|- J. Preston Eby -
Our God and Father has been pleased to leave us in no doubt or uncertainty as to how or where all things began, but in clear, unequivocal language stated the source and goal of all things for our assurance and joy. All originated IN HIM, created from the substance of His own divine energy and Being, and held together in a harmonious wholeness (upon) in His eternal Word, or the Christ. But, for His own wise purposes, all did not remain that way.
There are four Greek prepositions which are important to us in the understanding of God's great plan of creation and redemption. We have already explained the preposition EN. EN means IN and denotes a position of rest, an established (from) location. ALL was created IN the Christ.
The scriptures are clear, however, that all did not remain "in" Him. (through) We are assured that there was initiated another stage of activity whereby all things were brought "out" of Him. Nothing can be clearer than the (in) fact that "in" and "out" are opposites! You cannot be both in and out of any place or thing at the same time. Coming "out" from a place or position involves a process, an action. the Greek preposition EK means "out of". The Word of God declares that not only were all things created IN the Christ, or IN God (for the Christ was in the bosom of the Father, Jn. 1:18), but there was a process by which the all things CAME OUT of God. Let us read it: "We are aware that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is no other God except One. For even if so be that there are those being termed gods, whether in heaven or on earth, even as there are many gods and many lords, nevertheless to us there is but one God, the Father, O-U-T OF WHOM ALL IS, and we for Him" (I Cor.8:4-7). Again, "O, the depth of the riches and of the wisdom and of the knowledge of God! How inscrutable are His judgments, and untraceable His ways! For who knew the mind of the Lord? or who became His adviser? or who gives to Him first, and will be repaid by Him? seeing that ALL is OUT of Him and through Him and for Him: to Him be glory for the ages! Amen! (Rom. 11:33-36). Now let us read these last verses from the Emphatic Diaglott: "For who knew the mind of the Lord? or who was His counselor? or who first gave to Him, and it shall be given to him again? Because OUT OF HIM, and through Him, and for Him are ALL THINGS. To Him be the glory for the ages. Amen."
This is without doubt one of the least understood statements in the whole of the Word of God. And yet, a true comprehension of the real purpose of God throughout the ages cannot be had apart from it. Considering the creation, of the heavens and the earth - the universe and all that is therein, visible and invisible - fresh from the hands of the Creator in all its primeval and pristine glory; God being all-wise and omnipotent; the question presses itself upon us: From whence came sin and evil? From whence came Satan and darkness and death? Why did God permit these to enter creation? How did it happen? Why the disruption of the primeval state?
The answer to these monumental questions is to be discovered in the great fact of creation being brought forth OUT of God. How obvious today the vast difference between those who are either "in" or "out" of Christ! "If any man be IN Christ, he is a new creation; "...who has blessed us with all spiritual blessings IN Christ;" "IN whom also we have obtained an inheritance," etc. But of our state before we were in Christ, it is said, "At that time yea were WITHOUT (Greek: apart from, outside of) Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world" (Eph. 2:12). OUTSIDE of Christ is naught but sin, sorrow, darkness and death! In or out - what a great gulf separates these two! The very process of creation's coming out of God produced a disruption and fragmentation of the whole. "Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is ONE LORD. That which is ONE is UNITED, UNDIVIDED, UNFRAGMENTED. All is harmonized, synchronized and joined in perfect unity. IN HIM creation was one harmonious whole without a discordant note anywhere. It was pre-eminently a spiritual creation, vibrating as a symphony of unutterable beauty, a triumphant masterpiece of dynamic harmonious accord. In the glory of that celestial beginning there was no trace of sin, no evil, no death, no adversary, and no darkness or discord at all. Everything everywhere existed IN CHRIST and every spirit stood forth in its full majesty, pulsating the dynamic anthem of exulting creative glory. What a song!
