Tag Archives: eternity

God’s Calling

Studies in Genesis 3

But the LORD God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” (Genesis 3:9 ESV)

God “called” to the first man, Adam, who is the representative of Man, all humans. To call means to summon, to invite, appoint, endow, and also to cry out, proclaim, to call by name. God did not ask where he was. He knew Adam was hiding among the trees. He also knew Adam had rebelled against Him by eating the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. God called to Adam to present himself before his Authority.

God does not ask anyone to do anything. Nowhere in Scripture will you find God asking for our obedience. Even in our rebellion God demands obedience. God does ask questions of those who are His. His questions are designed to teach us about Him and about ourselves before Him. While Adam was hiding from God, He began asking a series of questions designed to elicit specific answers.

“Where are you?”  This question is full of meaning and points to many other questions. Why are you hiding? Why aren’t you coming to greet me? What are you feeling? Are you afraid? How did you come to know fear?

Some have suggested God went in search of Adam after the rebellion. This is certainly possible. However, God knows everything and does not act quickly as we judge necessary timeliness. He stands outside of time while knowing all which occurs constrained by time. Nor, is God going to allow sin and rebellion to change Him or His actions. He knew before they sinned not only that they would rebel but what He was planning to do because of their disobedience. All God does is for His purpose, not ours. We are created to serve Him, yet His eternal nature is to serve without losing or compromising His authority and place.

God’s call to man, whether Adam or anyone else who has, does or will live, is a summons into His presence. It is not a request to come but a command to present oneself before God. Since God created Man for relationship, yet still has authority over Man, His call is to come and be with Him in a loving, intimate way. It is the nature of sin to be repulsed by God. With the act of rebellion by Man and the summons of God the war raging within Man because of sin is defined.

God’s image in Man is an irresistible striving to know and be with Him. Man’s now bent and corrupted nature is an overwhelming revulsion toward God and a terrifying desire to flee from Him. God’s image in Man is not corrupted because God cannot be corrupted. Yet, the vessel holding the image is broken and compromised and no longer wants that image. God’s image cannot be expunged from Man. It will always, forever in eternity, be there, driving Man toward his Maker. Unless Man is recreated, not fixed or patched but made new, the war between the corrupted flesh and the incorruptible nature of God, will rage out of control, even in eternity.

God Blesses and Makes Holy

Studies in Genesis 2

So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation. (Genesis 2:2-3 ESV)

This is now the third time God uses the word “blessed.” On the fifth day, when God created the sea creatures and the birds of the air He blessed them, saying they were to “be fruitful and multiply” (Genesis 1:22 ESV) and fill the earth. Then, on the sixth day God “blessed” Adam, Man, to not only fill the earth but to have dominion over all earthly living creatures. “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth” (Genesis 1:28 ESV). I think it of no consequence that God refrained from blessing the wild and domesticated animals and those creatures that creep. His blessing is to all earthly living things, that they are fruitful and multiply, according to their kind, and fill the earth.

“Blessing” means to kneel before and give that which cannot be had otherwise. Where God blessed living creatures during creation, here He blesses, not a period of time but the totality of the end result of His work of creation. If we read the first six days as periods of time with definitive beginnings and endings, then God’s seventh “day” has a beginning but no end. Or, the seventh day is the end of creation where all is accomplished according to God’s eternal purpose and He will do nothing else. God is eternal, unconstrained by time. For us to view Him in time helps us understand Him in a limited, space-time manner, but ultimately our understanding of Him will never define Him.

God uses His eternal character to define His blessing of the seventh day. He declares it “holy.” He set apart the seventh day from all the rest. He sanctified it and dedicated it to Himself. Holiness carries all of the eternal attributes of God for His use and according to His design and for His direction ad purpose. Nothing holy is defiled or corrupted, bent or broken, unable to fulfill its purpose and design because of a flaw. Nothing God creates is flawed or broken or unable to fulfill the purpose for which it was created. Holiness is integral to God. It does not surround Him, or direct Him or force Him to conform to its purpose. Holiness is God. All which God does is holy.

God’s Sabbath is holy and all created by God are designed to recognize Him as such. Holiness cannot be ignored. Man, created in the image of God for intimate relationship with Him was given an immediate and eternal disposition to love God and enjoy Him in peace and rest. Now, God tells Man to view and treat Him as holy and to keep, as a reminder and promise, the Sabbath set apart for intimate relationship with Him.

