No one knows exactly when "In the beginning" was. Whenever it was, God completely created the heaven and the earth originally at that time according to verse one! After that original creation, the earth was described as without form, void, and dark in verse two! But every item created following verse two is then described as "good!"
There is absolutely no reason to believe God ever made anything that was not originally created as good! Then why does verse two state that the earth was without form, void, and dark after being created in verse one? Other translations of the original Hebrew text indicate that something occurred and the earth had reached this state. For example, the New International Version® of the Bible renders the same verses as follows:
That is, God originally created the heavens and the earth good in verse one, and over a period of time the earth had become formless, void, and dark. Between verse one and verse two a period of time obviously occurred. Based on current scientific estimates, the time period between verse one and two was approximately 4.55 billion years. This is the current estimated age of the earth. Yes, dinosaurs did roam the earth sixty-five million years ago! The following "creation" described in detail beginning in Genesis 1:3 is actually a re-creation of a decimated earth originally created in verse one. This re-creation can be traced back to approximately 6,000 years ago. This belief that the creation described in detail beginning in Genesis 1:3 is actually a re-creation of a decimated earth is supported by other scripture verses:
So in the beginning God created the heaven and the earth as good. Now the earth had become without form, void, and dark. Notice that only the earth had become without form, void, and dark. The "heaven" remained in good condition as it was created.
Suppose you were going to recreate something that had become "without form, void, and dark." What would be your first logical step? Would it be the same as God's first logical step? In verse three of chapter one, roughly 4.55 billion years from verse one, God performs the most obvious and logical first step in the re-creation of the earth. He turns the lights back on:
What caused the original wonderfully created earth to degrade to the conditions as described in verse two? Sin and rebellion against the commandments of God produced chaos.
God created everything that was ever created, and everything God created was good. However, most of us would agree that sin is definitely bad. Therefore, one might ask, "Where did sin come from?" Since sin is not good, God did not create sin. What God did create was freedom of choice. Angels and man were created with freedom of choice. Is this good? Yes, because God created it. Without the ability to choose, we would simply be robots repeating the same actions to every similar situation. God also created laws or commandments which the beings He created should obey. Are laws good? Yes, God created them. Without laws there would be anarchy and chaos. Sin is disobeying God's laws. God did not create the sins. God created angels and man with freedom of choice and gave them laws to live by. They can choose between good and evil. That is, between obeying or disobeying God's laws. Angels and man then created sin by choosing to violate God's laws.
We will see shortly that man was created during the Genesis re-creation and given dominion over the earth. God then provided man with commandments or laws which man should obey. Sin is the transgression of God's laws:
After his creation, man sins by choosing through his freedom of choice to live his way over that of obeying God's commandments:
Under man's rule and rebellion against God, the earth will reach a state of great tribulation:
Due to the same reason, sinning by rebelling against God, the good earth as originally created had reached the state of no form, void, and dark before the Genesis re-creation begun in verse three! But who was on earth to rebel against God before the creation of man? After God originally created the heavens and earth in the beginning, He did not abandon it to its own fate. He placed a caretaker and a host of subordinates to care for the earth. That caretaker was given dominion over the earth. So who was this caretaker? It was the archangel Lucifer who became known as the devil or Satan after his rebellion. How do we know that Lucifer was the earthly caretaker? In the book of Luke, when Satan tempted Jesus for forty days in the desert, Satan offered Jesus power over all the kingdoms of the earth:
Notice that Jesus did not question the devil's authority to give him power over the earth. He knew that Satan did indeed have control over the earth and could give or share this power with whomever he pleased. Jesus' immediate response was:
Once God makes a covenant, or testament, or promise, He always keeps it. Although Satan rebelled against his creator, God did not and will not violate the agreement. Satan was given rule over the world and a ruler must be defeated and overthrown! This is one of the reasons Jesus is coming to the earth, to defeat Satan.
