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THE FIRST CREATION AND THE NEW CREATION

(SERMON #6 ON THE BOOK OF GENESIS)

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached on Lord's Day Evening, July 22, 2007
at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles

"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” (Genesis 2:7).


Man was passive at the time he was created. He did not choose to be created, or make any kind of decision regarding his creation. Thus, the first man was created monergistically – which means that he was formed and brought to life by the work of God alone, without any assistance from the man himself.

This is a type or picture of the new birth, which is also monergistic. The dictionary defines monergism as,

The doctrine that regeneration [the new birth] is the work of the Holy Spirit alone, and that the human will…is incapable of assisting or co-operating (Webster’s New Twentieth Century Dictionary Unabridged, Second Edition, Collins+World, 1978, p. 1160).

The creation of the first man was monergistic; that is, man was created by the work of God alone. That is the type. The antitype is the new creation of man, when he is born again, which is also by the work of God alone!

“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:10).

“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature [“creation,” Scofield center note]: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (II Corinthians 5:17).

Dr. Ryrie said, concerning that verse,

“A new creature,” lit. [literally] “a new creation.” Old things are passed away (aorist tense indicating the decisive change salvation brings); “behold, all things are become new” (perfect tense indicating abiding results of the new life in Christ). The grace of God not only justifies but also makes “a new creation” which results in a changed style of life (Charles C. Ryrie, Ph.D., The Ryrie Study Bible, Moody Press, 1978, note on II Corinthians 5:17).

Thus, the “new creation” of the new birth is the antitype (the fulfillment) of the first creation, restoring fallen man to his original condition before the Fall. This shows that “decisionism,” as we know it today, is false. Man does not cooperate any more in the new creation of conversion than he did in the first creation, in the Garden of Eden. Dr. Geisler pointed out that this was the position of Martin Luther, John Calvin, Jonathan Edwards and all the Reformers (Norman Geisler, Ph.D., Systematic Theology, Bethany House, 2004, volume three, p. 192). Although Dr. Geisler himself does not follow that teaching, he could well have included our Baptist forefathers, such as John Bunyan, John Gill and C. H. Spurgeon, who also believed that a man is born again monergistically, by the grace of God alone, without human cooperation. Monergistic conversion was also held by the great pioneer Baptist missionaries, such as William Carey, and Adoniram Judson. Concerning the account of man’s creation in Genesis 2:7, Luther said,

In all matters that pertain to God and are above us, man has no free will, but is like the clay in the potter’s hands, which does nothing at all, while the potter does everything. We indeed do not choose ourselves, but we are chosen, prepared and regenerated [born again] by God (Martin Luther, Th.D., Luther’s Commentary on Genesis, Zondervan Publishing House, 1958 reprint, volume I, p. 44).

This is monergism, made plain by the great Reformer, and he is right.

“Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:13).

“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” (Genesis 2:7).

What a picture of the grace of God, forming the first man, and regenerating fallen man in the new creation, the new birth. Just as the first man was formed and given life by the grace of God alone, so fallen man is regenerated, in the new birth, solely by the grace of God in Christ.

Amazing grace! how sweet the sound,
  That saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found,
  Was blind, but now I see.
(“Amazing Grace” by John Newton, 1725-1807).

It took a miracle to put the stars in place,
  It took a miracle to hang the world in space;
But when He saved my soul, cleansed and made me whole,
  It took a miracle of love and grace!
(“It Took a Miracle” by John W. Peterson, 1948).

“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” (Genesis 2:7).

Don’t get me wrong. I do not believe that the Genesis account of the creation of man is a secular allegory. Not at all. I believe that Genesis 2:7 is a factual, literal description of God forming the first human being from the dust of the ground and breathing into his nostrils the breath of life. That is a factual, literal description of the formation of the first human being.

This shows the difference between a secular allegory and a Biblical type. A secular allegory is a fictitious tale that is used to make a moral point – such as Aesop’s fables – which are secular allegories. But a Biblical type is a literal truth in the Old Testament that illustrates, in advance, a New Testament reality. Throughout the first chapters of Genesis there are many types, which find their fulfillment in the New Testament. The Scofield Study Bible gives this correct definition of a type: “A type is a divinely purposed illustration of some truth…Types occur most frequently in the Pentateuch [the first five books of the Old Testament], but are found, more sparingly, elsewhere. The antitype, or fulfillment of the type, is found, usually, in the New Testament” (The Scofield Study Bible, 1917 edition, p. 4).

Thus, we believe that the description of the literal creation of the first man, Adam, is a type, “a divinely purposed illustration,” of the new creation of man when he is born again (John 3:3, 7).

