"Understanding God's Creation Plan"
All too often we as Christians are confronted with, " how could such a loving God as you say you serve, send people to a place called hell ". Answering that question has been one that has lead to much debate and misunderstanding among even the so-called theologians. The misunderstanding comes in the misunderstanding of creation itself. It is the hopes that this writing will show a little clearer understanding in opening some areas for thought regarding why, while understanding when the need for a place of separation arose more fully.
"Understanding God's Creation Plan"
If we look at the very beginning of time God created a grand and glorious place we have come to know as earth. All was peaceful, quiet, and productive. Man was given dominion over every individual thing on this planet and I would tend to believe man was greatly "favored" by God which is shown by His coming in the cool of the day and being with man. And just think on being in God's presence as He was literally with man here on earth! Awesome thought isn't it?
No where in the bible can I find where Lucifer was created, as in a time frame, nor could I find a time in which hell was created. Or did I? I did find it seems that hell or Sheol, which is used in the Hebrew, is found mentioned 66 times in the Old Testament. The use of the word hell is used 12 times in the New Testament and 11 of those 12 times is a direct mention by Christ himself.
God made the very first mention of "hell" in his explaining to man that he could eat of any tree in the garden except one. He said to man that the punishment for that transgression was death. Understanding the meaning of the word death is very important. Death as used at that time is a form of "hell" and you will see that later in this study, which is the end of existence, as we know it. It is the opinion of the writer, and I want you to use an open mind when reading this part . That hell being the "lake of fire" was not yet in existence as there was not a need. Why was there a need for a place such as this anyway? After all, it was a perfect, sinless world. Good question.
In using the thought process as given to me by God, and in reading and meditating on his word being the bible, I sought answers to this question. This is what I came up with.
We have no direct knowledge with the exception of that which is told to us by science and that of the Bible as to the age of man on earth. If we look at the Bible, we can quickly assume by the time line that man is a mere 6,000 years old. But looking in science, how can that be? Science says the earth is millions of years old and has endured a lot in that time. I tend to follow some of what science can say. This does not say however that I am inclined to go along with the big bang theory! Nor am I to believe that man evolved from slime. But using the knowledge of science as to determine earth's time I would believe that the earth was in existence long before man. And now you think, How preposterous for you to say that! The bible clearly says how it was done. And the bible describes days and nights! Ok... you got me. But listen on this. We conceive in our minds time as 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. Doesnt our mind of man say a little later in the bible as describing time with God as "one day with the Lord is as a thousand years and a thousand years as one day"? If we look at one day being like a thousand years and in man's time compared to God's time, we would see that the earth is 2 million one hundred and ninety thousand years old at the 6th day of creation! Looking closer in Genesis 1: 14-19 we find it was on the fourth day of creation in which God placed in the sky the Sun, the moon and the stars as signs of days and nights, seasons and years. And, didn't the mind and conception of thought of man calculate that? Still a long time! But more!
It also says as written by Moses in the book of Genesis that Adam was 930 years when he died? Looking in Genesis 5:3 we are introduced to the word "live" as in time of man. The word from the Hebrew as written is kawpaw, which means kept, preserved, restore. If the word has any meaning at all, then the days of Adam were said to be preserved 930 years at the day of his death. It is therefore possible in looking at that direction Adam was here for much longer than his recorded 930 years as it is conceivably possible according to this writing that man was created early in the sixth day of God's infinite time.
TIMELINE OF EVENTS
Looking in the bible, we can see throughout that the order in which it is written is not really in a timeline of events, but account of events as compiled through the writings of God's servants. Moses wrote the first few chapters of Genesis as he did the entire book through the knowledge of the generations. The first chapter of the book will show briefly, the knowledge of creation. Genesis 1: 1-19 - Days 1-4, Heavens and Earth. Genesis 1: 20-23 - Day 5 - The creatures of the waters and the birds. Genesis 1: 24-31 - Day 6 - man, animal, woman, and the garden.
The second chapter will show more clearly the events in order of creation on day six. We can see the events lined up for us even to the creation of the Garden of Eden individually. In Verse 7 of Chapter 2 we can see that man was created before the garden. The garden is first mentioned in verse 8 and man was placed there, already a living soul. Verse 9 will be referring to the planting of the garden itself.
Key Players - The Two Trees
The reference to The Tree of Life is found in the verse Genesis 2:9. In understanding the writing of Moses and using the original words relating to the tree, God had told man later on in the garden, you can eat of every tree in this garden that bears fruit giving seed. We know that a seed is the beginning of life. The results of this fruit born from the seed as mentioned to man by God are an enhancement to life. God created the trees with fruit already on it's branches. In looking in the time of God and knowing how long it takes a tree to grow to bare fruit, we can see how in man's time the trees could reproduce themselves in the garden. Man's life would be sustained forever not just in the garden but outside as well. We should therefore see one meaning of the tree of life to be used in this study. Note: Jesus does refer to himself as the tree of life. But keep in mind pertaining to this subject and the book written by Moses, the plan of Jesus was not yet "revealed" to man.
