Articles


From the Beginning

 

1 In contrast with mythological legends and with ancient Greek speculation about spontaneous generations or Platonic conceptions that assign the source of life to an impersonal essence designated ‘Supreme Goodness’, the Bible describes the origin of all existence as the deliberate design of a Creator who cares for his creation. This book integrates the writings of the prophets of Israel and the disciples of Jesus, in 66 historic and prophetic interrelated texts, that illustrate God’s guiding principles and the progress of his design for mankind throughout the centuries. The apostle Peter writes about its significance for all Christians, and says: "... we did not declare the presence and powerful works of our Lord Jesus Christ by invented tales, for we personally were ocular witnesses of his greatness... But we have in the prophetic word the most reliable confirmation, and you will do well to pay attention to it, like a lamp shining in a dark place until the day dawns and the light glows in your hearts. However, first of all you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture comes from a personal interpretation, because no prophecy ever came by the will of man, but men spoke the message of God impelled by holy spirit. (2Peter 1:16..21)

 

2 The first book of the Scripture is known as ‘The Genesis’ or the ‘Beginning’, because it’s first words are: “In the beginning God created the Heavens and the Earth...” (Genesis 1:1) establishing thus the origin of our universe.

This book was frequently quoted by Jesus, since it discloses why was redemption an essential requirement for mankind, and gives therefore, a sense to the whole prophetic message and to the final conclusion of God’s purpose. In its initial chapters, Moses states logically and briefly, the main steps the planet went through in order to support life, highlighting the goodness of all God’s creation. (Genesis 1:31) He reports that man and woman were created physically fit, morally righteous and free to act as they choose, but always in harmony with the responsible authority granted by God, when he said: "Let us make the man in our image, (obviously, moral image) after our likeness, and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of skies and all the animals...” (Genesis 1:26)

 

3 Moses also describes the garden planted in Eden by the Creator, as a place rich in all fruits man may need for food, and says that God "... took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it...” (Genesis 2:15) The garden became then man’s dwelling place, but not his property. This fact represented an archetype of what property involves, and an important provision for the serene rapports of a human society bound to grow; for God said: "Be fruitful and...fill the Earth...” (Genesis 1:28)

What's more, the man and the woman had to understand and accept for their own sake, that life comes only from God, and keeping it, depends on respecting the moral principles established by him over all his creation. For this reason, God said: You may freely eat the fruits of every tree in the garden, but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for in the day you eat of it, you will surely die”. (Genesis 2:16..17)

 

4 God granted man a great freedom, and gave him only one command. Obedience gave him the opportunity to prove his gratitude and trustworthiness and to enjoy a life without death, and. Acknowledging God as the only moral authority over his creation, he granted the human society a growth based on righteousness and  justice, and the transmission of life without congenital death.

It should then be obvious that the acquisition of the knowledge of good and evil could not imply the gain of deep wisdom or any other valuable attribute. The Hebrew word translated here as 'knowledge', usually describes a close bond, a deep intimacy with something or somebody, so in this context, it may only point to a deep relationship of a subjective mentality with the comprehension of what is morally right and what is morally wrong. Man’s intent to obtain this kind of knowledge, would express a desire to establish what is morally good and what is morally evil by himself, rejecting the Creator’s authority over his creation, and this attitude would imply a rupture with the only one who can create life from inexistence and sustain it; thus, God made clear to man that an illegal use of his freedom could also bring him death.

 

5 At this point, the account introduces someone who instigated man to disobedience and altered human destiny. Some words, symbolically said to the king of Tyro, reveal his personality and rank. Ezekiel writes: "You were a signet of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. You were in Eden, in the garden of God... you were a Cherub anointed for protection... you were perfect in all your ways from the day of your creation until unrighteousness was found in you; your abundant traffic filled you with injustice, and you erred... your heart became conceited by your beauty and your wisdom was corrupted by your splendor...” Then he is told: “...now you will no longer live forever”. (Ezekiel  28:12..19)

 

6 The apostle John identifies this Cherub as “…the ancient serpent, named Devil and Satan, who is deceiving whole humanity", (Apocalypse 12:9) because questioning the legitimacy of God’s authority over the free will granted to his children, this ‘serpent’ went to the woman and asked: "Did God say: 'You shall not eat of any tree in the garden'?” And when she answered: "We can eat the fruits of all the trees in the garden, but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, YHWH said: don’t eat of it, don’t touch it, because you will die..." and disallowing God’s advise, he stated: you will not die. God knows very well that the day you eat of it, your eyes will be opened and you will be like God in the knowledge of good and evil..." (Genesis 3:1..5)

 

