More Things 3
As in Heaven, So on Earth
As in Heaven, So on Earth
this is familiar for Christians, it’s part of the Lord’s Prayer
Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
the kingdom of God is the rule of God. God desires to rule over ALL he has created: the invisible spiritual realm and the visible earthly realm. He will have his way in both domains.
In the following discussion we will examine how the ancient biblical writers originally conceived of this kingship from the beginning of creation. What we will discover amounts to one of the missed focuses of the Bible — this is a theological center that has been ignored.
One of the stories of the Bible is about God’s will for, and rule of, the realms he has created, human and nonhuman. The divine agenda is played out in both realms, in deliberate tandem.
The part of the story we are most familiar with, we live in. This one gets most of the attention. The invisible realm is regularly overlooked, or talked about only in relation to God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. The two realms are not mutually exclusive or peripheral to each other; they are integrally connected - by design. That point is clearly telegraphed early in the Biblical story.
Creator or creators?
Creator or creators?
Just to be clear .. one creator! The “As in heaven, so on Earth” idea is much older than the Lord’s prayer. It begins in Genesis. The first chapter of Genesis is easily misinterpreted by one not yet acquainted with the divine council and the watchers let’s say. Carefully and listen to the text:
Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
Many Bible readers note the plural pronouns (us, our) with curiosity. They might suggests that the plurals refer to the Trinity, but technical research in Hebrew grammar and exegesis has shown that the Trinity is not a coherent explanation (1). The solution is must more straightforward, one that an ancient Israelite would have readily discerned. What we have is a singular addressed a group (sons of God in Job) let’s eat, let’s create.
Humanity was created by GOD - according to
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.
they were there but was does the “image” language mean?
Image or Imager?
Image or Imager?
Identifying the nature of the divine image is a study that has gone on for a long time. You may have heard a sermon or two on it. I am willing to bet that what you’ve heard (I have) is that the image of God is something in this list:
Intelligence, reasoning ability, emotions, able to commune with God, self-awareness, language, the presence of a soul or spirit (or both), the conscience, free will....
these are all possibilities, but that is all they are not it. The image of God means none of those things.If it did, then Bible-believers have an issue with life in the womb. For those elements are not there....
What is the divine Image? image bearing...
both men and women
distinct from animals, not necessarily from sons of God
something in the image makes us like God
and it IS
most use properties or abilities and that is a problem. Defining it by these things is that some nonhuman have some of these,
some artificial things are approaching some of these
defining image bearing as any ability is a flawed and dangerous approach. It can pull apart the prolife movement, which I support, and it is used to challenge it … bad theology gives bad results. Potential personhood is not actual.
Soul or spirit doesn’t hold since soul is NEPHESH - a living creature and is in animals…and the OLD Testament does not distinguish between soul and spirit (2)....all of these qualities associated with spirit require cognitive function...
So how do we figure this out…and not stumble over issues that are clear when we slow down? GRAMMER.
in image ? In can be many things in teh sink, broke mirror in pieces, work in education....uhmm
Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
what if this “in” is read (in English) as AS…created as God’s Image. Imaging as a verb or function. Not an ability but a status. We are God’s representatives on Earth. To BE human is to image God.
We are to represent him on earth!
God’s Two Family Household Councils
God’s Two Family Household Councils
us the other elohim, they are like God they image him in the supernatural… carry out his will there. We share imaging status. As heaven so earth.
Once we connect this so many texts begin to make sense… the logic of idolatry takes on a new irony …images of God, make models and call spirits of corrupted images of god to worship… but we are imagers of God to reign and rule with Him.
After the fall that plan was not altered. Eventually God would tabernacle within humans - through His Spirit. Language as sons and daughters, adopted into family, is neither accidental nor pragmatic. IT REFLECTS THE ORIGINAL VISION OF GENESIS. And once we are glorified, the two council-families will be one… in a new Eden. This is what Eden was about as in heaven,so on earth. The original intent is clearer as we know more of Eden.
Gardens and Mountains
Gardens and Mountains
usually think of Eden this way a garden in the East and there he put the man he had formed.... we tend to think of it as home to humankind …but then we miss the real point. Eden was God’s home on earth. His resisdence, and where the King live so lives his council. Ancients would not have missed this.
the ancient context
the ancient context
Think about where middle eastern civilization began … near rivers (Nile, Tigris, Euphrates) in an arid area … … the gods lived where it was best… no lack of anything Paradise
Mtn peaks were the domain of gods because no human lived there. Ancient times were not like ours, nobody climbed mtns for fun… they also had no equipment.. Mtns were remote and forbidding… the perfect places for gods to get away from pesky humans. Mtn peaks touched the heavens, the domain of the gods.
