“‘Sir,’ Gideon replied, ‘if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us? And where are all the miracles our ancestors told us about? Didn’t they say, ‘The Lord brought us up out of Egypt?’ But now the LORD has abandoned us and handed us over to the Midianites.”
(Judges 6:13 NLT)
If the Lord is with us, then why do I have this disease? If the Lord is with us, then why do I suffer financially? If the Lord is with us, then why is there so much chaos and pain in this world?
What is your personal why?
And do you ever hope to find an answer? Or better yet, are you even allowed to ask why? Haven’t some of us been taught that we should never ask why, but to humbly accept God’s will for our lives?
But what is God’s will for our lives?
We’ll find the answer to that question only in Jesus Christ. We won’t find it in religion. We won’t find it through the opinions or reason of people. To understand the will of God for us we have to know who Jesus is, and what He accomplished for us with His death and resurrection. If not, we won’t have a sure foundation for our faith, we’ll be thrown around by every new religious doctrine, and we’ll never experience the victory that already belongs to us through our union with Him.
So, it’s always good to remind ourselves of why we believe what we say we believe. Just to back up briefly: Genesis Chapters 1 to 3 reveal God’s original plan for us, our fall to chaos, and the plan of freedom and restoration that was to come through Jesus Christ.
“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”
(Gen 1:1 NLT)
God created the heavens and the earth. Whether He created it with a Big Bang or not, whether it took Him ten years or ten billion years, the fact is – without Him nothing in this entire universe was made (John 1:1-3). It’s God who gave us the beauty of towering mountains, secret forests, enchanted beaches and romantic sunsets. In His wisdom He designed all the physical and scientific laws. He made the animal kingdom and filled the earth with gold, silver and thousands of other treasures. Why? He prepared a place for us – the family He desired to have!
You see, when God made the heavens and the earth He had you on His mind. When He painted the horizon He had you on His mind. When He formed the mountains, waterfalls and rivers He had you on His mind. When He set the boundaries of the ocean, fringed by beautiful beaches, He had you on His mind. When He created the stars and the splendour of the galaxies He had you on His mind. In all He created He had you on His mind!
“Then God said, ‘Let us make people in our image, to be like ourselves.’”
(Gen 1:26 NLT)
No, all life did not come from a single cell that drifted to earth from outer space. We didn’t evolve from fish or baboons. We weren’t dropped on earth by aliens and they aren’t coming back one day to take us all away to who knows where. We came from God. We are the masterpiece of God’s creation. We are created in His image. We are little copies of God Himself (Gen 1:26). We were created to be like God, to function like Him, and to reflect His divine character and nature. We are indeed like Father like son (Luke 3:38)!
Now why would some people try to keep this simple truth from others? And why does this truth upset religious people so much? What really is at stake here?
“And the LORD God formed a man’s body from the dust of the ground and breathed into it the breath of life. And the man became a living person.”
(Gen 2:7 NLT)
It’s important to understand that you’re a spiritual being who lives in a body and that you possess a soul, or a mind (1 Thess 5:23).
God formed Adam’s physical body out of the soil of the earth but that body was lifeless until God spoke His life into Adam. It was only when God infused Adam with His own divine life that Adam stood up as a living being. So, according to Genesis 2:7, our bodies were formed out of soil, but the spoken Word of God created our spirits.
God is Spirit (John 4:24). Since you were created in the image and likeness of God the real you is your spirit. Your body is merely an earth- suit that fits perfectly around your divinely created spirit. It’s your spirit that sustains your physical body (2 Cor 3:6). What we know as “death” is that instant when your spirit leaves your body (James 2:26). While people gather around your earthly remains your spirit is alive and well and long gone to another destination in another dimension. Now the list of interesting destinations after your departure from your body is not that long. You have a choice of two!
“I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb.”
(Jer 1:5 NLT)
God started His family with Adam, but somewhere along the line you were going to show up on this planet. Not one person that has ever been born caught God by surprise. Long before you were born you were already conceived in the heart and mind of God. Your biological parents were merely the passage God used to get you here on earth, all wrapped up in a physical body. In other words, you came from God through your parents.
At this moment you might be thinking, “Why didn’t God choose a better passage for me to come into this world? Look at me. Look at my circumstances. I don’t see anything great. All I see is chaos and no hope whatsoever.” If that’s the case, don’t crack up. God had greatness planned for you long before you were born. He is bigger than your problems. In His eyes you are special and filled with tremendous potential, regardless of the way you see yourself, what other people say about you, or how you experience life at this moment (Ps 139:13-17).
THE EARLY YEARS
During their early years on planet earth God’s children had a wonderful time. Issues like insecurity, guilt, shame or condemnation never existed. There was nothing to fear, nothing to hide, nothing to cry about, and nothing to worry about. Sickness, poverty, depression, death, ruin and chaos were unknown concepts to them. All they knew was the love and goodness of their heavenly Father.
If we look at the world today we’re a far cry from the paradise Adam lived in! All sorts of wicked things are the simple evidence of that. But if we go back to basics we see clearly that none of that was part of God’s original plan. When He created the heavens and the earth He saw that everything He made was very good (Gen 1:31)!
The question is: what changed this perfect picture?
MADE TO RULE
“For you made us only a little lower than God, and you crowned us with glory and honor. You put us in charge of everything you made, giving us authority over all things.”
(Ps 8:5-6 NLT)
We were never created to hang around on earth eating fruit and singing songs all day long. No, God had a purpose for us: to rule and reign with Him (Gen 1:28). He blessed us and said, “Multiply and fill the earth and subdue it. Be masters over the fish and birds and all the animals” (Gen 1:28 NLT).
