Life and Death
by Des Walter
Over the years Christianity has failed to adequately define the terms it has used, and this has created some confusion in our understanding of their meaning. Terms like life and death, when used in a Bible context lack any real definition, and therefore they add to the confusion that already exists concerning spiritual truth. In spite of this, Christians speak of these things as if they are fully conversant with their meaning. After all, surely anyone can tell the difference between a body that is dead and one that is alive. The one is capable of moving and functioning as a person, while the other is still and lifeless with no power to move.
No one would argue with the above definition, so how can there be any confusion in this matter. My answer is that there is no confusion, if we are simply speaking about our mortal concept of life and death. However the definition used above creates a great deal of confusion when we consider what the scriptures have to say on the subject.
In view of what we have stated above regarding life and death, tell me, what did Jesus mean when he said, "Verily verily I say unto you, He that heareth my word and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life and shall not come into condemnation but is passed from death unto life"? Jn 5:24.
Jesus also said, "If a man keeps my sayings he shall never see death." Jn 8:51. Paul speaks about Adam, saying "By one man (Adam) sin entered into the world and death by sin, and so death passed upon all men, for all have sinned."
If we apply our natural definition of "death" to these verses we become completely confused. How can the Bible declare all men are dead when in fact they are still alive? And if they are still alive how can they pass from death unto life? These are the questions we will seek to answer with the help of the Holy Spirit.
To discover the truth about death we must look at the first reference in the Bible where it is mentioned. Genesis 2:16-17. "And the Lord God took the Man and put him into the Garden of Eden to dress and to keep it. And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it, for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die."
Upon reading these words many people have remarked that Adam did not die the day he ate the fruit of the tree of knowledge, at least not according to their current concept of death. Scripture records that Adam lived for 930 years before he died. The problem here is the same as we mentioned in the introduction. Our definition of death is not accurate, but is simply the opinion of the natural man who does not understand the things that are of God.
The command given to man by the Lord God was not a law in the legal sense, which would result in an arbitrary penalty if it were violated. According to church theology God introduced death as a punishment for sin. Unfortunately this is a wrong concept that Christendom has accepted, and so right at this fundamental point, the Gospel has been distorted. As a result it is taught that sin has been passed upon all men who must now suffer because of what Adam did in the Garden of Eden.
However Paul states that it is death that reigns from Adam to Moses, and continues to do so to this day causing man to sin. He establishes the contrast in Romans 5:17, "For by one manís offence death reigned by one, (Adam) much more those who receive abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness shall reign in life, by one, Jesus Christ." It is death that has reigned over us and that is the reason why we sin. The truth is that man sins because he is dead and not simply because of what Adam did. In the Bible "death" is the result of a sense of separation from God, so that while we consider God to be separated from us we are dead from Godís point of view.
The teaching that all mankind is under a curse and that all men will die an "eternal death" unless they repent, has its origin in the writings of one of the early church Fathers and has been accepted by theologians ever since. This has put "judgment and eternal death" at the center of the Gospel that is designated in the Bible as "Good News." But Jesus said that he came into the world, not to condemn the world but that through him they might be saved. He also said, "I am come that you might have life and that you might have it more abundantly." The Gospel is the Good News that God loves us and dwells within us.
Thus, theology takes it upon itself to declare that because the life God offers is eternal, therefore the alternative which is death must also be eternal. Hence is born the doctrine of eternal damnation in a burning hell, which was first taught by the Catholic Church as purgatory during the Dark Ages, and later it was embraced by the Protestants as an eternal hell.
The whole concept of sin has defamed the character of God and pushed man into an abyss, shrouded in darkness from which there is no escape. The Greek word for sin in the Bible is "harmatia," and is a sporting term used in the Olympic Games and means, missing the mark. How this word could be considered a legal term involving eternal punishment, is beyond me. In the Olympic Games, if an archer shot an arrow and missed the target they shouted "harmatia." No one would consider the sportsman should be punished for his failure with eternal hell. Paul gives us an accurate definition of sin in Romans 3:23, "All have sinned and (in doing so), all have come short of the glory of God." They failed to reach the "mark," or to reach the standard, which is Christ.
Now I am stressing these things to show you how the mind of man has distorted and actually changed the very words and intent of God. Where in the world can anyone find the doctrine of an eternal death in a burning hell from this whole account of what people call the "Fall of Man" in Genesis 3. The very words them selves are a contradiction, an "eternal death." Death is not eternal for it had a beginning and will end when it is finally cast into the lake of fire. It also implies that those people must first possess a life that is eternal, in order that they might be able to eternally die. How confused can we become? The clear words of scripture are "the day you eat the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, in dying you will die." (Literal translation) The dying process began the moment Adam ate the fruit of the tree, resulting in him descending from the realm of spirit in which he fellowshipped with God, into a world of sin and death. This brought about changes to his body, (form) and constituted him a living soul. However, the changes went far beyond the changes in his body.
From that moment his eyes were opened to see another world governed by sin and death, which Adam had not seen before for it was not in God. Adam also felt ashamed of declaring that he was naked even though he was created in the likeness and image of God in the beginning. Suddenly he sees God as an enemy to be feared and who is no longer integral part of his being, but is now become a separate entity. Adam finds himself in a wilderness instead of the garden where everything he needed was supplied. Beloved, everything I have outlined here is part of what God declared would be the result of eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and God called it death.
It is obvious that whatever God was saying here about death is incomprehensible to the majority of Christians, because there was no mention of being buried in a cemetery. In God there is no such thing as "physical death," because God never created a flesh and blood man!! The man God created in Gen 1:26-27 was Spirit in the likeness and image of God, who must be eternal because spirit cannot die. Then you may ask where did the flesh and blood man come from? The answer is, that first of all the Lord God, or the man created in Gen 1:26, brings forth a manifestation of himself in Gen 2:7 only now he gives this one a form, or if you like a body made from the dust of the earth.
However, that body was not "flesh and blood" but Adam was clothed with a body of "Light," in which the first "Spirit" man dwelt. It was in this form that Adam walked and talked with God in the Garden of Eden, dwelling in perfect harmony. Adam even shared in the creative process of himself, naming the animals in the garden that represented the emotions in man. He gave to them their nature as he declared their name. God and man functioned as one in the garden expressing true life as it came from God. This helps us to see the contrast in man after death entered in.
Let us sum up what we have discovered so far regarding the subject of death in the Bible. The truth concerning death must be demonstrated in the events surrounding Adam in the Garden of Eden, where he partook of the fruit of the tree of knowledge. We do not need to seek answers in history thousands of years later, after death actually came into effect. Instead of death being a punishment for Adam, it was actually a change in the relationship that existed between the Creator and the creature that disrupted the stream of life that flowed from God.
The change in the relationship was caused by the introduction of a destructive "knowledge," that did not have its origin in God, but in the mind or soul of man. In all the infinite wisdom and knowledge of God there is nothing that is destructive! However there is a knowledge that was generated in the mind of Adam called "the knowledge of good and evil" that destroyed his true being and his unity and oneness with God. The power of death was in that knowledge because it denied and defied the God of Truth.
Adam generated and embraced a "knowledge system" that cancelled out the knowledge of truth out of which he had been created. This knowledge is based upon the duality of good and evil, the source of which is the carnal or natural mind of man. There is no such thing as good and evil in God, for he is absolute in every facet of true knowledge. God is not the God of Truth with just a couple of small lies! God is not love with just a little bit of hate!! So once a man embraces the knowledge of "good and evil," he cannot embrace God, for that knowledge will deny the truth, and reveal within his mind another God that has no true reality.
Having embraced the knowledge of good and evil, our life will now function out of a new sense of divine reality, which is no longer found in God but is discovered through the five senses. Reality for mankind today consists of what he can see, hear, touch, smell and taste, and through which man relates to the world around him. However, the five senses are useless in the pursuit of truth, for none of them can access God in any way. We must remember that prior to Adam eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, his reality was found only in God. There was nothing outside of God that that contributed to his life or his understanding.
Adam in the Garden of Eden represented all of humanity, so when he died all of humanity died in him. Unlike Adam who came complete from the Creatorís hand, we now see ourselves as being simply being born of a woman into this world. The result is that we have embraced the same Adamic consciousness of good and evil, and living our lives out of the five natural senses. Mankind generally believes they are separated from God, for Christendom taught us that God was up in the sky in some ethereal "heaven."
