This World is Not Good

The account of creation in the book of Genesis is about the beginning of something good. After each day of creation, God sees that what He has made is good. At the end of the sixth day, God sees that His creation is “very good.”

Yet even though there is still so much that is wonderful and beautiful and inspiring in this world, it is no longer good the way it was. The third chapter of Genesis tells us what happened. It gives an account of man’s first sins. They were motivated in part by Satan’s lies (3:4-5). They resulted in difficulties in human relationships (3:16), difficulties in work (3:17-19), and separation from God (3:23-24).

Romans 8:22-23 says “the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body.

This whole word has been subjected to futility. Satan’s lies are everywhere. Our relationships are strained or even broken. A part of us wants to dream big dreams, but the weeds choke them out. We try to make progress and we don’t.

The Bible acknowledges the not-goodness of this world in its present state, and we can, too. We do not have to pretend that everything is okay. Everything is not okay. Life is frustrating. It is painful. People hurt each other. It is “not good.” Even for the Christians whose lives seem to be going fairly well, there is a longing for something more than this world can give. Maybe that is why Paul was anxious for the day when he could go to heaven.

I am hard-pressed from both directions, having the desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better; yet to remain on in the flesh is more necessary for your sake.” (Philippians 1:23-24).

Yet Paul does realize that there is a reason why he is here.

Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all for your progress and joy in the faith, so that your proud confidence in me may abound in Christ Jesus through my coming to you again.” (Philippians 1:25-26)

We, too, can trust God to use our lives, though our relationships and our work continue to be corrupted by life’s difficulties. We can trust God to welcome us into a better place some day.

As 1 Peter 5:10 says, “After you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.”

 What a day that will be.

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The Serpent’s Deception

When the spotlight was turned on Eve in Genesis 3, and God asked her “What is this you have done?” Eve’s response was “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

While Eve certainly does not get off the hook by simply blaming her actions on the serpent, there is indeed some truth to her statement.  Eve truly was deceived, for surely she would not have sinned if she had only known what the outcome would be.  The serpent had not been honest in his dealings with Eve.  He had emphasized what was desirable about the fruit while leaving out that part about getting kicked out of the garden, into a world of painful childbirth and backbreaking labor.

In John 8:44, Jesus describes that serpent like this:

“He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”

  • The simple fact of the matter is that any and every time you and I are tempted to sin, we are at risk of being deceived.
  • He will deceive us by hiding from our hearts the truth about the ripple effects that our sin could have months or years from now on those that we love.
  • He will deceive us by emphasizing to us the short term gratification we can experience while hiding the long term costs.
  • He will deceive us by denying that the behavior in question is even sinful in the first place.
  • He will deceive us by telling us that no one can see what we are doing, as if God Himself could not see, or as if that fact made our actions less somehow less sinful.
  • He will deceive us by telling us that some particular sin is necessary to make us more relatable to the world so that we can witness to worldly people.
  • He will deceive us by not really telling us anything but simply distracting us from the whole internal debate by some distraction such as mealtime or television.
  • He will deceive us by encouraging us to place all of the blame onto someone else who “made us do it.”
  • He will deceive us in many other ways.  As diverse as our situations and personalities are, so diverse are his techniques.

But remember this my friends, temptation places us in danger of deception!  Deception leads us to make decisions that we would not make if we were thinking clearly.  In times of temptation, “trust in the LORD with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. (Proverbs 3:5)”  When our hearts or minds suffer from temporary impairment from temptation, may we rely on God’s unchanging and eternal words of truth.  When the deceptiveness of the temptation passes, we will be glad that we did.

Snake, Serpent