The Genesis Parable
The Natural Man - Part 2
Genesis 2:25 (KJV)
25 And THEY WERE BOTH NAKED, the man and his wife, and WERE NOT ASHAMED.
As we learned, our word “naked” is defined by Strong’s as, “Nude, either partially or totally,” but the root of this word 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).” With the idea of being cunning or crafty, look at what immediately follows Genesis 2:25. Keep in mind that we inserted the chapters and verses in the Bible, so we can disregard the fact that we are starting a new chapter or a new thought.
Genesis 3:1 (NKJV)
1 NOW the serpent was MORE CUNNING than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made…
“NOW the serpent was MORE CUNNING than any BEAST OF THE FIELD,” and remember, a “beast of the field” refers to a “living creature.” Go with me now to the following from 2nd Corinthians.
2 Corinthians 5:1-4 (ESV)
1 For we know that if the tent, which is our earthly home, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 2 For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling, 3 if indeed by putting it on WE MAY NOT BE FOUND NAKED. 4 For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened--not that we would be UNCLOTHED, but that we would be FURTHER clothed, so that WHAT IS MORTAL may be swallowed up by life.
If I understand Paul correctly, the “tent” or “earthly home” speaks of our soul, while our “building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens,” speaks of our spirit. And as Paul makes clear, when we put on our “heavenly dwelling,” we are “clothed,” we are not “found naked,” i.e. our MORTALITY is “swallowed up by life.” Our word “mortal” is defined as, “Liable to die,” taken from the root which means, “To die (literal or figurative).” What this tells us is that “naked” not only refers to our cunning, but also to our mortality. This seems to agree with our phrase “closed up the flesh in its place,” indicating that our Creator fully intended for our physical existence to be temporary.
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.
As mentioned in a previous study, we tend to think that our phrases “beast of the field” and “birds of the air” are literal, however, we discovered that our phrase “beast of the field” does not just refer to the common animals, but also to humankind, of persons of the “field” or world; see Ezekiel 34:5 and 8, Matthew 13:38, and Revelation, Chapters 12, 13, and 17. Now, consider what Jesus taught in the Parable of the Sower in regard to the birds of the air.
Matthew 13:3-4 (NKJV)
3 Then He spoke many things to them in parables, saying: "Behold, a sower went out to sow. 4 And as he sowed, some seed fell by the wayside; and the BIRDS came and devoured them.
Note how Jesus describes the “wayside” in this parable. “Some seed,” symbolic of the word of the kingdom, “fell by the wayside; and the BIRDS came and devoured them.” Here’s how the Lord interprets the meaning of “birds.”
Matthew 13:18-19 (NKJV)
18 "Therefore hear the parable of the sower: 19 When anyone hears the word of the kingdom, and DOES NOT UNDERSTAND it, THEN THE WICKED ONE COMES AND SNATCHES AWAY WHAT WAS SOWN IN HIS HEART. This is he who received seed by the wayside.
Here we see that the “birds” refer to the “wicked” in the parable (again “one” has been inserted by the translators). In Mark’s gospel, this is rendered as “SATAN comes immediately and takes away the word that was sown in their hearts” (Mark 4:15; NKJV). In Luke’s gospel, it’s rendered as “the DEVIL comes and takes away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved” (Luke 8:12; NKJV). So we have the “wicked,” “Satan,” and “the Devil,” three references providing “a complete witness” of what our “birds” represent.
And what does the Lord say before he mentions the birds? “When anyone hears the word of the kingdom, and DOES NOT UNDERSTAND IT.” This agrees quite well with 1st Corinthians 2:14 and our “natural man.”