So we have lived our lives believing we are separated from God, leaving us dependent upon our five natural senses to determine our true reality. Paul says that we are "dead in trespasses and in sins." But Paul continues in 2 Corinthians 5:19, "To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation."
Reconciliation is not just a coming together of those who have been offended, such as man and God. It also carries with it far more than simply a covering, as is suggested in the word atonement. It actually speaks of a restoration to our original state as is expressed in the return of the prodigal son, who was elevated to his true position in the family. He received the robe that indicated his regal status and the ring of authority, plus the shoes on his feet. Notice what his father said, "For this my son was dead and is alive again." For us, reconciliation is far more than simply removing an enmity that may exist between God and man, it is the "Restitution of all things," restoring us to our original state established in creation.
Godís Answer to Death
Does God have an answer for the "death" that has invaded mankind? The answer is yes, and now we will seek to discover what that answer is. The first thing we must understand is the truth that we all died when Adam ate the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the Garden of Eden, for all mankind was in him. But Adam, as a mortal man who had eaten that fruit, never experienced the full consequences of that "death" he incurred, during his life on earth. Not even in his death after 930 years did Adam experience the reality of the "death" that God spoke about.
Adam had to wait 4000 years before he would face the full consequences of his actions in eating the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil. His earthly death was not the true reality of what God said would happen if he ate that fruit. If his passing away at that time had been the total expression of the "death" God spoke about, then all mankind at that time would also have been freed. But that was not the truth, for Adam was yet to face the full consequences of his actions. If the death of our body was all that was intended as the result of eating of the wrong tree, then at the time of our death we would have paid the price of what man has called Adamís disobedience and that would be the end of the matter, but this is not so.
Adam was "a figure" or a representation of one who was yet to come. Romans 5:14 "Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come." The word "figure" here means an image or a perfect "imprint" of another one that was to come later. We must discover exactly who Adam was to understand this issue concerning "death." In Gen 1:26-27 we have the creation of man, coming forth in the likeness and image of God. Again we must understand that he also was not just a single man but he represented all of humanity. This was the only Son God ever created and is called, "The Only Begotten Son of God."
However according to Ephesians 2:10 all mankind was created in that one son. This means that mankind was created out of the same substance as Christ Jesus. Then in Gen 2:7 we read of that man created in Chapter1:26, now bringing forth a manifestation of himself, but giving it form or a body, molded out of the dust of the earth. Then into that "form" he breathed the breath of the same life he had from God, into the nostrils of this expression of himself. So we see that the first man of Gen 1:26 was Christ and so was Adam in the Garden.
We are not told how long Adam lived in the garden walking in fellowship and oneness with God, sharing in the creative process. Until Adam ate of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, he had a body of "Light" and not flesh and blood as our body is today. But after eating of the fruit, which God said not to eat, the whole vibration of his being which resonated with God, suddenly slowed down until he became "flesh and blood." Scientists tell us that blood is congealed light. Here we are discovering the effect of what Adam did in the garden. However we must understand that the man in the garden was also Christ, "the figure of one that was to come."
So even after Adam died (Gen 5:5) death reigned! Paul speaks of "death" in terms of personality, for he declares that it has the power to rule over us, just as a king would exercise his authority over his subjects. It is obvious that Adamís physical death did not cancel out the result of his disobedience. Therefore it must have the power to over-ride our decision making process. When Moses came he brought the law of commandments to Israel, which was designed to bring a form of divine control into the lives of the people. However its effect was compromised because of the power of this thing called "death," operating in us.
Christendom has confused the issue of "death" at this point by making sin to be the thing that is the cause of death. However there was no "law" in the Garden of Eden from any legal standpoint, and yet Christendom calls the taking of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, "sin." But this understanding, "puts the cart before the horse," for it was not sin that caused Adam to take the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil, but an alien activity that had usurped control of his mind. God called this enemy activity death.
However we must be clear in our minds that it was a system of knowledge concerning good and evil that God said would result in death, and this warning is exactly the same for us today. The church has now majored on sin and its consequences, focusing on finding an antidote for this "missing the mark," while the true issue of death is ignored. And in all this confusion, death continues to reign in peopleís lives, even in those who accept Christendomís answer by claiming to know Christ.
We will deal with this matter later, but first let us establish what is Godís answer to the "death" that Adam introduced into mankind, when he ate the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil. We have discovered that Adam in the Garden of Eden represented all of humanity. However there was another One who came into the world and he also represented all of humanity, and that was Jesus Christ. Paul explains this One who was to come in Rom. 5:19,
"For by one manís disobedience, (to hear alongside) many were made sinners, (they missed the mark) so by the obedience of one (Jesus Christ) shall many be made righteous. That as sin (missing the mark, or a sense of false identity) has reigned in us (bringing us into death,)in the same way, grace will reign as king over us through righteousness, bringing us into eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."
Adamís disobedience was caused by allowing another voice to gain control of his mind thereby changing the true direction of his life. In Gen 3:1 we are told that the "serpent" was more subtle than all the beasts of the field. Strongís concordance renders the word "serpent" as "to practice divination, divine, observe signs, learn by experience, diligently observe, practice fortune-telling, take as an omen." So it is obvious that this word does not represent some living entity that entered the Garden of Eden, but an activity of the mind functioning outside the parameters set by God in the beginning.
In creation man came out of God, for there was no other source of life in the universe. So there was nothing outside of God that man needed in order for him to fulfill the will and purpose of his Creator. The trees in the Garden of Eden were planted by God and were suitable for food to be eaten to sustain the life Adam was given in the beginning. However many theologians have considered the whole concept and account of the Garden of Eden as being literal, making the whole thing absurd. Consider the fact that the mighty God, creator of heaven and earth out of himself, now creates a man simply to look after a garden containing a lot of trees. But in the middle of this garden are two trees, one called the Tree of Life and the other the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.
Can you imagine what a "Tree of Life" would look like, or a tree of the "knowledge of good and evil?" I donít think so! No this whole account of the Garden of Eden is an allegory revealing teaching that could not be passed on to us in any other way except in parabolic form. I know that the religious mind will challenge me over this point but the literalists have never made sense out of the book of Genesis. I am not suggesting that I do not believe the account of the Garden of Eden, on the contrary, I believe it in every fine detail revealed to us by the Spirit of the Lord.
Let us see how trees are mentioned in the Bible. Jeremiah 17:8 "For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit." Ezekiel 17:24 "And all the trees of the field shall know that I the Lord have brought down the high tree, have exalted the low tree, have dried up the green tree, and have made the dry tree to flourish: I the Lord have spoken and have done it."
Daniel 4:20 "The tree that thou sawest, which grew, and was strong, whose height reached unto the heaven, and the sight thereof to all the earth; Whose leaves were fair, and the fruit thereof much, and in it was meat for all; under which the beasts of the field dwelt, and upon whose branches the fowls of the heaven had their habitation: It is thou, O king, that art grown and become strong: for thy greatness is grown, and reacheth unto heaven, and thy dominion to the end of the earth."
Finally from the words of Jesus, Matthew 3:10 "And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree, which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire." If we have ears to hear we will discover that in the Bible "trees" speak of people. So now let us apply this knowledge to the Garden of Eden. There are two trees that the Bible speaks about in this garden around which the whole drama revolves. One is the tree of life and the other is the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. These represent two types of people, one who partakes of the tree of life, which generates true life in those who "eat" of it. The other tree represents the person who forsakes the tree of life, which is Christ, and so partakes of another tree that God said if you "eat" of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, "in dying you will die." So to eat of the tree of life is to live out of the same life that is in Jesus Christ and become what he is. But the other person considers there is "life" outside of God or Christ, and that life is found in the form of a "knowledge," which has nothing to do with God at all. These two trees therefore divide humanity into two groups, and it is so clear in Genesis 2 and 3 what constitutes the difference between these types of people.
Now let us turn to 1 Cor. 15:45 where Paul says, "And so it is written, the first man Adam (Gen 2:7) was made a living soul, but the last Adam (Jesus Christ) was made a life giving Spirit. The first man (Adam) is of the earth, earthy, but the second man (Jesus Christ) is the Lord from heaven." So the first man Adam was "made" (ghin'-om-ahee ... meaning to become, i.e. to come into existence) a living soul. But that was not how God created Adam, for he was in the likeness and image of God in the beginning. So the eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil actually changed his very being, from spirit as he was in the beginning, to "a living soul," which we have now all become.