Light Overcomes Darkness

Studies in Genesis 1

And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years, and let them be lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light upon the earth.” And it was so. (Genesis 1:14-19 ESV)

This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. (1 John 1:5-7 ESV)

Where there is darkness God gives light. There is a spiritual element to light and darkness as well as a physical element. God does nothing arbitrarily but thoughtfully, with ramifications which cross physical boundaries into the spiritual, eternal realms. Man, whom He created for eternity, is embedded with the eternal light of God. But darkness corrupted Man. Darkness cannot corrupt light.

Where there is darkness He brings light. On the fourth day of creation God filled the heavens with lights. He made the Sun to “rule the day” and the Moon and stars to “rule the night.” He separated day from night but did not allow complete darkness to rule the night. Night was dark but there was always some light. At times the light reflected by the Moon would be strong or dim. When the Moon was hidden by the earth there were the stars. Until God rolls up the heavens, bringing an end to the universe, stars will shine. Only when eyes are hidden from the light will there be no light to see.

A brief look at history will show God working according to the principle of light and darkness, and of separation. God separated out a people from the rest of the population, not because they were special but because through them would come His Son. Yet, He gave these people His laws, both civil and criminal, and rules for living. He made them different than from the rest of the people of the world. Giving them His law made them a light to the world. His law was the light and the people were the instrument used to shine the light. No matter how hard they tried to suppress God’s light, to exclude any not “chosen” according to their traditions, God used His light in them to bring many people to Himself.

Through the nation of Israel came His Son, God’s absolute light to a world enveloped in darkness. God’s chosen are not the nation through which Christ came but those who are citizens of the kingdom of heaven, chosen by God. Jesus is not simply a vessel or instrument of light but the actual, spiritual light to physical people corrupted by sin, filled with darkness. His righteous light overcomes the spiritual darkness of sin.

Finally, God set His Church in the world, scattered throughout as many points of light. Each person filled with the Spirit of God is not only the vessel but a source of light.

God separated people from Himself because of the darkness of sin. Yet, His purpose since the fall is to draw people toward Himself. He came and dwelt with the nation of Israel, shining His light through them to a world enveloped in darkness. He sent His Son, completely God and completely Man as God originally intended in Adam, as the absolute source of light, both physical and spiritual. When Jesus ascended, God sent His Spirit indwelling those who are His while they continued living in a world covered in darkness. Throughout history God has provided light, even a dim light, to a world darkened by sin. Until the end of time, which will come, God shines light in darkness. Ultimate separation from God is absolute darkness while absolute inclusion with God in eternity is refulgent light.

Authority

Studies in Genesis 1

Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” (Genesis 1:26 ESV)

Dominion does not mean ownership. God created all things, which means God is the owner of all things created. This includes Man. Though created in His image, no person created has absolute, autonomous ownership of themselves. Ignoring God and acting like He is not there will not dissolve the connection any has with their Creator.

God tells us what it is over which people have dominion, control, responsibility and privilege. His list follows the days of creation, beginning with the sea creatures and the birds of the air. He then states in verse 26 that people have dominion over the “livestock” and every “creeping things” which includes reptiles and snakes. God repeats His direction of authority given people in verse 28 when He includes everything that lives. It is not that God forgot to include all living creatures then remembered in His next declaration. His second declaration of authority given people is an affirmation, a statement for us that tells us He is not going to change His mind. It is a sure thing. Throughout Scripture God will make a statement two or three times telling us His mind and will are set.

People are given authority over the Earth as God’s physical representative. With His image we speak and act and judge for Him. This does not mean He is not present, distant or completely absent. He is everywhere. This does mean when we speak and act based upon the moral standard embedded in the image of God we uphold and reinforce His purpose and intent. God views our speech, acts and moral decisions as if He Himself was speaking and acting based on His moral attributes and will uphold and stand by our speech, acts and moral decisions.

Again, I do not want people to misunderstand. Those given the image of God are given all they need to fulfill His purpose by functioning as He designed. There is no thought of rebellion built into the image of God. His eternal knowledge of the coming rebellion, knowing sin will happen, does not change God’s purpose and intent for people, nor their place in God’s created order. Sin affects how people relate to God and to Creation but does not change God.

