IN THE BEGINNING…
In the beginning, the very first action of God recorded is Him speaking. The entirety of the creation story in Genesis 1 is laced with the voice of God. If you are to take the Genesis story at face value, you would have to come away with a belief that the Being who created all is one who speaks. And then, on the sixth day, God creates man and woman in His image. How does He do this? By speaking:
Genesis 1:26a Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image…”
The very first interaction He has with these creatures is through Him speaking:
Genesis 1:28 Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
ADAM & EVE’S EXPECTATION
The most normal thing for Adam and Eve to expect when engaging the One who created them was that He would speak.
Genesis 1:29 And God said, “See, I have given you every herb that yields seed which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree whose fruit yields seed; to you it shall be for food.”
Genesis 2:16 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat…”
Genesis 2:19 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.
Genesis 3:8-9 And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. Then the Lord God called to Adam and said to him, “Where are you?”
Genesis 3:10 So he said, “I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself.”
The voice of God was an incredibly common experience for Adam and Eve. There was no question that it was the nature of God to carry on conversation with them. But something happened at the fall that changed this: they were removed from continual relationship with His life:
Genesis 3:22-23 Then the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us, to know good and evil. And now, lest he put out his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever”— therefore the Lord God sent him out of the garden of Eden to till the ground from which he was taken.
Now Adam and Eve’s new normal was not daily communion but sweat and toil. Prior to the fall, Adam and Eve only knew sustenance through communion with God and partaking of His life. They had been formed by God’s abiding presence and His life. After the fall, things changed.
Genesis 2:17 “…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.”
This statement begs the question, “What did God mean when He said they would die the day they ate of the fruit?” How did Adam and Eve experience the death foretold in this statement? Genesis 3:22-23 make the answer clear. They experienced death by a removal from life. The moment they were removed from the Garden of Eden, they were removed from His source of life.
It is important to understand then why John states that Jesus was the life that was the light of men:
John 1:4 In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.
Jesus was the tree of life granted yet again to mankind. What was lost at the fall was restored in the life of Christ. We were invited back into communion with the Father. No matter how far humankind had wandered, the Father was joyously awaiting our return. This is the parable of the prodigal son:
Luke 15:20 And he arose and came to his father. But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him.
The Father has longed for the day when His creation would return to Him. The revelation of the Father’s heart is what drove John to write one of the greatest verses on the heart of God:
1 John 3:1 Look with wonder at the depth of the Father’s marvelous love that he has lavished on us! He has called us and made us his very own beloved children. The reason the world doesn’t recognize who we are is that they didn’t recognize him. (TPT)
Jesus stated something fascinating about the life of God and its restoration to mankind, he gave us a clue as to how this was going to happen.
John 6:63 “The Holy Spirit is the one who gives life, that which is of the natural realm is of no help. The words I speak to you are Spirit and life. But there are still some of you who won’t believe.”
Jesus anticipates the coming of the Holy Spirit to the heart of man. He fervently waited for the day that mankind would receive the Holy Spirit. Why? Because through the agency of the Holy Spirit life was to be restored to mankind. The life that mankind had lost at the fall (communion with the Divine one) Jesus was about to restore by spending His life that we would receive His Spirit.
He also gave us a significant clue as to how the Holy Spirit was going to meter out this newfound life given to mankind:
John 16:13 However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.
The life of God would be metered out through the voice of the Spirit carried within the heart of man. Again, hearing the voice of God is one of the crucial elements of Christianity. By hearing His voice, listening to His words (which are Spirit and Life), we reacquire the life that was lost at the fall, and once again take up His image.
But this was always the plan…