Creation of the Universe
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. (NIV84)
This is the first line in the Bible and it opens with a bang! This short sentence has two key word phrases within it; in the beginning [Genesis 1:1; Psalm 102:25; John 1:1; Hebrews 1:10] and the heavens and the earth [Genesis 1:1, 2:1, 4; Exodus 20:11, 31:17; Psalm 113:6; Jeremiah10:11, 32:17; Haggai 2:6, 2:21]. A key word phrase is an exact wording that points to some other passages that should examined together with the present passage to glean more information.
The Heavens and the Earth
This key word phrase occurs ten times in the NIV Bible, and each time it refers to the created physical universe. Notice that the word heavens is plural. That’s because it is talking about earth’s atmosphere (heaven number one) and outer-space (heaven number two).
2 Corinthians 12:2
I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven. (NIV84)
Here we see Paul referring to the third heaven, which is the eternal heaven. All together we see three heavens in the Bible, the earth’s atmosphere, outer-space and the eternal heaven. Whenever the Bible uses the key word phrase, the heavens and the earth, it is speaking of the created physical universe and not the eternal heaven. Whenever the eternal heaven is referred to it is the singular word heaven that is used.
In the Beginning
This second key word phase occurs five times in the Bible and each time it speaks of the beginning of the physical universe which is also the beginning of time. The fact that the universe has a beginning tells us that it is temporary. It and everything within it is temporary. This is an important contrast to the eternal heaven. Another thing that started at the beginning is what I call the Plan of God, which is sovereignly described in the Bible.
The Big Picture
In my mind one of the most interesting questions concerning the Creation is: why did God create a temporary pseudo heaven to bring his children into existence. In which the Bible, strange as it is, is the only reliable source of information for a question like this.
The Bible was given to us by God to give us the necessary knowledge and understanding that we must have in order to escape death and enter life.
And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, 10 so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, 11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God. (NIV84)
We cannot state, that we believe in God and then just sit back and rest on our laurels. Satan and the fallen angels believe in God and how does that help them? In this troubled world, we need to know what is going on and what we can do about it.
The first line in the Bible points directly to the creation of the physical universe and so it is important that we understand its purpose. We must examine the Bible carefully so that we can come to the knowledge of the truth.
The First Fall
Before we look into this, we should first look into what happened in the eternal heaven before God created the heavens and the earth. To understand the need for the physical universe we must first understand the fall of Satan and the subsequent fall of a third of the angels [Revelation 12:4, 9] that followed him in death. What an astonishing event! Think about it! Please think about it. A third of the living angels separated themselves from God and as a result suffered eternal damnation. Clearly, they needed some understanding too. Obviously Satan and the fallen angels did not understand that their decision would destroy them eternally.
Henry Kaiser famously used to say: find a need and fill it. Well surely there was a need in heaven for the knowledge of good and evil and so as a first step in filling that need, God created the physical universe. But, before we delve into that, let us first look into what happened which brought about the fall of the angels—the origin of sin and death.
You [Lucifer] were the model of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. (NIV84)
(Verses 1-10 in Ezekiel 28 refer to a human king that ruled over the ancient city state of Tyre, and the second half of the chapter refers to the true power behind the human king, that is, Satan the Devil. The second half of the chapter shows us the reason that Satan fell.)
Lucifer [Isaiah 14:12] was the “model of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty.” Quite a testimony! Lucifer looked at himself and saw his perfection, wisdom and beauty and became proud.
Your heart became proud on account of your beauty, and you corrupted your wisdom because of your splendor. (NIV84)
Lucifer looked at himself and he thought in his heart that he was capable of much more indicated in his present position. Let us take a quick look at Isaiah to see what he was thinking.
How you have fallen from heaven, O morning star, son of the dawn [KJV translates the name to Lucifer]! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations! 13You said in your heart, “I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of the sacred mountain. 14 I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.” (NIV84)
Lucifer was a servant to life until pride puffed him up to the point that he saw himself as a master over the living. He believed, and still believes, himself capable of establishing a better society than that of God; a society of achievement and advancement, a society of elevated art and culture, a society where the individual can shine above the others through superiority of mind and drive. Lucifer saw himself as such a deity. So, he broke with God to be his own man, as it were, and a third of the angels also wanted to attain their own state of elevation rather than be one of the ordinary.
This story has been played out a million times in earth history, but in the case of earth history, the rebels are rebelling against other rebels. Both sides of every earthly rebellion are self-serving. Rebellion against tyranny sounds so reasonable and justified, but is this what really happened in heaven? Not at all. God is the epitome of Selfless Love.
1 Corinthians 13:4–7
Love [God] is patient, love [God].is kind. It [God].does not envy, it [God].does not boast, it [God].is not proud. 5 It [God].is not rude, it [God].is not self-seeking, it [God].is not easily angered, it [God].keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love [God].does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It [God].always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. (NIV84)
God himself is a servant to life. He breathes life into everything he touches. He encourages and supports and helps. God is the author of life and the sustainer of life. What Satan and the fallen angels rebelled against was God, that is, Selfless Love. They wanted for themselves to be seen as better. They broke away from God because they saw themselves as deserving. Each and every one of them allowed pride to fill their being with a sense of self-importance, that is, to see themselves as being movers and shakers. Instead of becoming movers and shakers they became grabbers and takers.
Sin has a mind of its own. It never has enough. It corrupts the infected and eats away at them forever. Sin is like cancer that eats and eats and eats away at its host until only corruption remains. Satan and the fallen angels did not understand any of this about sin. They thought, as most do, that there is no such thing as sin. They couldn’t imagine being controlled by anything. They believed themselves capable of being their own god, but sin has become their master. Selfishness, once released, grows and grows until it is all that is left. Sin has only been on earth for six thousand years and look at what it has done! Imagine what would happen, if it were to be let loose in eternity, that is, if sin was allowed to run rampant forever. Love could not allow such a thing. So God immediately interned the infected angels into a sort of isolation zone, hell, to preserve the innocent.
2 Peter 2:4–10
For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but sent them to hell, putting them into gloomy dungeons to be held for judgment; 5 if he did not spare the ancient world when he brought the flood on its ungodly people, but protected Noah, a preacher of righteousness, and seven others; 6 if he condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah by burning them to ashes, and made them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly; 7 and if he rescued Lot, a righteous man, who was distressed by the filthy lives of lawless men 8 (for that righteous man, living among them day after day, was tormented in his righteous soul by the lawless deeds he saw and heard)— 9 if this is so, then the Lord knows how to rescue godly men from trials and to hold the unrighteous for the day of judgment, while continuing their punishment. 10 This is especially true of those who follow the corrupt desire of the sinful nature and despise authority. (NIV84)
(Before I go on, I want to say something about Hell. It is not a place of punishment created by God to punish the wicked. It is more of an insane asylum for the criminally insane, but without staff to mediate and protect. Sin, itself, brings the punishment. The Bible says that sin is like fire that burns and consumes its host.)
It is important to understand that in heaven sin is one hundred percent fatal to any spirit being. No one infected can ever be saved. Once infected the rush of superiority overwhelms the victim and they lose all ability to think rationally. They are all insane with their delusions of grandeur and have been interned in the insane-asylum—Hell. In human terms they are all criminally insane and cannot be allowed in the general population because not one of them would hesitate killing any number of citizens to climb to the top. Sin has corrupted their mental stability. They are no longer reasonable. The problem is that there is no buffer for sin. Sin is a mental illness and it immediately corrupts the effected being preventing them from thinking rationally.
Creation of Man
Now we need to carefully examine the nature of man to see how he differs from the angels.
Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation? (NIV84)
If the angels, the ministering spirits, became puffed up with self-importance and died, how much more likely would it be that the actual sons and daughters of God would follow them in pride? A plan was needed to make it possible for fallen man to see the effect of sin and then through reasonable understanding choose a path of restoration. Man had to experience sin, first hand, and see it for what it is, and yet retain his mental powers of reason so that he could see sin for what it is and then decide it’s not for him and instead go the way of Selfless Love. Biblically speaking man had to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, which he did in the Garden of Eden [Genesis 3]. Then man had to experience the effect of sin while God was instructing him so that he could use his powers of reason to choose a better path, that is, God’s path. Jesus Christ is that better path, he is The Path, and reasonable man had to choose the path of Christ.
…the Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being. (NIV84)
“…the Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground…” The Bible hides such interesting things within words of poetry. What does it mean that God formed man “from the dust of the ground?” Did he make a mud-man, as one might make a snowman? I think not. We are much to detailed for that. The complexity and perfection of our physical bodies is amazingly constructed and detailed. So, how did our bodies come to be?
And God said, “Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: livestock, creatures that move along the ground, and wild animals, each according to its kind.” And it was so. (NIV84)
Have you ever noticed that the Bible never says that God created any of the animals directly? Not one animal was created directly by God, not even man. Look very carefully at this statement above. Take time to reread it, to ponder it, meditate upon what it is actually saying. What produced the animals? God? Well, yes, but only indirectly, directly the land produced each and every animal. Isn’t that what this Scripture is saying? Yes, that is what this Scripture is saying. God is the architect, the engineer, the Creator, and the land is his raw material. The physical matter of the earth was used by God to bring into existence each and every species of animal. I don’t want you to think that I believe in the scientist’s theory of evolution, because I don’t, nonetheless every plant and animal was brought into existence by God through the manipulation of the earthly elements, evidently over a period of many millions or even billions of years. And please don’t assume, as most of the scientists do, that what we have today is the result of random processes. Every plant and every animal that exists today is exactly what God determined that they should be. There is nothing random about anything in creation. Everything was created to be exactly what it was when God brought into existence the first spiritual son of God. Nevertheless, God did not create any of the animals, or plants, directly. It was the Lord’s will that he should be invisible with respect to the creation. God has, more or less, hidden himself from us—for a reason, to save us from death.
Now, considering that God commanded the land to produce all of the animals, could we not poetically say that God formed each of the animals , like man, from the dust of the ground? Yes, that would be consistent—just a little more poetical, that’s all. My point here is that the animal man was brought into existence through the action of the land, over a period of time, just like each and every other form of earthly life. There is nothing especially unique about the Homo Sapiens animal.
So, the Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground…. What exactly did he form? What did the Lord God form from the dust of the ground? Man? Yes, but then with respect to man God went one step further, that is, after he formed man’s body, God then put inside of the man a spirit being. After God formed the Homo Sapiens male (to give him our modern scientific name) from the dust of the ground, he then, “breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.” Did you notice that the Homo Sapiens male became something else? He was one thing, and then he became something else. I hope that you caught that! It’s very important that you do. The living animal man, the Homo Sapiens male, became something more than a living animal, he became a living being. In biblical speak that means that he became a spirit being that had a living connection with the living God. It was like God, hid an angel inside the man, but it wasn’t an angel that he hid, it was a Godlike spirit being, an actual son! The point and purpose of the entire physical universe was realized right at that exact moment! That moment was the whole point of creation! Right there. Right there when God took the Homo Sapiens male and “breathed” into him a new nature. From that exact moment the seven thousand year plan of God started. God took from his own nature, his eternal nature, and he put that same eternal nature into an animal body of a Homo Sapiens, and the man became a Son of God [Luke 3:38]. In a way we can think of this new man as being a sort of spiritual clone of God, but hidden inside an animal body. Interesting! You must understand that it is not the animal man that is a son of God, but rather the inner hidden soul. This distinction is critical for you to understand. If you think that you are only an animal then you will not be able to see any of the spiritual reality that is going on around you.
The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life. (NIV84)
Jesus speaks spiritual words to our spirit person, but your body and brain count for nothing. This is hugely important! Your body doesn’t matter, but your spiritual soul is all important. Your body is only temporary but your spiritual self is eternal.
Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”
27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. (NIV84)
This passage is not talking about man’s body, the Homo Sapiens species. It looks like it is, people generally interpret it that way, but actually it is talking about the part of man that God “breathed” into the animal man. It is this part, the breathed-in part, that is like God [John 4:24; 1 John 4:8, 16; Genesis 21:33]. This breathed-in part looks like God. As God is eternal, and therefore not made out of energy or atoms and such, so too the part of man that makes him a son or daughter of God is likewise not made out of energy or atoms and such. God is spirit and he “breathed” his spirit nature into the nostrils of the animal man, and a Godlike spirit person was then hidden within the animal man, and the man became a living soul. God took the temporary animal man and then hid within him an eternal spirit being that was like himself. If you stop and really think about what the Bible is telling you regarding this, you will see that it is the most astounding thing that anybody has ever heard. You are really and truly a spirit being that is just like God, and this Godlike being, that you are, is hidden within your animal body. What news could be bigger than that? But, as we saw with the fallen angels there is a great danger in seeing too clearly just what you truly are, pride will rise up, and so God hid what you are within an animal body. God has hidden himself from you and he has hidden you from yourself. Interesting!
Your body doesn’t matter. Your body is only of secondary importance. Your Godlike soul matters. Your body will disappear and be of absolutely no importance, whatsoever, to anyone, but your soul is you forever and ever. At the appropriate time you will be given a new incorruptible spirit body [1 Corinthians 15:50–55]. The purpose of the physical universe was/is to bring forth the sons and daughters of God in this way. Think about it. God could have just brought his sons and daughters into existence in heaven, but he didn’t. He had a different plan. He has a definite plan—a reason for everything. Had God brought his children to existence in heaven, then they would have seen their glorious selves, and they all would have died because of pride. This is also the reason that God has hidden himself from us. If we could see God, knowing that we were made in his image, we would instantly be overcome with pride, because we know that we are like him. Instead we see ourselves as animals, perhaps only a few steps above the apes. This lack of vision is there to help keep us safe from pride.
There is a very interesting other effect in our being hidden within animal bodies. It results in something unique in all of God’s created beings. We can see ourselves from an abstracted distance. Because I am really two separate beings in one, my inner true self can observe my outer temporary self. This is a unique ability. The angels can’t do it and neither can any of the animals. Please bear with me as I present an example of what I mean. I imagine that you have heard of what is called an out-of-body-experience, what I mean is one of those stories where a person in ER has coded and then they come up out of their body and see their body and the room from up in the air. Well we can imagine that this is true. I am not saying that such experiences are true, really I don’t know, but my point is, is that we can imagine it to be true. The angels cannot imagine such a thing for themselves, because they are themselves. We can imagine it because we are truly not what we see. We are eternal beings hidden inside of temporary bodies.
What this means for ourselves is that we can see our body sin and pay the price for it and also hear what God has to say about sinners and death, and then decide not to go the way of sin. The sin that has corrupted my brain and body does not have me fooled. I can hear the voice of God through the Scriptures and choose a different path than the one my body desires to follow.
What shall we say, then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! Indeed I would not have known what sin was except through the law. For I would not have known what coveting really was if the law had not said, “Do not covet.” 8 But sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, produced in me every kind of covetous desire. For apart from law, sin is dead. 9 Once I was alive apart from law; but when the commandment came, sin sprang to life and I died. 10 I found that the very commandment that was intended to bring life actually brought death. 11 For sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, deceived me, and through the commandment put me to death. 12 So then, the law is holy, and the commandment is holy, righteous and good.
13 Did that which is good, then, become death to me? By no means! But in order that sin might be recognized as sin, it produced death in me through what was good, so that through the commandment sin might become utterly sinful.
14 We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual [my brain], sold as a slave to sin. 15 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16 And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. 17 As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. 18 I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19 For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.
21 So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22 For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; 23 but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. 24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? (NIV84)
This is a very puzzling passage until you look at it with the understanding of your two natures. I don’t have to agree with my brain. My brain wants to be elevated. It wants women to want me. It wants money and power and worldly recognition, but I am not my brain. I can hear the word of God and understand where that life leads. I can choose the best for myself. I can take charge and beat my body into submission so that I can present it as an acceptable sacrifice to God. “See God? I love you more than my body!”
1 Corinthians 9:24–27
Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. 25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. 26 Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. 27 No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize. (NIV84)
What Paul is telling us here is to not listen to our bodies, but rather listen to God because God has shown us, in the Word, what happens to all those that are infected with the Sin virus. Sin puffs up and kills. It separates one from God, but Selfless Love covers the sin of the body and allows the person’s soul to bond with God resulting in an eternal marriage like union.
I am in the world and I have a worldly body that has worldly desires, but I am not my body. My body might have selfish natural instincts, but I have eyes that see, and I have ears that hear, so I know what pursuing selfish desires brings. It brings separation from God, it brings eternal death, it brings pain and suffering and every horrible thing—if followed to its natural end.
Those who live according to the sinful nature [natural human instincts] have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. 6 The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; 7 the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. 8 Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God.
9 You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ. 10 But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness. 11 And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you. (NIV84)
Yes, you have an animal body, but you don’t have to let it rule you. You must take charge of it and be its master.
Above all else, guard your heart [spirit], for it is the wellspring of life. (NIV84)
The biblical word heart is a symbolic word for your spiritual person. The most important aspect of your life is the preservation of your spiritual heart. God put us into animal bodies and then hid himself from us so that we might keep ourselves from pride and remain teachable. You know that you cannot fight God and win. You know that what he says is true. God is love and his desire is for us to have life, and to have it in abundance. God is life and the only way for us to have life is to be faith bonded to him through the One [Deuteronomy 18:15] that he sent to show us the way, and that One is the Christ, Jesus of Nazareth. If you truly belong to the Creator then you will listen to him and the One that he has sent.
My friend, how can you really have faith in the One True God and not listen to the One that he sent? To dismiss his special messenger is to dismiss Him!
Spiritual you, your soul, is hidden within an animal body that will one day die. That death is the first death, but there is the real you that does not die with the body. The spiritual you, your soul, is either alive because it is faith-bonded to the living God, or it is separated from the living God because it remains ignorant of the reality of separation. My friend, use your reasonableness to accept God’s restoration through Jesus Christ so that when your body dies you will not experience the second death, the death of your soul.
He who overcomes will not be hurt at all by the second death. (NIV84)
But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.” (NIV84)