Have you ever wondered how we got here? I mean how we got from the Garden of Eden to, well, this … life as we know it now.
Yes, I know it’s just a small jump from Genesis 2:25 to Genesis 3:7, but isn’t that really a huge jump from living on a perfect planet to the mess it became? I think it is a huge jump and a big disappointment. I read Genesis 1 & 2 and Planet Earth sounds like a really nice place to live. Genesis 3 & 4? Not so much. I’m telling you, it’s a big disappointment.
But, here we are; all of us in the same situation. As complicated as life appears, it’s really quite simple. We’re all doomed. No, really, we’re all doomed. That is the truth of the matter. We have no hope … without God. And there is the rub. We have no hope without God, so believing that God exists is the starting point for everyone.
“But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” Hebrews 11:6)
But what about people who don’t believe God exists? What about people who believe there’s a God, but the god they believe in is not really God? What about people who believe there are many gods and none of them are the real God? What about people who believe God is in everything or everything is God? How in the world did we go from one God in the Garden of Eden to no God, different God, several gods, millions of gods, everything’s god, god’s in everything?
Back to Genesis to figure this out.
Here’s a quick look at what we know from Genesis 1 – 3.
- God Created the heavens and the earth
- God Created man and woman in His image, in His likeness
- Satan deceived the woman to disobey God and Adam also disobeyed
- God cursed Satan and told the man and woman how their life would change
- God promised that He would send the Seed of the woman (Jesus) to defeat the seed of the serpent (Satan)
- God removed the man and woman from the Garden of Eden so they would not eat from the tree of life and live forever in their sinful state
Satan’s deception is the game-changer. There’s something in what he said that we need to “get” if we’re going to understand why there are so many different beliefs about God.
- Atheism – no God
- Monotheism – one God
- Polytheism – many gods
- Pantheism – everything is part of god
- Panentheism – god is in everything
- Henotheism – many gods, but worship one more than others
What did Satan say that lead to so many different beliefs about God or gods?
“God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” Genesis 3:5
What did the woman think when she heard those words?
“So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate.” Genesis 3:6
The woman heard the words of the serpent (Satan), looked at the tree and saw that it was (1) good for food, (2) pleasant to the eyes, (3) desirable to make one wise, and (4) she ate fruit from the tree. (5) She also gave the fruit to her husband and he ate it, too.
What happened next?
“Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings.” Genesis 3:7
That exchange took less than 60 seconds, but it opened the floodgates to what almost became the destruction of the human race.
“Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. So the Lord said, “I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth, both man and beast, creeping thing and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them.” Genesis 6:5-7
Eve did not think through the results of her action. She saw the pretty fruit and heard the enticing words of the serpent. She did not consider the awful consequences of what it would mean to “surely die” (Genesis 2:17); what it would mean to her husband, her children and her children’s children. As we learn from the Apostle Paul, Eve was deceived and fell into sin; Adam was not deceived. (1 Timothy 2:14)
The death God warned them about was more than the death of the body – “the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” Goodness was gone; evil had taken its place.
Think about the intent of the thoughts of Adam and Eve’s heart before they met the serpent. As God commented after creating the first humans – “Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good” (Genesis 1:31). It didn’t happen overnight, but death showed its ugliness from the first child born on earth murdering the second child born until the wickedness of man was great in the earth and every intent of the thought of his heart was “only evil continually.”
Every worldview (belief system), if taken to its logical conclusion, will arrive at an undeniable ending point. That’s where logic takes us – to the logical conclusion. If you took the ideal version of a worldview and imagined what that world would look like if it faced no opposition and was not balanced by any other idea, what would that worldview look like at its logical end? Do that with every worldview and follow the logic of that view to its logical conclusion. You may be surprised where each one ends.
Satan’s worldview of eyes wide open, being like God, knowing good and evil, arrived at the human race thinking only about evil and being filled with wickedness. The impact of that kind of evil has a powerful effect on the planet. It became corrupt before God, “and the earth was filled with violence” (Genesis 6:11). It also impacted how the earth looked to God – “So God looked upon the earth, and indeed it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted their way on the earth” (Genesis 6:12).
Take any worldview (e.g. Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Jainism, Islam, paganism, spiritualism, scientism, agnosticism, atheism) and follow it logically to its undeniable conclusion. Most people living in their worldview have never done that. I was proud to be an atheist and understood some of the ramifications of what I believed, but I never took atheism to its logical conclusion. The undeniable end of the atheistic worldview is depressing and hopeless. I’m reminded of these words from The Tragedy of Macbeth by Shakespeare.
“Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow, Creeps in this petty pace from day to day To the last syllable of recorded time, And all our yesterdays have lighted fools The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle! Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player That struts and frets his hour upon the stage And then is heard no more. It is a tale Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, Signifying nothing.” (Shakespeare, The Tragedy of Macbeth, Act 5, Scene 5, Page 2)
I didn’t think of atheism in that way when I was an atheist, but that’s where it would lead if you considered the truth about atheism – despair and hopelessness. I was just doing what I wanted to do, living life my way. After talking to hundreds of atheists during the past 40+ years about atheism and Christianity, I’ve found that most have not taken atheism to its logical result either. And why would you want to do that? It’s such a sad ending to a life.
The same is true for polytheism, pantheism, panentheism, henotheism, agnosticism and any other non-Christian worldview. The ending for all of them is depressing and without hope. Whether you believe you’ll be nothing, become something else over and over again, be judged hopelessly, or disappear into a void of purposelessness, it’s a depressing and hopeless ending.
In the years I studied Eastern metaphysics, I don’t remember being particularly fond of the idea of being absorbed into the void. The futility of that worldview made becoming an atheist easy because I saw nothing in either Christianity or Eastern philosophy that offered any proof of life after death. All I could see at the time was grabbing all the fun I could before death because that’s all there was to life.
The Apostle Paul pointed out the futility of a false worldview when he wrote – “If the dead do not rise, ‘Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die!” (1 Corinthians 15:32) The Christian worldview is built on the foundation of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Paul wrote that “if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty.” Paul was more honest about the Christian worldview than people are of other worldviews. “For if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins!” (1 Corinthians 15:15-17)
Futility! That’s an excellent word for what is true about every worldview that is false. How many worldviews are false? All of them minus one. Since every worldview views the world differently and is opposed to every other view, there can be only one true worldview. Which one is it? Satan told the first humans that his worldview was right, but it almost ended in the destruction of mankind and the planet. What saved us? The grace of God – “But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord” (Genesis 6:8). Where did that come from? The words of God to Satan in the Garden.
“And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel.” Genesis 3:15
The only worldview that is true is the view God has of the world. Any other view ends in futility.
In our next study we’ll look at how the different worldviews developed after the Garden of Eden. What happened next is still going on in a town near you.
“Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”