So the ruler of the earth is Satan, and he decided sometime between the first two verses of the Bible to rebel against God. The ultimate results of his rebellion and rule are the conditions of chaos described on the earth in verse two. Satan was an archangel, and his staff was a host of angels:
Although the exact number under Satan's authority is unknown, it was one-third of the total number of angels. Satan and the angels who joined his rebellion against God were exiled from the Kingdom of God and restricted to ruling the earth:
"Stars" is symbolism for angels in the book of Revelation. Satan was an archangel since he had angels under his control. Today, we might consider him to be middle management. Being omnipotent, God could have created beings which had no choice but to worship and love him. However, of what significance is it if a being has no choice but to love someone? Not much, they would simply be robots. Therefore, God created the angels and man with freedom of choice. Satan and some of the angels under his authority at some time chose to rebel against God. Why did he rebel? It was a grab for power:
Lucifer, also known as Satan or the Devil, was not content in his position. He wanted to be like the most high God. He wanted to exalt his throne above the stars, or angels, of God. As a result of their rebellious nature and their dominion over the earth, the good earth had reached the chaotic and unacceptable condition of formless, void, and dark. Satan did not rule the heaven so it remained good. Although Satan ruled the earth, God can and does intervene on occasions. One such intervention was the re-creation of the earth described in Genesis which occurred approximately six thousand years ago.
These rebellious caretakers will need to be replaced after God seizes control of the earth back from Satan. In the original creation the caretakers were created with spiritual bodies which live forever. In the re-creation God did not create more spiritual beings and risk being stuck with more rebels for eternity. He created a mortal being called man a little lower than the angels:
Angels are immortal spiritual beings. They cannot be hurt or killed as physical bodies can. Although mankind is a little lower than the angels, we were made after their likeness:
Well, what are some of the characteristics of spiritual beings? The main characteristic of spiritual bodies is that they are immortal. They will never die after being created. Describing Christians who will be born again as spiritual beings, the Bible proclaims:
The former things that are passed away are their physical bodies and all associated physical characteristics. These include death, sorrow, crying, pain, etc. Christians will become spiritual bodies equal unto the angels when born again at the Second Coming. "And there shall be no more death," is future tense. As presently created, man will die. That is, he is not immortal. Additional characteristics of spiritual bodies include:
We are certainly not like that. Do spirits have arms and legs like we do? Yes and no. Spirits are not restricted by physical laws as are humans. If they want to look like humans with arms and legs they can do so. Do they have wings? Wings are needed only to propel physical bodies through the air. Spirits do not need this propulsion because neither air nor any other matter restricts them. So spiritual beings are somewhat like the wind. We might be able to sense what they do, although generally we cannot see nor hear them.
So how are we in the likeness of God and the angels? We know both man and angels have freedom of choice. Satan and some angels under his authority rebelled against God, thus proving they could choose. Man and woman disobeyed God in the Garden of Eden, thus proving they had freedom of choice. So in this way we are alike. As we will see shortly, angels and man were both created to have dominion over and care for the earth under the auspices and authority of God. God and man both possess a creative nature. God created everything that was ever created. Within his environment man is also very creative and inventive. He has progressed from living in caves to walking on the moon. Sadly, many of man's inventions were initially created for vile purposes such as war.
The most important way in which man is made in the likeness of God is that man is the only animal which has the capability of becoming equal unto the angels. Speaking of those who shall inherit the Kingdom of God in the world to come, Jesus states:
So man and angels are the same in that both possess freedom of choice, man and some of the angels had the responsibility of caring for the earth, and man is the only animal which has the capability of becoming equal unto the angels.
How were man and spirits created differently? Man was created only a "little lower than the angels." In fact, man was created originally with only two differences between him and the angels! These two differences between men and angels are described in the book of Genesis. They are body type and knowledge of good and evil. Trees in the Garden of Eden represented each of these differences:
God created man and angels with the freedom to make choices. Just as Satan and his angels were given control over the entire earth, man was given dominion over every other physical being on earth:
Man is the only animal that can reason, learn, and make choices. Other animals do not make cognitive choices as humans do, but perform actions based on instinct. That is, other animals do not know right from wrong. Originally, mankind did not either. Adam and Eve had access to the fruit of two very special trees among the many in the Garden of Eden:
However, God did not create mankind to sit on his duff and eat fruit:
Now whose job was that originally? It was the job of Satan and angels under his supervision, as the Garden of Eden is on the earth which Satan rules. However, the original caretakers failed in this assignment. It stands to reason that any earthly caretakers will be required to make choices. Whatever occurs, they must be capable of choosing the best response to maintain the earth in good condition as it was created. Aside from the angels, the only other being created by God and given freedom of choice was man. Therefore, man was created to eventually replace the original rebellious caretakers:
Replenish indicates to make full or complete a second time! From The Random House College Dictionary, replenish is defined as:
Thus man was charged with completing the work in which Satan and his angels so miserably failed.