So why did Jesus use “birds” as a representation of the “wicked”? Remember, Genesis 2:19 shows that, like the “beast of the field,” “birds of the air” are living creatures. But what is it that birds do? Do they not fly from tree to tree to land and take off again, sometimes to nest and bring forth their young? Would this, along with the Lord’s teaching in the Parable of the Sower, suggest that “birds” refer to the thoughts and intents of our mind and heart and the corresponding influence and effect of such thoughts and intents? And given the fact of the media today, this influence would be more powerful than it has ever been. Who of us can deny that with the advent of radio, television, and the internet, that society has been greatly affected by a veritable flood of information unlike any other time in our history.
Now, let me share with you the word which is USED EVERY TIME in our phrase “wicked one.” It’s the Greek transliteration ponēros, which Strong’s defines as, “Hurtful, i.e. evil (properly in effect or influence).” It’s taken from the root ponos which Strong’s defines as, “Toil, i.e. (by implication) anguish.” I immediately think of the following from Genesis when God reckoned with Adam after his sin.
Genesis 3:17-18 (KJV)
17 And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: CURSED IS THE GROUND for thy sake; in SORROW shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; 18 THORNS also and THISTLES shall it bring forth to thee…
See our word “sorrow”? It means, “Worrisomeness, i.e. labor or pain,” agreeing with our words ponēros and ponos. And to what was the Lord referring when He told Adam this? Was it not to the “ground” which He cursed? And in the Parable of the Sower, didn’t Jesus teach that the “ground” was symbolic of our hearts? No wonder Jeremiah 17:9-10 reads, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately WICKED; who can know it? I, the LORD, search the heart, I test the mind, even to give every man according to his ways, according to the FRUIT of his doings.” Beloved, our heart is “desperately WICKED.” Might this be the “wicked” with which Eve and Adam struggled?
Also note that God told Adam in regard to the “ground” that “THORNS also and THISTLES shall it bring forth to thee.” Compare this to the third ground in the Parable of the Sower in Matthew 13:7 and 22.
If we compare the teaching of the “wayside” in the Parable of the Sower with our parable of Adam and Eve, we have a perfect parallel. First, Adam and Eve are presented with the “seed” or “word of the kingdom” in the form of the commandment which God gave Adam in Genesis 2:16-17, aligning with “when anyone hears the word of the kingdom, and DOES NOT UNDERSTAND IT, THEN THE WICKED COMES AND SNATCHES AWAY WHAT WAS SOWN IN HIS HEART.” Here’s further proof of our perspective.
1 Timothy 2:13-14 (KJV)
13 For Adam was first formed, then Eve. 14 And ADAM WAS NOT DECEIVED, but the WOMAN BEING DECEIVED was in the transgression.
What an eye opener! “Adam was not deceived,” Paul said, “but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.” In regard to our Genesis parable, this changes things a bit; “Adam WAS NOT deceived.” This again gives strength to 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 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.” Since Adam was not deceived, then I’m inclined to believe that this is why he disobeyed. Also remember that Paul made it clear in 1st Corinthians 15:45 that “the spiritual is not first, BUT THE NATURAL, and afterward the spiritual.” Our word “natural” is the word used in both 1st Corinthians 2:14 and 15:46, derived from the word translated as “soul” throughout the New Testament. And we certainly cannot ignore the fact that God caused a “deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept” (Gen. 2:21; NKJV). Perhaps I am wrong in my perspective, but in our Genesis parable I see our Creator forming the “natural man” of our being. That being said, let’s revisit the command which God gave Adam.
Genesis 2:16-17 (NKJV)
16 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, "Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die."
“The first man Adam was made a LIVING soul (1st Cor. 15:45), but as noted in Genesis 2:16 and 17, Adam disobeyed the commandment which God gave him because he couldn’t “RECEIVE the things of the Spirit of God.” They appeared as “foolishness to him.” He could not “know them” because they had to be “spiritually discerned.” Adam had no spiritual discernment, due to the “deep sleep” in which he existed.
In keeping with what God said, all of us know that Adam and Eve DIED when they partook of the tree of knowledge. Until this act, Adam and Eve were LIVING SOULS or CREATURES, but following Eve’s deception and Adam’s disobedience, both DIED in accordance with God’s divine edict. Consider the word of the Lord from the prophet Ezekiel.
