The Bible and Science – Creation Qualities #2

When I am lifted up, I will draw everyone to me. John 12:32 (NIV)

A very simple definition of a force is a push or pull (draw) on an object.  Movement of some kind is the result of a force being applied to an object.  In the first Creation Qualities post, I saw three things that keep our world as we know it.  Then, I compared those things (atomic forces, light, and gravity) to Father God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. 

Now, I want to compare three Bible forces to these natural forces. (Light is a force because photons can physically push things.). The Biblical forces are – love, faith, and hope.  (See my post Faith, Hope, and Love)

Love holds this world together.  Father God is love, He is the glue in our existence. 1 Corinthians 13 states that love is the greatest of these three forces.

Faith – Faith shines from believers lighting the way for unbelievers to find Jesus.  Faith, like light, has two parts.  There is an invisible part of faith, but there is also the physical side of faith.  Faith will grow and change you.  This causes you to do and say things that are the result of the internal work in you (works of faith).  

Hope – Our hope draws people to us. Hope joins faith and love together. Like gravity the more you have (bigger you are) the more things are drawn in.  If you could lose all gravity nothing would be attracted to you.  Hope has the same effect.  The more you have the more people want to be around you.  If you are without hope people are not drawn to you.

The First Block of Teaching on Kingdom

I see the first block of teaching about the kingdom of heaven starting at Matthew 3: 2 and going to 8: 12.  But this framework does not have the first mention of the kingdom of Jesus in it, so we need to go to the Book of Luke.  The angel Gabriel has visited Zechariah and announced the birth of John the Baptist.  He appears to Mary, introducing himself and stating why he has appeared to her.  This introduction makes the declaration that Jesus’ kingdom over the house of Jacob will never end. (Jacob, the natural-born descendants) Actually, the first four uses of the word kingdom in Matthew and Luke form an interesting picture when taken in order.

  1. Luke 1:33 – The angel Gabriel telling Mary of Jesus’ future.  The Heavenly view featuring past and future events.
  2. Matthew 3:2 to 12 – John the Baptist preparing the way for Jesus by telling people to repent for the kingdom is near.  Verse twelve has several forceful words that could give you the idea that the “one” may produce violent actions.  Was this the prevailing thought on what the Messiah would do?
  3. Luke 4:5 – The Devil tempting Jesus with a shortcut to the kingdoms of the earth.  Lying and bartering with humans to get what he always wanted – praise.
  4. Matthew 4:17 – Jesus, after He overcame the Devil’s temptations, preached repentance for the kingdom is near.  The merging of the heavenly idea and the Bride for His Earthly kingdom.

“Repent for the kingdom of heaven is near” was the first use of the word “kingdom” in Matthew.  One came from the person who was to prepare the way and the other from “The Way”.  It makes me wonder if John and Jesus had the same idea when they used the word kingdom?  It might seem that John was thinking of an earthly kingdom with military victories (Matthew 3:11 + 12).  Jesus wanted righteousness!  John’s words were true, they just came to pass with a different look than what “the people” wanted to happen!

This block of teaching about the kingdom is wrapped around the Sermon on the Mount.  The additions that frame the Sermon are worth looking at in the context of what is said about the kingdom in the Sermon.  4:23 – 25 has Jesus preaching the good news in Galilee.  He is healing all sorts of problems and His fame spreads.  Syria, the Decapolis, and Galilee were not the bright spots of the Jewish world at the time, but the news spread to a hurting world of Gentiles (Syria, Decapolis).  So, in chapter 5 when it says He went to a mountainside, it makes you wonder what mountain?  Mt. Hermon near Damascus or Mt Tabor in Galilee would be possible; both of these are also possible sites for the Transfiguration.  But since this study has had me looking at Elijah (because of John) and Elisha I might wonder if it could be Mt. Carmel?  (It was an important place for both of these prophets.)  It was by the major trade route by the sea and would have allowed the news of healings to spread quickly.  On the other end of this time period of teaching are two major healings and acts of faith. 1) The leper asking for healing and being told to go to the priest as a testimony to them (Jewish).  2) The centurion (Gentile/Roman) asking for healing for a servant and his understanding of the kingdom and authority.  These are perfect object lessons from the Master Teacher demonstrating the Sermon.  This shows how Jesus saw the kingdom spreading, to both Jew and Gentile.

Just looking at “kingdom” in the Sermon, it seems to break down into four general areas of thought. 

  1. This is the Father’s kingdom. Matthew 6:9 – the Lord’s Prayer.
  2. Positive ideals. Matthew 5:3+10, 8:11 – who belongs in it. 19b – greatness in the kingdom. 6:33 – seek the kingdom.  
  3. Who is the least? Matthew 5:19a – poor teachers.
  4. Who is not getting in! Matthew 5:20 – self-righteous, 7:21 – those who do not produce fruit, 8:12 – subjects of the kingdom with no faith.

