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Light and Truth: The Old Testament: Chapter 3 - A Happy World

By Horatius Bonar


      Genesis 2

      WHAT a poem, what a picture was the first chapter!

      Unrivalled in magnificence. The work done, and the words which describe it, are both of God. Now we get some details of the work.

      I. Its completion. Thus the heavens and earth were finished, and the whole host or array of all that they contained. God finishes what he begins. He leaves nothing imperfect. And he delights to speak of it as finished. So with creation; so with the tabernacle; so with the temple; so with the great work on the cross. "It is finished." So at the close of time. "It is done."

      II. The rest. The seventh day saw the work done. Hitherto it had been continuous work. Now it is rest. God rests. Creation rests. The morning stars begin their song, and the sons of God their shout. What rest means in Him who "fainteth not, neither is weary," we cannot say. It means more than mere cessation from work. God's rest must be as real a thing as His joy and His love; though what it is we cannot say. He calls it rest. It must be something in him exactly corresponding to what rest is in us. The day on which He rests He "blesses;" and blessing with Him is no mere word. It must be a day more fraught with blessing to us and to creation than the rest. More blessing flows out on that day. There are deeper things in this than we think. We shall one day learn that neither earth nor man could have done without this day of blessing. Invisible blessing flows out from it even to those who are profaning it. God sanctifies it; sets a fence round it; makes it a holy thing, like the altar when sprinkled with blood. He has done this, because He rested, and because He shall rest. It is the SABBATH, the rest-day. Shall we not love the name?

      III. The details (4-6). God graciously recapitulates; and gives us a glimpse of the process of creation. All plants and herbs were his handiwork; not chance; nor nature; nor man. As yet the ground was unfilled; and rain had not fallen. But now God interposes. He covers earth with a refreshing mist, and he creates man. Probably the state of the atmosphere then was such as to produce mist instead of rain; and it may be that this was the state of things up till the deluge. How wonderful are his works; in wisdom hath he made them all, the finished or the unfinished!

      IV. Man's formation. Man is said to be "formed," to be "made," and to be "created." All by God; and out of the dust. His origin is partly of earth and partly of heaven; his body from beneath, his soul from above. God breathes the "breath of lives" into him, and he becomes a living soul. Thus his body is "made" or "formed;" but his soul is "created." The first Adam was made a living soul, the last Adam a quickening spirit. The first man is of the earth earthy, the second man is the Lord from heaven. In Him we live and move and have our being. We are his offspring.

      V. Man's dwelling (8-15). God plants a garden for him, in a region which he names Eden (delight). This garden is the eastern part of Eden; afterwards called Paradise. He stores it with all that is beautiful and fruitful: a tree of life he puts there; a tree of knowledge also. Down from the heights of Eden there comes a river, which waters the garden, and then parts into four streams, in four directions, each flowing through some goodly land. Thus the garden is doubly watered by the mist and the river. It is a dwelling fit for man; and worthy of God. God is not ashamed to be called their God; seeing He has provided for them such a habitation. This habitation man is to keep and dress. It needs his care; yet the care is slight. No sweat of the face; no anxious toil. Easy and pleasant labour! Such is the love of God.

      VI. The test (16,17). A right to every tree but one! Large scope and free welcome to every tree but that of knowledge. Herein is love. Yet here is a link fastening man to God. Man is not to be allowed to go at large, without anything to remind him of God or divine law, or divine sovereignty. Even in this pleasant garden God's authority must be acknowledged. Thou shalt, and thou shalt not; thou mayest, and thou mayest not, is the formula in which God presents his authority, and lays down a test of obedient love. Here is love on the largest scale of beneficence; here is obedience reduced to the smallest possible point; liberty as wide as possible; restraint almost nothing; one little piece of forbearance.

      VII. The help-meet. Man cannot do alone. It is not his nature; it cannot consist with his happiness. He will not need much to remove the gloom of solitude; one companion will do. God forms this one for him,--a help-meet; taken, not out of the dust, but out of himself; not out of his head, as if superior; not out of his feet, as if inferior; but out of his side;--where lies his heart;--his equal in one aspect; and yet he is the head,--the first Adam the representation of the second, out of whose wounded side, when He slept the sleep of death, his Eve, the church, was brought;--the offspring of his heart, the object of His love,--altogether one.

      VIII. The purity. Naked, yet not ashamed. This is holiness; the perfection of innocence. No fear; no blush; nothing to hide. They can look to one another without shame. They can look up to God without fear. For sin is not there. It is sin that gives an evil conscience. It is sin that spreads blushes on the face. Conscious guilt; how this makes one hang his head!

      Let us learn,--

      (1.) That evil is not of God. God creates nothing sinful. Sin comes from the creature, not from the Creator; from beneath, not from above.

      (2.) That God's works in connection with earth and man are those of love. He made the world and its fullness so excellent, because he loved man. God is love.

