[THOUGHTS ON THE WHOLE ARC OF GOD’S CREATION: From the Beginning to the ‘End’. [Extracted from my book on the Book of Revelation]
RIGHT AT THE OUTSET, it has to be said that although the old creation (i.e. the present creation) was created “very good”, it was not at that point at the height of its perfection. Eden was not the perfect world that many imagine it was. I have often heard people saying that God created the world perfect. But this is not true. It is certainly true that God is said to have looked at everything He had created and regarded it as טוֹב, towb, which means “good” or even “beautiful” in the Hebrew (Book of Genesis, chapter 1, verse 31). But it was not created in the highest perfection because there was a problem right there in the midst of that creation. This was not the result of any ‘error’ on the part of God or a flaw in His handiwork. For it was all created exactly as it should be and deliberately so. The problem was that His human creation contained the potential for a Fall. God did not create entirely infallible humans. That is obvious, or the Fall would never have happened.
They were not in the highest state of perfection and they still had the freewill capacity to become lawless. “But”, you might say, “if he is such a perfect God, why didn’t he create everything perfect?” Herein we see the stroke of genius in the creation (as if anything made by God wouldn’t be genius!). For God, it would have been very easy to create a totally perfect infallible world in one gesture, in which no Fall could ever have happened. (Bear in mind that there had by that point already been a previous fall of angels). He could have made ‘unfallable’ humans in the blink of His eye, so to speak. But to create a world in which there is the freewill propensity for the creature to fall — then to be subsequently brought to perfection in a gargantuan act of salvation over aeons of time — is infinitely more demonstrative of His omnipotence, as well as being ravishingly adventurous, and definitely far less pedestrian; not to mention the beautiful fact that it would ultimately lead to a universe in which perfection had not been rigidly enforced by creation but divinely fashioned through redemption. Does that not fill you with amazement?
God the omniscient knew very well what kind of a world He was creating. He knew that the first humans that He created would be seduced by satanic interference (after all, it was as if it was a ‘trap’); but this did not deter him from creating them. On the contrary! For therein lies the very purpose for creating them: To provide a showcase for His Son, Jesus Christ! Please take in the beauty of this. For if we step back for a moment to take a cosmic view of the progression of life in this universe, we will discover a most important factor: That the purpose behind the entire creation was the manifestation of Jesus Christ and, in particular, the declaration about Him by His disciples, the true church, the Ekklesia — not just to the people of the world but also to the angels, fallen or not (Letter to the Ephesians, chapter 3, verse 10).
With all this in mind, it would surely not be straying into the bounds of speculation to say that God’s main purpose through His human creation, knowing very well that it would fall, is ultimately that of displaying His glory and demonstrating that His wisdom is infinitely superior to that of Satan (and all other possible contenders), by triumphing over him through a cosmic battle which was set to last for aeons and of which we are but one part.
In other words, this planet is the ‘theatre of war’ in a marathon spiritual spectacle in which Jesus Christ has the starring role and we are the supporting players. No wonder angels (good and evil) desire to be spectators of what is happening throughout the ages in our world (First Letter of Peter, chapter 1, verse 12). Through the unfolding events in His human creation, God is providing the angels with a lesson which they would otherwise not have had and which they will never forget.
Even though the evil into which the world would fall after the creation had been fully foreseen by God, He deliberately chose to create such a world, knowing that nothing is too difficult for Him and that He could work all things (both good and evil, for only He holds the full “knowledge of good and evil”), so that they serve His ultimate purpose. That purpose is “the new heaven and new earth” in which “there shall by no means enter in it anything that defiles or causes an abomination or a lie” and in which “there shall be no more curse” (Book of Revelation, chapter 21, verse 27; chapter 22, verse 3). Through this mighty act of Divine sovereignty, God has demonstrated the eternal truth that He is the wise One who is in ultimate control of all things.
It was that Divine “knowledge of good and evil” which the first humans tried to usurp, at Satan’s beckoning. The tree of the knowledge of good and evil is a stark symbol of that element of divine understanding which those first humans imagined in their hubris that they could have, as if God was wrongfully keeping it from them (Book of Genesis, chapter 3, verses 4-6).
Another point to consider is that although the first created humans will have had a profound understanding of the omnipotence and omniscience of their Creator, their experience of God was incomplete and would have remained so unless it was supplemented by a practical and experiential perception of Divine attributes, which could only be revealed in the event of their Fall. Think about this very deeply, for we are now on holy ground: Had our first human parents never fallen under the spell of the powers of darkness, neither they nor their descendants would have known of those qualities of God which, through Christ, enable a person to resist and overcome evil. Furthermore, Divine attributes such as mercy, forgiveness, long-suffering, judgement, salvation, redemption and deliverance would have remained forever locked up within the inner life of the Godhead. Truly, the fullness of the attributes of God would not have been adequately displayed unless there had been a Fall of humanity. Are you seeing the beauty in all this?
