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Fruit of the Poisonous Tree Chapter Seven

Where did angels come from?

There are a couple of basic theories, one of which is absolutely useless: its a mystery!!  The second is almost as useless because it creates an entire scheme based upon a supposition out of Biblical silence concerning their creation.  It is known as the gap theory and it posits that the angelic realm was created between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2.  Angels were created, Lucifer developed pride and he was such a silver-tongued devil that he talked a full third of the rest of the heavenly host to follow him into damnation!!  I don’t buy that theory.  Arguing from silence is never safe especially where one is developing Biblical doctrine.  It is too much akin to the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception or the Assumption of Mary.  But so many have taken part in imaginative ‘exegesis’, I thought it only appropriate that I give it a shot.  Are you with me?  Here goes.

Since Scripture does not give us a day on which the angels were created in the way doctrine has led us to believe, how about this and I will go on to support these thoughts Scripturally at the end:

The first use of the word angel is at Genesis 16:7.  This is during the time of Abraham,  way far and gone after Adam and the Fall.  So here is my theory:  The Flood was Judgement on all mankind save 8 people.  Man is given once to die and then the Judgement.  So what if angels are the eternal transfigurations of the beings who served God before the Flood?  We have no idea how many that might be and the only inkling we have as to their make-up is Jesus at the Mount of Transfiguration.

God gave Noah the sign of the rainbow to remember that the earth will never again be destroyed by water–next time will be fire.  The whole thing seems to me to point back to the plan of God in His revelation of something coming after — a purpose for His people that does not really include sitting on a cloud playing a harp or strolling along the streets of gold with no purpose at all for the rest of eternity!

So if this theory holds water it means that the angels began with the birth of the people they were born as.  Now if that is the case, then the lament for the King of Tyre and the King of Sidon instead of pointing to some ephemeral fallen angel whose genesis we are in the dark about, points to Eden and Adam who is the vessel; the one who was a liar and a murderer from the beginning; the one who passed that curse to all mankind; the one who was not deceived but ate anyway; the one who was created to be the covering cherub and instead coveted the position of chosen one for himself; despising the birthright but coveting the blessing.

There is a great deal we simply cannot know about this, but is it really any more than what we cannot know about the story behind the Fall of Lucifer and how he was able to convince a third of the angels to follow him?  I think not.  But there is so much we can clarify if we use this as a basis of understanding for our nature and our culpability!   Examine the plan of God in a new light and see what is gleaned.  Nobody except those with some sort of axe to grind or ego to defend can fault one for asking honest questions and that is how one studies; by asking honest questions and coming up with truthful answers, whether those answers are doctrinal or not depends upon the truthfulness of the doctrine, not the unorthodoxy of the questions!

So what did it say about the King of Tyre?

Fruit of the Poisonous Tree Chapter Six

So, what about Eve?  Let’s start with controversial.  Eve was a derived being!  God caused Adam to fall into a deep sleep and from him took a rib.  Eve was created of Adam’s rib.  She was created of the nature and essence of Adam.  A derived being, not a lesser one!!!  It was probably too late to say that because just about everybody was already trying to find out what kind of bigot would believe such a thing before I got that far.

Adam and Eve were moral and spiritual equals.  They were not, however, equal to each other in the eyes of God in one very important way.  In Adam was vested the responsibility for adherence to the Covenant of Works.  Obedience to the law required Adam to do something, a work: Thou shalt not eat of the fruit of the tree ….  The Covenant was between Adam and God not Eve and God.  As long as Adam maintained his righteousness he would not surely die.

God placed them in paradise.  Gave Adam the perfect mate, dominion over all the earth, and the garden to tend — the perfect job (no weeds!)  And when Eve ate of the forbidden fruit, all he had to do, and there is no reason to believe he could not (except one) simply ask God to forgive her.  His righteousness would have covered her.

To take a step back, Eve looked at the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and saw something that was not true.  She saw that it was good for food.  That was a lie.  She saw that it was good to make one wise.  That was a lie.  And she saw that it was pleasant to look upon.  Why?  She knew the law.  She said so and even added it going so far as to say they were forbidden to even touch it.  But, her nature and character were derived from Adam.  She had his DNA!  She was quite literally his fraternal twin.  She believed the lie and she ate.  She gave to Adam and he ate!

