Gareth Flanary

Gareth Flanary

On Being Human

Introduction

The earth was a chaotic void… and darkness covered the face of the deep… while the Spirit of God hovered over the face of the waters. (Gen. 1:2)

Then God saw everything made and said, “Wow!  It is really good.” (Gen. 1:31)

Then, when God had completed the accomplished work, God rested on the seventh day from the accomplished work. Consequently, God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it because on it God rested from the work accomplished in making the heavens and the earth. (Gen. 2:1-3)

This is what the Lord says:

“Heaven is my throne,
    and the earth is my footstool.
Could you build me a temple as good as that?
    Could you build me such a resting place?
My hands have made both heaven and earth;
    they and everything in them are mine.
    I, the Lord, have spoken!  (Isaiah 66:1-2)

  • God came to dwell in the temple of creation… to love humanity, to walk with them, and enjoy the shalom of the divine sanctuary (Eden).
  • “Men go abroad to admire the heights of mountains, the mighty waves of the sea, the broad tides of rivers, the compass of the ocean, and the circuits of the stars, yet pass over the mystery of themselves without a thought.”  Augustine
  • What does it mean to be human?  Scripture testifies to God’s original intent; and throughout its pages, scripture attests that human beings are inescapably related to, and dependent on, God. Human beings were created in the image of God with inherent dignity, value and purpose… in relationship to Him and others. There is no greater need in our day than a fresh look at God’s purpose in the creation of mankind.
  1. CREATION STORY….  Scripture opens with a powerful affirmation of what it means to be human in a Yahweh-centered and ordered world…
  1. Genesis 1:1-31 Illustration: 2001:A Space Odyssey; the whole cosmos

So God created human beingsin his own image. 

In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. 

Then God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and govern it.

Reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, and all the animals that scurry along

the ground.” (Genesis 1:27,28)

  1. God created man “ whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made” (Is. 43:7)
  2. God created man in his image… image bearer (like God/represents God) …
  3. God created man … male and female… 
  4. God created man… with a vocation…
    1. to multiply and fill the earth (expand Eden until it filled the earth)  Let the whole earth be filled with his glory. Ps. 72:19
    1. to govern and rule (partner in God’s creative
  5.  
  • Genesis 2:4b-25: Illustration:  Simple bare landscape… nothing is growing… no rain, but an underground stream… what is needed is a farmer to make the farm work

George:  When YAHWEH made the earth and the heavens, neither wild plants nor grains were growing on the earth. For YAHWEH had not yet sent rain to water the earth, and there were no people to cultivate the soil. Instead, springscame up from the ground and watered all the land.

Emmanuel:   Then the Lord God formed the adam from the adamah. He breathed the breath of life into the adam’s nostrils, and the adam became a living person. Then YAHWEH planted a garden in Eden in the east, and there he placed the adam he had made. YAHWEH made all sorts of trees grow up from the ground—trees that were beautiful and that produced delicious fruit. In the middle of the garden he placed the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

Stephen: 10 A river flowed from the land of Eden, watering the garden and then dividing into four branches. 11 The first branch, called the Pishon, flowed around the entire land of Havilah, where gold is found. 12 The gold of that land is exceptionally pure; aromatic resin and onyx stone are also found there. 13 The second branch, called the Gihon, flowed around the entire land of Cush. 14 The third branch, called the Tigris, flowed east of the land of Asshur. The fourth branch is called the Euphrates.

Dave:  15 YAHWEH placed the man in the Garden of Eden to tend and watch over it. 16 But the YAHWEH warned him, “You may freely eat the fruit of every tree in the garden— 17 except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If you eat its fruit, you are sure to die.”

Mark: 18 Then YAHWEH said, “It is not good for the adam to be alone. I will make a helper (ezer) who is just right for him.” 19 So YAHWEH formed from the ground all the wild animals and all the birds of the sky. He brought them to the adam to see what he would call them, and the adam chose a name for each one. 20 He gave names to all the livestock, all the birds of the sky, and all the wild animals. But still there was no helper (ezer) just right for him.

