GOD’S ORIGINAL PLAN
God’s vision for earth and humanity was amazing! The first two chapters of the Bible (Genesis 1,2) describe the wonderful planet He created for us to enjoy. Earth was granted all the resources needed for humans and animals to thrive. The sun would provide us with warmth and light. The seasons and rains would provide the environment for plants and trees to bear edible food. The flavors and aromas made our food pleasurable to consume, as well as nourishing for our bodies. God gave all varieties of creatures and critters to roam the ground, soar or buzz in the air, and swim in the waters. Yes, God had a wonderful vision of what Earth would be. It was His creative masterpiece, a place that would bring Him great pleasure.
The Bible clearly tells of the special role we humans, male and female, were given on this amazing planet. Unlike any other aspect of creation, human beings were created in the “image of God.” We have been given the capacity to relate to God as no others can. Along with this privileges came the responsibility to fill the earth with people, and to organize the plant and animal life of the planet. We were given a stewardship of the planet by God.
One unique ability we have as God’s image-bearers is to give names to things. As Adam was naming animals and likely plants, he asked God why he didn’t have a mate as did all the rest of creation. So God gave man a helper, whom Adam named woman. God’s plan was that a new family be formed around the marriage of a man and woman who would have children and thus continue the healthy expansion of humanity.
Above all, God’s original plan was that we enjoy a wonderful relationship with Him. We were created to know Him and to give Him the glory He deserved as our Creator and God. We were given an order or morality that would help us know how to relate to Him and one another. These guidelines would also prevent us from destroying ourselves as a race. Included in this moral order were things like freedom, responsibility, and consequence.
The Bible describes the unfortunate way our human race, from our first opportunity, violated our freedom and suffered the consequence (Genesis 3). Rather than being content to enjoy all the aspects given to us freely, we, the human community in its original form, chose to partake of the one thing God had prohibited (the tree of the knowledge of good and evil).
This choice broke the peaceable relationships God envisioned. The relationship between humans was now complicated. Whereas Adam and Eve had been innocent in the beauty of nakedness, they now knew shame and guilt such that they needed to cover themselves. Whereas they had been placed in a garden of delights, there was now a deceiver who would constantly tempt them (and us) to rebel against God and choose evil ways. Even the relationship with the rest of creation was tarnished, for now instead of reaping the fruit of the trees and plants, mankind would have to toil in the ground to raise food. Womanhood would now entail pain in bearing children.
Brokenness shattered humanity’s relationship with God. Our race had snapped the cord of peace that tied us to our Creator. We had gone our own way, deliberately violating His command.
Whether one chooses to believe the Biblical account or not, no one can deny that the realities it describes are real today. We are not serving as good stewards of our planet but are taking advantage of its resources. We are living selfishly in the present without due regard for the future generations. We treat animals with disdain, plundering and using them inhumanely.
The image of God placed within each and every human has not been withdrawn, but in many cases it is severely marred. Increasingly, we are a self-loathing society, unhappy with our bodies and our lot in life. Depression and suicide are rampant. Many have given up hope.
Relationships between each other as humans are in dire condition. Many families are broken, with domestic violence, neglect and abandonment. Cohabitation outside of marriage has become accepted, divorce is common, as is hatred of parents by children. The just society God desires is continually spurned by our injustices perpetrated against each other. Slavery has marred human history and continues today in the form of human trafficking. Prejudice and racism between ethnic communities spawns hatred and isolation. Wars between tribes and nations further reveal the brokenness of human relations. Increasingly our world stands on the brink of self-destruction with the threat of nuclear attack.
One cannot say that Adam and Eve’s choice is unrelated to us today, for we continue to prove that we are made of the same stuff they were. Society is living evidence that the human race has chosen against God. We see the consequences of that wherever we look. We are helpless to help ourselves. Stock has been put in education and government, but these are false hopes for getting out of our brokenness. What is true for us as the human race is true for us individually. We are corporately and individually unable to mend ourselves.
God is not heartless toward us or our brokenness. In fact, from Genesis 3 onward the Bible is the story of God taking the initiative to restore humanity back to Himself. He desires that we be reconciled to Him, to each other, and to creation. He wants each of us to rise to the dignity of being created in His image.