A living soul is someone who lives his life out of his soul, which consists of the mind, the emotions, and the will. So we can see that what happened in the Garden of Eden was an assault upon the mind of the man God created in the beginning. While the mind was centered in God and he lived out of the tree of life, Adam would function as spirit just as he was created. Eve who represented the soul began to function independently from Adam who represented the Spirit, and engaged in a debate with the "serpent," which was her own natural mind that had been separated from the Spirit. That separation denied her the wisdom and understanding of the spirit, for the soul functions only out of five senses, sight, hearing, touch, taste, and smell. None of these natural senses of the soul can access God at all, so she was at the mercy of the "serpent," that was more subtle that any beast of the field. That "serpent" has now deceived the whole world into believing that if we have the right knowledge we will not die.
History reveals that idea to be a lie, for Christians who are supposed to believe the truth still die just like all the rest of the people. Having done all that Christendom has asked of us, death still reigns. We have given our hearts to Jesus and believed that he died on the cross for our sins. We have been baptized and everything else we have been told to do but still we are subject to death. However, very few people have questioned the "salvation" that the religious world has given to us as a life-line because Christendom is so preoccupied with the question of sin and the prospect of an eternal hell burning forever, that we have ignored the words of Jesus.
He said, "I have come that you might have life and that you might have it abundantly." He said, "I have not come to condemn the world but that through him the world might be saved." Out of the false concepts of the garden we have ended up with an angry God who burns people forever and ever and who punishes us for every violation of the law. All this because man still functions out of a mind that God calls a "serpent," but we think is smart and through its knowledge we can gain eternal life. That is how complete the lie of the carnal mind has gained control of the human race. We try to change everything except that which caused manís problem in the beginning.
Now let us discover how this "death" has the power to reign over us as a king in our lives. There were two main trees in the allegory of Gen 2 and 3 concerning the Garden of Eden. The tree of life, which is Christ, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, which represents a knowledge system of opposites that is the product of the carnal mind of man. It was Godís desire that manís knowledge should find its source in God himself, for this would allow him to live and function in the image and likeness of God according to creation, with dominion over all the works of Godís hands.
In the beginning man was created male and female functioning as one and this gave him the ability to reproduce the image and likeness of God. These two spiritual aspects of Adamís being, functioned as one in creation, complimenting each other with their various attributes, to fulfill the purpose of God. However in Genesis chapter two, we find Adam falls into a deep sleep, during which the female or "soul" aspect of his being began to function alone without the spirit, which represents God. Being female she has the womb and therefore is capable of bringing forth a manifestation of what she perceives her "self" to be without reference to the spirit.
The soul of man consists of three parts, the mind, the emotions, and the will. The death God spoke about to Adam is hidden in the area of the soul. In the allegory we find the woman having a conversation with something that is called a "serpent." This is an allegory and the "serpent" represents the natural mind of man, where we reason and do our thinking. God told Adam that the "serpent" or the "carnal mind" is "more subtle" than any beast of the field, but Eve is discussing what God said about the tree of knowledge of good and evil with this "serpent."
The decision she came to was that she would not die if she ate that fruit, but it would elevate her to the status of being, "as gods." The subtleties of the serpent were too much for Eve, who fell under the deception of her carnal mind. The decision to eat of the "fruit" was endorsed by the "lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life." The "will" now was free to act upon the decision of the mind and Eve took the fruit of the tree and did eat, having believed the lie.
In the Old Testament the word generally translated "mind" is the Hebrew "nephesh," which is the same word for soul. This is what Paul has to say about the man with the natural or carnal mind. "But the Ďnaturalí or soulish man receiveth not the things of the spirit of God, for they are foolishness unto him, neither can he know them for they are spiritually discerned." 1Cor 2:14. Now let us notice what the scripture says in Heb 2:14-15, "Forasmuch as the children (of God) are partakers of flesh and blood, he also likewise took part of the same, that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is the devil, and deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage." That is the "fear of death" had made them slaves of that which they feared.
It is no longer death itself but also the fear of death that places us in bondage to everything that we believe can now cause us to die. As a result we are in bondage to sickness, and to the future, and terrorism, and even air travel. So this death has a stranglehold upon us affecting every aspect of our lives. However we are told that Jesus Christ shared with us the "flesh and blood" experience, so that he might through death destroy him that had the power of death, and that is the devil. Jesus Christ actually entered into the same realm in which death operated, in order to break its power, refusing to respond to its authority, and thereby destroying its power for all mankind.
We understand that now death only has power by deception for in truth its power has been destroyed and death has been abolished. As long as the carnal mind is allowed to function in man he will remain blind to the truth that he does not have to die anymore.
A Summary of This Section
Christendom teaches that physical death is the consequence of sin, and this is the punishment God inflicted on Adam in the Garden of Eden. From the above we understand that the "death" God spoke about had little to do with what we speak of as physical death. The truth is, that in God there is no such thing as physical death, for nothing that God created was physical at the time of creation. Death only entered when man left his high spiritual estate through an activity of his mind reducing him to becoming "flesh and blood." Jesus spoke about people living on the earth, as being "dead," and that while we are alive we could "pass from death to life," through an activity of the spirit of God, in us.
The truth is that death is connected to a knowledge system that originated in the mind of man and not in God. This knowledge elevates man to "god status," and so he becomes the author of his own destiny. Man now embraces a false sense of identity that is not based upon truth, for true reality is hidden from him. This human "knowledge" is set in opposition to the true knowledge of God, producing in man a sense of separation from God that the Bible calls death. This death in turn changed manís relationship to everything in his life, for the eternal things of the spirit fade from his view, and the physical world now becomes his reality.
The amazing power of the mind of man is revealed in its ability to use concepts, which have no basis in truth to form the realities of his life. Man has actually created his own world of sin and death, which is nothing more than an "illusion."
What Is Life and How Did It Begin
To adequately cover our subject of life we must go right back to the very beginning in Genesis 1. The chapter begins with the words, "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." The heavens and the earth were first created in the invisible spiritual realm that is eternal. In Gen 2:5 it speaks about the plants and the herbs before they had any physical existence on the earth, indicating they were originally part of the invisible spiritual world.
Everything in creation came out of God so it is eternal, and we know that God is the only source of life and there is no other. This principle of creation applies especially to mankind who is the "heavens and the earth" that God created. When man stepped out of that eternal spiritual life by an activity of his mind, he found himself in a state of death. Not only that, he brought all of creation down with him into that same death experience. For he was given dominion over all the works of Godís hands. From Genesis 1:2, we are seeing the restoration of the "new" creation man, (2Cor 5:17), which ends with man standing in the likeness and image of God.
Life involves a continuous connection between the Creator and the creature, through which is transmitted constantly all the life, inspiration, ability and knowledge that is required for it to be conscious of its identity and role, and to completely fulfill its purpose for being. All life in this universe seems to have a very definite focus, which is illustrated very well in nature. The offspring of all life in the universe tends to follow the pattern, of resembling its parent. There is no question that this is a divine principle even for main, laid down by the Creator himself. Paul writes, "For whom he foreknew, he designates beforehand, to be conformed to the image of his Son, for him to be the firstborn among many brethren," Rom 8:29.
The interesting thing is that under a microscope in the very early stages, the building blocks of life cannot be identified as to what form they will take. But as time passes so the form begins to appear like clay in the potterís hand. But the question of man is here being examined, so let us look at this issue of conformity, as it relates to him. When a hen lays an egg and it is incubated there is no question about the form of the offspring it will be a chicken. This is a universal law in nature and is a mirror of a much higher law involving man.
The law of nature is that the "parent" will determine what the offspring will be. Now we will discover one of the most wonderful aspects of life as we see this law of nature as an allegory of a higher law involving man. If we can discover the one from which man has come we will be left in no doubt as to his life and identity. Jesus said a very interesting thing in Matthew 23:9, "Call no man your father on the earth, for one is your Father which is in heaven." And that one is God!
