THE NATURE OF BIBLICAL NOMENCLATURE.
From Contention to Chaos
The Diminishing of the Gospel
New Light Promised
The Adaption of Words
A Second Principle
The Need for Mental Discipline
Science's Deceptive Triumph
A Question of Beginnings
A Gigantic Leap
CONTINUING CHAPTERS TO BE POSTED SHORTLY
FROM CONTENTION TO CHAOS.
When in the 16th century the Protestant movement, initiated by Martin Luther, refuted the authority of the Roman Church, the rebellion was not only against the abuses practiced by the Church, but also against its usurped authority in the matter of deciding and establishing doctrine and belief. The Protestant movement demanded the right of private judgment in Biblical interpretation. The absolute authority claimed by the councils of this powerful Roman organisation was denied and transferred by the protesters to the classical documents of Christianity in the Scriptures. They insisted that these were to be regarded as the only authority in all questions of doctrine.
But the question which became increasingly difficult to answer, was what were the documents really saying? Since the protesters insisted upon the right of private judgment it was inevitable that, in time, differing opinions, and differing judgments among leading lights of the Movement, caused Protestantism itself to divide. This schismatic process has continued until today, resulting in a Babel of Christian Communions, each holding to its own private version of Christian teaching, with differences which are often fundamental.
THE DIMINISHING OF THE GOSPEL.
Ironically, although the Protestant movement had repudiated the authority of the Roman Church, it had however retained that Church's teachings, and those teachings form the basis of Protestant Christian belief even today. What this means will not be apparent unless it is realised that the doctrine of the Roman Church is one from which the foundational Judaic element in New Testament teaching had been eliminated by one of its earlier councils, and was only partially restored by a later one.
Consequently, the Gospel of Christ as still preached contains little trace of Old Testament doctrine which, according to Jesus, was sadly misunderstood by the Jews themselves, but was in very truth the basic element in Jesus' Gospel. The modern Christian layman therefore knows and understands precious little of the doctrine which, in the New Testament, Jesus was reported to have preached. The Churches stripped away so much that had been proclaimed by the prophets of the Old Testament, despite the fact that Jesus had taught that the very function assigned to Him by God was that He should fulfill (in due time), all that had been written in the Law, in the Prophets, and in the Psalms concerning Himself.
But the Christian Churches are deluded into regarding the Judaic Faith taught through the prophets as being at odds with the popular version of the Gospel. They are unable to accept that just as the Jews were, and still are, afflicted with 'blindness in part', so are the Gentiles similarly afflicted. The one remaining blind to the teaching given into the custody of the other. The Faith of the Christian Churches is
that called by St. Jude 'the Faith of Our Common Salvation' only, and excludes entirely 'The faith given to the saints', i.e. the saints of the Old Testament.
Few actually give much thought to the fact that, all that the vast majority have ever heard and have been given to understand about Biblical doctrine has been nothing more than the expressed thoughts and opinions of other men upon the things written in the sacred documents. The diversity of beliefs among the many Christian bodies reflects the variety of opinions of human teachers upon what the Scriptures are saying. So that whenever a lay-member of any one of these various bodies approaches the Bible, he is pre-conditioned in his own particular way, and this pre-conditioning influences his reading.
It is thus most difficult for any mind to read the Scriptures without some sort of pre-supposition or preconception. However firmly we may believe we are reading and researching the Scriptures for ourselves, we are seldom sufficiently conscious that we are biased by certain prior beliefs which will powerfully influence our understanding of what we read.
For this reason therefore, anyone wishing to make a personal and independent judgment of what the Scriptures are really saying would need to be sure to retain a conscious resolve no longer to be influenced in his reading by anything previously assimilated from men who have assumed the mantle of 'teacher' at any time after the New Testament documents were written. It was not for nothing that Jesus had said to His disciples, "Let no man call you teacher. There is but one teacher, even the Spirit of Truth".
NEW LIGHT PROMISED.
There are many indications in both the Old, and New Testaments that, in due time, the 'Household of Faith' were to be led and instructed, and therefore rightly prepared for a rational appraisal of the Scriptures. This preparation was not to be, indeed could not be, implemented through the guidance of men, but by the disclosure of' certain vital directives already provided in the Scriptures themselves. If these directives are followed faithfully, we shall find our understanding of what we read will owe nothing to the opinions of men. On the contrary, we shall find our minds being opened to concepts and meanings which we have hitherto failed to perceive.
Revelations were given through the prophets by 'diverse methods'. They "heard the Word of the Lord", but they were also given dreams and visions showing types and similitudes as visual endorsements of the Word they heard. But when, by the Divine Will and command, they were required to preserve these revelations for mankind in a future age, there existed but one medium through which this could be done, namely, the written word.
It is vital therefore that we should come to a true knowledge and understanding of the way in which words have been used in the Scriptures from their earliest to their latest documents. This fact
may seem too obvious to need stating, but it is the obviousness of this truth which should have galvanised men to a deeper interest in St. Paul's instruction to us in this very matter.
In his first letter to the Corinthians, chapter 2. verses 10-14, the apostle states that God has revealed His thoughts to us by His Spirit. He then points out what is so vitally important for us to understand. He draws our attention to the fact that, in Scripture, the thoughts of God are expressed not in words as used in the teachings of men, but in words as used in the teaching of the Holy Spirit.
St. Paul then ampllfies this by stating plainly that God has chosen to adapt the words of men in order to convey spiritual truths, thereby endowing such words with meanings other than those familiar to men. The result of this has been that in a great many instances, what will appear in Scripture to be a statement concerning natural, physical things is, in Truth, nothing of the kind, but is, through the adapted nomenclature, a divinely inspired declaration relating to things spiritual. Hence St. Paul's insistence that "the Word of God must be spiritually appraised".
But has it been comprehended rightly and fully what Paul is pointing out when he speaks of this principle of the adaption of words? It would seem positively not, because there are many Scriptural announcements which are still universally believed and understood to be statements of either scientific or historical facts which we now know to be untrue - sometimes even grotesquely so. It may be understood therefore why St. Paul saw it necessary to add that if men failed to note and understand this principle then the words and wisdom of God would seem to be but foolishness.
THE ADAPTION OF WORDS.
Now if the Scriptures contained no further material relating to this matter of adapted nomenclature, the way would still be left wide open for contention because of the inevitable diversity of opinions and private notions of men as to what should be accepted as the intended meaning of certain words. But since it is the Scriptures themselves which provide the material which re-defines such adapted words, we are left with no room for honest dispute.
Let us, first, take note of the simplest examples of this adapted nomenclature. No student of the Bible could deny that the Scriptures contain many appellations in their allusions to mankind. Man is 'grass', and 'the herb of the field' which flourishes today, and tomorrow is seen to perish. But there are also 'wheat' and 'corn' which the Lord will harvest and bring into His barn. However, there are among us 'weeds' or 'tares' which must be destroyed, and there is 'chaff' which the wind shall carry away.
Again, men and women are 'trees'. As individuals within their respective nations and peoples, they are 'trees of the forests'. But among them there continue to grow 'briars' and 'thorns'. Speaking to his own people, the prophet, Jeremiah, says, "The Lord hath called thee green olive tree". But they are reproached as 'a vine which brought
forth wild grapes, and as 'a fig tree bearing no fruit'.
Jesus had declared, 'I am the True Vine, and my Father is the Husbandman'. In certain oracles of the Old Testament, The Divine Husbandman looks forward to bringing forth a new generation, 'a truly righteous generation that shall be born'. They shall be called 'trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord'. Isaiah is made to name the people of this new generation by the names of trees having beauty and worth:
'I will plant the cedar tree, the shittah tree, the myrtle and oil tree, the fir tree and the pine tree, and the box tree together, that they (the 'trees') may see and know, and consider and understand together that the hand of the Lord hath done this, and the Holy One of Israel hath created it'. (lsa.41.19, 20.)
