– An Overview –
Before the beginning of the universe there existed two very powerful beings, God and the Word (John 1:1-4). These beings had existed from eternity, which is to say they had no beginning, they had no parents or ones who created them. These beings are self existent; they are not subject to time or any other physical influence. They are life itself.
These two beings first decided that they wanted company, then that company was organized into a Statist system. This is a system where individuals, associations and organizations exist for the benefit of the State – such a system is similar to the military, where command, obedience and control are the central elements and are for the purpose of eliminating the individual and elevating the organization. The angels are organized after the Statist system to this very day. Events then transpired to cause God to desire a different system of government – the family system, which exists for the benefit of the individual (totally opposite to Statism). At the heart of this new form of government would be a sense of nurturing and responsibility, by those with greater power, towards those with less power. God would be creating God beings in a caring family relationship. This relationship would replace the Statist, controlling situation that existed between created beings and make them have a similar, but not the same, relationship as existed between the great God and the Word – humanity would be created after the God kind and be given experiential knowledge of family as physical beings.
Gen 1:26 "...And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness:..." [KJV].
Gen 1:27 "...So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them..." [KJV].
The greater of the two beings would become the Father (John 14:28), the Word would become the Father’s firstborn son and humans would be created to be transformed into brothers and sisters to the firstborn.
From this pivotal decision we can begin to comprehend both our reason for being and the reason why ALL else exists – it is because of us and the new system of government! Earth, the universe and the angels would not exist except for us. They were created because the Godhead decided it wanted the company of its own kind in a family relationship. Being part of humanity and experiencing family would be necessary to allow us to make decisions for ourselves culminating in the big decision as to whether or not we want to be part of God's family and live His way of life. This necessitated creating an environment fit for beings made physical so we could experiment and make mistakes. Creating mankind as fragile physical beings and allowing us to have free will had inherent dangers, necessitating creating angels (perfect from the beginning) to be guides (ministering spirits). Also necessary would be laws, penalties and a redeemer to deliver mankind from the ultimate penalty of death for any sins – past, present or future. The decision by the Godhead to proceed with changing the system of government resulted in the plan of salvation, which requires a physical creation. The physical part of the plan involves mankind and while still being part of the overall plan of creation, this part of the plan is also known as the plan of salvation, because the Son died to save the repentant from the penalty of sin – that penalty being death (Rom 6:23):
“…For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord...” [KJV].
Accordingly, man was NOT an after-thought; man in a family relationship was the reason for God's plan being set in motion!
To initiate this great plan of creation the Word created all of the angels as perfect spirit beings. In Heb 1:14 God tells us that the role of angels is that of ministering spirits (see Barnes' Notes and Adam Clarke's Commentary) to watch over and help humans as we go through our process of conversion until we are finally born into the family of God (being transformed into the heirs of salvation).
How much training the angels underwent prior to God creating the physical universe is not known, but it was only the first phase of their training.
The Word then created the physical universe and made Earth a special place fit for habitation by physical creatures. So special and beautiful was Earth in comparison to the rest of the physical creation that the angels sang for joy (Job chapter 38) when it was created. While science does not acknowledge creation by divine fiat, it does acknowledge that the universe came into existence pretty much instantaneously. Astronomers have called this event the “big bang” and have calculated that it took place about 13.7 billion years ago, while Earth has been calculated to be about 4.55 billion years old and due to continental drift the protocontinent, Pangaea, started to drift apart about 250 million years ago to form the present-day land masses. From a Biblical perspective we do not know how old Earth is, as there is an unspecified gap in time between Gen 1:1 and Gen 1:2. (that is to say, between the original, physical creation and when Earth was devastated – came to be in a state of chaos). We know that Earth came to be in a state of chaos because God does not create anything in a state of chaos, especially Earth (Isa 45:18 – Earth not formed "tohu" (chaos) but "formed to be inhabited"). Hence, the Adamic creation was a cleaning-up operation, or a recreation if you will – it was not the initial Earth creation. "Young Earth" creationists posit that Earth is no older than about six thousand years old, but this opinion is in opposition to the clear Biblical account. Calculations by astronomers and geologist notwithstanding, it is not in God's nature to wait for things to happen, He engineers events according to His timetable (Isa 46:10-11). In Ezek 28:14-18 we are given an indication of what happened during this gap (Lucifer's rebellion), but no indication of how long it lasted.