The angels created originally to care for the earth are spiritual bodies which live forever. This makes sense, as the job of caring for the physical and natural wonders created by God is an infinitely ongoing process. Consequently, the new caretakers being created will need to live forever also. Therefore, these mortal men and women who qualify for the job will be upgraded to immortal spiritual bodies when they are born again at, or after, the resurrection. These former humans will then replace the original caretakers under the new leader who defeats Satan. That new leader will be Jesus Christ. Not all men will qualify to become immortal caretakers. Those with the character flaw which caused the original caretakers to fail in their duties will not qualify. That flaw was sin. These men and women who do not qualify will perish in the second death!
God defined the criteria whereby mankind could become spiritual beings and be spared from the second death in a testament or will. However, no one could qualify under the original testament. God then created a New Testament, at which time the original became the Old Testament. These two testaments combine to form today's Bible and define our path of salvation from the second death through believing in Jesus Christ.
Although man was made a little lower than the angels he was made in the image of God. In scientific worldly terms, man is at the top of the food chain. That is, man was given dominion over every other animal on the earth. Mankind is being groomed to assume the responsibilities of the original earthly caretakers and was made in their image. The original differences are that man does not understand good from evil and man is mortal. At this point, man does not have a spiritual body and thus does not have eternal life. However, all he has to do is reach out and eat of the tree of life and he will become like the angels and live forever. But the ever present Devil intercedes and causes man to sin by choosing to disobey God:
Notice that God did not suggest or recommend that man not eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. He commanded it! Since man was not created with the knowledge of good and evil he could not sin until God gave him this first commandment. What exactly is sin? Sin is the transgression of the commandments of God which are also called the law:
So sin is transgression of the law. But what if there is no law? Then there is no sin:
That is, sinful acts could be committed before the laws were given and understood. However, committing the act does not constitute a sin until by God's law we recognize the act as a sin. Originally, man did not know good from evil as he had no law. At this point, man has one, and only one, law or commandment: do not eat the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil! Man was now set up to commit one, and only one sin. It was the only commandment he knew, and thus the only one he could violate. Satan saw to it that man did indeed violate this first commandment that God gave him:
When Adam and Eve ate the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil both did immediately know right from wrong. That part of Satan's statement was true as we see below:
They had become as gods in that they recognized good and evil. At this point there is only one difference remaining between man and the angels. That difference is that men have mortal, physical bodies whereas angels have immortal, spiritual bodies. Only two body types are described in the Bible, natural or terrestrial and spiritual or celestial:
Celestial means heavenly or spiritual and terrestrial means natural, earthly, or physical. There are only two body types, celestial and terrestrial, and they are different. The glory of the celestial is one and the glory of the terrestrial is another. In other words, they do not mix. There is no hybrid being consisting of a spirit or soul living within a physical body described anywhere in the scriptures! Man is a terrestrial body, and angels are spiritual bodies. Therefore, man remains lower than the angels.
"Ye shall not surely die," was a lie. How do we know Satan lied? God told Adam and Eve if they ate fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil "thou shalt surely die." God does not lie! Therefore, Satan's contradictory statement that "Ye shall not surely die," was a lie. Mankind has believed that lie ever since! Man believes he has a part of himself that lives forever. Man thus equates himself with God!