The first man was created. He did not evolve. That is the type. So, in the fulfillment of the type, a man is born again by the new creation. He does not “evolve” into a Christian. He does not become a Christian because his parents were Christians. He does not slowly become a Christian by a process of education and learning. He becomes a Christian instantly, by a direct work of God.

“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” (Genesis 2:7).

Dr. Henry M. Morris said,

God used the “dust of the ground” to make man’s body, a remarkable phrase conveying the thought that the smallest particles of which the earth was composed (in modern terminology, the basic chemical elements: nitrogen, oxygen, calcium, etc.) were also the basic physical elements of the human body. [This has] been verified by modern science.
     Then God “breathed into his nostrils the breath of life”… Man’s body had been completely formed, equipped with nostrils, lungs, and the entire breathing apparatus, as well as bones and organs and other appurtenances, but was lifeless. It must be energized. The breathing mechanism must be activated, the heart must start to pump and circulate the blood, and all the metabolic functions must begin their operations.
     But life can only come from life, and the living God is the only self-existent Being, so it [life] must ultimately come from Him. Especially to stress the unique relationship of human life to the divine life, this Scripture [Genesis 2:7] tells us that God Himself directly imparted life and breath to man.
     The “breath of life”… “breath” is the same word (Hebrew ruach) as “spirit”…it was only to man that God directly (rather than at a distance, as it were, by His spoken Word) “breathed” in the “breath of life.”
     At this point, man became “a living soul”…requiring God’s direct energizing for its activation (Henry M. Morris, Ph.D., The Genesis Record, Baker Book House, 1986 edition, pp. 85-86).

“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” (Genesis 2:7).

That is the literal description of man’s creation, from which comes the type. The antitype is the new creation (Ephesians 2:10; II Corinthians 5:17). Dr. Morris said,

Life can only come from life, and the living God is the only self-existent Being, so it [life] must ultimately come from Him…God Himself directly imparted life…to man (ibid.).

What a picture Genesis 2:7 is of the new birth!

“Even when we were dead in sins, [God] hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)… For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:5, 8-10).

“When we were dead in sins,” God “hath quickened us [made us alive] together with Christ (by grace ye are saved)…created in Christ Jesus”!

“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” (Genesis 2:7).

Matthew Henry said,

When our Lord Jesus anointed the blind man’s eyes with clay perhaps he intimated that it was he who at first formed men out of the clay; and when he breathed on his disciples, saying, Receive you the Holy Ghost, he intimated that it was he who at first breathed into man’s nostrils the breath of life. He that made the soul is alone able to new-make it (Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible, Hendrickson Publishers, 1996 reprint, volume I, p. 12; note on Genesis 2:7).

He that made the soul is alone able to new-make it! That is what Jesus meant when He said,

“That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again” (John 3:6-7).

That is regeneration. That is the new birth. No one can see the kingdom of God, much less enter it, unless he is born again. Spurgeon said,

“Ye must be born again.” [The] new birth is the most sweeping and entire change conceivable. It is, in fact, more than a change, it is a creation…it is not “Ye must be washed, ye must be improved, ye must be elevated;” but “ye must be born”… A new life must be received, and no improving the present life will suffice in its stead (C. H. Spurgeon, “Every Man’s Necessity,” The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, Pilgrim Publications, 1972 reprint, volume XXV, p. 50).

Someone may say, “But how do I become born again?” We answer that it is the work of God in Christ alone. “But,” you say, “What part do I have in it? What do I do?” We answer that nothing you can learn or do will help you. You must become discouraged and feel that you are powerless to help yourself. When your own strength is gone, God’s strength will come in. Then you will come to Christ quite simply. Then you will stop looking at yourself and examining your own thoughts – and will instead come to Jesus. Then, His vicarious death on the Cross will satisfy a holy God. Then, His Blood will cleanse your sin. Then, His resurrection from the dead will give you life. Then you will be born again. It will all be done by the power and grace of God in Christ, for, as Matthew Henry said, “He that made the soul is alone able to new-make it.”

Amazing grace! how sweet the sound,
  That saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found,
  Was blind, but now I see.
(“Amazing Grace” by John Newton, 1725-1807).

It took a miracle to put the stars in place,
  It took a miracle to hang the world in space;
But when He saved my soul, cleansed and made me whole,
  It took a miracle of love and grace!
(“It Took a Miracle” by John W. Peterson, 1948).

(END OF SERMON)
You can read Dr. Hymers' sermons each week on the Internet
at www.realconversion.com. Click on “Sermon Manuscripts.”

Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Dr. Kreighton L. Chan: John 3:1-7.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
“It Took a Miracle” (by John W. Peterson, 1948).