In other words, God’s purpose was for us to expand the Kingdom of Heaven on this earth. He gave us the Garden of Eden and empowered us to reproduce the conditions of the Kingdom of Heaven throughout this earth. God gave us authority over all things to see to it that His will shall be done on earth, as it is in heaven (Matt 6:10). All the goodness and riches and wealth and majesty and splendour and wisdom of our God were at our disposal to rule on earth as His ambassadors, or as members of His Royal House (Gal 4:7; 2 Cor 5:20).
Well, Adam started the job, and did very well for a while, but somehow the eternal plan God had in mind for us took an unexpected turn. Why?
Long before the children of God arrived on the scene there was a war in the heavens. Impossible thought, but yes, there was a war.
“Then there was war in heaven. Michael and the angels under his command fought the dragon and his angels. And the dragon lost the battle and was forced out of heaven. This great dragon -– the ancient serpent called the Devil, or Satan, the one deceiving the whole world -– was thrown down to earth with all his angels.”
(Rev 12:7-9 NLT)
Satan: not an unknown name to most people, but who is he?
If we backtrack his history we’ll see that Satan, once known as Lucifer, was a mighty angelical being created by God to lead the worship in heaven. He was called the anointed cherub and the perfection of beauty. But somehow, at some point, pride crept silently into Lucifer’s heart (Ezek 28:12-16). Suddenly the desire to be in the highest seat of authority took such control of him that he plotted a rebellion against the rule of God. A third of the heavenly angels fell for his suggestion and joined him in his quest. Of course, their attempt failed miserably and they were all kicked out of heaven with a heavy eternal sentence against them: the lake of everlasting fire (Isa 14:12-14; Matt 25:41; Rev 12:8-9).
Yes, some people say that God created evil because He created Satan. Definitely not! It was pride that perverted the good in Lucifer’s heart. The desire to be independent and in supreme authority blinded his senses and influenced his judgment. A heart left unchecked became dark and evil. Lucifer was simply a good angel gone bad – by choice. So God knew that evil was out there, but He never intended for evil to come into this world!
And the name change? Well, Satan is a name that accurately describes who and what Lucifer had become after his fall from the Kingdom of Heaven: the deceiver, hater, accuser, destroyer, murderer, thief, liar and wicked enemy.
THE TAKEOVER OF EARTH
“The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy.”
(John 10:10 NLT)
After Lucifer’s fall he had one goal in mind: to steal, kill and destroy. He still wanted to rule. He still wanted to be in authority. But his wicked mission faced a serious challenge. As a fallen angel Satan had no say on this planet. God had delegated the right to rule on earth to His children alone, not to angels. To gain the right to rule Satan had to sneak in, as a thief and robber, to get someone with legal authority to side with him and his evil purpose (John 10:1).
His plan of action was quite simple: Get Adam and Eve to question the supreme authority of God. Get them to doubt the integrity of God’s Word (Gen 3:1-4). Feed them the lie that God is keeping something from them and that they don’t really need Him. The bait was cast out. The trap succeeded. And somewhere in the darkness evil was smiling. Satan had just become the world’s new ruler (2 Tim 2:26).
We have to understand that the spiritual world existed before this natural world. We do fall under an unseen order. It doesn’t matter who you are, where you stay, what your culture is, or what your personal beliefs are
– you either belong to the Kingdom of God, or to the kingdom of Satan. There really is no neutral ground (Matt 12:30; 2 Tim 2:26). This is precisely where Adam took a terribly wrong turn. When he separated himself from the Kingdom of Heaven the entire human race immediately became prisoners of a fallen angel who had nothing else in mind but to oppress God’s people, to misuse their resources, and to keep them in a state of spiritual darkness.
FALL TO CHAOS
“When Adam sinned, sin entered the entire human race. Adam’s sin brought death, so death spread to everyone, for everyone sinned.”
(Rom 5:12 NLT)
Through Adam’s act of treason, sin (rebellion against the authority of God) entered this world, and death through sin. This death didn’t mean the sudden physical death of God’s children but rather spiritual death, meaning the separation of our spirits from the life of God. Sin caused us to become disconnected from our Source of Life and as a result incipient death in all things soon followed. Since that fateful day every person who was to be born, regardless of race, colour or culture, was born into a world of sin and death (Rom 3:23; 17:26).
Isn’t that exactly what God warned Adam against (Gen 2:16-17)?
Now, suddenly, a different law was in motion, and it was not the law of Love. Diseases, poverty, abuse, disgrace, heartache, grief, sorrow, oppression, depression and fear were never part of people’s lives under the rule of God. Insecurity, guilt, shame, feelings of inferiority, unbelief, hatred, pride, bitterness, resentment, rebellion and self-centeredness also wormed its way into people’s hearts. The animal kingdom began to suffer. The plant kingdom began to suffer. Everything was now subject to a curse. War came; destruction came; pain came; torment came; confusion came; death came; and soon the first murder took place (Gen 4:8).
Eventually people became so tangled up in darkness that they drifted further and further away from the life God had in mind for them. The supernatural that was supposed to be a natural part of their lives became the unthinkable and impossible. Freedom and prosperity in all things became slavery and bondage. And we think, or have been taught, that life is supposed to be like that?
How far have we plunged without realising it?
Maybe we’ve been under the horrible oppression of the devil for so long that we somehow accepted his way of doing things as normal. So much so that the way God operates has become a very strange concept to us.