God is the ultimate reality. He has spun the universes into existence and has created all other beings. As humans, we too had our beginning from God. Like Plato and Socrates, I believe that we pre-existed in a spiritual realm prior to being born into this world. Unfortunately the church fathers, with the exceptions of Origen and Augustine, rejected this view as an overreaction to the heresies of gnosticism and neoplatonism that threatened to subvert the Gospel. How do I know of this pre-existence? I have very faint memories of a spiritual existence before being born into this world. My children spoke of this of this existence when they were small. I have heard of other 2-4 year old children being able to talk of their own pre-existence in the spiritual realm prior to their earthly birth, when carefully questioned about it. One couple I know of had three boys who each spoke of having been with God and the angels prior to birth without any prompting from their parents when they were small. Evidently as people age and develop, these memories are overlaid with countless earthly memories and are largely forgotten. This pre-existence is at the purely spiritual level. The soul is not created until physical conception.
One may ask why are we here and forced to leave that spiritual realm. I believe that the answer lies in the fall of Lucifer from Heaven along with a third of the angels. It is my own belief that human spirits were originally intended to be part of Lucifer's cadre in the spiritual realm. Once Lucifer fell, there was no further need for our existence in the spiritual realm, since we had been created to serve Lucifer in carrying out his heavenly responsibilities. Lucifer's disobedience led to our own eventual banishment from Heaven, even though we were not involved in his revolt against God. God in His infinite mercy has brought us to this world to perfect our redemption. He is bound by His own spiritual laws in the eternal realm, but at the temporal level, He can rewrite our destiny through His plan for our redemption. Had not Adam and Eve disobeyed God, this plan would have been much simpler and salvation would have been universal for all mankind. When that couple listened to Lucifer rather than obey God, suddenly salvation became much more difficult. Man had chosen sides and was no longer just an innocent bystander thus bringing condemnation on all mankind who was to be born on earth from that time forward.
Man himself had sinned against God and lost his opportunity for an easier salvation. To put it in the vernacular, man really blew it. Now man's disobedience had to dealt with in a manner satisfying God, fulfilling the new parameters now required for our salvation and permit our return to the spiritual realm (Heaven) after leaving this earthly sojourn. Christ, the second person of the Godhead, came to earth in the form of a man to die a sacrificial death for our redemption so that by believing in Him and on His death, we can be redeemed and made new spiritual beings fit for His kingdom. Through Christ, the Holy Spirit creates us anew and we are reshaped into His image, no longer designed to follow after Lucifer and his entourage.
Praise be to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit for their gift of salvation through the Son's loving sacrifice of Himself on the cross, the Father's willingness to send Him and the Spirit's perseverance in causing us to believe.
Some have a difficult time grasping the concept of the Trinity. The Trinity is the three distinct, separate, yet simultaneously occurring dynamic states in which God exists and through which He expresses Himself. It may be easier to understand the Trinity by the functions they perform. The Father is the Creator of His creation. The Son controls the interface relationship between the Creator and His creation. The Holy Spirit permeates the creation carrying out the will of the Father and the Son.
Others may ask how does God create worlds and universes, i.e. this temporal existence. I believe the new physics gives us an insight into God's methods. The big bang which began our universe was caused by a large quantum fluctuation. These fluctuations are believed by some cosmologists to be power spikes in a tremendous quantum field of incredible intensity. Since there are undoubtedly many of these power spikes, and at the top of each powerful enough spike is a created universe, there are probably many overlapping sister universes to our universe in existence at this very moment. They are separated from each other only by the different quantum time value that each universe possesses. Thus we can not see or sense them nor can they see or sense us. You may ask how does God fit into the overall scheme of these things. I truly believe that the energy that creates and drives this quantum field issues forth from the mind of God even as He speaks the Word. All quantum phenomena is created by God. The physical is the result of an outpouring of the spiritual, though not in a pantheistic way. The beauty of God and His methods is that while we may seem far removed from where God is, He is only a prayer away. He loves us and cares for us, who believe on His dear Son, and longs that all mankind will come to a saving faith in His beloved Son; but God wants our love freely given and not given through coercion. He gives us His Holy Spirit to guide us and lead us into paths of righteousness for His namesake. All that is required of us is simple faith in our living Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
I look forward to the day that I return to the spiritual realm from which we have come and can worship, adore, praise and glorify Him forever. Our Lord made a way back where there was no way, so that we may dwell with Him and enjoy Him forever. Praise be to God that He has not left us nor forsaken us, but through His death established His plan for our salvation when we come to believe on His shed blood. Hallelujah, God is truly great and greatly to be worshiped in spirit and truth.
