The Genesis Parable
The Natural Man - Part 1
First, let me remind you that the “Garden of Eden” symbolizes the universal principle of sowing and reaping, while the two trees in the garden symbolize the twofold aspects of this principle as outlined by the apostle Paul in Galatians, Chapter 6, verses 7 through 10. This principle sets the foundation of the Old and New Covenants as Paul described in Galatians, Chapter 4, verses 21 through 31.
Now, following God’s command to Adam to not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, we find the following scriptures.
Genesis 2:18-20 (NKJV)
18 And the Lord God said, "It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him." 19 OUT OF THE GROUND the Lord God formed every BEAST OF THE FIELD and every BIRD OF THE AIR, and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them. And whatever Adam called each LIVING CREATURE, that was its name. 20 So Adam gave names to all CATTLE, to the BIRDS OF THE AIR, and to every BEAST OF THE FIELD. But for Adam there was not found a helper comparable to him.
On the surface of these passages, it appears that our Creator is speaking of animals as opposed to humans, however, note the phrase “beast of the field.” Our word “beast” is the Hebrew transliteration ḥay which is defined by Strong’s as, “Alive; hence raw (flesh).” Our word “field” is śādeh, meaning, “To spread out; a field (as flat).”
In regard to “every beast of the field,” “every bird of the air,” and “all cattle,” we read “and whatever Adam called each LIVING CREATURE, that was its name.” Our word “living”? It’s our word ḥay again, meaning “alive,” while our word “creature” is nepesh, which means, “A breathing creature, i.e. animal or (abstract) vitality.” So why should this interest us? Because the phrase “living soul” in Genesis 2:7 is the same two words as “living creature” in Genesis 2:19. Remember, we are considering a parable, so what’s seen on the surface as far as the natural or physical realm is concerned, carries a deeper spiritual understanding.
Using definition by context, it’s safe to derive from Genesis 2:19 that a “beast of the field” not only refers to common animals, but to a “living creature,” which is defined as a “living soul” or human being in Genesis 2:7. We find confirmation of our perspective in the words of King Solomon.
Ecclesiastes 3:18-20 (NASB95)
18 I said to myself concerning the sons of men, "God has surely tested them in order for them to see that they are but beasts." 19 For the fate of the sons of men and the fate of beasts is the same. As one dies so dies the other; indeed, they all have the same breath and there is no advantage for man over beast, for all is vanity. 20 All go to the same place. All came from the dust and all return to the dust.
As Solomon states, God tests us in order for us to see that we are but “beasts.” Our word “beasts” and “beast” in these passages is the same word translated as “cattle” in Genesis 1:24-26 and Genesis 2:20. In light of this, consider the following.
Psalms 49:20 (NKJV)
20 A man who is in honor, yet does not understand, is like the beasts that perish.
Psalms 73:22 (NKJV)
22 I was so foolish and ignorant; I was like a beast before You.
Based on these Psalms, what defines man as a “beast”? Foolishness and ignorance, a lack of understanding. Wikipedia tells us, “Ignorance is a lack of knowledge and information. The word ‘ignorant’ is an adjective that describes a person in the state of being unaware, and can describe individuals who deliberately ignore or disregard important information or facts, or individuals who are unaware of important information or facts.” When contrasted with the idea of literal animals, this makes sense, for animals do not possess the same mental abilities that humans do. With this idea of ignorance in mind, consider what Paul wrote in the following.
1 Corinthians 2:14 (NKJV)
14 But the NATURAL MAN does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
The “natural man.” See our word “natural”? It’s derived from the Greek root psychē, translated as “soul” in the New Testament. The Strong’s Concordance tells us that psychē corresponds to our word nepesh in the Old Testament, both basically meaning “breath.”
It is evident by what Paul wrote that the “natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God,” which would undoubtedly incorporate God’s wisdom and understanding. The “natural man” considers them “foolishness,” agreeing with Psalms 49 and 73. So could we not say then that the “natural man” defines what is meant when man is referred to as a “beast”? Now, let’s consider what Paul wrote in regard to the resurrection of the dead and the “natural body.”
1 Corinthians 15:42-47 (ESV)
42 So is it with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable. 43 It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power. 44 It is sown a NATURAL BODY; it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a NATURAL BODY, there is also a spiritual body. 45 Thus it is written, "The first man Adam became a LIVING BEING (soul)"; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit. 46 BUT IT IS NOT THE SPIRITUAL THAT IS FIRST BUT THE NATURAL, and THEN THE SPIRITUAL. 47 The first man was FROM THE EARTH, a man of dust; the second man is FROM HEAVEN.
