consider the lilies....
In considering this carnival-like age with all of its festooned venders shouting out promises of fame and fortune to the passerby, this age with its constant distractions and sideshows, it seems to be nearly impossible for an individual to find that still small voice of his Creator. Yet if we are willing to turn aside and consider that burning bush as did Moses, if we are able to pause and ponder the amazing creation within which we live, GOD then has our ear and perhaps we can begin to see HIM at work in our lives.
As GOD is invisible (COLOSSIANS 1:15 1 TIMOTHY 1:17 HEBREWS 11:27), it only stands to reason that if we ever hope to understand our Creator then we must look at HIS creation. We must observe and study the world within which each of us have been placed. Indeed, we must consider the lilies of the field.
- MATTHEW 6:28-30 ....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 to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?
Yeshua (Jesus) encouraged His followers to consider the world around them. He instructed them that in those lilies were lessons to be learned. This world is not just a vast assortment of evolutionary accidents, but it is a carefully crafted creation which its Maker has spread out before us, for our learning.
We should be careful not to miss the contrast which Yeshua recognized here, which was the temporal clothing of the grass compared to the eternal clothing of His followers. He wasn't suggesting that because GOD beautifully adorned the flowers of the field that HE was then promising to provide us with designer jeans. Rather, Yeshua had been attempting to lift their eyes and hearts above earthly things by giving them a glimpse of His Father's heavenly kingdom (6:1); He had been encouraging them to lay up for themselves treasures in heaven, not just on earth (6:20); He had been attempting to steer them away from the earthly ways of the unbeliever (6:32) and instead He directed them to seek first the kingdom of GOD (6:32-33).
Those in Yeshua's audience were being offered a glimpse of that spiritual world which lies quietly behind this physical one. He was uncovering for them that hidden kingdom of GOD. They were being instructed so as to be clothed in righteousness. Not as earthly beings, here today and gone tomorrow; but heavenly beings, resurrected into the kingdom of GOD. Thus, the real essence in Yeshua's teaching about GOD clothing them, was that after their resurrection they would be clothed in righteous robes, in the new Jerusalem, in the new Heavens and on the new Earth.
Yeshua recognized that it was GOD who clothed the flowers of the field. He saw GOD's hand behind the creation of the world in which they lived. He took His lessons from the fig tree (MATTHEW 24:32), from the mustard seed (MARK 4:31-32), and from the wind (JOHN 3:8). His Father designed this present physical world for the specific purpose of mirroring and giving evidence and understanding of HIS spiritual world. All had been carefully designed and created, so as to help us better comprehend HIS essence, indeed HIS very nature.
If we fail to recognize this truth, that GOD created the world in which we live; that it was HE who painted all the colors of the rainbow and then gave us eyes to see them; that it was HE who gave us the capacity to communicate and reason with one another; that it was our Creator who gave us the ability to consider and ponder spiritual realities; unless we recognize these truths we will be forever lost in our quest to understand our own purpose. If we ascent to the theories that the Universe has no Creator, then we can't possibly see HIM who is behind its creation.
Shutting our eyes to the fact that the world is a creation, specifically designed for our learning, blinds us to the reality of our own purpose. Then we invent ridiculous reasonings which have their root in nonsense. Then we fabricate the wildest speculations and absurdities which an intelligent person should be ashamed of harboring. It is only in the vacuum of truth that these fables and falsehoods are able to enter and take root in our minds.
As an apt example, an ardent evolutionist recently suggested that if GOD did in fact create this world, then the vast expanse of the Universe was a total waste of space. According to him, all we need to sustain life is our own solar system, yet there are countless other solar systems well beyond our reach, even our comprehension.
Howbeit, the psalmist had a different take on the vast expanse of space.
- PSALM 19:1 The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.
One might wonder what the psalmist meant by writing that the heavens declare? How can the sky declare? What are we to understand that the heavens are trying to tell the star gazer? After setting forth the Literary Structure of this amazing and intriguing psalm, E. W. Bullinger thus comments;
- Surely there is something more referred to here than a mere wonder excited by the works of the Creator! When we read the whole passage and mark its structure, and note the words employed, we are emphatically told that the heavens contain a revelation from God; they prophesy, they show knowledge, they tell of God's glory, and set forth His purposes and counsels. (The Witness of the Stars, page 6)
Dr. Bullinger goes on to explain and demonstrate that the stars in the night sky tell the story of man's redemption. They paint a fascinating picture, indeed forty eight pictures of GOD working out HIS purposes throughout history.