This is why Egypts temples are carved and painted with imagery of luscious gardens, or why pyramids and ziggurats were built. These structures were mtns made by human hands and served as gateways to the spiritual realm… were gods lived, in life or in death .. these were metaphors in stone.
For our purposes the ancient civilization that informs us is a city-state in ancient Syria, just to the north of Isreal. (1)
The site of Ugarit was found in 1928 and decades were taken to excavate it. They found a library with thousands of clay tablets. 1400 in an alphabetic language that was closer to ancient Hebrew than any other ancient language. The vocabulary and grammar virtually identical in many instances.
We have learned a lot from this library. about both Ugarit and the content of the Old Testament.
Similar titles for the heavenly beings … EL, sons of El… (of course there was Baal, and that stays around) There was a council, etc.. Three levels.. EL, sons of El, and angels.... they met in a lush garden on a mtn. a source of water (two rivers) and the council met in the heights of the north. The meetings were held in “tents of El” or the tent shrine. The palace had paved bricks, with the clearness of lapis lazuli. (which is first - GOD) (this is important… God and his structure is first other copy it and Him)
All of this will sound familiar to someone who has read the Old Testament closely. The Hebrew Bible uses the same descriptions for the abode and throne room of YHWH. And where YHWH is, he is surrounded by his heavenly assembly, ready to conduct business.
And the messenger who went to summon Micaiah said to him, “Behold, the words of the prophets with one accord are favorable to the king. Let your word be like the word of one of them, and speak favorably.” But Micaiah said, “As the Lord lives, what the Lord says to me, that I will speak.” And when he had come to the king, the king said to him, “Micaiah, shall we go to Ramoth-gilead to battle, or shall we refrain?” And he answered him, “Go up and triumph; the Lord will give it into the hand of the king.” But the king said to him, “How many times shall I make you swear that you speak to me nothing but the truth in the name of the Lord?” And he said, “I saw all Israel scattered on the mountains, as sheep that have no shepherd. And the Lord said, ‘These have no master; let each return to his home in peace.’ ” And the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, “Did I not tell you that he would not prophesy good concerning me, but evil?” And Micaiah said, “Therefore hear the word of the Lord: I saw the Lord sitting on his throne, and all the host of heaven standing beside him on his right hand and on his left; and the Lord said, ‘Who will entice Ahab, that he may go up and fall at Ramoth-gilead?’ And one said one thing, and another said another. Then a spirit came forward and stood before the Lord, saying, ‘I will entice him.’ And the Lord said to him, ‘By what means?’ And he said, ‘I will go out, and will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets.’ And he said, ‘You are to entice him, and you shall succeed; go out and do so.’ Now therefore behold, the Lord has put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these your prophets; the Lord has declared disaster for you.” Then Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah came near and struck Micaiah on the cheek and said, “How did the Spirit of the Lord go from me to speak to you?” And Micaiah said, “Behold, you shall see on that day when you go into an inner chamber to hide yourself.” And the king of Israel said, “Seize Micaiah, and take him back to Amon the governor of the city and to Joash the king’s son, and say, ‘Thus says the king, “Put this fellow in prison and feed him meager rations of bread and water, until I come in peace.” ’ ” And Micaiah said, “If you return in peace, the Lord has not spoken by me.” And he said, “Hear, all you peoples!”
The OT has a three-tiered council structure like that at Ugarit. YHWH is at the top (2). His family-household (“sons of God’) are next in the hierarchy. The lowest level is reserved for elohim messengers (angels).
The tabernacle tent structure and the Tent of Meeting, both of which are mentioned throughout the books of Exodus and Judges, are clear parallels to places where God dwells and hands down His degrees. YHWH can also be found on mountains (Sinai or Zion).
Great is the Lord and greatly to be praised in the city of our God! His holy mountain, beautiful in elevation, is the joy of all the earth, Mount Zion, in the far north, the city of the great King.
Jerusalem, the city of God, is said to be located in the “heights of the north” (tsaphon in Hebrew). (3). Mtn Zion is the “mountain of assembly,” again located in the “heights of the north”
You said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; above the stars of God I will set my throne on high; I will sit on the mount of assembly in the far reaches of the north;
At Sinai, Moses and others saw the seated God of Isreal, under whose feet was a pavement “like sapphire tilework and like the very heavens for clearness”
Then Moses and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel went up, and they saw the God of Israel. There was under his feet as it were a pavement of sapphire stone, like the very heaven for clearness.