When, on the barren Isle of Patmos, the beloved John heard a great voice as of a trumpet, he turned to gaze upon the glorified Lord in splendor and majesty, and the first words uttered by this mighty One were, "I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending ... the first and the last, says the Lord" (Rev. 1:8-11). Our Lord called Himself the Alpha and the Omega in Greek, the Aleph and the Tau in Hebrew, or the A and the Z in English, or its equivalent in any other language, without in the least altering the figure of its significance. Alphabetical languages usually have the letters arranged in a fixed order. The first is often used as a symbol of the beginning and the last for the ending. That is, our Lord claims to be what letters and language were meant to be, namely the expression of truth. HE IS THE W-O-R-D -- the expression of the totality of God's nature, wisdom, power and substance from first to last. God is a Spirit - an invisible, incorporeal, intangible, unapproachable Spirit. But that hidden and unsearchable One may be uttered, expressed, manifested. And that utterance, that expression, that manifestation of invisible Godhead is the Christ, the Logos, the Word - God projected from the plane of the invisible and intangible into the realm of the visible and tangible. In that long ago beginning all things were created IN THE CHRIST, and apart from Him, outside of Him was not anything made that was made. In God's revelation of Himself and His plan of the ages He has used many characters, but the first one was Christ and the last one will be Christ again. All commences and concludes IN HIM!
The First and Last brings before us both the substance and the time element of creation. Hear now what the scripture says on this most vital subject. "For from (out of) Him everything comes; through Him everything exists; and in Him everything ends! Glory to Him for ever! (Rom. 11:36, Goodspeed). "For from (out of) Him and through Him and to Him are all things. For all things originate with Him and come from Him; all things live through Him, and all things center in and tend to consummate and to end IN HIM. To Him be glory for ever!" (Amplified). Ah - everything BEGINS in Him and all ENDS inHim! HE is the FIRST and the LAST! HE is the BEGINNING! The beginning, precious friend of mine, was not a date on the calendar. The beginning was and is a glorious PERSON - our Lord Jesus Christ! Christ Himself IS the beginning! If you consider with reverent honesty these words of significance and truth, you will understand as never before the spiritual words which open our Bible in Genesis 1:1: "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." IN THE B-E-G-I-N-N-I-N-G! And just what or who is "the beginning?" Christ! Thus, the spiritual translation of Gen. 1:1 would read, "IN THE CHRIST God created the heavens and the earth. Jesus Christ is "the beginning of the creation of God" (Rev. 3:14). All things were created in this beginning. The beginning is neither time or place. The beginning is a Person. Christ is the beginning. All things were created in the Christ. "For IN HIM were all things created. IN HIM all things were created and set in order in the beauty and unity and perfection and harmony of the Spirit of God.
And then something awesome happened! The creation was thrust OUT OF Christ, lowered into this gross material realm. This we have verified in the following scriptures: "But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you" (I Pet. 1:19-20). Again, "And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the lamb slain from the foundation of the world (Rev. 13:8). I do not wish to appear to be "splitting hairs" nor do I wish to invent doctrines, but to me it is infinitely important to pay special attention to the word "foundation" in the passages just quoted. Foundation is from the Greek word KATABOLE, derived from KATABALLO, which is a compound of two words, KATA, meaning "down", and BALLO, meaning "to throw". The precise meaning of the word is "to throw down" and bespeaks, moreover, a rupture, breach, breaking or tearing assunder, schism, scission, fission - a disruption. It does not mean, as our Authorized Version has it, the establishing of the foundation of the world, but, conversely, the breaking up or disruption of the world! The Concordant Version of the New Testament correctly renders it thus: "Christ ... a flawless and unspotted Lamb, foreknown, indeed, before the disruption of the world." Again, "...the Lambkin which has been slain from the disruption of the world."
The question readily follows: When did this disruption of the world occur? It will be helpful to turn to Gen. 1:1-2 wherein we read, "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The first verse contents itself with a simple statement of a consummated act. Not a word about the method, manner, means or procedure of creation, and nothing of its result. The second verse carries a tremendous suggestion of collapse in its touching picture of the Spirit of God brooding over the watery face of the formless void! Let us see what a careful word study of this second verse will reveal.