Ezekiel 18:4 (ESV)
4 Behold, all souls are mine; the soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is mine: the soul who sins shall die.
“The SOUL who sins shall die.” The “soul,” my friend, not the spirit. The soul dies because the spirit is in a deep sleep. This does, of course, beg the question as to why these things took place in the manner described? This brings us back to our divine and universal principle of sowing and reaping and what the Lord said in John, Chapter 12.
John 12:24 (ESV)
24 Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth AND DIES, it remains alone; but IF IT DIES, it bears much fruit.
Our Lord said “unless a grain of wheat FALLS into the earth and DIES, it remains ALONE.” And didn’t our Creator say, “It is NOT GOOD THAT MAN SHOULD BE ALONE”? (Gen. 2:18; NKJV) Adam’s “fall” was the “deep sleep” while Adam’s “death” was his disobedience. Now, this idea of a “grain of wheat” brings us back to 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 and went his way.
Remember our phrase, “But while men slept”? This aligns with the “deep sleep” which came on Adam. That being said, I see a sovereign purpose in the fact that God subjected Adam to this deep sleep. In one sense, we have a mystery, but in another sense, our principle of sowing and reaping gives us some understanding. Think about it. A seed is alive BEFORE it is planted, and all that is needed for the seed to bring forth what it is, is contained within the seed. BUT, in order for the life of the seed to spring forth, it must first FALL INTO THE EARTH OR GROUND AND DIE OR IT REMAINS ALONE. And once the seed goes into the ground, it is covered by the earth and thus REMAINS IN DARKNESS until such time as the process of time and other elements causes the life of the seed to spring up out of the ground to eventually become a fully-formed fruit-bearing tree. No wonder then that Paul, in the great resurrection chapter, wrote the following.
1 Corinthians 15:35-38, 42-47 (ESV)
35 But someone will ask, "How are the dead raised? With what kind of body do they come?" 36 You foolish person! What you sow does not come to life UNLESS IT DIES. 37 And what you sow is not the body that is to be, but a bare kernel, perhaps of wheat or of some other grain. 38 But God gives it a body as he has chosen, and to each kind of seed its own body… 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.
Beloved, do you wish to understand resurrection? Then see it as Paul saw it through the divine principle of sowing and reaping. “How are the dead raised? With what kind of body do they come?” Paul answers quite emphatically, stating, “What you sow DOES NOT COME TO LIFE UNLESS IT DIES. And what you sow IS NOT THE BODY THAT IS TO BE.” Concerning the resurrection of the dead, “what is sown is PERISHABLE” but “what is raised is IMPERISHABLE.” What is sown is DISHONORABLE but what is raised is indeed GLORIOUS! What is sown is in WEAKNESS but what is raised is IN POWER. What is sown is A NATURAL BODY, A LIVING SOUL, ordained to DIE, in order to bring forth a SPIRITUAL BODY, ordained to LIVE and BRING FORTH “MUCH FRUIT.” No wonder Hebrews 9:27 states, “It is APPOINTED for men to DIE ONCE.”
One of the most amazing concepts that we could ever hope to glean from scripture is the concept of sowing and reaping. It defines the VERY ACT OF CREATION ITSELF for John wrote, “In the beginning was the WORD, and the WORD was with God, and the WORD WAS GOD” (John 1:1). Jesus called the Word of God the “SEED” (Luke 8:11), and in the beginning was this SEED! In the beginning of creation, the “SEED” of the Word of God brought everything forth when GOD SAID! Beloved, “By faith we understand that the universe was created by the WORD,” or seed, “OF GOD, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible” (Heb. 11:3; ESV).