The garden of Eden, of course, is a lush, well-watered habitation
When no bush of the field was yet in the land and no small plant of the field had yet sprung up—for the Lord God had not caused it to rain on the land, and there was no man to work the ground, and a mist was going up from the land and was watering the whole face of the ground— then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature. And the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed. And out of the ground the Lord God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. A river flowed out of Eden to water the garden, and there it divided and became four rivers. The name of the first is the Pishon. It is the one that flowed around the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold. And the gold of that land is good; bdellium and onyx stone are there. The name of the second river is the Gihon. It is the one that flowed around the whole land of Cush. And the name of the third river is the Tigris, which flows east of Assyria. And the fourth river is the Euphrates.
The Garden of Eden (garden of God, is also called God’s holy mtn. (4)
You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone was your covering, sardius, topaz, and diamond, beryl, onyx, and jasper, sapphire, emerald, and carbuncle; and crafted in gold were your settings and your engravings. On the day that you were created they were prepared. You were an anointed guardian cherub. I placed you; you were on the holy mountain of God; in the midst of the stones of fire you walked.
We naturally think of God’s mtn as Mount Sinai or Mount Zion. When it comes to garden imagery, the latter is spoken of in Edenic terms. Like Eden, Mount Zion is also lush and watery.
Behold Zion, the city of our appointed feasts! Your eyes will see Jerusalem, an untroubled habitation, an immovable tent, whose stakes will never be plucked up, nor will any of its cords be broken. But there the Lord in majesty will be for us a place of broad rivers and streams, where no galley with oars can go, nor majestic ship can pass. For the Lord is our judge; the Lord is our lawgiver; the Lord is our king; he will save us.
Then he brought me back to the door of the temple, and behold, water was issuing from below the threshold of the temple toward the east (for the temple faced east). The water was flowing down from below the south end of the threshold of the temple, south of the altar. Then he brought me out by way of the north gate and led me around on the outside to the outer gate that faces toward the east; and behold, the water was trickling out on the south side. Going on eastward with a measuring line in his hand, the man measured a thousand cubits, and then led me through the water, and it was ankle-deep. Again he measured a thousand, and led me through the water, and it was knee-deep. Again he measured a thousand, and led me through the water, and it was waist-deep. Again he measured a thousand, and it was a river that I could not pass through, for the water had risen. It was deep enough to swim in, a river that could not be passed through. And he said to me, “Son of man, have you seen this?” Then he led me back to the bank of the river. As I went back, I saw on the bank of the river very many trees on the one side and on the other. And he said to me, “This water flows toward the eastern region and goes down into the Arabah, and enters the sea; when the water flows into the sea, the water will become fresh. And wherever the river goes, every living creature that swarms will live, and there will be very many fish. For this water goes there, that the waters of the sea may become fresh; so everything will live where the river goes. Fishermen will stand beside the sea. From Engedi to Eneglaim it will be a place for the spreading of nets. Its fish will be of very many kinds, like the fish of the Great Sea. But its swamps and marshes will not become fresh; they are to be left for salt. And on the banks, on both sides of the river, there will grow all kinds of trees for food. Their leaves will not wither, nor their fruit fail, but they will bear fresh fruit every month, because the water for them flows from the sanctuary. Their fruit will be for food, and their leaves for healing.”
“And in that day the mountains shall drip sweet wine, and the hills shall flow with milk, and all the streambeds of Judah shall flow with water; and a fountain shall come forth from the house of the Lord and water the Valley of Shittim.
Whether Sinai or Zion, the mountain of God is, in effect, his temple (5)
An ancient Israelite would have thought of Eden as the dwelling of God and the place from which God and his council direct the affairs of humanity. The imagery is foundational for how Isreal’s neighbors thought about their gods (6). But in Biblical theology there is a major important difference.
THE BIBLICAL VERSION OF THE DIVINE COUNCIL AT THE DIVINE ABODE INCLUDES A HUMAN PRESENCE. This is important for the following weeks. God created a place for Himself and his families to meet and relate and work together. Had the fall not happened this was the promise.
This is not speculation. Humans are the children of God. The failure at Eden would separate us from God but he would make a way to bring believers back into that family.
Humans were to be a part of God’s rule on earth and this is everywhere in the OT, NT testament writers pick it up and discuss the glorification and rule of believers with God… we will discuss this more deeply.
One last verse about Eden —
“Son of man, say to the prince of Tyre, Thus says the Lord God: “Because your heart is proud, and you have said, ‘I am a god, I sit in the seat of the gods, in the heart of the seas,’ yet you are but a man, and no god, though you make your heart like the heart of a god—
parish seat .. etc… but look at the language....God had plans for the planet not just the garden