Category: Jesus, the Creator

Six – Understanding the Holy Spirit, p. 173

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June 25

Who is the Holy Spirit?

Just Who is the Holy Spirit? The theological answer to this question is that the Holy Spirit is the third Person of the Triune God (i.e. three distinct divine Persons, functioning as One). He has a specific role within the Godhead (i.e. a term meaning the triune God), but is just as certainly divine as is the Father and the Son. Literally, He is God, the Holy Spirit – with a specific function in His divinity.

trinity-stained-glass-window

The Holy Spirit’s specific role is perhaps best understood as one of connection, and transference, of divine power. Between the spiritual realm, and the created physical realm, there exists a distinct separation and a need for God to be able to connect, interact, and act within both realms. The Holy Spirit performs this essential role. The Holy Spirit functions in the capacity as a “bridge” (or conduit), and as the means of connection between the physical and the spiritual realms of existence.

As we take a closer look at the life and ministry of Jesus, we understand that the second Person of the triune God, the Son, performs the Father’s will by the Holy Spirit working through Him.

This is illustrated so simply for us within the very first verses of the Bible:

Genesis 1 1-3

Scripture clearly tells us that Jesus is the Creator of all things. “For by Him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by Him and for Him.” (Colossians 1:16)

It is highly significant that the very first Scriptural concept shared with us (in Genesis 1) is that the Holy Spirit was waiting to act upon the Son’s words of command (as ordained by the Father). We see:

A) God, The Son, spoke “light” into physical existence (as well as all other aspects of creation);

B) God, The Father was directing The Son according to His purposeful will (see Hebrews 1:2); and

C) God, the Holy Spirit, was “hovering over” the “formless and void” material elements to convey the power of God and to enact the Father’s will whenever the Son commanded.

trinity in creation

The Holy Spirit is the power of God at work to bring about the Father’s will and purpose, as initiated through the Son. The Holy Spirit’s role is to provide the means of connection, interaction, and divine power between the spiritual and physical realms.

Four – Understand Our Purpose – pg. 117

creation of man

April 28

As God’s specially-formed representatives, God originally designed people to continually make Himself “real” to us. He meant to keep His Presence, His character and His nature ever before us all – in a tangible and dynamic way. His plan was to present a real, physical image of Himself to all of His creation. Human beings were designed as the keepers of this “image.”

made in God's image

In its most basic and foundational form, when God says, “Let us make man in Our image,” He is referring to the concept of a “picture.” Quite literally, humankind was designed to be a visible “picture” or physical “snapshot” of the invisible God.

It bears reiterating: People were specially formed, fashioned and energized, by God Himself, to live and to be seen as the physical representation of the unseen God. People’s actions, in harmony with their Creator, were intended to be the physical reflection of the divine character.

Just as creation itself was meant to provide a visible picture of the glory and goodness of God – so also was God’s specially-formed creature. People were made in the “image” of God to display God’s invisible qualities, eternal power, and divine nature as God’s chosen vessels for this particular and important task.

reflect His glory

Four – Understand Our Purpose – pg. 116

creation of man

April 27

Most of us have taken pictures with our cameras – or have been the subject of pictures taken. taking picsWhy do we take pictures? We take them so the pictures can be seen and shared with other people. We take them to capture a moment in time, a special or significant event, or the people who are special to us. Pictures give us the opportunity to reflect back on those moments, events, and people, at some future occasion. We take pictures to allow us to remember, to recall, and to reflect upon the occasions we have experienced and upon the people we know, love, and cherish. Photographs are literally the snapshots of the moments, and people, that make up the tapestry of our lives.

Just the other day, my wife was sorting through our basement “collectibles” and ran across a dresser drawer filled with old photographs – the photographed images of our children as they grew up from infancy. In sorting through those images we found ourselves lost in time as we recalled each special moment, each amusing activity, each occasion of achievement, and each fond memory captured on film.

old-photos.jpg

Pictures, in a very real sense, allow us to relive the special moments of our lives – to recall the sights, sounds, smells, and feelings associated with those events or persons. The images provide us the opportunity to experience those moments, and those people’s lives, afresh and anew. There is a special joy discovered in sitting down and recollecting those moments. They are the patchwork of the timeline of our lives – and allow us to reconnect with occasions, experiences and people from our past.

