The basic truth of the Bible and practical Christian life
A book about meaning of life - by Arvid Aasen
Chapter - 2
The creation and who God is.
The Bible describes God as the Creator, that He always was and always will be, meaning that God is eternal. He is the beginning and the end (Revelation 22:13). Absolutely nothing would exist without Him creating it.
In the first book of the Bible, Genesis, chapters 1-3, describe how God created the heavens, the earth, the sea, the animals, and the people. They also describe how God gave life to what He created. God created us humans in his image, so that we would be like Him. God's purpose was that we should live in oneness with Him, in true and pure love for Him and for one another.
God is true, good, loving and just. He is Almighty and all things were created by Him.
The Bible gives us several descriptions of who God is. In addition, we can see everything that He has created around us, and we can also look at ourselves in the mirror to see what He has created. He has simply created everything!
He has created the earth, the sand, the mountains, the grass we put our feet on, the trees, the sea, the waters, the rivers, the clouds that move. It is God who keeps the earth, the animals and the human life cycles going. God created you! Look at your fingertips. They are unique. No one has the same 10 unique fingerprints as you. Move your finger and think through what it takes for bones, tendons, muscles, skin, emotions and your will, ability to think and move it and feel exactly as you now think it should feel and move. Your eyes, what do you see and how and why does your brain perceive what you see? Hearing, sound waves and movements. Everything that our little body, head, and thoughts are capable of and can perceive is simply completely unique.
What God has created is complicated, harmonious, and functional and we have difficulty being able to explain and understand the depths of what has been created. It also becomes difficult for us to describe God the Creator. He can describe us and know us fully because He created us. He knows the purpose He created us for. But for us, it is impossible to fully describe Him who created us. Our trust and faith in God can come through what our eyes can see and what we experience of Him. But it is basically only a small fraction of what the earth, all humans and the universe contain. Therefore, I choose to believe that God is the Creator. The alternative is to believe theories that humans themselves have made, but no human being is in itself able to know, understand and explain how everything is connected.
I reckon we can agree on one thing about the created, regardless of faith, and that is this: I was not there when the world came into being, and you were not there either. Researchers who put forward theories about how everything came into being were not there either when it was created or when there was a possibly big bang. So I figure we can agree on this: We can only relate to the creation by believing, either by believing one thing or believing the other
At least, here is the story of creation as the Bible tells it
Genesis 1: 1- 2: 7
«In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. So the evening and the morning were the first day.
Then God said, “Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.” Thus God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament; and it was so. And God called the firmament Heaven. So the evening and the morning were the second day.
Then God said, “Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear”; and it was so. And God called the dry land Earth, and the gathering together of the waters He called Seas. And God saw that it was good.
Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb that yields seed, and the fruit tree that yields fruit according to its kind, whose seed is in itself, on the earth”; and it was so. And the earth brought forth grass, the herb that yields seed according to its kind, and the tree that yields fruit, whose seed is in itself according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. So the evening and the morning were the third day.
Then God said, “Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs and seasons, and for days and years; and let them be for lights in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth”; and it was so. Then God made two great lights: the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night. He made the stars also. God set them in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth, and to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. So the evening and the morning were the fourth day.
Then God said, “Let the waters abound with an abundance of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the face of the firmament of the heavens.” So God created great sea creatures and every living thing that moves, with which the waters abounded, according to their kind, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. And God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.” So the evening and the morning were the fifth day.
Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth the living creature according to its kind: cattle and creeping thing and beast of the earth, each according to its kind”; and it was so. And God made the beast of the earth according to its kind, cattle according to its kind, and everything that creeps on the earth according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.
Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
And God said, “See, I have given you every herb that yields seed which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree whose fruit yields seed; to you it shall be for food. Also, to every beast of the earth, to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, in which there is life, I have given every green herb for food”; and it was so. Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good. So the evening and the morning were the sixth day.
Thus the heavens and the earth, and all the host of them, were finished. And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made. This is the history of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens, before any plant of the field was in the earth and before any herb of the field had grown. For the Lord God had not caused it to rain on the earth, and there was no man to till the ground; but a mist went up from the earth and watered the whole face of the ground. And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.»