Meanwhile, the spectrum of differing human natures during the present age is reflected in the adapted nomenclature of the animal kingdom. We are 'fish of the sea', and 'fowl of the air'. We are 'cattle', 'sheep' and 'goats'. There are among us 'beasts of the field', even 'brute beasts' and 'beasts of prey', and there are 'ravening wolves' that hurt and destroy.
In addition to this, we are reminded of our humble origin from the mineral kingdom. We are 'the dust of the ground', we are 'clay', and are made 'earthen vessels'. However, He Who creates all things has declared that He will yet bring forth a remnant of mankind who shall come forth as 'silver' and as 'gold'. These shall be 'precious stones', and shall be made 'living stones' of whom shall be built a 'Temple' which is to become a 'fixed abode' for the Spirit of God. For God has said, 'I will dwell in them'. These people are also called a 'city', and are referred to as 'The Holy City' They are fore-viewed in Scripture as the true 'Zion' and the true 'Jerusalem', and are repeatedly referred to as 'the Mountain of the Lord'.
By this range of nomenclature we are shown that there are five kingdoms, namely, Mineral, Vegetable, Animal, Man, and lastly the Kingdom of God. There appears to be a total unawareness of the tremendous Truth that almost the whole of the Biblical revelation is concerned with the creative purpose of God in MAN. That purpose is declared again and again in the writings of the prophets, and in the sayings of Jesus, to be the ultimate perfecting, transforming and exalting of Man into the 'Family' or 'House' of God, beginning with a remnant of the present genus. In short, there is in Holy Writ, from first to last, a continuous looking forward to the fulfilment of the Word declared from the beginning. Let us make man in our own Image.
But it cannot be otherwise than fruitless for anyone to attempt a rational and truly objective appraisal of declared Biblical doctrine without first becoming fully acquainted with the underlying meanings in this vocabulary of the Holy Spirit. Bible students are of course aware of its use, but it is always regarded as mere poetic imagery. However, that it was intended to serve a far greater purpose than that will become increasingly apparent. Thus far we have merely touched upon the matter. In bringing forward these elementary examples, we are
merely drawing attention to the PRINCIPLE itself. But as we increase our knowledge by looking deeper into this vocabulary of the Holy Spirit, we shall see how profoundly such knowledge will effect our understanding of the whole doctrine of God. We shall also see that doctrine has indeed been DECLARED even from the beginning, but that it has not been REVEALED. And this by reason of the fact that it was declared in the language of obscurity. We shall also come to understanding why God in His Great Wisdom saw that, for man's own sake, it was expedient that thus it was to be until the time approaching the consummation of His great and benificient purpose. But at the approach of that momentous period in human history, the promise to the 'Household of Faith' stands on record to be fulfilled. It stands in the writings of Moses, in the Psalms, and in all the prophets, and was renewed by Jesus Himself when He declared:
"There is nothing that has been hid that shall not be revealed, and there is nothing that is covered that shall not be made known".
But for the present, and for the purpose of this discussion, attention must now be brought to another principle continually employed in the Divine Oracles.
A SECOND PRINCIPLE.
St. Paul, in his epistle to the Romans, draws attention to the fact that God "calleth things which are not as though they were". (Rom .4.17.) He gives an example of this by referring to God's promise that Abraham would be made the father of many nations, and by pointing out that, in making this promise, God had said:
"I Have MADE thee the father of many nations".
Also, in the epistle to the Hebrews, our attention is drawn to the fact that although, in the first chapters of Genesis, God's Great Sabbath of Rest is spoken of as though it were a thing of the past, yet it is shown that, in Truth, it is a 'Day' which is yet to come. This is another characteristic of the Divine Oracle which has by no means been sufficiently recognised and taken into account.
We find that throughout the Scriptures certain Divine Works are declared in the past tense as though they were already done, while we know that, in Truth, they are not yet accomplished. At other times, things are alluded to in the present tense as if they were present realities, whereas we are all too aware that, as yet, they do not exist. For instance, we read:
"Thou hast rebuked the nations. Thou hast destroyed the wicked, thou hast put out their name forever". (Ps. 9,5)
"Sing unto the Lord, for He hath done excellent things. This is known in all the earth", (lsa. l2,5)
"Thou hast trodden down all those who err from thy statutes. Thou puttest away all the wicked of the earth like dross". (Ps.19.118,119)
We know that none of these things can be seen to be true. Nevertheless, in the writings of prophet after prophet we are assured that it is the immutable purpose of God that these things shall be done.
To recognise this characteristic in many passages of Scripture will also deeply effect our understanding provided we have accepted the terminology employed by the Holy Spirit, as in the following example:
"Sing O ye 'heavens' for the Lord hath done it, shout ye lower parts of the 'earth', break forth into singing, ye 'mountains', O 'forest' and every 'tree' therein.
In this passage, quotation marks have been added to indicate those words which are adapted and endowed with meanings other than those normally associated with them. Who, for instance, are the 'heavens' that are bidden to sing? And who are 'the lower parts of the earth' - that are to shout? (presumably, to shout with joy.)
Without a knowledge of the principle of adapted nomenclature it could not occur to any that both the terms 'heavens' and 'earth' are but two of many which were chosen to indicate mankind. But that this is indeed the case may be clearly seen after giving some thought to the following examples of the manner in which the messengers of God were inspired to address the world's inhabitants.
"O earth, earth, earth, hear the word of the Lord....." (Jer. 22,29)
"Hear, O earth, behold, I will bring evil upon this people....." (Jer. 6,19)
We do not assume from these words that God is addressing the dead earth. We take it for granted that He is speaking to the living earth, which of course is Man. Consider further:
"Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth....."(lsa. l.2)
"Give ear, O ye heavens, and I will speak, and hear. O earth, the words of my mouth....." (Deut.32.1)
In these, as in other passages, it would be equally foolish to imagine that God is addressing the heavens as a dwelling place. Reason urges us to accept that the 'heavens' so addressed are the living 'heavens', or living spirits. But we have to discern, too, that in such passages it is not the spirits in heaven who are being addressed. For can it be thought that God would need a prophet, a human messenger in order to communicate with spirits in heaven? Of course not. Human messengers are sent to warn admonish, and instruct human beings on earth.
Scripture affirms that human beings, since the beginning of the Adamic age, are also spirits incarnate. It should therefore not be difficult to accept that it is the 'whole man' who is being called to by the use of such language. Adamic man is both 'the earth' and 'the heavens' by virtue of the fact that, as the Scriptures affirm, the human spirit is of God, so that Adamic man is therefore not only of the earth, but is
of the heavens also.
Our greatly diluted Christian teaching of today does not include what is clearly indicated in the Scriptures, which is, that human spirits were pre-existent in the heavens from whence they come. The progenitors of our mortal human bodies, and our mortal human psyche had nothing whatever to do with the genesis of the human spirit. It is written that upon our demise, 'the spirit returns to God Who gave it'. Surely, what is implied by the word 'returns' in this statement should be self-evident. But more than this needs to be said, it is that, without this premise, there is a great deal in Christian doctrine which will remain completely obscured.
We shall find that by the recognition and faithful application of the several principles consistently employed in the Divine Oracles our minds will be greatly enlightened when reading passages such as this:
".....break forth into singing, ye mountains, O forest, and every tree therein, for the Lord hath redeemed 'Jacob', and glorified himself in 'Israel'. (lsa. 44,23)
Who is 'Jacob' in this context? And what is the identity, of the people here called 'Israel'? To appreciate fully what is meant by the announcement that God has 'glorified Himself in Israel' ( i.e. in other words, that Israel has been glorified with God's Own Glory), we have to recall the vision given to Peter, James and John on the Mount of Transfiguration, when the transfigured body of Jesus shone with a light so intense that the disciples could barely look upon it.
