The Doctrine of StewardshipPart 6(Stewardship of the body continued)In Phase 1 of the Angelic Conflict, there was God and His angels on one side, and the devil and the fallen angels on the other. Man did not exist.In our ignorance, arrogance, and self-centeredness, it’s hard for us to imagine a universe in which Man did not yet exist. Why the devil chose planet Earth (if he had a choice) of all the planets in the universe to establish his kingdom, we are not told. But this choice or fact was what set the stage for planet Earth to later become the natural home of mankind and the ongoing battlefield of spiritual warfare.Phase 1 led to devastation of planet Earth whose original Creation was recorded in Gen. 1: 1.Scripture does not tell us how much time passed between the time that it was instantaneously created (Gen. 1: 1) and the time its surface was devastated (Jer. 4:23), leaving it formless and void with a darkened atmosphere (Gen. 1: 2).Other than this rebellion, Scripture does not give us much information as to what took place in Eternity Past before God created what we now refer to as the physical universe. We are told is that whatever went on, God was in charge and that it served a divine purpose.Scripture does not tell us how much time passed on planet Earth in-between the time it was spoken into existence and the time it’s devastation took place at the end of Phase One. At the end of the day, how much time passed really makes no difference. What does make a difference is our understanding the connection between these events and the creation of the human race that followed.As a result of this devastation, planet Earth’s surface became formless and void. Its later restoration is recorded in Gen. 1: 2-25. In God’s timing, the Earth produced vegetation. God created non-human natural creatures, that in their own way bring glory to God, providing a visual aid for humans to later discern the detailed creative power of God revealed in nature. These creatures live in the sea, the rivers, the air, and on the land.In God’s timing, the planet was restored in preparation for the next occupant (the human race) to be created. Man was created to participate in this ongoing conflict in the spiritual realm. In some cases, natural creatures were used by opposing forces in the realm of spiritual combat (Gen. 3: 1/Numbers 22: 28/Daniel 6: 22/Jonah 1: 17/ etc.), but the main spiritual objective of the spiritual activity was centered around either the salvation or the destruction of the human race that God created for His own glory.We are not told everything that we would like to know, but Scripture does tell us order and sequence of events in which Man was created. It tells us how Man was created, where Man was placed, and the primary reason that God created the human race.Of all these factors, the reason WHY God created the human race is the most important, as it defines what the purpose was for the creation of Man and what spiritual life is all about HERE on Earth, and its impact on eternity. Man was created to glorify God in the midst of this ongoing conflict in the spiritual realm. The choices that Man (as individuals) makes determined where and how each soul with everlasting life will experience eternity.Satan is pleased to see Man, and especially God's own people, focused on the questions that cannot (yet) be answered, rather than being focused on what Scripture has revealed. The last thing that Satan wants promoted is what Scriptures has to say about him and his infamous past BEFORE Man was created; what he is up to now (1Pet. 5: 8/Rev. 12: 9), and what ultimately is to become of him (Rev. 20: 10), the unbelievers (Rev. 20: 15 ), and the Christians (1Cor. 3: 15) that he can receive (Rev. 12: 9).To understand what Scripture has to say about creation vs. restoration, it is important to acknowledge the difference between the instantaneous “creative” work of God documented in Gen. 1:1 and the “restorative” work that came further along and documented in Gen. 1: 2-25. Ignorance or disinterest in all that happened between Gen.1: 1 and Gen. 1: 2 plays right into the hand of the devil. There is nothing recorded in Genesis about what happened, but much is revealed in other passages (e.g. Ezekiel 28: 14/ Isa. 14: 13/ Jer. 4: 23/Luke 10: 18). This underscores the need to examine ALL relevant passages of Scripture before drawing any conclusions or formulating doctrine. In a way, the kingdom here on Earth that Satan lost at the end of Phase One was recovered and re-established at the Fall of Man; a claim that Jesus did not refute (Luke 4: 6). The devil failed to disqualify (Matt. 4: 1-11/Luke 4: 1-13) Jesus as the Lamb of God (John 1: 29). The devil failed to prevent Him completing (John 19: 30) His atoning work (1John 2: 2) on the cross. But the devil’s kingdom and its influence will not be permanently eradicated from planet Earth until his final defeat recorded in Rev. 20:10. The devil is NOT presently in Hell waiting for all the “bad” people to join him (1Pet. 5: 8). He has been, and with the exception of his upcoming 1,000 years of incarceration (Rev. 20: 7), will be battling for as many human souls that he can destroy or take captive throughout the course of human history. Among his targets is the one you see his nearest mirror! The devil’s ultimate objective is to do all that he can to see to it that you are never born again. If he fails to achieve that goal, he will begrudgingly settle for your never learning of or participating in the post (after) salvation spiritual life outlined in Scripture (Matt. 16: 24, 25). The devil has the time we spend in our natural bodies to achieve his goals.