If man is to experience the life that he had in creation, we must understand how to reverse what happened in the Garden of Eden. Jesus said that he came into this world that we might have life and have it more abundantly. What did he do to give us that life? He said "I am the way, I am the truth and I am the life," and no man can come to the Father but by the same way, the same truth, and the same life. Most people have never understood what Jesus was saying here in this verse. Some consider that he said, "Come to me and I will tell you or show you the way." But that is not what he said. The secret is in the "I" that he used. For the Way is an "I" and so is the truth, and also the life.
If we can discover what that "I" is, then we will have the answer to eternal life. The "I" could not refer to Jesus the flesh and blood man, for he was a man who could die. The "I" referred to his true identity and that was discovered by Peter after Jesus asked the disciples who they believed he was? Peter had received revelation from the Father, and so as he stood before this flesh and blood man with a head, and a body, and two arms, and two legs, he said, "Thou art the Christ the Son of the Living God." That was a tremendous revelation that it seems so few in Christendom have ever grasped.
It seems that everybody else only looked at the form but never saw the reality. This is what Adam did after he ate the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. His vision of reality had changed, because he saw himself as being naked. What is it in man that declares our reality to us? It is the mind, for that is where our reality is formed and becomes our consciousness, out of which we live. The Adamic consciousness was determined without reference to the spirit, wherein dwells all the wisdom of God, so it could not be considered to be truth. If Adam had been aware of his true origin at that time, he would have declared he was created in the image and likeness of God. However his consciousness now was formed by the "serpent" who had invaded his mind, giving him a false sense of identity.
Adamís consciousness now also declared, that he was separated from God, causing him to hide behind the trees of the garden. But as the psalmist declared in Psalm 139, it matters not where you may hide, for God will still be there even if you are not conscious of it. When God found him, Adam declared that he was "naked." This whole setting in Genesis is an allegory, and nakedness here meant that he had been discovered, or exposed. It is interesting to note the question God asked Adam. He said, "Who told you?"
Adam was now living out of a knowledge that did not have its origin in God. For his whole consciousness had been reprogrammed by the "serpent." He believed his covering was no longer the glory and righteousness of God, but now he was clothed with mortality. This is how Paul explains it in Ephesians 4:18, "Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart." The "light" of God no longer illuminates their understanding, causing them to believe they are separated from the life of God, which indicates that death had now been released in them.
This is the condition into which mankind was plunged when Adam ate of the fruit of the tree of knowledge. We have all embraced the "serpentís lie," believing that if I can gain enough knowledge about the Bible, I will be able to discern between good and evil, and so as I choose the good and shun the evil I will be spiritual and therefore like God. Today many Bible Schools are overflowing, and theological colleges are full of people seeking knowledge. However any knowledge that does not have its origin in God and therefore available to us by the Spirit, has the "serpentís" stamp upon it and it will continue to minister death.
Jesus said to the people of his day, "And ye have not his word abiding in you: for whom he hath sent, him ye believe not. Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me, but you will not come to Me in order to get life." The word "think" comes from a Greek word that means to establish truth by natural senses. The influence of the carnal mind now has produced a multitude of "fundamentalists." These are people that have established the foundation for their reality by verses in the Bible as they are understood by the natural mind. These are the religious fanatics of Christendom.
It is perfectly evident that we will not enter into the life that is resident in Christ and cannot be affected by death in its myriad forms, until we eliminate the poison of the "serpent" from our consciousness. Christendom has put forth its antidote but the results show it really has no true answer. After 2000 years of "Christian" teaching and activity there are more heathen in the world, and all manner of crime is increasing as evil escalates in spite of the gospel that has been preached. So now let us focus on the solution, because we are told that Jesus Christ came and destroyed him that had the power of death.
Remember that it was the soul or Eve in the garden that was targeted by the "serpent," and not the spirit that represented Christ. So the remedy must lie in the removal of this "carnal mind," for Paul says to be carnally minded is death. The carnal or natural mind is the mind that has no input from God, but it has received its information through the five natural senses of man. This mind we are told has no capacity to know or to understand the things that be of God. In spite of this so much of Christianity simply involves mind games.
The formula Christendom has put together as an entrance into eternal life is, "Repent, and believe Christ dies for your sins on the cross, then ask him into your life and you are born again and a son of God with a ticket right through to heaven"! All that beloved is simply mind activity. You "repent" with your mind, you "believe" with your mind, and you issue an "invitation" to the Son of the Living God to come into your life. This is also an activity of the natural or carnal mind. Now Christendom believes the same carnal mind that has been infected by the "serpent" in the Garden of Eden bringing death into humanity, now has the capacity to cancel out the power of death and give us life. I donít think so!
Paul speaks about those that are "in the flesh," as having no ability to please God. The "flesh" is set in contrast to "Spirit" in Rom. 8, so we need to discover the difference. If we are in the flesh we are living out of the carnal mind, which establishes us as mortal human beings, and as such we cannot please God. This concept removes us from creation where man was brought forth out of God as spirit, and establishes us as "flesh and blood" that has come forth out of man. As flesh our life comes forth out of woman (Eve) who was deceived by the "serpent" and also declared to be the mother of all living. Gen 3:20. As such we have all become infected with death and subject to all the corruption that is in the world.
This is Paulís argument in Romans 8:9-11,"But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you."
Adamís pursuit of knowledge in the Garden of Eden led him into an experience, for the word "knowledge" in the Hebrew is "yawdah," and means knowing by an intimate relationship. Therefore Adam had formed an intimate relationship with the soul that would continue to produce both "good and evil." From that time Adam could only bring forth out of the soul that which would be mortal and live under the law of sin and death. Thus mankind has been locked into living life as an expression of the soul. For this relationship to end there must be a separation of the soul from the body so that Godís original order in creation can be established.
Without the life of God (Spirit) in you, the body is dead, or as the Greek states, "the body has the seeds of death in it making it mortal, and it will die." But the spirit is life, (Paul uses zŰÍ life, instead of zŰsa living), because that Spirit is God, if Christ is in you. "Soul" in the Greek is "psuche," which is the vital force that animates the body and shows itself in breathing. This whole drama was played out in the Garden of Eden after Adam was put to sleep and the female part or the soul was made a separate entity to Adam. Here we are introduced to the Adamic dream in which the part that was taken from Adam now becomes a woman, and is brought to him.
His response is, "This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh," because the two have become one, as in Gen 2:24. If we consider this as something literal we will be confused. However that which God had joined together in creation, male and female has now been separated; only to be united by the knowledge of good and evil. Mankind is now seeking to know God but is having trouble finding him. The marriage of Adam and the soul was based upon the knowledge of good and evil, so everything that proceeds from that relationship will result in death. But in creation the spirit and the soul were joined together by divine decree, and able to bring forth life.
How can the soul and the man Adam, be separated so that the soul and the spirit can unite as it was in the beginning? This is what Paul says in Romans 7:4, "Wherefore my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God." Paul is using an analogy here in this passage concerning the law as the husband, but then he changes it by calling for the man to die, which refers to us. If we want to be married to our true husband as we were in the beginning, then our present relationship of marriage between the living soul and the body, must be brought into death through the Body of Christ.
This is accomplished when Jesus Christ went to the cross as the last Adam to destroy the "body of sin," or our humanity, by tasting death for every man. As we see ourselves dying there in him, our marriage to the soul is dissolved. Now the soul is free to marry her true lover. But she must wait until the process is complete, after three days. For after the death comes the burial, when we are buried with him. But on the third day we discover the tomb is empty for there is no body there, because that body had no true reality, as it never was created in the beginning. It had been formed in the mind of Adam.
On the third day the man that died is no more, but in his place now has come forth the Body of Christ. Did not Jesus say, "Destroy this temple, speaking of his body of flesh and blood, and in three days I will raise it up." Jn 2:19. Many want to believe that the body that rose from the dead on the third day was the same body that died, but that is not true. The resurrected body is an incorruptible body that could never be sick, nor could it die for it is immortal. He was last seen on the Mount of Olives with the disciples from whence he simply disappeared from natural sight.
What was the difference in that body of Christ. First of all the body of Christ must be a Spirit body because Christ is Spirit, and this body must be immortal, and not subject to all the corruption that is in the world. Paul speaks about this in Rom 8:11, "If the same spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal body by the spirit that dwelleth in you." Scripture declares, "We shall not all sleep but we all shall be changed in a moment," or in the very "atoms" of our being.
