Key precept: Love conquers all, even death.
Satan can’t actually win the competition that he set in motion, but he doesn’t have to. As has been so well demonstrated in politics, he only has to destroy the opposition. And God placed the weapon in Satan’s hands when he placed forbidden fruit in the garden of Eden.
“And the Lord God commanded the man, saying…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.” (Gen 2:16-17)
All Satan had to do to was convince two guileless human beings to eat the fruit. And for that, all he had to do was tell a lie.
“Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.” (Joh 8:44)
The fundamental lie, perpetrated by religion and science since time began, is that humans don’t need Almighty Creator and Sustainer God – godhood is intrinsic to the self. Humans only need to learn how to access their godhood to transcend human limitations and gain access to hyper dimensional power and immortality.
“Now the serpent…said unto the woman…Ye shall not surely die…ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil [able to judge what is beneficial or destructive to you.]” (Gen 3:1-6)
“Love not the world [material environment], neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh [tree was good for food], and the lust of the eyes [pleasant to the eyes], and the pride of life [desired to make one independent], is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.” (I Joh 2:15-17)
The belief that one can become a self-sufficient immortal god by unraveling the details of a mystical process is called Gnosticism.
Certain movements, such as Tantrism, Kundalini and Gnosticism, recognize the role of the pineal gland in the spiritual process. The spiritual / instinctive force was seen as a snake, because of the physical structure extending from the genitals, through the spine in one all-seeing eye in the pineal gland. These spiritual systems had focused on the raising of this primordial serpent energy, located in the genitals and lying at the base of the reproductive process. Through certain yoga exercises, breathing techniques, energy and toning exercises this energy can be reversed. It then travels through the spinal cord to the third eye and causes possible “enlightenment.”
“…the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of the Chosen One / Messiah / Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.” (II Cor 4:4)
Graham Hancock is a researcher into ancient history. A gnostic himself, he presents a very informative lecture on Gnosticism from the most ancient times. In this lecture he equates modern aliens with ancient gods, and is convinced that altered states of consciousness induced by natural substances like ayahuasca breaks the barrier between the physical and spiritual dimension. As I said, informative.
Science explains that physical death is encoded in our genes. We can deduce that when the woman ate the fruit, some substance in the fruit triggered a mutation in the DNA or an epigenetic process where existing genes are turned on or off. As telomeres began breaking off, at the cellular level the body was no longer able to indefinitely maintain itself for respiration and metabolism of necessary substances. and the woman’s biological clock began ticking down to death.
But to fully understand the death that occurred “in the day” that the woman ate the fruit, we first need to understand what life is.
Living things tend to be complex and highly organized. They have the ability to take in energy from the environment and transform it for growth and reproduction. Organisms tend toward homeostasis: an equilibrium of parameters that define their internal environment. Living creatures respond, and their stimulation fosters a reaction-like motion, recoil, and in advanced forms, learning. Life is reproductive, as some kind of copying is needed for evolution to take hold through a population’s mutation and natural selection. [Here the desperate faith in a world sans Creator is apparent as the reference to evolution is contradicted by NASA’s own statement that living things are “complex, highly organized, homeostatic”, and by the utter lack of evidence for evolution. But I digress.] To grow and develop, living creatures need foremost to be consumers, since growth includes changing biomass, creating new individuals, and the shedding of waste.
We can generalize the definition of life as “connection”:
- physically to necessary resources of oxygen, water, food, etc.
- emotionally and intellectually in supportive relationships with others,
- spiritually to God, known to science as the energy that, with light, creates mass.
Interesting that NASA’s inclusion of “growth” and “shedding of waste’ as a function of physical life matches Yhvh’s Savior’s definition of spiritual life.
“unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of The Promised Deliverer / Christ...Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even The Promised Deliverer / Christ…If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Yhvh’s Savior / Jesus: That ye
- put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;
- And be renewed in the spirit of your mind.
- Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another.
- Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:
- Neither give place to the devil.
- Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.
- Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.
- Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:” (Ephesians 4)
Death is the opposite of life. As life is not simply existence but interaction, so death is not annihilation but isolation – the inability to access necessary resources.
Throughout the ages magicians and scientists practicing traditions like alchemy have been trying to create, maintain, and restart life. So far, success has been claimed by transferring DNA into a living cell to create a designer cell, or using stem cells to create an organism. However, these methods don’t create life. The cell into which the foreign DNA was substituted for the original DNA was already alive. Science has been unable to spark life into a cell, let alone an organ or an entire organism, or to maintain life beyond a certain point.
According to the Bible, that’s because the energizing force, AKA spirit, comes from YHVH / Creator, and returns to God at death. The loss of the energy / spirit connection is consistent with the scientific definition of death being the opposite of life.
“And the LORD God 1) formed man of the dust of the ground, and 2) breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.“
On the day that the Adams died, they lost the spirit connection that allowed them to communicate with their Father, as well as to other spirits, while maintaining the spirit connection to their physical bodies. The definitive biblical reference to the human’s demise remains reliably consistent with the original two-part definition of a living human being.
“Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when…man goeth to his long home [coffin, grave], and the mourners go about the streets…Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.” (Ecc 12:1-7)
Hmmm. Anyone else notice that the dispositions of the body and spirit are reported, but not the soul? What happens to the soul?
a theology about death and what comes after it may be the most practical aspect of all for the Christian… and the promises of the Gospel that are our hope in the face of death.
The first concept to ponder is the reality of death. Some of the earliest thinking about death in the Bible is about its not only ending one’s natural life, but also severing our relationship with God. So unlike some other religions that view death as an illusion or an escape, for Christians, death is real…
One very prevalent idea of life after death is immortality of the soul…the Hebrew word translated as “soul,” nephesh, more rightly means “self,” in other words, the whole person…we don’t have a body so much as we are a body…
It is from the Greeks, and especially from Plato, that we get the notion of a disembodied soul housed in a physical body…
The Hebrew concept of the enmeshment of the soul with the body was new to me when I encountered it while reviewing material for this post. My first thought was that, in fact, the Bible says that the soul leaves the body at death.
“as her soul was in departing, (for she died)” (Genesis 35:18)
Then I realized that I was fitting the statement that the soul departed into my existing paradigm of the immortality of the soul separate from the body. The departure of the soul could just as easily be understood as departure from life, particularly in light of the explanatory phrase “for she died”.
Hmm. So prior to the Greeks, who were derivative, what did the oldest religions teach? Their priests had intimate “knowledge of good and evil” of the spirit world through access to arcane documents surviving the flood. And it should not come as a surprise that, faced with the glaring evidence of physical death, Satan’s original lie – “thou shalt not surely die” – is perpetuated in his religions’ teaching of the immortality of the soul independent of the body.
According to the Sumerian belief…Man – as the work of the gods – had a soul, which after the death of the body, continued…
An interesting concept of sin and punishment existed among people of Mesopotamia, but it only related to earthly life and therefore it could be prevented by confession, sacrifices and prayers…
The existence of the soul in the afterlife, on the other hand, depended only on the splendor of the burial and sacrifices submitted by the family to the deity…Those with no heir eat bread like bricks…”
Sumerians, Babylonians, and Assyrians did not believe that something good was waiting for them on the other side. They did not believe it was worth to waste time to prepare for the afterlife…
the ancient Egyptians believed in life after death, and that you would be judged by Osiris, the god of the afterlife, the unde0rworld, and the dead. It was important to prepare the dead bodies for eternal existence in joy and happiness…which was not the end of life but only a transition to another reality.
