Derek teaches us today that Lucifer was a glorious created being who succumbed to pride. So what did God do next? He stooped low as He formed a man out of the dust of the earth. The dust of the earth met the breath of God from heaven and Adam was created. God wanted a person-to-person relationship with him.
It’s good to be with you again as we continue to study together the eternal, universal law that’s summed up in the title for my talks this week, “Pride vs. Humility.”
The law that we’re studying is summed up by Jesus in Matthew 23:12:
“For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” (NIV)
In my talk yesterday I went right back to the first occasion in the history of the universe that we see this law at work, the rebellion of Lucifer. We looked in the 28th chapter of Ezekiel. We saw the record there of the rebellion of this beautiful, wise cherub who had been given the place of honor overshadowing, apparently, the throne of God. Perhaps the wisest and the most beautiful of all God’s creatures, in charge of one third of God’s angels, but the Scripture says his heart was lifted up. He became proud because of his wisdom and his beauty and the result was that he plotted rebellion against God. He went around as a slanderer, as an accuser of God amongst the angels under his command, and ultimately he persuaded them to join him in rebellion against God. But in exalting himself, he was humbled. He was cast down from the presence of God and his angels were cast down with him. So we see that this law of humility and pride operates not merely in our own human lives, but it operates throughout the entire universe. It affects every created being that is capable of either humility or pride.
Now today we’re going to look at God’s alternative plan, the plan that God devised to counteract the effects of Lucifer’s rebellion.
Pride had been the root of Satan’s rebellion so God’s response was to make a different kind of creature and one that ultimately was destined to take Satan’s place. The new creature that God devised for this purpose is man or, as he’s called in the Hebrew, Adam, bearing in mind that Adam is a proper name as well as the name of our race.
Now God created Adam in a different way from any other creature. There was something special about Adam’s mode of creation which was designed in the mind of the Creator to militate against pride. Adam came from a different source from any other created being that we know of. He came from the very lowest, the very humblest, and yet he had in him also the very highest. He combined the highest and the lowest. Here’s the description of the creation of Adam in Genesis 2:7:
“And the Lord God formed man [or Adam] from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul.” (NIV)
I don’t know how it is with you, but with me that’s such a vivid picture. I believe it took place just the way it’s described. I see the great Creator, the one through whom all things were created as the New Testament reveals, the eternal Son of God, the Word of God, the second person of the Godhead. And I see Him there in that garden, stooping down, and with His divine fingers molding a perfect form of clay. But at the end, although it was so perfect, it was just clay. And then the Creator stooped yet lower. He placed His divine lips against those lips of clay, His divine nostrils against those nostrils of clay, and He breathed in the breath of life.
The Hebrew word that’s translated “He breathed” is a very emphatic word—viyapach. Let me say that again, viyapach. And that syllable pach indicates a strong, forceful ongoing breath. The sound represents the action. And that inbreathed breath, that Spirit of Almighty God, instantly transformed that body of clay into a living, human personality with all the marvels of human personality. That’s the way of man’s creation and one purpose of it was to undercut the tendency to pride in the creature.
Let me point out to you five vital facts about the creation of man or Adam as revealed in this passage. First of all, for the first time in the record of Scripture, in this chapter, personal names are introduced. It says, “The Lord God formed man, Adam.” The Lord is the sacred, personal name of the true God. We usually call it Jehovah or modern scholars say it was probably Yahweh. But the important thing to remember is, it’s a personal name. And then likewise, man, Adam, is a personal name. So a personal God created a personal man for a person-to-person relationship between them. That indicates the great intent of the Creator was to fellowship with His creature, person to person.
Second, we see that God stooped to create man. First of all, he bent in the dust and formed the body, then He stooped right down and put His lips against those lips of clay and breathed His divine breath into that body. God had to stoop to create man.
Thirdly, God imparted Himself to man. He breathed His very own divine breath into that body of clay.
As a result, fourthly, man combines in himself the highest and the lowest, that which is from God Himself direct, and that which is from the earth, from the dust. Can you understand something about yourself when you think about that? Don’t you feel as I feel that in you and in me there’s something very high and something very low. And isn’t a large part of our total experiences the conflict between the high and the low?
You see, one reason why I believe this record of creation is, it explains things that are going on today. It explains me to myself in a way that nothing else ever succeeded and I was a professional philosopher for years studying other theories about the origin of man and the universe, but none of them satisfied me; none of them gave me an answer that explained me to myself.
The fifth fact is that man now has a dual relationship or potentially has a dual relationship. Through his spirit, the part that came from God, man relates to God. But through his body, the part that came from the earth, man relates to the world. So again, we see something that is true in our experience. There’s something in us that relates to God. There’s something that was made for God, for fellowship with God, for person to person relationship. But, there’s something in us that’s very earthy that relates to this world. So that’s the picture of God’s alternative plan. The created cherub had fallen so God created another kind of being from a different source, from the earth, but He breathed in His own divine life, one great intent to undercut the tendency to pride.
Let’s look at the main responsibilities of man, or Adam, as God created him. These are stated in Genesis 1:26, when the initial decision of God to create man is announced.
“Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, in our likeness.’ [Notice the plurality of this statement, God says, ‘Let us.’ It’s the great eternal Godhead, the Trinity at work.] Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them [Not just Adam, but the human race] rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.’” (NIV)
We see there two primary purposes of God, two functions that man was expected to fulfill. First of all, he visibly represented God to the rest of creation. There was a special way in which was imprinted upon man, Adam, the very likeness of God Himself. The inbreathed Spirit of God into that body of clay, fashioned by the divine hands of the Creator, brought forth something that, in certain special respects, visibly represented the Creator to the remainder of creation.
Secondly, God’s purpose for man was to exercise authority on behalf of God. He said, “Let us make man and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” So man was created to exercise tremendous authority and that’s something that man has never totally forgotten in his inner personality. There’s always that desire of reaching out for authority. But today, in fallen man, it doesn’t have a sound base. So we see there two main features of man’s relationship to God according to that description of creation. The two main features are fellowship and dependence. The primary desire of God for His creature, Adam, was to fellowship with Him. It was a personal God, Jehovah, Yahweh, who created a personal man, Adam, for personal fellowship between them. And man never finds his true fulfillment outside of personal fellowship with his Creator.
Secondly, man was created to be dependent on God and as long as he remained dependent, he was to exercise God’s authority on His behalf. So long as he maintained this relationship of dependence, he was both infallible and unassailable. So the key thought there is that the key to human happiness is dependence on God.