1 John 4: 8 says that God IS Love, but what is love?
Love describes who God IS. In Greek, there are several words for love, including eros (sexual desire) and philia (deep friendship). This is the love the world gives, the love you have to earn, where you have to behave in a certain way to be loved. Sex to satisfy oneself or others is not biblical love. Giving gifts to satisfy oneself or others is not biblical love. The word most commonly used for love in the Bible, including in 1 John 4, is agape. It is an unconditional love that does not expect rewards, it is similar to the love good parents have for their children. God's perspective on love is this: God created us in His image, that we might live our lives with Him. When we sinned and created a gap between us and God, He gave us His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to atone for our sins. The only way to make up for our sin was to die, and Jesus did that on the cross. He died for us, that we might have life in God again. God's love is enormous! First, He created us, and when we turned away from Him, He paid the price it costs, His son, making it possible for us to be reunited with Him. His grace - love - really sets us free! «Therefore if the Son (Jesus) makes you free, you shall be free indeed.» John 8:36
One - God is our Father, God is Jesus and God is the Holy Spirit. The Bible describes the Godhead in three personalities, at the same time as they three is one. How is this connected? There are several descriptions and interpretations of this, but the Bible shows us quite clearly three personalities that are one. Hebrew uses several different names for God.
God - Father, El, Eloah, Adonai, Yahweh, YHVH. It is He who is from eternity to eternity. He sits on the throne in Heaven and it is He who will one day, at the end of this earth, judge the living and the dead. No one has seen the Father - only Jesus has seen Him.
Jesus - the Son, Yahweh, Yeshua, the Lord, the Master, the Light, the Word, the Lamb, the Tree of Life. He is the Light. In Genesis 1: 3, God said, "Let there be light." and it became light. " John 1: 1-4 says, «In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.»
Jesus told us who He is - I am the door, I am the good shepherd, I am the Way, the Truth and the Life, I am the vine, I am the Alpha and Omega - the Beginning and the End, I am the light of the world, I am the bread of life.
The Holy Spirit - The Advocate, the Helper, the Comforter, the Teacher, the Spirit of Truth, the Spirit of Life. Jesus said in John 14: 16-17 «And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever - the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.»
God’s ONE can be weakly compared to how the Bible describes marriage between a man and a wife in Ephesians 5: 31b «and the two shall become one flesh.»
A married couple is two people who form a legal entity. The interaction between the two appears externally as a unit. The two give birth to descendants, and the glue in the family is marriage. God's thoughts on marriage are that in marriage, the spirit and soul are one, yet this cannot fully explain God's one. Two people can disagree on a lot of things, even if they are married to each other. Although they are a legal entity on paper, it is not certain that they agree on everything, and are one in spirit and soul. The two may be reasonably far apart but are still referred to as a married couple. God’s one IS! When Jesus prays for us believers, He prays that we will be one as He and the Father are one. Jesus describes himself in the Father and the Father in Him and further prays that we will be one in Christ. In the Gospel of John 17: 21-23 we read what Jesus prays: «That they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.»
To be one with Christ means to believe in Jesus, to receive Him, and to follow His word. To confess our sins and repent which is to turn away from our previous ways and beliefs. In John 15:14, Jesus says, «You are My friends if you do whatever I command you.»
Accepting Jesus as Lord and Savior brings us into the kingdom of God. Jesus said in John 18:36 «My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here.» In John 14: 6 He says: «I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.»
The Apostle Paul describes it this way in Colossians 1:16 «For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him.»
Romans 1:20 «For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse.»
The invisible is as real as the visible. What is invisible to our eyes existed before this world came into being. The kingdom of God is in the world that is still invisible to us. But it is not invisible to our spirit. When we believe and invite the Spirit of God to dwell in us, we can feel in our hearts that the Holy Spirit dwells in us. If you are unsure if you have felt this feeling, you can ask God to show it to you here and now. Acts 2: 1-4 describes how the first Christians were filled with the Holy Spirit, the Spirit that we feel in our hearts today when we have made room for Him and invited the Spirit of God in. This gift cannot be bought for money, and one cannot use special techniques to make the Spirit of God dwell in us. It is a gift received only by faith. When Jesus told the first Christians, the apostles that God would send them the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, as we read about earlier in this chapter (John 14:16), they continued to pray until this promise was fulfilled. We can read this in Acts 1: 4-5, 14 and 2: 1-4. Acts 1:4-5 says «And being assembled together with them, He (Jesus) commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, “which,” He said, “you have heard from Me; for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.»
Acts 1:14: «These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers.»
Acts 2:1-4: «When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.»