Especially precious are those images of those persons who are no longer with us. We are able to draw upon our memories of their faces, their personality, their sense of humor, their strange quirks, and their contributions to the world, to their families, or to our own lives. It’s as if, in seeing those images, we bring those people back to life – they become real to us again. Our attachment to them is recalled and reinforced and our connection with them reinstated. This is the power and the importance of “images” to our lives.

It is so important to note that God designed us this way. He gave us eyes to see and a special capacity in our brains to remember, recollect, and reflect. What we see with our eyes deeply affects us, perhaps more than any other sense – either for the good or for the bad. Perhaps this is why Jesus said things like… 

eye lamp.jpg

What we view with our eyes is an essential part of the Creator’s design of human beings. Never is this more important than when we are viewing other people, and their corresponding actions toward others, or ourselves.

Four – Understand Our Purpose – pg. 112

understanding our purpose

April 23

So what do we learn about God from His act of Creation?

We discover that God has: A) an amazing attention to detail; B) a great affinity for diversity; and C) an undeniable attraction for dynamics. God could have made this world bland, uninteresting, and colorless and still accomplished His redemptive purpose with mankind. But He created this world so that it would be directly and physically reminiscent of His Own Person and character. The more we observe about this created universe, the more we can observe of the intricacy, majesty, wonder, and complexity in the Person of God.

beauty.jpg

Creation serves the dual purpose of being the physical realm of mankind, and of being a physical repository of the revelation of God’s Own magnificent Person.

Into this wonder of creation, God placed people. Here is where things really get interesting. God not only places people at the center of His creation… but He also imbues these people with some very special abilities and responsibilities. These abilities and responsibilities form the very foundation of God’s great plan for humanity…

A & E

Formed by The Creator

After the creation of physical matter (Genesis 1:1-2); daytime and nighttime (1:3-5); after the creation of atmosphere, the dry land and the seas (1:6-10); after the creation of land vegetation and all the seed-bearing plants (1:11-13); after the creation of the sun, moon and all the stars (1:14-19); after the creation of sea creatures, fish, and the flying birds (1:20-23); and after the creation of all the land creatures and animals (1:24-25); God brought forth His crowning achievement.

Like all great masters of composition, He saved His best until last…

“God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, in Our likeness…””

“So God created man in His Own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” (from Genesis 1:26-27)

gen 2 7

Four – Understand Our Purpose – pg. 111

understanding our purpose

April 22

“It was good…”

In our study of the first chapter of Genesis, we note that all of creation was made in six days. In each of the six days of creation, God brings another aspect of His plan into the mix. With each day, something is added – built upon that which has already been created, as God desired it to be.

As Moses was inspired to record the account of God’s creative work, he reminds us of something most illuminating. After each day of work, God admires His handiwork of the day and each time Scripture says: “God saw that it was good.” (Genesis 1:4, 10, 12, 18, 21, 25)

creationgood

Six days of creating, six days of God seeing that what was created was good. What are we to draw from this reflection?

When God declares something “good” He is declaring several things at once. The Hebrew word used here means: pleasant, agreeable, pleasurable, beautiful, valuable, beneficial, happy (creating happiness), right, prosperous, bountiful and, of course, good. It is descriptive of something that brings an abundant wealth of joy and pleasure to the one experiencing its “goodness.”

But the thing we should draw most from this term is that God’s creating was exactly like He wanted it to be. Everything turned out just as the perfect Creator envisioned it to be. By God’s own observation and determination, it was “good.” By God’s own infinite and perfect standards it was “good.” In the end, by the measure of God’s Own Person, it was “good.” In other words, God’s physical creation was precisely and sufficiently representative of God’s Own Goodness. God’s intent in creation was realized just as He had intended. Creation reflected His power, His majesty, His beauty, His glory, His wonder, His diversity, His imagination – all of creation was a physical representation of the invisible God.

Just as God desired and designed it to be.

This thought is affirmed by the apostle Paul…

romans1_20

The Psalmist, David, was inspired to proclaim, “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.” (Psalm 19:1-4)

God had a distinct purpose in Mind when He created this physical universe. That purpose was to reflect and represent “His eternal power and divine nature!” God saw all that He had created, and He saw that it was an accurate, physical, representation of Himself. All of creation was “good” (pleasant, agreeable, pleasurable, valuable, beneficial, happy [creating happiness], right, prosperous, and bountiful) just as He is good.

