Course 1: My Walk with God – Introduction
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This is the written transcript for the Introduction Lesson in this series of study entitled “My Walk with God” — (it is likely that transcripts will vary somewhat from the actual video recordings).
Do You Believe?
“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1, NASB). Do you believe those words? I do! I believe in the “Ultimate Super Intelligence,” the One who is the Creator of heaven and earth and the Giver of and Sustainer of life.
“For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.”
(Colossians 1:16-17, NASB)
But, while I believe with all my heart that God created the heavens and the earth, still, I understand that it would be foolish of me to think that I could ever even begin to explain God to someone… I mean: exactly what God is, or where God came from, or even all the ways in which God chooses to operate within the universe as we know it, let alone in dimensions beyond this physical realm
Did you know that the word, “God,” as used in the book of Genesis, and elsewhere in scripture, is actually a plural word—it’s the Hebrew word, “Elohim” (denoting: more than one) —as opposed to the singular— “El” or “Eloah”, meaning only one? And yet, Parsons (2012) informs us:
The masculine plural ending does not mean “gods” when referring to the true God of Israel, since the name is mainly used with singular verb forms and with adjectives and pronouns in the singular… However, the form indeed allows the plurality within the Godhead (or, what many have come to call, the Trinity – Father, Son, Holy Spirit).
(Parsons, 2012, para. 2)
So, just looking at this ancient Hebrew word, “Elohim,” itself, we can determine that God cannot be contained, or limited to, our meager human understanding of an intelligence, or a personality. God is multiple intelligences? He is multiple personalities? Yes! God is a collection of intelligences… or a “collective” (if you will). And this is why the Book of Genesis tells us that, after the creation, when God later determined to create humanity:
God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.
Looking carefully at this passage of scripture, we can see the duel nature of Deity; that is, both the plural and the singular nature of God. First, God says, “Let Us make man in Our image,” then the scripture goes on to say, “God created man in His own image.” So, God is multiple intelligences! But these multiple intelligences present themselves, at least to humanity, as an infinitely unified collective – just one God!
Someone socialized along traditional lines of thinking, and who are think that the word “God” is the name of a particular divine person, which it is not – it is a description of being, not a name (like the word “human)… but, still, even knowing that, people who may say, “Wait a minute, how can God be more than one person? What do you mean when you say, God is multiple intelligences?” Well, we already know from the scripture that God is at least three divine entities, don’t we? God is the Father, God is the Son, and God is the Holy Spirit – THREE in ONE! Beyond that, the Bible does not tell us anything more about the plural nature of God.
Now, you know, as a human being, before you are anything else, you are an intelligence, an intellect, a personality… yes, like the animals, you too are flesh, and bone, and sinew, and brain matter, and all sorts of electrical and chemical reactions… you are a mammal. But first and foremost, beyond on all that, you need to know – and deep in your mortal soul you DO know – that your animal body has been infused by your Creator with something more than what any of the other animals possess – no matter what their respective level of “intelligence” might be – because you have made in the image of God. The Bible says:
“What is man, that You remember him?
Or the son of man, that You are concerned about him?
“You have made him for a little while lower than the angels;
You have crowned him with glory and honor,
And have appointed him over the works of Your hands;
You have put all things in subjection under his feet.”
(Psalm 8:4-5 & Hebrews 2:6-8, NASB)
So, here we have the animals and all living creatures of the earth – some far more “intelligent” than others. And then, way up here we have the angels who are capable of an inter-dimensional existence, and who for eons have been living, growing, gaining knowledge, wisdom, and insight in the very presence of God. And somewhere in the middle, just a little lower than the angels, but still bound to this earth, at least for a while, we have you, and me, humanity. Like the angels, we are created in the image of God. That is, we have been created to be an autonomous, self-aware intelligence with the capacity for abstraction, logic, understanding, learning, emotional knowledge, reasoning, planning, creativity, critical thinking. We are “like God” in that way – that’s what it means to be created in God’s own image. God, the ultimate singularity, the grand designer, the architect of the universe, in His infinite wisdom, has determined that YOU and I would exist and that we would, in respect to our intellect, our mind, be like Him.