Thus, previous to mankind having a written explanation in the Scriptures for GOD's purposes, HE gave them the mystery of the creation written in the stars. What many today refer to as the Twelve Signs of the Zodiac were originally given to ancient man as twelve stages or portraits of the purposes of GOD. These twelve signs and thirty six constellations explain GOD's workings from the beginning to the end of the age. Indeed, from the Virgin (Virgo) to the Serpent (Draco) to the Lion (Leo) we find GOD's carefully crafted plan for man's redemption and salvation spread out for us across the heavens.
Thus, the agnostic or unbeliever looks into the night sky and sees only wasted space, while the enlightened believer marvels at the wonder and the glory of GOD writing HIS purposes across the great expanse of space for every generation in every corner of the world to consider and ponder.
As such, if we ourselves fail to see GOD's creative hand in our physical Universe, how then can we ever hope to see the spiritual world which lies behind this one? How can we know anything of that new heaven and new earth? How can we hope to realize what might await us after our resurrection, in a city whose builder and maker is GOD? If we are blind to the reality that this present world was carefully crafted and designed to mirror that heavenly world, how then we ever come to understand the purpose for which we ourselves were crafted and designed?
The apostle Paul put it well in his letter to the Roman believers, which the New English Bible renders as follows;
- NEB ROMANS 1:19-20 For all that may be known of GOD by men lies plain before their eyes; indeed God himself has disclosed it to them. His invisible attributes, that is to say his everlasting power and deity, have been visible, ever since the world began, to the eye of reason, in the things he has made.
The entire Universe gives testimony to its Creator's invisible attributes, and yet many individuals have been talked out of it. They have chosen to reject the plain evidence of creation and dream up for themselves a fantastic tale that we all just evolved by blind chance from space dust and ocean slime. Many people have been sold the line that Science has proven that the world evolved over eons of time, and that there is therefore no need for a Creator.
Yet it is self-evident that there is an intelligence behind the creation of this world; and further, that it was created for a specific purpose. GOD created the lilies of the field for a purpose, HE created and named the stars and each of the constellations for a purpose (RSV PSALM 147:4). And HE created each of us for a purpose. Once we have learned this truth, then we are ready for the next learning. Then we can go on and find out for what intent we ourselves were designed. After we have acknowledged GOD's hand in shaping and molding us into the vessel HE has deemed necessary for HIS use (2 TIMOTHY 2:21), then we can begin to grow and develop into those righteous (1 JOHN 3:7), and holy (1 PETER 1:15), and godly (TITUS 2:12) persons.
Howbeit, to instead accept as factual some theory or hypothesis that an endless string of accidents and coincidences created, shaped and formed our fascinating world is an absolute contradiction to all of GOD's plans and purposes. Indeed, to crowd GOD out of HIS creation is more hazardous to one's own salvation and wellbeing than what he might realize. To accept this theory as truth, and then to live one's life according to its merits, is to strip oneself of any purpose or reason for existence, and thence to be rendered naked of the righteous clothing needed when one finds himself before that heavenly throne.
If we maintain the perspective that there is no GOD, or even if there is, that HE didn't decisively create this world, then it only follows that there is no purpose to this world; there is no reason for our existence. Indeed, without a Creator, we are all left to go it alone. We are left to make our own laws, our own rules. It is then as evolutionists claim, the survival of the fittest; each man being then free to take what he wants, or at least what he can.
The casual evolutionist might be wise to step back a pace or so and re-consider what they have been taught concerning this theory that the world began with some accidental Big Bang. We should always be willing to re-examine the evidence from a fresh perspective. Like Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny, what we accepted when we were too young to reason objectively might now be seen through entirely different lenses. We may find that both Theology and Science have failed to present us with the necessary evidence to prove their case.
What is often claimed and presented to be true Science (or for that matter true Religion) is not always so. Both Science and Theology once assumed and agreed that the earth was flat and the center of the Universe, yet both of these claims were later proved to be utterly ridiculous. Just because the majority of academia from both the scientific and religious communities assume that Darwinism is true, that does not make it so. Darwin's theory of evolution is just that, a theory which has never been proven. We each should be willing to examine the evidence for ourselves, and make our own determinations as to its trustworthiness. We should never accept it just because of some general consensus.
Let's begin our look into this topic concerning creation and evolution by examining where the Church has failed us.
For many centuries it had been generally taught and assumed that this planet began around six thousand years ago with the creation of Adam and Eve. But during the past few centuries as archeologists began to unearth the fossil remains of pre-historic creatures, Christian theology was put to flight. Thus, in their retreat from the truth, they accepted defeat from an imagined enemy. Rather than confessing their own failing to understand the Creation Story in GENESIS, they surrendered the scriptures themselves, presuming that the Bible must have been based on fabrications and fairy tales.
Theology had painted itself into a corner by proclaiming that GOD made Adam and Eve in the beginning. Yet when we look at the facts, un-tethered from Church traditions, we will discover that this is not at all what the Bible teaches; that is not at all what the scriptures proclaim. Let us consider for ourselves what exactly the opening verses of the first tablet (1:1 to 2:4) of GENESIS reveal.
- In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
- And [or But] the earth was [or became] without form [tohuw], and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep.
- And the spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
Many students read these passages as if they were describing one single act, one occurrence, one event. Yet when we consider them more closely, we might come away with an entirely different perspective. To begin with, how could GOD create the earth without form? Would HE create the world void and dark? No reasonable person would expect HIM to. Indeed, the prophet Isaiah even reported that HE didn't.
- ISAIAH 45:18 For thus saith the LORD that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain [tohuw, without form], he formed it to be inhabited: I am the LORD; and there is none else.
Thus, too often the Church has read into this passage from GENESIS their own preconceived notions that GOD's creation began with the world within which we now live, even though the Hebrew text doesn't say anything of the sort. The only thing that the Scripture reveals is that in the beginning GOD created heaven and earth, and then at some point after that, it became without form and void. And then again at a later point in time the spirit of GOD made it habitable again. Nothing here in GENESIS is contradicted by the discoveries of ancient fossils. They could all have been a part of a previous world, long before this present one ever existed. There is a well researched work on this opening passage from GENESIS by Arthur C. Custance entitled, Without Form and Void which the interested reader may want to consult.
Another question we may want to consider, When was mankind created? Was the first man made only six thousand years ago, as the story in GENESIS seems to suggest? Perhaps not. An argument can be made that Adam and Eve were not the only two people on planet Earth at the time, only that they were the first to be made in GOD's image (see the Study, The Image of GOD). Did Cain then marry his sister as some teach, or did he marry someone from outside of his family's circle in the land of Nod (GENESIS 4:16-17)?
Next let us consider where Science has failed us concerning this theory of evolution.
The scientific community has sought to claim for itself the sole honor of examining the evidence honestly, yet they have invented the most preposterous suppositions which have often been founded upon unproven and unprovable speculations. Howbeit, we can't really blame them solely. Because theology so miserable failed to accurately interpret the scriptures, many in the Scientific community became convinced that the Bible was a farce. Left to go it alone, but still genuinely wondering the all important question of how then did life originate, they began to devise their own explanations.
Charles Darwin was by all accounts a reasonably good man and a loving husband and father, but theology had so turned him off to the Bible that he was determined to cut GOD completely out of any equation concerning man's origins. And while his theories may have seemed plausible (at least to some of his colleagues) at the time of his writings, today we know that they are absolute impossibilities. Life is just far too complex to have evolved without a Creator's hand shaping and designing each tiny building block of our complicated Universe.
Fortunately for us, coming to this realization doesn't require years of schooling and training in microbiology. All of the necessary facts are laid out for us plainly upon the surface of GOD's creation if we are willing to consider them. (Those readers seeking to understand many of the minute details of creation, might want to examine further evidence at Evolution News)
When I was a student in middle school during the late sixties, in our Science class hung a poster which depicted the evolution of mankind. It illustrated the different developments of man from a monkey walking on all fours to where modern man eventually stood upright. Like my fellow students I accepted this as the way life must have developed. I assumed that it was all based upon sound evidence.
But around the same time I remember traveling home late one night with my father as he flipped through the radio stations. By chance he landed on a program which was broadcast by an organization called The World Wide Church of God, where the host, Garner Ted Armstrong was discussing evolution. The title of his talk was, A Whale of a Tale.