***Keep in mind that written Scripture did NOT begin to come into existence until around 1500 BC, and was completed until around 96 AD. Skeptics will point out that the Biblical account of creation and restoration was not composed until the days of Moses around 1500 BC. This was thousands of years after the restoration and only God knows how long after the initial creation had taken place. Never-the-less, Scripture (as opposed to religious writings of men) was , “… given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness (2Tim. 3: 16 NASB).” God’s memory is perfect.Scripture was written in “language of accommodation” that could be understood by Man throughout the course of human history. For instance, if Scripture spoke of the revolving and rotation of the Earth instead of the rising and the setting of the sun, passages could not be understood in the ancient world. Sometimes Scripture speaks in general terms. One must learn to discern the difference between general principles that apply when certain conditions are met, and when Scripture speaks of things that will take place no matter what. When necessary, it speaks with unmistakable clarity (e.g. John 3: 5, 7/Rev. 20: 15).It may very well then out that the planetary age estimates of the Earth and the stellar universe at large offered by secular science do NOT contradict Scripture. The period of time that passed from the moment it was created to the time it became inhabited by rebelling angels is among the secret things (Deut 29: 29) that God has not yet been disclosed by God. The same could be said about how much time passed before the cities of the angelic kingdom was destroyed by God (Jer. 4: 26). We will are not told how much time passed from time it was rendered formless and at the end of Phase One’s to the time God chose to begin the restoration process. These periods could have been relatively brief or as long as the billions of years that secular science offer as age estimates of the planet.When there are diametrically-opposing viewpoints one has to choose one to the exclusion of the other. The advancing disciple not only has to discern the differences between what human viewpoint and divine viewpoint has to say about things related to the natural environment, but the differences in what the Bible and “religious” authority has to say about things in the spiritual realm.Again, the “missing” information is by divine design to require and generate faith and not a deficiency in Scripture as the critics of the Bible would have us believe.When Scripture says, “In the beginning…(Gen. 1: 1),” it is not speaking of the beginning of eternity past. Eternity past never had a beginning. Human viewpoint promotes the concept that everything must have a starting point and an ending point. This IS true about many things In the natural realm, but not so in the spiritual realm.The “beginning” spoken of in Genesis 1: 1 is talking about events (the creation and restoration of planet Earth) that took place PRIOR to, but that have a connection with, the human race that would later enter the picture.When the Bible speaks of “Man”, it is referring to the human life form that began with Adam. Rather or not there were or were not other creatures previously inhabiting the Earth with similar physical characteristics (skeletal structures, number of eyes, ears, etc.) is of no consequence, as it would not change what God has to say about Man, as we know Man to be today.The diabolical objective in promoting fruitless debates is to distract our attention from what the Bible actually teaches concerning the origins of the devil, as well as the origins and purpose of Man.What separates “Man” from all other “natural” creatures, is that Man has a spiritual dimension that was/is created in God’s “never-ending (dying)” likeness (Gen. 1:26). What separates the physical bodies of born again believers from the physical bodies of other human beings in the Church Age is that the physical bodies of born again believers are the temple of God (1Cor. 3: 16). As such, they should receive the appropriate attention, respect, and due care that the temple of God deserves. These temples of God shouldn’t be used to engage in ANYTHING that the Bible calls sin.This “likeness” of God in which all human souls were created has nothing to do with an individual’s physical characteristics. This likeness refers to the never-dying life of the soul within the body.The continuation of life for humans after the physical death of the body is NOT a matter of if, but a matter of WHERE and HOW that life will be experienced.Like the angels that came before us, Man was also given free will to make moral decisions in order to participate in the ongoing spiritual conflict. It’s the spiritual choices that angels and Man makes that either glorifies God or denies God the glory that He desires to receive from His creation.Worship, good deeds, and sin involve at least or more of our physical organs or body parts. Making positive choices while abstaining from sin is what it means to, “…present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice (Romans 12: 1).The spiritual work that born again believers of the Church Age was/is to participate in the Great Commission while in the midst of ALL other activities here on Earth.The Great Commission is all about communicating the Gospel Message to unbelievers and communicating edifying Bible Doctrine to fellow believers. Everywhere we go there are people all around us that fit into one of these two categories.Therefore, everywhere we go in these Earthly bodies, there is spiritual work to be done.Most communication is non-verbal. How we present and what we do (or don't do) with our physical bodies can open or slam shut doors of opportunity to engage in the Great Commission. Participating in the Great Commission was and remains to be the primary work that God gave His Church to do.Other natural creatures make choices that are based on their God-given natural instincts. When domesticated, most natural creatures can be trained to do (or not to do) things on the basis of seeking/receiving rewards vs. avoiding discipline. There is always the danger of something triggering a natural response on the part of domesticated animals that can result in serious personal injury or death to humans.But the concept of morality does not enter the picture in the minds of natural animals. A dog, for instance, can be trained to expect praise and reward for making a violent attack just as well as it can be trained to beg, sit, roll over or perform a service. Domesticated animals can learn how to achieve a desired human response by engaging in certain activities.Animals and humans can develop the means to have a mutually hostile or a mutually psychological bonding and interaction and with each other. In the ancient world, bestiality had become enough of an issue for it to be addressed in The Law of the Old Testament (Exodus 22: 19).The dark side of beasts can trigger violence, but without the concept of their actions being either morally right or wrong. The dark side of Man, is by nature (Rom. 8: 7) hostile towards God and the things of God. When under the influence of this nature, Man is capable of activities that might seem unimaginable to many, often times with having full knowledge of divine viewpoint has to say, and with no remorse. One could argue that misbehavior IS the “natural” (Romans 8:7) thing for Fallen Man to do. Human viewpoint would have us dismiss our moral accountability (Rom. 14: 12) having been born with a predisposition towards sin. We are accountable because sin is a choice that we make.The sin nature that is passed down to the incoming bodies of the next generation at conception (Psalms 51: 1), and has the power of influence on the soul (Romans 7) that is simultaneously placed in the body at birth. Scripture teach that Adam (and we) became a living soul when the first breath of natural life is taken into the lungs (Gen. 2: 7). Scripture (Gen. 25: 8/Mark 15: 37) teach that after the body takes it last breath, the soul departs the physically dead body.
In the case of the Lord Jesus Christ, His human spirit departed His body and descended to the Paradise section of Hades (Luke 23: 43). Unlike with us, He had no sin nature to leave behind. His human spirit was re-united with His body in the tomb when it was raised in resurrection form three days later. The souls of departed born again believers are in interim bodies (2Cor.5: 1) in Heaven (2Cor. 5: 8), and will be exchanged for a glorious resurrected body when our “dust” is raised in the form of a glorious resurrected body at the Rapture (1Thess. 4: 16). The bodies of born again believers who are alive on tEarth when the Rapture takes place will instantaneously be transformed into resurrection form (1Thess. 4: 17). Born again believers who are on the Earth when the Rapture takes place will never experiences physical death! In the times in which we are living, we could be among those who are alive on the Earth when the Rapture takes place. There are a few more events to take place before the Second Advent takes place, but NONE before the Rapture. The Rapture could take place. today
Note that the Rapture takes in the AIR above the Earth when the RIGHTEOUS (born again) ones are taken away. At the Second Advent (that takes place YEARS later), takes place ON the Earth when the ungodly are taken away and the godly return. The Rapture and the Second Advent are to distinct events, separated by time (years) and that differ in location and purpose.As long as the soul is in the natural body, this fallen nature, that is hostile (Romans 8: 7) towards God has the potential power of influence on the soul. This power of influence strives with potential influence of God the Holy Spirit who indwells the physical body (1Cor. 3: 16) of born again believers. Hbeen given the free will of choice, humans choose which source of potential influence they want to listen to, resulting in prosperity or consequences.What we do in and with our natural bodies is what this area of our stewardship is all about.