So far in my study of the Kingdom.  

Studying a topic should imply that you do not know everything about the topic!  In this study, I have looked at the 4th and the 1st groups of ideas on the kingdom.  The 4th group was added on from my original thinking on the kingdom.  To be honest, having the 1st block wrapping around the Sermon on the Mount also was not in my first thoughts either.  I consider this study to be going very well because I am looking at the “old” and the “new” is surprising me every day.  The Second Block study is also forcing me to add the good of the old with fresh ideas from the new.  

The Bible and Science – Creation Qualities

 

Romans 1: 20 (NIV) For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. (I added the bold lettering.)

There are three things that frame and shape our existence on this earth and in the universe – atomic forces, light/EM spectrum, and gravity.  I can see these as shadows of our triune God.

Atomic Forces

These forces are not completely understood.  We know about the particles of protons, neutrons, and electrons and how they combine, rearrange, and come apart.  There is some understanding of quarks and atomic glue, but the mysteries of atoms are vast and may never be completely understood.  The inquisitive nature of mankind will drive us to keep exploring! 

Atoms, particles, and forces are responsible for the EM spectrum and gravity.  The EM spectrum and gravity are intertwined with atoms, being a part of and coming from atoms and their varied interactions.

EM Spectrum

Light, the primary energy source on earth, is part of a group of energy waves called the EM spectrum.  All of the waves are useful and some are dangerous.  As electrons change position wavelengths of the EM spectrum can be emitted.  Science recognizes that light is energy and can exert a force.

Gravity 

The attractive force that pulls on everything.  Its strength depends on the sizes of the objects and the distance between them.  That force is always working, even though you may not be aware of it!  Mankind has found ways to resist gravity for small periods of time, but it will always bring things down to earth.

What I See

  • Father God is the atomic force. We, His people, know and understand some of our Father, but there is much we can only imagine.  It is nice to have a God that shows Himself as real and a mystery. 
  • The EM spectrum is Jesus.  He is our light and life.  Many people think of Him only as a baby and forget He rides a white horse, carries a flaming sword, and has an angelic army coming behind Him.  Jesus has a supernatural (invisible) side and a physical side.
  • Gravity is the Holy Spirit.  He draws us to Jesus.  The closer you get to Him the stronger the force of attraction.  You can resist Him, but I would look out for the landing (every knee will bow).  

∞ I praise and thank You that You have made Yourself seen in creation.  Give me eyes and ears to hear the sounds of You that are all around us.  Amen.

Elisha – The Man of God

Elisha the “Man of God”.  His name means “God of supplication or riches” (Strong’s #477).  Elisha is mentioned once in the New Testament in the Book of Luke.  God chose him to follow Elijah as the prophet to Israel, the wayward Northern Kingdom.  He served many years “pouring water” on the hands of Elijah.

Elisha came into his own in 2 Kings 2 when he saw Elijah taken away to Heaven.  He asked for a double portion of Elijah’s “ruwach” and he received it. (Note – this has for a long time been transferred to miracles.)  “Ruwach” means spirit or life, power/miracles are implied and there are many people who count miracles and make a case for this happening.  In Elijah, I started looking at the miraculous happenings not just miracles, and began to focus on “life” and the things in these men’s lives. 

This is one of “those” things that for some reason I don’t seem to get “right”.  I counted twenty-four miraculous things for Elijah and twenty-eight for Elisha.  (I have heard 8/16 and even 17/34 for a count.)  I tried and even redid Elisha – I will list verses at the end of the post.  BUT the Bible says he got a double portion!  I feel he did get a double of “ruwach” and things that are involved in life.  Please bear with me, here are some things Elisha had more of than Elijah.

  1. Length of ministry – 24 or 25 years of ministry for Elijah and 47 to 50 years for Elisha.  (I determined this by looking at the years of the kings that were in their lives.)
  2. Elijah – 2 kings of Israel; Elisha – 4 kings of Israel and 1 from Judah.
  3. Completed instruction of God to Elijah in the cave.  Elijah – 1 (anointing Elisha); Elisha – 2 (anointing Jehu and telling Hazael he would be king)
  4. Influence/servants.  Elijah – 2 servants, one unnamed (possibly the widow’s son) and Elisha.  Elisha – At least Gehazi and a company (at least one) of prophets, that may have been fifty or more men in each.

Concerning miracles, I noticed this and it is worth mentioning!  I am choosing not to quantify this topic.  Many of the miraculous things that accompanied Elijah are by angels, or “the Lord says”.  Most of the things Elisha did are not!  The Bible simple states that the “man of God” spoke.  To me that indicates that Elisha had a different type of relation with God than Elijah had during his life.  Elisha also had many things happen that concerned water.  Elisha, also helped “his kings” more with advice and warnings than Elijah.  I will leave the argument of who is greater to someone else, we just need the miraculous again in our churches!