After creating Earth, God placed a third of the angels (under archangel Lucifer) here to watch over it and the rest of what God created on Earth. The exact date as to when this responsibility was given to Lucifer and his third of the angels is not known, but from the fossil record it is assumed the first multi-cellular life on Earth appeared about 540 million years ago (the period in geologic history known as the Cambrian age). Although mathematical regression formula, based on comparative actual historic dates with assumed radiometric dates, does have life on Earth age in the thousands of years not millions, we shall not pursue any disagreement with the fossil record at this time as it is not considered relevant to the immediate topic of this paper (see below for Young Universe). Accordingly, while life on Earth is definitely much older than 6,000 years, the age is still within the thousands, not millions of years.
In Ezek 28:15 we are told that iniquity was found in Lucifer and the reason for this is considered to be that he did not like the idea of mankind being given the opportunity of becoming members of the God family. He wanted primacy for himself. Thus, he rebelled and the ensuing angelic war resulted in him and his angels being cast back down to Earth (Ezek 28:16). However, their whole reason for being was to serve mankind, not replace mankind:
“…Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?...” [NKJV]
This was their purpose; their vocation; their reason for existence; a purpose for which they were ideally suited and one which a loving God ensured would give them satisfaction. God does not say "They became ministering spirits...", there is the simple and plain statement that this is what they are – just as we never became the "heirs of salvation", it is what we are. However, they threw aside what God had given them (their purpose in life) and craved what was reserved for mankind. God says in Jude 1:6
“…And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day…” [KJV]
Saying they “kept not their first estate, but left their first habitation” gives us an insight into what they had abandoned by trying to steal what belongs to mankind. Their God-given vocation was more than just a job; it was in their very being and something that made them comfortable like a home or place of belonging, which is why it is described as "their first estate". It was unnatural for them to want to do or be anything else.
However, Lucifer engaged in slander and trafficked his bitter way of thinking throughout the third of the angelic host under his command and succeeded in turning them against God and turning them into the same twisted beings of which he was the figurative father (since he was responsible for the formation of their wrong attitude towards God and subsequent insurrection). God calls things and people what they are and He changed Lucifer’s name to the devil (slanderer) and Satan (the adversary). Satan’s angels became known as demons (destroyers). Lucifer was going about spreading malicious dissatisfaction with God and His plan among his charges until all were convinced of God's unfairness – this is the essence of Ezek 28:16:
“…Through your widespread trade [Lucifer traded in slander] you were filled with violence, and you sinned. So I drove you in disgrace from the mount of God, and I expelled you, O guardian cherub, from among the fiery stones…” [NIV]
We are not told how long Lucifer’s attitude festered, or his slanderous behaviour persisted until war broke out, or how long the actual war lasted, but the effects definitely are evident. Peace is one of God’s characteristics and Christ has the Title of Prince of Peace (Isa 9:6). This peacefulness even extends to the animal kingdom when God is in direct control and is evidenced in the Millennium when wild animals now known as carnivores will be co-existing peacefully with all other animals (Isa 65:25). In Eph 2:2 Satan is called “the prince of the power of the air” and that title is believed to do with his power to broadcast hostile and all manner of anti-social attitudes. In this capacity he even has the power to veil the truth of God from the minds of ordinary people (2Cor 4:4), so the ability to broadcast hostile attitudes is considered to be only a small part of this power. Accordingly, if there were wild and carnivorous dinosaurs in the Jurassic age, then we know that Satan’s attitude was influencing the animals at least as far back as that time. From a Biblical point of view, the destruction of the dinosaurs and the rest of the world and the ensuing ice ages would be considered consistent with the angelic war at the time when Satan tried to seize control for himself and bar God. Ultimately, the result is seen in Gen 1:2 where it is recorded that total confusion reigned on Earth.