In awe of the Living God
Richard E. Franing
AN INTERPRETATION OF GENESIS ONE
I've decided to take a shot at this one, so you folks need to get the stake ready along with the rope, wood and matches because I'm about to reveal my pet theory concerning the first chapter of Genesis. In second Peter 3:8, we find the following in the RSV version: "But do not ignore this fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years and a thousand years is as one day." This is a way of saying that God is the creator and ruler of time as well as every thing else in this universe and beyond. So even a million or a billion years can be as one day or one nanosecond to Him as He chooses it to be, since He is beyond time. With that in mind, lets move into Genesis. In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. I think that this represents the start of our universe. The heavens representing space and the earth representing matter.The Earth without form and void and the Spirit of God hovered above the waters. The matter had not coalesced together sufficiently to form large physical bodies in space, but had coalesced enough that internal heat within the matter was driving off water vapor that may have condensed on the surface of that matter. Then God said let there be light. This was beginning of nuclear fusion in our universe, along with planet building. Where the light hit these protoplanets, there was day and on the backside of these bodies was night just as God had commanded. Obviously it took billions of our years for our universe to reach this stage, but to God that is little more than a blink of the eye. God called this time the first day. The morning and the evening being whatever time that God wishes it to be or when He wishes it to be. I think it highly unlikely He is saying an earthday at this point because our solar system had not been created yet, that did not occur until the fourth day. On the second day God separated the waters into the seas and the sky. Evidently certain planets in scattered solar systems had cooled enough for their atmospheres to start clearing instead of one big shroud of clouds enveloping these planets from their surfaces. During this day God formed the land surfaces upon these planets. Again in God's time there could have been another blink of His spiritual eyes. Evening could be when He closes His eyes and the morning when He opens them again. So ended the second day. (I can see that you folks have erected the stake and gathered the firewood. You're having a cookout! Right?). On the third day, God brought forth vegetation. There have probably been many planets within our universe in times past and yet today that have some forms of life upon them. This is God's universe, along with any others, and He can do with them whatever He so desires. Who are we to limit Him to only caring about what happens on our dinky little planet, as important as it is to us? Don't get me wrong, God does care about us and this Earth, but We are not His only responsibility. Again God blinks His eyes and another day is over in His book, even though more millions of earth type years may have elapsed.
On the fourth day God created our sun, the moon and obviously the planets in our solar system. From this point on, I think that God is referring to our planet when He speaks of the earth, although He is not yet talking in earth days when He speaks. We tend to limit God into our way of thinking, not realizing that He is far greater than we could ever imagine. God also created the land and plants on our Earth in this time frame. This "day" must have been several billion earth years long. It is wonderful that God never gets tired doing all this creating, because if He did He would probably get worn out just trying to keep up with all the petitions I offer up to His throne, let alone those that everyone else bring to Him in prayer.
On the fifth day, God created the animals. Plants were already in existence on the Earth, being part of his previous day's work. This time frame probably lasted hundreds of millions of Earth years. As you can tell by now, I think that God used an evolutionary process to bring this to past. Not a random type of evolution, but a God inspired and God driven evolutionary process that only He is capable of doing. Truly we have a great and awe inspiring God.
On the sixth day, we arrive at the place where the rubber meets the road so to speak. Did God create man? You bet He did. Did God use an evolutionary process to create man from the higher mammal animals? You bet He did. (GASP!) You say what about Adam? I think He came along later. This day probably lasted several million years. God looked at all of this creation and declared it good. Who are we to argue with God about something like that. If He says it is good, then it must be good. Anyway God decided He needed a little vacation after all that work of creating. I'll bet my bottom dollar that the seventh day did not last even two earth seconds, because God loves what He is doing so much that He won't ever give it up and keeps on keeping on. Getting back to Adam, I believe that Adam was the first human with a spirit bearing soul. God created him from the dust of the Earth and breathed life into Him because God had created him for a special purpose. Adam was a perfect man. He could not say that bad genes had caused him to sin. Likewise Eve whom God created from Adam was perfect. These two were to be the first of mankind to enter into this world with a God created spirit. All men existing before Adam had a soul, but no spirit indwelling that soul. This leads me to think that the fall of Lucifer from Heaven occurred sometime after the sixth day. This I have reason to believe: that spirits of men are leftover remnants from the old order that existed in Heaven before Lucifer launched his revolt against God. As beings who did not take part in that revolt, but nevertheless of suspect loyalty to God, we could not remain in Heaven in our old form. We have to be transformed into new creatures before we are acceptable to God again. This is the purpose of our earthly existence. God knew that Lucifer and a third of the angels were going to revolt against him. He also had originally created us as subangelic beings to assist Lucifer in carrying out his heavenly responsibilities, before Lucifer got the big head and decided to try to take over God's position. I wonder if that happened while God was on vacation during the seventh day. It would be just like old Lucifer to try something like that.
