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Why Was the Serpent in the Garden of Eden?

Core Christianity / Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier
The Truth Network Radio
November 22, 2022 1:30 pm

Why Was the Serpent in the Garden of Eden?

Core Christianity / Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier

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November 22, 2022 1:30 pm

Episode 1103 | Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier answer caller questions.

Show Notes

CoreChristianity.com

Questions in this Episode

1. Gideon asked for signs to prove God’s will, was he wrong to do this? If not, should we still do this in the Christian life?

2. If the Garden of Eden was perfect, why was there something that could cause sin in the garden?

3. If I disagree with some of the theology that is taught in my church, should I look for a new place to worship?

4. How do you explain the trinity to muslims?

5. How should we understand the reference to angels in 1 Corinthians 11:10?

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An eighth grader asks, If the Garden of Eden was perfect, then why was the snake there? That's just one of the questions we'll be answering on today's edition of CORE Christianity. Well, hi, this is Bill Meyer, along with Pastor Adriel Sanchez, and this is the radio program where we answer your questions about the Bible and the Christian life every day. And we love hearing from eighth graders. You can call us right now regardless of what grade you're in. Here's our phone number.

It's 1-833-843-2673 or 833-THECORE. You can also post your question on our Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter accounts. And you can watch Adriel right now on YouTube through our YouTube channel and message us that way. And of course, you can always email us your question at questions at COREChristianity.com.

First today, here's a question from one of our listeners named Cody. My question was a follow-up gentleman asked about asking for signs from God. And I'm curious about Gideon in the Old Testament who requested these signs as the proof of God's will. Was that sinful or lacking faith on Gideon's part? And is there any ground for anything like that in the post-resurrection life of the Christian today? Thank you.

Yeah, Cody, thank you for that follow-up. So the passage of Scripture you're referring to is in Judges chapter 6, beginning in verse 36. Then Gideon said to God, if you will save Israel by my hand, as you have said, behold, I am laying a fleece of wool on the threshing floor. If there is dew on the fleece alone and it is dry on all the ground, then I shall know that you will save Israel by my hand, as you have said.

And it was so. When he arose early next morning and squeezed the fleece, he wrung enough dew from the fleece to fill a bowl with water. Then Gideon said to God, let not your anger burn against me.

Let me speak just once more. Please let me test just once more with the fleece. Please let it be dry on the fleece only and on all the ground let there be dew. And God did so that night and it was dry on the fleece only and on all the ground there was dew. And so, I mean, here's a clear example of someone, I think, humbly going to the Lord and saying, God, give me a sign here.

Help me out. Let me know whether or not you're really going to deliver Israel by my hand. Gideon, a judge of Israel at that time, looking for the Lord to speak to him. Now, I think there are different ways we can approach God, and this is really clear in Scripture. I mean, generally speaking, you know, Jesus made it absolutely clear we're not to test the Lord. God has spoken to us clearly in his word. So I think it's not helpful for us to say, okay, God, if you really meant that, give me a sign.

I've seen people do this. They'll make a decision that they know is contrary to Scripture, but they'll test God. They'll say, God, I'm putting a fleece out there and if you do this, that, or the other, then I'll know you're giving me the go-ahead to do this thing that you've already said in your word I shouldn't do.

And I think that's a tragedy. You also have the example of the religious teachers in the New Testament that Jesus really sternly rebuked in Matthew chapter 16. It says, verse 1, the Pharisees and the Sadducees came to test him and they asked him to show them a sign from heaven. He answered them, when it is evening, you say it will be fair weather for the sky is red, and in the morning, it will be stormy today for the sky is red and threatening. You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the sign of the times. An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah. So he left them and departed.

Look, here's what I think. God is sometimes accommodating to our weakness. Sometimes the Lord shows up in our lives in really unique ways, even extraordinary ways that help us to see, to know, yes, the Lord is with me. God has been gracious to me. Should we expect that?

