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The First Question

Introduction

The first question found in the Bible came from Satan. The second question came from God. A vast difference in the characters of these two speakers is revealed by these two questions. Though these two questions is revealed two different eternal destinies.

The First Question

Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, “Indeed, has God said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden’?”  (Genesis 3.1)

Satan’s question to the woman revealed his nature. His nature to deceive. All we need to know about Satan is this: his nature is to deceive; he can never be trusted. Jesus called him the “father of lies” (John 8.44). He is the source of all lies and deception. The strategies he employs are manifold and work on many levels but their foundation is deception. In Jesus’ great dissertation upon end times, He repeatedly warned His hearers not to be deceived. During the Tribulation Satan will be his most convincing by working great wonders of deception (Matthew 24).

Satan’s question to the woman was designed to cause her to question God’s character, specifically, His goodness. How long their dialogue lasted is not revealed. Surely it lasted much longer than the record in Genesis. The account provides the main points of the conversation. Satan succeeded in his plan (2 Corinthians 11.3), convincing the woman to doubt God’s goodness. She ate.

Satan’s main objective was not the woman but the man. He reasoned he could not deceive the man but that he could attack the woman and defeat the man. He was right. Adam, when he discovered what had happened recognized the problem but chose unwisely in solving the problem. His eating did not as a result from deception (Genesis 3.13; 1 Timothy 2.14). He knew what he was doing. The Scripture places the blame of sin upon Adam, not Eve (1 Corinthians 15.22). It is unlikely Adam understood or appreciated the  consequences of his choice. It cost him dominion over the earth (Genesis 1.26, 28),  returned rule of the world to Satan (Ezekiel 28.12-15; Luke 4.5-6; 2 Corinthians 4.4), and plunged the earth under a curse which resulted in decay and death (Genesis 3.17-19; Romans 8.19-22). From that point, every living thing died (1 Corinthians 15.22). What ruin!

God’s First Question

Then the Lord God called to the man, and said to him, “Where are you?” (Genesis 3.9)

After Adam and Eve ate fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil they recognized they were naked. More is here than appears on the surface. They may have been clothed in a glory that vanished with their eating. At the very least they acquired an unknown knowledge of nakedness: shame. This was the true nature of the “knowledge of good and evil” of which God had warned. Satan had represented it as something desirable which God was withholding (Genesis 3.5).  In reality, this “good” was grief, sadness, regret, heartbreak, and death.

Because of the shame Adam and Eve felt, their first act was to try to cover themselves. They attempted this by sewing fig leaves together, fashioning crude “clothing” (Genesis 3.7). Volumes could be written about this. It was a representative act of what every human being does when we try and cover sin, excuse failure, and rationalize evil. The fig leaves were: “I’m ok, you’re ok.” They were not and we are not.

In Genesis 3.8, we read of God’s walking in the garden.1 Apparently, this was His habit with the couple during the “cool of the day.” During these walks He met and conversed with Adam and Eve. Prior to their eating, this had been the highlight of their day. But that had all changed. They were now afraid of Him and hid.

The Nature of the Question

Satan asked his question to manipulate Eve to doubt God’s goodness. God asked His question to restore the couple. God’s asked, “Where are you?” because He could not see Adam and Eve. They were not were they usually met for their afternoon walk. But the larger sense of His question was psychological, not geographical. God asks each of us this question. Where are we? If we are truthful, we can only answer: Lost!

Jesus taught this lesson to the Jews of His day through statements and parables. One familiar passage is the parable of the lost sheep. Luke recorded:

So He told them this parable, saying, “What man among you, if he has a hundred sheep and has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open pasture and go after the one which is lost until he finds it? When he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!’ I tell you that in the same way, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance (Luke 15.3-7).

Like the sheep, Adam and Eve were lost. They were the human race. The point of Jesus’ parable was that the lost sheep knew it was lost. The ninety-nine the shepherd left did not. They thought they were ok. They did not know they too were lost. They shepherd rescued the sheep who knew it was lost. God sought Adam and Eve in the garden for they too knew they were lost.

Conclusion

So Jesus said to them again, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly (John 10.7-10).

Because of Adam’s failure, each of us enters the world without Christ, without hope, and without eternal life. We are lost. God asks each of us the same question He asked the first man: “Where are you?” If honest, our answer is that we are lost and without hope.  Jesus told the Jews He was the door (cf. John 14.6). If anyone enters through Him he will be saved. Paul declared how one is saved in our age:

For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures (1 Corinthians 15.1-4).

