Life Without God is Empty
Without faith in God, our life is futile. We simply live, grow old and die. Despite all the accomplishments we may achieve in this life, the end is the same for rich and poor, wicked and righteous: death. The Bible describes life “under the sun,” or without God, (Ecclesiastes 1:2-3) as “vanity,” or “emptiness”. You have probably felt that sense of emptiness at one time or another, and felt that there must be more to life than a series of fleeting moments of joy and sadness.
The apostle James, in quoting from the Old Testament (Isaiah 40:6-8), expresses this truth eloquently: “
Faith in God is Essential to Please Him
Having faith in God gives purpose to our lives. The Bible definition of faith is that “faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”(Hebrews 11:1). Faith gives us something to hope for, and makes that hope a very real thing. It also provides us the “evidence” for those things we cannot see- such as God, the minute details of His creation, or the future. In order to have a relationship with God, we must have faith: “without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”(Hebrews 11:6). The important point to note in this passage is that faith is possible by seeking God. Investigation, research and study of God’s plan as presented in the Bible is the means by which we gain true faith and understanding.
Most Churches Do Not Teach The True Plan of Salvation
If we understand and accept God’s offer of salvation, it is possible for us to live forever. The Bible explains this plan of salvation, which is freely available to anyone. (Romans 6:23). As you will soon discover, the true Bible message of hope is not what most people think it is.
The traditional Christian churches have taught many beliefs that came from pagan religion or Greek philosophy, but which are not found in the Bible. For example, the idea of the immortality of the soul was popularized by Socrates, an ancient Greek philosopher. But the Bible tells us that the true hope is in the resurrection of the dead – the same hope that Jesus had! 1 Corinthians 15 covers this. A later article in this series, Resurrection, Judgment and Eternal Life, explains this hope.
We encourage you to approach the Bible with an open mind, and to consider carefully and prayerfully what is presented in these articles. If you do this, you will have a better understanding of what the Bible really teaches about God, what He truly requires of you. You will also recognize your need to accept these teachings so you can be saved from certain death and have a hope of everlasting life in the Kingdom of God on earth.
How To Be Saved
The way to salvation is simple. God doesn’t want anyone to perish, but wants us all to repent and follow Him and His Son, Jesus Christ.(2 Peter 3:9). He requires us to:
- Have a true understanding of Bible teachings.
- Believe those teachings, repent and be baptized into Christ.
- Live a life of obedience to God and Christ.
The Origin Of Sin
In the beginning, God created man and woman in His image (Gen 1:27), meaning that they bore His moral likeness. They were in a “very good” (Gen 1:31) state. While we aren’t told exactly what that means, we do know that Adam and Eve were innocent (Gen 2:25) – they did not know what sin was. God gave Adam a simple commandment to follow:
Note the following about this law:
- It required obedience from Adam
- It was not onerous or oppressive- it was easy to obey
- It was simple to understand
- The instruction was clear (not ambiguous) – i.e. there was no way to bend the rules !
- It was designed to protect Adam
- It was designed to glorify God
God gave Adam free will: the ability to choose whether or not he would obey God. This is how God is glorified: by men and women exercising their free will to obey God. He doesn’t want pre-programmed robots who are forced to be obedient slaves. Rather, He wants us to respond positively to His call to obedience out of choice, and to trust and rely on God’s goodness throughout life.
God gave this law to Adam and Eve to protect them: Adam and Eve still had much to learn and experience. This instruction was to be provided by God on His terms, not by them attempting to grasp it, impatiently, when they were not spiritually prepared for that extent of knowledge.
In Genesis 3, the story of Adam and Eve’s sin is recorded.
“You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.” (Genesis 3:1-6).
As we shall see later on, the consequences of Adam and Eve’s disobedience were severe and universal. Their act of disobedience was the first sinful act. John writes that “sin is the transgression (breaking) of the law” (1 John3:4), which describes exactly what Adam and Eve did.