She was deceived.  She believed the lie.  Adam was not deceived!  What was his reason?  Why would he enter into overt rebellion against the Creator and benefactor of every blessing he had?  What was it in his nature that caused such a breach in his fellowship with God?  The one reason Adam ate was, had to be, his carnal nature.  Nothing else is reasonable.  Nothing else makes sense.  Eve’s nature found the ways to deceive herself so she ate.  But Adam ate knowingly.  He partook knowing the consequences.  He ate so he could be like God. knowing good and evil.

The problem is that without omniscience we cannot define good and evil for ourselves.  What to us might seem good today might ultimately be evil.  God is the only source of the definition of what is good and what is truly evil.

Is evil an eternal concept?  God is eternally holy.  Holy means separate.  What is God separate from in eternity?  all that is antithetical to life and light!  That is what we are called to be and indeed must be when we enter eternity.  Holiness is actively pursuing all that is life and light and forever and completely eschewing all that is darkness and death.

The definition of God’s omniscience is not clairvoyance.  He does not look down the corridors of time and see what will happen.  God’s omniscience is the working out of the plan in intimate detail.  Scripture openly tells us we should not see God as the provider of all that is good and look elsewhere for the source of calamity!  No one knows the depth of God’s involvement in His creation, but we had better start taking it way more seriously than we do!  Unless of course that is too difficult.  Then maybe we should just be content to be nominal Christians.  Ya think!

We only really need to study enough to agree with long established doctrine.  Otherwise we might end up thinking thoughts too deep for us and commit blasphemy against God! (Or maybe only against the powers that be in religious circles)  Jefferson had it right! Question everything, even the existence of a God …

Next question: So where do the angels come from?

Fruit of the Poisonous Tree Chapter Five

Do God’s Ends Justify God’s Means?

Last time we looked at the nature and character of God.  We have looked at His plan and began to touch on the creation of man.  This time we go further into the creature and his nature as created by God to bear His image.

God created man from the dust of the ground, male and female He created them.  We are described as the vessel designed to carry the image of God.  The vessel was created and the difference between his creation and the creation of all the other animals bears examination.

One, Adam was created especially to bear the image of God.  Just as all the other animals were created, Adam was made out of the elements of the earth; the dust of the ground.  Then comes the big difference.  God breathed into him the breath of life!  What does that mean?  All the other animals have carnal life.

The question one must ask at this point is, was Adam created as a living being with carnal life before the breath of life was breathed into him?  Can it really have happened any other way?  Please bear with me for just a moment and consider the story of Jacob and Esau.  It says that they struggled in her womb.  And the prophecy was that the elder shall serve the younger.  Esau despised his birthright and sold it for a bowl of soup.  There is more but this will suffice for the moment.

What if the vessel, the elder, despised his birthright: bearing the image of God, carrying the breath of life, the younger; instead of being the chosen one himself.  What if Adam the vessel was the carnal covering cherub whose birthright was to submit to the law of God which is the schoolmaster through which we know good?  What if the carnal Adam was given a law though shalt not eat of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for on the day that thou eat of it you will die!

Now what if the serpent in the garden is the vessel scheming to sit on the throne?  Remember the carnal mind is not subject to the law of God indeed it cannot be.  What is the carnal mind going to do when confronted with the law of God?  Break it!

Did the ‘Fall’ change Adam’s nature from one of willing, grateful, obedient, child of God, to rebellious, lying, murderous, hater of God?  Where did Jesus say sin arose from?  He said that if one looks upon a woman to lust after her, he is an adulterer already!  Scripture says Eve was deceived but Adam was not!  When Adam considered the fruit of the tree to lust after it as good for food, good to make one wise, and pleasant to look upon he was already fallen.

The lie was already accepted in his heart and the murder of the breath of life and the image of God was committed.  Therefore he was a liar from the beginning and the father of lies and a murderer also.  My suggestion is that you read Ezekiel 28, a lamentation for the King of Tyre, in this light.

Does God creating a creature whose nature is carnal and not subject to His law make Him the author of sin?  I think not!  But what is your thought?

Is this train of thought just as plausible as the one theologians have posited concerning  the genealogy of Satan, Lucifer, whatever?  There is so much more that supports this thesis and I will continue soon.

What about Eve?  Was it really all her fault?

Fruit of the Poisonous Tree Chapter Four

Ah! The Serpent!

