What is the Gospel? - Lesson 2
I. Introduction to Creation
A. Importance of Understanding Creation
B. Creation in the Context of the Gospel
II. Biblical Account of Creation
A. Genesis 1 and 2
1. Days of Creation
2. Creation of Humanity
B. Theological Implications
III. The Fall and Its Effects
A. The Sin of Adam and Eve
1. Disobedience to God
2. Consequences of Sin
B. Impact on Creation
IV. The Gospel and Restoration of Creation
A. Jesus Christ as Redeemer
B. Renewal and Reconciliation
- 0% CompleteThrough this lesson, you gain a comprehensive understanding of the gospel's significance, its historical context, essential components, and implications for Christian life and relationships.0% Complete
- 0% CompleteThrough this lesson, you'll understand the importance of Creation, the biblical account in Genesis, the Fall's consequences, and the Gospel's role in restoring creation.0% Complete
- 0% CompleteBy studying this lesson, you learn about the biblical perspective on sin, its origins, effects on human nature and society, and the restorative power of the Gospel message.0% Complete
- 0% CompleteThrough this lesson, you gain insight into God's faithfulness in both the Old and New Testaments, from covenant relationships with Israel to the fulfillment of promises in Jesus Christ, guiding your life and encouraging others.0% Complete
- 0% CompleteThrough this lesson, you gain insight into Jesus as the Messiah, His fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies, and the profound impact of His life and ministry on humanity's salvation.0% Complete
- 0% CompleteThrough this lesson, you gain a thorough understanding of the atonement, its theories, biblical basis, and practical implications for personal salvation and spiritual growth.0% Complete
- 0% CompleteIn this lesson, you gain a comprehensive understanding of the Gospel, its power in salvation, and its implications in your life, emphasizing the balance between God's sovereignty and human responsibility.0% Complete
- 0% CompleteThrough this lesson, you'll learn how the Gospel shapes all aspects of life, from personal relationships to societal issues, and fosters spiritual growth, ultimately guiding your approach to evangelism and social justice.0% Complete
- 0% CompleteThis lesson equips you to recognize and address challenges to the gospel, including pluralism, relativism, and secularism, and offers biblical guidance for defending your faith.0% Complete
- 0% CompleteThrough this lesson, you learn effective strategies for communicating the Gospel, addressing objections, and building bridges between your message and your audience.0% Complete
This course is designed to help believers reconsider their understanding of the Gospel. What is the Gospel? How is the Gospel related to the eternal plan of God? What does the Gospel mean to each believer today? Dr. Cortez answers these and other critical questions.
Dr. Marc Cortez
What is the Gospel?
[00:00:01] The following lecture is provided by biblical training. More information is available at WW w dot Biblical training dot org. All right. In our first lesson together, we spent a lot of time thinking together about why it's important for us to understand the gospel, why it's important for us to spend time reflecting on the gospel, because it is the power of God for salvation. To all who believe this session begins really the first session in our process of really trying to understand the gospel, trying to unpack it so that we can come to appreciate more fully what the gospel is and why we need to understand it. Of course, to understand the gospel really to understand any story. And that's to some extent what the gospel is. It's a story of the good news of what God has for us to understand any story, you really need to begin at the beginning. Now, as I mentioned in the last lesson, many times we think of the beginning of the Gospel as the New Testament and with the beginning of Jesus Christ and Jesus coming to Earth as a baby, being incarnate as a human. We think of that as the beginning of the gospel story. And in many ways that's true, of course, because Jesus is absolutely central and fundamental to the gospel. But really to understand the story of the good news, the good news that God has for us, we need to push the beginning back a little ways. Actually, we need to push the beginning back all the way to the beginning. Because really, to understand the climax of the story, you need to appreciate the beginning of this story and have a better feel for how we got to where we are now.