Those who are already now the new creation, due to the intervention of Christ (Second Letter to the Corinthians, chapter 5, verse 17), are indeed being thoroughly prepared and eventually being refined to the highest known perfection that a human creature can attain — whereas the first created humans, before they were in their fallen state, were far from being so prepared, as their subsequent behaviour clearly shows! This is why we can say that the Fall, in the superior wisdom of God, was actually a necessary part of the full outworking of the Divine creation. This is so beautiful to those who have the eyes to see this Big Picture and who are open enough to truth to be able to admit it, for understanding it is not for the spiritually squeamish. Through the squalid depths of evil and lawlessness, and the resultant multifaceted bittersweetness of human suffering, a dazzling array of the sublime and awesome characteristics of the Creator are made manifest which would otherwise have remained forever concealed.
When the end of this aeon has come, and the new aeon takes over, and the entire universe will have been transformed into what it might have been in the first creation — had all these lessons not been necessary — the Divine voice will thunder out through every nook and cranny of the cosmos, reminding every creature of that irrefutable Divine reality which Christ Himself stated: “Without ME you can do nothing!” (Jn.15:5). For us to be learning that mighty fact has been the whole purpose of the creation of this cosmos. The arc from the Fall in Eden to the fulfilment of perfection in the ‘new heaven and new earth’ is such a stupendous Divine achievement that it should fill us with awe.
It has to be said here that if you imagine you have “discovered your personal divinity” or if you think you are ‘god’ — as many deludedly do these days, courtesy of a synthesis of baseless mysticism and New Age wishful thinking — let me ask you these pertinent questions: Have you ever created a universe just because you can? Have you planned out how you will save your created world which potentially falls into evil, due to fallen angels (demons), even before you created it? Have you altered the entire course of history with a twitch of your finger or raising of your eyebrow (so to speak)? Have you overcome the whole demonic realm through your incarnation, death, resurrection, and ascension? If you answered “no” to those questions, then I can assure you that you are not ‘god’ — neither have you “discovered your personal divinity” — and you need to relinquish yourself of such delusions of grandeur or face the inevitable eternal consequences!
So in this epilogue in chapters 21 and 22 of the Book of Revelation — the revelation of Jesus Christ, in fact — we have the complete fulfilment of everything that the old creation was working towards. For just as the whole of the creation has been about the revelation of Jesus Christ, so is the Book of Revelation of which this work is designed to be a pastoral commentary. It is in these final two chapters of the Book of Revelation that we see the full perfecting of God’s creation. It is all of one piece from beginning to end. ‘Eternal fire’ was created originally for Satan and his fellow fallen angels (Gospel of Matthew, chapter 25, verse 41). God could have judged him at the time of his fall. But even that, too, was part of the whole story which would ultimately lead to the new heaven and new earth in which only righteousness and purity dwell. We ‘snowflakes’ would never have gone down this pathway if we had been the creators. It takes supreme wisdom and infinite patience to create a cosmos — especially one such as this!
This new heaven and new earth was always the goal in the mind of God from before He even created Satan, the angels and the first humans. So those first two verses of chapter 21, “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God”, are at the other end of the telescope from the first three chapters of the Book of Genesis.
When the sacred text says that “no longer will there be any curse”, it means that the effects of the Fall have been removed; paradise has been regained. But it’s not exactly identical to the Eden in the first creation because in Eden there was still the possibility of a Fall. In the new heaven and new earth there will be no such possibility. That is why we see no tree of the knowledge of good and evil in this restored paradise, whereas it was said to stand along with the tree of life in the original Eden.
Thus, the whole creation follows an arc from the moment that God brought it into existence, though the creation and fall of the first humans, to the restoration effected by Christ, the extirpation of evil in the creation through the means of a global judgement at the end of this age, the dissolving of the present creation and the creating of a new cosmos in which darkness will be no more. When we see that arc in all its myriad details, insofar as we are capable of grasping that, then we will no more have to exclaim how unfair life is and we will realise the infinitely superior wisdom of the Creator, for whom the aeons are but an instant.
[Excerpted from “The Essential Apocalypse: Making Sense of the Book of Revelation, available for FREE download here: https://diakrisis-project.com/2022/06/10/the-essential-apocalypse-making-sense-of-the-book-of-revelation-is-ready-for-download/ ]