According to scripture, He willed your existence and fashioned a vessel in which you as an autonomous intelligence, a self-aware intellect, that “person” who is YOU was meant to dwell. The Bible says:
For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
(Psalm 139:13-16, NIV)
This means that you, as a human being, are more than a mere cosmological accident – you do not exist (against all odds) simply because you got “lucky.” And, you are far more than just a “slightly more intelligent mammal” dwelling here upon the earth for a little while; you are, ultimately, a spiritual being – like God – a spiritual being having an earthly experience. And long after you and I are done with these physical, mortal, animal bodies in which we are now living for a little while, that being, that intelligence, that intellect, that personality, that “mind”… you and I – will continue on in whatever form or embodiment God will have provided for us.
And the Bible says that ultimately when the Lord Jesus returns on that great final day, in the resurrection on that last day, the One who created you, the One who willed your existence and who created you to be an autonomous, intelligent entity – God – will give you, and me, and each one of us, a new body. According to the Bible, it will be some kind of a new, immortal, indestructible body – not made of flesh and blood – in which our spirit, our intellect, that self-aware body of intelligence that is our mind, will dwell forever.
“Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality. But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, “Death is swallowed up in victory!”
(I Corinthians 15:51-54)
So, we know that there is only one God but, also, that this one God is described in scripture as consisting of multiple divine intelligences, or entities, or beings: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
But that doesn’t really help explain just what God is, or even who God is, or where God came from, does it? I mean, what is God? Well, people like to speculate, don’t they? Is God the collective conscience of the universe; sort of the focal point of all the self-organizing, creative energy generated by the dynamic interplay between quantum-cosmic forces having eventually come to an autonomous self-awareness? Is God like some kind of unimaginably powerful super A.I. – perhaps the ultimate Singularity? Or maybe God is something akin to a Type IV or V civilization on the Kardashev scale—capable of mastering extra-galactic energy sources… as science writer Michael Shermer (2012) has stated: “Any sufficiently advanced extraterrestrial intelligence is indistinguishable from God.” Maybe God is even a Type Omega-minus collective intelligence that has achieved micro dimensional mastery and is capable of manipulating not only the most elementary particles matter, but the very fabric of space and time? Some have even suggested that, perhaps, God not actually a singular or collective “being,” but God more like the established and organized “Government” (the legislative, administrative, and judicial authority) of all the celestial beings who dwell in the spiritual realm. These folks think of the word “God” metaphorically, or in much the same way as we use the term United States, or Uncle Sam. It is an abstract concept describing a very real authoritative entity.
Well, I am sometimes amused at how some people will buy into, at least, the possibility of all these various kinds of thinking; but they have a problem just believing in God. They have trouble simply accepting the existence of an intelligent being who was already in existence prior to the creation of the universe as we know it; and who is responsible for this universe – the heavens and the earth – as we perceive it… One who exists outside and beyond the universe as we know it and who is capable of bringing into existence and acting upon matter and energy from without, as well as from within, a universal closed system?
You know, people sometimes like to talk about the work of God, or all the work they think that they are doing for God. But, in fact, one time Jesus was asked by some of the people who were following Him, “What shall we do, so that we may work the works of God?” Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent” (John 6:29-30, NASB).
Sometimes, I think THAT can be the most difficult “work” of all. We as carnal minded, fleshly thinking human beings often find it difficult to believe in what we cannot see with their own eyes, or experience physically in this material world, or somehow test scientifically. I mean, how do you even begin to know the unknowable or explain the unexplainable or test the untestable?
Of course, when it comes right down to it, scientists really cannot even begin to explain all the things that we actually CAN see and experience in this world, can they? I mean, like the fact of our own existence, or the existence of matter and energy in the material world around us; let alone the existence of God? After all, we might ask, why is there anything at all? Why does anything exist? Why is there something, rather than nothing?
However, while we simply cannot explain God, the fact of God—that fact that God exists—is evidenced all around us. We cannot see Him; as the Apostle Paul said, God “alone possesses immortality and dwells in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see” (I Timothy 6:16, NASB); and yet, His presence is abundantly evident.
