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FEED MY SHEEP Chapter 4, Feed My Sheep
AUTHOR: Unknown
PUBLISHED ON: May 7, 2003
DOC SOURCE: CCN
PUBLISHED IN: Bible Studies

                            CHAPTER 4

                          FEED MY SHEEP

    In  this volume  we have  explored many  avenues of truth.  We have begun 
with creation and have  concluded with the Christian’s task  today.  We 
discovered that  the believer,  God’s man, has a glorious mandate and 
opportunity of bringing  the Gospel to  this sin cursed world.  Christ, the
last Adam,  has provided redemption for  this  cosmos.  The  good  news of
this tremendous historical event is to  be shared with all  men.  Thus, each
is  provided the opportunity to forsake his sin and to enter the kingdom of
God.

    One  might  wonder  if  there  is  other  information in these opening 
chapters of Genesis that might  lead us to the believer’s mandate or task
today.  Surprisingly, there is, as we shall see.

    Let  us  turn  back  to  Genesis  3:23.  There we read of the expulsion
of Adam and Eve from the garden following their terrible defeat by the hand of
Satan.  We read:

    …therefore, the Lord God sent him forth from  the garden of
    Eden, to till the ground from which he was taken.

    In this passage we want to focus our  attention upon the word “till”
which in Hebrew is abad.  As we reflect on the Bible’s use of this word we
shall discover very significant truth for man today.

    The word “till” was first  used in the garden before  the fall of man into
sin.  In Gensis 2:15 we read:

    The Lord God took the man  and put him in the garden  of Eden
    to till it and keep it.

    Adam and Eve,  in their perfect pristine  relationship to God and the 
cosmos, were  told to  “till” or  “dress” the garden.  It would appear as
“till” is  used in this context that they  were to cultivate it.  They  were
to care  for it and  maintain that which was already good.  In this  way the
ground would supply  the needs of man.

    In Genesis 3:23 we are told man was driven from the garden and told to
“till” (abad) the ground from which he was taken.  At this point in history
the implication of this command should have  been identical  to that of 
Genesis 2:15, except  that the “tilling” of the ground  was to be far more
difficult and unrewarding.  Whereas in  the  garden  there  was  perfect 
harmony  between man and the ground,  so  that  the  ground  as  a subordinate
to man responded willingly and loyally to man’s  care, sin brought rebellion
in the ground.  Man  must now work by  the sweat of his  face (Gen. 3:19) and 
thorns  and  thistles  would  come  forth as a reward for his efforts (Gen.
3:18).  Whereas  in the garden “tilling”  the garden was a joyful, God-
glorifying activity, after the fall it became  a painful difficult pursuit in
which he must engage if he was to eat and have shelter.

    In  its Biblical  use in  the first  three chapters of Genesis there  is 
no  suggestion  or  intimation  that “tilling the soil” should  in any  sense
make  a man  a servant  of the soil.  In the garden  he  clearly  was  lord 
over  the ground and all creation.  After the fall man was  no longer lord of
creation, and the ground had become an  adversary.  But he had not  become a
subordinate of the ground.  Even  as man was cursed,  so was the ground.  If
man alone were cursed and not  the ground, a very difficult  situation would 
have  developed.  In  a  real  sense the ground would have become superior 
to man, for it would  have continued in a perfect relationship to  God the
Creator,  while man had  become estranged from God, as a slave of  Satan. 
Thus by cursing the ground  (Gen. 3:17)  God assured that the  creation order
was continued.  Before the  fall  this  creation  order  was  a  glorious 
thing with man reigning  as  king  (dominion),  as  God’s vice gerund.  There
was perfect  obedience  and  loyalty  of  subordinates to those above.  After 
the fall the creation order continued, but man had lost his kingship and 
Satan had become his master and prince of the world.  Because  the  creatures 
of  the  world continued in a subordinate relationship to  man, he  was to 
use them  for food and clothing.  But his kingship over them had ceased.  They
had become rebellious toward  man and would  destroy man if  possible.  To
safeguard man and to  maintain the proper  creation order, God  put the fear
and dread  of man within the animals  and actually had to deliver them into 
his hand  (Gen. 9:2).  This phrase,  “deliver them into his hand,” is an 
evidence of the total loss  of dominion sustained by man by the  fall.  The
situation required  special intervention by God to maintain any semblance of
order in the sin-cursed world.

    Similarly, the ground  which was to  supply the needs  of man, also, 
continued as a  subordinate of man.  But man was no longer king  over  it. 
This  loss  of  kingship  was  manifested by the rebellion and resistance of
the ground to man’s efforts.

    We have introduced  into this discussion the  phrase “creation order.” 
Let us look a bit at this term.  By this we mean that the Creator  in His
wisdom created  various levels of existance, which we will call “creation
orders.”  The rocks and inanimate parts  of creation  would probably  be
classed  as the  very lowest order in that there is no life of any  kind in
them.  They are used by  all higher levels of  creation to accomplish the
desires of the higher levels of creation.

    Broadly speaking  the next  higher level  would be  plants and vegetaion. 
They are a living part of  creation.  They are used by the higher “creation
orders” for food.  They utilize the inanimate creation which is a lower order
to provide environment in which to exist.

    The next major creation order on an ascending level is that of animals. 
They are  higher than the  plants because they  have the Holy Spirit’s “breath
of  life” within them.  They use  the lowest order, the inanimate, as a
habitat in which to live.  They use the plant order for food.  They  have no
claim on the highest “order”, man.

