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)
The Lord God wanted children for himself. Beautiful children. Children created in the very image and likeness of Himself. Children as much like God as your own children are like you. That is what God desired. That is what he planned for. That is what he brought about when he put his very own spirit within the body of a male Homo Sapiens, Adam. God took from himself and gave His own nature and likeness to man, and the man became a child of God. That is what happened in the Garden of Eden. That is what’s we are. Our bodies are from the earth, dust the Bible says, but our true selves, that is, our spirit natures, our souls, the heart of our being, are from God who is spirit and not flesh. Inside, beautiful beyond our ability to comprehend, outside, dust.
There is a huge difficulty to overcome when creating such beautiful beings as the children of God; the problem is that if they can see themselves for what they are they will become filled to the brim with self-pride, and that pride will puff them up to the point that they become the center of their own universe. Prideful people don’t see the need for anyone to tell them what to do, not even God. They are like God, why should they listen to anyone? so they think. Believing themselves to be God’s equal they see only their own Self as important.
A metaphorical form of this separation is played out in the world thousands of times every day on earth. Children become adults and break away from their parents and lead lives of their own. While this is perfectly normal and expected behavior for our animal natures, it is not acceptable behavior for a spirit being in a relationship with the Almighty God, and it is only our spiritual natures that are important.
Those who think they can do it on their own end up obsessed with measuring their own moral muscle but never get around to exercising it in real life. Those who trust God’s action in them find that God’s Spirit is in them—living and breathing God! Obsession with self in these matters is a dead end; attention to God leads us out into the open, into a spacious, free life. Focusing on the self is the opposite of focusing on God. Anyone completely absorbed in self ignores God, ends up thinking more about self than God. That person ignores who God is and what he is doing. (The Message)
You MUST keep in the forefront of your mind that you are not really an animal. Our animal natures are only temporary, they will get old and die—period. Our spirit natures are eternal. Our spirit natures are like God. Those that live for their animal nature will, like their animal body, die; but those that live for their spiritual nature will like God live forever, through the power of God in Christ.
If God were to make spiritual children in his own image and likeness, then it is a certainty that they would see themselves and become puffed up in pride. They would see themselves as being capable of reaching out beyond God, to fulfill their own destiny. This is what happened to Lucifer who was not even a child of God, but rather a created ministering spirit.
Ezekiel 28:12, 14-15, 17
You were the model of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty.
14 You were anointed as a guardian cherub, for so I ordained you. You were on the holy mount of God; you walked among the fiery stones. 15 You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created till wickedness was found in you.
17 Your heart became proud on account of your beauty, and you corrupted your wisdom because of your splendor. So I threw you to the earth; I made a spectacle of you before kings. (NIV84)
How you have fallen from heaven, O morning star, son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations! 13 You 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.” 15 But you are brought down to the grave, to the depths of the pit. (NIV84)
We see from this that O Morning Star, translated Lucifer in the King James Version, saw himself as being above God, and so he set out on his own. Lucifer, the Bright Shining Morning Star, became Satan the Devil, the Slanderer, and Accuser of the Brothers. He went from being beautiful and wise to being a finger-pointer and excuse-maker. He went from Selflessness to Selfishness. He went from being a giver to becoming a taker.
God is Love [1 John 4:16]. This is not the emotional type of Love, but rather the self-sacrificing kind of love that drives a mother to care selflessly for her children.
1 Corinthians 13:4–7
The nature of God is patient, the nature of God is kind. the nature of God does not envy, the nature of God does not boast, the nature of God is not proud. 5 the nature of God is not rude, the nature of God is not self-seeking, the nature of God is not easily angered, the nature of God keeps no record of wrongs. 6 The nature of God does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 The nature of God always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. (God is Love—NIV84)
(I have changed the word Love in the above Scripture to the nature of God because God is Love and I want you to understand what the nature of God is like.)