A little less than 6,000 years ago God, through the Word, performed a re-creation upon the earth. It was made habitable, all physical life was restored and mankind was created (Gen 1:3‑31 and Gen 2:1-3) with the intent of preparing humanity for birth into God’s family (see Scofield and Barnes' Notes for a more detailed explanation of the re-creation).
However, before the family of God can be enlarged God has decreed that there will be structure, meaning that the family of God will also be a kingdom, a government. We are told in Romans 1:20 that we can know God by His creation,
“...For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse...” [KJV].
From the visible universe we can see that God does everything in perfect order, even setting a hierarchy. For example, we see a hierarchy in the astral bodies in the way that they are anchored to each other in terms of size – from moons to planets to stars to galaxies. From Christ’s teaching in the New Testament (NT) we see that different positions with varying degrees of authority will be given to different ones in the Kingdom of God. In the NT, the people to whom God is addressing His messages are those called to be firstfruits, which is to say those who will take part in the first resurrection and be granted these positions of responsibility. The first resurrection, or resurrection of the first fruits, is the smaller of the two resurrections and will be comprised of those who will qualify to help Christ rule through the coming seventh millennium since the re-creation; past the second resurrection and on through the great white throne judgement.
God says we were predestined, that is chosen in advance to be used for a particular purpose (Rom 8:29-30 and Eph 1:5, 11). What this means is that God has created positions in His Kingdom and those positions will be filled to form the basic structure of His administrative system, following which the Kingdom will be ready to accommodate the rest of humanity.
God likens this process to constructing a building. In 1Cor 3:9 we are told that we are God’s building, which is to say something that He built. In Eph 2:21 we are told that we are “fitly framed together” to form an even greater building. This is the master builder at work – the builder of the universe. In chapters 38 and 39 of the Book of Job God challenges Job to understand the greatness and detail of His work in building the universe and the earth. God is indeed the master builder and any builder of basic skills selects his materials before commencing to build. God would hardly do less. Accordingly, any predestination (selection of material for His building) would have been done no later than the creation of mankind. For we know that Abel is the first named of the faithful mentioned in Heb 11:4 and is called “righteous Abel” in Matt 23:35. God never makes such statements about people unless they will be in His Kingdom, therefore Abel will be part of God’s building referred to above.
However, in Eph 1:4 we are told,
"...According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:..." [KJV]
As a note of clarification here it should be observed that although the choosing was done at this time (see sermon on Doctrine of Election), assessment for positions would be at a later time, but before the "age of Adam". Now, what is meant by "before the foundation of the world"? Here, the Greek word translated as "world" is Kosmos and although generally means the orderly arrangement or decoration of everything could mean either Earth or the entire universe. The word "foundation" comes from the Greek katabolee and means a founding or place where a building will be constructed, which is literally a foundation. Since Christ was the lamb “…slain from the foundation of the world…” (Rev 13:8) we can conclude that the time God predestined all of His people who were to be called as first fruits was beforehand, because they were predestined "before the foundation of the world". This clearly means a time prior to the setting in order of the plan of salvation, which was prior to the creation of the angels as "...ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation..." (Heb 1:14). In John 17:24 we are given absolute confirmation of minimum time for predestination when, during Christ's traumatic prayer to the Father, he uses the exact same phrase,
"...Father, I will that they also, whom you have given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which you have given me: for you loved me before the foundation of the world..."
The Father loved the son (then the Word) from eternity. Accordingly, the wording in Eph 1:4 reveals that the plan of creation (the plan to create more beings of the “God kind” through human beings) was conceived in the ages before time began and so too was our predestination.
A builder will select ALL of his material from the outset; he will not wait to see what may come along to meet his requirements after construction has commenced. God has certainly shown that He would do no less!