It is evident that here is an announcement of a work which, although spoken of in the past tense, yet remains to be accomplished. It may be associated in the mind with the teaching in both the Old and New Testaments that an Elect Remnant are to share that same Glory. They are, we are told, to be transformed to the very image of Jesus Christ.
It is these who are spoken of as 'The true Israel of God'. For they are to be 'Born of God', and are called 'the firstfruits unto God, and to the Lamb'. They will have been created to become the progenitors of a New Generation. It is these of whom Isaiah, when speaking of things which are not (yet) as though they were, cried:
"Arise, shine, for thy light is come, and the Glory of the Lord is risen upon thee". (Isa. 60.1.)
Again Isaiah says of them: "The Lord hath filled 'Zion' with justice and righteousness".(lsa.33.5.)
These are the 'Zion' of whom God has said, "I will place My Spirit in their inward parts. I will dwell in them, and they shall be My sons and My daughters".
"So shall ye know that I am the Lord your God dwelling in 'Zion', My Holy Mountain, then shall 'Jerusalem' be holy". (Joel. 3. 17.)
That the terms, 'Zion', 'My Holy City', 'My Holy Mountain', 'Jerusalem' together with other names, are all synonymous terms applying to a
people in whom the Holy Spirit of God will dwell is evident from the following:
"The sons also of those who afflicted thee shall come bending unto thee, and all they that despised thee shall bow down themselves at thy feet, and they shall call thee, 'The City of the Lord', the 'Zion' of the Holy One of 'Israel'. I will make thee an eternal excellency, a joy of many generations - they shall make supplication unto thee, saying, Surely God is in thee" (lsa. 60.14.15. and 45.14.)
THE NEED FOR MENTAL DISCIPLINE.
Bible critics of all kinds have prided themselves upon their objectivity, but it can now be shown that they have been far less objective in their reading of Scripture than they have fondly imagined. The truth is that a truly objective scrutiny of Scripture has simply not been possible while there has remained an unawareness and consequently a total disregard of so much that is stated in the text itself concerning its own nature as a record of oracular declarations of Truth.
It is a demonstrable fact that there are a number of literary principles which, in age after age, were adhered to in the giving forth of the divine oracles. These principles when faithfully applied in our reading of both the Old and New Testaments, were intended to effect profoundly, our understanding of what we read. In other words, it is the practical application of these principles, or the ignoring of them, which was to determine whether or not we shall apprehend the spirit rather than the letter of the Word which has come down to us.
What therefore is revealed by these facts is that the Almighty requires essentially of Man that he should approach the Scriptures in humility, with the mind disciplined, by being made subject to the rules and directives laid down for his guidance.
If, in the late 19th Century, ecclesiastical scholars had not spurned the knowledge of this revelation when it was repeatedly offered to them, they would have been spared much pain and humiliation during that period of great upsurge in empirical knowledge, brought in through the sciences. They would have been able to see and to show that there was no conflict whatsoever between the newly-acquired knowledge and the statements of Scripture.
When Charles Darwin shocked the world with the knowledge of his discoveries set forth in his 'Origin of Species', the Christian clergy, apparently taking little or no account of these Divine principles, became Darwin's most bitter adversaries. In a protracted and increasingly acrimonious debate, the church leaders saw it as imperative that Darwin's conclusions be strenuously opposed and utterly rejected since they flatly contradicted the sacred accounts of the creation of man as recorded in the first and second chapters of Genesis.....as these accounts were then universally understood.
Also, Darwin's notion of the immense age of the Earth and of the many
millions of years during which man must have lived upon it, was vehemently condemned, for did not Genesis clearly state that in six days God made the Heavens and the Earth?
For Church leaders, there was no alternative but to combat such ideas. If they came to be generally accepted, how could the Church continue to teach that Adam was the first man? If it came to be believed that so many thousands of generations of our species had lived and died upon the Earth long before the creation of Adam, as recounted in the Bible, and if death should be seen as but a natural and necessary part of evolution, it would become impossible to perpetuate what, in truth, is a fundamental tenet of Christian doctrine, namely that death came into the world through the sin of the first man, Adam.
This, then, was the challenge which confronted the learned men of the Church and it was one they were hopelessly ill-equipped to meet. It was inevitable therefore that, in due time, they were compelled to realise they had been fighting a losing battle as fresh discoveries were being made (in the fields of biology, anthropology, geology, astronomy and archeology) and were adding their great weight to the evidence against this teaching of the Church. There was total ignorance of the fact that this Scriptural declaration concerning the introduction of death into the world is not a Truth which applies to 'the world' of homo sapiens as an entire species, but that it alludes exclusively to 'the world' of Adamic Man as a newly introduced genus of that species.
SCIENCE'S DECEPTIVE TRIUMPH.
However, what is both unfortunate and highly deceptive about this decisive victory of science against the teaching of the Church is that, in the minds of the people and the Clergy alike, it was (and still is), seen as a conclusive repudiation of the statements of Genesis, and that it provides valid grounds for doubting the reliability of the Scriptures as a whole.
And so it was that theologians, thinking to gain a better understanding of the nature of Biblical literature, have expended prodigious energy and time in pursuing their literary, historical and scientific critical studies of the Scriptural documents.
But the very fact that theologians still have failed to throw any light upon the apparent conflict between the statements of Genesis and the findings of science, makes it obvious that what theologians have been and are still studying is merely the 'letter' of the given Word, and have remained oblivious to the spiritual truth underlying.
Let us, then, discipline the mind under the directives provided within the Scriptural texts, by which discipline we shall be allowing the Bible to speak for itself. We shall then discover (despite all appearances to the contrary), that, in Truth, the first chapter of Genesis says not a single word about the creation of the physical universe.
Certainly, the nomenclature employed is entirely of things physical
but, as long as we persist in perceiving them as such, the words will continue to make little sense. What for instance, is the relationship between the 'Spirit of God moving upon the face of the waters' and the production of physical light? How, too, could the earth bring forth grass and the herb of the field and the trees, long before the placing of the sun in the heavens?
A QUESTION OF BEGINNINGS.
Again, when, in the first chapter of Genesis, the words, 'In the beginning' are read, it would seem that it has not occured to any human mind to ask, "What 'beginning' is here being alluded to?"
We have assumed without taking the least thought, that the words allude to a beginning when nothing existed. We do this with assurance because we approach this chapter with the mind pre-conditioned. We read these opening words with the preconception that we are about to read a primitive account of the creation of the whole physical universe, whilst in these days we are well aware that the earth, during and since its formation, has passed through many 'ages' and that each separate 'age' had its own beginning and ending - the process continuing up until the anthropological ages, each of these also having its beginning and ending.
Throughout the Scriptures, the word 'age' is used many times in this sense. It appears frequently in the expression 'The end of the age' - that is, the present age of the world, while its beginning is spoken of as the 'Foundation of the World', (i.e. the present world of Adamic Man) and as 'The Foundation of the Earth' (the word 'Earth' being used here as elsewhere in Scripture as a synonym for Adamic Mankind).
Moreover, we shall find that that 'Foundation' and its nature is to be seen as having been 'laid down' when God introduced the first of a new genus of our species upon the earth - the Adamic genus, or race.
The one allusion we have to the physical earth in the Genesis accounts of Creation is but a fragmentary allusion to the condition of the Earth before the appearance of Man upon it.. This occurs in Chapter 2, Verse 4, where we are taken back hundreds of millions of years, 'before any plant of the field was in the earth and before any herb of the field grew.' It was a time when, as yet '....God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, niether did any man exist to till the ground, but there went up a mist from the earth and watered the whole face of the ground'.
That is how this fragment in Genesis describes the Earth's condition at the very dawn of the Earth's biological ages, with its steaming bogs, and its dense canopy of vapour which never fell to a temperature low enough to cause precipitation. So that as yet it had not rained upon the earth. It is believed that this was the time, and these were at least some of the conditions, when the first living cells were brought into being.