For many Egyptians, eternal life consisted of traveling along with the sun during the day and returning to the well-stocked tomb in the evening…
Hindus believe in an immortal soul which is reincarnated after death. According to Hinduism, people repeat a process of life, death, and rebirth in a cycle called samsara. If they live their life well, their karma improves and their station in the next life will be higher, and conversely lower if they live their life poorly. After many life times of perfecting its karma, the soul is freed from the cycle and lives in perpetual bliss. There is no place of eternal torment in Hinduism, although if a soul consistently lives very evil lives, it could work its way down to the very bottom of the cycle…
Ancestor worship is any religious practice that’s based on a belief that deceased family members continue to exist in some capacity. Often, that includes a belief that the spirits or souls of the deceased have an impact on the lives and luck of the living…
The Vodun religion found in West African nations like Ghana and is known as Voodoo elsewhere in the world…Vodun centers around an elaborate series of gods, all with complex characters and similar to the gods of ancient Greece. Although human sacrifice to the gods ended over a century ago, animal sacrifice still takes place…Vodun worshippers believe the souls of the dead walk among the living at certain times. One of those times is during a dance performed by hooded figures called Egunguns, or “living ghosts…”
One of the most famous ancestral worship rituals in the world is the Día de Los Muertos ceremony that takes place in Mexico. For the “Day of the Dead” festival, celebrants use altars and unique Día de Los Muertos symbology to connect with departed ancestors and family members…offering items to deceased ancestors will help the departed souls through the afterlife…leaving water on the altar can help quench the spirit’s thirst, and an offering of bread helps keep the spirit satiated…
In Chinese folk religion, a shi is a ceremonial stand-in for a deceased ancestor. The word shi literally translates to “corpse.” At a…worship event, a “personator” can dress up as the ancestor…consuming ritual offerings that relatives want to give to the departed. Large shi gatherings often take place as a type of family reunion, where many ancestors can gather together in the forms of their personators…eat and drink, as well as enjoy blessings from living family members…
one of the most long-lasting types of ancestral worship are megalithic tombs…to bury the newly departed alongside the long-dead, and to entomb valuable objects alongside the corpses, too. Many of the tombs found from ancient Europe were built to resemble houses, indicating that the people of that time imagined their ancestors living on after death.
The Buddhist holiday of Pchum Ben is also known as Ancestors Day or the Caring for the Dead Ritual. And it’s one of the most important annual ceremonies in Cambodia…For 15 days each year, families create offerings of food, which they bring to their local places of worship…typically gives its donation of food (usually cooked rice) to the Buddhist monks. The merit earned by making this donation to the monks is thought to transfer to departed ancestors in the spirit world…
Most people know of Samhain as the pagan version of Halloween. But the Celtic holiday of Samhain was originally a festival…that the Celts believed the spirits of ancestors could walk among the living at will. To honor the ancestors and protect yourself from negative faery encounters, celebrants can offer food and drink to the ancestors and offer departed family members a seat at the feast.
The religion of Shinto revolves around gods or spirits known as kami…a type of entity believed to inhabit everything on earth…the ancestors are often thought to be a type of kami. There are many festivals and rites associated with the kami, but they nearly all have to do with presenting offerings to Shinto shrines in exchange for good results from the kami.
According to an ancient Filippino religion, spirits called Anito…are the spirits of the ancestors, and they influence events in the lives of the living. The Paganito ceremony is a type of spiritual seance, in which a traditional shaman communicates with the Anito…also…acts of worship and sacrifice…to please the ancestral spirits.
The holiday of Chuseok is celebrated in both North and South Korea, and it’s similar to the American holiday of Thanksgiving…a harvest festival…specifically dedicated to thanking the ancestors for the plentiful harvest. A ritual called charye…laying out food and lighting incense for departed relatives. Families also visit and clean the graves of their ancestors on Chuseok as a way of saying thanks.
In Wales, the first day of winter is known as Calan Gaeaf. It’s believed that on this date, the spirits of the ancestors can walk amongst the living. People in Wales traditionally avoid locations like churchyards, where the spirits are likely hanging out. The traditional way to…avoid a negative encounter with the spirits is by writing your name on a rock and placing it near a fire. [Interesting.]
If you’re raising kids in a Pagan tradition, it can sometimes be hard to find rituals and ceremonies that are both age-appropriate and celebrate the aspects of the particular Sabbat…An ancestor altar cloth is something you can make any time of the year, although it can come in particularly handy for Samhain when many people choose to perform ancestor-focused rituals…Consider a Samhain cemetery visit to honor your family when the veil is thinnest…
And so do modern Christians.
An indulgence is the extra-sacramental remission of the temporal punishment due…in Purgatory… An essential element in indulgences is the application to one person of the satisfaction performed by others…
Among the good works…made the condition of an indulgence, almsgiving…contribute to some pious cause such as the building of churches, the endowment of hospitals, or the organization of a crusade….there was room for corruption in their officials and agents, or among the popular preachers of indulgences…it cannot be denied that these abuses were widespread.
The realization that the soul can be miserable after death explains the fear of death leading to the popular acceptance of the unbibilical “happy, happy!” false Christian teaching of the immortality of the soul flying away to heaven.
So if the disembodied immortal soul flying away from the perishable body is not biblical, what is?
The only Hebrew word traditionally translated “soul” (nephesh) in English language Bibles refers to a living, breathing [spirit] conscious [soul] body [emphasis added], rather than to an immortal soul. In the New Testament, the Greek word traditionally translated “soul” (ψυχή) has substantially the same meaning as the Hebrew, without reference to an immortal soul. ‘Soul’ may refer to the whole person, the self: ‘three thousand souls’ were converted in Acts 2:41 (see Acts 3:23)…
Even under the terms of the new covenant there are only two aspects to life and death – body and spirit.
“if Christ be in you, 1) the body is dead because of sin; but 2) 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.” (Romans 8:10-11)
This is consistent with the biblical use of the term soul to define living persons as composite physical beings with distinct personalities, while acknowledging a distinction between the two.
“the light of Israel shall be for a fire, and his Holy One for a flame: and it shall burn and devour…both soul and body:” (Isaiah 10:16-17)
“fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” (Matthew 10:28)
According to the Bible, the invisible soul experiences death along with the visible body. This is indeed a dreadful fate, hence the use of the popular defense mechanism denial – making and loving a lie. Humans’ innate craving to feel good is just as effective as the Serpent’s lie at destroying their future, now and in the hereafter.
“And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven…And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life…Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.” (Revelation 21-22)
The death of Socrates (as described by Plato) is a beautiful death. Nothing is seen here of death’s terror. Socrates cannot fear death, since indeed it sets us free from the body…Death is the soul’s great friend. So he teaches…
Cullmann then turns to the death of Jesus: In Gethsemane He knows that death stands before Him, just as Socrates expected death on his last day. The Synoptic Evangelists furnish us, by and large, with a unanimous report. Jesus begins ‘to tremble and be distressed’, writes Mark (14:33-34). ‘My soul is troubled, even to death.’ . . .
In…view of the fact that Jesus is abandoned by God on the Cross [Mark 15:34], it is not possible to explain the Gethsemane scene except through this distress at the prospect of being abandoned by God, an abandonment which will be the work of Death, God’s great enemy. Jesus is afraid…in the face of death itself. Death for Him is not something divine : it is something dreadful. . . .
Here (in Jesus’ death) is nothing of the composure of Socrates, who met death peacefully as a friend…Jesus…cries to God…‘All things are possible with thee; let this cup pass from me’ (Mark 14:36)…Jesus knows that in itself, because death is the enemy of God, to die means to be utterly forsaken. Therefore He cries to God; in face of this enemy of God He does not want to be alone. He wants to remain as closely tied to God as He has been throughout His whole earthly life. For whoever is in the hands of death is no longer in the hands of God, but in the hands of God’s enemy. (Oscar Cullmann, Immortality of the Soul or Resurrection of the Dead)
Christ’s terror at death can be understood from his knowledge of the judgment that, as the Egyptians understood, does indeed occur at death. If Christ’s life had not been sinless, he, along with everyone depending on him for redemption from death, would be eternally doomed. That would make anyone break out in a sweat, and with the weight of all humanity bearing down on him Christ sweated drops of blood.
Hematidrosis, or hematohidrosis, is a very rare medical condition that causes you to ooze or sweat blood from your skin when you’re not cut or injured. Doctors think it could be related to your body’s “fight or flight” response…Sometimes it seems to be caused by extreme distress or fear, such as facing death, torture, or severe ongoing abuse.
This, and other psycho-somatic, i.e. soul-body combination manifestations of a person’s reaction to his/her environment, are evidence of the inextricable link between the soul and the body. Significantly, the soul is linked to the nervous system in the following passage on fetal development.
“thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.” (Psalm 139:13-16)
Reins, literal fibers, like a horse’s reins, are the nerves originating in the brain penetrating throughout the entire body in order to control the members of the body,
Almost all nerve cells, or neurons, are generated during prenatal life, and in most cases they are not replaced by new neurons thereafter. Morphologically, the nervous system first appears about 18 days after conception… Functionally, it appears…during the second prenatal month, when stimulation by touch of the upper lip evokes a withdrawal response of the head…
In order to produce the estimated 1 trillion neurons present in the mature brain, an average of 2.5 million neurons must be generated per minute during the entire prenatal life. This includes the formation of neuronal circuits comprising 100 trillion synapses, as each potential neuron is ultimately connected with either a selected set of other neurons or specific targets such as sensory endings. Moreover, synaptic connections with other neurons are made at precise locations on the cell membranes of target neurons.
Sidebar here – how can we accept both this kind of complexity and rapidity of development from a single cell organism to a complete human being and the stated process of genetic mutation over “billions of years”?
the conclusion that extensive changes have occurred over time is based partially on inferences and an interpretation of data, the evolution side has strong evidence to support the idea that evolutionary development and common descent are both biologically and logically possible [emphasis added.]”
In contrast to the word play on the inferences, interpretation, and possibility of evolutionary processes, there are the facts uncovered by the scientific study of anatomy and physiology. The strong evidence of the amazingly controlled physiological generation of 2.5 million neurons per minute for nine months including 100 trillion synapses to create an information transportation system throughout the entire body with each neuron precisely connected to a selected set of other neurons or specific end points at precise locations on the cell membranes of target neurons should put any thinking person in a state of awe at the understated biblical statement “I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.”
Further confounding evolution’s reliance on genetics, the pre-existing social environment in which a fetus individual is formed has a great impact on the development of personality and behavior.
The totality of these events is not thought to be the exclusive product of the genetic code, for there are simply not enough genes to account for such complexity….External environmental factors include nutrition, sensory experience, social interaction, and even learning. All of these are essential for the proper differentiation of individual neurons and for fine-tuning the details of synaptic connections…
So we don’t have a nature vs nurture debate, we have physiology plus social interaction forms the person.
Researchers, psychologists and social scientists have agreed that genes, as well as one’s environment, engage in a complex interplay when shaping personality. Understanding the cause of an individual’s personality, behavior and cognition is an area of interest in various fields.
This clearly links the physical nervous system to the non-physical personality / soul.
As a psychiatric provider, I am confident that what we consider comprises the soul – personality, thoughts, memories and emotions – comes into existence and can be modified through the chemo-electrical activity of the nervous system.
the nervous system requires continuous stimulation over an entire lifetime in order to sustain functional activity.
So when the senses of the body stop feeding stimulation to the nervous system, the nervous system stops functioning. Obviously, the soul stops interacting with its body in terms of behaviors, and with its environment in terms of socializing or learning.
But does it stop existing when the physical body crumbles back into the elements of the earth from which it is composed?
Bear in mind that the nervous system is not just physical fibers. We are so used to thinking of the body in strictly material terms. Yet we know that electrical energy is part of the body, and that is not material substance. And science admits a lack of consensus, ergo lack of knowledge, regarding the connection between brain activity and the end of personhood.
the President’s Commission for the Study of Ethical Problems in Medicine and Biomedical and Behavioral Research in 1980...concluded that this approach [cessation of brain activity] to defining death sufficed in reaching a uniform definition nationwide. A multitude of reasons were presented to support this definition including: uniformity of standards in law for establishing death; consumption of a family’s fiscal resources for artificial life support; and legal establishment for equating brain death with death in order to proceed with organ donation.
Note, the determination was based on practical considerations, not on scientifically determined facts of life.
Aside from the issue of support of or dispute against brain death, there is another inherent problem in this categorical definition: the variability of its application in medical practice [emphasis added here and below]. In 1995, the American Academy of Neurology (AAN), established a set of criteria that became the medical standard for diagnosing neurologic death…This set of criteria was then updated again most recently in 2010, but substantial discrepancies still remain across hospitals and medical specialties…
A great deal of controversy has surrounded the definition of death…
One of the challenges in defining death is in distinguishing it from life.
The definition of life has long been a challenge for scientists and philosophers, with many varied definitions put forward. This is partially because life is a process, not a substance. This is complicated by a lack of knowledge of the characteristics of living entities, if any, that may have developed outside of Earth. [And that right there is foreshadowing.]
The vague nature of the definitions of life and death work to the liar’s advantage. The serpent is certainly a slippery salesman. He implies but doesn’t guarantee in writing. He uses the bait and switch technique. Does he mean the same thing as God when he talks about death?
“ye shall not surely die…ye shall be as gods.” (Genesis 3:5)
Does the human understand all that is involved when he promises that they will be like the gods? In the context of their discussion, surely the human understood they would have immortal bodies like the gods, however…
“God standeth in the congregation of the mighty; he judgeth among the gods…I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High. But ye shall die like men…Arise, O God, judge the earth.” (Psalm 82)
Obviously we are going to have to share semantics with whomever we rely on for eternal life assurance.
It is possible to define life in terms of consciousness. When consciousness ceases, a living organism can be said to have died. One of the flaws in this approach is that there are many organisms that are alive but probably not conscious (for example, single-celled organisms). Another problem is in defining consciousness, which has many different definitions given by modern scientists, psychologists and philosophers…
Other definitions for death focus on the character of cessation of something. More specifically, death occurs when a living entity experiences irreversible cessation of all functioning. As it pertains to human life, death is an irreversible process where someone loses their existence as a person…
Today, where a definition of the moment of death is required…It is presumed that an end of electrical activity indicates the end of consciousness. Suspension of consciousness must be permanent, and not transient, as occurs during certain sleep stages, and especially a coma…
While “brain death” is viewed as problematic by some scholars, there are certainly proponents of it that believe this definition of death is the most reasonable for distinguishing life from death…the brain is crucial in determining our identity or who we are as human beings…All hope of recovering human thought and personality is then gone given current and foreseeable medical technology.
In this model, human thought and personality, i.e. the soul, are indelibly linked to the brain. In a completely material worldview, nothing immaterial exists so what we call a soul ends with the end of organic brain function.
But the same model acknowledges the essential attribute of neurological electrical activity, which is not material but energy. Science that denies the existence of non-material stuff then relies on the evidence of non-material stuff is surely not credible science.
Interestingly, the Bible describes in picturesque terms appropriate to a non-scientific reader the same images now being provided by highly advanced scientific technology.
“Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth…because man goeth to his long home [the grave], and the mourners go about the streets:
- Or ever the silver cord be loosed [chemo-electrical activity of the peripheral nervous system]
- or the golden bowl be broken [chemo-electrical activity of the brain]
- or the pitcher be broken at the fountain [clay body]
- or the wheel broken at the cistern [autonomic repetitive breathing delivering life].
Then shall the dust [of the clay casing for the electrical battery] return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.” (Ecclesiastes 12:1-7)
Energy is the ability to do work or apply force to move an object. In the case of electrical energy, the force is electrical attraction or repulsion between charged particles. Electrical energy may be either potential energy or kinetic energy, but it’s usually encountered as potential energy, which is energy stored due to the relative positions of charged particles or electric fields. The movement of charged particles through a wire or other medium is called current or electricity…
Biological systems also use electrical energy. For example, hydrogen ions, electrons, or metal ions may be more concentrated on one side of a membrane than the other, setting up an electrical potential that can be used to transmit nerve impulses, move muscles, and transport materials.
And energy, even in biological systems, cannot be destroyed.
So whatever part of the soul that is composed of the neurological electrical activity continues to exist after the shutdown of operations of the material body.
How? One scientifically reasonable hypothesis is that all the active chemo-electrical energy converts to potential, i.e. inactive energy. The hybrid car electrical system provides a parallel example.
Hybrids…create their own power for battery recharging through a process known as regenerative braking (regen mode)…capturing the vehicle’s momentum (kinetic energy) and turning it into [stored or potential energy] electricity…the onboard battery…this charged battery…in turn powers the vehicle’s electric traction motor…
As we well know, the stored potential but not active energy in a battery continues to exist even when the car is not using it when it is shut down, and even during periods of time when it is being driven. We can induce from this that all the electrical energy of the brain is likewise conserved as potential energy when the body shuts down.
As described above, science acknowledges that sleep is a state of unconsciousness. But unconsciousness is not necessarily being un-aware.
