Story 1: The Divine Decree

An engraved vintage Bible illustration drawing of Satan Bound in the Bottomless Pit, from an antique book dated 1836 that is no longer in copyright

 

In the Bible, God tells us the story of how He has been pursuing and seeking a loving relationship with humanity…the people He created for Himself. He has been at it through all of human history. He created the universe to be the home of the human race with all the splendor of the stars and the beauty of nature for our delight. The Bible tells the story of how God has been moving in human history from the very first two (Adam and Eve, who He formed with His own hands) up until right now.  It goes on to tell how God will work to show His love and blessing to humanity until the end of History, when He will create a New Heaven and a New Earth.

The Bible begins with how God made the universe. But what was God doing before He made the universe? He is eternal, which means He had no beginning. He always was and always will be. What was He doing before there were stars, planets, or people?

Well, the Bible does not tell us a lot about what God was doing before creation. The Bible was written for humans to explain our relationship to God so that we could be close to Him. God doesn’t seem to think we need to know what He was doing before we existed. There are many things that the Lord knows that we don’t need to understand.

Have you ever tried to teach a dog to read? Have you ever tried to teach a flower to sing? Why not? Dogs and flowers are very different from humans. There are many things we can do that we would never even think to teach them. They are a different kinds of being altogether with different capacities.  Usually, this is something we simply accept as fact.

In the same way, there are many things that God can do and understand that humans cannot do or even begin to understand. The difference between a human and a dog or a flower is huge. The difference between a human and Almighty God is even greater. And while we might not understand it, we can trust God because He does.   We cannot understand how God existed forever and ever before He made our world, but He did. He always was. Wow.

The Bible does tell us about a few things God did before He created the universe. He had already made all the heavenly angels. They are His bright, beautiful servants and messengers. They are living creatures that never die. They worship Him around His throne and happily obey His every command. Long before God made the universe, there were hundreds of thousands of angels with God in Heaven, living in rapturously joyful singing and perfect service. Imagine such a wonderful place! Nothing bad ever happened. There was no sadness, evil, death or pain. All of heavenly life was aglow in the light of God’s glory.

Then came a change of great tragedy and sorrow.   It was the beginning of all bad things. There was a mighty angel named Lucifer. God had given him great power and beauty. He was the highest of all the angels. Instead of choosing to be grateful to God and worship Him for these truly awesome gifts, Lucifer decided to turn against God in a treacherous military coup. For you see, Lucifer wanted the power to rule instead of God. He wanted to sit on the throne of Heaven. He turned a third of all the angels against their own Lord, and they went to war against the good angels.

At this point, we should be asking ourselves, “Why?” Why would any angel, living in the bright perfection of God’s glorious, radiant holiness, ever want to rebel? We don’t know. Some of the most brilliant men over the past few thousand years have asked that question. It makes no sense, but they did. The evil angels rejected God, and fought against the holy angels that remained loyal to the Lord.

These days, we call the evil angels “demons.” Lucifer usually goes by Satan, at least in the English language. Satan is their leader. They are the enemies of God, and they try to destroy anything that God loves. A lot of people think this idea is crazy, especially those who live in western countries whose cultures have bought into the assumptions of the scientific empiricism of the last few hundred years…that the only things that we can take seriously or understand are those which we can measure by the five senses. The funny thing is that now science is showing us through concepts like string theory and the existence of dark matter that there are many aspects of our universe, including the existence of extra dimensions where it would be possible for living beings to move and exist, that we had never imagined before. Meanwhile, for thousands of years, virtually every religion and human culture has had some kind of idea that intelligent, spiritual beings exist all around us and seek to influence the outcome of our daily lives. Christian Scripture provides an explanation for the phenomena: there are truly angels among us. Some of them are evil and wholly bent on our destruction.

At the same time, there are angels who only do good. They are utterly faithful to God. All they ever do is obey Him perfectly. Often, they obey Him by helping us. We can’t usually see them, but they are here. In the Bible, God often sent His angels on missions to bring His message to His people on earth. We will get to read amazing stories about them very soon.

God created the angels, and He cast the evil, rebellious ones out of Heaven. One day, all the demonic spirits and Satan himself will be cast into a terrible Abyss. Their days of bringing destruction and pain will be over.

All the while, something else was going on. The King of Heaven was planning and preparing for something. It was going to be marvelous. He was going to create our universe, and He had it all planned out ahead of time. He knew every bird that would fly and every fish that would swim. He knew how He would make humans.

He also knew how they would fall into sin.

He knew exactly how He would show His love to humanity by sending His Son to die for our sins.

Think about that for a second.  God knew what we would do…and He made us anyway.

He also knew the name of each human who would come to love Jesus and put their faith in Him. God purposed the whole story of His Great Rescue before He created the world. We are still in the middle of God’s plan…and the best is yet to come. One day God is going to destroy all evil and suffering.  He will recreate a perfect world where we can worship Him forever. Wow.

Think about what that means for you. Before God created the universe, God knew your name. If you have put your faith in the Son of God, it means that before He made then sun He had already chosen you and adopted you to be His child. He loved you before time existed! He knew that He was going to send His Son to die for you. You were already on the mind of God, and He set His heart on saving you. He created an entire universe and a world where He could glorify His perfect, holy Son by rescuing you from all sin and shame and bringing you into His love and light. Isn’t that amazing?

The Bible is an amazing story for many reasons. It is marvelous because it about the One who is the Maker of all things. It is glorious because it tells the most important story in human history. It is an incredible tale because it displays the magnificent beauty and glory of the Son of the Living God, Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world. And it is precious because you and I are a part of it. We are loved by that amazing Lord, and we can read the story to learn about Him and love Him back.

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