      (3.) That God loves holiness. He made man holy, because He is holy, and He loves what is holy. He loves to see holiness in the world which He has made; and He is to see it yet when all things are made new.

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See Also:
   Preface
   Chapter 1 - The Old and New Creation
   Chapter 2 - The Link Between Being and Non-Being
   Chapter 3 - A Happy World
   Chapter 4 - The Sin, the Sinner, and the Sentence
   Chapter 5 - Man's Fig-Leaves
   Chapter 6 - Expulsion and Re-Entrance
   Chapter 7 - The Blood of Sprinkling and the Blood of Abel
   Chapter 8 - The Way of Cain
   Chapter 9 - The Man of Rest
   Chapter 10 - Going Out and Keeping Out
   Chapter 11 - The Shield and the Recompense
   Chapter 12 - Liberty and Service
   Chapter 13 - The Day of Despair
   Chapter 14 - The Blood of Deliverance
   Chapter 15 - How God Deals with Sin and the Sinner
   Chapter 16 - The Fire Quenched
   Chapter 17 - The Vision from the Rocks
   Chapter 18 - The Doom of the Double-Hearted
   Chapter 19 - Be Not Borderers
   Chapter 20 - The Outlines of a Saved Sinner's History
   Chapter 21 - Divine Longings Over the Foolish
   Chapter 22 - What a Believing Man Can Do
   Chapter 23 - Song of the Putting Off of the Armour
   Chapter 24 - The Kiss of the Backslider
   Chapter 25 - The Priestly Word of Peace
   Chapter 26 - Human Anodynes
   Chapter 27 - Spiritual and Carnal Weapons
   Chapter 28 - Divine Silence and Human Despair
   Chapter 29 - Jewish Unbelief and Gentile Blessing
   Chapter 30 - The Restoration of the Banished
   Chapter 31 - The Farewell Gift
   Chapter 32 - God's Dealing with Sin and the Sinner
   Chapter 33 - God Finding a Resting-Place
   Chapter 34 - The Moriah Group
   Chapter 35 - Diverse Kinds of Conscience
   Chapter 36 - The Soul Turning from Man to God
   Chapter 37 - Man's Dislike of a Present God
   Chapter 38 - True and False Consolation
   Chapter 39 - Gain and Loss for Eternity
   Chapter 40 - Man's Misconstruction of the Works of God
   Chapter 41 - The Two Cries and the Two Answers
   Chapter 42 - The Knowledge of God's Name
   Chapter 43 - Deliverance from Deep Waters
   Chapter 44 - The Excellency of the Divine Loving-Kindness
   Chapter 45 - The Sickness, the Healer, and the Healing
   Chapter 46 - The Consecration of Earth's Gold and Silver
   Chapter 47 - The Gifts of the Ascended One
   Chapter 48 - The Speaker, the Listener, the Peace
   Chapter 49 - The Believing Man's Confident Appeal
   Chapter 50 - The Love and the Deliverance
   Chapter 51 - The Sin and Folly of Being Unhappy
   Chapter 52 - The Book of Books
   Chapter 53 - The Secret of Deliverance from Evil
   Chapter 54 - The Voice of the Heavenly Bridegroom
   Chapter 55 - The Love that Passeth Knowledge
   Chapter 56 - The Vision of the Glory
   Chapter 57 - Man's Extremity and Satan's Opportunity
   Chapter 58 - The Day of Clear Vision to the Dim Eyes
   Chapter 59 - The Unfainting Creator and the Fainting Creature
   Chapter 60 - The Knowledge that Justifies
   Chapter 61 - The Heritage and its Title-Deeds
   Chapter 62 - The Meeting Between the Sinner and God
   Chapter 63 - God's Love and God's Way of Blessing
   Chapter 64 - Divine Jealousy for the Truth
   Chapter 65 - Divine Love and Human Rejection of it
   Chapter 66 - God's Desire to Bless the Sinner
   Chapter 67 - The Resting-Place Forgotten
   Chapter 68 - The Day that Will Right all Wrongs
   Chapter 69 - The Glory and the Love
   Chapter 70 - False Religion and its Doom
   Chapter 71 - No Breath No Life
   Chapter 72 - Every Christian a Teacher
   Chapter 73 - Work, Rest, and Recompence
   Chapter 74 - Human Heedlessness and Divine Remembrance
   Chapter 75 - Lies the Food of Man
   Chapter 76 - The Love and the Calling
   Chapter 77 - The Anger and the Goodness
   Chapter 78 - Darkness Pursuing the Sinner
   Chapter 79 - Jerusalem the Centre of the World's Peace
   Chapter 80 - Jerusalem and Her King
   Chapter 81 - Looking to the Pierced One
   Chapter 82 - The Holiness of Common Things
   Chapter 83 - Wearying Jehovah with our Words
   Chapter 84 - Dies Irae

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