However, the testing of materials for suitability is a separate matter and must come after the materials have been selected. This is exactly what happens in the life of called-out ones, which subject is covered in greater detail in the article entitled "Meaning of the Feast of Unleavened Bread".
In Old Testament (OT) times it seems that far fewer people were called compared to the last 2,000 years. However, even though there were fewer we do not have any indication as to actual numbers, which may be greater than we have imagined. This becomes clear when during one of the occasions when the prophet Elijah became depressed and thought he was all alone God told him that there were 7,000 others who were still loyal to Him (1Kings 19:18).
The Scriptures can be divided into two broad parts loosely known as the “before time” and the “after time.” There are references in the OT to a time called the “latter days,” but a more accurate translation of the Hebrew would be the “after time” which refers to the time after the Messiah. In this period of the “after time” we are told that God would pour out His spirit on all mankind (Joel 2:28). In Acts 2:16 we are told that this prophecy was to apply from the time when the disciples received the Holy Spirit on the first Day of Pentecost after the death of Christ. So, for the past 2,000 years (approximately) we have been living in the “latter days.”
Viewing these statements about the Holy Spirit from our point in time it is easy to see the intent was not for the Holy Spirit to given to every single human being, but rather was to be given to selected (predestined) humans from all nationalities. Other conditions to be met prior to receiving the Holy Spirit include repentance, acceptance of Christ as our saviour and baptism (Acts 2:38).
When a person meets the conditions mentioned above they commence what is known as conversion. Conversion is a life-long process of striving to live God’s way of life. The best way of looking at conversion is remembering the example of Jacob when he wrestled with Christ, then known as the Word, all night until dawn. He was commended for his efforts and renamed Israel by God. There was no way a human was ever going to win a wrestling match against the one who created the entire universe. However, God wanted to see if he would continue to strive even in the face of knowing that he could never win. The same goes for Christians. As humans we can never hope to defeat our carnal nature, but God wants to see if we will continue to strive anyhow and call on the sacrifice of Christ to atone for what we have not overcome. Paul explained the situation very well in Rom 7:7-25. Having lived a life striving against sin a Christian can look forward to life in the family of God, which is the spiritual rest pictured by the weekly seventh-day Sabbath and the seventh millennium (“Millennium”). God “rested” on the seventh day of re-creation, to show that the seventh-day Sabbath represents something completely non-physical – life in His kingdom following completion of His plan of salvation. God created the seventh-day Sabbath by resting from His work of creation. It is also noteworthy that on days one to six God gives a specific time to the day (morning and evening), but on the seventh day there is no such limit, indicating that the seventh day symbolizes God's Kingdom was from eternity and is to last for eternity.
This aspect will be covered in far greater detail when the "restoration of all things" is addressed, so only a brief note will be given here.
The first 6,000 years are almost ended and when Christ returns near the end of this time he will set up rule on Earth and rule a physical world in peace for the following 1,000 years. After that 1,000 years the rest of the dead will be resurrected in the second or great white throne resurrection (Rev 20:5 “...But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished...”). For most, this will be their first chance at really knowing God and Christ and understanding God’s plan of salvation – creating children after His own image as His sons and daughters. When people are given this first real choice between Satan’s way of life and God’s way of life it is understood that the overwhelming majority will choose God’s way. For those who do not choose God's way at the end of the 100 year day of judgment there will be no suffering for eternity – they will be cast into the "lake of fire", which is a metaphorical phrase for a place of more intensive assessment/trials in order to bring them to repentance. Being tested by fire or refined as gold and silver in the furnace is a constant type that God uses to denote trials upon His people to bring them to repentance. After all, God's states that He is "not willing that any should perish" (2Pet 3:9) and there is none that can resist the will of God. This is the way of a loving and merciful God.
The articles to follow will be addressing, in detail, the whole of God's plan of salvation through the symbolism revealed in the annual Sabbaths, other commanded observances and situations. These articles are under the general headings listed in the Table below and can be accessed by clicking on the links.