Phantom pain is pain that feels like it’s coming from a body part that’s no longer there. Doctors once believed this post-amputation phenomenon was a psychological problem, but experts now recognize that these real sensations originate in the spinal cord and brain.
The unconscious is the vast sum of operations of the mind that take place below the level of conscious awareness. The conscious mind contains all the thoughts, feelings, cognitions, and memories we acknowledge, while the unconscious consists of deeper mental processes not readily available to the conscious mind.
Much learning, especially recognition of complex patterns, takes place outside of conscious awareness. Similarly, many of the elements that go into judgments and decision-making are processed outside of awareness. Intuition, too, is a product of unconscious mental operations, a set of assumptions swiftly assembled from cumulative knowledge and experience. Much of human motivation and interpersonal attraction also take shape beyond conscious awareness…
People use a range of defense mechanisms (such as repression) to avoid knowing what their unconscious motives and feelings are.
Freud (1915) emphasized the importance of the unconscious mind, and a primary assumption of Freudian theory is that the unconscious mind governs behavior to a greater degree than people suspect. Indeed, the goal of psychoanalysis is to reveal the use of such defense mechanisms and thus make the unconscious conscious [emphasis added].
Although Freud often spoke of the soul, nearly all of his many references to the soul, and to matters pertaining to the soul, have been excised in the English translation... the word “die seele,” which means “the soul,” is consistently translated as “the mind…” By soul Freud meant the psyche…(commonly translated as the Ego, the Id, and the Super-Ego).
In medicine especially in psychoanalysis, we talk a lot about the unconscious mind and the influences it exerts on our lives. As you may already know, our minds can be divided into the conscious and unconscious mind.
A lot of my readers care about their spiritual or inner life and some wonder how the unconscious is viewed…hear from what two esteemed Christian theologians have to say about it…
“I would say probably 99 percent of our lives is lived without immediate reflection upon a life principle. Rather, we just act…spontaneously. Most of our lives are not lived after ten seconds of reflection on a biblical principle. So where do they come from? They come from being a kind of person…
the key: meditating on truth shapes the soul. 2 Corinthians 3:18 says that we become what we behold. So my goal in reading the Bible is mainly to become a kind of person…
most of our life is lived from resources that are not presently reflected on in our mind. Our words are coming from inside — “What comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person” (Matthew 15:18). And most of that heart is unconscious or subconscious and that is shaped day by day by what we are taking in. It is shaped by what we do with our eyes on the computer, and it is especially shaped by what we do with our Bibles and our prayer…
Surgeons put you to sleep, and they go into places on your body you don’t know anything about and work on you. That is what God has to do with us. So, yes I think the subconscious is being worked on by the Holy Spirit all the time…
The late renowned professor of philosophy at the University of Southern California, Dallas Willard, –himself also a Christian theologian and minister–argued that the soul is the total person. In other words, a soul is a complete human being and is made up of 4 major distinct but interconnected parts: The body, mind, spirit, and social connectedness…
Now, right on the conscious surface of our “world within” lie some of our thoughts, feelings, intentions, and plans. These are the ones we are aware of. They may be fairly obvious to others as well as to ourselves…But…are, after all, only a small part of the ones that are really there in our depths; and they often are not the ones most revealing of who we actually are and why we do what we do…
Christian theology is clear about the existence of the unconscious and the significant part it plays in influencing our lives. Jesus Christ went so far as to say our hearts reflect who we really are…
A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” Jesus Christ.
The heart as Jesus uses it and as Christian theology uses it is not limited to the conscious mind alone but actually mostly the unconscious mind. The word “kardia” is translated to mean the heart; mind, character, inner self, will, intention, center. It means the “seat and center of all physical and spiritual life and…the thoughts, passions, desires, appetites, affections, purposes, endeavors.”
Linking the soul with the unconscious aspect of the mind results in an elegant (scientifically concise and simple) explanation for how the soul is
- indelibly connected to the body through chemo-electric neurological activity,
- continues in an unconscious – but not necessarily insensate – state after the death of the body,
- and requires reanimation through resurrection of the body with a brain to house neurological activity to live again, i.e. resume self expression and interaction with a social milieu and the environment.
Inability to interact with others or the environment describes unconsciousness in a spectrum from being asleep to being in a coma to being on life support.
Through logic, we must conclude that:
- if we accept that the personality, emotions, thoughts and memories comprising the soul are formed by electrochemical energy,
- and that energy is never destroyed,
- then the dematerialized soul continues to experience not only emotional feelings but physical feelings as described in phantom limb pain and triggered by the unconscious mind in psychological conditions like Post trauma stress disorder.
As a psychiatric provider I treat patients for conditions rooted in horrible trauma from being victimized to extreme guilt from being the victimizer. What a horrible doom is implicit in the immortality of the soul! Who wants to forever experience gut-wrenching emotional and physical pain?!
So where does the potential energy of the soul go at the deactivation of the body?
The Hebrew Bible speaks about Sheol (שאול)…the repository of the dead or the cessation of existence until the resurrection of the dead [body and soul].
Like the word soul, the term sheol is multi-faceted, referencing physical holes in the ground – graves that are dug for dead bodies, a deep pit that yawned opened during an earthquake – as well as a place for immaterial souls of dead bodies to sleep while awaiting resurrection to sleep, and the classic Christian idea of hell with torments for the wicked souls.
What we can pull from these variations on a theme is that, whether physical or immaterial like grounded electricity, the one attribute they all have in common is that they are underground.
- “And Jacob rent his clothes, and put sackcloth upon his loins, and mourned for his son…he refused to be comforted; and he said, For I will go down into the grave unto my son mourning.” (Genesis 37:34-35)
- “if the LORD make a new thing, and the earth open her mouth, and swallow them up, with all that appertain unto them, and they go down quick into the pit; then ye shall understand that these men have provoked the LORD. And it came to pass, as he had made an end of speaking all these words, that the ground clave asunder that was under them: And the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed them up, and their houses, and all the men that appertained unto Korah, and all their goods. They, and all that appertained to them, went down alive into the pit, and the earth closed upon them: and they perished from among the congregation.” (Numbers 16:30-33)
- I will call on the Lord, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies. When the waves of death compassed me, the floods of ungodly men made me afraid; The sorrows of hell compassed me about; the snares of death prevented me;” (II Samuel 22:4-6)
- “Man that is born of a woman is of few days and full of trouble. He cometh forth like a flower, and is cut down: he fleeth also as a shadow, and continueth not…Seeing his days are determined, the number of his months are with thee, thou hast appointed his bounds that he cannot pass…
- man dieth, and wasteth away: yea,
- man giveth up the ghost [spirit]…
- man lieth down, and riseth not: till the heavens be no more, they shall not awake, nor be raised out of their sleep.
O that thou wouldest hide me in the grave / Sheol / hell / underworld, that thou wouldest keep me secret, until thy wrath be past…” (Job 14)
Job is the most ancient author in our Bible. He precedes Moses who compiled ancient documents, doubtless many of them from before the flood, into the format entitled Genesis. Job also must have had access to many of those original documents now lost to us. Biblical references to Sheol indicate that the Sumerian description of the dead soul’s abode as a miserable place is, like Hammurabi’s Code to the Law of Moses, a close match. As the oldest alternative religion to the Hebrew, that would be expected. Close, but not a winner. The biggest discrepancy being, of course, that the Bible is alive and well while the Sumerian religion is dead and gone. Just saying…
Job in his one epic poem talks about Sheol more than any other biblical writer, including Moses throughout five books of the Bible, and the psalmists in 150 psalms. This makes sense, since later writers build on previous writers’ theses so didn’t need to repeat. Job paints a grim picture of Sheol when he thinks he has been abandoned by God and is hopeless and suicidal.
“he that goeth down to the grave / Sheol shall come up no more. He shall return no more to his house [euphemism for body as used elsewhere in the Bible], neither shall his place [poetic repetition of body] know him any more…sleep in the dust; and…not be.” (Job 7:9,21)
“My days are past, my purposes are broken off, even the thoughts of my heart. If I wait, the grave is mine house [for the soul] : I have made my bed in the darkness. I have said to corruption, Thou art my father: to the worm, Thou art my mother, and my sister. And where is now my hope? as for my hope, who shall see it? They shall go down to the bars of the pit, when our rest together is in the dust.” (Job 17:11-16)
His attitude is mirrored by the psalmist in the same circumstances.