In the Authorized Version the text begins: "And the earth was..." This word in the Hebrew text is also translated "but", or "moreover". Thus in the Septuagint version of the scripture the text begins: "But the earth had become..." and this is the sense of the Vulgate as well. The second word to be noted is the one translated in the English Bible was". The Hebrew language lacks a word for "became", so the word "was" is always used to carry out the sense of "became". This phrase then literally reads, "But the earth had become..." Tohu v'bohu! This phrase, "tohu v'bohu", is translated in the American Revision waste and void". In the Authorized Version it reads, "without form and void", but the sense of this phrase is even stronger than that. The Septuagint says, "But the earth had become unfurnished and empty," the Vulgate says, "dreary and empty," and the Aramaic makes the strongest and clearest statement of all: "And the earth had become ruined and uninhabited!" Hebrew scholars have said that this is the clearest statement of all, as the term "tohu v'bohu" literally means "desolation succeeding previous life. The second verse of Genesis, then, literally should read, "But the earth had become desolate, ruined, unfurnished, disrupted, fragmented and chaotic, covered with water and shrouded in darkness. And the Spirit of God brooded over the face of the waters. Let us clearly keep in mind that all this is prior to the six days of creation, or re-creation. Isaiah states that God created the earth not a waste (Isa. 45:18) and Moses states that the earth nevertheless had become a waste.
When God lowered the creation from the realm of pure spirit existence in Christ, to the gross material realm, there occurred a mighty disruption, breaking up, or fragmentation. The creation was "made subject to vanity" and the whole downward process of disintegration and dissolution was begun. Just as our ascent back into the image and fullness of God is ever "from glory to glory," "from faith to faith," and "from experience to experience," so the process downward into fragmentation and dissolution continued through various stages and vast ages of time until the lowest depths of frustration were reached.
Let me explain as simply as I can how and why this disruption took place. When the creation came OUT OF God, lowered into the material realm, it came forth in a state of fragmentation. God is invisible. As such He cannot be seen by any of His creatures in the physical, material universe. Creation's purpose is to manifest His excellence. All things in nature point to God and are pictures, revelations of His essence. But no one thing reveals Him fully. Fragments are everywhere. His power is in the wind. His light is in the sun. Monarchs faintly mirror His majesty. The rushing, gushing crystal fountains of water figure His quickening Spirit of life. His gentleness, His compassionate heart of infinite love is discerned in a mother's face and the touch of her hand The "rock of ages" reveals the strength, stability and unchangeableness of His righteous dominion. Ten thousand other items proclaim His glorious attributes, character and Being. Yet each lacks the qualities inherent in the others. Each fragment tells us something about God; none tell us all about Him. Beyond these lies the vast negative realm of sin, evil, darkness and death!
It is a remarkable fact that the six creative days were as much a process of division as of constitution. The great work of separation, segregation and fragmentation continued just as soon as God said, "Let there be light! The next act was just this: "And God divided the light from the darkness. And God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day" (Gen. 1:4). This business of division, separation and fragmentation did not stop with that one inauspicious act. God divided the waters from the water, (Gen. 1:6). He set great lights in the firmament of the heavens, the stars, sun and moon; and made a difference between them, for "There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differs from another star in glory" (I Cor. 15:41). God separated Eve from Adam, so that the graces and powers of man are divided; only in the twain is there one flesh.
When God took a "rib" from Adam, the Hebrew word is TSELA used elsewhere of "side", or "side chamber", or just "chamber", obviously God took more than just a bone, but that whole chamber, the womb, and from this He built a womb-man, or woman. From that time on she would help, assist the man to bring forth after his own kind, and without her help man could not come to complete fulfillment in the producing of this progeny. "God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: ... So God created man in His own image, in the image of God created He him; male and female created He them" (Gen. 1:26-27). "In the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made He him; male and female created He them; and blessed them, and called their name Adam, in the day when they were created" (Gen 5:1-2).
There is no doubt about it, when God first brought forth Adam, both the male and female were together in one, after the image and likeness of God. As to the ONENESS OF GOD we have already given reference: "Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is ONE LORD. And when God brought forth Adam there was this state of oneness, male and female in one, and "He called their name Adam. If God had originally brought forth male and female divided, saying, "These are My image and likeness," He would have been portraying in the natural the fact that He was divided in the spiritual. But He did not first bring them forth in a divided state. Adam was brought forth in oneness, and afterwards came the division. This must be very clear in our understanding, because when all is RESTORED AGAIN to that which it once was, you could not be restored into ONENESS if oneness was not the original state.
