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Monday, June 29, 2009

The WHY of Creation / Part 3: Theory vs. Experience

In part 1 and part 2 of this series we concluded that:

  1. God the Father is an invisible being because He is immaterial; He is Intelligence and Energy but not a corporeal being.
  2. One of the reasons for material creation was to make manifest, make visible the invisible God through his material creation. (Romans 1:20)
  3. However, the main reason for material creation was for God the Creator who is Spirit not flesh to begin to exist as a corporeal being, have bodily existence. Jesus Christ is God in corporeal form, God in a body. (Colossians 2:9)

The question that arises is why did God, who is Spirit, who is perfect, who is infinite in understanding deem it necessary to make himself a body. Hebrews 10:5 Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me. In order to understand why God has driven the Universe through successive ages, and suffered so much, up to and including the pain of death at the hands of his own creation just so that he could begin existence in a body or bodies it is needful to understand the difference between THEORETICAL KNOWLEDGE and EXPERIENTIAL KNOWLEDGE.

Job 42:5 I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee. 6 Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.

We have all heard the story of Job whose name has become synonymous with patience in suffering. The question that many have asked is why God allowed Job, who was a righteous man, to suffer the things he did. The answer to this question is found in the 2 verses quoted above; Job was a man with a great deal of mental knowledge of God but without actually having experienced God. It is like man living in a desert who has heard much about oceans and even seen pictures of them. He knows all about tides and waves and tsunamis but he has never ever seen the ocean. The experience of seeing the ocean, of witnessing the majesty of high waves or the terrible power of a tsunami can never be compared to mere mental knowledge of these things even if a person has seen pictures, or even video footage of such events. We all saw the terrible videos of the 2004 tsunami but not one of us can understand the experience of those who lived through it or died in it. The point here is that there is a world of difference between ‘theoretical knowledge’ and ‘experiential knowledge’. What Job gained from his ordeal was the experience of God; he went from someone who had all the theoretical knowledge of skydiving to actually jumping out of an airplane at 10,000 feet. He now knew God; he had experienced God whereas before he only knew about God. This new found experience of God led him to repent, to change fundamentally in the core of his person so that it became forever impossible for him to ever be the same person he was prior to this EXPERIENCE.

One of the most important words in the bible is the word KNOW, it is the word YADA in Hebrew (Strong’s H 3045). yāḏa‛: A verb meaning to know, to learn, to perceive, to discern, to experience, to confess, to consider, to know people relationally, to know how, to be skillful, to be made known, to make oneself known, to make to know. The simple meaning, to know, is its most common translation out of the eight hundred or more uses. One of the primary uses means to know relationally and experientially. This word more often than not means EXPERIENTIAL KNOWLEDGE rather than mere theoretical knowledge. This idea of experiencing life to gain the knowledge of life goes back to Genesis and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. What Adam, and mankind as a whole needed was not the mere theoretical knowledge of good and evil, they needed to EXPERIENCE good and evil. Why they needed to experience evil is an important part of the WHY of creation and will be addressed in this series in a future article. Genesis 3:22 And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know (YADA - EXPERIENCE) good and evil. Let’s also look at Genesis 3:5 For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. What the serpent was telling Eve and Adam was that by eating the forbidden fruit they would gain the experience of good and also of evil, experiences that would give them the knowledge of good and evil that they could not otherwise obtain.

As an aside the preceding two scriptures also define for us what the word god (Hebrew Elohim) means in the bible. In Gen 3:22 The LORD God (Hebrew JEHOVAH Elohim) said that man is become one of us (Elohim). The devil in Gen. 3:5 told Adam and Eve that they would become as ‘gods’ (Elohim)… So what was the pre-requisite to be considered ‘gods’ or Elohim? The answer according to both the LORD God and the serpent is to KNOW (have the experience) of good and evil, that’s it. According to this definition all mankind are Elohim, gods! Not that they have superpowers or can leap tall buildings or fly like nocturnal creatures but rather that they have the experience of good and evil. Some Elohim are fallen angels, some are devils or demons, some are mankind but there is one Elohim, one God whose name alone is JEHOVAH who is the maker of all these other Elohim, or gods. No other Elohim whether angel or beast, such as the serpent of Genesis, or man can claim that name JEHOVAH, who alone is the true God, the true Elohim, the Creator who has made all things. Although there are many Elohim (gods), there is only one JEHOVAH, the great I AM, the maker and former of all things. The bible does say about man that ‘ye are gods’ (Elohim) but don’t get too excited, it doesn’t mean you should wear a cape and leap off the Empire State building, all that will happen is that you will be flattened like a pancake. The knowledge of good and evil that comes to us through the experience of good and evil indeed makes us ‘gods’ but not in the sense that is generally implied when the word God or gods is used. In contrast, WE, meaning mankind, have been given power to become the ‘sons of God’ which is an entirely new species of creature of whom Jesus Christ was the Firstbegotten, the archetype. John 1:12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name. As this series progresses it will become apparent what these seemingly confusing terms such as Elohim, sons of God as in Gen. 6, Firstbegotten, only begotten and begotten sons of God really mean. God is not the author of confusion so a careful study will reveal to us truths so that, like Job we too will be able to say, ‘Now mine eye seeth thee.’ God will become visible to us and will no longer remain a hidden mystery that we only know about, rather than having experienced and handled as the apostles and the early disciples did.

The question still remains why God put himself in a body and suffered so much? If He is of infinite understanding could he not have done things differently? What’s so special about the body that God who is Spirit and thus immune to all the trials and tribulations that come with a body chose to house himself in a body? Remember the word EXPERIENCE that I wrote about earlier in this article, keep that word in mind as we come to the understanding the relationship of the body to the experiencing of life, not just for man but also for God.

To be continued…

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