Four – Understand Our Purpose – pg. 109

understanding our purpose

April 20

Reasons for Creating

As we take a deeper look into WHY things are created we come up with three basic reasons…

First, one finds personal pleasure in creating something. For example, I really enjoy painting. I have painted some large murals in the bedrooms and living rooms of our homes. I paint because it is enjoyable – it gives me pleasure to put brush to paint, and paint to a blank canvas (or wall), and create something that I will enjoy for years.

painting

Second, one creates so that someone else might have personal pleasure in the creation of that something. I also enjoy cooking. One of my favorite things to do is to invite friends over and cook them a gourmet meal – something special, something out of the ordinary, something that will give them tastes and experiences that my guests might not have yet experienced. I cook, not only for my enjoyment, but also for the benefit of my guests – to give them great pleasure in dining on what I have created.

meal prep

Third, things are created because there is a purpose for the creation of that something. Whether that purpose is personally beneficial (I have an idea for creating something that will produce the opportunity for personal wealth or gain) or mutually beneficial (I have perceived a need for something and I have an idea for creating something to meet that need).

lightbulb-notebook

In God’s act of creation, we observe all three of these reasons. God found pleasure in His act of creating. This is indicated, in part, by His observance that what He created was “good.” As you read the account of the days of creation, it is like God stepped back after each day’s work, observed what He had made, and confessed great Personal pride in His accomplishments. God found pleasure in His handiwork involving all of creation.

We can also determine that God’s creation was to afford humanity the opportunity to find pleasure in God’s creation. When we take the time to think of all the beautiful sights, wonderful experiences, and enjoyable activities we can encounter on this earth, it is utterly amazing. There is almost an unlimited amount of pleasure to be known and experienced by observing the wonders of this creation and by experiencing the tastes, sights, sounds, and sensations available through what God has created. Clearly, God wanted us to enjoy this creation as well.

Beauty-of-Creation  Beautiful Sunset

Not only did God take pleasure in His creative work, and afford us the opportunity to do the same, He also had a purpose in His creative work. Beyond the beauty and the magnificence and the delightful diversity of this creation was the underlying design of The Almighty. God had a plan – and human beings were placed at the very center of this plan…

Four – Understand Our Purpose – pg. 108

understanding our purpose

April 19

In the beginning…

Our search for understanding our true purpose begins where it should begin: in the very beginning. The Book of Genesis offers us some illuminating pieces to the puzzle.

in the beginning

The first thing that God did was to create “the heavens (i.e. everything in the physical universe) and the earth (this planet as the focal point of His creation).” (Genesis 1:1) Before any other things could exist, God had to create the “building blocks” by which all things could exist. His first act of creation was to create the existence of physical matter. The Scriptures indicate that God created all things out of nothing. “…There is but one God, the Father, from Whom all things came and for Whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through Whom all things came and through Whom we live… Through Him all things were made; without Him nothing was made that has been made…” (1 Corinthians 8:6; John 1:3) Before God’s act of creation, there was no physical matter anywhere in existence. Matter does not exist on its own – there has to be an origination of physical matter and, by necessity an Originator. Scripture tells us that God is that Originator.

Scripture also teaches us that God is a non-physical entity. He is a Spiritual Being or Spirit. Jesus, Himself, gave us this truth, “God is Spirit, and His worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.” (John 4:24)

spirit

God is not constrained by any physical laws. He does not live in any physical place. He has no need of physical things. Yet, His first act, recorded in Scripture, is the creation of physical things. Why would a Being Who is not a physical being ever choose to create physical things?

The answer to this question cuts to the heart of God’s purpose for us… He made physical things to be representative of spiritual things. He created all things to be a physical representation of His divine nature and character (see Rom. 1:20) – and He created physical human beings to be the crowning example of this desire.

The Psalmist tells us of our Creator’s desire:

Ps 8 5_6

The term glory and honor are almost always used in reference to God Himself… and the Psalmist declares that God chose to crown human beings with His Own glory and honor!

He also gave us a task… to rule over the works of His hands – as He Himself rules over the whole universe!

Our Creator created every physical thing for the purpose of making Himself known in this physical universe… to the human beings He set at creation’s center…