Furthermore, as the progeny of Adam increased upon the earth God divided the families of man, segregating them into peoples and nations with their unique customs and languages (Gen. 10:5, 32). Later the land mass of the earth itself was split apart, with the segments drifting away to form continents, and thus, in the days of one, Peleg, "was the earth divided" (Gen. 10:25).
To further develop this theme let us note that man himself came OUT OF God and in the process experienced the lack that naturally followed his fragmentation from the wholeness of God. The book of Genesis gives two accounts of the creation of man. As I have studied the Word of God, many things have become very evident, one of which is that there are two distinct creations or works of God revealed in chapters one and two of Genesis. In Gen. 1:26-27 the first of these creative acts, in respect to man, is presented, and as we consider the wonderful advent of man created "in the image and likeness of God" we can only conclude that this is a SPIRITUAL MAN brought forth out of the very spirit-substance of God Almighty and bearing His own divine nature, character and attributes. The image of God is the nature of God reproduced in man. The second work of God wrought upon man is related in Gen. 2:7 where we see this significant action taking place: "And the Lord God FORMED MAN OF THE DUST OF THE GROUND, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. Reading this passage we have the definite assurance that, as man has been first created" in the spiritual image of God, a further work is being carried forth and the man is now being "formed" into another expression: "FORMED of the dust of the ground," thus BECOMING a "living soul" - manifest in the earth realm. The first is the created man, the second the formed man. The first is a spiritual man bearing God's image, the second a physical man. The first bears the image of the heavenly, while the second bears the image of the earthly. The first is known unto God in the Spirit, the second is manifest to the physical world. The first dwells in the ONENESS of God, the second is divided in the realm of the flesh. The very fact that the scripture states that Adam became a living soul, reveals that there was a process of descending from pure spirit existence, into a lesser realm.
I would point out that Adam had already "fallen", as it were, before he partook of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. It was because he had already been lowered from a higher realm that he did partake of this tree. One of the outstanding texts which shows this lowering of man and his subsequent lack is Ps. 8:4-5 wherein we read: "What is man, that You are mindful of him? and the son of man, that You visit him? For You have made him a little lower than the angels..." The word "angels" in this passage is from the Hebrew ELOHIM and is always the Old Testament word for GOD. The phrase "made a little lower that the angels" would more freely be translated from the Hebrew text, "You have caused him (man) to LACK FROM ELOHIM." When God would execute the purpose of the ages He laid hold of His ELOHIM COMPANY and stripped from them some of that glory, that fullness, that oneness, and caused them to lack, for He subjected us to the bondage of vanity and corruption, emptiness and nothingness, not willingly on our part, but by reason of HIM who subjected us in hope - hope, in the words of another: "...that out of all its travail and processings would come forth a company that would redound to His praise, that the inherent glory of our pre-existent state in God, and the acquired glory through the contact with evil, and the overcoming thereof, would combine their effulgence and the latter state would be greater than the former; so that all we once had, plus all that is wrought out through the processing will combine their effulgence, and redemption's glory will shine out to His praise and all the universe shall throb anew with wonder of the power and the inworking of the grace of God" - end quote.
But in the meantime we were made to lack, lowered from that pure spirit existence in the image of God. "You have made him a little lower than Elohim," the spirit was lowered, it was made to lack from the realm of fullness, so that some of the counter-balancing qualities which promote order and righteousness were missing. This immediately made man vulnerable to any temptation that might come his way and so he fell into the delusion of sin. The very moment the spirit was made to lack man fell into the power of death. This in turn produced a change in even the body of man and he became subject to this realm of gross materialism as we know it now. And so, when we come to Adam in the garden, when the Lord God formed him of the dust of the ground and placed him in the garden to dress it, guard it, keep it, and take care of it, Adam was ALREADY SHORT OF THE GLORY OF GOD! He had already been lowered, had already "fallen", as it were, and been made to lack. He did not have sufficient resources to fulfill the command of God. And God planned it this way!
The moment you understand this truth, it is a simple matter to grasp the fact that all sin - with the whole realm of vanity, darkness, evil and death - is the fruit and manifestation of an IMBALANCE, A LACK, a DEFICIENCY, a FRAGMENTATION.