A GIGANTIC LEAP.
Immediately following this description, the Scriptural record then takes a tremendous leap in time with the statement:
'And the Lord God formed man from the dust of the ground'.
In this briefest of statements there is of course a complete absence of any reference to the vast period of time required for such a process, but it is immediately followed by the announcement of another and quite different work.
'And (God) breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul'.
Both these works are announced within one sentence as if they were wrought at one and the same time. But we can now envisage the first of these creative works as covering a vast period of time. Whereas the second work is described as a creative act which commenced an entirely new age.....the age of Adamic man.....a 'gigantic leap' indeed.
One could construct a similar sentence thus: And man formed for himself a wheel, and according to the desire of his heart, man took his journey to the Moon.
Both these statements are true, but they are merely fragments of the truth. They contain no hint of the great time-lapse between man's invention of the wheel, and the taking of his journey to the Moon. For someone who knew nothing at all of human history, more, much more, would need to be added before such a sentence could become intelligible. That the sentence as it stands can be understood by modern man is of course due simply to the fact that modern man is in possession of a great deal more knowledge than the statement itself reveals.
However, in the Genesis statements, this is not the case. Here, if left unaided, man could have no knowledge whatever of the truths by which the second of its two announcements could be intelligently received because these truths are of a spiritual, and not of a physical nature. What is more, we are dealing here with a figure of speech which effectively conceals rather than reveals the reality. At this point in time, man had already been living by the breath in his nostrils for a great length of time, yet we read:
'And God breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul'.
Why then does this announcement imply that, prior to this act of God, man was not accounted to be living? For it was only after, and as a result of this creative act that man was pronounced 'living'. He 'became', that is to say, he was now what he had not been before. He became a living soul.
We are told it was by the introduction of 'the breath of life' that caused man to begin to live in the sight of God. What then was this breath of life? We know perfectly well it cannot mean physical breath
since man had already possessed it. The revealed truth is that what was introduced in man at that time was an entirely new element, an added component.
The Hebrew word translated 'breath' in this passage is 'ruach', and although it may be translated 'breath' or 'wind'. It is more correctly translated 'spirit', and this is how it is treated in all but a comparatively few instances throughout the Old Testament. So that which was, in figure, 'breathed' into man was 'the spirit of life', or 'living spirit'. This was the new component by which alone the man could now be pronounced 'living' in the sight of God who is Himself a Spirit.
It is not generally appreciated that, as already stated, implicit in the Biblical text, is the truth that each human spirit was pre-existent in the Heavens from which it was brought, and that the progenitors of our mortal human bodies and our mortal human psyche had nothing whatever to do with the genesis of the human spirit.
The Scriptures insist that Adam was 'The first man'. But this is not a statement which alludes to man as a mere physical being, a creature wholly and entirely of the Earth. This is merely a view of Man as he is known and studied by the anthropologist, the biologist and the psychologist. In the Scriptures, the statement announces a Truth having a spiritual content, and is declared to us upon the ground that the man, Adam, is said to have been made in God's 'likeness'. That is to say, as God is Himself a Spirit, so the man had now also been given a spiritual identity. Henceforth, in the Divine view, the identity of each member of the race which was to proceed from Adam was to be the identity of the individual human spirit.
'For the Lord seeth not as man seeth, for the Lord looketh upon the heart.' (I Sam 16.7). And we know that 'the heart' is frequently used as a synonymn for the human spirit.
We may be confident that this is doctrinally sound since its very essence was confirmed by our Lord Himself:
'It is the spirit that giveth life, the flesh of itself profiteth nothing.' (John 6.63)
St. James also states: 'The body without the spirit is dead'.
So, that which may be apprehended from the letter of Genesis is that, by a process of divine selection, the creative act of endowing man with spiritual life was wrought in one who was marked out to become the first of a new genus of homo sapiens. And this new genus is quite frequently alluded to in scripture as 'this generation'. The Scriptural use of the term 'this generation' carrying this meaning appears to have remained quite unperceived, with the result that many of the oracles in the sacred text have remained incomprehensible, or have been quite misunderstood and misconstrued.
A classic example of this may be cited from the writings of an eminent theologian, a principal of one of our famous theological colleges. In a critique of the New Testament record, he referred to the account of
Jesus' last great prophetic discourse on the Mount of Olives, in which is given a detailed description of world conditions, of strange and marvellous events which would occur, and of the unsurpassed evil which was to prevail upon the earth at the end of the age prior to His coming. At the conclusion of this prophecy, Jesus had declared:
"Verily I say unto you. This generation shall not pass away till all these things have come to pass." (Mat. 24.34)
Commenting upon this, our learned professor wrote: 'Now we know that many of the things that Jesus is reported to have said in this prophecy never came to pass during the lifetime of His comtemporaries, nor indeed since. So we know that Jesus was either mistaken, or He was wrongly reported."
But this is typical of Biblical critics generally. They are so obviously lacking in knowledge of the true nature of Biblical literature, and of the vocabulary of the Holy Spirit employed therein. If the Scriptural text were studied with anything like a true objectivity, it would be discerned that it maintains a dominant theme which holds that the present human genus - 'this generation', is destined to pass away within a short space of time, but at a divinely predetermined 'set time', known only to God Himself. It is to be superseded, or supplanted by yet a New Generation, a truly 'righteous generation' of whom God has declared: "I will dwell in them", and "They shall show forth my glory."
St. Paul was commissioned to say of them; "They shall be made a permanent abode for the Spirit of God."
These oracles foreshadow a far greater leap in God's creative Work upon man than that wrought in the Scriptural 'beginning'. For in the end shall be fulfilled that which was spoken at first:
"Let us make man in our own image."
One of the greatest misconceptions under which mankind has laboured for thousands of years is the belief that Scripture teaches that, in the beginning God created man in His own image. Not only is this belief contrary to Biblical doctrine, but in fact, we shall find that the word 'image' does not appear anywhere in the account of the creative work of Gen. 2.7b. That was a work the nature of which was shown to be limited by the use of the term 'likeness'. For just as there is a great difference between a flat, two-dimensional picture or likeness of a man, and the three-dimensional sculptured image of the same, so great will be the difference between the present generation of man, and that generation yet to be created.
It is in the FIRST chapter of Genesis (verse 26.) that the word 'image' is to be found. But there it announces a work to be wrought on the sixth and last day of God's working 'week'. This making of man in God's Own Image was, we are told, the ENDING of all His work which He had created and made, and that it was followed by a Sabbath of rest for both God and Man.
It has simply not been seen that this oracle is one of those many
instances where God has spoken of things which are not (yet) as though they were. For it is evident that no such day of rest followed the creation of the first Adam as recorded at Gen. 2.7b. On the contrary, this was a BEGINNING, not an ending. It was the beginning of the generation of the present age during which God, from that same beginning, has been continually striving and contending with man who is reproved by his Creator as a 'perverse and sinful generation'. These, too, are basic truths which have been by no means rightly perceived.
It would come as a surprise to many to learn that, to receive with true insight the 'spiritual truths' which underlie the literal Word requires no human faculty other than the purely rational faculty common to all mankind. But true discernment essentialy requires that we faithfully observe the principles laid down for our guidance. By this means, we shall understand that the beginning described at Genesis 2.7b. is identical with that beginning announced in the opening words of Genesis, chapter one.
This fact has never been perceived for the simple reason that we have not heeded what is so clearly stated in the Scriptural record concerning the adapted vocabulary of the Divine Oracles. Nor, in our reading, have we been consistently conscious of the fact that in these Oracles, God speaks so frequently of His Works which are not yet done as though they were.