You know, Jesus once said, “God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth” (John 4:24, NASB). God is spirit… mind, intelligence, intellectual energy! And, according to the Bible, there is a vast world of intellectual beings that exists just beyond the perimeters of our physical perception. Sometimes, here and there in scripture, we get little hints of that world and we can learn a little bit about it.
For example, in speaking of the difficulties that God’s people often have to face in life, the Apostle Paul wrote to the Christians living in the city of Ephesus saying, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12, NASB). According to this verse, the rulers, powers, world forces of darkness, and spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly (or spiritual) places manifest themselves here upon the earth in various ways; and Christians, even here in this physical realm, have to contend with them.
In a similar passage of scripture Paul’s writes to the people living in the city of Corinth saying, “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:3-5, NASB). According to this verse, Christians do NOT wage a physical, flesh & blood, battle against these spiritual forces of wickedness; but, rather, it is an intellectual battle. Paul mentions “SPECULATIONS,” and every lofty thing raised up against the “KNOWLEDGE” of God, and taking every “THOUGHT” captive to the obedience of Christ. Spiritual warfare is warfare of the mind! As Christians, we are in a battle for the hearts and minds of people.
Another odd, and kind of scary, example of the nature of the spiritual realm, can be seen in a little story told by Jesus. He said:
“Now when the unclean spirit goes out of a man, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, and does not find it. Then it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came’; and when it comes, it finds it unoccupied, swept, and put in order. Then it goes and takes along with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there; and the last state of that man becomes worse than the first.”
(Matthew 12:43-45, NASB)
Well, demon possession seems to have been a phenomenon limited to what we call the Apostalic Age, or the “age of miracles.” It was that period of history between the Covenants when Christianity was first being initiated upon the earth. As proof that their teaching was coming from God, and not from men, Jesus and His Apostles, and those upon whom His Apostles laid their hands, performed many miracles. And during this time, evil spirits, or demons, were also allowed access to people on earth. It appears from the scripture that the people of Jesus’ day were very familiar with this phenomenon.
From this little story, we can learn several things. One being that spiritual beings in the spiritual realm are not limited by the laws of physics as we are. This is because they are not carnal, flesh & blood, beings – they are intelligences. These evil spirits that Jesus speaks of here are conscious, self-aware, intellectual entities – “minds” if you will – that inhabited human bodies in much the same way that our minds inhabit our human bodies. Many Bible scholars believe, and I agree with them, that these evil spirits were, most likely, the disembodied spirits, or minds, of people (human beings) who had already died; but who were permitted for a time, and for a particular purpose, to once again roam the earth and inhabit other human bodies.
When an evil spirit was cast out of someone, back in that day and age, Jesus said it “passes through waterless places.” Water is essential to our carnal, flesh and blood existence in this material world. Did you know that you are mostly water? According to the USGS website: “Up to 60% of the human adult body is water. According to H.H. Mitchell, Journal of Biological Chemistry 158, the brain and heart are composed of 73% water, and the lungs are about 83% water. The skin contains 64% water, muscles and kidneys are 79%, and even the bones are watery: 31%.”
So, I believe, the “waterless places” simply refers to that spiritual realm that flesh and blood does not inhabit because it is the realm where mind, intellect, intelligence, or “spirit” abides. But not being content and finding no rest in that spiritual world, the evil spirit longed to return to flesh and blood by once again inhabiting a human body. And, if human flesh is unavailable, any flesh will do. Remember Jesus’ encounter with the demon possessed man up in the country of the Gerasenes? The Bible says:
And when He came out onto the land, He was met by a man from the city who was possessed with demons; and who had not put on any clothing for a long time, and was not living in a house, but in the tombs. Seeing Jesus, he cried out and fell before Him, and said in a loud voice, “What business do we have with each other, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg You, do not torment me.” For He had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. For it had seized him many times; and he was bound with chains and shackles and kept under guard, and yet he would break his bonds and be driven by the demon into the desert. And Jesus asked him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Legion”; for many demons had entered him. They were imploring Him not to command them to go away into the abyss. Now there was a herd of many swine feeding there on the mountain; and the demons implored Him to permit them to enter the swine. And He gave them permission. And the demons came out of the man and entered the swine; and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and was drowned.”