This brings us to a question of tremendous import. Did GOD create the devil? Well, we know he did not create himself! "For You have created all things. And he did not "just happen"! The reason some have held the view that Satan was originally an angel who, of his own free will rebelled against the Most High, is because it seems to relieve God of the responsibility of evil and sin in the world. When they are asked if a good God created a bad devil, they can reply: "No He did not create the devil; He created a beautiful and powerful angel who later became the devil - all by himself! This sounds good on the surface, but when the Spirit of wisdom and revelation comes from God, this line of reasoning is seen to be but shallow inductions of the natural mind.
How could a good God create a bad devil? How could a holy God create a wicked devil? How could the God of infinite love create a devil of utter hatred and viciousness, a murderer from the beginning? How could the God of all Truth create a devil who is a liar and the father of it, who never did, from the very beginning, have any truth in him? How could the God who IS LIGHT, and in whom there is no darkness at all, create a devil who is the Prince of the power of darkness?
There are untold millions of Christians who do not like to believe that A-L-L T-H-I-N-G-S A-R-E O-F G-O-D - including evil. They much prefer to believe, as the harlot system has taught them, that in the beginning God made everything "perfect", then one of the "perfect" angels "made himself" into the devil, and that devil came in and wrecked the works of God's hands and so degraded God's beautiful and perfect creation that the Lord Almighty Himself was hard put to the test to discover some means to restore creation from the clutches of this wicked one. Why, oh why, can men not believe the simple, unvarnished Word of God? Ah, we have God's own word for it - His positive statement that HE CREATES EVIL. "That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, THAT THERE IS NONE BESIDE ME. I am the Lord, and there is none else. I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil. I THE LORD DO ALL OF THESE THINGS" (Isa. 45:7). God creates evil! It cannot be! But here it is in the Word. What will you do with it, beloved? "We must explain it somehow," the fundamentalist says. "Surely it cannot mean that God creates evil, sin, sinners, devils, wrongdoing - it must mean that He creates physical evil famines, pestilences, hurricanes, tornadoes, forest fires, floods, calamities, judgments, etc. which God sends upon mankind as punishment for their wickedness." Not so! The word here for "evil" is the Hebrew word RA which is used throughout the Old Testament to denote wickedness, sin and wrongdoing. In some five hundred passages it is so used!
But how could God do this? The answer is so simple, so plain, so basic, we blush and bow our heads with shame even for the asking! How can you create darkness? Just by turning off the light! Anyone can perform this simple feat at any hour of the day or night. The sequence is totally correct, as we read in Isa. 45:7, "I FORM THE LIGHT, and create darkness." The initial state is light. God is light and He was before all things - eternal, omnipresent Light. Withdraw that light and there is darkness. But the light came first, and therefore is always able to swallow up the darkness into light itself again. "The light still shines in the darkness and the darkness has never put it out" (Jn. 1:5, Phillips). The light will always conquer darkness, but darkness shall never conquer light. But to create darkness - it is only necessary to withdraw the light!
Another illustration: Life is a cause, death is a result, an effect of the withdrawing of life. Death witnesses to how great LIFE really is! But life will not tell you anything at all about death, for as long as there be life, death is non-existent. But let us pursue this truth a little further, for Jesus spoke concerning the devil, that "He abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it" (Jn. 8:44). J. B. Phillips gives the plainest and most accurate translation: "He ALWAYS WAS a MURDERER, and he has NEVER DEALT WITH THE TRUTH, since the truth will have nothing to do with him. Whenever he tells a lie, he speaks in character, for he is a liar and the father of lies."
Now, how did the devil come into this state of being a liar, never having dealt in truth, always a murderer, and one in whom there never has been any light or life? Simple! When God brought all things forth OUT OF HIMSELF, He withheld something from this being we know as the devil, caused him to lack, created a deficiency, and made him in a condition of fragmentation or separation from certain essential elements. God withheld light. He withheld truth. He withheld life. In the same way a hormonal imbalance in a human being can cause excruciating pain, sickness, stunted growth, vicious temper, mental illness, or create a psychopathic killer - so a SPIRITUAL or PSYCHICAL deficiency or imbalance produces a spiritually deranged personality out of character with the perfect nature of God.
