Firstly, let’s get one thing straight. The opening words of ‘Genesis’ refer to God’s creation of the universe, not the beginning of God’s existence. In John 1:1 the words, “In the beginning was the Word” can only refer to Jesus as ‘The Word.’ Our God’s existence is eternal, without beginning and without end.
OK, now we have that cleared up let’s go back in time a bit before God decided to create the world and the first people. It seems fairly clear that God created the angels before the creation of the world took place. Satan was certainly around in the Garden of Eden to tempt Adam and Eve. (If there was such a garden with its fictitious apple tree).
It is understood there were around seven archangels. The book of Daniel refers to Michael as the ‘Prince’ protector of God. Gabriel seems to be number two in the pecking order and is known as the messenger of divine comfort. He figures prominently in scripture. He interprets visions in the Book of Daniel and in Luke’s Gospel announces miraculous births to Zechariah about the birth of John the Baptist and to Mary, the mother of Jesus. There are many instances in scripture where we read of God’s angels and the messages they delivered on God’s behalf.
From what we read there were many thousands of Angels so the inner cabinet had seven leaders and as always if there is someone fighting for the top job there will be a confrontation. So Michael and his party based their policies on God’s love, whereas Satan and his followers were more interested in power and control.
Paul, a bachelor, sums up the concept of love in 1 Corinthians 13.4-7 when he writes: “Love is patient, love is kind; love is not jealous and boastful; it is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way, it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”
So, the inner fighting went on well after God created us humans, for we read in Job (15/15) ‘In his own Holy Ones God puts no trust’. Earlier in the Book of Job we see how God allows Satan to test Job. Satan is asked “where have you been” and his reply is that he has been round the earth, roaming about (1/7).
It is not until we read the Book of Revelation (12.7-9) that we know who won the heavenly fight. ‘And now war broke out in heaven, when Michael and his angels attacked the dragon. The dragon fought back with his angels, but they were defeated and driven out of heaven. The great dragon, the primeval serpent, known as the devil or Satan, who had deceived all the world, was hurled down to earth and his angels were hurled down with him’. Jesus himself said,” I watched Satan fall like lightening from heaven” (Luke 10.18)
Michael and his mob might well have rid heaven of the devil but we have the blighter down here on earth with us. This is not a happy thought. ‘Let the heavens rejoice and all who live there; but for you, earth and sea, trouble is coming- because the devil has gone down to you in a rage, knowing that his days are numbered’ (Rev.12/12).
So where does Jesus fit into the picture? Well, it must have been obvious to God that as the population of the earth increased so Satan was becoming very active and that people needed to be reminded of the goodness of God and the need to love one another.
God’s response was to have a human live among the people and spread the message of love. For years the Jews had talked of a messiah and pictured this messenger from God as being a mighty warrior and leader. No wonder they couldn’t accept that Jesus, the carpenter’s son from Nazareth was the Christ.
But there was also another dilemma facing God. If Mary was to give birth to a son and call him Jesus then everyone would see Jesus as the son of Joseph and this would reduce his credibility when it came time to eventually question his followers about “Who do people say I am”? It was Peter who responded ‘You are the Christ’ he said ‘the Son of the living God’ (Matt. 16.16-17).
So, the penny dropped. Somewhere along the line Jesus had progressed from being the son of Mary and Joseph to being the ‘Son of God’. To make it easier for people to understand Jesus referred to his ‘Father’ in heaven. At the Transfiguration, God referred to Jesus as his Son. ‘This is my son of whom I am well pleased’.
Jesus the man proclaimed God’s message of love which has been the basic Christian teaching down through the ages. He suffered and died that we might live, that we might avoid the snares of the devil and be happy with him forever in heaven. But Jesus the man had to undergo another transformation before he returned to heaven. To prove he was also God, Jesus rose from the dead and showed himself to many before eventually saying goodbye to his disciples and returning to his rightful place in heaven.
But even after his death Jesus had work to do. In the intervening 3 days before Easter, we read how he descended into hell and not only opened Hells gates but he opened Heaven’s gates as well. (I am still not sure about the authenticity of these visits.) His suffering and death had not been in vain. Those who kept the word of God would be welcomed in heaven and those who chose to follow Satan would be banished to the agony of never being able to see God or enjoy the wonder of heaven. My mind is in a quandary about the whole concept of ‘hell.’ When I see The Father as a pure dispenser of ‘love’ I wonder whether he would even contemplate the creation of any place that we, as humans see as ‘hell.’
Jesus the Christ once again became one with God and He was God and His Spirit was one with Him. Jesus promised he would allow his Spirit to help us survive our life here on earth. As the Spirit of Jesus is one with God then we are surrounded by our God here on earth. If we can only stop our busy lives for a moment, we can hear God speaking to us through our dreams, the wonderful nature that surrounds us and in the people we meet. There are angels whose role it is to support us. Let us not be frightened to call on their help.
I’m Peter Mack and that’s how I feel.