What about the tree of the knowledge of good and evil? Why would God even place it there?
We all know that God inhabits the praises of his people, his creations even, his angels.
After the creation of earth and maybe at the time of man came "another" creation. Not a creation that we see as mentioned in the beginning of the bible, because the earth was perfect. God himself came here, in the cool of the day and we know that God will not allow or tolerate evil's continued dwelling in His presence. All through the age of the church it has been said God separted himself from evil refusing to be in its presence. But we can see references many times through out the Bible where God and evil were together. The first, being in the garden when he approched man. Again in Job, when the devil was in heaven before God. And again, in the temptation of Christ. God does not eliminate his presence just because evil is there. God loves all of his creations. All of them, and shows his mercy to them. And when needed he distributes the justice of his law accordingly. So something must have occurred in and from the form of his other creation in the heavens. An uprising was happening in the heavens .
One of which we know as Lucifer was the most beautiful of the angels, he was admired it seems by the other angels and honored for his beauty and he knew how to "get to the heart" of God as his being the so-called praise and worship leader. (That alone is another topic all together!) Created to give praise and honor to the creator for his works. Created for God's pleasure. It is possible to assume or to think here at this time, that this creation had more of an attribute of man, than the other angels did. He knew how to get more to the mind and heart of man, this meaning to say he was also intended to create or establish higher praise and honor to God through man as well. Quite possible too in assuming that he was given his own charge of "assistants" to his original goals.
I would say that in man's time, the position of his statute in heaven was very short lived. And the reason for that is found in understanding why he was expelled from heaven.
His pride, his ambition, his goals expelled him from heaven. He was greatly admired and surely exhalted by his peers. Being what he felt as the most perfect creation, the closest to God in his mind, he saw his power and sought to rise to higher power rapidly. In other words with his position he wanted to ascend higher than God. And he even sought God's prized creation (maybe) out of jealousy, man.
12 How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!
13 For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:
14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.
15 Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.
16 They that see thee shall narrowly look upon thee, and consider thee, saying, Is this the man that made the earth to tremble, that did shake kingdoms;
17 That made the world as a wilderness, and destroyed the cities thereof; that opened not the house of his prisoners?
18 All the kings of the nations, even all of them, lie in glory, every one in his own house.
19 But thou art cast out of thy grave like an abominable branch, and as the raiment of those that are slain, thrust through with a sword, that go down to the stones of the pit; as a carcase trodden under feet.
20 Thou shalt not be joined with them in burial, because thou hast destroyed thy land, and slain thy people: the seed of evildoers shall never be renowned.
21 Prepare slaughter for his children for the iniquity of their fathers; that they do not rise, nor possess the land, nor fill the face of the world with cities.
22 For I will rise up against them, saith the LORD of hosts, and cut off from Babylon the name, and remnant, and son, and nephew, saith the LORD.
23 I will also make it a possession for the bittern, and pools of water: and I will sweep it with the besom of destruction, saith the LORD of hosts.
24 The LORD of hosts hath sworn, saying, Surely as I have thought, so shall it come to pass; and as I have purposed, so shall it stand:
25 That I will break the Assyrian in my land, and upon my mountains tread him under foot: then shall his yoke depart from off them, and his burden depart from off their shoulders.
26 This is the purpose that is purposed upon the whole earth: and this is the
hand that is stretched out upon all the nations.
So moving on with the thought of , hell was created for Satan ok . Why should man, God's prize be sent there? And what about the second tree?
11 Woe unto them that rise up early in the morning, that they may follow strong drink; that continue until night, till wine inflame them!
12 And the harp, and the viol, the tabret, and pipe, and wine, are in their feasts: but they regard not the work of the LORD, neither consider the operation of his hands.
13 Therefore my people are gone into captivity, because they have no knowledge: and their honourable men are famished, and their multitude dried up with thirst.
14 Therefore hell hath enlarged herself, and opened her mouth without measure: and their glory, and their multitude, and their pomp, and he that rejoiceth, shall descend into it.
15 And the mean man shall be brought down, and the mighty man shall be humbled, and the eyes of the lofty shall be humbled:
16 But the LORD of hosts shall be exalted in judgment, and God that is holy shall be sanctified in righteousness. (KJV)
It is from here we have come to the reason for the tree of the knowledge of good and evil being present in the garden. God already knew of the problems caused by the devil in the heavens. He knew he would expel him. Being a just and true God, he chose expulsion maybe as an option placed before this one rather than extinction. God knew the direction he (the devil) would take upon such action, would be an attack on the minds and hearts of man. We know that God has given his creations, many opportunities for life and betterment of such throughout history. The redemption process had already been put in place at this time before the expulsion. Jesus said himself in Luke 10: 18 "I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven." He was there. God saw man's future knowing each one of us and put the plan into action immediately before Satan was cast out. Maybe it is for this reason that God said he knew us from the very foundations of the earth. And the choices we would be presented would be based on our knowedge of good and evil. The devil's plan backfired somewhat. It was not what he expected.
