All through the first three chapters of the Scriptures, worship is not mentioned. The world provided for the perfect family relationship where Adam and Eve carried out the duties of garden management, enjoyed the fruits of the garden and also enjoyed all the animal life, the bird life and the water life in friendly peace.
Nothing newly created was predatory. But, like the cat that killed the Rosella, the Creator warned Adam of a predator lurking in the tree from which they must not eat, Genesis 2:16,17. If Adam or Eve ate from the tree, death was inevitable and the slaying of the lamb to cover the nakedness of sin proved beyond doubt that the Garden was established on the premise of a Christ anointed unto death who would take their sin to Himself and accept the death penalty.
The culture of the created world was established on the principle that Adam and Eve walked and talked freely with God. They were not God and were not equal with God, but they were of God, made in His image and bearing true relationship to Him. The law and culture of the Lord was provided to give harmony and interaction between man and nature; between nature with nature; between man and creature; between creature with creature; between humans with humans; and between humans with God.
We do not bow down and worship our parents for all they do for us and for all they give to us. We do not worship the clouds for bringing rain to dry land, we do not worship the sun for life-giving sunlight. Neither did Christ, the man made in the image of God. Worship of those things is no more appropriate for us than it was for Christ.
Gratitude and praise to our parents is respectful, but worship would be idolatry. Remember that John the Revelator was admonished for bowing to the Angel. Gratitude and praise for rain, or sunlight and so on given by the Lord, is appropriate. But worship is only for the One who takes our burden of sin and guilt, for the One who awakens our hearts and thoughts to our position, and to the One who forgives and accepts us.
So when did actual worship begin?
It did not begin until after sin took its toll. We assume that Adam and Eve worshipped the Lord when they understood the consequences of sin and that the Lord would provide a sacrifice to cover their sin, but it is not stated.
The first suggestion of worship is in Chapter 4 of Genesis when Cain offered the fruits of his land to God and Abel offered a slain creature from his land to the Lord. The brothers worshipped through their gift giving even though the actual word, worship, is not used until Abraham said he and the boy would go thither to ‘worship,’ in Genesis Chapter 22, verse 5.
Cain’s offering and Abel’s offering spell out completely the two opposite forms of worship that are practiced across the world today. Jesus mentioned that there are two masters and ‘no man can serve two masters’ so we must choose one or the other.
Yes, there really are only two forms of worship in spite of all the religions on offer. Cain and Abel demonstrate the difference between righteousness by works and righteousness by faith. One religion is self-righteousness offering its goods and a commendable life as proof of worthiness to enter the Kingdom of God.
The other is established on faith in the slain sacrifice that covers mankind’s sin. The slain life of a creature created by the Lord and offered in the Garden, was a representation of the life of Christ who would be slain to cover all sin. If we accept the sacrifice of the life of Christ that covers our sin, we may enter the Garden again on the merit of the perfect life given for us by ‘the second Adam,’ (1st Corinthians 15:45), ‘who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature,” (Colossians 1:15).
All the followers of Christ the Anointed One have their beginning where the law and the culture of the Lord was already established in the Garden. Adam and Eve lived on the basis that their Creator had provided a culture of direct interaction with the Him, and of fellowship and of well-being for the total environment based on sound law. It was a God-based culture. It was violated and other nations have arisen with different cultures. For instance, there are countries with Atheist culture, those with Hindu culture, those with Islam culture, as well as those with Christian culture.
Culture is not religion. It is a statement of the law and order under which the country is arranged.
Religion arose because of sin and was activated after the Christian culture of the Garden had been violated. I pray that your religion and mine gives support to Christian Culture in our lives.
(To access the entire “Culture Close Up” mini-series, please click here.)