[00:01:39] And of course, the beginning of our story begins at Genesis chapter one, verse one. In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth because our story begins with God the Creator. Mary, It is important for us to emphasize this story. The story that we're telling begins with God. Of course it begins with God. It centers on God and ends with God. But we're at the beginning of the story. So we'll emphasize here that the story begins with God. As I mentioned last time, we are not the center of this story. And this story is not about us. It involves us, but it's not about us. So our story, the story of the gospel that God has given us begins with God. So why we get in Genesis one one so that in the beginning, Mark, or in the beginning humans, It's in the beginning. God. So that's where we will begin. Our story is with God, the Creator and as creator. This also means that our story begins with grace again. We tend to think of Grace as coming somewhat later in the story, and that's simply not true. The story begins with grace. God didn't have to create anything. God didn't owe us existence. God didn't have to create us God. The Father, God, the Sun, God, the Holy Spirit, living eternally in that tri unity of relationships. They didn't need anything outside of themselves. They chose to create. We owe our very existence to the fact that God in His grace, decided to extend Himself and create everything that exists. So our story begins with God. Our story also begins with grace tells us we are dependent beings from the very beginning, fully dependent on God for everything that we have, our existence, our beginning, and our continuing in existence.
[00:03:40] We also want to emphasize that this story begins with God's glory. So we have to ask the question why did God create if God was content existing as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit from all eternity, why make anything? Why not just continue to exist as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit for all eternity? Well, I've always told my students, but if you ask me a question that begins with Why did God? I'm very likely to answer the question with I don't know. But every now and then God reveals enough about His purposes that we can suggest and answer. Why did God create what God created for His own glory? For whatever reason in God's plans and His purposes, creating the heavens and the earth and all that fills them, Manifest, declares, and brings glory to God. We look at Revelation 411 were the Are you our Lord and God to receive glory and honor and power for you created all things in by your will. They existed and were created so our glory. Our story begins with God. Our story begins with grace and our story begins with God's glory. And we need to bring all those things into play as we try to understand the gospel, because all three of those were going to be very important for understanding what this story is all about. Now, as we begin to understand the beginning of the story, we also want to take some time and reflect on God's creative plan. What was God? When he created and we now have a sense of why God created. But when he created, what was he doing? What was he trying to accomplish in bringing manifesting his glory? What specifically was he doing in that process? And do understand that we really need to look at Genesis one and two as they unpack for us the story of what God was doing when he created and and this creation story that we get from Genesis one and two.
[00:05:38] Each of which each chapter focuses on a different aspect of the creation story. Those two chapters together are going to communicate. They're going to tell us three different things that God was doing when He created the first. Possibly the most obvious thing that God was doing is that He created a land. If you look at Genesis one, one, we have in the beginning God created the heavens and the Earth, like God's creative intent from the beginning was to create this physical universe that we live in. And then at the end of Genesis chapter one, God looks back on everything He created. He looks at this physical universe that he's made, and he says, Wow, that's very good. That universe that I made, that is a good universe. In the beginning, God created the physical universe as part of his plan, and he declared it to be a good thing. So I think this is important for us to understand as we begin to unpack the nature of the gospel. We have a tendency to think about the gospel, to think about salvation as God rescuing us out of this physical creation, this physical universe that he's made. We tell the story of salvation as though there were something wrong necessarily with the physical universe, and salvation is being taken from it and rescued into a spiritual heaven completely separate from physical realities. That simply isn't the case. There are many religions that tell their story of salvation in that way. There are many other religions that tell the story of salvation that has to do with being rescued out of our physical reality into some transcendent, completely spiritual reality. But that is not the story of salvation that the Bible gives us. According to the Bible, God's plan from the very beginning was to create a physical universe.
[00:07:32] And he looked at it and he said it was good. He liked what he made. So God's creative plan involved a physical universe. From the very beginning, God made a land that continues on in the Genesis Chapter two. In Genesis chapter two, verse eight, we see that the Lord God planted a garden in Eden in the East, and there He put the man whom he had formed, say God created a place, a land in which He would place his people. God prepares a place for his people in Genesis one and two, and that's an important part of his creative purpose, as it's an important part of what he is about from the beginning. We also see not only did he create a land, but the second thing God does in his creative plan is he creates a people. If you look at Genesis 126 to 28, then God said, Let us make man in our image after our likeness and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heaven and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth. So God created man in his own image. In the image of God, He created him male and female. He created them and God bless them. And God said to them, Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heaven and over every living thing that moves on the earth. See, God created a people. But more importantly, or more fundamentally, God created a people in His image that was a part of his plan, again, from the very beginning was to create a people in his image.
