Saturday, August 14, 2010

Adam's knowledge

When God had created all things, he ‘saw every thing that he had made, and behold, it was very good’.  God looked upon man, body and soul and he saw that he was very good.  Man was also created in the image of God, in knowledge, righteousness and holiness with dominion over the creatures.  We read that when the image of God is renewed it is ‘renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him’ (Col. 3:10). It is apparent that the reference is to the original image of God in Adam for when something is renewed it must have once been possessed but now lost. What was this knowledge that Adam possessed as he came from the hand of God?  It was primarily moral and spiritual but it is important to recognise that man’s knowledge naturally speaking is nothing now to what Adam had before he fell.

Adam’s natural knowledge was perfect, not in the sense of being infinite or exhaustive but because his faculties of understanding, discernment and memory were not impaired by sin and the fall, he would have had a full knowledge of things and their nature. This was seen when the animals were brought to Adam. They came as it were to acknowledge their lord who was crowned with this glory and honour, that all things were put under his feet. God delegated to Adam as one that had dominion over the creatures the authority to give them their names. This signified his authority – ‘whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof’. What an insight and understanding he possessed to discern the nature and characteristics of a creature in so short a time and to assign it an appropriate name. What a naturalist might take years to understand about a living organism Adam was able to fathom in a short while. No doubt the knowledge that he possessed, as one in harmony and fellowship with God, was also God-given. He was placed in the garden to dress it and keep it. This meant that he would have had a full understanding of that which he was appointed to steward and attend to. He knew the best ways to preserve them and care for each creature and organism according to their nature. We do not know fully what his service entailed but we know that he rendered a perfect service.

His knowledge of the nature of things would have been of service to him spiritually. ‘He that is spiritual judgeth [or discerneth] all things’. The Lord Jesus Christ instructs us to consider the nature and characteristics of created things and to draw spiritual instruction from them. Everything would have been full of spiritual profit in this way to the holy discernment of Adam. Even after the fall certain things are apparent to man. Man after the fall must acknowledge that ‘that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead’ (Romans 1:19-20). We do not know all that Adam was able to read in the book of Nature but we know that sin has darkened our minds to this and would seek to deny even what is clearly manifest. He knew at any rate what it was to have contentment with all that God had given to him, he knew by experience that to be spiritually minded is life and peace. He knew nothing else.

Men boast of their advancement in knowledge but their capacities and understanding are nothing to what Adam possessed.  Adam’s thoughts and desires were well ordered and had not the disorder of sin. His thoughts would have been kept under the government of his will so that he would not have found himself distracted with a multitude of thoughts but would have been able to concentrate upon one thing without distraction and follow a thought through to its ultimate conclusion unerringly and without deviation. His powers of reason and understanding were perfect.

Much more wonderful in Adam, however, was the moral knowledge that his soul possessed. God made man upright.  His knowledge was upright. What he knew and how he came to understand it was altogether regulated according to a holy nature. He had the law of God written upon his heart and conscience.  The conscience was not restrained or impaired by sin in any way but witnessed fully to the spirituality and breadth of the law of God. He delighted in the knowledge of the law of God after the inward man. It revealed to him the character of God. He had the revealed will of God not only in his heart but there was also a sign given to him to show and prove his obedience and love of God in a simple outward way. That was the tree of the knowledge of good and evil from which he was forbidden to eat. He had the opportunity of making an open demonstration of his knowledge of the holiness that God requires and his delight in that. Holiness unto the Lord was written across all his actions and thoughts. He understood in a real experimental and perfect sense what that means – whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God

The knowledge that he had was also spiritual and experimental. He was made a living soul, spiritually alive towards God. He knew God in a holy and perfect way. He was in covenant with God, brought into the secret of his covenant. God promised life to Adam in his covenant – this was implicit in the threatening of death upon disobedience – life was promised upon perfect obedience. ‘With length of days unto his mind, I will him satisfy’. What was said of the second Adam could be said of the type: ‘because my great name he hath known, I will him set on high’. O surely the soul of Adam, as one who had the breath of God in it and was made a living soul, surely that was borne along sweetly by the gales of the Holy Spirit upon it. Surely his soul was set on high, made like the chariots of Amminadib. The favour of God shone upon him, His countenance was lifted upon him to give him peace. He knew Him in the bond of adoption or sonship, as one who was called the son of God.  He knew God face to face as a man speaketh with his friend. He dwelt within the veil and walked with God upon this earth. The Spirit of God that ‘searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God’ was surely revealing such things to Adam.  He knew what the worship of God was. The worship of the Sabbath day was heaven upon earth in Eden. We do not know how soon Adam fell but we know that he had at least one Sabbath, the very first which God hallowed and blessed. Eden means delights and the chief delight there was communion with God whose presence tabernacled with man.

Although man had such a high provision of knowledge the devil came to tempt him to sin in this area. The temptation was that God had reserved some greater knowledge that they might have had and kept it from them. God was holding them down, Satan implied. This was within their grasp and he insinuated that it was their right as it were to lay hold on it. There was an independent source of knowledge open to them – they would not need to be dependent upon God any more. ‘For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil’.  The lust in the heart of the woman was after this higher knowledge that the devil held out to her since she saw that the tree was ‘to be desired to make one wise’. The feet that hasted sinned. There was a rushing headlong into what had been forbidden. Man fell – his soul lost the knowledge that he had in reaching after knowledge that he could never had. The devil had promised that their eyes would be opened and indeed their eyes were opened to see themselves stripped of the glory and dignity that they had. They now had a practical knowledge of evil and became unable to spiritual good. How blinded many are by the devil – they do not see that he only promises to them that which they cannot possess and which will be their eternal ruin.

O what we have lost in Adam – the glory and dignity of it. The crown is fallen from our heads indeed, what a thief and extortioner sin is that has robbed us of so rich and glorious an estate and inheritance. Our head was held aloft to heaven in him, but now through sin our eyes and minds are set upon earthly things. Man is a ruined temple – only a little of the glory and magnificence that he one possessed can now be discerned.