginnings the Lord portrays for us, human nature in its ways and grieves and hopes. We may learn our own tendencies by understanding Adamís ways. This divine parable shows us, first, the way of man; then, the consequences; then, the remedy. God grant us grace to accept His remedy, the stages of which are: a Call, then a Promise, then a Gift.
Since I have come to know the Lord, in the beauty of His nature and in the substance of His love and mercy, I have grieved in spirit over the almost universal concept of God as a wrathful, vengeful Being. Even many of His children regard Him as such, but still serve Him as far as they are able, in fear. To really understand Godís dealings with our first parents is to clearly see His nature. Upon their disobedience, there were not wrathfully cast out of Eden. He called to them, "Where art thou?" convicting of sin, but crying to draw man back again. His call was to lead man to come back to his Father - to receive from Him another and higher life - asking why we are not with Him who still love and yearns over us. Even though we may fail or fall, He abideth faithful. He cannot and will not forsake this creation in whom He has purposed to bring forth His very own nature!
The Call is followed by a Promise concerning the womanís Seed. Gen 3:15, "And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel." This Promise is not to old Adam who is fallen and must pay the penalty. It is to the Seed or New Man who shall be born and by whom man shall regain paradise. What Adam is has been clearly shown - the exalting of SELF spoils all the gifts bestowed upon him. The only way out of the old life of Adam is death - laying down the self-life, that the New Man might spring forth in life out of the old. In the Son or Seed the curse is overcome. All that rose up in man falls by the Son of Man. All that fell in man is raised again in the Son of Man, the Seed, the heavenly man. The Promise cannot fail to this Seed. Godís Ďthou shaltí of the law is now changed to "I will, for in Christ, the Seed, we are heirs " according to the promise" Gal. 3:29.
To the Promise, a Gift is added. "The Lord God made them coats of skins and clothed them." Sin had broken Godís Rest, so again He works to restore. Our covering of the fig-leaves of the self-righteousness is not deemed sufficient. We need a full covering, of the One Who has given His Life then our sins might fully covered, that we might know once again the intimacy of the shelter of His loving arms.
In the dispensation view of man, we see Christ and the Church. He is "the Man" who "left father and mother and was joined to his wife." While He slept (in death), she was made out of Him, and they become one flesh. The Church is "the woman, which is of the Man", and Christ is "the Man who is also by the woman." Christ is the womanís Seed and Lord. He is the "Man who was not deceived," but who by the woman and for her came under judgment.
Gen. 2:22 reads: "He BUILDED a woman" and this shadows a divine mystery, for the Church is likened unto a BUILDING "fitly framed together groweth unto a holy temple in the Lord; in whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit" Eph. 2:21, 22. In its relation to Christ, the Church is : one flesh, one life, one spirit with Him. She has a nature higher than the animal, for "among the beasts there was no help -meet for Adam" and His Bride cannot "bear the mark or number of the beast." This is the woman whose "power is on her Head," and whose Head and Lord is "the image and glory of God." He is formed in the earth to rule all beasts, and to have "all things put in subjection under His feet."
Such is the Love outstretched to all mankind by a loving, compassionate Father unto His creation! His Bride is one, pure, holy Church; a body of many members, linked together, each in its place, encircled in the divine arms, and included in the divine love. Those who know this love know that its attraction is stronger than the ties of blood, of natural kin. It is the bond of the Spirit, and we can know no higher bond than this, for it is the bond of His Love that is spread abroad upon our hearts by the Holy Spirit!