Now, I want you to understand the exact nature of those that are separated from God because of pride. When a person rebels against God, it is Love that they are rebelling against. They don’t want to be patient because they see themselves as being right and everyone should listen to them. A person that is puffed up with pride expects others to see their superior nature and to yield to it. Do you understand what I am saying? God is superior, but he is Love, so he doesn’t force his superiority down anyone’s throat. People that do not know God assume that his motives are the motives that they understand. They are not beings of Love themselves and so they expect God to be overbearing and demanding, but those are the qualities of a Loveless being, and not like God at all. God is like the above definition of Love found in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7.
When a being separates from God, they are separating from the sustaining power of Love. The result is the destructive power of selfishness, or what the Bible calls Sin. Let’s look again at [1 Corinthians 13:4-7] but from the standpoint of a selfish nature.
1 Corinthians 13:4–7
The nature of selfishness is impatience, the nature of selfishness is unkindness. the nature of selfishness envies, the nature of selfishness boasts, the nature of selfishness is proud. 5 the nature of selfishness is rude, the nature of selfishness is self-seeking, the nature of selfishness is easily angered, the nature of selfishness keeps records of wrongs. 6 The nature of selfishness delights in evil and rejoices in lies. 7 The nature of selfishness does not protect, does not trust, does not hope, does not persevere. (Nature of Selfishness—NIV84)
The contrast between these two versions of [1 Corinthians 13:4-7] is the contrast between God and an eventual existence separated from God. People don’t think that their separated-from-God-state will result in the above nature. They think that they can handle independence, but one of the most important lessons that God is teaching us through the Bible is that the nature of sin, that is, the state of being separated from the Sustainer, will without fail result in everything in the above paragraph. Sin is like a drug addiction. Everyone that is addicted to drugs thinks that they can handle the drugs, but in the end, the drugs always destroy them. It is exactly the same with sin. The nature of selfishness will bring about its own destruction. That is its nature. It is like putting your hand in the fire and saying that the fire will not consume it. It is the nature of fire to consume. It is the nature of sin to consume. Anyone separated from Love is by definition under the power of Self. The self will look to build itself up. Self will take what it wants to make itself stronger. Self will consume everything including itself. From the beginning of the Bible to the end, that is the message that is being told to you. You cannot exist eternally without being in God. You cannot. It is impossible. Sin will chew you up and swallow you down.
So, we saw that Lucifer looked at his perfection and wisdom and became proud of himself, and that pride caused him to separate from God. Mankind was created in God’s very own image and likeness. What chance does man have against pride? None, None at all. Lucifer who was not created in the image and likeness of God he became proud and rebelled, and it was certain that man, who is even more beautiful than Lucifer ever was, would surely follow Lucifer in pride, and fall as well. This was a certainty. God knew this and so he made provision for it.
The world in which we live was designed by God to his exact specifications. When I say the world, in this context, I mean everything that was created: the stars, planets, comets, asteroids, and any and everything else, even the angels themselves. All of it was created by God in just the way that he wanted to do it so that man could have a frame of reference through which he could come to understand the meaning of life.
God made mind-altering drugs so that we can come to understand the reality of drug addiction. Drug addiction is unreasonable. People will destroy themselves with drug abuse. They will drink themselves into a horrible state, sleeping in the gutter with urine soaking their clothes, cold and sick, still longing for more booze. Such a life is unreasonable. Such a life is driven from a person’s spirit self, from their fallen heart, their separated sin controlled soul.
Drug addiction is very similar to sin addiction. When an angel sins they instantly become filled with such a rush of Self that they instantly become addicted. Without the animal body to act as a buffer, their person becomes so filled with Self that they can’t see themselves without it. It is like a never-ending orgasm of SELF, very much like a drug high. So, when Lucifer sinned and became filled with SELF, he never once looked back. In his thrill of power and being, he convinced a third of the angels in heaven to follow him in this experience. Spiritually speaking, this became an instant and forever death, that is, none of the fallen could even imagine giving up this orgasm of SELF. They did not so much as walk away from God as they rather transported themselves forever into a state of forever separation from the selflessness of God. In their instant and total addiction to Sin, they so completely abandoned any thoughts of duty to others, the needs of others and the good of others. Their entire lives revolve around themselves. Does that sound familiar? It is very similar to drug addiction.