The path of restoration is not merely more education and government with a religious twist. These too have been tried and fallen onto the pile of other failed attempts. No, God’s solution had to go back to the cause of our original and continuing brokenness. He had to deal completely with our choice to violate His command. Being just, God could not pretend that our rebellion had not occurred. He needed to devise a plan whereby justice could be rendered yet reconciliation achieved.
So this is what God did. He provided an innocent recipient of the consequences of our rebellion and resultant brokenness. Only His sinless Son, Jesus Christ, qualified to fill this role. When Jesus came to earth and lived a morally pure life, then submitting to crucifixion, He did so in order to bear the penalty of the sin of all humanity all the way from Adam and Eve to today. Every violation of God’s moral standard was placed on Jesus Christ at the cross in what is without question the greatest act of sacrifice even conceivable.
But God’s plan was not simply to acquit us of our brokenness. He wants to restore us back to right relationships. And so, in Jesus Christ, He provided a new kind of relationship based no longer on our performance and good works, but on His grace. He now receives us back as His children, adopting us into His eternal family. The Bible says that Jesus Christ rose from the dead and continues today as our Savior and Lord. This provides us with an amazing life here on earth as we draw on the power of God to overcome every problem by faith.
When our relationship with God is restored, brokenness in other forms can also be restored. First, we are personally changed from within and given the dignity we were originally intended to have as people created in the image of God. We gradually correct the self-condemning view we formerly held of ourselves, and see ourselves as God sees us—all equally loved and accepted by our gracious Father no matter what our ethnic or economic situation.
Second, our relationships with others begins to change. Having received grace from God, we are able to find grace in our hearts to love and forgive others. We find ourselves seeking out a new kind of community where love overcomes hostility and suspicion. Where there was racism and abuse there can now be acceptance and forgiveness. We begin to see injustices for the crimes they are, and find ways to bring in reconciling peace where hatred once ruled.
Even our relationship with creation changes. Now we understand that we were placed on earth to tend to what it needs to thrive and endure. We work industriously to let the earth flourish in beauty and productivity. We see God’s creation through new eyes, realizing the artistry of God who gave us color, music, and all things beautiful to enjoy.
In short, through the restoration God provides in Christ, we find new purpose in life. Rather than serving ourselves, we discover a mission to serve God and others. And our efforts are not confined to this life, but have eternal promise as those whom God has adopted into His family forever. We carry the privilege and responsibility to tell the story of what God has done in our lives, mending our brokenness and restoring us back to Himself.
As brokenness resulted from a choice, so does restoration. Communities must choose God, to be sure. But communities will not change until individuals choose to change. People must choose to become a part of the solution by trusting fully in God’s solution in Jesus Christ.
People rightly ask why Jesus claims to be the only way back to a restored relationship with God and others. This is not territorialism or hubris on Jesus’ part. If there were truly many paths to God, Jesus would surely endorse them. So why does Jesus say He is the only way, the truth and the life? It is because, as the sinless Son of God, Jesus was the only one who could bear the penalty of the sin of all humanity. No other great religious founder could do that. And only Jesus rose from dead, making it possible for us to continually know God through Him.
Another hurdle many encounter is the reality of suffering in our world. One naturally wonders why a loving God allows so much evil to exist. This observation proves the truthfulness of all we have said about brokenness. The evil and suffering in the world serve as evidence that the brokenness of humanity has affected every kind of relationship: with God, with each other, within ourselves, and with creation. God’s chosen means of fighting evil is His provision of restoration in Christ. One day God will make all things new and bring into His presence all those who have embraced His provision by faith. Then, evil will be no more, and the tempter will be destroyed.
So for now, we are each invited to accept God’s provision in Jesus Christ. The Bible simply says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whosoever believes in Him, should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). We invite you to place your trust in the Lord Jesus Christ for your salvation today. You will find it to be the greatest discovery of your life, and put you on the path back to God.
If you have questions, we would be happy to interact with you. And if you have made this commitment, we would be happy to send you information that provides guidelines in your new life with Christ. We are not a church or a part of a denomination, but we would be happy to assist you in any way that we can.