This list is intentional not pretty!  Some of these I felt like I was “pushing it”.  At times I picked one verse out of the story and did not give a range of verses for that story.  All of these are in 2 Kings and I used the NIV translation – 2:12,14, 21, 23; 3:11,15; 4:1,16, 33, 41, 43; 5:14, 26, 27; 6:6, 9, 10 17, 18, 20; 7:1,2; 8:1, 7, 10; 9:1; 13:15, 21.

Elijah – Questions, Observations, Comments

This post is because of the studying done for Study of the Kingdom – Elijah.  It is in note form and not meant to be complete statements or thoughts.  You , probably, will need your bible open as you go through this.       

1 Kings

17:7 – the brook dried up.  God changes somethings but lets others run their natural course.  What seems like a trial is really an opportunity.  The brook drying and going to Sidon. 

17:9 – Commanded a widow!  Did she know before Elijah got there?  The ravens were ordered, she was commanded!  This story makes the New Testament in Luke 4:24.

17:13 – a faith action, then a miracle/blessing.

17:18 –   In verse 15 she did as she was told and it started a blessing.  It may have been a year that she enjoyed the miracle.  Illness strikes and both the widow and Elijah are tested/challenged.  She acknowledged the man of God but blamed the source of her blessing.  Had she gotten too comfortable?  She shows a “religious” response – blames God (instead of be thankful), brings up her past, and blames the source of her blessing.

17:24 – miracles reinforced the words of truth that Elijah had brought.  Now she knows!

18:1 – another faith action to bring a miracle. Elijah had to go see Ahab.

Obadiah is a complex character.  His story of faith in-action is told twice! Usually an indicator of importance. (Elijah has several things that happen twice in his story.)  There was already myth surrounding Elijah and his ability to “disappear”. 

18:13 How could Elijah know of his story unless God revealed it to him, he was in hiding and it was done in secret.    

18:19 Why Mount Carmel?  Did Jesus ever go to Mount Carmel?  Elisha went back after Elijah was taken.

18: 20b, 24b, 39 The people said, “Nothing; what you say is good; the Lord He is God.”  May be a logical progression, but it just sits funny.

18:22 Elijah’s insistence on the fact he is the only one.  This is after Obadiah said he took care of 100 prophets.  He was not alone in serving God, and neither are we.  Paul repeats this story in Romans 11:2 to stress this point.

18:43 Elijah has a servant!  I think he was the widow’s son.

18:44 The cloud is rising.  Yes, that is how it works just you usually cannot see it happening, and then it progresses quickly. 

19:2 Steven Furtick called this an attack when you are in transition.  If Jezebel really had the power to kill him she would have just sent a death squad and not told him it was coming.

19:8 Follows the pattern of the Exodus.  It puts Moses and Elijah or law and prophet together in a similar circumstance.  Miracle food and water, forty days, and meeting God in a cave or cleft of a rock.  Normal travel in that length of time could be 800 to 1600 miles.  The pillar would allow the Children to travel at night.  Ref. Exodus 24:12. Was Elijah hoping he would die on the mountain?

19:11 Wind, earthquake, and fire are similar to what David reports/says in Psalm18 and the idea is also in Psalm 50.  It is also a picture of Law and Grace, harsh then gentle.

19:15 Did Elijah follow the instructions? Probably not!  First, he went to Elisha instead of Damascus.  Elisha had Jehu anointed in 2 Kings 9 and he told Hazel in 2 Kings 8:7. A possible out was that Ahab showed remorse in 1 Kings 21:9.  

19:19 to 21 Elisha is Elijah’s second servant.  He gave up a lot – 12 yoke or 24 oxen was a lot of money.  How big was that plow?  In a straight line 12 yoke may have been over 100 feet!  That was a huge party with that many cows.  It ended his business.  The cows did not belong to his parents.  Was he married?

Note on Chapter 20. To reinforce that Elijah was not alone there are two unnamed prophets.  They seem to have no connection to Elijah but Ahab knows them and accepts their words.

21:20 Ahab blames everyone but himself and they are them the enemy. 

21:25 + 26 God did carry out the words of Elijah but He showed mercy.

Chapter 22 – Another prophet besides Elijah.  Elijah’s ministry could have been twenty-four years long – twenty-two years of Ahab’s reign (1 Kings 16:29) and the two years of Ahaziah’s reign 22: 51.  

2 Kings 2

Bethel > Gilgal > Jericho > Jordan This is a reverse trip for Joshua and the children.  It is also the reverse of Jesus going Jerusalem before His death. 

Elijah, Elisha, and the company of prophets knew he was going to be taken.  I think Elijah knew how he was going.

2:10 Elijah’s statement to Elisha could be – if you see what I see or the way I see.