In his examination of the issue, Mr. Armstrong questioned how Darwin's theory of natural selection could be true, and then presented the whale and the dolphin as two examples for his discussion. Of course both of these fish-like animals are mammals, which breath through lungs, not gills; and they do not lay eggs as other fish but each give live birth at sea. So the question that begs for an answer is, Why? If Darwin's theory of evolution was true, then why did these mammals evolve so differently than other sea creatures?
Proponents of the evolutionary theory suggest that originally the dolphin was like most all of the other sea creatures, breathing through gills and laying eggs; but for some unknown reason it decided to become a land animal, thus developing lungs and giving live birth. It would also have eventually developed legs so as to navigate around on dry land. Of course, according to evolutionists all of these changes would have required millions of years to occur. But then some time afterwards, for some other unknown reason, the dolphin decided to return to the sea, changing its legs back into flippers. Howbeit, for some reason it retained its lungs and live birth abilities.
But as we think through this whole process, a serious obstacle arises in the theory. We know that when mammals are born, that they must instinctively gasp for air as soon as they are out of the womb. However, if the new-born dolphin did this it would immediately drown, for it is born under water. Instead, when the baby dolphin is born it holds its breath while following its mother to the surface where then it takes its first breath.
So, if the evolutionary theory is correct and these land animals crawled back into the ocean to become sea creatures again, then all of the baby dolphins would immediately have drowned when they were born. How then could they have evolved? How could they ever have learned to hold their breath until they reached the surface? The question is quite simple, but it casts a long shadow over the theory of the evolutionists.
After considering Mr. Armstrong's simple but logical argument, I decided right then and there to reject the wild speculations of so-called science and trust instead to what creation was trying to teach. Years later I learned that the chart which hung on the wall of our classroom was not based on archeological discoveries after all, but was assembled from conjectures and speculations. They had presented the chart as if there had been fossil records substantiating each of the different steps to mankind's evolution, yet there was nothing of the sort.
And yet Theology is equally guilty of the same tomfoolery. What many in Science have attempted to do with GOD's world, many Theologians have done to GOD's word. Too often they have reasoned and theorized and speculated all truth out of the Bible. And even though their varying opinions violently conflict with one another, most all of them seem to agree on one thing, that the Bible does not accurately reflect the truth. We should note that this conjecture is also simply a theory, and should not be accepted as based on fact. Actually, current Biblical archeology has proven these Bible deniers, which occupy many of our Church pulpits, to be wrong time and again (See, New Discoveries in Babylonia About Genesis, by P. J. Wiseman, and Light From the Ancient Past by Jack Finegan).
Would the Heavenly Father give HIS Son to be so horribly mutilated and killed for the sake of mankind, but then not preserve a true and accurate record of Yeshua's life and mission and sacrifice? To what point would have been all of Yeshua's suffering and death and resurrection, if there was no accurate record of it? How could later generations benefit from His sacrifice if there was no true knowledge of what happened? This is why the preservation of an accurate record of this event is every bit as important as the actual event itself.
We might ask ourselves what effect these two theories have had upon our Society? What does it matter if we believe that the world had a Creator or that it didn't? What possible difference can it really make if the scriptures were inspired by GOD or if they were just the gathering together of the writings of various men over the ages?
It all comes down to purpose. Is there a purpose in it all? Does life and living have a purpose? Are each of us just dumped out upon the surface of this planet to find our own way or has all been overseen and laid out by an omnipotent Creator? Has HE a plan and are we a part of that plan? These are the critically important questions which need answered.
If there is no Creator and no purpose for our existence, then nothing matters; nothing at all makes any sense or has any reason. What does it matter if I kill you or you kill me? Indeed, what does it matter if the whole planet is blown apart? Won't evolution just make another one? And who determines the laws we are expected to observe? Who can say that adultery is wrong, or rape, or abortion? Indeed, what point is there to an orderly society at all, if we are all just random accidents of evolution?
And who is to say whether or not suicide is wrong, or euthanasia? If there is no Creator, and each of our lives are just the freak result of blind chance, then what could it possibly matter if our miserable existence is somehow cut short? What difference could it really make if we decided to end our own life?