“How long shall I take counsel in my soul, having sorrow in my heart daily? how long shall mine enemy be exalted over me? Consider and hear me, O LORD my God…lest I sleep the sleep of death…For in death there is no remembrance of thee: in the grave who shall give thee thanks?” (Psalm 13:2-3, 6:4-5)
The Bible is clear that the death of the soul is a form of unconsciousness – lack of communication or interaction with the environment, while the soul continues to exist during this state of unconsciousness. In the soul’s case, it is due to being a form of indestructible – eternal – energy. As such it can continue to be aware and feeling in that unconscious state. And this is not necessarily a pleasant state of being.
What happens to the soul after death might be described in reports of out of body experiences by individuals, ghostly apparitions, and the Bible’s report of Samuel’s reappearance after death during a seance.
“Saul unto his servants, Seek me a woman that hath a familiar spirit, that I may go to her, and enquire of her. And his servants said to him, Behold, there is a woman that hath a familiar spirit at Endor. And Saul…came to the woman by night: and he said, I pray thee, divine [“to be inspired by a god,”] unto me by the familiar spirit…Bring me up Samuel. And when the woman saw Samuel, she cried with a loud voice…and said unto Saul, I saw gods ascending out of the earth…An old man cometh up; and he is covered with a mantle. And Saul perceived that it was Samuel, and he stooped with his face to the ground, and bowed himself. And Samuel said to Saul, Why hast thou disquieted me, to bring me up?” (I Samuel 28:7-15)
Samuel’s statement that he had been disquieted by the reconnection to the living world equates with being roused from a comfortable state of unconsciousness, comparable to that experienced every morning by a relaxed sleeper being jangled awake by an alarm.
The account of the beggar Lazarus and his stingy rich man provide insight into after-death conditions pre-empting the final judgment. Whether “Abraham’s bosom” is a euphemism, the name of a kind of hotel, or the actual location named, we can induce that it is conceivable only in science fiction portrayals of alternate realities, while describing a blessed state of intimacy and familiarity.
“And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and [apparently carted off the next morning by the streetsweeper to the garbage dump outside town because in contrast to the rich man] was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom [the overhanging fold of the garment used as a pocket],: the rich man also died, and was buried; And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented.” (Luke 16:20-25)
Father Abraham’s torso drapery pictures for us a parent swaddling a newborn just abruptly departed from the all-embracing womb into a hostile environment. Like a newborn just catapulted from the womb, the soul just released from the body is unable to identify his environment but only be overwhelmed by touch or the flailing lack thereof, sight, sound, smell and taste. As a parent cradles a swaddled newborn close to the breast to lull to sleep, so Father Abraham provides the ability to rest in peace.
Father Abraham represents the true connection to a deceased ancestor distorted by the false prophets in ancient times. As the designated Father of all who believe, he harbored the souls of believers from all time who put their trust in YHVH to save them from their sins’ consequence of death. In this way their souls, although consigned in Sheol with all the other souls, were able to rest in peace for an indefinite time until they were released from Sheol when YHVH’s Savior defeated death on mankind’s behalf.
Notice that, while Lazarus, like Samuel, is sleeping like a baby, the wicked rich man is conscious of torment. Sleep is a consolation offered only to believers awaiting reconnection of the soul at the resurrection of the body. Unbelievers suffer consciousness.
“They shall die of grievous deaths; they shall not be lamented; neither shall they be buried; but they shall be as dung upon the face of the earth: and they shall be consumed by the sword, and by famine; and their carcases shall be meat for the fowls of heaven, and for the beasts of the earth. For thus saith the LORD…I have taken away my peace from this people…they shall not be buried, neither shall men lament for them…to comfort them for the dead; neither shall men give them the cup of consolation to drink for their father or for their mother [surely a reference to sedating wine].” (Jeremiah 16:1-7)
Different dispositions within hell are reported in the Bible.
“a fire is kindled in mine anger, and shall burn unto the lowest hell.” (Deuteronomy 32:22)
“For thou hast said in thine heart,
- I will ascend into heaven…in the sides of the north:
- yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit…
All the kings of the nations, even all of them, lie in glory, every one in his own house. But thou art cast out of thy grave like an abominable branch, and as the raiment of those that are slain, thrust through with a sword, that go down to the stones of the pit; as a carcase trodden under feet. Thou shalt not be joined with them in burial, because thou hast destroyed thy land, and slain thy people:” (Isaiah 14:15-20)
The reports on Samuel and the rich man support the commonly held belief that ghosts are the disquieted departed who, usually because of unresolved emotional turmoil, can’t Rest in Peace. Only they aren’t spirits, because the spirit, the field of energy that gave birth to all creation and life to the body, returns to the source, as stated in Ecclesiastes quoted above. If such apparitions are real, they are souls, who, as described in Samuel’s seance, are empowered to become active with the living by other spirits. More on that concept in later posts.
The disturbance experienced by Samuel – and notoriously by other restless shades – is consistent with teaching that the disconnection between the soul and body is a highly undesirable state. Those who believe YHVH’s promise of salvation from death have “hope” of avoiding this fate through resurrection of the body.
After Job rallies from his suicidal state of mind he perfectly describes redemption from death – paying the price, life for life, and destroying the enemy to free the captives of death – by resurrection.
“If a man die, shall he live again? all the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come [Resurrection!]. Thou shalt call, and I will answer thee: thou wilt have a desire to the work of thine hands.” (Job 14:14-15)
“I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins [nervous system with literal fibers penetrating throughout the body to control the members of the body, like a horse’s reins] be consumed within me.” (Job 19:25-27)
“Paul perceived that the one part were Sadducees, and the other Pharisees, he cried out in the council, Men and brethren, I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee: of the hope and resurrection of the dead I am called in question…For the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, neither angel, nor spirit: but the Pharisees confess both.” (Acts 23:6-8)
we look [contemplate] not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal. For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle [temporary homes] were dissolved, we [believers in redemption] have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven: If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked. For we that are in this tabernacle [temporary dwelling] do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality [sleep, unconsciousness, inability to communicate or interact with others or the environment] might be swallowed up of life [interaction, self-expression]. [But] knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord…We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.” ” (II Corinthians 4:18-5:1-8)
“Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions [permanent homes]: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And…I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. And whither I go ye know [heaven], and the way ye know [through death and resurrection]. ” (John 14:1-4)
Resurrection of the dead is the cardinal Christian idea of life after death. It is rooted in the resurrection of Jesus, which pervades all New Testament thinking. In Jesus’ resurrection God has…begun…a process to be completed at the end of history, when Christ comes in glory to judge the living and the dead.
This distinguishes Christian theology from other views that see life after death as something intrinsic to the human person. Resurrection of the dead, on the other hand, is about the discontinuity between life and life after death. The rupture of death is overcome only from God’s side by God’s action. So resurrection of the dead is not resuscitation, but a new creation analogous to the first creation…a new kind of life…
The expectation of a resurrected body also emphasizes the continuity of personality and the integrity of personhood…it is not some spiritual part of you that lives the new kind of life; it is you, embodied and recognizable to God as you. This contrasts to various views of a disembodied postmortem existence, such as immortality of the soul and reincarnation…
The raising of Jesus then is the primary theological template by which all things are measured…Because Jesus is raised we too will be raised with him. This is a far different idea than immortality of the soul.
And herein lies the ultimate difference between immortality and mortality. As detailed in the next post The King is Dead, Long Live the King, immortals can’t change, but mortality – death – provides the opportunity for change through resurrection to a new life.
“us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death...that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed…Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more…Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof…but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God...Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?” (Romans 6)
In contrast to immortal perpetuation of the bad as well as the good, death does away with all that is corrupt – body, soul and spirit – and allows transformation to the improved quality of life pursued by virtually everyone whether seeking weight loss, relief from disease, substance abuse treatment, psychotherapy and psychotropics for emotional and personality ailments destructive to their personal aspirations and relationships.
Giving and receiving forgiveness is the ultimate soul changer. It is a human thought process by which destructive elements of the soul’s memory are eliminated, like a computer’s ROM is cleared of malware.
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (I John 1:8-9)
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us…in Christ…In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins…In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise…Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession…Wherefore I…Cease not…making mention of you in my prayers…that ye may know…the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints…who were dead in trespasses and sins; Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience…fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath…(Ephesians 1)
“And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.” (Revelation 21:4)
But like every other law of nature, this only works for those us who believe in, and act on, YHVH’s forgiveness through identifying with, including re-enacting, the death of his Anointed Savior who conquered sin and therefore its consequent death through his sinless life.
In the following texts note how the body’s actions are indelibly linked back to the soul’s control through the thoughts and intents of the heart, planning, and choices of action.
“God…hath shined [light energy] in our hearts…we have this treasure [enlightenment merging with our soul / heart energy] in earthen vessels…our mortal flesh.” (II Corinthians 4:6-7)
“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.” (II Corinthians 5:10)
“For the flesh / body lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other…Now the works of the flesh are manifest / obvious, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God…And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.” (Galatians 5:17-24)
This evidence shows that Christ judges us, not on a balance scale of good outweighing the bad, but on the criteria of those who have or have not crucified the flesh. This is clearly stated to be terminating interaction between the physical desires for short-term sensual pleasures obtained at the cost of long-term self-destruction. It is equated with crucifixion because it is acknowledged to be painful or difficult to end them. So-called Christians who do not in fact identify with Christ’s death to the flesh do not therefore attain his resurrection to new life in this world or in the world to come either.
“Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it…For…as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest…Seeing therefore it remaineth that….they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief: Again, he limiteth a certain day, saying in David…To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts…Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief. For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.” (Hebrews 4)
“it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame…that which beareth thorns and briers is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing; whose end is to be burned. But, beloved, we are persuaded better things of you, and things that accompany salvation, though we thus speak. For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name,” (Hebrews 6:4-10)
“Behold, all souls are mine…the soul that sinneth, it shall die. But if a man be just, and do that which is lawful and right...Hath walked in my statutes, and hath kept my judgments, to deal truly; he is just, he shall surely live, saith the LORD God.” (Ezekiel 18:4-9)
Imagine Adam’s horror when he saw his wife after she was affected by her substance use. Like God, he had the ability to see that she was naked, i.e. exposed – her changed nature was observable. This image of before and after methamphetamine use gives an idea of what Adam might have seen, what God certainly sees, and what ministers in God’s kingdom can ask God to open their eyes to see – the nature of everyone who is spiritually the “walking dead”, mindlessly straining to lay hold on an illusory source of life.
Then Adam eats the fruit, in full knowledge that he is losing his splendor, his immortality, and laying down his life, despite the fact that “…Adam was not deceived…” (I Timothy 2:14)
Why would he do that? When God asks him for an explanation, Adam is often accused of blame-shifting to his wife, but that interpretation is undoubtedly a result of our habitual use of projection, the defense mechanism in which we attribute our thoughts and attitudes to others. It’s a reflection of our own sin nature. There is another explanation.
While The Lord of the Rings falls short of being a completely accurate Christian allegory, it does bring to life a host of biblical concepts, including this one in which an immortal being chooses mortality, out of love.
Consider a straightforward biblical interpretation of Adam’s response, one in which Adam acts on his God-given responsibility for the woman.
- “The woman whom thou gavest to be with me” – The woman you entrusted to my care, for whom I am responsible
- “she gave me of the tree” – she already had it and was doomed
- “and I did eat” – I couldn’t leave her alone, we are one flesh. (Gen 3:12)
In other words, he simply obeys God’s word to leave his father and his mother – which in his case is God – and cleave to his wife.
“And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man [nor the wo-man cloned from the first man] should be alone…And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” (Genesis 2:18-24)
“The Pharisees also came unto him, tempting him, and saying unto him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause? [On a side note – they were trying to eliminate a segment of his popular constituency, either the Pharisaical Conservatives or the Platonic Liberals. Jesus’ thoughts and ways can’t be aligned with either party because they are Perfect Godliness.] And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them [identically both] male and female, And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh [taking on each other’s characteristics]? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.” (Matthew19:3-6)
Adam did not leave her nor forsake her. He was faithful to his promise to care for her. This man did not “put asunder”, even though it cost him his life.
“Marriage is honourable in all…for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me…Yeshua Messiah / Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.” (Hebrews 13:4-8)
If that isn’t love… In Adam’s courageous willingness to die for his wife, he demonstrated the supreme attribute that mankind alone shares with God.
“Greater love hath no man that this, that a man lay down his life for his friends [intimate acquaintances].” (Joh 15:13)
“For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, The Promised One / Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:7-8)
“Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.” (I John 4:7-8)
The first rule of war is “know your enemy.” Satan miscalculated both Adam’s and God’s responses. They both acted out of love and mercy, and used their power for the benefit of others. Satan couldn’t anticipate Adam’s love for his wife and God’s love for his children because he doesn’t know love.
“In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil…he that loveth not his brother. For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.” (I John 3:10-11)
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ [and Adam] , which according to his abundant mercy hath
- begotten us again unto a lively hope [anticipation of reconnection / renewal of life in the future] by the resurrection of Yahweh’s Promised Savior / Jesus Christ from the dead…
- Who are kept [guarded] by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time…
- Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you…when it testified beforehand the sufferings of The Promised One / Christ, and the glory that should follow...
- which things the angels desire to look into.” (I Peter 1:3-12)
In the classic passage defining love, notice that every aspect is defined as a behavior. Love is not a quality that can be bestowed or inherited, like royalty. We become loving only through our chosen responses in action. Contrast Satan’s behavior with Adam’s. To make this passage flow in our modern ears and to be crystal clear to what the writer meant, I am translating the King James’ archaic charity into love, although charity as we understand it as giving is indeed what is meant here.
“Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, [Paul must be thinking of Lucifer’s supreme qualities] and have not love, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge [think Lucifer’s goal]; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, [height of hyperdimensional spirituality over three dimensional matter] and have not love I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, [the ultimate sacrifice] and have not love, it profiteth me nothing.
- Love suffereth long
- and is kind;
- love envieth not;
- love vaunteth not itself,
- is not puffed up,
- Doth not behave itself unseemly,
- seeketh not her own,
- is not easily provoked,
- thinketh no evil;
- Rejoiceth not in iniquity,
- but rejoiceth in the truth;
- Beareth all things,
- believeth all things,
- hopeth all things,
- endureth all things.
- Love never faileth:
- but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail;
- whether there be tongues, they shall cease;
- whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away…
And now abideth faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” (I Corinthians 13)
Go back to the origins of mankind and note the distinction between image and likeness.
“Let us make man in our image, after our likeness…So God created man in his own image…” (Genesis 1:26-27).
Different words are used to express different meanings.
- To create an image is to give form for something to be. This totally makes sense in String Theory which gives form to energy, and puts the translation of this same word into “cut down” or “cut out” into context. God sculpted a statue.
- To make a likeness is to give function for something to do. Think of Frankenstein’s monster. This may seem irreverent, but it is a significant comparison.
God gave functions to all his creatures, things to do like give light, be productive, multiply, etc. but only to mankind did he give the function of having dominion. In order to do this, mankind has to take action, take initiative. Mankind is not a robot with intelligence and predetermined responses.
With this background, we can understand that Adam’s ultimate likeness to God in love came into existence when Adam made the choice to act out of consideration for his wife’s welfare instead of his own.
In this light, God was not stupid or cruel when he placed the fateful tree in the garden of Eden. He was giving his son the opportunity to become like him, by choosing to exercise his freedom of choice by copying his behavior. Lucifer had the same opportunity to increase his likeness to God. He only had to gracefully agree to put humanity’s welfare above his own. But he didn’t.
God’s choice of humble humanity was vindicated by Adam’s decision to eat the fruit and die.
“…Adam…is the figure of him that was to come [the Savior].” (Romans 5:14)
“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Yahweh’s Chosen Savior / Messiah Yeshua / Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” (Philippians 2:5-8)
“Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them.” (Colossians 3:19)
“Husbands, love your wives, even as The Promised One / Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Messiah/Christ and the church.” (Ephesians 5:25-32)
Let’s rephrase that, putting Adam in the action.