Anyway, once God decided that we subangelic spiritual beings (see Hebrews 2:7) could no longer dwell in His heavenly kingdom in our then spiritual form and He began thinking of ways to change us. He could not do this at the eternal level because He is constrained by His own eternal laws at that level. He had to bring us to a temporal level to accomplish that. Since a suitable vehicle (man) was already in place to accomplish this objective, God decided to piggyback these spirits into men's souls. This is why our soul also contains a God created spirit (see Hebrews 4:12). Enspiritment of the human soul occurs in the first two months of pregnancy, but it is unlikely that this happens in the first few weeks after conception.
Adam was the first of these spirit souled men. Had he not disobeyed God, he would have been permitted to eventually eat of the tree of life and been transformed into an eternal creature, with rights to dwell with God forever. Adam and Eve were a special test case. God knew that if they failed the test, then all men from that point on would fail this test. They were cast out of the Garden and forced to live among the other existing humans. From that time on all human beings have had a spirit bearing soul. How long will this go on? Probably until heaven is emptied of its condemned subangelic spirits or until the church on Earth becomes so decadent that so few are getting saved and transformed thru faith in the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, that there is no purpose in continuing the process. This why spirit bearing souls should not be aborted and the Gospel must be preached with great fervor everywhere on Earth. This is our one and only chance to be able to dwell with God forever. We pass this way but once and each spirit bearing soul gets only one chance. There is no reincarnation. We must not rob ourselves or future generations of this sole opportunity for salvation. Once Adam failed, only thenew Adam (Jesus Christ) could salvage the situation for us. He is the Way, the Truth and the Life. He who has Christ has eternal life and this life is in God's only begotten Son.
I have presented this theory, not as an absolute truth, but as an attempt to bridge the difference between fact and faith. Many people choose to ignore the physical facts around us or to twist them to agree with their particular interpretation of God's Word. Likewise too many people ignore the Scriptures in a vain attempt to arrive at the facts. God does not lie nor do the facts lie, and ultimately they are saying the same thing. (So why are you folks grabbing me, not the stake. Oh well, let the flames begin. (Arrrgh!!!)
Thoughtfully yours in Christ Jesus,
A SHORT TREATISE ON ORIGINAL SIN
The Lord God took man and put him in the garden of Eden to till it and keep it. And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, "You may freely eat of every tree of the garden; 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 die." But the serpent said to the woman, "You will not die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." .....she took of its fruit and ate; and she also gave some to her husband, and he ate. Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. .....
Then the Lord God said, "Behold the man has become like one of us, knowing good and evil; and now lest he put forth his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever"---therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from which he as taken. He drove out the man: and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life. (excerpts from the Book of Genesis, Chapters 2 and 3)
How often has man pondered these words throughout the ensuing centuries and speculated as to their exact meaning. Some say that it was an actual fruit such as an apple, some look at it as being an abstract historical event, some think of it as a crisis of the spirit that man experienced, while others think that these verses represent a supernatural experience that Adam and Eve had. Some people think that it represents some form or type of superior knowledge. Still others think of it as a mythical story told to explain how sin began. None of these concepts are comprehensive enough to adequately explain the true nature of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
I fear that I now know the meaning of these verses. The tree of this knowledge lies deep within the soul of man. It is what the Christian teacher Watchman Nee refers to as "the latent power of the soul". So what is this latent power that lies hidden deep within the inner recesses of man's soul? I believe that it is a type of angelic power, which might be better thought of as Adamic power.