I am going to ask the reader to set aside everything you think you know about Satan, the Serpent, Lucifer, the Old Dragon, etc. and take a journey with me as I seek to explain how the church could be wrong in its doctrine of Satan.

To begin, remember why Jesus taught in parables?  This goes back to the plan of God;  the reason He created in the first place, the nature of Adam (Scripture clearly states that nothing we can do can change the color  of one hair from black to white, nor add one cubit to our stature), more on this soon, what it means that Jesus came as a man, the second Adam, the Covenant of Works, the creation account, why Timothy was admonished to study to show himself approved, the rules of logic and Biblical interpretation, the meaning of these three words: personification, disambiguation, and abstraction; and I am certain there are other items, but these will certainly keep us busy for the short term.  So here goes!

What is the plan of God?  The plan of God is the blueprint for His method of bringing mankind into fellowship with Him.  The Acme of that plan was the Incarnation, Crucifixion, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ.  It is by and through Him alone that any one of us can come into fellowship with the Father, becoming a co-heir with Him in eternity.  Can we judge the worthiness of His plan?  Are we competent to sit in judgement of the method by which God has chosen to bring us into fellowship with Him?  If we ask, “Is this the best of all possible worlds by which God’s plan might be accomplished?”, we are entering into the very epicentre of the world of Theodicy: to answer the question ‘if God is good, why is there evil in the world?’.

In order to remain at least somewhat humble, not sitting in judgement of God, and accepting that God is indeed Light and Life and in Him is no darkness at all;  that Jehovah, God, the Father of Jesus Christ, is omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent;  that He is holy above all else and the infinite source of all that is good, then we must accede to the fact that the world in which we exist is, beyond doubt, the best of all possible worlds by which His plan can come to fruition!

There are no accidents from God’s point of view.  God is sovereign.  That means nothing happens that is beyond His power to control, whether we like what is happening or the way it is happening, or not!  On a TV show dealing with Sodom and Gomorrah, the narrator gave a false dichotomy: he said we could believe Biblical account or we could accept that it was probably a meteor that exploded in the atmosphere and rained fire and brimstone down on them.  In the account of Jehoshaphat  and Ahab it says an archer fired his arrow at random into the air and it found a nitch in Ahab’s armor and killed him.  God had control of the arrow and used it to His purpose, He also has control of each and every item in the universe from the sub-atomic to the Galactic cluster and more.  It is not difficult to believe that a meteor did exactly what was required in bringing judgement on Sodom and Gomorrah.

So, as far as God’s plan is concerned, I believe he supernaturally controls His creation in ways we cannot even imagine.  What we must do is trust that ‘all things work for the good of those who love Him’.

And God said let us make man in our image…

Fruit of the Poisonous Tree Chapter Three

What about the Serpent in the Garden?

This really opens a can of worms..er serpents..er demons..er fallen angels..er something!  Something the church has a very difficult time wrapping its collective theological head around!  What is required to make Holy Scripture a revelation to His people and not an obfuscation to us, is a coherent doctrine concerning this issue; a doctrine that encompasses all of the issue without conflict; a doctrine that reveals to His people the source and genealogy of Satan without resorting to mystery or inserting a whole cosmos between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2 to try to explain where Satan and all the rest of the heavenly host  was before he and his followers were cast to earth to make our lives miserable!

If that can be done without violence to the text, indeed comprehending the plan of God, the condition of man, the proof that Jesus Christ really is the second Adam and as such redeemed His people by being one of us yet without sin, would it be worth investigating?  If only to see where it might be in error?  This journey may take unexpected turns.  It may even come into conflict with church tradition.  That is not something to be feared!

Tradition is not necessarily truth no matter how much anyone wants it to be!  Jesus rubbed the noses of the Pharisees in that fact many times and was hated for it.  His people are promised persecution.  His own people persecuted Him.  It was over a thousand years between Augustine and Luther.  Both of whom fought church tradition.  Augustine to proclaim doctrine, Luther to regain it.  Its been 500 years since the 95 Theses was posted on the chapel door at Wittenberg.  Isn’t it time to stir things up a bit?

The question is: What about the serpent in the garden?  Church doctrine (that is what they teach about a given topic) is that the serpent was Satan.  Either he was indwelling a serpent or something, but the Bible says serpent, but we know it was Satan who tempted Eve in the garden.  The serpent was somehow Satan, Satan was somehow the serpent!  Is that clear?  I don’t think so but I’ve been accused of being overly picky.  But is there a better understanding of who the serpent really was?  To see if that is possible we have to start at the very beginning with the creation account itself.

So let us begin with asking what day were the angels created on?  The creation account tells us what day every living thing, even the creeping things, were made.  But wait.  They aren’t in there.  I have been told on more than one occasion that doesn’t matter.  It’s not important that we know that.  How important is it that we know what day the creeping things were made?   What impact does their creation have on redemptive history?  Since Scripture is considered to be primarily about redemptive history, is it not a reasonable assumption that the creation details of the very first vehicle of temptation be included in the creation account?  They tell me if God thought we needed to know that, it would be there!  So evidently we don’t!  Unless it is, and we have been blind to it for millennia!

How could such a thing be so well hidden?

And the disciples came to Him and asked why He taught in parables.  And He told them, so that seeing they would not perceive and hearing they would not understand.  They have closed their eyes and become dull of hearing and their hearts are calloused.  But unto you it is given to understand.

And Paul wrote to Timothy saying Study to show yourself approved, a workman rightly dividing the word of truth!

Why would God’s Son teach so that people would not understand?

Consider this: Jesus Christ is the Word Incarnate.  Holy Scripture is the Word on paper.  If The Word Incarnate taught in parables, is it too much of a stretch to believe that Holy Scripture does the same?  Why else would Paul extol Timothy(and by extension us) to study to show himself approved?  He was already greatly used of God in establishing the first century church.  So why would he need to continue to study to show himself approved?

Okay, so what about the Serpent?

Fruit of the Poisonous Tree Chapter Two

Well do you think God’s ends justify God’s means?

Just what would that encompass?  God created His creation apart from, separate from Himself thus remaining Holy.  Of course, that assumption “thus remaining Holy” presupposes that His creation plan included “the Fall” and all that derived from it.  Which is not totally doctrinally orthodox.  Orthodoxy views the Fall as basically accounted for but not ordained.  Because if it were ordained in the sense that God made it happen, He would be the Author of Sin and we know that is not the case.

So how can His plan ordain the Fall and He still remain Holy?

We have to examine the Ends God had in view and the Means through which they would be obtained.

The Ends:  That mankind would join with the Son in Eternity in Holiness and Fellowship.

The Means:  That mankind must eschew evil and willingly become Holy as He is Holy.  Which requires that mankind must come to understand evil and its result then choose life and light.  To choose otherwise is darkness and death(read separation from all that is good).

So far that is not too complicated.  What’s the big deal?  Why is Christianity so confused and confusing?

Who wants to believe that God created Adam with a carnal nature?  That would fly in the face of the orthodox tradition that Adam was pure, innocent, loved God and would never have sinned if he hadn’t been tempted.

Question:  What could have tempted him if he didn’t have a carnal nature?  Galatians 5 lists the fruit of the spirit and the works of the flesh(carnal nature).  This pretty much lets us in on which part of Adam’s nature was in control when the ‘Fall’ took place.  Some believe he was deceived.  Scripture says Eve was deceived Adam was not.

So now the question becomes this:  Given that Adam was the arch-typical man the Acme of God’s creation; most intelligent, most beautiful, etc.; that God gave him paradise to live in, perfect job tending His garden, perfect mate, etc.; dominion over all the earth and its creatures to use as he saw fit; and only one law: do not eat of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, the tree in the midst of the garden; How could this Acme of God’s creation even conceive of rebelling against the One who had blessed him so greatly?  He was not deceived.  He was not insane.

If, as some have conjectured, he loved Eve so much that when she ate he decided to share her fate?  This is a specious conjecture at best!  If he had the close personal relationship with the Creator most believe, why would he not just refuse to eat what she offered and beg forgiveness for her disregard for the law trusting in the One Who had been so gracious already?  Could he possibly have had any reason to believe he would be refused?  But he didn’t!  He joined her in rebellion as the leader of it!  He being the federal head of the human race and named as the doorway through which  death entered the world!  She was deceived but he was not!  Scripture plainly points that out.

What reason is left?  The carnal mind is not subject to the law of God indeed it cannot be!  Therefore when given the law of God not to eat of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil–he ate!

Oh, But what about the Serpent in the Garden?