Husbands, love your wives, even as the first Adam also loved his wife, and gave himself for her, that he might take away the corruption caused by her action, wiped clean of decay by the power of the word that gave life in the first place, that he might present her to himself a glorious wife restored to perfection. For this cause Adam separated himself from his heavenly Father, and joined himself to his wife by eating the fruit and experiencing death with her, so they could continue to be united, have the same flesh. This is a great mystery, that is revealed as the story progresses.
Sounds heretical? According to the Bible, that is exactly what happened as the story progressed. Again, put Adam in the action.
- “For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: [Adam stayed one with his wife – by sharing her dead condition],
- for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren [family], [Adam could have repudiated his wife and declared himself too good to identify with her],
- Saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren / family, in the midst of the congregation of believers / church will I sing praise unto thee. [Can you not imagine Adam reassuring his wife that “Our Father will fix this, I don’t know how but I know he will]
- And again, I will put my trust in him. And again,
- Behold I and the children [of God, family] which God hath given me.
- Forasmuch then as the [human] children [of God] are partakers of flesh and blood, he [Adam / Jesus Christ] also himself 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.” (Hebrews 2:11-15)
That should send chills down your spine. This fragile, childishly innocent human countered the most powerful, evil monster in the universe in his first move, simply by choosing to act according to the word of God, even to apparent failure, to death! – instead of leaning on his own understand or acting on his own self interests.
Did he know how his action would send shock waves through the universe? Undoubtedly, no. The opposite of “knowledge is power” is “faith is power,” where faith is simply trusting that what God said is true and acting on that instead of a calculated likelihood of achieving desired results.
Adam knew only that God had given him a companion who he was committed to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part, according to God’s holy ordinance. The love of God is what overcomes the power of evil. It’s that simple.
- “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them that are the called according to his purpose…
- to be conformed to the image of his son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.
- Moreover…them he also...justified: and…glorified.
- What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?…
- Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect?
- …Who is he that condemneth?…
- Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.
- For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers…nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Yahweh’s Chosen Savior / Messiah Yeshua / Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:28-39)
No doubt we have all experienced the torment of losing a battle because we did the right thing. Whatever Adam’s honorable intentions and motivation, because he ate the fruit his nature became corrupted just like his wife’s. He was also subject to the law of sin and death, and Satan did edge his way into leadership of the kingdom of heaven and earth.
“Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?” (Romans 6:16)
“And the devil, taking him [Yeshua] up into an high mountain, shewed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me [yes, by the human rulers of this world’s kingdoms who submit to him exactly as the devil is tempting Yeshua to do]; and to whomsoever I will I give it [so much for the deal when you sell your soul to the devil.]” (Luke 4:5-6)
But one battle does not a war win. Every human being has the opportunity to choose to believe in the love of God, or the lies of the devil. Every human being has the opportunity, by faith in God’s promises, to be transformed into the image and likeness of God. Every human being has the opportunity to choose to become a son of God and expand God’s righteous kingdom into his / her territory by trusting in God’s word as the basis for making decisions and taking action.
It is only by transforming into the image and likeness of God that we can fulfill our destiny to take dominion. The fundamental principles of dominion are given in the very first chapter of the Bible.
1) Be fruitful, i.e. be productive. Be a good worker. Make good things happen, in both the earthly and the heavenly/spiritual domains. Interestingly, God gave this same instruction to animals.
“And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good. And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful..
Life on planet earth is interconnected in what is called the biosphere. We all depend on every species being fruitful in good works in their particular niche such as trees producing oxygen and flowers, and bees pollinating flowers and making honey, and bears breathing oxygen and eating honey, and microorganisms aiding digestion in intestinal tracts and… (It does make you wonder how evolution could happen in such an interdependent system…) In any case, we all suffer when any single element of the ecosystem is harmed.
Most representations of the man and woman in the Garden of Eden picture them wandering around aimlessly. That’s not what the Bible says. Anyone who has ever been put in charge of anything can tell you that it is hard work. Being fruitful, or working hard, is just as much a New Testament command as it was an Old Testament command. And in my experience as a psychiatric nurse practitioner, personal accomplishments are essential to good mental health.
“…walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God.” (Colossians 1:10)
“For yourselves know how ye ought to follow us: for we behaved not ourselves disorderly among you; Neither did we eat any man’s bread for nought; but wrought with labour and travail night and day, that we might not be chargeable to any of you: Not because we have not power, but to make ourselves an ensample unto you to follow us. For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat. For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies. Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord, Yahweh’s Appointed Savior / Yeshua Messiah / Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread. But ye, brethren, be not weary in well doing. And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed. Yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother.” (II Thessalonians 3:7-15)
“…study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you; That ye may walk honestly toward them that are without, and that ye may have lack of nothing. (I Thessalonians 4:11-12)
2) Multiply, i.e. procreate to continue God’s creation of mankind. Again, God gave the same instructions to animals. It is entirely possible that God only made prototypes of the animals, just as he only made prototypes of humans, or that so many were destroyed during every evening’s blitz that they had to be bred back from the edge of extinction.
“And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good. And God blessed them, saying…multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth.
“And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare…” (Genesis 4:1)
We also multiply spiritually.
“I write not these things to shame you, but as my beloved sons I warn you. For though ye have ten thousand instructors in The Chosen One / Messiah / Christ, yet have ye not many fathers: for in Yahweh’s Appointed Savior / Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel. Wherefore I beseech you, be ye followers of me.” (I Corinthians 4:14-16)
3) Replenish the earth, i.e. engage in activities to fill up the earth. Based on these instructions, which are identical to those given to Noah after the flood wiped out the rest of humanity and animals, it seems that, indeed, a massive catastrophe killed off most of them.
“And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth.” (Genesis 9:1)
“And he [Jacob] said unto him [Laban], Thou knowest how I have served thee, and how thy cattle was with me. For it was little which thou hadst before I came, and it is now increased unto a multitude...if thou wilt do this thing for me, I will again feed and keep thy flock.” (Genesis 30:29-31)
The New Testament writings command God’s people to fill the earth with people who have heard, therefore have the opportunity to believe and receive eternal life.
“And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.” (Mark 16:15-16)
4) Subdue the earth. To subdue is to bring under control.
“For thou hast girded me with strength unto the battle: thou hast subdued under me those that rose up against me.” (Psalm 18:39)
To subdue the earth is to bring nature under control. The fundamental way we do this is by farming. Civilization depends on a stable food supply through agriculture, and this requires clearing undesirable plants out of fields, channeling essential water resources with dams and irrigation systems, and protecting the crops from predators.
“And Isaac digged again the wells of water, which they had digged in the days of Abraham his father..And Isaac’s servants digged in the valley, and found there a well of springing water…And they digged another well…and digged another well…and he said, For now the LORD hath made room for us, and we shall be fruitful in the land.” (Genesis 26:18-22)
“And so it was, when Israel had sown, that the Midianites came up, and the Amalekites, and the children of the east, even they came up against them; And they encamped against them, and destroyed the increase of the earth, till thou come unto Gaza, and left no sustenance for Israel, neither sheep, nor ox, nor ass. For they came up with their cattle and their tents, and they came as grasshoppers for multitude; for both they and their camels were without number: and they entered into the land to destroy it. And Israel was greatly impoverished because of the Midianites; and the children of Israel cried unto the LORD.” (Judges 6:3-6)
Everyone is not a farmer, but everyone has a piece of territory to subdue – our own bodies. Biochemical cravings for sex, drugs, food, even the desire to just laze around instead of getting to work, have to be battled by everyone.
“But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway. (I Corinthians 9:27)
It is not until we accomplish all of the above steps that we can in reality have dominion in any arena, as small as our body and as large as the universe.
- Work hard and be productive
- Multiply – expand the workforce so more can be accomplished
- Replenish or fill the territory with new life
- Subdue the resistance, the obstacles to having dominion
In God’s kingdom, to have dominion means to lovingly care for those entrusted to us. Too often we equate “dominion” with “dominate.” Too many leaders are psychopaths whose idea of power is to transform free men and women into slaves and sycophants by instilling fear through oppression, abuse, death and destruction. It’s easy to hate and destroy. It takes real power to love and create new life. It’s easy to isolate from people and exploit them as subjects. It takes real power to engage in relationship and and to transform fearful oppressed peoples into free and successful men and women through forgiveness, kindness, and support of their personal growth and development.