While the soul dominated the body it had no life in itself. It was sustained by breathing in air and so it could not store life and it was subject to all the corruption and sickness that is in the world. But the body of Christ is being sustained by the Spirit of God dwelling within, that is the fountain and source of all life. Now that Spirit of God dwelling in us is breathing his life into every cell of my body so it will not be subject to natural laws, for mortality will be swallowed up in immortality. Jesus said, "You can hear the sound of the wind (spirit) but you do not know where it has come from nor where it is going to, and so is everyone that is born of the spirit."
I do not consider that to be immortal, means that we must be living on this earth as we are now forever. No, but we will use the ladder Jacob saw by revelation and move between those two realms that have been separated for so long. We will be here and be there, wherever the Lamb goes we will follow. We will function as spirit and we will function as we do today according to the will and purpose of God. Ministry up to this time has been limited by our mortality, especially because we have not yet entered into that body energized by the spirit over which death has no power. No more will cancer or any kind of sickness determine the number of our days. Old age will not limit our ministry, for our true being will be the inner man of the heart, which is being renewed everyday.
The ministry of those who have embraced immortality will have no fear regardless of the circumstances on the earth, because all fear is rooted in the fear of death. They will be anointed into the Melchisedek Priesthood for in truth their ministry shall never end, as it can never be cut off. All limitation will be removed, for their will be no language barrier as the Spirit can speak into the language of all mankind. Culture or ethnic differences will not be a problem, and travel to the ends of the earth will pose no problem for we will be like Philip who found himself where he was needed to be and at the right time. Thus the gospel of the kingdom will go out to the ends of the earth. Time will not be a factor for just as when Jesus stepped into the boat with the disciples it says, "immediately the ship was at the land where they went."
As the Christ mind functions in us, time will be no more for in the realm of spirit there is no time. Such will be some of the changes that will take place for those who follow on to embrace the glorious realities that are available to those who have offered their bodies on the altar as a "living sacrifice wholly acceptable unto God, which is our spiritual worship."
The reality of manís life is not to be found in his physical body, which is proved by his parentage, for God is Spirit. Where then is the connection between God and the creature known as man? Paul speaks of man being "the offspring of God," Acts 17: 28-29. According to the law of conformity, if man is the offspring of God, then his identity is firmly established as spirit and not flesh and blood, just as the chicken is the offspring of the hen.
Let us go further and hear Paul on this matter as he speaks to the Galatians, "My little children of whom I travail in birth until Christ be formed in you," Gal 4:19. From this we learn, that if Christ is being formed in man by the operation of that life principle, which comes from God, then that life must be Christ. This is confirmed in Ephesians 2:10 where Paul says, "We are his workmanship created in Christ Jesus." According to the law of conformity in the normal process of biology man must be in the likeness and image of the One from whom he has come. The One who established the laws of nature is the same One who also instituted the laws of the Spirit, for the principle is the same.
Man in the ignorance of his mind considers that to be a Christian he must learn some behavioral pattern in a vague attempt to produce righteousness. But in looking at the allegory in nature, we ask what kind of behavior would change a chicken into a duck? Would it be sufficient for the chicken to learn how to quack, and perhaps learn to swim? No beloved we do not need to be convinced that the chicken will always remain a chicken according to the law of conformity.
How pointless are the religious efforts of man to bring about a change that will conform us to Christ, when he has already been generated out of that Christ. Great cathedrals have been built and millions of dollars spent to try and give credence to the puny, futile efforts of man as he seeks to conform to a Christ he cannot even see! How aptly did Jesus direct our thoughts to nature to discover the secret of life when he said, "Consider the lilies of the field how they grow, they toil not neither do they spin, and yet I say unto you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore if God so clothe the grass of the field, which today is and tomorrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you o ye of little faith." Matt 6:28.
With nature all around us, why is it that that the question of conformity has eluded Godís people for so long. The mystery and power of life functioning in nature is only exceeded, when we consider that life, which is God is functioning in man. Do you not think it remarkable that the New Testament describes this life in the language of biology? In fact there is no other way in which these truths can be expressed.
Scripture speaks of a "new creature, a new man, a babe in Christ and we have been begotten of God," 2 Cor 5:17, Col 3:10. We are told to "put on the new man," and we are being changed into the same image as Christ. Paul makes it clear that this is the end and the goal of the Christian life that the law of conformity might complete its mysterious work in us. It is a foregone conclusion that God has purposed that we be conformed to the image of Christ. To understand the process of this divine activity, let us consider the liliesÖ. how they grow!
What is the material out of which this new man is to come? In manís ignorance he believes that God created the heavens and the earth out of nothing, thus declaring his ignorance. There is nothing can be made out of nothing. Matter cannot be created nor destroyed, it can only be changed. Then you may ask, "Where did the matter come from that God used in order to make all things?" The answer is out of himself!! This is taught in the scriptures, in Rom 11:36, "For from him and through him and to him are all things. For all things originate with him and come from him.. All things live through him, and all things center in and tend to consummate and to end in him." (Amplified)
Somewhere hidden in the embryo from which man is formed something is found that is in no other creature, and that is a capacity to experience God. Then beyond this lies manís divine ability to co-operate with God, which is the element that makes him different to all other creatures. It is here in this protoplasm of life that the chamber is made ready for the expected guest who will give meaning and purpose to life. It is a fact that in the heart of every man from the primitive to the educated, there is an "altar to the unknown God."
Having been given a mind capable of making decisions and choices, man is distinguished from all other forms of life. Nature follows blindly the dictates of instinct probably not even aware that it is doing so. However, in the case of man there needs to be the revelation of the One from whom we have come, in order for us to be able to co-operate with him. Through the ages, man had lost sight of his true identity, although a prophetic voice remained as a reminder that, "Lord thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations." Psalm 90:1.
For nature, the revelation of the type to which it should conform is not necessary, as nature is not required to make any decision in the matter. However, for man it is vital that his prototype be revealed, for him to be able to cooperate in the process that will conform him to that same image in which he was created. This revelation is like the last piece of a "jig-saw" puzzle revealing the complete picture. Man in his natural state is incomplete waiting for something, but unaware of what it is. This unfulfilled state is called in the Bible death.
This revelation must come from above and therefore bypasses the natural mind, which has no capacity to know God, and touches the spirit, which alone receives inspiration from the Almighty. It is here in the spiritual part of man that the "guest arrives" whose abode has been made ready. (John 14:23) This "coming" of Christ is the total fulfillment of the Creatorís mind and purpose for the creature called man. The "protoplasm" of life is now complete with everything necessary for the creature to be conformed to his original type, which is Christ.
This represents the change of which Jesus spoke, when he said, "He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life and shall not come into condemnation but is passed from death to life." John 5:24. Now that divine connection that joins the creature to the Creator is in place, through which flows the creatures life, identity and purpose for being, together with the power to fulfill every detail. Paul says, "When Christ who is our life shall be appearing, (within us) then we shall also appear with him in glory," Col 3:4. Remember it is within our body, that is the temple or most holy place where Christ dwells.
Christ is not some super model to be held up in front of people to be admired and imitated. He is the "rock" from which we have been cut and the power and life force, which guarantees our conformity to the original, just as it came from the hand of the Creator. Gen 1:26-27. Christ is the only one who can make us to conform to the type, which is something that Mohammed or Buddha or any other religious leader cannot do!
How sad it is therefore that man so often seeks to "conform himself" to an image he has created in his own imagination, by works of righteousness, hoping to earn some merit with God. However, "No man by taking thought can add a cubit to his stature." Scripture makes it clear that man is not the prime mover in the work of conformity, but is passive. For,"we are begotten of God," or "The new man which is renewed in knowledge after the image of Him that created him," or "Except a man be born from above he cannot see the Kingdom of God," or "Until Christ be formed in you," or "It is God that works in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure." In all these scriptures and more God is seen as the motivating force.
From the above it becomes clear that the churchesí narrow focus on sin and the consequences they have attached to it, have so muddied the waters of truth that man has lost sight of the Creatorís purpose established in the beginning. Nothing that has happened to man along the way can alter or divert the will and purpose of God, that he be conformed to the image of Christ.
It is important that we follow the purpose for man that is outlined for us in creation, and discover how these things are to be achieved. In nature, instinct dictates the will of God, not as something that is separate from him but as a means of communication, which does not require a thought process. But in the case of man, he becomes a participant in fulfilling the divine purpose.
It was Huxley who said, "The one end to which all living creatures seem to gravitate in their formative impulses seems to be to mould the offspring into the likeness of the parent. It is the first great law of reproduction that the offspring tend to resemble its parents more closely than anything else." The law of biogenesis demonstrates that only life can beget life, therefore there is no such thing as spontaneous life. Thus in creation God said, "Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit whose seed was in itself," Gen 1: 11. This applies just the same to man.
Man was told to be fruitful and fill the earth, and in so doing the earth would be subdued, Gen 1:28. Now it is perfectly obvious that this filling of the earth does not simply suggest natural reproduction, which was to come later when Adam knew his wife, although this is a mirror of the spiritual. Most Christians today are convinced that God must personally deal with the subjugation of the earth and that this will take place at the end of this age, but this is wrong.
Let us put aside the theories of man and hear the word of the Lord. It was to the man that God said to be fruitful and multiply, for in so doing the earth would be subdued by "his" offspring, and he would have dominion by virtue of a multiplication of himself. So the question is "Did that man created in the likeness and image of God become fruitful and fulfill the Creatorís purpose?" The answer is yes!
That original man God created was the Word or Logos, according to John 1:1-3, the one who made (not created) all things. He also is Yahweh, the Messiah of the Old Testament. We read in Gen 2:7 that his role in making all things, included bringing forth a manifestation of himself in order to fill the earth and subdue it. Thus we read, "And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of lives, and man became a living soul."
We must understand that this man, who is called Adam, is a type or figure of another who was to come. He begins life in fellowship with his Maker, naming the animals and accepting responsibility for the garden, that represented his inner life. It would seem to the natural mind that the hope of all creation rests with this man Adam who is the offspring of God.
However the time comes when his mind begins to function apart from the mind of God, exploring a knowledge system that he was told not to touch lest he die. Adam ignored the warning and as a result he entered into a state of death and a world of darkness. Not only did his correspondence with God cease, but in place of truth, his mind redefined his own identity. He considered his origin as being from the dust, and so distorted his concept of God, who he now considered to be his enemy.
The whole question of being "fruitful and multiply" seemed to be doomed from a natural standpoint. However as mankind multiplied on the earth an interesting but mysterious development took place. Cain was born and became a murderer, but Abel his brother manifested a God-like quality, which could not be accounted for by natural birth. Seth followed Abel as if there was some mysterious pattern emerging.
After an explosion of evil, which seemed to swamp the whole of mankind, God called a man named Noah who found grace in the eyes of the Lord, declaring him to be perfect in his generations. He became a savior to his family, as God gave him directions for the building of an ark. Then suddenly a heathen man from Ur of the Chaldees called Abram begins to follow an inaudible voice, which changes the whole course of his life. Defying the natural laws of nature, this man and his wife give birth to a son through whom God said all the nations of the earth would be blessed.
Isaacís wife Rebecca was confounded by a great struggle within her womb as twins were born. These boys Jacob and Esau reversed the natural order again so that the elder was made to serve the younger and two very separate nations were established. In the process, by some unseen force, Jacob was transformed from a cheat and a liar to become a "prince with God," and fathered the chosen race of people called Israel.
We could go on infinitum, but we have shared enough to discover that there is a power operating throughout humanity, that in some mysterious way is injecting a Godlike quality into the stream of life. Within the protoplasm of life is a receptacle, prepared by the Creator, waiting for the honored guest to arrive and take up his abode. This one is Christ, who brings a manifestation of life, which is as mysterious as it is wonderful. This phenomena occurs right through the Old Testament but it is not until Christ the Messiah himself appears in the form of man and steps on to the stage of life that the details become clear.
Jesus of Nazareth was born of a virgin under what could be called abnormal circumstances, for he was to become the "other" man of whom Adam was only a type or figure. Paul explains it this way, "The first man Adam was a living soul, but the last Adam is a life giving spirit." 1 Cor 15:45.
In the New Testament John tells us that the Word or Logos, created in the beginning became flesh and dwelt among us. He was not known as the Word in the Old Testament but as the Messiah, which means Christ, or the anointing. He appeared to Moses in the burning bush and to Abraham and Jacob in different forms, but it was the same one working the works of God through humanity. Even in the dim light of the Old Testament we would do well to "consider the lilies of the field how they grow."
Jesus spoke in clear terms in the New Testament by saying, "If a man love me he will keep my words, and my Father will love him and we will come to him and make our abode with him." In order to stress the reproductive nature of this divine visitation Jesus spoke about the sower sowing the good seed of the Kingdom. The word "seed" is the Greek word "sperma," which refers to the seed of man. As the Holy Spirit gives us understanding we discover the wisdom of God in His begetting process.
Within the protoplasm of life in natural man there is a missing element, but the receptacle for its inception remains intact waiting and even yearning for that One to come who is the resurrection and the life. Whatever may have befallen mankind along the way nothing could change the mystical desire within to know God, for within every man there is an altar to the unknown God! Upon that first touch of Christ, who is the image and likeness of God, the "babe" will leap in the womb of man, manifesting himself in all his glory in these earthen vessels, as the righteousness of God.
Reproduction follows very strict guidelines, which have been laid down by God in creation. Paul makes a very clear statement about it when he says, "as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive," 1 Cor 15:22. In contemplating life we are touching on the most mystical aspect of Christianity. This factor is partly obscured by modern theology because it has discounted the parallel nature of the natural and spiritual laws, which we have considered in this discussion. These laws were instituted by the same God, so that one could be observed by the natural man, allowing him to discover the pattern of the spiritual.
If we make the actions of the creature to somehow affect what is its essential being, we have ignored the Creatorís rules and written our own. In spiritual terms this means that if the actions of a man constitute sin, then human theology declares that he cannot be a genuine member of the species called man which began as a Son of God. Evangelical theology concludes that his parentage cannot be God so must be the devil. In this we have "manufactured" for ourselves another source of life complete with a perpetuation of this non-biblical species, which exists outside of God!
We can point to nothing in nature that can change its species based upon its actions. If a parrot "talks" do we consider it to be human, because of it? No, it can only be called a talking parrot. If a female dog allows a kitten to suckle from it, does this constitute the kitten a dog? No, that would be absurd.
Then upon what grounds can we deny the origin and identity of a man because he fails to live according to the law of God? His true origin and identity have already been established by the Creator who said, "Let us make man in our image and after our likeness."
Such theology is neither reasonable, based upon known laws laid down by God, nor is it even a possibility worth considering. After we have gathered all the facts governing life and reproduction, we are driven to the conclusion that all men as a species, regardless of their actions, manner of life, knowledge or social standing are bybio-genetics the children of God.
Of course there will be those people who will interpret the above statement as meaning I consider everyone to be a "Christian" but this is not what I am saying. Anyone who will look honestly at the Bible must conclude there can be only one source from which mankind could come, and that is God. Jesus tells the people of his day, that "One is your Father which is in heaven," Matt 23:9.
Having established the fact of mankindís origin, we must look at other reasons for the great difference that is evident in the manifestation of life between those who know God and those who do not. It is at this point that we discover the vital difference between the life forms of nature, and that of man. Let me repeat first of all, that the life flowing through the humble lily has the same origin as the life in man. However the plant has no ability to understand, nor to approve or disapprove of the mysterious forces functioning within it. It is by its character subservient to the will and purpose of God.
However in the case of mankind, he has been endowed with a mind, which can evaluate and either accept or reject ideas and notions, which come to him. He does this on the basis of two things, knowledge and experience. Here is the point where one person can deviate in behavior from another, based on either a lack of knowledge or on inaccurate knowledge, together with a lack of experience.
Paul tells us that the natural heart of man is shrouded in darkness, which does not allow him to see beyond the natural realm into the spiritual where God dwells. This darkness relates to an ignorance of spiritual things so that manís decision making is flawed because of either insufficient or wrong facts. Remember this deficient knowledge includes the spiritual realm in which God dwells. So any question regarding God cannot be accurately evaluated by the mind of natural man because he does not have the relevant knowledge.
To use Bible language, which we have been discussing, we must conclude that natural man is dead. This means that there is no life connection between God and his creature man through, which can flow life, light and the nature and character of the one who has begotten him. Since Adam became independent of God, all mankind has been struck with amnesia. Therefore man acts as he does often committing heinous crimes simply because he does not know who he is, nor from whence he has come.