7 The apostle Paul declares that "... the serpent seduced Eve by his cunning..." (2Corintihians 11:3) but "...Adam was not deceived..." (1Timothy 2:14) And yet, he joined the revolt. For this reason, Jesus says of Satan: “…he was murderer from the beginning and did not stay in the truth because there is no truth in him; when he lies, he speaks what’s inside him, for he is a liar and the father of lies. (John 8:44) The father of lies involved humans in his vindication of an independent subjective appreciation of what is morally good and what is morally evil, but which were his reasons? Isaiah reveals them when he writes: You said in your heart, 'I will ascend to heaven, above the stars of God, I will set my throne on high; I will sit on the mount of assembly in the far north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself equal to the Most High!’” (Isaiah 14:13..15)

 

8 During his vision of the establishment of God’s Kingdom, John saw the symbolic 'serpent' as "a great red fiery dragon", whose tail swept down a third of the stars (or angels) of heaven, and cast them to the Earth…" (Apocalypse 12:3..4) So Satan did not only implicate in his design the first God’s earthly children, but also many of the angels of his spiritual realm, who supported him in a controversy that could only be answered by the evaluation of its final outcome. The Scripture shows how he also tried to involve Jesus, offering him immediately and in contrast with God’s purpose, the power and the glory of all the kingdoms in the world, and reminding him the right granted by the assignment held in the beginning, he said: “…it was given to me and I give it whom I want…” (Luke 4:5..6) For this reason, as John wrote, it may be truly said that "... the entire world lies under the power of the Malignant..." (1John:19) And Paul confirms John’s words, writing: “... in fact, we don’t have a fight against flesh and blood, but against the governments, the authorities and the cosmic powers of this darkness, that is, against the evil spiritual forces that inhabit the heavenly realms". (Ephesians 6:12)

 

9 After their disobedience, the break up of humans with their Creator was immediate; the Scripture says: "... their eyes were opened and... the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of YHWH among the trees of the garden...” (Genesis 3:7..8) It was the first time they felt naked and strangers in that garden, that they left back to follow their own way of life.

God foretold the result of their behavior, when he told them: “In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken. You are dust and to dust you shall return". (Genesis 3:19)

As Paul writes: "…through the first man, sin entered into the world, and through sin, death spread to all men, for all inherited sin". (Romans 5:12)

 

10 Since the beginning, human administration is in continual experimentation, endlessly providing laws for the safeguard of its peculiar moral concept of what is right and what is wrong, but in spite of this, the world has never enjoyed a really long lasting period justice and peace.

King Solomon understood men’s inability to rule themselves with the righteousness that provides justice and tranquility, because wrote: "...all this I have seen, and I applied my heart unto every work done under the sun, in the time man rules over man to his harm“. (Ecclesiastes 8:9)

And in fact, God offers his adversaries a large period of time, long enough to expose the result of their rule over mankind, openly and unquestionably. But the apostle Paul writes, that creation "... was not submitted to futility by its own will, but because of the one that committed transgression", so it may still maintain "...the hope of being emancipated from slavery to corruption (death), and participate in the glorious freedom of God’s children", (Romans 8:20..21) When the time comes, God will favor humanity through Christ administration, and in that day, God “... will dwell with humanity… and they shall be his people; God himself will be with them, he will wipe away every tear from their eyes and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain any more, for the former things have passed away". (Apocalypse 21:3..5)

 

11 However, before this time comes, man must choose to return to God by faith in the redemption provided by Christ’s offering. Paul says that "the salary for sin is death...", (Romans 6:23) and because of inherited sin, "man born of woman lives for few days and full of trouble. He comes forth like a flower, and is cut down. He too flees as a shadow, and does not continue...", (Job 14:1..4) “...his breath approaches the grave, and his vitality, the destroyers (worms)”. (Job 33:22)

It is a fact that all men are born to die and they cannot by themselves, change their destiny. For this reason, in God’s sight, they are all dead. Jesus confirms this when the man he invited to follow him, told him: "Lord, let me wait until I bury my father", and he said: “Follow me and let the dead bury their dead". (Mathew 8:21..22) We read in the Psalms that “…no man can ransom himself, or offer God the price of his life, for the ransom of life is so precious that he can never meet the requirements, and go on living for ever without considering the grave.

He has to see that the wise men die like the fool and the stupid, all men must perish and leave their wealth to others…” for man “is like the beasts that perish… Like sheep, they are appointed for sheol; Death shall be their shepherd, straight to the grave they descend and their form wastes away. Sheol shall be their home”. (Psalm 49:7..14)

 

12 And yet somewhere else, we may read: “...If there be for him an angel mediator, one of the thousand to show man the rectitude for him, and having pity on him, said, 'Deliver him from going down into the grave, I have found a ransom; let his flesh become fresher than in his youth! Let him return to the days of his youthful vigour!' Then man would pray and be accepted by God, he would feel his presence with joy, and his justice would dwell in him”. (Job 33:23..28)

Adam’s descendants could not recover the righteousness he lost, but God didn’t leave humanity without hope, and when the time came, he “...demonstrated us his love by sending to the world his only son, so that we may reach life through him. For we didn’t love God, but he loved us and confirmed his love by sending his Son as expiatory sacrifice for our sins”. (1John 4:9..10) For the ransom of mankind, God chose among all his faithful realm, his first-born, who giving up his life in heaven and “...the glory he had before the world came to be", (John 17:5) came to men as a man.