It’s easy for religions to demand women to submit to male authority, and many women do tolerate abuse to maintain access to the basic necessities of life. That’s not what the Bible teaches. It’s rare to find men who will sacrifice their prerogatives and advantages to meet the needs of their companions like Adam and Jesus Christ did.
“Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God. Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as The Chosen One / Messiah / Christ is the head of the congregation of believers / church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the congregation of believers / church is subject unto Messiah / Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. Husbands, love your wives, even as The Chosen One/Messiah/Christ also loved the congregation of believers / church, and gave himself for it…So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church / congregation of believers.” (Ephesians 5:21-29)
The great patriarchs of the Old Testament got their training in leadership by caring for helpless and frustratingly stupid sheep – Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, David. The greatest leader of all, Yeshua Messiah / Jesus Christ, calls himself the Good Shepherd.
“Now Moses kept the flock of Jethro his father in law, the priest of Midian: and he led the flock to the backside of the desert, and came to the mountain of God, even to Horeb.” (Exodus 3:3)
“And David said unto Saul, Thy servant kept his father’s sheep, and there came a lion, and a bear, and took a lamb out of the flock: And I went out after him, and smote him, and delivered it out of his mouth: and when he arose against me, I caught him by his beard, and smote him, and slew him. Thy servant slew both the lion and the bear.” (I Samuel 17:34-36)
“I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.” (John 10:11)
The methods for having dominion – self control and influence over others – can be understood in terms of man’s three dimensions – body, soul, and spirit.
The body is controlled through technology that can sustain or destroy the body, like beneficial or harmful drugs, and power sources for peacetime energy or weapons.
“And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.” (Isaiah 2:3-4)
The soul – emotions and intellect – is controlled through meeting its needs in healthy or dysfunctional relationships with others through education, politics, philosophical arguments, psychological techniques, entertaining distractions, and peer pressure.
“Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.” (Psalm 1:1-3)
The spirit is controlled through involvement in religious, paranormal, extraterrestrial, and openly or covertly demonic domains.
“And when they shall say unto you, Seek unto them that have familiar spirits, and unto wizards that peep, and that mutter: should not a people seek unto their God? for the living to the dead? To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” (Isaiah 8:19-20)
People who seek mastery at any level recognize the need to access power that transcends their own human limitations. The only way to get power and authority is to get it from the one who has it. This is reflected in religion, of course, but also in other areas of life such as:
- The spiritual side of martial arts.
- Alcoholic’s Anonymous first three of twelve steps acknowledging the individual’s need for a higher power,
- All versions of mysticism promoting everything from self-improvement to world domination by discovering and tapping into the god within.
- Ancient rulers’ claims of descent from and apotheosis to a god, like Augustus Caesar.
- Rulers’ claim of divine right, like Louis XIV, the Sun King.
A key concept to understand is that having dominion over the earth, wielding that much awesome power, is inextricably linked with having the image (appearance) and likeness (attributes) of God. This abstract concept is expressed in the costumes that must be put on by Superman and others like him before acting on their superpowers.
Partial or temporary dominion can be exercised by a servant who has been granted some authority.
“And Abraham said unto his eldest servant of his house, that ruled over all that he had, Put, I pray thee, thy hand under my thigh: And...thou shalt go unto my country, and to my kindred, and take a wife unto my son Isaac…And the servant brought forth jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment, and gave them to Rebekah: he gave also to her brother and to her mother precious things.” (Gen 24:2-4,53)
Full dominion, in extent and permanence, is granted to children as an inheritance.
“Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son.” (Colossians 1:11-12)
Dominion is often designated to heirs long before possession is actually taken of the estate (physical possessions as well as power and authority), waiting for the maturity of the heir.
“Now I say, That the heir, as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all; But is under tutors and governors until the time appointed of the father.” (Galatians 4:1-2)
“And Jacob called unto his sons, and said, Gather yourselves together, that I may tell you that which shall befall you in the last days. Gather yourselves together, and hear, ye sons of Jacob; and hearken unto Israel your father….Judah, thou art he whom thy brethren shall praise: thy hand shall be in the neck of thine enemies; thy father’s children shall bow down before thee…The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be.” (Genesis 49:1, 8-10)
“God…hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things…unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a scepter of righteousness is the scepter of thy kingdom…But now we see not yet all things put under him.” (Hebrews 1:1-38; 2:8)
Notice that dominion isn’t granted to all children. Only the ones who mature into the likeness of the father, expressed as unity with the Father by acting as they know their father would act, are empowered to take dominion over others. This applies to both good and evil rulers.
“Reuben, thou art my firstborn, my might, and the beginning of my strength, the excellency of dignity, and the excellency of power: Unstable as water, thou shalt not excel; because thou wentest up to thy father’s bed; then defiledst thou it: he went up to my couch. [You can hear the rising outrage in his voice and see the intense glare in his eyes as he switches to the first person in denouncing the offender.] Simeon and Levi are brethren; instruments of cruelty are in their habitations. O my soul, come not thou into their secret; unto their assembly, mine honour, be not thou united: for in their anger they slew a man, and in their selfwill they digged down a wall. Cursed be their anger, for it was fierce; and their wrath, for it was cruel: I will divide them in Jacob, and scatter them in Israel.” (Genesis 49:3-7)
“A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous;One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)” (I Tim 3:2-5)
“And Nathan said, My lord, O king, hast thou said, Adonijah shall reign after me, and he shall sit upon my throne? For he is gone down this day, and hath slain oxen and fat cattle and sheep in abundance, and hath called all the king’s sons, and the captains of the host, and Abiathar the priest; and, behold, they eat and drink before him, and say, God save king Adonijah…Then king Solomon sware by the LORD, saying…as the LORD liveth, which hath established me, and set me on the throne of David my father, and who hath made me an house / dynasty, as he promised, Adonijah shall be put to death this day. And king Solomon sent by the hand of Benaiah the son of Jehoiada; and he fell upon him that he died.“ (I Kings 2:24-25, I Kings 2:23-25)
Brutal of Solomon and his LORD to kill off the opposition! you say. Bear in mind that this was not the politics as we know it with elections, this was winner take all and death to the defeated.
Wait, we do still do this. Saddam Hussein, Osama bin Laden, Muammar Gaddafi. Isn’t it patently biased to cheer the political leaders who kill the enemies of our nation but deny the right of the LORD God to protect his people? Make no mistake, King Solomon, like his father King David, would not have survived the coup d’etat. What we fail to understand is that each of us also has to join forces with Father God to eliminate the spiritual enemies that seek to destroy us – and those we love.
Mickey Mouse amusingly demonstrates the reality that power gets out of control when wielded by an unqualified individual. We qualify to rule when we develop God’s likeness, or attributes, of right-eousness, doing the right thing. Like Mickey Mouse, when things aren’t done right, chaos and destruction result. We’ve experienced this through bad cooking, driving accidents, relationship breakdowns, and major disasters regardless of the intention to do good or bad. Just extrapolate what kind of damage can be caused universe-wide by someone who doesn’t function in the full knowledge and understanding of the truth.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men…as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.” (John 1:1-12)
We’ll never gain control over as much as ourselves, or become all we can be, without growing into the image and likeness of God.
“And he gave some, apostles; some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:” (Ephesians 4:11-13)
In the next post, we’ll learn more about what it means to be a power-wielding son of God.
And so we’ve reached the first cliff-hanger. When will humanity reclaim fully what is rightfully ours, and how?
- In the beginning God created the universe and gave dominion to mankind.
- Spirit beings, commonly called angels, who function in “hyperspace”, i.e. more dimensions of space-time than the four dimensions to which humans are limited, were created to help humans rule.
- One of these angels, Lucifer, revolted against God’s delegation of dominion to humans, demanding it for himself on the basis of his personal qualifications, becoming anti-God, or Satan, and setting in motion the battle for the universe.
- In the first battle for control, Satan lied to the woman and she chose to believe him instead of God, because she wanted to be able to separate herself from God’s authority. The fruit contained a substance that triggered genetic changes, resulting in death to whomever ate it.
- But instead of wrecking God’s plan, Satan actually became the agent for realizing God’s plan. When Adam responded to his wife’s crisis selflessly, choosing freely to act out of love for his wife at the expense of his own welfare, he loved her. Only by freely making a choice to act out of love for another by dying to self can humans be transformed into the likeness of God.