No, it's extraordinary. Sometimes that happens, I think the situation with Gideon was a unique situation, but God has already spoken to us so clearly in his word, and so we don't have to ask for an extra sign. Give me something else, God, so that I might know that this is true.

The ultimate sign is the resurrection of Jesus, and that's the point that Jesus himself was making to the scribes and the Pharisees there in Matthew chapter 16, the sign of Jonah, the death and resurrection of Jesus. And so, brothers and sisters, rest in God's word. Trust what the Lord has said and don't test him.

God bless. Interesting what you said about making a decision and then throwing a fleece out, even though we know it's something that God opposes in his word. I'm thinking of a situation, let's say a guy is dating a girl, she's not a Christian, and he says, you know, Lord, if you want me to marry her, let her say yes.

Yeah, I mean, that's a great example, Bill, and that's oftentimes what we do, and we have to be really careful that we don't do that. That is testing the Lord. God has already spoken so clearly, but we're saying, okay, well, God, maybe you're going to make an exception for me. Maybe you'll allow me to go against your word in this particular area, and so if you just give me this sign. So really what we're looking for is not to follow the Lord, but to follow our own way, and again, that's where we have to be really wise and go back and go back to the Scriptures, and as I said already, rest in them, but great example, Bill.

Good counsel. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. If you have a question about the Bible, the Christian life, theology, doctrine, how your Christian walk is going, or maybe what's going on in our culture right now and how that impacts your faith, here's the phone number to call. It's 1-833-843-2673.

833-843-2673. Now, we've been featuring questions from the eighth graders at Faith Christian Academy in Quakertown, Pennsylvania. Each day that class listens to Core Christianity in their classroom, which we just love, and this question is from a student named Jace.

Hi, my name is Jace. I go to Faith Christian Academy, and my question is this. If the Garden of Eden was perfect, why was there something that could cause sin in the garden? Yeah, that's a great question, Bill. By the way, I just want to follow up and say I think this is so cool that we're answering these questions.

They actually sent us a picture of their classroom, which we were able to see this morning as a team. It was just super encouraging to see these young adults, these students interested in Core Christianity, and so really grateful for you guys, and this is an excellent question. So when you think of the Garden of Eden, God creating the world, good. Very clear from the early chapters of Genesis.

This is good. This is amazing, but there's something unique about Eden as well. It's not perfection in the sense of heaven, if you will, that confirmed state of perfect righteousness for all time. This is a period of testing for man, for Adam and Eve there in the garden. Some people have referred to this as a probationary period where God gives man free will to choose to follow him, and he gives him a commandment as well. You think in Genesis chapter 2, the Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and keep it. Now, if you're looking at that verse, that's Genesis chapter 2 verse 15, there's something really interesting about that word keep.

It's the Hebrew word shamar, and it means to guard. It's actually what the priests later on in the Bible were commanded to do with regard to the worship of God, the tabernacle, the temple. They were called to guard it, to protect it, to make sure that the serpent did not infiltrate, that is idolatrous worship. And so Adam is here depicted as a priest in the garden, cultivating the garden but also protecting it from foreign idolatry, if you will, from the snake. And then the snake comes in in the beginning of chapter 3, the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made, and he begins with his lies, with his deception.

Now, man was called in that moment to keep the garden. They should have cast the serpent out, they should have drove the serpent away, but instead they let the serpent into their ear, and the deception started to seep in, and as a result, they turned away from the Lord. And so we have to recognize that this is a unique time in the history of redemption, this probationary period where God is calling man to follow him, giving man free will to follow him, and man chooses sin instead. And ever since then, we've been choosing sin, and so that's why you have the promise. Just a few verses later in chapter 3, verse 15, I will put enmity between you and the woman, God speaking to the serpent, and between your offspring and her offspring, he shall bruise your head and you shall bruise his heel. That's what many theologians refer to as the proto-Euangelion, the first proclamation of the Gospel, this promise that the seed of the woman, Jesus Christ, is going to come and crush the head of the serpent. And that's what we see, this story unfolding throughout the rest of the Bible, and Jesus is the one who leads us to that place of perfect righteousness, the new heavens and the new earth, which is going to be even better than Eden. Chase, thanks for that question. God bless you.