Later in the Acts of the Apostles we meet the newly converted sorcerer Simon, who was trying to buy the power of God with money. When he saw the power the apostles had, he also wanted it, and he offered money to get it. As it is written in Acts 8: 9-24 «But there was a certain man called Simon, who previously practiced sorcery in the city and astonished the people of Samaria, claiming that he was someone great, to whom they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, “This man is the great power of God.” And they heeded him because he had astonished them with his sorceries for a long time. But when they believed Philip as he preached the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, both men and women were baptized. Then Simon himself also believed; and when he was baptized he continued with Philip, and was amazed, seeing the miracles and signs which were done. Now when the apostles who were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them, who, when they had come down, prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit. For as yet He had fallen upon none of them. They had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then they laid hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit. And when Simon saw that through the laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Spirit was given, he offered them money, saying, “Give me this power also, that anyone on whom I lay hands may receive the Holy Spirit.” But Peter said to him, “Your money perish with you, because you thought that the gift of God could be purchased with money! You have neither part nor portion in this matter, for your heart is not right in the sight of God. Repent therefore of this your wickedness, and pray God if perhaps the thought of your heart may be forgiven you. For I see that you are poisoned by bitterness and bound by iniquity.” Then Simon answered and said, “Pray to the Lord for me, that none of the things which you have spoken may come upon me.”»
The kingdom of God is not like other kingdoms. It is here and now, and it is by faith and repentance that one becomes part of this kingdom. The kingdom of God and His power cannot be bought for money, gifts, or works.
Paul sums it up like this in Colossians 3: 1 «If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God.»
No one has seen God. John 1:18 states: «No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.» 1 Timothy 6:16 says «who alone has immortality, dwelling in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see, to whom be honor and everlasting power. Amen.»
It is only once in the Bible, namely in Exodus 33: 20-23, that we can read that Moses saw God from behind on Mount Sinai. It says, «But He said, “You cannot see My face; for no man shall see Me, and live.” And the Lord said, “Here is a place by Me, and you shall stand on the rock. So it shall be, while My glory passes by, that I will put you in the cleft of the rock, and will cover you with My hand while I pass by. Then I will take away My hand, and you shall see My back; but My face shall not be seen.»
That is why I believe that the times in the Old Testament, where it is stated in Genesis 3, for example, that the Lord God walked in the garden, this was Jesus, as John 1: 1-4 says: «In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.»
The last book of the Bible gives some glimpses of God and His kingdom, even though we are not able to fully comprehend or understand this. In any case, we read in Revelation 7: 10-12 «And crying out with a loud voice, saying, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” All the angels stood around the throne and the elders and the four living creatures, and fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying: “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom, Thanksgiving and honor and power and might, Be to our God forever and ever. Amen.”»
In Revelation 21 John describes what he saw in a vision: «Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” And He said to me, “Write, for these words are true and faithful.” And He said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts. He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son. But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”
Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls filled with the seven last plagues came to me and talked with me, saying, “Come, I will show you the bride, the Lamb’s wife.” And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, having the glory of God. Her light was like a most precious stone, like a jasper stone, clear as crystal. Also she had a great and high wall with twelve gates, and twelve angels at the gates, and names written on them, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel: three gates on the east, three gates on the north, three gates on the south, and three gates on the west. Now the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. And he who talked with me had a gold reed to measure the city, its gates, and its wall. The city is laid out as a square; its length is as great as its breadth. And he measured the city with the reed: twelve thousand furlongs. Its length, breadth, and height are equal. Then he measured its wall: one hundred and forty-four cubits, according to the measure of a man, that is, of an angel. The construction of its wall was of jasper; and the city was pure gold, like clear glass. The foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with all kinds of precious stones: the first foundation was jasper, the second sapphire, the third chalcedony, the fourth emerald, the fifth sardonyx, the sixth sardius, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, and the twelfth amethyst. The twelve gates were twelve pearls: each individual gate was of one pearl. And the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass.
But I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. The city had no need of the sun or of the moon to shine in it, for the glory of God illuminated it. The Lamb is its light. And the nations of those who are saved shall walk in its light, and the kings of the earth bring their glory and honor into it. Its gates shall not be shut at all by day (there shall be no night there). And they shall bring the glory and the honor of the nations into it. But there shall by no means enter it anything that defiles, or causes an abomination or a lie, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.»
Trying to fully understand who God is and where we come from is completely impossible for us. God can only be understood by faith. Reading the Bible, which God says is His Word to us, is the best way to get to know Him better. God speaks to us through His Word, with the help of the Holy Spirit and when we seek Him in prayer.
No one can come to God except through Jesus Christ as He is the way, the truth, and the life. We cannot change God's laws, and He exists whether we like it or not. Therefore, we must believe and conform to the arrangements of His kingdom if we want to be His children.