The Inflationary Big Bang Theory is the theory that the universe came into existence about 13.75 billion (US billion = thousand million) years ago from a single point and expanded in every direction very fast – initially the universe expanded faster than the speed of light and at the edge of the present universe continues to expand faster than the speed of light (thus the actual universe is larger than the visible universe, because what is beyond the speed of light is impossible to detect). The theory posits that not only did all matter come into existence at this time, but since there was no space into which matter could expand space was also created at this time and continues to be created at the edge of the actual physical universe. Creation of space is an important factor in causing the universe to expand at an increasing rate – galaxies are, in general, speeding apart not slowing down. The creation of space at the edge of the universe (which is what is happening according to conventional cosmology) is adding to the initial impetus of the Big Bang – objects are not only flying apart they are being pulled apart by an all-engulfing vacuum being created at the edge of the actual universe. This newly created vacuum and objects near this phenomenon are still expanding at faster than light speed and therefore are beyond detection. Accordingly, the true age of the universe can still only be an estimate.
The true essence of the Big Bang Inflationary theory is that initially the universe expanded much faster than the speed of light and cosmologists believe that around 10-36 seconds after the Big Bang, the cosmos found itself "resting" (actually still accelerating, but at a much slower rate). However, the detailed particle physics mechanism responsible for inflation is not known and since no-one was there at the time calculations are best guess based on the concept of uniformitarianism. So, the question arises, what if the inflationary period lasted for a whole second, or even a minute or more? The result would be a much, much younger universe! God is more than capable of endowing different elements with radioactive half-lives with whatever He deems appropriate for that time, just as He created all the plants and animals fully formed, not as infants and then waiting for them to mature.
Even among creationists there is debate as to the actual age of the universe. There are some who believe that the creation at the time of Adam was the first physical creation event and therefore believe that Earth is no older than about 6,000 years. However, this view appears to ignore the angelic war and therefore ignores the obvious gap between Gen 1:1 and Gen 1:2. Others believe that the creation days were metaphorical "long days" and actually span many years. This latter view is due to that fact that the Hebrew word for "day" can refer to a 12 hour period, a 24 hour period, or an unspecified time such as "the day of the Roman Empire". The English word "day" can have the same meanings as the Hebrew word and to understand the actual duration of time referred to one must understand the context in which the word "day" is used. In Genesis God uses the context of evening and morning to describe each day and therefore cannot be mistaken for anything but 24 hour periods as we know them today.
Why use the evening and the morning to describe a day? God uses the new moon (chodesh) to describe an entire month, but taken literally it only describes the beginning of each month. God uses the same principle for the day, where the evening describes the first half of the day (dark) and the morning describes the last half of the day (light). Accordingly, we have a consistent principle and a given context which demand that the creation days, at the time of Adam, were in fact 24 hour periods, not metaphorical long periods of unspecified time.
Both the short and long creation day views also appear to ignore two very important points about God:
"For thus said Jehovah, Creator of heaven, He is God, Former of earth, and its Maker, He established it – not empty He prepared it, For inhabiting He formed it: ‘I am Jehovah, and there is none else."
In this case the words "for inhabiting" would be better rendered "habitable", which would then agree with the previous phrase "not empty He prepared it" and follow on naturally describing the purpose for which it was not created empty. Accordingly, we are told specifically that Earth was not formed in chaos, but "formed habitable".
Also, in 1Cor 14:33 we are told, "For God is not a God of confusion but of peace...". This is describing a characteristic of God and therefore describes how we would find Him in all situations, including creation. No chaos, no confusion, only order and peace from the beginning.
"Declaring from the beginning the latter end, And from of old that which hath not been done, Saying, ‘My counsel doth stand, And all My delight I do.’ Calling from the east a ravenous bird, From a far land the man of My counsel, Yea, I have spoken, yea, I bring it in, I have formed it, yea, I do it."
The age of the physical universe is not certain, but Astrophysicists have done a very good job in calculating the possible age based on a “uniformitarianist” approach, even though they do concede to the “Big Bang Expansion” theory, which states that the universe came from nothing presently known to science.