All God is doing in these verses happens in eternity but before sin and rebellion in the space-time universe. Sin and rebellion change Man’s position and authority before God. We are seeing Man the way God intended.

 

Alive

Studies  in Genesis 1

And God said, “Let the waters swarm with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the heavens.” So God created the great sea creatures and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarm, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. And God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.” And there was evening and there was morning, the fifth day. (Gen 1:20-23 ESV)

When God created the heavens and the earth, the universe in which we exist, He knew both the beginning and the ending of time. He exists outside of time and space looking down upon that which He created from a vantage point, seeing everything that is, was and will be. That which begins will also end. Nothing in the physical realm was designed to last for eternity.

Yet, we know from the words of Christ and the plain teaching of Scripture, that God created Man for Himself, for “everlasting life.” Physical bodies are exchanged for spiritual bodies which are just as real as the physical. Time, which begins and ends, is surrounded by eternity, which has neither beginning nor ending.

God tells us in Genesis 1 the creatures He created were “living” in Genesis 1:20. This word in English is a combination of two words in Hebrew. First, a word for “breathing” or “vitality” combined with a word for “alive” “fresh” and “strong.” Every animal which is alive breathes and moves. Plants take in oxygen and release carbon dioxide and grow but do not move. Both are alive. One the third day God created life which does not move. On the fifth day God created life which moves. All of this life He placed on a planet, in a solar system, in a galaxy, in a universe which is not alive, does not breathe, yet moves. God created that which is not alive and that which is alive.

When God created plant life on the third day He did so as food for the animal life He creates on the fifth (and sixth) day. Plants are food for animals. Are some animals food for other animals? This is true now, at this place in time. But were these animals, the fish and birds created on the fifth day, created as food for the animals He will create on the sixth day? Was that which had life created and given life to eventually die?

For Man physical death does not mean spiritual death. I have been saying for years that Man, each individual person, was not created to cease to exist but to exist in eternity, outside of space and time. Is this also true for all life created by God? We have circumstantial evidence only.

Declaring His Plan

Studies in Genesis 1

The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed according to their own kinds, and trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. (Genesis 1:12 ESV)

Why does God repeat Himself? He has already said “Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind, on the earth” (Genesis 1:11 ESV). Perhaps He is not repeating Himself. Instead He is announcing His plan in one statement then seamlessly executing His plan.

Theology suggests when God states something it is done. He does not speak just to hear His voice. What He says happens. His plan is finished. This is true for everything God says.

Perhaps there is another reason. Being eternal God sees the beginning from the end and all things in between. His plan includes all that will happen. This has astounding implications.

“The former things I declared of old; they went out from my mouth, and I announced them; then suddenly I did them, and they came to pass. Because I know that you are obstinate, and your neck is an iron sinew and your forehead brass, I declared them to you from of old, before they came to pass I announced them to you, lest you should say, ‘My idol did them, my carved image and my metal image commanded them.’” (Isaiah 48:3-5 ESV)

God knew those created in His image would rebel against Him and declare Him powerless. So He tells us what He has done and will do. There is no excuse or made up reason to believe otherwise. He works for Himself yet is mindful of those created in His image.

God Created

Studies in Genesis 1

In the beginning, God created. [Genesis 1:1 ESV]

Our universe and our individual existence had a beginning. Before the beginning was God. God is not constrained by the universe or by time. Nor is God simply outside looking in, separated by some magical or metaphysical boundary. God is outside. He does look in. But, there is nothing in the Hebrew Scripture or the New Testament to suggest God is not fully engaged and involved.

Before there was anything God created. God is the source and cause of everything created. Our universe exists because of God’s creative desire. Since there was nothing before God created anything God made something out of nothing. Theologically, the term is ex nihilo, out of nothing.

God created and the evidence demands we recognize God is fully involved in the design, construction, laws and workings of the universe from the largest galaxy to the smallest atom. Every particle and atom of matter is created and set in motion by God.

There is no other source for whatever is in the universe.

Let us speculate, allowing imagination to build concepts of things which cannot be proved. If there is another, alternate universe, God also created it. If there are multiple co-existing universes God created them all. However, such speculation is always bizarre since none could know about the existence and workings of an alternate universe. Suffice it to say, as Creator God is in control.

This means we are not.

Whatever is created, where ever it exists, God made it and put it there.