If we are no more than evolutionary accidents, then it only makes sense that death must be the end of our existence. If there is no Creator and all of life just evolved by way of natural selection, then death must be the natural end of that evolution. In that case, we should expect that suicide would indeed result in a quiet peaceful sleep. If death is indeed the end, then we should be able to find eternal rest there, from all of this life's pain and struggles.
Howbeit, if there is a GOD, and if HE does have a purpose for HIS creation, then death may very well not be the end of our existence. Indeed, if there is some kind of a resurrection after death, then evidently eternal rest does not follow death. And if death is not the end, then we might expect that there will be a Day of Judgment, a Day of Reckoning. In that case, how we choose to live our lives matters a great deal.
And if death is not the end, then might not a premature death be pretty much like a premature birth? What kind of life does a premature baby have who was not fully developed before his birth? Likewise, what kind of eternal life might one have who has not fully developed in his earthly life? Will he who cuts short his own life be somehow deformed in the next life? Should that not be a reasonable consideration before one decides to end his own life?
We can have confidence that if anyone knew what awaited this unsuspecting world after death, that it was Yeshua. More than once He cautioned His listeners that after their resurrection there would be for some, weeping and gnashing of teeth (MATTHEW 8:12; 22:13; 24:51). Howbeit, He was not warning them concerning some sort of pain or punishment they were to receive after death, but rather He was attempting to open their eyes to the reality that they were pissing away their lives. Indeed, they were wasting countless opportunities to learn and grow and develop spiritually; they were missing the whole purpose for their lives, which was to develop within themselves the fruit of the spirit.
He knew all too well how sad and angry many of them would be after their resurrection, when they began to realize how they had wasted away their lives chasing after pointless trivial pursuits. For some of His followers, resurrection would be a glorious endless experience; but evidently not for others. Their resurrection was something they would agonize over.
If there is a purpose for creation, then there must be a guiding hand directing our lives along the paths we choose. Can we not see that we are being prepared for that next life, for that eternal life in HIS kingdom? We are being groomed and fashioned, even perfected. The experiences of this life are for the sole purpose of making us into the men and women we need to become, for that next life.
Each of us have been laden with the responsibility to examine the evidence and then decide for ourselves whether or not to accept these theories as truth. Perhaps it would be in our interest to search and see, un-tethered from modern Theology, whether or not the Bible can be trusted.
If there is indeed a Creator, then it only behooves us to find out what HIS purposes are; what is HIS reason for our existence. Is there guidance HE has given? Are there rules He expects us to learn to live by? Has HE a law, a framework within which HE expects each of us to function?
We would do well to recognize that Yeshua's life and teaching can only be understood in the context of the resurrection. If GOD clothes simple flowers with dazzling beauty, which are here today and gone tomorrow, can we not expect that GOD's faithful servants will also be clothed, even after their death and resurrection, in righteousness?
Yeshua knew that this present life was not the end of one's existence. He realized that to live only for this earthly struggle was a foolish and short sighted endeavor. When the curtain is pulled back and the believer has a glimpse of what lies behind and beyond this earthly existence, then all is viewed in its true setting. Then all of life's struggles and heartaches make sense. Then we can see the hand of a loving Heavenly Father guiding and helping and sustaining us in our journey through this present life.
It is noteworthy that Yeshua attributed His follower's ignorance of this reality to their lack of faith. Howbeit, faith is too often tossed around these days with little or no thought of its actual meaning. Faith is the measured process whereby GOD guides an individual along on a journey through life whence he more and more comes to recognize and acknowledge GOD's power and presence. Faith is incrementally achieved as an individual is exposed to numberless experiences which his Creator has arranged for him. (The reader may want to consider the Study, Through Faith)
Hence, faith is the muscle, the fulcrum, the leverage if you will, so that we might apply all that we have learned from the experiences which GOD has designed for our specific journey through this earthly experience. Everything that happens in life is for the express purpose of teaching us something. We are being groomed and prepared for that next life. We are learning to cast off the works of darkness and to put on the armor of light. We are looking for that day when after our resurrection we will be clothed in righteousness.
But if one does not realize that GOD created this present world, how then can he even have faith? If he does not believe that GOD has a purpose for HIS creation, then how can an individual believe that GOD has a purpose for his own life? If we fail to recognize GOD's workmanship in HIS creation, we will be unable to develop faith. We will be blinded to the reality of our purpose. We will be hopelessly lost in our pursuit of truth.