Four times we see the words “sown” and “raised,” agreeing with our understanding of the “Garden of Eden,” our principle of sowing and reaping. Remember, sowing and reaping accurately describes the principle of resurrection which is why Paul uses it in 1st Corinthians 15. The word “resurrection” means, “A standing up again,” which points to the final stage of sowing and reaping as Jesus outlined in John 12:24.
It is evident by our passages that the “natural body” is viewed as perishable, dishonorable, and weak, so is the “natural body” of which Paul spoke also the “natural man” to which Paul referred to in 1st Corinthians 2:14? I believe so. In confirmation Paul wrote, “It is sown a NATURAL BODY; it is raised a SPIRITUAL BODY. If there is a NATURAL BODY, there is also a SPIRITUAL BODY. THUS-IT-IS-WRITTEN, ‘The FIRST MAN ADAM became a LIVING BEING,’ or SOUL” (hay nefesh). Furthermore, “it is not the SPIRITUAL that is first but the NATURAL, and then the SPIRITUAL.” As I have mentioned in our previous studies, the parable of “the first man Adam” (and Eve) is a presentation of how the “natural man” was formed.
So why was there no living creature suitable for Adam until Eve was formed? Our answer again lies in the principle of sowing and reaping. Adam, being male, is the one who sows seed, while Eve, being female, is the one who receives it. Both define what is needed for propagating the species and explains why we read, “For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh”; see Genesis 2:24 (NASB).
Once we understand that a “beast” defines man in his lack of understanding, we can make more sense of the following.
Ezekiel 34:1-2, 5, 7-9 (NKJV)
1 And the word of the Lord came to me, saying, 2 "Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy and say to them, 'Thus says the Lord God to the shepherds: "Woe to the shepherds of Israel who feed themselves! Should not the shepherds feed the flocks… 5 So they were scattered because there was no shepherd; and they BECAME FOOD for ALL THE BEASTS OF THE FIELD when they were scattered… 7 'Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the Lord: 8 "as I live," says the Lord God, "surely because My flock became a prey, and My flock BECAME FOOD for every BEAST OF THE FIELD, because there was no shepherd, nor did My shepherds search for My flock, but the shepherds fed themselves and did not feed My flock"-- 9 therefore, O shepherds, hear the word of the Lord!
What does the Lord tell Ezekiel? “My flock,” symbolic of His people, “BECAME FOOD for every BEAST OF THE FIELD.” No doubt, these statements are parabolic, therefore, it’s to be taken in a spiritual sense, and the meaning is clear. Because the “shepherds” did not search for His flock or God’s people, and “fed themselves” and not the flock, they “became a prey,” “food for every BEAST OF THE FIELD.” This idea of “food” is explained by the following.
Matthew 23:14 (NKJV)
14 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you devour widows' houses…
Galatians 5:13-15 (NKJV)
13 For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. 14 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." 15 BUT IF YOU BITE AND DEVOUR ONE ANOTHER, beware lest you BE CONSUMED BY ONE ANOTHER!
In keeping with what Jesus and Paul said, it is evident that being “food for every beast of the field” speaks to the idea that when we lack understanding of the things of the Spirit of God, we are subject to all manner of confusion, contention, and hypocrisy! Now, here’s what Jesus said regarding the “field” in the Parable of the Tares.
Matthew 13:38 (NKJV)
38 The FIELD is the WORLD, the GOOD SEEDS are the sons of the kingdom, but the TARES are the sons of the wicked one.
“The FIELD is the WORLD,” so in the world we have the “good seeds” which “are the sons of the kingdom” and the “tares” which are the “sons of the wicked” (“one” has been inserted by the translators). Let’s take a moment to consider the beginning of the Parable of the Tares.
Matthew 13:24-25 (NKJV)
24 Another parable He put forth to them, saying: "The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed GOOD SEED (sons of the kingdom) in his FIELD (world); 25 BUT WHILE MEN SLEPT, his enemy came and sowed TARES (sons of the wicked) among the WHEAT (good seeds; sons of the kingdom) and went his way.
As we see, Jesus defines the “good seed” or “sons of the kingdom” as “wheat.” See where it says “but while men slept”? Remember this. Let’s go back to Genesis and consider another interesting perspective.
Genesis 1:24-25 (KJV)
24 And God said, LET THE EARTH BRING FORTH the LIVING CREATURE after his kind, CATTLE, and CREEPING THING, and BEAST OF THE EARTH after his kind: and it was so. 25 And God made the BEAST OF THE EARTH after his kind, and CATTLE after their kind, and EVERY THING THAT CREEPETH UPON THE EARTH after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
Note how verse 24 states, “Let the earth bring forth the LIVING CREATURE,” or hay nepesh, “after his kind,” and then follows with “CATTLE, and CREEPING THING, and BEAST OF THE EARTH after his kind.” Then we read in verse 25, “And God made the BEAST OF THE EARTH after his kind.” In light of the specificity of scripture, we see the “living creature” missing. Why is this? I believe the next verse which follows answers this for us.
Genesis 1:26 (KJV)
26 And God said, LET US MAKE MAN IN OUR IMAGE, after our likeness: and let them have dominion…
Does our phrase, “Let us make MAN in our image” suggest that the LIVING CREATURE refers to man? I believe it does. Again, this is confirmed by Genesis 2:19 in conjunction with Genesis 2:7.
Genesis 2:19 (KJV)
19 And OUT OF THE GROUND the Lord God formed every BEAST OF THE FIELD, and every FOWL OF THE AIR; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every LIVING CREATURE (hay nepesh), that was the name thereof.
Genesis 2:7 (KJV)
7 And the Lord God FORMED MAN OF THE DUST OF THE GROUND, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a LIVING SOUL (hay nepesh).
In agreement with Genesis 2:19 and our phrase “out of the ground,” we see in Genesis 2:7 that God “formed man of the DUST OF THE GROUND,” agreeing with Genesis 1:24 where we read, “LET THE EARTH BRING FORTH the LIVING CREATURE.”
We also see in Genesis 1:24 that the Lord God brought forth the “BEAST OF THE EARTH after his kind” from “out of the earth.” Based on the context, there appears to be a DIFFERENCE between a “living creature” and a “beast of the earth,” our phrase “after his kind” emphasizing this difference. So what is the difference between a “living creature” and a “beast of the earth”? Let’s go to Genesis, Chapter 3, for understanding.
Genesis 3:1 (NKJV)
1 Now the SERPENT was MORE CUNNING than any BEAST OF THE FIELD which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, "Has God indeed said, 'You shall not eat of every tree of the garden'?"
Most everyone is familiar with the temptation of Eve in the Garden of Eden, and this is where the story of that temptation begins. What do we read? “Now the serpent was MORE CUNNING than any BEAST OF THE FIELD (or living creature) which the Lord God had made.” If a “beast of the field” refers to a human being in this case, then wouldn’t our reference to a “serpent” suggest a human being as well, one who is “more cunning” than other beasts of the field? Now, let’s go to Revelation 13 for further understanding.
Revelation 13:11, 14 (NKJV)
11 Then I saw another BEAST COMING UP OUT OF THE EARTH, and he had two horns like a lamb and spoke like a dragon… 14 And HE DECEIVES THOSE who dwell on the earth…
Would a “beast coming up out of the earth” not be a “beast OF the earth”? Of course, and as our passage shows, what marks a beast of the earth is the idea of DECEPTION. This agrees with the context of Genesis 3 and our reference in Genesis 1:24-25, so I believe it’s safe to say that the “serpent” in Genesis IS NOT some fallen angel or a talking snake, but indicative of a person who, by means of cunning and deceit, leads others astray.
What we are considering also puts to rest the idea that Adam and Eve were the parents of every living human being, our phrases “beast of the field” and “beast of the earth” suggesting that there were other human beings besides them. So, wouldn’t it make more sense to see that Adam and Eve were not the parents of the human race but rather representative of the FIRST GENERATION OF HUMANKIND? Wouldn’t this answer how Adam and Eve’s son, Cain, found a wife and built a city as recorded in Genesis 4:17?
All of us know that the serpent refers to the devil and Satan, confirmed by Revelation 12:9, however, where did we get the idea that he is a fallen angel? May I say it? TRADITION! Beloved, it is tradition which has clouded our minds and led us to believe things that are not true and it is this same tradition that stands in contradiction to the Word of God in so many ways that it is difficult for us to perceive the actual truth of His Word. Do we need further proof? Let’s consider Revelation, Chapter 12.
Revelation 12:3 (NASB95)
3 Then another sign appeared in heaven: and behold, a great red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads were seven diadems… 9 And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.
These are some of the passages that many use to prove that Satan is a fallen angel, but I will be quick to say that these passages have nothing to do with the traditional view of Satan warring against God and being cast out of heaven due a rebellion. This error arises due to the fact that those who teach this do not truly understand what is being symbolized in this chapter.
Note that the “great red dragon” has “seven heads and ten horns” and our phrase “the serpent of old” clearly connects to Genesis 3. In the next chapter, we see this entity again, but this time, it’s a “BEAST rising up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns.” Same “seven heads,” same “ten horns,” but now it’s called a “BEAST” as opposed to a “great red dragon,” although it does state that “the DRAGON gave him his power, his throne, and great authority” in Revelation 13:2. When we step into Revelation, Chapter 17, we find this entity once again, only this time, it’s described as “a SCARLET BEAST which was full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns.” Three times we are given a view of this seven-headed entity. What does our number three represent? “A complete witness,” meaning we should consider all three perspectives to arrive at a full understanding.
Now, what is quite interesting is that following the presentation of the “great red dragon” in Revelation 12 and his casting “down to the earth,” we then step into Revelation 13 and see our “beast rising out of the sea.” And what follows? “Another beast coming up OUT OF THE EARTH,” i.e. our “beast OF THE EARTH.” Let’s go to 1st John 5:19 for more understanding.
1 John 5:19 (KJV)
19 And we know that we are of God, and the whole world LIETH in wickedness.
“The WHOLE WORLD LIETH in wickedness,” John said. See our word “lieth”? Strong’s defines it as, “To lie outstretched (literal or figurative).” Does this suggest “sleep”? I believe so, and I would also emphasize that as far as scripture is concerned, SLEEP in most cases refers to DEATH; see Matthew 9:24, Mark 5:39, Luke 8:52-53, John 11:11-14, and Ephesians 2:1 for confirmation. On a side note, I recently read an article where the reason that death is called “sleep,” is because it is TEMPORARY. I like this, for this agrees perfectly with 1st Corinthians 15:26 where Paul said, “The LAST ENEMY THAT SHALL BE DESTROYED IS DEATH.” Once we understand that “sleep” often refers to “death,” we can revisit our passages from Genesis 2.
Genesis 2:21 (NKJV)
21 And the Lord God caused a DEEP SLEEP to fall on Adam, AND HE SLEPT; and He took one of his ribs, and CLOSED UP the FLESH in its place.
What do we read? “The Lord God caused a DEEP SLEEP to fall on Adam, AND HE SLEPT.” Also note that once Adam went into this “deep sleep,” we find nowhere in scripture that God ever woke him from it! What is also important to realize is that the woman was fashioned from the rib of Adam while in this DEEP SLEEP (Gen. 2:22; KJV), bringing the man AND woman together in it, and again, we never read that God woke them up.
Strong’s defines our phrase “deep sleep” as, “A lethargy,” taken from the root word which means, “To stun, i.e. stupefy (with sleep or death).” Google defines “lethargy” as, “A pathological state of sleepiness or deep unresponsiveness and inactivity.” This same word is used a total of seven times in the Old Testament, including the following from Isaiah 29:10.
Isaiah 29:9-10 (ESV)
9 Astonish yourselves and be astonished; blind yourselves and be blind! Be drunk, but not with wine; stagger, but not with strong drink! 10 For the Lord has poured out upon you a SPIRIT of DEEP SLEEP, and has closed your eyes (the prophets), and covered your heads (the seers).
We can derive from these passages that a “deep sleep” affects the innermost part of our being, i.e. our spirit. Our phrases “closed your eyes” and “covered your heads” suggest that a “deep sleep” defines our inability to discern the things of the Spirit of God, so this agrees with 1st Corinthians 2:14.
Now, notice the phrase “closed up.” This Hebrew word is defined by Strong’s as, “To shut up; figurative to surrender.” And what was “shut up” or surrendered? The “flesh.” In agreement, Genesis 2:24 states, “They,” i.e. male and female, “shall become ONE FLESH.” Might the surrendering of the flesh suggest that God formed the natural man by using a “deep sleep,” and in doing so, established the nature of this natural man which Paul describes in 1st Corinthians 2:14? Would this be why Jesus said, “The flesh profits nothing”? (John 6:63; NKJV).
Following this “deep sleep” and the formation of the woman, we read, “NOW the serpent was more cunning than any BEAST OF THE FIELD which the Lord God HAD MADE.” “Now”? As in now that both Adam and Eve were in a “deep sleep” and subject to the natural essence of their being? Is it possible that the appearance of the “serpent” is actually referring to Adam and Eve in a particular state of existence? After all, why does Genesis 3:1 follow the “deep sleep” and formation of the woman with “NOW THE SERPENT”?
Finally, consider the following passage just before, “Now the serpent.”
Genesis 2:25 (KJV)
25 And THEY WERE BOTH NAKED, the man and his wife, and WERE NOT ASHAMED.
Our word “naked” is the transliteration ʿārōm, defined by Strong’s as, “Nude, either partially or totally,” and the root of this word is ʿāram, which means, “To be (or make) bare; but used only in the derivative sense (through the idea perhaps of smoothness) to be cunning (usually in a bad sense).” Does this connect our word “naked” to what immediately follows?
Genesis 3:1 (NKJV)
1 Now the serpent was MORE CUNNING than any BEAST OF THE FIELD which the Lord God had made…
Beloved, the word “cunning” is “subtil” in the King James. It’s the transliteration ʿārûm, which means, “Cunning (usually in a bad sense).” It is the passive participle of ʿāram, the root of our word “naked” in Genesis 2:25.