You're listening to Core Christianity. Here we are just a week away from Thanksgiving. We're getting excited about it, and we actually have a brand new free resource that you can download on Thanksgiving. Yeah, as the holiday season begins to ramp up, we have this, as you said, Bill, brand new free resource that listeners can download at corechristianity.com called Five Biblical Reminders for Thanksgiving. I think we get to this time of the year, and sometimes it can feel like a bit of a wait, right? We're called to give thanks, and we're thinking about the things that we ought to be thankful for, but it's easy to have that lack of gratitude in our lives, isn't it, brothers and sisters?

It's easy to focus on all the negative in our lives, the difficulties we've been going through, the things that we don't have that we wish we had. We really need to recover this heart of Thanksgiving that the Bible talks about. We want to help you do that this time of the year by providing you with this resource.

And so get a hold of it. Again, it's a free resource to download over at corechristianity.com called Five Biblical Reminders for Thanksgiving. Again, just go to corechristianity.com forward slash offers, corechristianity.com forward slash offers. Look for Five Biblical Reminders for Thanksgiving.

You can call us for that resource or any one of our resources, 833-843-2673. Let's go to Nathan in Tacoma, Washington. Nathan, welcome to the program. What's your question for Pastor Adriel?

Hey, Bill and Adriel. So my question is this. I've been looking for a biblical church, and I found one that they're preaching the gospel. I'm hearing the gospel, and I met with the pastor, and I found that I disagree with him on covenant theology, dispensationalism, and, you know, the areas that leads into it. So I just don't know if it's wise or right or wrong for to become a member or join that church. So I'm just, I don't know what to do.

Yeah. Nathan, I'm grateful to hear that you, one, want to be a member of a church and plugged in and growing in the word, but that you also want to be discerning, right? I mean, I think this is really important too often when we're thinking about picking a church. The last thing folks are thinking about is the theology. They're thinking about, you know, do I connect with the music?

Are there good programs there? But we're not asking, I think, the most important questions. The main question, what is being taught? Is the scripture being taught, and is the scripture being taught faithfully?

And so I commend you, brother, for wanting to explore these issues in particular. Now, when we're talking about things like dispensationalism and covenant theology, you know, people hear them think, what are you getting on at? We're thinking through, in particular, ways of understanding the Bible, the context in which the scriptures are to be read. And there are different ways throughout the history of the church that people have read the Bible, some more helpful than others.

And I think it's important for us as we're thinking about the Bible and the way it's meant to be read that we have a proper context, a good understanding. I was talking just a little bit earlier in the broadcast about that promise in Genesis chapter 3 verse 15 that's carried out throughout the entire Bible, this picture of promise and fulfillment, understanding all of redemptive history is leading us to this pinnacle point, ultimately, Jesus and the redemption that he accomplished for us. Jesus made it very clear that the entire Bible is about him. He told the religious leaders in John chapter 5, you search the scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life, but these are the very scriptures that testify of me. When he was on the road to Emmaus with a couple of his disciples after his resurrection, he opened their eyes to understand how all of the scriptures pointed to him. And the reason I bring these things up, Nathan, is because this is a part of the debate that people have. What is the Bible primarily, ultimately about?

And so I think this is an important issue. Maybe a follow-up question for you is, is it the case that there just aren't a lot of churches in your area? No, I haven't visited a lot of other churches. The thing that drew me there is we went there and I actually heard the gospel being preached. And I also know that they believe in the doctrines of grace, and I like the people.

It's just that one issue. And I just don't know, like, so would I be able to submit under a leadership that, you know, believes something different than I do, but, you know, but still hears the gospel on Sunday. And I know that they come at it from a different point of view, but I mean, I feel like they can still get the word out.