Although they did not die immediately, they were not spiritual bodies and had sinned and would sin again as they now knew good from evil, and:
Until Adam and Eve ate of the tree of knowledge of good and evil they would not die. Once they violated this first law that God gave them, they had sinned, and would die because the wages of sin is death. Additionally, they opened up the knowledge of good and evil for all humans which followed them. That is, all humans from that point forward could sin as they understood good from evil thanks to Adam and Eve:
All humans except Jesus will choose evil over good sometime in their life:
Therefore, all humans except Jesus will be sentenced to die the second death. Up to this time God had not yet implemented the physical laws whereby man's body died of natural causes. Shortly after man sinned, God created the physical laws whereby human bodies could not live past one hundred and twenty years of age:
After Adam and Eve sinned the tree of life was still available in the garden for them to eat from and thus live forever. They would then be equal unto the angels. Why were Adam and Eve evicted from the Garden of Eden? Most people believe it was because they sinned. That's incorrect. It was to prevent them from eating of the tree of life!
If they had been allowed to eat of the tree of life and become spiritual bodies which live forever, the re-creation effort described in Genesis might have resulted in adding more rebellious spirits to Satan's gang for eternity! After all, these new beings had already exhibited the same tendencies as the original caretakers. They had sinned! Therefore, mankind was separated from the tree of life so they could not eat of its fruit and live forever. Obviously, at this point, neither man nor any part of man is going to live forever! He had the opportunity. Man was never commanded not to eat from the tree of life! He could have eaten freely from the tree of life but he chose poorly. At this point, man is closer to being like the angels because he knows good from evil. The remaining difference is body type, physical versus spiritual. Man was expelled from the Garden of Eden so he could not eat from the tree of life and live forever! Few Christian clergy believe this verse.
There is additional confirmation in the Bible that the only remaining difference between man and the angels is body type. Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and thus a spirit that lives forever. A spirit cannot be killed. That being the case, how could He die for our sins? The answer is in the Bible:
Jesus Christ was made to be "a little lower than the angels," exactly as man was created!
Both Jesus Christ and man were made "a little lower than the angels." However, we are given the one, and only one, reason that Jesus was made lower than the angels for His thirty-three years on earth. He could not die as a spirit! He was made lower than the angels so He could suffer death! That was the only change required for Him to become a human being! That is, His spiritual body could not die as it is immortal. He had to become a physical human body so He could die for our sins. It will always be a mystery to man as to how this was accomplished. That is, where was His spiritual body while He was on the earth? We will not understand this until we become members of the Kingdom of God. Regardless of how it was accomplished, the only change required for Jesus to become a human was a body type change from spiritual to physical. Conversely, the only remaining difference between humans and Jesus and the angels is a physical body versus a spiritual body. When Jesus was asked how men could enter into the Kingdom of God, Jesus gave only one requirement which man had to accomplish:
Jesus is addressing living men who have already been born of water. Human bodies are approximately 70% water and were carried in the womb in water. Man is the only animal which may gain eternal life since he is the only animal created with freedom of choice. One must choose whether or not to accept Jesus as their Savior. Thus to enter the Kingdom of God, one must first be born of water as a man and not some other animal. Our human birth of water gets us into the animal kingdom as homo sapiens. If one chooses to accept Jesus as his Savior, his second birth after Jesus returns to the earth will be a spiritual birth into the Kingdom of God. It is a real event, not simply some emotion! You are born a second time as a spirit, or born again.
Therefore, the one remaining requirement for any existing man or woman to enter the Kingdom of God is that they must be born again as a spirit! Flesh and blood physical bodies cannot inherit the Kingdom of God:
Each of the two body types defined in the Bible, physical and spiritual, require a separate and distinct type of birth:
Dualisms occur throughout the Bible. God created angels and some sinned due to their desire to be like God. God then created man lower than the angels and man sinned for the very same reason. The pursuit of power lures beings to sin. Both the rebellious angels and man desired to be as, or more powerful, than God. Is the "tree of life" ever encountered again in the Bible? Yes, several times in Revelation:
Man will individually be allowed to eat of the tree of life and live forever if he chooses to meet the requirement of the New Testament. The requirement of the New Testament in order for one to become an heir to salvation is a belief in Jesus Christ:
Those who are allowed to eat of the tree of life will be born again as spiritual beings which live forever. They will then, and only then, be equal unto the angels. Those who never eat of the tree of life are not born again as spiritual beings. They are resurrected as mortal beings. Obviously, we all die the first death. So what does eating of the tree of life save us from? It saves us from the second death described in Revelation:
How does eating of the tree of life protect us from the second death? When we eat of the tree of life we are born again as spiritual bodies which live forever and cannot die:
When will we receive this reward or gift of eternal life? At the Second Coming Jesus is bringing our reward:
When Satan told Eve, "Ye shall not surely die," he lied. However, Satan is the current ruler of the world. When the ruler makes a statement we accept it as truth uncritically. Since then, all mankind has an innate belief that some part of them, their spirit or soul, lives forever. Stories or beliefs accepted uncritically to explain basic "truths" are called myths. This immortal soul myth is not only believed by most Christians, it is a universal myth. Virtually all religions believe in some sort of life after death.