[00:09:13] That, of course, leaves us with the question of what exactly is an image and what does it mean to create humans in God's image? Well, the first thing we want to realize is that an image is more than a picture. So we tend to think of an image we'll think of like a photograph or maybe a mirror in which we see our reflection. And and that is true. That is an image. But biblically speaking, to be made in the image of something goes further than that. It's not just a picture, a superficial resemblance. An image in the Bible has a deeper connection with that, which is image than that. In some ways, if we want to think about it, we can use some analogies to try to get us at an understanding of what an image is. Most fundamentally, an image represents that which it reflects. And if I take a picture of you and that image. Present you in some way. Think, for example, of a map. If I were to draw a map of a country like, say, Canada, that map would represent Canada. Now, granted, it does so in a relatively superficial way and it images reflects a represents Canada simply because there's an outline of it. It gives us the general shape of things. So it does represent Canada, but in kind of a superficial way. The representation is not terribly deep, but we can move it to another level. So think about, say, the money of Canada, its currency. Right. That money also represents Canada, but it does so in a much more significant way. When I take that money into a store and I hand that money over to the person inside the store, that person trusts this little piece of paper that I've handed them in, not because it's a piece of paper or because it's pretty, but because the paper represents Canada.
[00:11:16] Canada has placed its weight, its identity behind the piece of paper. So the piece of paper has value. It has meaning because it represents Canada in a fairly significant way. It's a deeper level of representation, say, than a map. We can even move to a third level of representation. Consider Canada's flag a symbol of Canada's national identity. There's a level of involvement of a country and its flag that transcends even its involvement with its money. And if you doubt that, go to a country. Take their flag. Light it on fire. It happens. My guess is the reaction is going to be fairly severe because people recognize that that flag represents the country in a pretty significant way. The flag images reflects who represents the country in a substantial way. But we can move to an even deeper level of representation when we add a personal dynamic and take the leader of a country, its prime minister or its president, and that person represents the country in a much more fundamental and meaningful way. And again, if you doubt that, go to a place where the prime minister or the president happens to be speaking at a conference attempt to walk up to them and push them over. I'm guessing the reaction will be even more severe than when you burned the flag. You're having a bad day, by the way. And if you push over the leader or attack or threaten the leader of a country, you have threatened the entire country because the whole country is understood to be present, to be manifest, to be represented and reflected in that leader. Imaging reflecting can run pretty deep, particularly when we're talking about one person representing another person. And that's the kind of representation or imaging that we have in mind when we talk about imaging something in the Bible.
[00:13:28] That, by the way, is why image and idols are often associated with one another in the Bible and Idol in the Bible is not just a statue and not just a creative piece of work in art form. An idol in the Bible is understood to actually manifest the presence, represent the presence of the deity that's involved. And when an idol is threatened, when it's knocked over or destroyed, that is a threat to the deity, because the deity is viewed as present in that idol. That's what it means to image something. And it's a matter of fact. Rulers in biblical times were often understood themselves to be the image or the representative of a deity. And oftentimes the Egyptian pharaohs were viewed as almost divine themselves because they were representing the presence of a deity. So the startling thing about the story that we have here is that when the Bible says that God created all people in his image, he declared all of us to be the way in which he would manifest his presence in creation. God said, You will be my image, you will be my idols, and through you I will make myself known in creation. That's an amazing statement in that the all powerful, invisible, omnipresent God of the Bible would manifest himself, would make himself known, would reveal his presence in and through human persons. That's amazing. In many ways it probably stands because. Find the the first the commandments in the Ten Commandments. God says make no other graven images. Don't make any idols. Well, why not? Why shouldn't we make idols? Is it because God's hard to make a statue out of? No, it's don't make idols because God has already chosen his idols. We are God's idols.