I don't know. Absolutely. Yeah, I mean, man, that just encourages me to hear you say that because that's so key. Are we hearing the gospel being preached? Here's my recommendation to you, for you and for your family as you are looking for a church. I would say, go back a few Sundays, get a feel for it, continue to have conversations with the pastor and ask yourself, am I getting the means of grace? Is Christ being placarded before me very clear?

For me, very clearly for my forgiveness. That's what I need is the gospel being proclaimed faithfully, the word being exposited. But also I would recommend, you know, having other conversations with other pastors in the area, checking out other churches that you believe are going to be faithfully teaching the Bible and giving it some time.

This is a big decision, a really big decision. And so I would say, you know, I think as people are visiting churches, I think not just going once, checking it out and making a decision, but maybe give it a few Sundays. Check out this church for a few Sundays, and then maybe check out another church in the area that is faithful to the scriptures for a few Sundays.

And as you do that, prayerfully, you know, make this decision. One passage of scripture that I'll point you to is Paul's encouragement to Timothy in 1 Timothy chapter 5 verse 1. He says, don't rebuke an older man, but encourage him as you would a father, younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, younger women as sisters in all periods. In other words, we're looking to have that peace within the body of Christ. And so anywhere you go, say you settle at this church, you might have disagreements with the pastor on a few issues, but if the gospel is being faithfully taught and you're being encouraged in your walk with the Lord, and you can live with some of those disagreements, that's okay. And you just maintain the peace and the purity of the church, not rebuking your pastor, but having good and healthy conversations that are edifying for you and for him, I'm sure. And so thanks for giving us a call, and may the Lord bless you as you look to settle into a good local church. Nathan, thanks so much, and thanks for being a regular listener of Core Christianity. We really do appreciate it. We do receive Facebook posts and questions on this program, and here's one from Barbara. She says, how do you explain the Trinity to Muslims?

Hey, Barbara, thank you for that question. Well, you know, the doctrine of the Trinity is one of the greatest mysteries of the Christian faith, and the reason we embrace it is because it is the clear teaching of God's revelation in his word. We take the scriptures together and we realize the Bible teaches that God is one. There is one God, hero Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one, Deuteronomy 6 verse 4. But as you continue to read the scriptures, you also realize that the Father is referred to as God, the Son is referred to as God, and the Holy Spirit is referred to as God. One God, one in essence, but three distinct persons. And so it's important that we recognize that the doctrine of the Trinity is one God, one in essence, but three distinct persons. We're not talking about one essence and three essences, different essences, or one person and three persons.

That would be a contradiction, but there's no contradiction here. We're saying God is one in essence or substance, three distinct persons, and that's what we see in scripture. And so the reason we embrace it is because as we search the scriptures and we look at what the apostles said, we look at what Jesus said, we look at even statements that we find in the Old Testament, sort of mysterious statements, but which lend themselves to this doctrine, the doctrine of the Trinity. We're receiving God's revelation and submitting to it.

Often I think Muslims and others, they'll critique the doctrine of the Trinity, it just doesn't make any sense to me, one and three, three and one. I reject it because it doesn't make any sense, but we have to go back to the authority of scripture, God's revelation. You think about what Paul told Timothy in 2 Timothy 3 verse 16, all scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. And so we get this doctrine from the Bible, from the words of Jesus, from the words of the apostles, and I think that has to be the primary authority. And I think we can also emphasize, Barbara, how it relates to our eternal salvation.