Since man is at the top of the food chain he has no physical being to look to above and see as his creator. Consider your dog or cat. They look to you for their shelter, food, medical help, life or death, etc. They do not worry about where they came from. On the other hand, man cannot understand his existence. Thus, early religions generally worshiped something they did not understand which gave them continued life such as the sun, the moon, or a river.
The effort to explain man's existence has taken two branches, religious and secular. The most widely known secular attempt at an explanation is the "Theory of Evolution." The religious branch has produced many religions. Of course, yours is the only true religion. Most of us would defend our religion to the death, and many have. On the other hand, the poor slob in the jungle worshiping the river truly believes his religion is the only true religion. Why? Because it's what he's been taught since birth. He was born into his religion, as were most of us!
The scriptures form the most amazing book ever written. The answers to man's every question are placed into a book which is brilliantly sealed from his understanding! Satan immediately sets man off on the totally wrong path when he instills in man the concept that, "Ye shall not surely die." After the first few pages of Genesis, Satan has successfully sealed the Bible from man's understanding.
This initial false belief that man is born as an immortal soul living within a physical body seals the remainder of the Bible from man's understanding. The remainder of the Bible must be incorrectly "interpreted" to support this original error! Consequently, secondary myths are created to support this initial myth created in the first few pages of Genesis. With a little assistance from Satan, man seals the scriptures from his own understanding!
An example of a secondary myth is the "bodily resurrection" theology. If you believe you are born with an immortal soul, you are forced to misinterpret the definition of Christians being born again at the resurrection in First Corinthians:
This scripture is not complicated. The Christian body that is sown is corruptible, dishonored, weak, and a natural body. This is the physical body which is buried like a seed, or sown, when we die. At the resurrection, Christians are raised up as incorruptible, glorified, powerful, spiritual bodies. This is exactly what the above verses state! Read them again several times if you must to confirm their simple truth.
Those humans who died believing in Jesus Christ will be born as spiritual bodies at the resurrection. Since this is their second birth, they are born again. The first man Adam was a living, breathing being or soul. The last Adam was made a quickening spirit or spiritual body. Perhaps use of the word "soul" is confusing. Let's cover that in chapter 14 - Poor Word Choice.
People who believe they are born as an immortal soul inhabiting a physical body will tell you this verse means the soul is rejoined with an incorruptible physical body which will never die. This is known as the bodily resurrection doctrine. This false interpretation is forced upon them once they believe Satan's lie that they already possess an eternal spiritual body, "Ye shall not surely die." Since Christians already have a spiritual body this scripture cannot mean what it states. Therefore, it must be interpreted to mean that the already existing spiritual body, which they believe all men to be born with, is merged with an incorruptible, immortal physical body at the resurrection! After all, if you already have a spiritual body, or soul, why would you need another one? Thus, they would have born again Christians remaining a little lower that the angels, since they are handicapped by a physical body.
This secondary bodily resurrection myth does resolve the problem of punishment for the nonbelievers and it is good news for all sadists. It is now possible to punish nonbelievers twenty-four hours a day for eternity in hellfire since their physical bodies can experience pain but never die! What a wonderful "Christian" concept! When Jesus Christ sees His followers believing He created a system to torture nonbelievers with the pain and terror of burning alive for eternity, what might His reaction be? My guess is that:
Is it any wonder that Christian parents can worry themselves sick regarding the future "eternity" of their children?