That these are two of the several principles which were to be applied in our reading is an undeniable and incontrovertible FACT of Scripture which, if observed and faithfully applied in our reading of the first chapter of Genesis, we shall recognise and understand that, far from being an account of the creation of the physical universe the whole chapter, by the use of an adapted nomenclature, is a highly condensed précis of the long progress of the Adamic race during six 'days', or six 'periods', at the end of which God has purposed to create Man 'In His Own Image, after His Own Likeness'. Thus we read:
'IN THE BEGINNING GOD CREATED THE HEAVEN AND THE EARTH'.
Here, in chapter one, we have the man of Gen. 2.7b. being aptly called 'heaven' and 'earth' signifying both his 'earthy', and his (newly given) 'heavenly' natures. In Adam, in his new estate, there was now full spiritual consciousness. For we are told, he 'walked and talked with God'. He was spiritually alive, and was probably fully aware of his former spiritual existence in the heavenlies.
This would mean that, although now dwelling in flesh, he was fully aware of his spiritual identity, and this identity was the 'self' of which he was conscious since all the marvellous functions of the animal psyche had now become totally subservient to the mind of the spirit.
The story of the creation of this new creature, as recorded in Chapter two, moves on to give an account of the Fall. This was the result of the breaking of a given spiritual law, and we are told that its consequence was dire. In the words of Gen. 1. it is described thus:
'AND THE EARTH WAS (or became) WITHOUT FORM AND VOID.....'
The 'earth' (the body) lost its former, emancipated, spiritual estate. It became void of the spirit, for we are told, God 'drove out the man' from the 'garden', (the body) causing him to become mortal. He was now under the curse of death. Since that time, the spirit of man has been caused to minister to the body from without.
It is true that Scripture continues to speak of the human spirit as being 'in man', for although it ministers to the body from without, it is present nevertheless within the compass of man's whole being. For man is of a triune nature, being 'body and soul and spirit'. Indeed, without this knowledge, the logic of St. Paul's teaching upon the resurrection would be quite lost to the mind that reads it.
The effect of the spirit's expulsion from the body was that the man lost all knowledge and memory of his pre-existence in the spirit. Through the now comparative remoteness of the spirit, the animal psyche had become, once more, the predominating mechanism for the acquisition and retention of knowledge. He became void of all spiritual knowledge and of spiritual consciousness, and this has been the state of man ever since. It is this condition which Genesis. 1. describes in the words:
'AND DARKNESS WAS UPON THE FACE OF THE DEEP.....'
The 'deep' in man is the influence of our ministering spirit whose presence can at times be unmistakably felt in the stirings of conscience, and in the pain of remorse after wrongdoing. It is a deep subconsciousness felt through the soul, a 'gut-feeling' in which reason, the animal psyche, plays no part. There are times when it can also be felt in a deep-seated discontent and dissatisfaction with life as we know it, and all that it has to offer.
This 'deep' in man can promote a strange 'hunger and thirst' for something - we know not what, except that we become aware that it is some need that the present world cannot supply.
Under the Fall, the only knowledge possible to man is that which is acquired through the senses, i.e. empirical knowledge gained through experiences in the physical world. When the Scriptures say, therefore, 'there is no knowledge in man', the allusion is of course to spiritual knowledge, so that, had he been left unaided, man would have remained in total spritual darkness.
There are many of course who deny outright the existence of the human spirit. Their trust is placed solely in the reasonings of the human psyche. Here is an example. One who is both a psychologist and a biologist has argued
"I am conscious of only one self. I have no awareness whatever of another self beside by natural self, nor have I any consciousness apart from that which I know to be the the highly complex activities of my own brain. Moreover, when I fall asleep, and there is a cessation
of those activities, I lose all consciousness. My state is one of complete oblivion."
But is this not true of us all? The Scriptures tell us that this indeed became the sad state of man as a result of the Fall. We are also told in effect it is that same consciousness which, being merely the result of the brain's activities, is the 'self' that is as 'grass'. It is cut down, and tomorrow it becomes as though it had never been. Man is, temporarily, without consciousness of his true self which is that spiritual identity which came from the past, and continues into the long future.
It may be asked therefore, since the only knowledge available to man in his present state is that which is acquired through the physical senses, is it at all possible that we can receive spiritual knowledge by the very same means?
The Scriptures tell us that it is indeed possible. For it was predetermined that spiritual knowledge should come to us by the 'hearing of the ear', and by our 'giving heed' to, and reflecting upon, the Word of God sent to us through God's servants, the prophets. To hear, and to reflect, or to consider, are indeed purely physical and psychological functions which combine in what is a perfectly rational exercise, and we shall see at a later stage how Jesus, Himself, tried to drive home this fact to the religious leaders and dignitaries when He contended with them over their 'blindness' in the matter of understanding the Scriptures.
Now, since man had fallen into spiritual darkness as a result of the Transgression, it makes perfectly good sense that, in the very next words in the oracle of Gen. 1.we are told:
'AND THE SPIRIT OF GOD MOVED UPON THE FACE OF THE WATERS. AND GOD SAID, LET THERE BE LIGHT: AND THERE WAS LIGHT.'
What 'waters' were these that the Spirit of God moved upon in order to bring forth light? The only way we may be sure we understand what is being declared here is by referring again to the oracles of Scripture where we shall discover how this nomencature has been adapted.
God is declared to be 'The Father of our spirits', and in the Divine oracles, He speaks of Himself as "The Fountain of living waters". This is to say the same thing, but in different words. Alluding to apostate Judah, the Lord says:
"My people have forsaken me, the Fountain of living waters". (Jer. 2.l3)
'Living waters', are therefore living spirits. For God is declared to be the Fountain-Head, the Father, of all spiritual Life. For this reason, the term 'waters' is sometimes used for peoples and nations. It was said of the scattered seed of Jacob: 'His seed shall be in many waters', (many nations) (Num. 24.7)
Instead of saying. The word of God is sent to all nations, the
Psalmist is moved upon to declare: "The voice of the Lord is upon many waters". (Ps.29.3)
After St. John had been given a vision of the Great Harlot of symbolic Babylon having power over all nations, it is explained to him:
"And he saith unto me. The waters which thou sawest where the whore sitteth , are peoples, mutitiudes, nations and tongues". (Rev. 17.5)
Jeremiah, too, was made to speak of Babylon's destruction using similar terms, "O thou that dwellest upon many waters, abundant in treasures, thine end is come....." (Jer. 51.13)
'Waters' is indeed often a Biblical synonymn for human spirits, and therefore for mankind. To Adam, (and subsequently to the spirits of the prophets and other holy men), God began to impart a knowledge of spiritual verities - progressively as much as was suited to the age in which they lived. This, then, was the 'light' of which Genesis speaks. And the Scriptures are a history of how God has seen to it that in succeeding generations, men have been raised up who possessed an extraordinary spiritual sensitivity and, therefore, a capacity to receive the Word of the Spirit of God, thus providing progressively greater instruction and enlightenment for whomsoever would receive it at the hands of God's chosen servants.
'AND GOD SAW THE LIGHT THAT IT WAS GOOD, AND GOD DIVIDED THE LIGHT FROM THE DARKNESS, AND GOD CALLED THE LIGHT, DAY, AND THE DARKNESS HE CALLED NIGHT. AND THE EVENING AND THE MORNING WERE THE FIRST DAY.'
This, then, was the state of Adam during the first 'day' of a thousand years. Man soon fell into darkness by the Fall. Yet many walked in the light that was given, believing and relying upon their Creator. Knowledge was given to the darkened mind of Adam, whose life was prolonged to give light to the generations to come.
But many refused to receive the light, so the light was divided from the darkness. As Cain began and continued in darkness, so did many continue in darkness the same. Thus the 'children of light' and the 'children of darkness' went on divided during the first thousand years. But the children of darkness increased upon the earth. The Genesis history of the race shows how soon man began to depart from the light after the death of Adam, till the whole earth was in darkness, and God saw there was no just man who walked in the light but Noah.