Salvation is a gift. The Lord Jesus Christ solved the problem of sin and death with His death and resurrection. He paid for every person’s sin with His sacrifice. Putting one’s trust in His work, that He died for your sins and rose from the dead is how we enter into life.

 This is the first account of a theophany. God the Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, in His pre-incarnate form visited with His creation, created in His image.

©2012 Don Samdahl. Anyone is free to reproduce this material and distribute it, but it may not be sold.


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10 thoughts on “The First Question

  1. Joe

    I am impressed the depth of all the work here…not just this article. I’m interested in the background of the contributors. I have studied for a long time and this is the most comprehensive coverage I have found. Few unhappy bad eggs have responded as far as I can see. I’m hoping I can read all of this. I see a lot of Les Feldick here…..or I see a lot of this on Les Feldick. Either way I’ve learned a lot. thanks.

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      Joe,
      Thanks for the kind words. I have written all the articles except where noted. Les is a great teacher and the one who opened my eyes to the unique apostleship of Paul.

  2. Gary Crisp

    I thank God for you and the comprehensive way you explain God’s Word. Our group has been studying Les Feldicks DVD’s for several years now and we are amazed at how rightly dividing the Word has opened our understanding and given us answers that we were not getting before. You have become my “go-to-guy” when I need an answer to a Bible question. Every article I have read so far stands the Berean test of Acts 17:11.

  3. Jack S.

    Hi Don,

    As I have mentioned before, my wife and I host a weekly Bible study in our home for couples and single people. We watch 2 Les Feldick DVD’s and then have a discussion. At the end of one of our recent meetings I asked a woman to close the meeting in prayer. Several days after the meeting one of the men, a man who found Christ through Les Feldick after having been a Jehovah’s Witness for 34 years, told me that is was unbiblical to have a woman pray at a couples Bible study.

    I believe that the Scriptures tell us that a woman cannot be in a leadership position in a church meeting, but I don’t think that saying a prayer at the end of a Bible study is the same as being a pastor of a church congregation. What is your scriptural understanding as it pertains to this situation?

    Thank you for your ministry. You are changing lives and helping people remove apparent Bible contradictions and confusion. God Bless you.

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      Jack,
      Thank you. I would ask your friend to support his view with Scripture. I can think of nothing that supports such a viewpoint. Women had a tremendous ministry working with the apostle Paul. I just finished teaching a class on Romans and we looked at Paul’s closing greetings. I believe he mentioned 29 people by name and 7 or 8 were women. Grace and peace.

  4. Hennie

    I am blessed by your view on dispensasionellism. Without understanding this it would be very difficult to understand Paul’s writings. I would like to leave a thought for your consideration.
    For many years I struggled with the question as to why God put the tree in the garden. Being all knowing and being a God of love, could he not have avoided the whole controversy?
    The way I see it is as follows.
    Salvation be grace through faith has always been God goal for man. The lie the devel presented man with in the garden was a that he could attain to perfection by works or by his own effort, i.e. I am what I do vs I am what I am. This points to the luceferic rebellion. Man had been created in the perfection of God, but had to both know this and choose this perfection above one of his own making. The moment man accepted the lie, that he could become like God by what he does, he died. the bible calls this ” dead” man flesh. The same power by which we live after the cross is the power that killed in the garden.
    Heb 11:6 and so many other verses gives us an indication as to the power of this thing the word calls faith or persuasion. Gal 2:20 and 2 Cor 5:12- speaks about a persuasion of being, not based on works but on Gods having presented us with a indesputable display of having put an end to flesh and of our rebirthh as sons of God in Christ. To put it bluntly, He gave us the tools to enable us to choose. We are presented with the same question that man was presented with in the garden. Are you righteous by what you do or by what you are. What you are is what God came to demonstrate in Christ. Rom 1:16,17, Gal 3:11, and Heb 11:38 all say, ” the righteous will live by faith.”
    We are sons of God, borne into the family of God, and this determines both our value, or fighteousness, and our purpose. We could fill books with this, please excuse my brevity.
    God loves you and I thank you.

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      Hennie,
      Thank you for your wisdom. It all boils down to obedience. Will one believe/obey God or not? To believe/obey is life. Other paths lead to death.

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