But my question is this: has he ceased to be the species he was created to be, which is man? The answer is no, but he is ignorant of his origin and has no correspondence with God. As to Godís purpose for man to have dominion over all the works of his hands he is dead. With regards to the likeness and image of his Father he is dead. Man has no understanding of his role to subdue the earth simply because to all these facts he is dead. This death has hidden his grand inheritance in Christ, so he lives as a beggar. His "life" is vanity seeing only he was born and the fact that he will die.
The glorious gospel or good news is that Jesus Christ is the way the truth and the life. He said to all humanity, who was dead, "I am the resurrection and the life, he that believeth in me though he were dead yet shall he live."
What is involved in "believing in Christ" for those who are dead. Jesus is the name of his humiliation, being a man of flesh and blood. Natural sight could not uncover his real identity as the people only saw the carpenterís son, just a man. But by revelation Peter stated the truth when he said, "thou art the Christ the Son of the Living God." This was the very same person who was created in the beginning, when God said, "Let us make man in our image and likeness." Why did people not know and understand this? Because they believed what their natural eyes told them and not what the Spirit of God was saying.
If you worship daily at your altar to the unknown God begging him for your "daily bread," let me share with you the truth. What you see in Jesus Christ, how he lived and acted in concert with his Father is a perfect mirror of yourself, for you were created in Christ Jesus and therefore his Father is also your Father. This also constitutes you as his brother, because he is the firstborn among many brethren. Allow the light of God to confirm your true identity and bring you out of the bondage of death, into His marvelous life.
To sum up this study let us bring together the issues that are involved in the question of life and death. All of nature declares that only life can beget life. Scientists have tried for years to produce life but have never been successful. God is the only source of life in this universe, not just in terms of creation but he also is the one who sustains life. Life is not some "thing" that we can obtain and then become its master as if it is strictly ours. We must remember that life involves a continuous connection between its source, which is God and the creature.
A branch broken from a tree ceases to live because the life connection is broken. Jesus used nature to define this connection for us. He said, "I am the vine and you are the branches, he that abideth in me and I in him, the same will bring forth much fruitÖ.butÖ. without me you can do nothing," Jn 15:5.
Jesus elaborates on this theme by saying that the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it has a vital connection with the vine. Part of this "connection" involves the purging of the branch during winter when the old leaves drop off in readiness for the new growth that is necessary to bare the new fruit.
The analogy of we being Godís vineyard is most explicit. In planting a vineyard the farmer is seeking for a harvest which will be a reward on his investment. Israel also was said to be Godís vineyard, but although the vines were from the very best stock, i.e. Godís offspring, the harvest only produced wild (sour) grapes. It is very interesting to note that man is the only creature that is able to produce fruit on two levels. First there is the natural fruit of the womb, who are our children, but when we live in divine correspondence with God we have the capacity to birth Christ, or in other words, to bring him into manifestation.
This is achieved not through some human effort but by the flow of what we call life from God Ö..which is Christ, Jn 14:6. But of course mankind in his natural state, is born of water which is natural birth thus making him mortal. This "child" may be very clever academically and physically fit, becoming successful in life by all natural worldly standardsÖÖÖ and yet be dead in the Bible sense. This one will believe he was born and he will die. His existence as far as he is concerned began the day he was born, and sees his father as the source from whence he has come. He believes in God but can only imagine who he really is, having no actual contact because he lives up in the sky. So this one can pass through "life" having never lived.
For this reason Jesus said to Nicodemus, who was a ruler of the Jewish people in religious matters, "you must be born again." Why is it necessary for everyone to be born again? Because that first "birth" was of water by which we receive physical life which is mortal. However the new birth by definition must be another birthing, which requires another parentage and another seed.
First let us consider our parenting or our origin. Jesus himself told us not to call anybody our Father, because according to him there is only one Father and not a million, and this One is in heaven or the realm of spirit. It is a fact that every child gets his sense of identity from their father, so if we are confused as to who our father is, we are going to be confused as to who we are. So the truth for every man is that God is their Father, for there is no other.
Now let us consider this new birth and how it takes place. As in our first birth, the "child" has nothing to do with it. This is not a water birthing but a spirit birthing. And the same One is birthed in every case, and that One is Christ. The reason being that God only created one son, and no more. However every other son was in that only begotten son waiting to be brought forth in his likeness and image.
This birthing of the son in us is called the new birth and he is that living connection between God and man bringing the heavenly genes, together with the glory and perfection of the Almighty.
It is a most remarkable thing that man was given such dominion over everything that is living. This suggests that the life given to man must have been of a far greater quality than that given to the lower forms of life. Everything that has life and moves including man is called a living soul in Genesis.
First of all the form of every creature finds its reflection in God, as in its beauty, and mystery of life. But when God came to create man, the total expression of what God is, both in likeness and image was transferred to him. This is Christ the Son of the Living God. This is the one who was made flesh, by being lowered unto a body of flesh and blood, even though he was in the form of God, Phil 2:6. In this "form" of humanity no one recognized who he was, because man was dead.
In the case of man, God is just an idea generated mainly through his imagination. This God is quite separate from himself, living up in the sky somewhere, although there is a feeling that he has something to do with us here on earth. In manís mind this God is responsible for everything that happens on the earth, the earthquakes, floods, road accidents, for sickness and even death. Many Christians believe if they do good, then God will bless them and take care of them, but if they do evil then something bad will happen to them as a punishment for their sin.
That connection is missing that links the creator together with creation. We call this connection life, through which the knowledge of God is transmitted, including his mind and will so that the creature becomes an expression of the one who made him. Through this connection called life, the lily produces that glorious flower, and the fruit tree produces its fruit, but without it this world would be a total wilderness. However the life connection between God and man his creation, allows for the transmission of not only his form and identity but his likeness and image and even the very Spirit of God, as demonstrated in Jesus Christ.
In Genesis 2:7 we read of the Lord God forming man from the dust of the ground, and then breathing into his nostrils the breath of lives, thus allowing him to have dominion over the spiritual aspect of creation and also over the physical. Man is the only creature who has the capacity to live and function in both realms. This is a most wonderful thing God has given to us, but at the same time it can be the cause of much heartache and confusion when that life connection with God is interrupted. Without that living connection, man cannot see beyond the boundary between the physical and the spiritual or unseen world. Any incursion into that spiritual realm without the light and understanding of God can deeply affect our life, even though that which we believe lies in the darkness is not a part of reality.
All our fears and phobias are generated in this same area, and often become part of our physical life because we have no understanding of the world of spirit. What we call the "occult" is simply the result of a strange desire that rises up in man to "see" into that unseen world, thereby releasing the grotesque figures and frightening forms that are actually generated in the natural mind, but over which we seem to have no control. The fact is that we fear what we do not understand.
The night the disciples were alone in the boat in the midst of a storm, they saw Jesus walking on the sea, but because of the darkness that was still upon their hearts and minds, they were afraid, and cried out in fear! Can you imaging anyone being afraid of Jesus? Yes, if he comes in a manner with which we are not familiar. Their minds said, no one can walk on water so this must be a spirit, and with the storm raging they conclude this must be an evil spirit, so fear fills their hearts.
Paul tells Timothy that God has not given us the spirit of fear. So fear is actually a spiritual issue. Some Christians live in fear of having an accident, others fear to let their children out of their sight in case they may be involved in an accident. Some are frightened by heights, others are frightened by the dark. Many fear going near a fortuneteller or shops, which sell ouija boards etc. All these fears are based upon that which has no reality at all, and the only power they have, is the power that people give to them.
All these things and more are a direct result of the death that is caused by a break in the vital connection with God through which flows light and life, and the mind and inspiration of the Almighty to mankind. The fact is that the natural mind in its darkened state has an innate fear of the invisible world, believing it to be filled with demons and evil spirits all of which have the power to kill or at least to hurt us.
Let us forsake our vain imaginations and hear the Word of the Lord. Col 1:16. "For by him were all things created that are in heaven and that are in the earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones or dominions or principalities or powers, all things were created by him and for him."
We would find it hard to believe that God would create evil spirits or demons that would oppose himself. So where did they come from? The answer is that man has created out of the death and darkness of his heart, his own world, in which he now lives. It is a world of conflict and confusion, with evil spirits and good spirits, love and hate, joy and sadness, war and peace, God and the devil and life and death.
In contrast, God looked at all that he made in the beginning and said, "Behold it was very good," Gen 1:31. So if God did not create all the conflict and confusion, where did it come from? Paul tells us that death came into this world through Adam. "For by one man (Adam) sin entered into the world and death by sin, and so death passed into all mankind, on which all sinned," Rom 5:12. CLNT.
Once death entered into man, the darkness within him spawned an alien world in which man walked as a separate entity from God and the conflict between good and evil with all its ramifications was instituted. Instead of this being a one-power universe, it now became a two-power battle, between God and the devil, and good and evil. From this concept was born a "being" (so called) known as the devil, who man believes is the architect of all sin and evil in the world, and who has power to inflict illness and even to take our life. Evil spirits now began to infiltrate humanity causing demonic manifestations, imprisoning their subjects in impregnable dungeons of darkness and despair, often leading to suicide. Such is the power of the human mind, that today all these things are the realities in the lives of most people including Christians. It was this "alien" world of which Jesus spoke when he said, "My kingdom is not of this world."
The amazing thing is that as the light of God streams into our heart and that life connection is again established with us, that world fades away and we step into the paradise or Kingdom of God. John speaks of this "new world" in Rev 21:1. "And I saw a new (referring to quality) heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away, and there was no more sea." There is no need for the earth to be destroyed, nor the heavens that control it, for neither possess any form of reality.
I am living in the same physical world as everyone else, but for me there is only one power in my world and that is God. The devil was robbed of its power and authority just as Paul declares, "Having spoiled principalities and powers he made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it," Col 2:15. It is the carnal mind that is death, and opposes God, but my mind is being renewed by the Holy Spirit, so that it is no longer carnal. There is absolutely nothing in the spirit world that causes me fear, and I do not fear having an accident, or fear that I will catch whatever virus may happen to be "going around."
So for me this is a new heaven and a new earth wherein dwells righteousness. I hear the heavens declare, "Behold the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them and be their God," Rev 21:3. In this new world, there are no tears and no more death, neither sorrow nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain for the former things are passed away, for everything is being made new.
Most people have been taught that if we ask Jesus Christ into our hearts and repent of our sins we will be saved and at that moment we will pass from death to life. Such a statement defies all the known laws God has set in motion in the natural world regarding life. The truth is that there is absolutely nothing any man can do of himself that will generate life. The only way to pass from death to life is by grace through faith, and that not of yourselves it is the gift of God. Beloved hear this word, if God does not reach down out of the realm of Spirit, which is above and touch us, we will remain dead!
In the same way nature reveals this very principle, the living plant sends its roots reaching down into the earth and draws up the lifeless minerals, thus transforming them into living tissue. Tell me what could those minerals do of themselves in order to produce life? The answer is absolutely nothing. Only life can beget life. For many years, scientists have tried to produce life in a test tube from chemicals, but have never succeeded.
The evolutionistís idea that in the long distant past certain chemicals combined to produce an elementary form of life, from which there developed other higher forms including man is as valid as a three dollar note. The unassailable fact is that there must be life, in order to produce life. This introduces God into the equation as the life from which all other life has come. Paul declares in Eph 2:1, "And you hath he quickened, (made alive) who were dead in trespasses and sins." Therefore there was a time when the saints in Ephesus were dead. Which means they had no "correspondence" or connection with God, and like a branch that is severed from a tree, they were dead.
This death obviously does not mean that they were not breathing or that their heart had stopped, because they were still walking around so we must conclude they had some kind of life. Let us explore the wisdom of God with regard to life. In Gen 2:7 we are told the Lord God breathed into Adamís nostrils the breath of lives (plural.) So there is a complexity to life beyond our heart beating and our lungs breathing. Most would agree that there is a physical life and there is a spiritual life, just as there is a heavens, and there is an earth. Spiritual life being akin to the heavens is to rule over the earth, which relates to our physical life.
What then are the heavens referred to here with regard to life? It is evident that there is an unseen part of our being which is spiritual, and is referred to as soul and spirit. Let there be no doubt in anyoneís mind about the over-riding role these two have to play in our physical well being. Tell me, what is it that keeps your heart beating even when you are asleep or unconscious? What controls all the activities of liver, kidneys, and intestines? What organizes the cells necessary to heal a wound and fits them into their correct place? What is responsible for healing a cut or sore so that after some days it is almost invisible?
The answer is the soul and the spirit, which is the spiritual part (the heavens) in man. Doctors acknowledge that some 75% of sickness is psychosomatic because it has its origin in the mind. The mind has the ability to affect our life positively, or to produce death. Solomon said that the power of life and death are in the tongue. Once "the bone" has been pointed at an aborigine he will die, even without any physical connection between the bone and the man. For many people as soon as they hear that they have cancer they loose the will to live. For this reason doctors often delay telling some patients the truth.
I do not believe the physical body is essentially different to those who lived in Old Testament days, when their life span far exceeded ours today. However it is most evident that man now is far less God conscious than he was even a hundred years ago. This indicates that there is far less correspondence between the soul or mind and the spirit. Thus the mind of man exerts less "spiritual" influence from the heavenly realm, and much more from the earth. To sum up what we are saying, I believe the mind which affects the brain, which controls the function of the body, is moving away from the creatorís input, declaring its decisions and ideas to be superior. Our health now depends on eating the right food as directed by the fads and phobias of society, aided by the right vitamins as promoted by people with a vested interest.
We now claim the "glory" for our physique, as being the result of our decisions and know-how. Thus God no longer is credited with our wellbeing or our life and he is replaced by the ignorance of man, even though it is the cause of much sickness and premature death. How many today understand that the stress and strain of life in order to earn enough money to do what we want to do is actually killing us. Our problems in relationships, together with anger and frustration are robbing us of our health. Pharmaceutical companies are becoming rich manufacturing the pills that help us cope with headaches, sleeplessness, and the ills and sickness that beset humanity, all of which are soul related.
Jesus said, "Do not be distracted by saying, what shall we eat or what shall we drink, or with what shall we be clothed, because after all these things do the Gentiles (pagans) seek. But your Heavenly Father knows that you have need of all these things, but seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you," Matt 6:31-34. Beloved we need to check our focus, because it seems that most of our concern is directed towards the same things the pagans are concerned about, and little thought is given to the Kingdom of God. In this kingdom there is no death and remember Jesus told us that the kingdom is within us! We are not waiting for the Kingdom to come, but the kingdom is waiting for us to enter into its reality. But what are the conditions of entry?
First of all there must be a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and earth were infected with the serpents poison in the Garden of Eden. This involves the renewing of our mind, by the Holy Spirit bringing a new consciousness that was evident in Jesus Christ when he said, "I and my Father are one!" The mind of the caterpillar would never allow the butterfly to fly and be what he has become, he must have the mind of a butterfly.
Then there must be a marriage to restore us to our true identity, for in the first man the soul and the Spirit were united and functioned as One. Our whole being must be unified, body, soul and spirit, to become the "I" that Jesus used when he said, "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life." This is the "I" that is one with the Father, breaking the duality of the deception that there is God and me. The prophets of the Old Testament confessed many times, "Our God is one." That is the true Elohim with you and I becoming an integral part of him as the Elohim company, which is God filling the earth with Himself.
Then that voice will echo out of the heavenly realm, "Now is come salvation, and strength and the Kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ, for the accuser of the brethren is cast down." And then the voice continues, "Behold the tabernacle of God is with men, and he shall dwell with them and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow or crying, neither shall there be any more pain, for the former things are passed away. And the One that sat upon the throne said, "Behold, I make all things new."
The battle is over and the victory is won and the Prince of Peace rules in the hearts of his people. Beloved as you read these words look within and see if this reality has become your reality. Or are you still living under the law of sin and death with the renewed mind simply a lovely dream, and death is still having authority over your life. I have written this last page not for us to take as some pretense of a life we claim because it is written in the book, and simply say that God will do it. Every battle in the book of Revelation will be fought in you and must be won. Every beast and dragon in the book is your enemy, over which you must gain the victory, and remember the last enemy to be destroyed is death.
My desire is that you be a follower of the Lamb "withersoever he goeth."
May the Lord give you understanding of these things.
Together in His Love, Des Walter