    Man,  the  highest  “creation  order”,  is  such because he is created  in 
the  image  of God.  He uses all the lower “creation orders”  to accomplish 
the purpose  for which  he was  created as God’s image bearer.

    It is important to  note however, that a higher creation order does not
necessarily  exercise dominion or  kingship over a  lower one.  A plant does
not rule  over a rock or over water.  An animal does not rule over plants. 
And neither  does man necessarily rule over animals, plants, or rocks.  He
uses them for his needs simply because he is of a higher “creation  order.” 
(It is true that God did  originally  give  man  dominion  or kingship over
these lower orders, the cosmos itself. But as we have seen,  this dominion was
taken away  because of his surrendering to  Satan.)  Thus, to till the ground
in  its original intent could never  imply that man was to  regard  the 
ground  or  the  animals  as  a higher order than himself.  He  would  never 
“serve”  the  ground or “worship” the ground.  Rather he would care for it so
that it would produce as a lower “creation order” those things necessary for
animals and man.  He would also care for animals in order that they would
produce on behalf of the  higher “creation order,” which is  man.  But let us
return to the word abad.

    A strange phenomena  becomes apparent in  the Bible.  When  we study this
word “abad” we discover that it is used in a distinctly different  manner  in 
most  instances  in  the Bible from that of Genesis  1 to 3.  We  have seen
that the  creation order of things was that  of the ground being  subordinate
to man or  of man being superior to  the ground.  Thus  man tilled (abad)  the
ground with the  ground subordinate to him in every sense.  But lo and behold,
“abad” normally means to “serve” when used in the Bible.  Some 214 times  it
is translated “serve” in the K. J. V. of the Bible.  And this use of  abad to
indicate “service” is  not that of serving an equal  or someone of  a lower
order  in a helpful considerate way.  Instead it is used to  indicate the
serving of a superior.  It is used to indicate service to God, for example:

    Exodus 3:12:  you shall serve (abad) God upon this mountain. 

    Exodus 10:7:  that they man serve (abad) the Lord their God. 

    Deut. 6:13:  you shall  fear the  Lord your  God; you  shall
    serve (abad) him.

    Judges 2:7:  And  the people served  (abad) the Lord  all the
    days of Joshua.

    It is used to indicate service  to false gods.  In fact it is even
translated as worshipper.

    I  Sam. 12:10:  we have  forsaken the  Lord, and have served
    (abad) the Baals.

    I Kings 16:31:  and served (abad) Baal, and worshipped him.

    II Kings 10:21:  and all the worshippers (abad) of Baal came.

    Now  this is a  startling development.  “Till”  (abad) in the first 
three  chapters  of  Genesis  could  not  in any sense have related to an
inferior serving or  worshipping a superior.  Rather the creation order was
that of a superior caring for  an inferior.  Something had  happened in  man’s
reaction  to mandate  of Genesis 3:23 to till the ground.

    Romans  1:18-25 states  very clearly  what happened.  There we read
“men…became vain in their reasonings…changed the glory of the
incorruptible God for the likeness of an image  of corruptible man,  and  of 
birds,  and  four-footed  beasts  and  creeping things,…and worshipped
and  served the creature rather  than the Creator.”  Tilling  the  ground 
became  an  act  of  serving  or worshipping.  That  which  was  to  be  an 
act  of  caring for a subordinate became an act  of worshipping a superior. 
Man  of his own volition had reversed the creation order.

    When  did this  drastic reversal  take place?  The account of Genesis 4
gives us a clue.  We read that Cain was a “tiller of the ground” (Gen. 4:2). 
This word “tiller” is the identical word abad which we are presently
considering.  The  simple phrase “tiller of the ground” does not tell us
whether to understand “tiller” in the sense of  Gensis 2 and 3 where man’s 
total desire was to care for the earth in  accordance with God’s  command, or
whether  there is any implication of serving  or worshipping.  But when we 
read on, we begin  to sense that  there is the  implication of “serving” or
“worshipping” in “tiller of the ground.”  We read in Genesis 4:3-5 “that Cain
brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the Lord,” but  the Lord
had no respect or regard for Cain’s offering.  In fact, Cain  was so
decisively rebuffed that the Bible says Cain was  very  angry  (Gen.  4:5). 
This  anger was so severe that he murdered  his  brother  Abel,  who  had 
also sacrificed and whose sacrifice was acceptable to God.

    Why  had  God  rejected  Cain’s  offering?  We don’t know for certain,
but we know that if Cain had been  faithfully obeying the mandate  to  care 
for  the  ground;  had  maintained  a  proper relationship  to  the  ground 
with  the  ground  in  a completely subordinate relationship to himself; and,
if he now brought of the fruit  of the ground an offering to  the Lord as an
effort to show his praise and adoration of  God, there is no Biblical  reason
why his offering should  not have been  acceptable to God.  But if we recall
the  ten commandments, we remember that  the first is, “You shall  have no 
other gods  before me.”(1)  If  Cain  had  already begun to look at the
ground,  and the products to be derived  from it, as something of great value,
as something  to be respected and honored, as something superior to man 
himself, as something to be served, as something which he had  already
subconsciously begun to worship,then he was already guilty of breaking this
first command, as  well as the mandate  of Genesis 3:23 to  till, “care for,”
the ground.  That Cain  had lost his  respect for the  creation order, for the
superiority of mankind, is shown by the fact that he could murder his  brother
Abel in the premediatated  fashion in which he did.