[00:15:35] His images. We don't need to make any others. And God has already accomplished that purpose for us. We, as the images of God, are the means by which He manifests himself in creation. But of course, God is a personal God. And if God's going to manifest image reflect himself in creation. It shouldn't surprise us to find out that relationships are an important part of that. And God is a Triune God, a relationship between Father, Son and Holy Spirit from all eternity. So when he images himself in creation, we shouldn't be surprised to find out that the image has an important aspect of relationship in community. If we look through the story as it unfolds in Genesis two, we find out that Adam had it pretty good. If we look at Adam's situation in the Garden in Eden, he had a nice set up. He had his physical needs taken care of. He had a great place to live. And God made it. I'm assuming it was pretty. He had food. He had animals to hang out with. He had God there to walk alongside an intimate community. That's an outstanding spot to be in. And about midway through chapter two, God walks into the situation. He looks out over Adam's arrangement and all of the great things that Adam has and he looks at and he says, Wow, that is. Not good. Not good. Remember, just back at the end of chapter one, God looked at everything that he made and he looked at and he said, Well, that's good. This is the first time that God looks at anything in creation and says, Not good. Well, what was not good? What was the problem? What was it that God saw was a flaw in this arrangement that Adam had? What was the problem? Well, God tells us just the problem is that Adam was alone.
[00:17:36] The problem was that Adam was alone in the garden. Well, now that statement itself should make us pause, because, of course, we just said that Adam was not alone in the garden. Adam was in the garden with God. Adam was in the garden with God. And there was no sin. Yet in the relationship between Adam and God, an intimate relationship between Adam and his Creator. And yet God looks at him and says, Man, you're alone. And that's not a good thing. See, the problem is that God had made Adam for a purpose. And that purpose was a purpose that Adam could not accomplish on his own. God had created Adam to image him in creation and for some reason, imaging God manifesting. God's presence in creation was not something that God created Adam to do alone. Something further was needed. And the solution does not come along until God makes Eve. And as the story unfolds in Genesis chapter two, God looks throughout creation. He looks at all the other animals and says, No, really, none of those are suitable helper. None of them will help you accomplish your purpose. None of them will help you be the image that I have created you to be. It's not until God creates Eve that Adam looks at Eve and says, All right, now we've got it. Now we have solved this problem. And now my purpose can be accomplished. Because imaging, God imaging a personal God, a God who exists eternally in a relationship of Father, Son of the Holy Spirit. Imaging that God required relationships, human persons living an intimate and open community with one another. And that's what we have in Revit. The end of Genesis Chapter two. We have Adam and Eve coming together in intimate and openness.
[00:19:32] That's the whole idea of the nakedness that they share with each other is that they had no shame before one another intimate, an open community. That is what it took to image God to make God's presence known in creation intimate and open personal community. And that fulfills the purpose that God gave for us. Why was this necessary? Again, we're getting back to why did God kinds of questions? I don't know. But for whatever reason, God decided to create things in such a way that humans needed to be in relationship in community with one another. To image him the way that he declared God made a community. His creative purposes involve a people. That means that although individual relationship with God is important and my relationship with God is absolutely important, it's critical. It's vital. But there's more there's more to the gospel story than my relationship with God. The gospel story involves my relationship with other people. The gospel story involves a community, and we need to allow ourselves to appreciate the gospel as involving my relationship with God and my relationship with other people, because both of those are a part of God's good purposes from the beginning. So God created a people in his image, and then he created a people in the land. Again, God's creative purposes involve the land. God created His people and He placed them in the land. And the plan for the beginning was for God's people to live in God's land. Which means, of course, that we are also physical beings. We are not, say, spiritual beings trapped in a physical shell or cage for a while. Again, there are other religions that tell their story of salvation. That way God created us as physical beings with a spiritual side, certainly, but physical beings in a physical world, because that was his plan and purpose for creation.
[00:21:39] That was the way in which God chose to manifest himself and make himself known in creation. And then he gave his people dominion over the land. Now we want to be careful with this. We want to abuse the notion of dominion to mean, well, we can do pretty much whatever we want with the land because we're in charge and we're we're the bosses here so we can do whatever we want. Remember, our fundamental task is to image God to make His presence known in creation. So however we exercise dominion over creation, it has to serve that higher calling. We exercise dominion over creation in order to image God and ultimately in order to glorify God. So however, we serve creation, and that really seems to be the model if we're going to image God and. Glorify him. We're here to serve and tend to this creation that God's given us so that God can be glorified in creation. That is his purpose for all of this. So God created people. He placed the people in the land so that He might be glorified throughout the land. And that really should affect the way that we treat the land and the way we understand our responsibility with respect to the land. God's people in God's land that we might glorify God everywhere. Third. So God created a land. God created a people. And God created that people to be His image. God created that. People to be in the land. God created that. People to be a blessing everywhere so that God's people might be a blessing to one another. So that as we come together in this community that God has created, as we image God to one another, as we make God's presence known to each other, we are a blessing to one another.