A mere man could not save humanity. Jesus's death on the cross, and I know that Muslims reject the idea of the death and resurrection of Jesus, but the reality is only God could save fallen humanity and only the God-man, Jesus, could represent fallen humanity as our advocate and as our substitute to redeem us. So this doctrine, the doctrine of the deity of Christ, of the Holy Trinity, it gets to the very heart of the gospel and to the very heart of our salvation, and that's why we hold to it. And so I would just encourage you as you continue to have conversations with your Muslim friends, Barbara, it sounds like you have some Muslim friends, that you would go to the scriptures and go to these passages that make it very clear in the Old Testament and in the New Testament that Jesus is God, that God is a Trinity, and appeal to them. God uses his word to change the hearts of people by the grace of the Holy Spirit, and don't forget to be praying. Don't forget to be praying for your friends as well.

This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. In 1 Thessalonians, chapter 5, the Bible says, to give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. And as we approach Thanksgiving, we have a wonderful resource we mentioned earlier. It's called Five Biblical Reminders for Thanksgiving.

It's absolutely free, and you can find it by going to our website corechristianity.com forward slash offers, and look for that one, Five Biblical Reminders for Thanksgiving. Well, let's go to Pete in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Pete, what's your question for Pastor Adriel? Hi, Pastor Adriel, thanks for taking my call. My question is, what is the reference given about the angels in 1 Corinthians 11-10?

Yeah, Pete, this is a great question. Honestly, probably one of the most controversial chapters in the Bible, 1 Corinthians chapter 11, where you have this discussion about head coverings and a number of other things, just because people struggle with understanding how to interpret it. My view, so in 1 Corinthians chapter 11, starting in verse 10, that is why a wife ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels, he says. He's making a case for these head coverings, and he's saying, look, you ought to do this because of the angels.

Now, what does that mean? Well, in the context here, I think of these chapters in 1 Corinthians, especially as you get into chapter 14, it's clear that the apostle Paul is talking about a lot of the things that take place in the gathered assembly, whether that's the Lord's Supper, Holy Communion, he's going to be talking about that in just a few verses, beginning in verse 17 of chapter 11, but then also just the worship service, if you will, coming together, doing things decently and in order in chapter 14. One thing that is clear about Christian worship, a lot of people miss this, is that when we gather together as the people of God, we're not just gathering with our brothers and sisters here, we're actually gathering together with the whole church, that is the church triumphant, those who have gone before us and who are in the presence of the Lord in heaven, worshiping him, and even the angels. I'll tell you a passage that makes this absolutely clear is the book of Hebrews, Hebrews chapter 12, where the author of the Hebrew says we have come before the heavenly Mount Zion, the heavenly Jerusalem, before a myriad of saints and angels in festal attire. That is, we're together with the whole church and the angels who understand authority, if you will, they're sent out by the Lord to serve him, to heed his word, his command. Our worship, in one sense, should be reflective of that decency and order that is characteristic of heaven, we might say. I think that's the best way to understand that text in 1 Corinthians 11, 10. He's calling the church to do things decently and in order. In line with that, he's making a case. He's saying, look, even the angels are present. They understand this. Let's obey the Lord in a way that's honoring to him and is right worship in accordance with his word. I appreciate that question.

Again, this is one of those passages of Scripture that a lot of people debate about, but I think that's the best answer you're going to get, so God bless. Well, we're just about out of time for today's program, and we want to remind you, if you have a question for Pastor Adriel about the Bible or the Christian life, you can call us 24 hours a day and leave us a voicemail. Here's the phone number. It's 1-833-843-2673.

That's 833-THE-CORE. You can also submit a question at questionsatcorechristianity.com. Adriel, some great questions today. Yeah, always a joy to come together to open up the Scriptures and to answer these questions. We pray that you guys are encouraged, that you'll continue to interact with the broadcast. Give us a call tomorrow, and God bless. Thanks for listening to Core Christianity. To request your copy of today's special offer, visit us at corechristianity.com and click on offers in the menu bar or call us at 1-833-843-2673. That's 833-THE-CORE. When you contact us, please let us know how you've been encouraged by this program, and be sure to join us next time as we explore the truth of God's Word together.
Whisper: medium.en / 2022-11-22 17:40:50 / 2022-11-22 17:50:59 / 10

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