    It  is easy  to see  how Cain  had fallen  into this  sin.  He quickly
recognized  the hidden  treasures in  this wonderful earth that God  had
created with all of  its potential to bring creature comforts  and 
pleasures.  Soon  he  discovered  the  building possibilities  of products 
of the  earth, so  he built  the first city.  It was his descendants  who
discovered in the earth  copper and iron.  It was his  descendants who found 
that products taken from the earth  could be fashioned  into musical
instruments  that were pleasant to the  ear.  This earth was indeed marvelous
in its possibliities and  Cain gave  it a  high rating.  He had begun to
serve it as a superior.

    That  the  ground  and  its  products  were the root of Cain’s problem is
also suggested by the curse pronounced by God following Cain’s  sin.  Genesis 
4:12 states,  “When you till the ground, it shall no  longer yield to you  its
strength.”  It was  his love of the  ground  that  had  tempted  Cain  to 
fall into grievous sin.  Hopefully, the ground would no longer be as tempting
to him. 

    We see, thus, that  already with Cain man had begun to reverse the 
creation  order.  The  ground,  the  lowest  echelon  in the creation  order, 
had  been  raised  to  a position even above man himself.  In the products of
the ground he hoped to find his  joy, security, and hope.  He must indeed
explore the ground with utmost diligence  and dispatch.  This gave  him
tremendous motivation to explore  the  earth  to  discover  its  secrets–
its  wonderful potential.

Abel Keeps Sheep

    When we turn to Abel  we see quite a different  situation.  We read that
he was a “keeper” of sheep.  The word “keeper” or (raah) is  translated “to
feed”  or “shepherd” or  “pastor” in the Bible.  He was  a feeder of  sheep, a
shepherd  who cared for  them.  As a shepherd  he  was  following  in  careful
obedience the command of Genesis 3:23 to “till the ground.”  There is no
indication that in his  shepherding of  sheep he  was serving  the sheep  as a
higher order than  man, or that he was  worshipping animals in any sense. 
Rather  he cared for  them, viewing them  as a subordinate part of creation. 
As a shepherd, he must of necessity have also cared for the ground, for  in
this way he would provide  feed for the sheep.  He was truly obeying  the
command to “till the ground.”  But in no sense  had he  begun to  look at  the
ground  and the animals as a superior to  man himself.  He realized  that God 
only was  to be worshipped.  His sacrifice of a lamb, the finest of the lambs-
-the firstling, their fat portions–indicated  his high regard for God.  He
brought of  the very highest order of that  which was under his care, an
animal; and he brought the very best of  these animals to God  as  a 
sacrifice.  That  his  relationship  to  God, and His mandates, was wholesome
is  clearly demonstrated by the  fact that God had  regard for Abel and his
offering (Gen. 4:4).  In bringing this sacrifice he probably unwittingly had
begun to anticipate the sacrifice of the one who would atone for his sins.

Cain–A Type Of Modern Man

    In  Cain  and  Abel  we  can  see  modern man.  We can see his problem and
we can see what ought to be.  Modern man, the slave of Satan, has  reversed
the  creation order.  He has  discovered the virtually infinite  number of
products  that can be  produced from this  creation.  He  has  found  that 
through  technology he can produce  goods and  services undreamed  of by 
former generations.  Science,  technology,  business  education  are  all 
focussed  to produce a better world based on mans’ ingenuity, as he wrests
from the earth,  from the  atom, from  the universe,  its secrets.  He
believes that  from this earth  he can reconstruct  the history of the  earth 
and  man.  He  believes  that  somehow by making more leisure  time 
available,  or  more  education,  or  more creature comforts, he can solve the 
moral problems of the world.  He even speaks  of the :Bible” of nature, 
putting the natural record on a level with the Word of God.(2)

Ecology:  A Desperate Question

    He is deeply interested in the question of  ecology.  Ecoloyg, the
biological relationship  of organisms to their environment, is increasingly in
the  forefront of his thinking.  Is  this merely a fad that will eventually go 
the way of the hula hoops?  Or is it simply  a  diversion  created  to  take 
our  minds away from more traumatic subjects, such as, the threat of nuclear
war?

    A  bit  of  reflection  will  show  that  this is a subject of gravest
concern to man.  As we have seen from time immemorial, man has  derived  his 
happiness,  his  security  and his hope for the future from the  earth and its
products.  From it he receives such vital  necessities  as  food, 
shelter,  recreation,  musical instruments, and medicines. 

    Hopefully, since man had lived on this  earth for a million or more years
(so he believes), this earth should sustain man for the next million years. 
But to his utmost dismay and consternation he is discovering that  maybe
mother earth isn’t as  dependable as he thought.  Species of wild  life are
facing extinction,  rivers are getting polluted, the air is getting loaded
with impurities  which won’t  go  away.  Even  the  oceans,  which to former
generations seemed  so  limitless,  are  no  longer  trustworthy  as they  for
example, produce tuna and swordfish tainted with mercury.  Mother earth,
which man has worshipped  since the days of Cain, isn’t the boundless
bountiful god man has subconsciously thought it was.

    In man’s judgment, one of the most grievous sins would well be this 
desecration, this  polluting of  the earth’s  atmosphere and biosphere.  Thus,
we can  well expect that the subject  of ecology which deals with 
conservation and pollution is  not an incidental subject.  It  could well 
become a  most important  object of  new laws,  research  grants,  and 
general  conversation in the coming years.  And with each new discovery of
pollution, the agitation of man  will  increase  until  it  could  easily 
reach  hysterical proportions.  Such is the concern of natural man to the
subject of ecology.

    How does the believer relate to this grave subject?  The Bible gives us a
forthsight answer.  Did you know, God  predicted in His Word  that the  earth
would  reach a  condition  when  it would no longer be the limitless source of 
blessing and comfort it appears to  have been for thousands of years?  In
Hebrews 1:10,11 we read, “Thou,  Lord,  didst  found  the  earth  in  the
beginning and the heavens  are the  work of  thy hands;  they will  perish,
but thou remainst; they will grow old like a garment.”

    The phenomenon we are experiencing in our generation as we see the  earth
becoming increasingly polluted surely appears to be the fulfillment  of  this 
prophecy.  This  is especially true in the light of all  of the other signs
which suggest the early return of our Lord.  In other  words, God is telling
man that  this earth is to grow old.  It will increasingly deteriorate.  It
will gradually serve  man  with  less  efficiency  and  brightness than it did
in earlier years.  Like a garment it will wear out (Ps. 102:26).

    This earth, after  all, is not a god to  be served, to provide security
and hope for  man.  It is under the curse  of sin and has been subjected to 
futility by God himself (Rom.  8:20).  It, too, will experience the victory of
the atonement when it becomes a new earth.  This, of course,  is to be 
realized after this earth has been destroyed by fire at Christ’s coming (II
Pet. 3).

    The Christian, then, is not to view the  rapidly advancing old age of the
earth with alarm.  While he doesn’t waste its resources or unnecessarily
pollute it, he realizes this sin-cursed earth  is not the earth he is promised
as an inheritance.  That promise will be fulfilled  when God has brought into 
being the new heavens and new earth where righteousness dwells.

    He  knows that  the sin  of man  is not  the pollution  of the earth, but
the rejection of God.  This is so clearly set forth  in Romans  1:18-32. 
Romans  1:25  records “they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and
worshipped and served the  creature rather than the Creator.”

    The believer is aware that natural man will recruit the finest scientists
and spare no expense to arrest pollution.  For the life of the god he serves
is at stake.  If his god perishes so will he.  How right he is!  He will
indeed be  destroyed from this earth and spend eternity in Hell.

    The believer, therefore,  saves his energies, his  effort, and his concern
not to save this earth which is twice doomed (it  will wear  out, it  will be 
destroyed) but  to save mankind from God’s wrath.  This  is  the  problem 
that  is  of critical and eternal importance to man.

    Natural man (almost  3 1/2 billion strong) can  and will offer abundant
answers  to questions related to ecology.  The believer’s contribution  at 
very  best  can  only  be quite incidental.  His numbers,  as  compared  with 
the  billions of unbelievers, are so small.  His motivation toward this
question can never approach the dedication and intensity  of that of the
unbeliever,  who looks to this earth for his security and hope.

    But  the  wrath  of  God  is  another  question.  This certain catastrophe
of  God’s judgment  is infinitely  more important than any aspect  of ecology. 
And only the believers, that tiny band of citizens  of  Christ’s  kingdom, 
have  an  answer  for this dread problem.  It is the wonderful answer of
salvation in Christ Jesus.  This is why he is called  an ambassador of Christ
(II Cor.  5:20), the  fragrance of  Christ (II  Cor. 2:15).  This is why the
Bible says, “you are  a chosen race, a royal  priesthood, a holy nation, God’s
own people, that you may declare the  wonderful deeds of him who called you
out of darkness into his marvelous  light” (I Peter 2:9).  He doesn’t dare get
sidetracked into any lesser issues when he has such a tremendously important
mandate and privilege.

Population Control

    One  aspect  of  the  ecological  question that natural man is troubled 
about  is  that  of  population  control.  Because he is frightened 
concerning  the  future  of  this  earth he feels that mankind  must  be 
limited  in  his  growth.  Therefore, today the subject of population control
is  openly discussed and welcomed to a greater or lesser degree by people in
every  walk of life.  Even many Christian  theologians have  put their  stamp
of  approval on birth  control.  Thus  far  such  extreme  measures of
population control, as abortion,  have escaped general  theological approval. 
Unfortunately,  once  a  pill  is  perfected which will permit the aborting of
early pregnancies, we can even expect some theological approval for this act.

    It  is  rather  easy  to  see  unsaved  man’s  acceptance  and promotion
of  these concepts.  He is  deeply concerned  with this earth  and its
ability to provide everything that is desirable for man.  Because he has no
regard for God or His providential care of the universe, he  is convinced that
he alone is  the master of his fate, the  captain of his soul.  He is,
therefore, even willing to commit  mass  murder  (abortion)  to  realize what
he believes are legitimate goals.

    He argues  that the earth is  rapidly becoming over-populated.  While one
can see the reason for the fright that is producing this idea, the error of
this concept can be shown very easily by a very simple computation.

    The state of Texas contains 263,513 square miles of land area.  This is
equal to 7,300 billion square feet.  The population of the world  is 
approximately  3.5  billion.  If  this  population was divided  into 
families  averaging  four  people (parents plus two children),  there would 
be about  875 million  families.  If each family was given a plot of ground
6,000 square feet in area, which is the size of many of our suburban lots, a
total of 5,250 million square feet would be required.  Since the state  of
Texas contains 2,050  billion  square  feet  more  that  this,  there  would 
be sufficient area  in this  one state  for all  the families  of the earth
today, with land the size of the state of Iowa left over for streets and 
parks.  The rest of North  America, Central and South America, Europe, Asia,
Africa and Australia would be available for factories, food  production and 
recreation.  Truly  man has  only begun  to fill the  earth.  Those who 
advocate population control really do make completely unrealistic claims.

    The Christian, on the other hand, realizes that  the Bible has something 
to say about this  question of population control. God told Adam to “be 
fruitful  and  multiply,  and  fill  the earth…”(Gen. 1:28).  This command
was repeated to Noah after all mankind was destroyed by the flood of his  day
(Gen. 9:1).  And it has  never been  abrogated.  It  is still  a command  that
must be obeyed if we wish to  be pleasing to God.  For it is a part of the
Word  of God  and, thus,  it becomes  one of  the rules  for God’s people to
follow.

    God does  not give this  command in a  vacuum, that is without supporting 
promises.  His  promises  of  blessings for those who trust  and  obey  Him 
are  legion.  Isn’t  it a fact that God is perfectly true and faithful to all
of these promises?

    Even  unsaved man  experiences the  hand of  God in caring for him.  God 
loves this earth  and does not  abandon it just because man gets more
plentiful.  “The eyes of all look  to thee, and thou givest them  their food 
in due  season.  Thou  openest thy  hand, thou satisfieth the desire of every
living thing (Ps. 145:15,16).

    Moreover,  God  specifically  indicates  that  children  are a blessing of 
God.  Psalms 127:3  records, “sons are  a heritage of the Lord.”  Psalms 128:3
and 4 declares, “your wife will be like a fruitful vine  within your house;
your children will be like olive shoots around your  table.  Lo, thus shall
the  man be blessed who fears the Lord.”

    We thus  find irrefutable  consistency in  the Word concerning the
question of children.

    That  God  is  true  to  His  promises  to supply the needs of mankind is
seen today.  While  only a few years ago millions faced the  specter  of 
starvation,  today  the  situation  is  repidly changing.  Thanks to the
development and introduction of  rice and wheat strains with far greater
yields, many of the poorest nations of  the  world  are  now  experiencing 
surpluses.  Only by God’s sovereign  mercy  are  the  minds  of  men 
enlightened,  so these agricultural  advances  can  be  made  at this critical
time.  One wonders  what tremendous  food resources  would be available under
God’s blessing  if man would give as much attention to solving the problems 
of  food  distribution,  and  the  overcoming  of  pagan prejudices  which
waste food  resources (i.e., the  sacred cows of India) as he spends on
population control. 

    For the believers a number of truths are worth suggesting:

    1.  The  rearing  of  children  is  not only an evidence and
    source of  great blessing  from the  Lord, but  it is  also a
    great opportunity to provide additional men and women who can
    manifest  the  love  of  the  Savior  to  the  world.  How
    desperately  they  are  needed.  Can  a  father  or  mother
    experience a greater challenge than this?

    2.  The believer realizes that the maintenance of a standard
    of  living on  a level  with his  neighbor, or of providing a
    certain level of  education (by the world’s standards) runs a
    poor second to educating children  in the fear and nurture of
    the  Lord.  (How  many  christian  parents still teach their
    children  Bible)?  Seeking  the  kingdom  of  God  and  his
    righteousness is the first priority of His life.

    3.  The believer recognizes that the intent of birth  control
    devices  is to remove  any possibliity of  pregnancy.  Use of
    such means  effectively removes  God from  the picture (under
    God’s permissive will these devices  are produced.  God often
    allows the sinful activities of man to be successful.)

          The Christian knows that  the creation of life  is God’s
    province.  “When  thou  sendest  forth  thy  Spirit they are
    created (Ps.  104:30).  “The spirit  of God has  made me”(Job
    33:4).  No child  is ever conceived  without the activity  of
    God.  One who serves  God, therefore, takes extra precautions
    that he  and his children  will not be  “brain-washed” by the
    thinking of the  world in these  areas of their  lives.  That
    this is a serious  problem is readily seen by the feelings of
    guilt already experienced by some believers when they  become
    pregnant for the third or more times. 

    4.  God has  provided a  means by  which married love can be
    enjoyed without certain pregnancy.  This is afforded by  the
    fact  that usually conception  can take place  only one day a
    month.  But  this  is  untrustworthy  as  a  means  of birth
    control.  Abstinence during that period of time  may minimize
    the  possibility of conception,  but it does  not prevent God
    from  intervening  and  causing  conception  another  day. 
    Conception is  recognized as  a blessing  of God  even if the
    world looks at it entirely differently.

    5.  The  believer has faith that if  men faithfully obey God,
    even  if  such  obedience  would  result in a population many
    times greater than that on the earth today, God  will provide
    every necessary physical blessing.  He understands, moreover,
    that  God  has  a  very  precise  timetable  for this earth’s
    existence.  Christ  will surely return long  before the earth
    approaches a “standing room only” condition.

    It  is  surely  not  at  all  coincidental that today we find occurring
simultaneously, the  desire for population  control, the easing  of  abortion 
laws,  and  the  extreme  decline  in sexual morality.  These  sins surely
appear  to be completely  related to each other and could well be in the
forefront  of those which will bring God’s judgments upon our nation and upon
the world.

Man And Animals On The Same Level

    As another  evidence of man’s reversal of the  creation order, unsaved man
strips  man of his  place in the  creation order.  Not only does he not 
recognize man as being completely unique in that he is created in  the image
of God, but he would  place man on the same  level  with  animals.  He 
states  this in his evolutionary theories  and he shows  it in his  concepts
of population control, and his moral perversions.  He of course, has  little
or no regard for God.  He is too busy worshipping the creature.

    God’s man on the other hand, follows Abel as his pattern.  He cares for
this creation but he never believes that the products of this  earth  will 
solve  man’s  problems.  He  knows  that these products  may make man a bit 
more comfortable.  He knows that God as infinite Creator  has provided a
fascinating  earth filled with potential.  But he never places the earth or 
its products between himself  and  God.  Rather  he  realizes  that  he is to
feed and protect its  creatures.  He is to be a  shepherd, a pastor to this
earth.  He realizes  that this earth belongs to man but because of the sin
which has come into the world he will not inherit it until the new heaven and
new earth has become a reality.

Abel–A Type Of The Believer

    In God’s revelation the shepherding of sheep is the  type that sets forth 
God man’s  task.  Abel,  the first  priest, is  such a type.  So was Abraham,
who is called the father of all  believers.  And  so was Moses, the greatest
of the Old Testament prophets.  He tended  sheep for  forty years  before God 
gave him a similar but higher calling.  The nation of Israel, the type of the
church, was dominantly  a nation  of shepherds, and so  was David,  who is the
great kingly type of the Lord Jesus Himself.

    This brings us to our Savior.  He identifies with all of these Old 
Testament types  by calling  himself the “good shepherd.”  He brings to  God’s
man  a far  higher relationship  to creation than that seen in the Old
Testament.  Moses was a forerunner.  He went from the sheepfolds to leading
people, caring for them as the most important part of God’s creation.  Jesus
Christ, as man, performed in superlative fashion  the will of  God in caring 
for this world and its creatures.  He gave his life that fellow humans might
have life.  He never got the creation  order out of sequence.  Man was never
to be  worshipped.  The animals and  inanimate creation were always to be
subordinate to man.  And God was above all.

    Christ in  his teaching and in  his atonement  showed that the task of
God’s  man of the New Testament is not to be a shepherd of physical sheep,  as
demonstrated by  the Old Testament  types, but God’s man is  to be a shepherd
of a  spiritual sheep, which is man himself.  And even as  the Old Testament
shepherds cared for these sheep by using the products of this world to feed
and  shelter his sheep, so the Christian uses the products of the world to
care for the needs of his  fellow human.  He therefore should be an example of 
mercy,  of  sharing,  of  concern.  He  is concerned about the physical needs
of man even as Jesus was.  But the primary focus of his concern is not that 
which will be supplied by  physical food, but  by spiritual  food.  Jesus 
said, “I  am the bread of life.”  Jesus told  Peter, “feed my sheep.”  The 
Christian, as a follower of  Christ, fulfills  the mandate  of God’s  Word to
their highest degree by supplying the Spiritual food–the Gospel.  He  feeds
the sheep  of  Christ  with  the  good  news  of  salvation,  with the
knowledge that Christ gave himself as a ransom for many.

    Abel sacrificed  to God  the best  of the  creatures, a  lamb.  This  was
his spiritual worship.  The believer also sacrifices to God as  his spiritual
worship, a lamb.  It is not a physical lamb. It is one  of Christ’s lambs.  It
is himself.  Paul puts the goal of the Christian very well:

    I appeal to you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God to
    present  your  bodies  as  a  living  sacrifice,  holy  and
    acceptable  to  God,  which  is  your spiritual worship (Rom.
    12:1).

    Abel, himself, was a forerunner of this.  He was murdered for his pains. 
The Christian is also to suffer, to endure  privation, persecution  and
physical death  itself as he  offers himself as a sacrifice.

    The Christian realizes with  Abel, with Abraham, with  all the other Old 
Testament types, that  the development of  the physical earth  only  brings 
temptation,  only  brings  the possibility of shifting the focal point of his
life from God to the creature.  He senses  the  truth  of  Christ’s  statement 
when he indicated the difficulty  of  the  rich  becoming  believers.  He,
therefore, is content with his lot  in life.  The creature comforts and all
that is involved in their production is not the Kingdom of God.  As he eats
and drinks and earns a living, he glorifies God; but he knows these  are not 
the vehicles  to be  used in  his pursuit of a far higher goal, that of
feeding the sheep, that  of bringing men into the Kingdom.

The Wisdom Of The World Versus The Foolishness Of Preaching

    This truth that natural man has reversed the creation order is clearly
demonstrated by Paul in  I Corinthians 1 and 2.  There we discover that Paul
is setting up two viewpoints for consideration.  The  one  is  the  wisdom  of 
the  world,  and  the  other is the foolishness of preaching.  What is the
wisdom of the world?  It is surely unrelated to the  seeking of a Redeemer  or
a desire to  be reconciled  with God.  It  must be that  which the philosopher
and the scientist of the world might discover, as he  attempts to find an
objective viewpoint of man’s relationship to this world, and as he  attempts
to discover  answers from this  world which will give hope  to man.  Romans 1 
indicates he  became a worshipper of the creature.  His  problem  is, 
therefore,  that  he has completely reversed the creation  order.  Therefore,
the wisdom  of the world will be destroyed.  Obviously,  it will be destroyed, 
for natural man’s desire to  find his hope for security  and the more abundant
life from the creation  rather than from God, is  a repudiation of God as  the
only one  who is to  give man a  hope.  No wonder Paul emphasized on Mars Hill
that “in Him we live and move and have our being.” Natural man is, therefore,
guilty of the grossest sin, not because he is exploring the atom, but because
he is consciously or subconsciously  trusting  that  such  exploration  will
give him a “hope.”

    It appears  quite significant to me that  Paul’s answer to the futility of
the wisdom of the world is not an attempt on  his part to realign the thinking 
of natural man, as he  philosophies about his  situation is the world, or as
he attempts to find his hope in creation.  Rather, he comes right to  the
core of the Christian’s answer to man’s need, and talks about the “word of the
cross,” “to preach the  gospel,” “the  foolishness of  preaching,” “we  preach
Christ  crucified,” and “for  I determined to  know  nothing among you, save 
Jesus Christ and  him crucified.”  He  surely indicates that  the wisdom  of
God which the Christian is to proclaim, which is a  wisdom that had already
been  determined before creation, is not the same kind in any sense that the
world seeks but instead is an altogether different variety.  It is to “feed
the  sheep,” and the highest manifestation of this is in bringing the Gospel.

    It seens to  me that the  exploration of God’s  creation which should have
been a wonderful, God glorifying task  given to man as he followed out God’s
mandate to “till the ground,”  as he derived food and shelter from the  lower
creation orders, and in  so doing as  he glorified  and worshipped  God and 
his Lord,  has been set aside by  the results  of man’s  sin.  The  fact that
the creation came under a  curse, and that man  became a slave of  Satan as
the prince  of  the  world,  has  changed  the  focal  point  of man’s
relationship to the world.  Thus, while natural man answers to the mandate  to 
“till  the  ground”  by  serving  and worshipping the creation and  deriving
his hope from it.  God’s man fulfills this mandate by  being a  pastor or 
shepherd to  the world.  This was first shown by Abel  and was powerfully
reemphasized by  Paul in I Corinthians 1 and 2.

    Thus, the exploration of  the world (science, business,  etc.) is 
actually  removed  from  the  picture  of  man’s  prime responsibility. 
The  exploration of  the world  in itself  is not sinful  but  because  of 
sin  new  goals are established.  It has become sinful for natural  man
because of his reason for doing so.  It has become unimportant for God’s man
because he has a task that is far more  important and necessary–that  of
feeding the  sheep.  He  engages in  the exploration  of the  world only  as a
means of livelihood–that  is,  he  derives  food  and shelter from it, but
there is  nothing about this effort that should  be a goal for his life.  He
does  these things to God’s glory simply because he as a citizen  of  God’s 
kingdom  does  everything to God’s glory.  But doing these things is not  the
“kingdom.”  The kingdom consists of “feeding the sheep.”  This is his  goal. 
In so doing, he uses the products  natural  man  has  produced  because  these 
products in themselves are not sinful. And by using these products in his task
of  “feeding the  sheep” he  has corrected  the creation order, so that  the
lower “orders”  are used to  serve the higher.  By using these products,  he
is showing  that all things  can ultimately be used to praise God (even the
wrath of men shall praise God).

    Only in  the new heaven and earth from which sin and the curse of  sin 
have  been  removed,  will  man  again reign over or have dominion  over the
lower orders as  he originally did in Genesis 1 and 2.  There he can do so
because all sin will have been removed, and because there  the victory of the
cross  will be manifested in its fullest degree, as we will again see
everything in subjection.

    In witnessing to the unbeliever in the realm of science and in bringing
Christ’s claim to the field of science, I think the Bible says this;

    l.  The  pursuit  of  science  by  natural  man  should have
    resulted in the scientist recognizing God as creator  and his
    need of a Redeemer.

    2.  Instead, he  believes that  in science  he will find his
    hope.  He  has rejected  God.  He  has reversed  the creation
    order.  He is under God’s wrath even to a greater degree than
    before.

    3.  Only by humbling  himself, acknowledging his bankruptcy,
    recognizing that the creation is  to serve man and can  never
    produce a  “hope” for  man, and  worshipping God  as his only
    Savior and “hope” can he be extricated from his problem.

    4.  Once he  is saved he has  a new goal that  far transcends
    that of being a scientist.  He may continue to be a scientist
    because this employment provides for his physical needs.  But
    his  new  goal  is  to  be  a  shepherd to the world, and the
    highest manifestaion of  this is by bringing  the Gospel.  He
    does this  by reigning over  his own body,  by witnessing, by
    making  his  income  and  physical  possessions  available to
    others who  witness, and strive to alleviate suffering in the
    world, and by exercising his priestly office of intercession.

    5.  The pursuit of science thus is set aside as any kind of a
    primary goal  for God’s  man.  He  might pursue  a scientific
    goal if in  so doing he will enhance his ability to bring the
    Gospel.  He  might work  on communications,  for example,  in
    order that  a better vehicle  might be provided  to bring the
    Gospel.  He might  work in areas  of food production  to help
    develop the amount of food available to feed the needy of the
    world in  the name of Christ.  Normally, however, natural man
    has so abundantly  progressed in these  areas that God’s  man
    can get on  with the primary task of bringing the Gospel.  He
    can  pick  and  choose  those  products  produced by the vast
    efforts  of  natural  man  which  will  most  efficiently and
    effectively help him as he cares for the world. 

Man’s Rebellion Against God Is Escalating

    In the light of this  discussion it is easy to  understand the unrest in 
the world today.  The  world, including its inhabitants is rushing  pell-mell
to its rendezvous with  Christ when He comes to end  this age.  Natural man,
the slave  of Satan, will more and more attempt to  find in the creatures, in
the inanimate world, in computers and  in the atom, his  hope for utopia.  And 
so he will worship more and more the  creature and ever less the Creator.  He
is becoming ready for judgment day.  For a long time man has  been worshipping
the creature.  He has been looking to the pursuits of the scientist,  the
educator and  the business man  to provide him with  the more  abundant life. 
This has  failed and has left him frustrated, incomplete, fearful and  uneasy. 
In his upsetting  of the creation order he has  placed man on a level with the
animals.  But this has only added to  his frustration, for he knows deep  in
his heart that man is more than an animal.

    He  now  has  two  alternates  from  which  to choose.  He can confess to 
God or  he can  blame God.  He can  confess his total bankruptcy and his
vital need of  a Savior, his desperate need for someone  who  can  extricate 
him  from  this morass of misery and reconcile him with God.  Because  he is a
slave of  Satan, because of the  pride of  his heart,  this alternative  is
unacceptable to most  people.  He  thus  has  one  alternative left.  Whereas
his conscious attitude toward God may have been rather neutral, now he begins 
to  lash  out  at  God.  He  feels  that  somehow  God is responsible  for 
man’s  failures  and  miseries.  Cain took  this alternative  in the  face of 
God’s express  warning that “sin was couching at  his door” (Gen. 4:7).  Cain
murdered his brother Abel as an overt act of rebellion against God.

    Modern  man  too,  as  never  before, is following this second
alternative.  He  is  in  rebellion  against God, is striking out against 
God.  He tries to  put God on trial  and show that He has failed.  This
rebellion takes many forms but it is always directed consciously or
subconsciously against God.  It may show itself  as rebellion against
authority, child against parent, student against teacher,  teacher  against 
administration,  citizen  against government.  It may be demonstrated by
efforts to change the basic Biblical laws.  In this  category we find
“situation ethics” where each law  is to  be tailored  to the  particular
situation.  This rebellion may be evidenced by declarations  condemning God
and His church.  “Christianity has failed,” “God is dead,” and “the church
must bear its  responsibility for contributing to  the enslavement of men,”
are common themes.

    The degree of man’s rebellion varies greatly.  It may begin as a  peaceful
demonstration  to right  a wrong.  At this  point the Christian can  easily
be blinded as to  the true state of affairs.  He  sees  some  truth,  perhaps 
much  truth,  in the cause of the demonstrator.  He  is  conscious  of  the 
cries  insisting  that Christianity  has  failed.  He  may  fail  to  realize 
that this peaceful demonstration is reflecting  a rebellious attitude toward
God,  that  it  is  but  the  beginning  of  more and more serious rebellion
which will be  taken up by others and could  end up with anarchy.  He should
realize that God’s man must be the shepherd of this  world.  But  his  fellow 
shepherds cannot  be leaders from Satan’s  kingdom.  He  must realize  that as 
a priest he has full access to God’s throne room.  It is here he can bring the
needs of the  sheep.  He,  as  God’s  man,  realizes  that only by careful
obedience  to  God’s  commands  can  solutions  be  found.    He, therefore, 
works  from  a  totally  different  set  of  rules, relationships,  and 
motivations  than  others,  who  appear to be concerned about  the needs of
this world.  He realizes that Satan goes about as an “angel of light” (II
Cor. 11:14), with all of the insidious  deceitfulness  that  term  implies. 
He, therefore, is extra careful to live close to God’s Word so that he might
not  be deceived.

    God’s man,  the born-again Christian, sees  the whole reversal of the
creation order that  man has perpetrated.  He realizes that he is here to 
“care for” this world.  Because he is filled  with the Holy  Spirit, he wants
to follow  Christ as Abel followed God.  He therefore, is  a shepherd as  Abel
was.  With  the work on  the cross accomplished by  Christ, he realizes the 
import of Christ’s words to “feed my sheep.”  He has corrected  the creation
order by becoming available to  bring the cup  of cold water,  the mercy of

God, and especially the good news of the redemption of the world. 

    We, thus, see clearly that the Christian’s marching orders are not in any
sense to be those which indicate hs is to have dominion over this earth as he
had  had in Eden.  This dominion is Christ’s area  of  responsibility.  He 
accomplished  it  on the cross and assures us  we will  see it  as an 
accomplished fact  in the  new heaven  and  new  earth.  Instead  the
foundational command would rightly be the phrase “till the ground.”  But
whereas natural  man of  his own volition has turned  this command into dust
by serving and  worshipping  the  creature,  the  believer  recognizes  the
“creation  order” of  things.  God’s  man is  the only one who can objectively
view every part of creation in a proper perspective.

    The Old  Testament believer  type followed  through with  this mandate  by
becoming  a shepherd  of sheep.  He realized that the abiding  city  he 
looked  forward  to  was  a heavenly city (Heb. 11:16).  As a shepherd of
sheep he was also looking forward to the great task of the New Testament
Christian.  Jesus said in  Matthew 28:

    “Go ye into all the world…making disciples…”

    A  disciple of Jesus  is a follower,  a student of  Him.  As a disciple he 
is a steward  of all that  Christ has given  him.  He wants  to  use  his 
possessions  and  time  as efficiently and as effectively as  possible for 
caring especially  for the spiritual needs of the world.  He, therefore,
gives generously of  his time and money to those ministries which advance the
Gospel.  And  even after  death he may continue to  provide for Christ’s work
because of  a  carefully  prepared  will  or  by  means of other thoughful
deferred giving programs which help to settle his estate as wisely as
possible.  Jesus cared for the sheep to the point where He died for them.  He
wants God’s  man to feed the sheep, to  shepherd the sheep.  This is the
glorious mandate  and opportunity God gives to us.

(Notes to numbered passages in Chapter 4)

l) The  ten commandments,  of course,  were declared  thousands of years later 
than Cain.  The  sense of this  commandment, however, was surely  given to 
Adam and  all men  since him.  This is  the thrust of Romans 2:15 where we
read that God’s laws are written on men’s hearts.

2)  True, the heavens  declare the glory of God (Psalm 19:1); and “for what 
can be known  about God–has been  clearly perceived in the things that  have
been made (Rom. 1:19,20).  But this does not make  creation a Bible that is on 
the same level with the Word of God, the Bible.

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