In the parable of the Flood, it is shown that, for this state of affairs, there is no remedy but a mass destruction of the flesh in order that men be prevented from adding sin to sin, and bringing upon themselves yet greater evils in the world. They were given over to the destruction of the body that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord.
This mass removal of human spirits from the world would be, at the same time, a mass 'return' of those same spirits to the heavens from
whence they had come. But it was expedient that, as there had been, by free human choice, a division on earth between the children of darkness, and the children of light, so now, by Divine decree, there should be a separation in the heavens likewise. It was not good that those who had walked in the light should now dwell with the wicked. Therefore a 'Great gulf' was fixed between them so that none should be able to pass from one sphere to another. And so it is writen:
'AND GOD SAID, LET THERE BE A FIRMAMENT (an expanse) IN THE MIDST (or between) THE 'WATERS', AND LET IT DIVIDE THE WATERS FROM THE WATERS'.
But there was also made a further separation. There was to be no communication, except by permission, and for some specific Divine purpose, between the 'waters' above the firmament, and those who would yet be dwellers upon the earth.
'AND GOD MADE THE FIRMAMENT, AND DIVIDED THE WATERS WHICH WERE UNDER THE FIRMAMENT FROM THE WATERS WHICH WERE ABOVE THE FIRMAMENT. AND IT WAS SO'.
Hence came the commandment to men:
"Regard not them that have familiar spirits, neither seek unto wizards, to defile yourselves by them. I am the Lord, your God". (Lev. 19.31.)
"There shall not be found among you a consulter of familiar spirits". (Deut.18.II.)
It is worth reflecting that these commands would have been quite pointless if it were not true that spirits in the lowest, dark and lawless spheres can, and do communicate with human beings. These are said to be 'deceiving spirits'. They are sometimes mischievous, and there are those who are malignant. From none of these can man receive knowledge which can reveal the Mind of God concernig His great purpose, in man. We are told that even the angels of God are curious to look into these things, for they have not been made known to them.
After the deluge, 'the waters prevailed upon the earth an hundred and fifty days. And God remembered Noah and all that were with him in the ark'. (Gen. 8.1.)
'AND GOD SAID, LET THE WATERS UNDER THE HEAVEN BE GATHERED INTO ONE PLACE, AND LET THE DRY LAND APPEAR. AND IT WAS SO'.
In Gen. 9.1. it is written: 'and God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them. "Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth". The same command appears in Gen. 1. but in different words:
'AND GOD SAID, LET THE EARTH BRING FORTH.....AND THE EARTH BROUGHT FORTH GRASS AND HERB YEALDING SEED AFTER ITS KIND. AND THE TREE YEALDING FRUIT. WHOSE SEED IS IN ITSELF, AFTER ITS KIND'.
'AND GOD SAW THAT IT WAS GOOD'.
This adapted nomenclature is employed so frequently in the Divine oracles when refering to mankind, that there would be no justification whatever for refusing to recognise and accept it as such here. The earth was to be 'replenished'; a great many generations of mankind had yet to be sown upon it. Of these, many proved to be but as 'grass', and were cut down. Many were as 'the herb', being of service, while others were as 'weeds' which cumber the ground. But the 'earth' also brought forth 'trees' which yealded their fruit. For after the deluge, God again began to visit men who yealded their fruit; men such as Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and others who, in their generations, brought forth works that were good, and who were instrumental in bringing in, once more, a knowledge of God, for God spoke through them.
Yet, men's knowledge of God was but faint, and many became apostate, preferring darkness rather than light. Nevertheless, God continued to strive with man throughout the third and forth thousand years.
'AND GOD SAID, LET THERE BE LIGHTS IN THE FIRMAMENT OF HEAVEN TO DIVIDE THE DAY FROM THE NIGHT, AND LET THEM BE FOR SIGNS, AND FOR SEASONS, AND FOR DAYS, AND YEARS, AND LET THEM BE FOR LIGHTS IN THE FIRMAMENT OF HEAVEN TO GIVE LIGHT UPON THE EARTH: AND IT WAS SO. AND GOD MADE TWO GREAT LIGHTS: THE GREATER LIGHT TO RULE THE DAY, AND THE LESSER LIGHT TO RULE THE NIGHT. HE MADE THE STARS ALSO. AND GOD SET THEM IN THE FIRMAMENT OF THE HEAVEN TO GIVE LIGHT UPON THE EARTH. AND TO RULE OVER THE DAY, AND OVER THE NIGHT. AND TO DIVIDE THE LIGHT FROM THE DARKNESS. AND GOD SAW THAT IT WAS GOOD. AND THE EVENING AND THE MORNING WERE THE FOURTH DAY'.
It was at the end, yet within the fourth 'day', or fourth thousand years, that God sent that Greater Light into world to be a greater light to mankind than they had received before. The prophet Malachi was moved upon to speak of Him as 'The Sun of Righteousness' Who was to arise 'with healing in His wings'. (Mal. 4.2.)
This Great Light was made flesh, and dwelt among us. And though He dwelt among us, yet the 'Good News' which He brought was required to be seen and believed as having been sent from heaven itself. Thus the light is said to have been set in the firmament of heaven. Belief or non-belief in this would itself divide the children of the day from the children of the night, and as in each proceeding period, would divide the light from the darkness in men..
Jesus Christ did indeed come for signs and wonders unto men. He came to make known specific signs and seasons, and to reveal the doctrinal and prophetic significance of certain days and years in the ordinances given through Moses, showing these and other things to be tokens which men were to 'watch' for as signs of His coming again to abide with men forever.
The lesser light, too, was made on the fourth day to give light upon
the earth. This lesser light, being the Church, is symbolised by the moon. And as the moon dimly reflects the light of the sun, so the Church's understanding and teaching has been a pale reflection of the light of the full Gospel of Christ. Especially has this been the case since the death of the apostles.
Like the moon, too, the Church has waxed and waned in its faithfulness in the things entrusted to it. Indeed, in the end, we are told, the Christian Churches would become totally apostate. This was taught explicitly, but it was also declared in a concealed form in such passages as, 'In those days, the sun shall be darkened, and the Moon will not give its light'. The prophets, too, say other things about the 'sun' and the 'moon' which, to the world, appear foolish and grotesque owing to the world's ignorance of the nomenclature employed.
It may seem inexplicable why it is said the (the lesser light) was to rule over the night. But it is necessary to state again that the Church has failed to distinguish between Jesus' Gospel of universal reconciliation and the saving of the soul, on the one hand, and His Gospel of the redemption of the body, on the other, i.e. the saving of the whole man, body, soul and spirit.
In their semi-darkness, the Church Authorities have devoted all their efforts to attempting to square Jesus' every word with His teaching which is addressed to all humanity.....a thing impossible to do. For Jesus is reported to have said many things which were not addressed to mankind generally, but were spoken for the instruction and benifit of an Elect Brotherhood, the 'sealed' of God, who would be living at the end of the age, a time when, as Jesus had said, faith would scarsely be found in the earth.
That this is truly the case may be seen from the fact that there were occasions when, after such teaching, Jesus had said: "Not everyone can receive this saying". Or, He would say: "He that hath ears to hear, let him hear". The things that Jesus had uttered on these occasions simply cannot be squared with His teaching addressed to mankind in general.
It would seem to be the understanding of the Clergy that their chief function is to prepare their flocks for death. No place Is given in their teaching to that doctrine of Christ which teaches that it is the Will and purpose of God that death shall cease among mankind, and that this conquest of death shall be wrought first in an Elect and chosen remnant who, Jesus had declared, will enter into Life Eternal without tasting death. It is this teaching which, in fact, makes Christ's Gospel truly unique among the world's religions.
It is believers in this doctrine who are called 'children of the day', having received and treasured the full Gospel as Jesus, Himself taught it. Therefore it is by way of contrast to this full Faith that the multitudes taught by the churches are termed 'children of the night'.
The term merely means that the light with which they have been satisfied is but a very partial light. They have been content to be ruled by the 'Moon', while the 'children of the day' have that within them which causes a deep dissatisfaction with the pale light of the
'Moon'. They will turn away, feeling impelled to seek out the Greater Light, from Whom they shall learn to wait, with patience and understanding, the dawning of the day when the fear of death shall no longer darken the lives of the living.
But what of the Church of the Old Testament? There has been a continuing body of faithful believers since the days of Moses. It may be asked, 'How can it be said that that light was made in the fourth day'?
Consider the fact that the Faith of the Old Testament Church was but a blind faith in an obscure Word. True understanding was not possible because doctrine was hidden within it. The teaching in the oracles of the Old Testament afforded no clear light owing to the form in which it was hidden. It could not reflect any clear light - until the Sun was set in the firmament on the fourth day. Only then could that 'Moon' reflect the light of it. Jesus Christ was the Light which came to establish that light. This becomes evident from the words of Jesus, Himself:
'And Jesus, beginning at Moses and all the prophets, expounded unto them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself''. (Luke. 24.27.)
Christ Himself, had been the hidden subject in the writings of Moses, of all the prophets, and of the Psalms. In Him is the very key to all Old Testament doctrine.
In the Genesis account of creation, we saw the words,
'HE (GOD) MADE THE STARS ALSO'.
These, too, are 'lights' set in the firmament of heaven. But this is no allusion to the stellar lights we see twinkling in the night sky. Scripture sometimes uses the term 'stars' in speaking of the heavenly host of angels.
These are they of whom the Psalmist speaks when he says that God numbered the 'stars' of heaven, and calleth them all by their names. A few of the chief of these whose names are revealed in the Scriptures, God has employed extensively through the ages as messengers of light to man. They are also said to have been, at times, helpers, protectors and deliverers of God's human servants on earth whose lives were threatened before their divinely given tasks and missions were accomplished.
Throughout the fifth and sixth thousand years of God's 'week' of creation, generation after generation of spirits continued to be called into the world to partake of the flesh. God, through Isaiah, declares it is He, Himself, who does the calling:
"Who hath wrought and done it, calling the generations from the beginning? I, the Lord, the first, and with the last, I am He'. (lsa. 41.4.)
But the historical development of the fifth and sixth thousand years, is recorded in Genesis 1. with a complete change of nomenclature. The nations of the world, in addition to being called mountains, hills and forests are also referred to as the seas. The two examples given below are to be understood in the light of the teaching concerning the end of the age when, we are told, the nations of the world would be in ferment, full of uproar and lawlessness. They would be continually at war with one another, and would not cease until the coming of Christ with Power.
'The wicked are like the troubled sea when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt'. (Isa. 57.18.)
'God is He who stilleth the seas and the noise of their waves, and the tumult of the people'. (Ps. 65.7.)
'The troubled seas, and the noise of their waves are, evidently, allusions to the tumult of the people.
Jesus was empowered to endorse this same teaching when, standing up in a small boat in a stormy sea. He 'rebuked' the wind and the waves, and said, "Peace, be still". And the wind and the sea obeyed Him.
Note the choice of the word, 'rebuke' in this narrative. To rebuke, to chide or repremand is something one would do to living beings only. No one would 'rebuke' the wind and the sea as such. Obviously the word was chosen with purpose in this context. For we can read in Isaiah:
'The nations shall rush like the rushing of many waters, but God shall rebuke them'.(Isa. 17.13.)
The following should be read with the common sense to recognise that the seas, as such, cannot praise God. Niether can the fish of the sea, the fowl of the air, nor the Beasts of the field. Nor can they appreciate God's marvellous works, nor the glory which is His. These are things which God says He desires, and will require of MEN.
'Let the heaven and the earth praise Him, The seas and all that is therein. (Ps. 69.34.)
'.....so that the fish of the sea, and the fowl of the heavens and all creeping things that creep upon the earth praise Him, and all men that are upon the face of the earth shall shake at His presence', (Ezk. 38.20.)
Surely, the last phrase in the above text must be seen as defining the nomencature in that which precedes it.
If we are able to receive it, it is the Scriptures themselves which tell us that, by the use of such terminology, God alludes, here, to 'all men that dwell upon the face of the earth'. One can only repeat in the words of Jesus: "He who hath ears to hear, let him hear".
'AND GOD SAID, LET THE WATERS BRING FORTH ABUNDANTLY THE MOVING
'CREATURE THAT HATH LIFE, AND FOWL THAT IT MAY FLY ABOVE THE EARTH IN THE OPEN FIRMAMENT OF HEAVEN. AND GOD CREATED GREAT WHALES AND EVERY LIVING CREATURE THAT MOVETH, WHICH THE WATERS BROUGHT FORTH ABUNDANTLY, AFTER THEIR KIND, AND EVERY WINGED FOWL AFTER ITS KIND: AND GOD SAW THAT IT WAS GOOD. AND GOD BLESSED THEM, SAYING, BE FRUITFUL, AND MULTIPLY. AND FILL THE WATERS OF THE SEAS, AND LET THE FOWL MULTIPLY IN THE EARTH. AND THE EVENING AND THE MORNING WERE THE FIFTH DAY'.
On the sixth day, God said:
'LET THE EARTH BRING FORTH THE LIVING CREATURE AFTER ITS KIND, CATTLE, AND CREEPING THINGS, AND THE BEAST OF THE EARTH AFTER ITS KIND. AND IT WAS SO'.
Now if this were truly a record of the creation of the animal kingdom on earth, then it surely would have been strange to speak of the moving creature with the qualifying, 'that hath life', since the words, 'that hath life, have the function of distinguishing between creatures having life, and those which do not, which of course, in the case of animals, would be an absurdity.
But we can understand that it is the chosen nomenclature which has concealed the fact that it is MANKIND, (Nephesh) or 'living souls' that are still being brought forth during the fifth and sixth thousand years of creation. And if we still bear in mind that 'life' in the Scriptural sense is spiritual life, then the words, 'that hath life' may be seen to have been used with purpose since 'life', in the doctrinal sense, distinguishes between Adamic life, and those humans who have merely anthrapoid or beast life. And it can be shown how the Scriptures powerfully imply that these have lived, and still live, co-existent with the Adamic genus since the beginning of the Adamic age.
The very use of the words 'living creature', (Nephesh) in verses 21 and 24 (translated 'living soul' in Gen. 2.7b) confirms that God is NOT, in truth, speaking of animals as such. The entire oracle of Gen. 1. has to be 'spiritually discerned'. But there are those who, because they are blind to the significance of the Hebrew word 'Nephesh' in these verses, contend that the word implies that animals, too, have souls.
The fifth day therefore, came in by the light of the Gospel. And many that had walked in darkness saw the light, and walked in it. By faith they mounted upwards as on the wings of an eagle. While others, like the fish that remain in the sea, were still in darkness, for all seemed covered to them as the waters cover the fish of the sea - until Jesus made His disciples 'fishers of men', and taught them how to cast their net into the sea.
Through the fifth and sixth thousand years, that net - the testimony of the disciples, has drawn from the seas an unnumbered multitude
accepting the Gospel of Our Common Salvation which speaks of repentance, the remission of sins, resurrection, justification by faith, and of reconciliation with God. In the allegorical story presenting a foreview of this, it is written, '.....and the net broke, so great was the mutitude of fish'.
This is the Gospel to which St. Paul was alluding in particular when he wrote: 'We are justified by faith alone, and not by works'.