Let’s consider each character’s role in this account:
God granted the serpent the ability to reason. What the serpent tells Eve is based on faulty observations, and therefore untrue. He contradicts what God had already told Adam: “in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.”(Genesis 2:17). He spoke with no power or authority. Nowhere is he described as a fallen angel, or as being given power by God to control people.
The New Testament tells us Eve was deceived by the serpent’s lie. (1 Timothy 2:13-14) John’s first letter (1 John 2:16) draws a parallel to her response and that of godless people’s (the Bible term is “the world”) attitudes towards life and God:
|Eve – Genesis 3:6||The World – 1 John 2:16|
|Saw that the tree was good for food||The lust of the flesh|
|That it was pleasant to the eyes||The lust of the eyes|
|A tree to be desired to make one wise||The pride of life|
Adam follows his wife’s bad example, and eats, thus disobeying God’s commandment.
Consider the following:
- God told Adam, not Eve, about the commandment. Genesis 2:15-18.
- Eve was created from the side of Adam, to be a suitable helper. Genesis 2:20.
- Adam was responsible for Eve’s spiritual and physical welfare. 1 Corinthians 11:8-9
It is clear from this that Adam failed in his responsibility to look after his wife. In addition, he had been directly instructed by God, and so was not deceived when he ate the fruit. Therefore, he is held responsible for introducing sin into the world:
This is an extremely important passage. It teaches the following:
- Man (not woman, and not a supernatural devil) brought sin into the world.
- Death was the direct consequence of this sin. (See also Romans 6:23)
- Not only Adam died, but the condition of death and sin was passed on to all his children.
- Like Adam, we all sin.
The Consequences of Adam’s Sin
Adam and Eve’s act of disobedience brought severe and universal consequences upon them and all mankind. These included:
- Being afraid of God, instead of instinctively being His friend. (Genesis 3:8, 10)
- A loss of innocence. (Genesis 3:7, 10)
- Pain in childbearing. (Genesis 3:16)
- The earth is cursed, so that farming becomes a great struggle (Genesis 3:17-19).
- Adam and Eve would die: “for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return”21
- The need for forgiveness through the shedding of blood, and the demonstration of God’s grace (Genesis 3:21)
- Banishment and exile from God’s immediate presence (Genesis 3:23)
- Sin and death reign; (Romans 5:14-21). Access to eternal life is withdrawn by God. (Genesis 3:24)
Human Nature: What We Inherit From Adam
Unfortunately, every member of the human race is the recipient of the consequences of Adam’s sin. This means we are destined to die. It also means we are born with a tendency to disobey and to sin; obedience to God does not come naturally to us. Human nature, unchecked by the influence of God’s word, is not naturally good, as these passages
Because of the human condition, and our sinful behavior that results from it, we are naturally separated from God: “And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds”(Colossians 1:21). But God wants us to become His friends again, to be reconciled to him. The rest of the previous quote applies to those who have since accepted the gospel and the work of Jesus Christ: “he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him” (Colossians 1:22)
The First Promise of A Savior
While Genesis 3 is a very sad story in many respects, it also offers us the first glimpse of hope for mankind, and shows God’s love for us. God pronounces a curse on the serpent, and on the earth, and places hardships upon Adam and Eve. But He also makes a promise of a savior, referred to as “the seed” (or offspring, Son) of Eve:
The promise is spoken to the serpent, but applies to us. The “offspring” of the serpent is sin;
the offspring of the woman is the Lord Jesus Christ. Although Christ suffered a figurative “bruise on the heel” in that He was wounded by Sin (through death on the cross), He could not be held in the grave.(Acts 2:24). On the contrary, He was victorious over Sin (Hebrews 2:14), and therefore dealt the seed of the serpent a mortal blow upon the head.
We’ll learn more about God’s promise of a Messiah (the word we translate as “Christ”),
or Savior, in the next article, titled God’s Promises.