Gareth: 21 So YAHWEH caused the adam to fall into a deep sleep. While the adam slept, YAHWEH took out one of the adam’s ribsand closed up the opening. 22 Then YAHWEH made a ishah (woman) from the rib, and he brought her to the adam.

23 “This is it!” the man exclaimed. “This one is bone from my bone, and flesh from my flesh!  She will be called ‘ishah (woman),’ because she was taken from ‘ish (man).’”

24 This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.

25 Now the man and his wife were both naked, but they felt no shame.

  1. GOD’S INTENT:  WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE HUMAN? 
    1. Crafted by Yahweh:
      1. Sculpted with earth (adamah)… God is like a potter (digs into the soil an///d gets his hands dirty)
      1. Infused with the breath of God… body + soul (integrally related) = living soul
      1. Fashioned from the same DNA  [shaped into a woman…more complicated (five verses)]
    1. Graced by Yahweh:
      1. A garden of splendor and luxury (four rivers; gold, pearl, onyx)…
      1. A source of all blessings (life tree–God would do something  miraculous and transforming; good & bad knowledge tree — God would convey wisdom…
    1. Given a vocation:
      1. Gardeners in God’s garden (tend/watch the garden)
        1. Reciprocal relationship… as humanity (adam) serves the garden (adamah), so it sustains humanity (adam) (granted permission to eat)
      1. Name the animals… God gives away authority (rule over)
    1. Protected by Yahweh:
      1. Prohibition to refrain from that which will harm:  don’t eat from good and bad knowledge tree; rule of faith is established…   
      1. Reverence for God – accepting what God says and living by it, is the first principle of wisdom…
        1. Distinguishing between good and bad is an insight that belongs to God…
        1. God claims the right to decide whether and when to give it.  It is a divine prerogative and a divine gift,
        1. Humanity cannot insist on the possession of such insight… To insist on taking it is to push your way into God’s realm, to attempt to be like God…
        1. Restraint would be an expression of a wise attitude toward God.
    1. United by Yahweh:  with community (one flesh).
      1. The adam needs help to fulfill his vocation…  
        1. Being alone does not mean lonely: “It is not good for the adam to be alone”
        1. Not good – he needs a corresponding partner Humor:  “Cow”… uh, you are not a corresponding partner
        1. Helper (ezer):  literally “someone who is in front of you or in sight or opposite you”… “someone to correspond to”
      1. THIS IS IT!   
        1. Partners in a beneficial relationship; NOT A ROMANTIC CONCERN
        1. No hierarchical relationship (neither subordinate nor superior)
        1. Compliments each other:  men/women together comprise the representation of God in the world…
        1. Shift in terms:  man (ish, not adam); woman (ishah
      1. Why create ishah from ish?
        1. Draws attention to the closer relationship between the man  the woman…
          1. Shared genetic makeup (except gender differentiation)
            1. Idiom: “bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh” (commonality/ mutuality);
          1. Shared covenantal loyalties …
            1. Natural attraction (incompleteness to completeness)
            1. Marriage principle:  (leave and cleave; man abandons his familial identity to enter into a covenant relationship — mutual concern, fidelity, commitment)
          1. Note:  The Hebrew Bible’s words for “husband” (ba’al, master) and wife (owned slave) are not used… “my man” (ishi) or “my woman” (ishti).
          1. Mutuality:  a wife is her husbands… and a husband is his wife’s… 1 Corinthians 7:2-5 (mutual authority over each other’s body)
          1. Egalitarian:  commonality + mutuality = ONENESS

Conclusion

  • Yahweh’s intent for humanity is ruptured (Genesis 3).
    • Once there was harmony, productivity, and meaning, now there is pain, struggle, and meaninglessness
    • Equality, mutual concern, and care are replaced by struggle, conflict, and obsession with hierarchical order…
  • The God of grace and mercy repeatedly calls his creation…
    • to realign his original intent. 
    • to heal the distortions and restore humanity  in accordance with God’s divine intent in Creation. 
  • The church must participate and be a place of healing and redemption so that the shalom and harmony God intended in creation is present in the church. 
    • Male/female share the task of representing God in the world
    • Male/female share the divine vocation of taking care of the world
    • Male/female share equal value and contribute to the whole.
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