So, the Lord God wanted to make children for himself, children that he could love and have fellowship with, but there was the problem of Sin, and what that Sin would do to his beloved children. What to do about Sin. This is what God had to account for. The Lord God decided to create an entire pseudo heaven, an alternate Heaven as it were, but one in which his spiritual children would be hidden inside of dampening animal bodies. In these bodies his children could be infected with SELF and yet still see themselves from outside, as it were, that is, they could see their spiritual lives with their human-animal brain and see the damage that Sin was doing to them, and also see the escape route that God built for their release, and through that understanding make a choice to escape the power of Sin.
Please understand that God did not create the angels only to see a third of them fall and then change his plan with respect to man. Everything was fully understood by him before he created anything. The angels were created for man. God knew what would happen. There is nothing that God does not know.
“See, it is I who created the blacksmith who fans the coals into flame and forges a weapon fit for its work. And it is I who have created the destroyer to work havoc; 17 no weapon forged against you will prevail, and you will refute every tongue that accuses you. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and this is their vindication from me,” declares the Lord. (NIV84)
God created Satan to do what he does. That is a fact, however, if you look carefully at everything, you will see that God didn’t create anything bad. He created only good, but Lucifer abandoned goodness for Self. It was inevitable for Lucifer to become prideful, but actually the choice was his and not God’s. It is the same for you, my friend. If you sin it is because you want to; it is your choice. The point here is that God created the destroyer, Satan, to work havoc, so that you can see the havoc wrought by Sin, and choose a better path for yourself.
Then, when I make atonement for you for all you have done, you will remember and be ashamed and never again open your mouth because of your humiliation, declares the Sovereign Lord.’ ” (NIV84)
This is the Plan of God, remember it. If you don’t look at the world and see it, then how can you learn from it? Sin is powerful. Sin has you in its grip, but God is stronger than Sin.
If you want to remain in rebellion towards God then all of the pain and suffering seen in the earth will come upon you, but if on the other hand, you wish to become one with God, then the nature of God will also become your nature, that is, …
Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. (NIV84)
The choice here is yours.
This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live 20 and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. (NIV84)
The literal Promised Land (Canaan) in the above passage is symbolic of Heaven. Choose life and live forever in Heaven, choose death (sin and rebellion) then every curse written in the Bible will befall you.
One very important thing I want you to understand about sin is that it always eats away at its host until its host is utterly consumed. The Bible uses fire to symbolically represent the effect of sin. It has been about six thousand years, or so, that Satan has been in the clutches of sin. He started out beautiful and wise, but now he is ugly and hard and cruel. Many people don’t realize it but the statue represented in Daniel chapter two is actually a prophetic image of Satan over a period of about twenty-six hundred years, or so. He starts out represented with gold and ends up represented with iron mixed with clay. He starts out soft and noble and ends up hard and cruel. That is what sin does over time. This is why God cannot have any sinners living in the community in eternity. Eternity is a very long time. Only Love can endure forever in a healthy nondestructive state.
After the fall of man, man’s life span was a bit more than eight hundred and fifty years. It is difficult for us today to believe that. Today the average life span is seventy to eighty years or so and yet the ages of the sons of Adam, as recorded in Genesis chapter five, average about eight hundred fifty years. What happened? Why do we live such shorter lives?
The length of our days is seventy years—or eighty, if we have the strength; yet their span is but trouble and sorrow, for they quickly pass, and we fly away. (NIV84)
Something changed. Notice the last portion of the above sentence. I believe that the shortened lifespan of man is a mercy and not a punishment. Something changed at the time of the flood that made life more difficult to endure.
Some years ago I received a very interesting epiphany concerning the designed lifespan of man and I would like to share it with you now.