It is not that the devil has no truth - even the truth he has is a lie for it is truth out of balance, partial truth, a half-truth, which, though it contains an element of truth, is not truth at all, but a lie. In the true and eloquent words of a friend: "The serpent (in the garden of Eden) used an argument that is correct in form, but because it was only form and had lost its essence, Eve was deceived by it. What was the argument that he used that was 'correct in form but actually invalid?' Hear it! 'God does know that in the day yea eat thereof, your eyes shall be opened!' That was a truth - and 'yea shall be as gods' was also a truth, for after the man and the woman had eaten, the Lord God Himself verified the serpent's statement as being absolute truth. 'Behold, the man is become as one of us to know good and evil,' God said (Gen. 3:22). He was saying that Adam had become as a god himself! 'You shall be as gods,' the serpent had said, and that he told the truth is confirmed in the words, 'The man has become as one of us' he has become AS A GOD! In form, then, the serpent had a truth. He had, in fact, drawn on the very Word of God itself to tempt Adam and Eve, for the Lord had said, 'Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.' What the serpent failed to reveal, however, was the essence of the form which is that INDEPENDENTLY OF GOD man can never be a partaker of the divine nature! This should have been a self-evident truth, but man failed to see it. Man became a god, alright, in the eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil - but he became a god in the wrong realm, for at the same time that God acknowledged man's 'deity' He also CAST HIM FROM THE GARDEN - cast him from the Kingdom of Heaven on earth - and set him in the earth 'to till the ground from which he was taken.' Thus, we find that Adam truly became a 'god' - as the serpent promised and the Lord confirmed - but he was not an heavenly god. He became, rather, the 'god of this world' (II Cor. 4:4). It is one thing to be a 'partaker of the divine nature' and it is quite another thing to be the 'god of this world.' In the former, there is contained the thought of TOTAL DEPENDENCE - in the latter, the principle of INDEPENDENCE" - end quote.(for more on the devil, see link below)
Independence - separation - fragmentation - imbalance - these terms each bespeak of that which has come out of God into a state of division, disruption, disunion, thus lacking wholeness. As we pointed out earlier, all sin, evil, darkness and death is the result of an imbalance or lack. All nature provides us with graphic illustrations of the result of both balance and imbalance.
One of the great principles of the universe is the principle of balance. If the earth were a few miles closer to the sun, it would be an inferno. If it were a few miles farther away it would be a desolate, frigid desert. But in its present location, balanced at an ideal distance from the sun, our planet is in a perfect condition to sustain an exciting proliferation of life forms. None of the other planets in our solar system can accommodate life because they are all unbalanced in their relationship to the sun. The atoms that are the basic building blocks of all matter on earth are another example of this perfect balance. The nucleus of the atom is made up of neutrons and protons, an incredibly harmonious organization. Yet, it is through the splitting of one of these atoms that the cataclysmic eruptions of nuclear power take place. The disruption of the atom brings devastation, sickness and death. To function properly, every part of our world, no matter how miniscule, must be in a state of complete equilibrium.
And so it is with our bodies. The human body is just another part of the universe that is meant to be in perfect balance. We have been constructed in such a way that we need just so much exercise, no more and no less. We need ust so much food of certain types. And we need just the right amount of sleep and relief from the tensions and stresses of daily life. If a person goes too far in either direction - too little or too much exercise, food, or rest - then his or her entire physical and psychological system gets out of kilter. And where there is a lack of balance, there is also a lack of personal well-being. By the same token, on the positive side, where there is balance, there is total well-being. Dis-ease is the product of imbalance in the physiological system. Cancer is one of the most dangerous and most dreaded of all diseases. In cancer, some of the cells of the body become disorganized and begin to grow so fast that they choke off organs of the body that our lives depend on. When those organs can no longer work, the person dies.