But it is recorded that on another occasion, the net drew up but a small number, 153 in all. This account is analogous of the 'remnant' who are to be drawn out of the dark waters of mortality through their faith, together with their 'works' of overcoming the world, the flesh and the devil. These two, faith WITH works, are the essential elements in the Gospel of the Redemption of the Body, and it can be demonstrated that St. Paul had much more to say upon this aspect of the Doctrine of God than upon The Gospel of our Common Salvation, as, indeed, did Jesus Himself.
The illusion that the Scriptures declare that, in the beginning, man was made in the image of God may now be seen. Firstly, it has always been judged that the record of the creation of man in Gen. 1.26, duplicates that of Gen. 2.7. despite the fact that the word 'image' is not found in chapter two. Secondly, the record of Gen. 1.26. wherein the word 'image' does appear, is written in the past tense as if it were the record of a work already accomplished. It has been concluded therefore that it is an account of the same creation as that described in Gen. 2.7. but that the one account conflicts with the other, and this is seen by the critics, in their blindness, as conclusive proof that both chapters could not have been the work of the same Mind.
It has simply not been discerned that the account of the creation of man in Gen. 2. from verse 7, records the BEGINNING of the Biblical history of the Adamic genus, whereas the creation of Man recorded in Gen. 1. from verse 26, is a work plainly stated to be wrought on the SIXTH AND LAST 'DAY' of God's creative labour. We have already said that the continual use of the past tense in chapter one accounts for the illusion, but there are other reasons why there has been a failure to see the vast difference in the nature of the two creations.
Of all that great volume of teaching which appears in the Scriptures relating exclusively to the future creation of man in the image of God, none of it has been truly believed. All that has been written about it in the prophetic oracles, and in the sayings of Jesus, men have tried, and dismally failed, to force into agreement with the Gospel of our Common Salvation. All declarations relating to it have been looked upon as mere figures of speech not to be taken literally.
To be 'born anew' is taken to mean merely to become a Christian, to be converted to the elementary faith of the soul's salvation. It is taken to mean being baptised, and deciding to change one's way of life.
The converted are then taught to believe they have received the Holy Spirit within them, and that they have truly been born again. These
deluded people must surely be in total ignorance of the truth that when the Scripture speaks of being 'born anew' it is alluding to a truly amazing, and staggering phenomenon. For it means being literally 'born of God' by an infusion of the Divine Spirit. We are told quite clearly what the effects of this will be.
First, it will constitute the fulfillment of the promises made through the prophets:
"I will create in them a clean heart I will place my spirit in their inward parts, and they shall be my sons and my daughters. "I will be glorified in them". "They shall show forth my praise". "My glory SHALL BE SEEN UPON THEM." "They shall come bending unto thee, saying, Surely God is in thee."
Has any part of this great wonder ever yet been seen to have been the effect upon those who have been taught and encouraged to believe they have been 'Born again'?
The error of these mistaught people may be clearly seen from the prophetic teaching as it is taken up in the New Testament. In the first epistle of St. John, as well as in the writings of St. Paul it is emphasised that when this Divine Birth takes place in man, then not only will it be an impossibility for him to commit sin, it will become impossible for him to die by reason of the fact that, the same Spirit of Divine Life which raised Jesus from the dead would be dwelling within him.
We are told that the effect of this would be to give Immortal Life to his hitherto mortal body. He would become, literally, 'a New Creature'. 'a New Creation'. He would have become 'transformed to the very image of Jesus Christ Who is, historically, and in Truth, the "Firstborn of God'.
Reflect upon some of the recorded words of Jesus upon the same subject.
"I am that bread which cometh down from heaven. He who eateth Me (i.e. he who assimilates, or receives within himself the Life of My Spirit) shall live for ever".
".....the water that I shall give him, shall be within him a well of water springing up into everlasting life".
"I am the beginning of God's creation".
But in the Churches of Christendom, all this is looked upon as mere metaphor, it is simply not seen as the great doctrine of the Redemption of the body from the curse of death. It is not seen as the Scripture's teaching upon the forthcoming New Creation - the Creation which is alluded to in the 26th verse of the FIRST chapter of Genesis.
There is total blindness to the reason why it was absolutely vital that Jesus should have been raised bodily from the grave, and that His body should not have seen corruption. It is not realised that had it
not been so, Jesus would have ceased to be Man. For once a man dies and loses his body, he no longer belongs to the genus, Man, he becomes a disembodied spirit. And if Jesus had ceased to be Man. then God would have had no 'Second Adam' through Whom, it is declared, He has promised to accomplish His purpose as announced in Genesis 1.26.
It is simply not understood how the New Testament affirms that Jesus Christ is still a MAN, but that He is a God-Man Who now lives by the Eternal Spirit of God. It is plainly taught that He is a NEW CREATURE. As He, Himself, has declared. He is 'The beginning of God's (New) Creation'. And the wonder of this doctrine is that, as the apostles testified, He is 'the First of many brethren who will be transformed to His Own Image'.
It is emphasised again and again in the Scriptural oracles that this wondrous work which it is God's purpose to accomplish in man is to be wrought by, and THROUGH Jesus Christ, which means that, without Him, i.e. without One - a MAN, Who had already been given Divine Life so that He may act as a Mediator of that Life, it would not be possible for God to fulfill His purpose. For if the Spirit and Life of God were to be infused into man directly from God Himself, then the effect would be that God would utterly destroy rather than Re-generate His creature. This is the very basis of the New Testament declaration concerning Christ which insists:
"There is no other name under heaven by which we may be saved".
But this declaration must be understood to mean - 'by which we may be saved FROM DEATH', on the one hand, and, on the other hand, "by which the souls of the dead may be raised and restored to the spirits of the 'unnumbered multitude' of those who will have died.
Hence it is only by recognising and accepting the principle that, in the divine oracles, God often speaks of those things, which are not yet as though they were present realities, that we may rightly understand what St. John is really saying in the opening words of his Gospel concerning Christ as the Creative 'Word of God', for he is announcing not that which is a present reality, but which is a future Truth. He decalares:
"All things were made by Him, and without Him was not anything made that was made".
And so we read in the first chapter of Genesis the words spoken by God to His First-begotten Son:
'AND GOD SAID, LET US MAKE MAN IN OUR OWN IMAGE, AND LET THEM HAVE DOMINION OVER THE FISH OF THE SEA, AND OVER THE CATTLE, AND OVER THE FOWL OF THE AIR, AND OVER ALL THE EARTH, AND OVER EVERY CREEPING THING THAT CREEPETH UPON THE EARTH. AND GOD CREATED MAN IN HIS OWN IMAGE. IN THE IMAGE OF GOD CREATED HE HIM. MALE AND FEMALE CREATED HE THEM'
God, at sundry times, and in divers manners, spoke through His prophets declaring with the greatest consistency that, it is at the close of the sixth day, when the whole earth is in turmoil and uproar, that all evil, and the powers of evil are to be destroyed forever.
This is the time when this creative work upon the Elect of God is to be wrought. It is spoken of as a time of unsurpassed evil and peril upon the earth, a time of unprecedented hatred of the faithful in Christ. It is spoken of as 'the night of the world' proceeding the dawn of the Great Sabbath of the Lord.
Few indeed are the teachers within the orthodox churches who give the least credence to this doctrine, and one wonders in what way they understand the words of Jesus when He said:
"Do you not know that the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath?"
Do such teachers Imagine that Jesus was referring to the weekly Sabbath? Should they not reflect upon the Scriptural teaching that when it was declared, "AND ON THE SEVENTH DAY, GOD RESTED FROM ALL HIS WORK WHICH HE HAD CREATED AND MADE", the Holy Spirit, although employing the past tense, was speaking of those things which were yet to be?
For those, then, who have ears to hear, and eyes to see, it should be clear that what we are given in this first chapter of Genesis, is not an account of the creation of the physical universe, but, in the chosen vocabulary of the Holy Spirit, a greatly condensed account of what was to be the progress of the Adamic age, the history of which had yet to be written.
Last updated 31st October 2009