Resurrection is indeed a great mystery until we grasp the significance of what Paul wrote and see that resurrection is the FINAL STAGE of the ongoing power and principle of SOWING AND REAPING. It is that glorious life which follows the necessity of death, revealing that death, too, is here by divine injunction, an immutable purpose instituted by our Creator. Beloved, “The LAST ENEMY” is just that, THE LAST, and death itself is slated for destruction (1st Cor. 15:26). No wonder Paul wrote, “Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself,” i.e. Christ, “likewise also partook of the same, that THROUGH DEATH He might render powerless him who had the POWER OF DEATH, that is, the devil, and might free those who through FEAR OF DEATH were subject to slavery all their lives” (Heb. 2:14-15; NASB). What did the serpent tell Eve? “You will not surely die” (Gen. 3:4; NKJV). Was this a lie? It was, and understand, dear brother and sister, that the “power of death” resides in our fear of it but “God has not given us a SPIRIT OF FEAR, but of POWER and of LOVE and of a SOUND MIND” (2nd Tim. 1:7; NKJV).
Jesus taught, “LOVE YOUR ENEMIES” (Matt. 5:44), so how is it that we can do this? The answer is when we no longer PERCEIVE THEM AS ENEMIES. Beloved, when Paul called death the “last enemy,” I believe he was addressing OUR PERSPECTIVE and not the component of death itself. He was addressing HOW WE VIEW IT and not how our Maker intended it. Is it not true that when our perspective changes regarding anything we believe that, in essence, the old perspective is effectively DESTROYED? Would this be why Jesus said, “You shall KNOW THE TRUTH, and the TRUTH SHALL MAKE YOU FREE”? (John 8:32; NKJV) “Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and DIES, IT REMAINS ALONE… ah, BUT IF IT DIES… if-it-dies, IT BRINGS FORTH MUCH FRUIT! No wonder Jesus followed His discourse concerning the grain of wheat, saying, “Whoever LOVES HIS LIFE,” or soul, “LOSES IT, and WHOEVER HATES HIS LIFE,” or soul, “IN THIS WORLD will keep it for eternal life” (John 12:25; ESV), and again, “For whoever desires to SAVE HIS LIFE WILL LOSE IT, but WHOEVER LOSES HIS LIFE FOR MY SAKE will find it. For what profit is it to a man IF HE GAINS THE WHOLE WORLD, AND LOSES HIS OWN SOUL? OR WHAT WILL A MAN GIVE IN EXCHANGE FOR HIS SOUL? (Matt. 16:24-26; NKJV) Do we not see in this that God has ordained that everyone, without exception, LOSES HIS LIFE or soul in order that they may attain the RESURRECTION OF THE DEAD?
As I close this study today, allow me to share a little more from the great resurrection chapter of 1st Corinthians 15.
1 Corinthians 15:12-16 (NKJV)
12 Now if Christ is preached that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen. 14 And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty. 15 Yes, and we are found false witnesses of God, because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ, whom He did not raise up--if in fact the dead do not rise. 16 For if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen.
Consider closely what Paul said about the resurrection of the dead. He DID NOT SAY, “If Christ is not risen, then there is no resurrection of the dead.” Rather, he said, “But if there is no resurrection of the dead, THEN CHRIST IS NOT RISEN,” and again, “IF THE DEAD DO NOT RISE, THEN CHRIST IS NOT RISEN.” See the difference? Paul places the resurrection of the dead as the foundational principle and establishes the resurrection of our Lord upon it. And what is the decisive and inarguable truth of our understanding of resurrection? SOWING AND REAPING, defining the ACT OF CREATION ITSELF! Beloved, hiding in plain sight is the immutable purpose of God’s LIVING and ACTIVE Word, for everything that exists, both visible and invisible, is due to the divine principle of sowing and reaping. Every blade of grass, every plant and tree, every insect, reptile, animal, and yes, every human being, exists today due to this principle. And the same is true regarding every vestige of knowledge, understanding, and wisdom, for without the propagation of knowledge and understanding, we would not know nor experience the many things we have today.