[00:23:28] God's people is a blessing to God's land, so that as we image God throughout creation, we're a blessing throughout creation, we're a blessing to creation. And God's people is a blessing ultimately to the glory of God. And so God's creative plan, God's creative purpose is for a land, a people, and a blessing all to his glory. Now, if we take that whole package, God's people in God's land to the glory of God is a blessing everywhere. We have an image of Shalom. Now, shalom is a great word. It's a Hebrew word that we often translate as peace. But really doesn't that doesn't go deep enough. I mean, peace doesn't quite capture everything that shalom means. Shiloh really means everything as it should be. And everything as it should be is shalom. If I were to give an example of Shalom from my own life, it might be, I don't know, quietly studying, reading my books, drinking a cup of coffee on a nice, quiet morning, relaxing, enjoying the work that God has given me to do. A for me, that is Shalom. Well, not entirely, because of course, I'm still a sinner. I have my own issues. I may not be entirely shalom, but it's pretty, pretty close. I'm quite content in that situation. To me, that feels like everything is as it should be. Shalom. Or if I twist it slightly, give a different image of shalom. Might be Sunday afternoon with some families from our church gathering together at our house and the kids are upstairs playing and making a mess of my upstairs bonus room and running and yelling and laughing and enjoying each other. And the adults are downstairs talking about the Bible and sharing our lives with one another and helping each other grow spiritually.
[00:25:23] That, too, is shallow. Everything as it should be. In the beginning, God created shalom. Humans living in harmony with God, humans living in intimate community with one another, humans tending to the land that God has given them to His glory. Shalom. Everything was as it should be, right? Everything with God. Everything with humans. Everything in creation was shalom. Always as it should be. And I think that's left us with a longing for shallow. We have deep within us a sense that things are not the way that they should be now. We'll spend some time reflecting on that in the next lesson. We have this deep awareness that Shalom is not, but we want it to be so. Matter of fact, that desire for shalom, for things to be as they should be, lies behind much of our greatest literature and art. This idea that something has gotten broken and we long to get back to shalom, we long to return to things the way that they should be. And that leaves us with a feeling of longing and sadness and loss because we're aware of what was. We're aware at some deep level, I think, of what God intended, and we long for that. And we're sad that that has been lost to us. We long for shalom. All of us longed for a return to this Shalom. Now, in conclusion, let's make sure that we connect this to our purpose. What does all of this have to do with the Gospel? Why spend all of this time talking about creation and shalom and God's purposes in all of this? In order to understand the gospel? Well, I think it's important because we want to see what God was about from the very beginning, saying from the very beginning, God's plan has involved a people.
[00:27:20] God's plan has involved a community of people living together. God's plan has involved a land God created for a reason. And. That reason was to glorify himself. So he created people and he created a land in which that people could live and manifest his presence, declare his glory, make him known. And from the beginning, God's plan has involved the blessing that God's people would be a blessing to each other, that God's people would be a blessing throughout creation. So God's plan from the very beginning has molded people a land and a blessing. And as we see this story unfold, we can see that this sets the stage for the whole rest of the gospel story, really, to understand the good news of Jesus Christ, to understand why the good news of Jesus Christ is such tremendously great news. We need to get a picture of Shalom, get a picture of what God was about from the beginning, so that when we get to the part of the story, the climax of the story, we can truly be excited about all that Jesus Christ accomplished through his incarnation, Death, Resurrection and Ascension. That will be exciting for us if we come to appreciate the beginning a little bit better. Thank you for listening to this lecture. Brought to you by biblical training, dawg. Feel free to make copies of this lecture to give to others, but please do not charge for these copies or alter the content in any way without permission. We invite you to visit our website at w w w dot biblical training, dawg. There you will find the finest in evangelical teaching for use in the home and the church. And it is absolutely free. Our curriculum includes classes for new believers, lay education classes, and seminary level classes taught by some of the finest seminary teachers drawn from a wide range of evangelical traditions.