Man is a sub-angelic being who is endowed with a certain degree of latent angelic capability. Man is not an angel, but man may be distantly related to the angels in some manner. Under certain circumstances, the latent angelic capability of a relatively few number of people can become momentarily activated for short periods of time. Probably at least 99% of the human race never experiences any of this activation and thus are totally oblivious to the existence of the latent angelic capability within themselves.
Activation of this capability primarily occurs during spiritual dreams while asleep. The person begins a troubled dream while in a deep sleep, then slips into a state of spiritual dreaming through which the person can temporarily enter into the angelic mode. While in this temporary angelic mode, the person is able to direct the course of future events, depending what the subject of spiritual dream is. If the person exercises his angelic powers in concert with the direction of the Holy Spirit of God, the results will be good and beneficial. If the person exercises his angelic powers in a unilateral manner, then the results will inevitably be evil. The person acting in a unilateral way is trying to play God by usurping God's authority in total disregard to God's will. This is the reason why Adam and Eve fell in the garden. As a result, they were stripped of their innocence and left naked before the Lord. It appears that the ability to be activated runs in certain families. It may also be that this ability may skip generations within a family, as well as individuals within an active generation. My father's mother was an angelically active person, but my father never experienced activation as I have.
In honesty, I must admit that I have exercised this angelic power both ways in the past, for the good of mankind when exercised in concert with the Holy Spirit and to the detriment of man when I exercised it unilaterally. This was largely done in ignorance before I realized what the exact nature of this power was and how capricious
this Adamic power can be. It has a Jekyll and Hyde quality about it and must be exercised with extreme caution and then only under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Adam was warned about this danger, but he chose to disregard God's warning. When God told Adam not to eat of that tree, He was telling him not to exercise his angelic capability because it would cause him fail the test and all future mankind with him. After man's fall in the Garden, this capability became latent. Because Adam sinned, he was not permitted to eat of the tree of life. The way of the tree of life would have to be personified in the Way, the Truth and the Life in order for man to have that opportunity again to gain eternal life and that life is in God's only begotten son, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
My experience with this phenomenon is that it begins in earnest during the early teen years, reaches its peak about 30-35 years of age and then slowly declines until it reaches a point of near cessation during one's lower fifties. The time of greatest power during a person's early thirties is also the time of greatest danger because it when the greatest extremes of good and evil are possible. Momentary angelity can a potent stealth weapon if used unwisely. Following one's spiritual instincts can indeed be dangerous, thus the person must stay close to God and be clothed in His righteousness. The old testament and book of Acts states that the young men shall see visions and the old men shall dream dreams. In those days, an old man could be any man past the age of thirty because life expectancy was not very long in those days. I have experienced these visions and dreams in the past. The visions are basically learning experiences while the dreams are basically doing experiences.
Adam lost any chance to gain access to the tree of life in the garden when he disobeyed God, thereby losing the opportunity for eternal life with God in heaven. As children of Adam, we also share that lost opportunity, but God in his great mercy has created anotherway for us to obtain eternal life with Him. God sent his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, to die and shed his blood to free us from the first Adam's curse and our own sin. Through faith in the Lord Jesus we are born anew into God's family and receive the promise of the Father that we will stand faultless before the throne at the day of judgement. We are no longer children of disobedience, but we are now children of God fit for His kingdom. All that is required of us is simple faith in the Lord Jesus and His sacrificial death on the cross, and to open our hearts and minds to the working of the Holy Spirit of God.
Man tries his own methods of attempting to tap into this latent angelic capability that some are vaguely aware of within themselves. Some gnostics, certain psychics, many new agers, kundalini yogis, certain mediums and supernaturalists of various kinds are trying in their own way to regain the power that Adam and Eve possessed, abused and subsequently lost during the fall. Little do they realize that they are playing with spiritual dynamite.
A few people may try to regain this Adamic power with an intent of somehow attaining angelic status which they think might give them access to the tree of life. God has blocked this route with his cherubim and flaming sword. They would be far better off to seek the Lord Jesus Christ and His righteousness as the path to eternal life. Having experienced this Adamic power first hand, I am well acquainted with good and evil even as Adam was. I thank God that Christ is my refuge, that in Him I find forgiveness through faith in His shed blood and that He sets my feet on the path of righteousness for His name's sake. Truly He is the Way, the Truth and the Life. Praise be to God for His everlasting grace, love and mercy.