22 But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire. (KJV)
Why still should we be "sentenced to hell" by a loving forgiving God?
Oh, the book of life thing! You see from the very foundations of the earth God knew us. Our names were written in a book in heaven and I would imagine as part of the "blueprint" of earth so to speak. All part of his plan. This is not to say that God planned hell from the foundations of earth! When Satan did his thing in the heavens and got kicked out, God stretched forth his hand and upon his knowing the direction of Satan's goals to take man he put in place for those who chose to follow him to be so with him in a place of his own. Not a pleasant place! Hell, as in this passage in <Matt. 10:28> declares, not the casting in, but the doom which follows, namely, the destruction (not the loss of being, but of wellbeing) of "both soul and body." (from Vine's Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words) (Copyright (C) 1985, Thomas Nelson Publishers)
Man became aware in his knowledge of separation from God that he was in trouble more than earthly death. God being fair, and just, and true, made arrangements for man to once again have a place with him, though not as before, but without eternal damnation and that was by the act of the sacrifices made to him. The plan of Jesus as a sacrifice was already in place in the Garden of Eden. We can overcome and avoid this place called hell, as we know it according to:
7 He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.
Now is where it gets a little tricky! Man does still find himself in a place of hell at the end of his "life" on earth in SHEOL which is also a place of reward for the righteous <Hos. 13:14>; cf. <1 Cor. 15:55>. (from Vine's Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words) (Copyright (C) 1985, Thomas Nelson Publishers)
14 I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death: O death, I will be thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy destruction: repentance shall be hid from mine eyes. (KJV)
Once again the plan of the devil was redirected. Even though he did speak truth in his words of "you shall not surely die ." He never expected a place called hell! He was cursed above all creation to live in a place of eternal torment.
Jesus' teaching in <Luke 16:19-31> seems to reflect accurately the Old Testament concept of she'ol; it is a place of conscious existence after death, one side of which is occupied by the suffering, unrighteous dead separated by a great chasm from the other side peopled by the righteous dead enjoying their reward. (from Vine's Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words) (Copyright (C) 1985, Thomas Nelson Publishers)
15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.
16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
The Eighth Day of Creation
In the time frame of God not being that of man in relation to the verses saying one day with God is as a thousand years and a thousand years as one day and in man's conception of time we could quite possibly still be in his creation process dawning on a new day in his creations. A day in which he shall present to us, a new heaven, and a new earth to enjoy as originally set forth.
It is quite possible to think that we are living in the seventh day of God's creation in which he rests from his work of creation as it is done, for the moment. We as man rest so we can continue in our daily tasks. And now, God is resting. Man is currently dealing in the knowledge of good and evil. At the end of this 7th day in time, God will continue in creating for us the new heaven and the new earth.
God said in Genesis 3: 22-24 (putting in plain English) man had become like he was in his knowledge of good and evil. And even after giving man freely without his labor the tree of life to feast upon which would sustain his life, with out the works required. He must now plant his own trees, and till the land to survive life. God giving his creation another opportunity to avoid the devil's fate in the separation from Him in hell. Yet, there must like any good parent be punishment. The ground was cursed and it would fall barren. It would be dry in places and man was destined to sustain the life giving trees and the herbs. Toiling the soil which he had knowledge of, but was not required of him in the garden was his destiny. If man were to survive it would be from his knowledge and labor. Man was forbidden in this punishment to enter the garden to take freely of the nourishment of the tree that required no labor, until such a time of the new day of creation.
What of the trees in the garden? We find no more mention of the actual tree or the garden or even the cherubims placed as guards from that time on. Maybe man tried to get in and that we do not know but can only assume in our knowledge of man. But we do know that everything, including the trees in the garden were destroyed in the flood of Noah's time. There is no longer a need for the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for man has already tasted the fruit thereof. Man now plants his own "trees of life".
Opportunity after opportunity, God has afforded to us in showing His love and His mercy, yet being just to the unfaithful and unwilling. Hell as in a "lake of fire" stands empty. No man is there today. There is a hell of existence as we saw mentioned earlier in Hosea in which man can walk out of. It is a place of knowledge of being, yet waiting. What we wait for through our walking in the knowledge of good and evil upon entering in that place known as the grave, determines our state of mind in our destiny. God has sustained us and given to us a loving and caring choice in redemption without the interruption of his creation plan.
Hell was not destined for us as man. It was and is the destiny of Satan. The fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil had something extra and it was more of an asset to man than a liability. Tasting the fruit, was not the sin. It was going against Gods command.
This is where we can find God's love in Hell!
King James Bible Thomas Nelson Publishers
Vine's Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words) (Copyright (C) 1985, Thomas Nelson Publishers
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