Most people alive today have heard it said that we use between ten to fifteen percent of our brain capacity. I imagine that you have heard that number bandied about from time to time. Where do you suppose that number came from? It came about during the mid 20th century. Scientists started autopsying people’s brains after they had passed, studying the brain’s composition. It was estimated that an average adult human brain had between 100 to 200 billion cells, that they called neurons. They discovered that long term memories were actually physically built inside the brain, through the interconnection of the neurons. They found that if a small portion of a person’s brain was stimulated with an electric probe, the person would experience a reliving of a given memory. This revealed to us that the brain physically stores far more information than was previously thought possible. Anyway, I don’t want to get too deep into the complexities of this, but it is important to note that by looking carefully at brain matter, under a microscope, and counting the interconnections between the neurons, that the scientists could estimate that only ten to fifteen percent of the possible interconnections have been made in the average adult brain by the time of their death.
What we must take from this is that the human brain was created by God with a limited capacity. This limited capacity is many times bigger than necessary for a person who lives only 100 years or so, but if you lived long enough eventually your brain would fill up, and I suspect that that would be a problem. We can also understand from this information that humans were created by God to live much longer than seventy to eighty years. I estimate that the designed length is a little bit longer than 1000 years, at which point there would be no more room in the brain to make new connections.
Anyway, I can’t prove any of this because I am not a brain scientist, but I nonetheless find this pretty interesting stuff.
Before the flood, the length of a generation was about one hundred years, and after the flood, it dropped to about thirty years. The lifespan of man went from eight hundred fifty years to about seventy to eighty years. Why? What happened?
The seventy-two returned with joy and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.”
18 He replied, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. (NIV84)
Jesus put the fall of Satan from heaven in the past tense. God created the destroyer (Satan) to work his havoc, to act as a sort of catalyst for evil. Satan’s influence shortens the lifespan of man. Sin’s influence shortens the lifespan of man. We can deduce from this that Sin is detrimental to the health of those under its power. Why, do you think, that God allowed this?
The righteous perish, and no one ponders it in his heart; devout men are taken away, and no one understands that the righteous are taken away to be spared from evil.
2 Those who walk uprightly enter into peace; they find rest as they lie in death. (NIV84)
It is a mercy for us that God has shortened the effects of sin on us. I can’t even imagine having to live in the present world for eight hundred fifty years. Who could endure sin at this degree for that long and not be worn down by it?
Because of the wickedness, that man descended down into, before the flood, Satan was allowed to run things with more hands-on control than before. Satan is trying to show that Self is a better way to run things than Love. He is arguing that point before the angels in heaven. God, therefore, allowed him to run things on the earth to see what he can do with a Self-rule.
2 Corinthians 4:4
The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. (NIV84)
This is a passage that tells us that Satan is the god of this age.
The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. 6 And he said to him, “I will give you all their authority and splendor, for it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. 7 So if you worship me, it will all be yours.” (NIV84)
Again we see that Satan is in control of the world at this point. These kingdoms of the world belong to him. This is why I said that the statue in Daniel chapter two is a picture of Satan. My point here is that when the rain fell in judgment upon man, Satan also fell from heaven and became the god of this world. And Satan’s effect upon man is death, or in this case, a shorter lifespan before death ultimately does man in.
It is not a punishment that the lifespan of man is shorter when Satan rules over man, rather it is a mercy because life on earth has become so unbearable. Any thinking person can deduce from this that Sin is detrimental to life.
The passage above (Isaiah 57:1–2)also shows us something else that is very important to understand, and that is that those that belong to God enter into peace and rest when they pass. This is the promise of eventual restoration with God. Those that seek after the God of Love in this world shall find him, and he will receive his own unto himself.
Another thing that we can see in the above passage is that everything that God does is for the benefit of those that belong to him. Satan may be “the god of this age,” but God is ultimately in control and he watches over all those that belong to him. Consider this very important Scripture…
Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. (NIV84)
This passage doesn’t say that if you resist the devil he will leave you alone; no, it says that he will flee away from you in fear. Satan may be “the god of this age,” but he has absolutely no authority over you if you belong to God. This is why Jesus Christ was not martyred on the cross, but rather he offered himself up, willingly, as a sin offering to God, so that through his sacrifice we might be saved from the power of sin. Satan had no power over Jesus; he only thought that he did. Satan was deceived by God and fell into God’s trap.
1 Corinthians 2:8
None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. (NIV84)
Did you know that we have one more age before the universe is removed by God? It is the age of the fulfillment of all of the promises God made to Israel. This coming age is sometimes called the Millennial Kingdom Age because it will last for just about a thousand years.
And I saw an angel coming down out of heaven, having the key to the Abyss and holding in his hand a great chain. 2 He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years. 3 He threw him into the Abyss, and locked and sealed it over him, to keep him from deceiving the nations anymore until the thousand years were ended. After that, he must be set free for a short time. (NIV84)
There are many Scriptures that will be fulfilled during that age, dozens and dozens. Please notice that Satan is no longer the “god of this age”, and neither is he up in heaven stirring up trouble. He who had the power of death is himself locked up on the temporary place of isolation, the Abyss, or Hell if you prefer. During this time, this thousand-year period, death need not come to anyone. People will, once again, live to their designed lifespan of about one thousand years.
“Never again will there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, or an old man who does not live out his years; he who dies at a hundred will be thought a mere youth; he who fails to reach a hundred will be considered accursed. (NIV84)
And down a couple more verses we see…
For as the days of a tree, so will be the days of my people; my chosen ones will long enjoy the works of their hands. (NIV84)
Spiritually speaking, we are designed to live with God forever in eternity, but in this temporary heaven, the physical universe, we were designed to live for about a thousand years or so. God did this as a mercy so that we could learn about Sin and not be deceived by it. But, sin isn’t the only thing that we can learn about while living on the earth. God revealed to us this very own nature, Love, through his Son, Jesus Christ. People go on about Jesus and his crucifixion, which is really important, but there is something behind the crucifixion that is also important to see and understand, and that is why Jesus went to the cross.
Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, 15 that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.
16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (NIV84)
What do you suppose Jesus means by saying that everyone that believes in him may have eternal life? Jesus is not saying that everyone that believes that he came and was crucified will be saved. Satan believes that. The demons in Hell believe that too. Jesus is saying that everyone that believes in Love will be saved. Jesus explains that to you in the next verse, “For God so loved the world…”. Jesus’ whole life was the epitome of love. Jesus’ life is so strange to us because it was a life of perfect divine love, as perfect as was possible in a human body.
Christianity is not a religion. It has nothing to do with going to the Temple and making offerings and such. It is not about the clothes that you wear or the things that you own, or any worldly thing. It is about trusting in Love rather than Self. It is about putting your faith in the God of Love.
God is Love. Jesus believed in Love. Jesus lived his entire life as one who believes in Love. Because God so loved mankind he sent his son to the earth to break Sin’s power over man. If anyone will give up their Self, and put their trust in Love, then they will overcome the world by becoming a person that belongs to Jesus Christ, and as death had no power over Jesus Christ, death can have no power over you either.
This is the choice that is before you: You can choose to believe in yourself, or you can choose to believe in God, by putting your faith in God’s nature, Selfless Love. This is the choice that has been put to each and every human person on earth, however, most people have chosen to believe in themselves. That is why the earth is so evil.
Jesus Christ did not come as a Law-Giver, like Moses, but rather he came as an expression of Love, true obedient Love, obedient to God and His way. Jesus does not require you to do this and not do that. Those things are for those that trust in themselves. Jesus beacons you to come and join him. Join with Christ in his obedience to the God of Love. Believe in the sacrifice that brought you freedom from sin and death. Believe in the resurrection that becomes your resurrection from death.
“I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life. (NIV84)