Food is an example from nature of the need for balance and wholeness. The best source of all nutritional elements is foods to which we are naturally adapted, eaten in their natural condition. If the food cannot be ingested in its raw and natural state, exactly as it came from the hand of the Creator, unprocessed and otherwise untampered with, it does not by nature belong in the human diet. We live in the day of refined foods, and refined means simply - FRAGMENTED AND DIVIDED! God provides us with the whole grain of wheat, and what technology and science does to the wheat after it is harvested is an outrage. First, the wheat grain is stripped of its most important nutritional elements by the removal of the bran. Then the germ of the wheat (the living part of the seed, which is full of enzymes and even more vitamins) is destroyed or discarded. What is left? The wheat center, which is mostly starch with very few distinctive vitamins. This lifeless form is then processed into flour; chemicals are added, and this is presented to the public as white, high quality, enriched flour. How can a food be "enriched" when all of the wholesome, natural nutrition is taken out of it and chemicals are substituted for the living vitamins, minerals and proteins? This snow-white powder, best suited for making wall-paper paste, is then formed into products called macaroni, spaghetti, noodles, bread, pastries, etc.. Humans consume large amounts of this fiberless paste (pasta), it passes from the stomach into the intestines where it clings to, and corrodes, the walls of the intestinal tract, fermenting and putrefying over long periods of time, and then we wonder why so many are dying from colon cancer!
Nutritive sufficiency depends on whole foods compounded by nature, according to God's design. Vitamins extracted from foods lose much of their value in the process of extraction. And they lose value when separated from their biochemical partners. The heat, chemicals and preservatives employed to bring them to the consumer make them liabilities, not assets. No fragmented or unnatural concoction can possibly substitute for natural, whole foods. All fragmented foods are deficient. Every fragmented food lacks wholeness. Each fragmented food is unbalanced. The result of this fragmentation is disease and death. And in the spiritual realm fragmentation means to lack something of that wholeness and fullness we knew once IN GOD before being lowered into the earth realm, made a soulish man, and separated from the life that is in Him. The lack has not been dispersed equally - demonic spirits lack far more than men of Adam's race, and one man may lack a different element than another, but "ALL have sinned, and come short of the glory of God" (Rom. 3:23). The power of sin and death is to be discovered in this universal DEFICIENCY, this coming short of God's glory, this fragmentation of creation when it came out of God.
Many things that are good for us can become threats to our well-being if they get out of hand. Water is good, but too much causes a flood. Cars provide efficient transportation, but too many of them in one place can cause a traffic jam. We need food every day, but if we eat too much, it shows up in the wrong places - our hips and waistlines. Things like these we must keep under control. The most important form of control is self-control, which originates within our hearts by the Spirit. To exercise self-control, we must be moderate - temperate - balanced - we must restrain the impulses of the flesh and the emotions and desires of the carnal mind. "Now the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, fidelity, tolerance, SELF-CONTROL against these there is no law" (Gal. 5:22-23, KJV & Phillips). Interesting, isn't it, that self-control is a fruit of the HOLY SPIRIT! The Lord our God is ONE Lord united, undivided, unfragmented, balanced in all His attributes and Being. Nothing is out of control, nothing unbalanced, no contradiction or conflict. All facets of His nature are perfectly harmonized. This is just the problem with man - he is out of balance!
Bear with me as I draw your attention to yet another illustration - anger. Many Christians think any expression of anger is bad. Jesus Christ couldn't have been perfect, say some, for He lost His temper and became angry. Jesus Christ evidently was not perfect because He became angry. Is that true? I am afraid that it most certainly is true that Jesus Christ got angry. We read in the scripture that He looked round upon them with anger. Elsewhere we read that seeing the traffickers within the temple He made whips out of cords and drove the money changers out of the temple in anger. It is most certainly true that Jesus Christ became angry. It is not true, however, that this means He was not perfect. In fact, this is a demonstration of the many-faceted perfections of the Christ!
It has been argued that anger is always and invariably a sin. It is no doubt true that anger is often a very destructive and evil emotion, but it is far from true to say that anger is always that type of an emotion. Eph. 4:26 says, "Be yea angry, and sin not." "BE ANGRY." It is a command! "Be yea angry! and sin not." Furthermore, the Bible clearly tells us that God is angry with the wicked every day. Therefore, if anger is a sin, it is self-evident that God is a sinner and this, of course, is, on the very face of it palpably absurd. No, anger may be a virtue. In fact, the absence of anger under certain conditions may be a sin. It is one of the sins prevalent in America today.
