Life-Study of Genesisby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
In the previous messages we have covered the first main point of the book of Genesisthe desire and purpose of God. This was revealed in Genesis 1:12:3. God's desire and purpose are to have a corporate man to express Him in His image and to represent Him with His authority. Now we must ask a question: how can man express God in His image and represent Him with His authority? This brings us to the second main point of this book.
Genesis chapter 2 reveals the way God uses to accomplish His purpose. This is why we have the second record of creation in Genesis 2. When I was a young Christian, I was troubled by these two records of the creation of man. Genesis 1 provided us a record of creation. Why do we need another record in Genesis 2? It was not until the later days of my ministry that God showed me the answer. Although the record of creation in Genesis 1 reveals God's purpose in creating man, it does not show us the way to fulfill this purpose. Therefore, we need the second record to reveal the way, the procedure, God takes to fulfill His purpose. After seeing the purpose in chapter 1, we must come to see the procedure in chapter 2. This procedure is fully revealed in Genesis 2, starting with verse 5 and continuing through the end of the chapter. If we read this portion of the Word in the light of the whole Bible, we will see that this procedure is of three steps. We can only cover one step in this message, leaving the remaining two steps for subsequent messages. However, before we consider the first step, we want to point out that the means by which God fulfills His purpose is life.
God is going to accomplish His purpose by means of His own life. How can one person express another if he does not have that person's life? A dog cannot express a cat because a dog does not have a cat's life. A dog has a dog's life, and this life is only suitable for expressing a dog. According to the same principle, a cat can never express a dog. If we think otherwise, we are dreaming. How can we human beings express God? There is no way except by having the life of God. If a dog is to express a cat, there must be a way to inject the cat's life into the dog. Once a dog has received a cat's life, it will be easy for it spontaneously to become the expression of a cat. Man is destined to express God. Are we able to do this? It is impossible for us to do it by our life because it is simply a human life. God is transcendent. Our life is too low to express Him. If we are going to express God, we need the life of God. If we have the life of God, we will express Him spontaneously and unconsciously. Once we have His life, we will express His image. Life is the way to fulfill God's purpose. This life is not our natural life, but the divine and eternal life of God.
Authority is also related to life. Neither a table nor a chair has authority, for authority is always related to a certain life. Look at yourself. The more life you have, the more authority you have. Human beings have authority over the animals because we have more life than the animals. Even in the area of human relationships we find it true that the more life a person has the more authority he has. If I am more mature than you, I have authority over you. If a teenager comes to me, there is no need for me to threaten him. He spontaneously will come under my authority. This authority was not given to me by the President of the United States. It came from my age. If you are 110 years of age and I am 70, I will come under your authority. Your age assigns you the authority. In order to represent God with His authority, we need His life.
If you are to represent a certain person in society, you need to possess a life that is nearly the same as his. Suppose you are invited to represent the President of the United States. You need to have the same amount of life as he. If your life is rather low, you will be unable to represent him. The standard of your life must match the life of the President.
This is the basic and logical principle that we must care for: we can never express God or represent God by our own life. Consider your life. Your life is incapable of expressing God; it is only adequate to express yourself. To a certain extent, a woman is not even qualified in life to represent her husband, because her life is not as high as her husband's. I wonder if the sisters agree with this. At any rate, we all must admit that our natural life disqualifies us from expressing God and representing Him. Not only is our fallen life inadequate for this, but even the created life we had at the beginning was inadequate. As we shall see in the next message, this was the reason God, after creating man, placed him in front of the tree of life, indicating that man needed to possess a higher life than he already had.
Some people may ask, "Didn't God create us in His image?" Yes, God did create us in His image. Then these people may say, "Since we already have God's image, why can't we express Him?" We may say that the man created in the image of God resembles the photograph of a person. Suppose you take a photograph of Brother John and show it to others saying that this is Brother John. In a sense, you are correct, for that is Brother John. However, the photograph is not the real Brother John; it is Brother John in a picture. Although the picture reveals the features, style, and the person of Brother John, it does not have the life of Brother John. It can show something of Brother John, but it cannot express him. The only way for the photograph to express Brother John is for it to have his life. Man was created in the image of God, but he was like a photograph showing something of God without having the life of God. Although man was in the image of God, he did not have the life of God. God intended that man should partake of the life indicated by the tree of life. Man failed to do it. Today, by believing in Christ, we have been brought back to share in that life. We all have received eternal life. Thus, there is no other way for us to express God in His image and to represent God with His authority except by sharing His life. This is confirmed by many verses in the Bible.
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