(Luke 8: 27-33, NASB)
In both of these two examples, we see that more than one mind, or intelligence, was capable of inhabiting a single human body. In fact, in the second example, “many” demons, or evil intelligences, had inhabited the man. This is because, again, mind transcends matter and once a mind has been disembodied, or separated from its original body, it is no longer subject to the physical laws of this material realm. However, these evil spirits were still subject to the power and authority of Jesus, “Son of the Most High God,” as they called Him.
Well, these are just some examples from the Bible to help us understand a little bit about the nature of “spirit,” and just what “spirit” really is. Basically, essentially, our “spirit” is our self-aware, conscious, autonomous intellect – our “mind” and all the intelligence, feelings, emotions, memories, experiences, personality, and unique character traits that it contains. And, after we have departed this physical body, this carnal vessel, in which we must live for a little while here upon the earth, our “mind,” our “spirit,” we as conscious “beings,” will continue to exist. As the Apostle Paul says, “Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man (our flesh) is decaying, yet our inner man (our mind) is being renewed day by day” (2 Corinthians 4:16, NASB).
God is a mind so vast, so powerful, so energetic that He transcends all the matter and energy of this material universe – it is all subject to Him and He simply cannot be contained. The Bible says that there is “one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all” (Ephesians 4:6, NASB). As the scripture that we read earlier states: “all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together” (Colossians 1:16-17, NASB).
And so, Jesus says, “God is spirit, and those who worship Him MUST worship in spirit and truth!” (John 4:24, NASB). That is, we must approach God and our relationship with God on an intellectual level with our mind fully engaged. Our minds are to be focused on Him. Furthermore, our worship must be rooted and grounded in truth. True worship requires some knowledge of God and His will, as revealed to us through His inspired word.
Now, I’ll confess that, as a mortal human being, it’s sometimes difficult for me to wrap my head around the existence of that spiritual dimension – the realm of the mind. Like most people, I too often get all wrapped up in this physical, carnal, material world and lose sight of the transcendent nature of God and the reality of spiritual things. But it helps when I remember something else that Jesus said: “The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit” (John 3:8, NASB).
So, Jesus says that spiritual things and spiritual beings, like God, are like the wind; they cannot not be seen, but still, they are very real, and can be experienced. The evidence of God’s existence is abundant, it’s all around me. From the relatively simple design of a living plant to the incomprehensible engineering of the human genome, evidence for the existence of an intelligence so vast that He defies imagination encompasses me, wrapping all around me like a strong breeze on a windy day.
And so, while I will never entirely comprehend just “what” God is, I can know and do know “that” God is! And the holy scriptures assure me that THAT is enough; for the Bible says: “By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible…” “And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him” (Hebrews 11: 3 & 6, NASB).
This first lesson is the same as Lesson 1 in my online, interactive web-book entitled, “Does God Exist?” If you are interested in pursuing these matters a little further and exploring with me a few more of the scientific, historical, and Biblical evidence for the existence of God, I would love to share some of my thoughts with you about why I believe in Him. The book is available to you free of charge on the home page at: MyOnlineBibleStudy.com
May God bless you on your sojourn toward eternity!
Parsons, J.J. (2012). Hebrews names of God: Elohim and Elohei constructs given in Tanakh. Retrieved from the Hebrew for Christians website at: http://www.hebrew4christians.com/Names_of_G-d/Elohim/elohim.html
Shermer, M. (1992-2015). The work of Michael Shermer. Scientific American. Retrieved from: http://www. michaelshermer.com/ 2002/01/shermers-last-law/
Smith, B. (2012). Argument by creation: The cosmological argument. Retrieved from the knowtruth.com website at: http://www.knowtruth.com/god/existence/creation_argument_1.php
USGS. (2021). The water in you: water and the human body. Retrieved from: https://www.usgs.gov/special-topic/water-science-school/science/water-you-water-and-human-body?qt-science_center_objects=0#qt-science_center_objects
Scripture taken from:
NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright (c) 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.
THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
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