Anger is often seen as a result of the fall of mankind. However, before Adam and Eve fell, God gave them the commission to "replenish the earth, and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moves upon the earth" (Gen. 1:28). Without an aggressive drive, Adam and Eve would have been unable to subdue the earth or maintain dominion over it. Anger and emotion were part of the emotional equipment man was given for the task. However, as a result of the fall, anger has become one of man's worst enemies. Uncontrolled, unbalanced, or misdirected, it can complicate or destroy one's life.
Temper in balance is a godly emotion, but unbalanced, on either side of the scale, it becomes sin. A person whose temper is unbalanced on the passive side will sit in his favorite chair reading the morning paper while the kids break up the furniture and demolish the house. He is not stirred to action, so sits passively by, ignoring the problem. On the other side, uncontrolled anger is vicious, destructive, and often deadly. If all that power is mishandled, it can create all kinds of havoc. For literally millions of Americans, anger is their number one enemy. Some ten million of our people - in anger - physically abused their children last year. More than five million men - in anger - beat up their wives last year. And over one-half of all the homicides in our country involved two people who knew each other well but - usually in anger one shot or knifed or otherwise destroyed the other. Anger, out of control, can devastate our lives. There is no emotion which of itself is evil. It is only when it is used outside the limits and structure that God has established that it becomes an evil. Controlled, temperate, balanced anger will neither ignore a child's misbehavior nor abuse him. It will correct in the proper spirit of firmness and sternness - tempered with love. Such is the way of OUR FATHER. "And yea have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of Him: for whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom He receiveth. Furthermore, we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?" (Heb. 12:5-9).
We want to make this as plain as we possibly can. Sin and evil are always the result of a lack, an imbalance in man. Sex is a wonderful and beautiful thing in the order of God, but out of balance it is demeaning and creates problems of guilt, distrust, broken homes, venereal disease, etc. Within the marriage union it is holy, the apt figure for the spiritual love and union between Christ and the church; but out of balance expresses itself in fornication, adultery, homosexuality, bestiality and all manner of uncleanness. The awesome power of true love will keep a man's sexual drive in order - giving him eyes only for his beloved; but when a man lacks pure love, or God's own divine nature of holiness and purity, his fleshly passions run unchecked, having no counter-balance, he is "drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death" (James 1:14-15).
God Himself possesses the qualities of hatred, jealousy, vengence, anger, and all the dark emotions of men who steal and fight and lust and murder and destroy. But you see - each of these emotions are counter-balanced by His attributes of love, goodness, wisdom, righteousness and holiness. Every divine action therefore is balanced, nothing out of control, and God who sinneth not is One who IS light, and in Him there is no darkness at all! Men, however, retaining these negative emotions unbalanced by the positive characteristics of God's nature, manifest such out of balance and fill the earth with evil, violence and death. Satan himself, possessing the attributes of selfhood, halftruth, hatred and vengeance, unbalanced by the positive, goes about as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.
We have met some brethren in this end-time move of the Spirit who have exaggerated the bright side of the love of God out of all proportion to the other aspects of His justice and judgment. The love of God has been presented in such a way that it is a weakness rather than a strength. It has been presented on the sunny side of the street with nothing on the other side ever mentioned. There is a "love" of God preached that sounds to me like the doting indulgence of rather senile grandparents instead of the vital and vigorous concern of a Father for the best interests of a son. They have used the shipworn cliche "God is love, God is love, God is love" until love has become such a one-sided, mushy gooey, syrup-sweet thing, and they have not told about the dark side of the love of God. They have watered love down, making it sickening rather than stimulating, causing it to slop over on every side like a sentimental feeling rather than an abiding concern for the object of love. This, too, is imbalance - sin!
Let every man and woman who treasures the beautiful hope of sonship know that there is the DARK SIDE OF GOD'S LOVE! Ah, the Great Physician will put His child on the operating table. He will use the surgeon's knife when He sees a tumor of self-will or a deadly virus of carnality sapping our spiritual lives, or when He sees the cancerous growth of sin. He does not hesitate to deal with us severely. We must learn this fact early: He loves us ust as much when He is subjecting us to surgery, as when He sends us blessings and gifts and brings us into the sunshine of His glory. Precious friend of mine, He loves us most when He is dealing severely with us, "for whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom He receiveth." God's great and eternal love is perfectly balanced. Truly, the Lord our God is ONE!
Writings in This Series: