There have been quite a few famous speeches in the course of human history. Winston Churchill and William Wilberforce both addressed the British House of Commons in their respective eras with words that have been dramatized by Hollywood. Abraham Lincoln’s words at Gettysburg are studied by elementary students year after year. Socrates had his Apology and Paul his sermon at Mars Hill. Yet, none of these are the greatest words in human history. To understand the greatest words ever spoken, we’re going way back—back to the beginning. We’re going back to the first words mankind ever heard.
A Journey to Eden
In 1972 the Steve Miller Band released a song entitled Journey from Eden. The chorus captures something every human being knows—there’s something wrong with this world.
Listen to the blackbird sadly sing
For you, for me
Look at all the pointless suffering
But let’s take a journey to Eden for a moment, before mankind had to listen to the blackbird sadly sing. Before the suffering. God planted a perfect garden in Eden and placed man there to work it and keep it (Genesis 2:8,15). In this paradise, God provided the first man, Adam, with an abundance of good gifts and one of those gifts we must not overlook were His words.
16 And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” (Genesis 2:16-17)
No doubt there is much to consider in this first command given to Adam, but I want to consider the big picture in this post. I want to consider God’s words. The fact that God is a speaking God.
Characteristics of God’s Words
There are a few truths worthy of our contemplation as we consider these words of God. These first words were spoken to humanity from a God who delights to reveal Himself and in this revelation we learn some things about all of God’s words, that is Scripture. But before we get to that, let’s hone in on Genesis 2:16-17. First of all, these words were:
God’s words to Adam were good words. God’s command to Adam wasn’t a temptation. God tempts no one (James 1:13). Rather, these words were for Adam’s good as they revealed God’s will. God could perhaps have communicated differently in some sort of escape room puzzle that Adam had to figure out. But God didn’t do this. God spoke. God revealed Himself to Adam in a special way through speech. How good are God’s words! Secondly, these words were:
Adam could learn much about God from the world around him. He could see God’s power and goodness in creation, for example. But what Adam could not know from the revelation of creation was God’s will. Even before the Fall Adam needed God’s words. These words weren’t just good for Adam but absolutely necessary for his true understanding of God and to follow God in faith and obedience. Thirdly, these words of God were:
Yahweh Elohim commanded the man. The Creator exercised His sovereign right over the creature. The only way Adam could believe and obey God was to believe and obey His words. These words carried the full authority of the Creator God who spoke them. Fourthly, these words were:
There was no Bible code in God’s speech. Adam didn’t have to wonder what it was God really wanted from him. These were clear words. God spoke to Adam in a language he could understand in a way he could understand it. God was not hiding His holy will from man, but revealing it in clarity so that there would be no doubt of His desire. Fifthly, these words were:
Adam didn’t need more words from God in order to trust and obey what God had given Him. Yahweh’s words were enough. God was not expecting more from Adam than what He revealed to him. God’s words were sufficient for all that Adam’s soul required. To commune with God, Adam simply needed to hear the words spoken to him, and to trust them, and obey them.
The God Who Speaks
There have been many great speeches given in human history. But no speech compares to God’s speech. And I’m not simply talking about these words spoken in the Garden in Eden. You see, these words of God spoken to Adam are a microcosm of every single word that God has spoken. The characteristics of the words spoken to Adam in the Garden are the same characteristics of all 66 books of canonical Scripture, for Scripture is the very voice of God in written form.
Scripture is a revelation of God’s goodness to us. God speaks! What a wonder that the God of heaven stoops to give us His words. And these words are necessary for us! Mankind simply can’t know God in a saving way through Christ without these words.
These words, the 66 books of Scripture, are authoritative. To disbelieve or disobey them is to disbelieve or disobey God Himself. And these words are clear. While it’s true there are some complicated portions of Scripture, the message as a whole of God’s goodness, man’s fallenness, and God’s redemption in Christ is quite clear.
Finally, the Bible is sufficient. We don’t need God to speak audibly to us because we have a sufficient word from Him in the Scriptures. The Scriptures contain everything we need to know to trust and obey God. There are no additional things God requires of His people that He has not already given to us in His precious word.
The Divine Orator
The greatest speech in human history begins in Genesis 1:1 and ends in Revelation 22:21. The Scriptures are the greatest words in human history because they are God’s words to men and women, boys and girls. These words reveal the truth of Christ’s life, death, and resurrection for our sins. These words show us God and His ways. By these words will all men’s actions be weighed. By these words will some find life and many be condemned without excuse.
Dear reader! Will you take up and read these words for the good of your soul? How needy we are of them but oh how willing our God is to give them to us. May your life be spent trusting and obeying the greatest words in human history for your good and God’s glory.