Continental Drift and Geomorphology
The reality of the geological record is one of cataclysm not uniformitarianism and continental drift is a case in point. At the rate the continental plates are drifting today it would indeed take millions of years to have reached their current positions relative to the original position of Pangaea. Should the uniformitarianist approach to continental drift be true, then we would have no mountain ranges as we do today – there would definitely be no Himalayas, no Swiss Alps, no Atlas Mountains, no Rocky Mountains, no mountain ranges at all. The principles of geomorphology dictate that with the current uplift in mountain areas being approximately equal to the amount of erosion, there should be no mountain ranges. However, we know the exact opposite to be true, which confirms that, geologically, the history of planet Earth has been one of cataclysm in nature not of uniformitarianist nature.
In the Bible, when it is stated that the continents were split, the authorized KJV language is very passive and does not convey the true events of the day.
“…And unto Eber were born two sons: the name of one was Peleg<06389>; for in his days was the earth <0776> divided <06385>;…” [KJV].
There are three crucial words in this verse that reveal what actually happened at that time:
From these words we see that the event affected the entire world, not just some isolated place in the Middle-East. The word translated divide is better rendered “split” and this is verified by Peleg’s name (who was named after the event transpiring at the time) which actually means earthquake. This is an extremely tumultuous time in the history of Earth’s continents when there would have been planet wide earthquakes, associated volcanic activity and the separate parts of Pangaea visibly moving each day from some parts and colliding with others parts forming massive mountain ranges and new oceans. Some tectonic plates are larger than others, making the continents different distances apart. Allowing for these variations the rate of movement would have been anything from 300 to 900 feet per day even if the final positions took 50 years to achieve. These are some of the events that allowed Nimrod to assume control of a fearful people and become the first king on Earth and all this happened only 100 years after the great flood, which was about 4,500 years ago, not 250,000,000 years ago.
The HBME (The Holy Bible in Modern English, from the tyndalearchive.com) appears to be one of the few translations to get close to the original meaning. However, it still seems that Strong's Complete Word Study provides the best picture.
So, while there may only be what is known as “drift” today, it actually began as something extraordinarily different – a rapid shattering of a single super-continent into what we have today. The “drift” merely keeps the natural boundaries in place, as decreed by God.
Similarly, we do not know if God indeed started the physical universe as a “Big Bang” 13.7 billion years ago and that it grew gradually as the astrophysicists believe, OR if the speed of light was not constant at that time, or there was something faster than the speed of light. Indeed, the last proposition would seem most plausible even from a scientific point of view, as there is currently more energy in the universe than what has been calculated should be present from the original “Big Bang” – the galaxies are actually increasing in speed as they expand away from each other. Cosmologists have determined that the outer universe is still expandingfaster than the speed of light.
In conclusion, we can know that planet Earth, along with the physical universe, is old but probably not nearly as old as conventional science has currently found.
Isa 46:10-11 (NKJV)
"Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things that are not yet done, Saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, And I will do all My pleasure,’ Calling a bird of prey from the east, The man who executes My counsel, from a far country. Indeed I have spoken it; I will also bring it to pass. I have purposed it; I will also do it."
Ezek 28:14-18 (NIV)
"You were anointed as a guardian cherub, for so I ordained you. You were on the holy mount of God; you walked among the fiery stones. You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created till wickedness was found in you. Through your widespread trade you were filled with violence, and you sinned. So I drove you in disgrace from the mount of God, and I expelled you, O guardian cherub, from among the fiery stones. Your heart became proud on account of your beauty, and you corrupted your wisdom because of your splendour. So I threw you to the earth; I made a spectacle of you before kings. By your many sins and dishonest trade you have desecrated your sanctuaries. So I made a fire come out from you, and it consumed you, and I reduced you to ashes on the ground in the sight of all who were watching. "
Passover Observance is for the purpose of remembering that we have accepted God's OFFER of Christ’s sacrifice of suffering and death as atonement for our sins, thereby being reconciled to God. This sacrifice is claimed upon agreement to live God’s way of life.