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1 Was Adam for Real?
2 The Making of Man
3 The Making of Woman
4 The Enticement of Evil
5 The Heart of Temptation
6 The Package Deal
7 God at Work
8 The Devil's Burden
9 Love's Disciplines
10 Exit from Eden
In this brief study on Understanding Man, I have attempted to bring into focus some of the principles of true psychology and true anthropology. It is by these biblical principles that all secular studies ultimately must be measured, for here is the revelation of things as they really are with respect to mankind.
Our task is to find clues to unravel the greatest mystery ever written--the story of man. We are seeking to understand ourselves, both as men and women "in Adam" and also as the new men and women we have become if we are "in Christ." But we must begin with the first Adam because what he was, we are.
It always strikes me as strange that anyone can deny the reality of the story of the Fall of man, especially
when the very man who denies it is himself repeating it, perhaps dozens of times a day. Temptation follows
the same pattern with us that it did with Eve in the garden of Eden, and the process is absolutely relentless.
We may think, sometimes, that our guilt is hidden from the eyes of men, since no one else knows about it,
and nothing has come down on us. Yet within us, whenever we yield to evil, a darkness falls and death
tightens its grip upon our throat.
But the grace of God often goes unrecognized for what it is. In this passage of Genesis, if we understand it
properly, God has revealed more clearly than perhaps anywhere else in the Bible how unwilling he is that
any should perish. Far from merely pronouncing judgment on Adam and Eve, he gives them an assurance of
life beyond the death of their bodies, and a clear promise of a Redeemer to come.
I hope your heart will be lifted with fresh encouragement as mine has been, when you discover the loving purpose behind God's expulsion of the first man and woman from the garden. On that purpose hangs the whole truth of the gospel of Christ. --RAY C. STEDMAN
I was sitting in the airport of Guatemala City, working on the early stages of this book, and I faced a large
mural, depicting life among the ancient Mayan Indians. As I sat in that fascinating country, under the shadow
of great volcanoes which had been rumbling and muttering all afternoon, and thought of the history of the
Mayans--that strange race we know so little about--I felt anew the mystery of history. Civilizations have risen
and flourished for centuries and then in a strange way, often for unknown reasons, have died and are now
buried in humid jungles, forgotten fragments of ancient history. The question came to me again as it comes to
any who think about the past, where did this human race begin? Flow did these strange beings come into
existence? For what purpose?
These are questions that have forever fascinated men. To my knowledge there is only one book that gives us a reliable answer to these questions. Scientists, of course, are trying to discover facts from the ancient past, but even they admit that their efforts are but a kind of feeling around in the dark after a few fragments. But this book of God, bearing upon it the seal of authority of the Lord Jesus Christ, has revealed to us all man needs to know to solve the riddle of life. I wish I could impress upon young and old alike the truth of that statement. Here is all we need to know about humanity, revealed in the pages of Scripture, especially designed that we might know the facts about life.
It is no slight exaggeration to say that there are no writings more important for the proper understanding of history and man than the first chapters of Genesis. Here is hidden the secret of man's sinfulness, that terrible mystery of evil and darkness which continually confronts us in this modern world. In this section is the key to the relationship of the sexes, the proper place of man and woman in marriage, the solution to the problem of mounting divorce rates, and other marital issues that abound in modern society.
Here, also, is the explanation for the struggle of life, and here great light is thrown on the problems of work
and leisure. In these chapters is the first and fundamental revelation of the meaning of divine redemption and
grace, and here the essential groundwork is laid for the understanding of the cross of Jesus Christ. This whole
section is unprecedented in its importance.
But because it is so important, it has been heavily attacked. These two chapters have often been rejected
outright as simply repugnant to modern man. There are cults which reject them as being utterly inconsistent
with what man wants to believe about himself. Sometimes the chapters have been dismissed with contempt
as merely a collection of ancient myths or legends with no significance for modern minds.
Before I discuss the meaning and intense significance of these passages with you I must first dispose of these objections. Many are bothered by these problems, and lest we seem to ignore them, I want to deal with them to some extent now, and in subsequent chapters we will come to the actual meaning of the passage.
There are two general lines of attack upon the story of Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden. One is an
attempt to destroy the literary integrity of the text; the other attempts to deny the historical accuracy of these
accounts. The first approach is based upon the claim that this section of Genesis (and probably the whole of
the first five books of the Bible) were not written by Moses, as the Bible claims, but that they were actually
composed by an unknown editor (whom these scholars call a redactor) who lived long after David and
Solomon, and who may have lived even as late as the Babylonian captivity, only some 500 years before
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