To describe his attitude, the apostle Paul quotes the Scripture, and writes: "Christ says (to the Father): ‘You did not want sacrifices and offerings, but You prepared for me a body. You did not take pleasure in burnt offerings and sin offerings, so I said: 'Here I am, I have come, O God, to do your will, as it is written of me in the roll of the book". (Hebrew 10:5..7)

YHWH sent then his messenger to Mary, a young woman from the family of king David of Jerusalem, and he announced to her that she had been chosen to bring God’s Messiah or Anointed into the world. She accepted and said: "I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word”. (Luke 1:38)

And the Creator of life transferred the life of his first-born to Mary’s womb, and she gave birth a boy she called, as the angel said, Yahushua (Jesus), that is, 'Yahuh is salvation’. (Luke 1:31..35)

Therefore and according to his origin, Jesus could truthfully declare: "Before Abraham was, I existed". (John 8:58)

 

13 The apostle Paul wrote: "God sent his Son, who was born from a woman and under the Law…” (Galatians 4:4) As a Jew, Christ was under the Law given to Moses, so he had to obey it in spirit and deeds; for this reason he said to his disciples: "Do not think that I came to abolish the law and the prophets; I have come, not to abolish them, but to fulfil them. For truly, I say to you that heaven and earth shall pass away, but not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the law until all is accomplished”. (Matthew 5:17..18)

During his life, Jesus never "...committed transgression, neither was in his words deceit..." (1Peter 2:22) and being born free of sin, he legally owned a life free of death, for the law said: “You ought to keep my statutes and my ordinances, the man that fulfils them, shall live because of them”. (Leviticus 18:5) But the Messiah, remaining loyal to his father design, offered his perfect life to redeem all men, and he did it legally, in perfect obedience to the Law.

The Law stated that those under slavery for their debts, (just like mankind is in slavery to death because of sin) could be redeemed by a brother or by their father’s brothers and relatives, (Leviticus 25:47..48) and also, that the compensation to be offered in a redemption, had to be equivalent in everything to the debt. (Deuteronomy 19:21) And Jesus, having God for father, could be considered Adam’s brother, (Luke 3:22 and 38) and being free of sin, had a life equivalent in everything to the one lost by the first man.

 

14 After his resurrection, Christ entered "once and forever in the Holy Place of the most perfect and greater tabernacle (heaven), not built by the hands of men, that is, not of this creation, and took with him, not the blood of goats and bulls, (as it was done in the Temple) but his own blood, to secure us an eternal redemption”. (Hebrews 9:12..13) and "...after the purification of sins through the expiatory sacrifice, he sat down at the right side of The Majesty, on the highest of heavens, and acquired a nature superior to angels, as superior as his responsibility on the position he received...” (Hebrews 1:3..4)

Since then, “...the faith in the redeeming power of his blood, is the base (prefigured by the cover of the Arch of the Covenant) on which God, through his mercy, may offer justification or rectitude to men. (Romans 3:25) Because, if “...by one transgression, the sentence was extensive to all men, by one act of justice, the justification that gives life is extensive to all men, and if by the transgression of one man, many were made sinners, by the obedience of one man, also many are justified". (Roman 5:18..19) Since "If death came through one man, resurrection also comes through one man, and in the same way that all men die by means of Adam’s transgression, all men return to the life by means of Christ. (1Corinthians 15:21..22)

Paul writes: “Truly great and merciful is the sacred secret that was revealed trough a body that satisfied the requisites of the Law, that was manifested to angels in spirit, was proclaimed among the nations, made himself known to the world and ascended to the glory”. (1Timothy 3:16) And again: "Thus it is written: the first man Adam was made a living soul, and the last Adam, a life-giving spirit". (1Corinthians 15:45)

 

15 From the beginning, God declared the purpose to redeem Adam’s offspring, and announced his design with his, then mysterious, words to Satan: “...I will put enmity between you and the woman, between your descendants and her descendants. He shall smash your head and you shall bruise his heel”. (Genesis 3:15) This message foretold the intervention of the Creator in favor of humanity, and starts what is called in Scripture, the sacred secret of God, a “…sacred secret hidden since ancient times in the prophetic writings, now disclosed by disposition of the eternal God, to be made known to all nations, and bring them to the obedience of the faith", (Romans 16:25..26) so that they may reach the everlasting life that Christ made attainable for all mankind.