The Big Picture

What follows is a framework for everything this web site is about. It shows a Biblical perspective much bigger than ‘Adam and Eve sinned, so the Gospel is about restoration of our severed relationship with God.’ The big picture here is rarely preached and consequently rarely understood by the average Christian.

In the beginning there was God.  The Bible doesn't say much about what happened before Creation.  All we really know is that God, being infinite, existed always. 'Always' here is a rather inadequate term, because it is generally interpreted as relating to the space-time continuum that we live in. The truth is that the space-time continuum was created specifically for the benefit of God's eternal purpose and is intricately interwoven with the created universe and everything in it, including Earth and mankind. Before that, time as we know it did not exist. And after His purpose has been accomplished, eternity will not be measured in hours and seconds. If Einstein's general theory of relativity turns out to be correct, (and all scientific research is pointing that way), time passes at different rates in different parts of the Universe and is related to an object's speed, mass, location and exposure to gravitational forces. That theory, and the now better understood principles of quantum mechanics, is soon expected to show that creation of the Universe in six literal earth days is not only scientifically plausible, but, when taken in conjunction with many other factors, more likely than millions of years. A remarkable reference is 'Starlight and Time' by Dr. D. Russell Humphreys.


Some 'time' before the world was created, God wrote names in the Book of Life. We would all like to believe that our name is among them, because those whose names appear in that Book will live forever in His presence. You might say that eventually people will get bored with anything, even something as glorious as worshipping God. But boredom is related to the time spent doing the same thing.  If measurable time does not exist, neither can boredom.

Then you might say, well if my name does not appear already, I'm wasting my efforts trying to get my name in there.  In one way that is true.  And in another it is false.  Pre-destination, on initial inspection, seems to be something akin to 'fate', (it was going to happen whether I liked it or not), yet it is far more complex and meaningful.  You see, the whole created universe is full of diametrical opposites, without which creation has no meaning.  For matter there is anti-matter. Heat has no meaning without the potential for cold.  White has no meaning without black. Light has no meaning without darkness. Good has no meaning without the potential for evil.  Pre-destination offers a choice between two diametrically opposed value systems: God's way or your way.  Moreover, pre-destination combines the concepts of free will, choice and divine foreknowledge. Fate, if there was such a thing, would make all of us robots, worshipping Him forever without actually having a choice in the matter, a meaningless worship. It is our ability to choose that gives meaning to the worship of those in God's Kingdom. The reason our names are written in the Book of Life is that God knew beforehand what choices we are going to make.

It would therefore be absurd to imagine that God did not know beforehand that Adam and Eve were going to sin.  Of course He knew!  In one way of thinking, His entire eternal purpose depended on their disobedience. But that doesn't mean that He caused them to be disobedient. He created them with a free will to choose.  And they chose wrong. And He knew they would.  But God's plan for Creation had a much greater purpose, one that wouldn't have been possible if Adam and Eve had simply continued to be good.


As a result of their disobedience, God placed all of creation under a curse - the curse of sin and death.  From that moment on, all of creation went into a spiralling decline. From then on, all men and women would eventually die.  Their unspoiled genetic make-up initially enabled them to live hundreds upon hundreds of years.  But slowly genetic deterioration took its toll and diseases grabbed hold.  No longer could they eat from lush fruits hanging from trees designed to exist in an environment that pretty much looked after itself.  Now they had to till the earth and hunt animals for food. Something also had changed inside their brain. Somehow, making the wrong choice had awakened an awareness of self that had not been there before. That awareness of self had terrible repercussions: it made man needy and consequently selfish; it made man arrogant and conceited; it made self 'number One' in its environment.  Animals changed also. Instead of all being vegetarian, many started eating weaker species.  Almost from day one outside of Eden, extinction of some species was threatened. God-designed genomes catered for widespread adaptation to new environments, but those that did not adapt died out. And environments varied dramatically from the temperate climate of Eden. Even vegetation changed. DNA originally designed to produce only beneficial plant life, deteriorated and mutated.  Some grew thorns and thistles.  Grasses turned into parasitic weeds.  Nothing was exempt from the curse, because all of it had been placed under man's dominion when everything was still good in God's sight.

Man's selfishness backfired in a terrible way. Living so long enabled him to populate the earth quickly, but looking out for number One resulted in degeneracy of incredible proportions. What had originally been good, turned into a cesspool of sin and corruption, so offensive in God's sight that He destroyed everything in a worldwide flood, which only one family of eight survived.  Noah and his three sons, together with their wives, became parents to all of today's population.  Again, their right to choose led to some offspring following God, but most going their own way. At one stage, man's God-given ingenuity threatened to sabotage God's time frame for this earth, and He caused the confusion of language to slow scientific advancement and to further disseminate the population.


God's eternal purpose first required that men understood what He wanted from them.  So God selected one group of people, those who had shown the most promise in following Him, to lead the way. The Israelites became God's Chosen People, yet proved time and again how fickle mankind really is, when it comes to choosing between God and self. God performed mind-blowing miracles, yet they wanted to worship something they could see.  From the golden calf, to man-made idols, to the modification of 'God' so we could put Him in a box, we really desired a god we could control.  God gave the Israelites His laws for human behaviour and relationship with Him, starting with the Ten Commandments and introducing covering for sin through animal sacrifice and shedding of blood (the Abrahamic or Old Covenant). And He promised them a land of their own, if they would only remain faithful to Him.  The whole picture of Israel entering the Promised Land is an analogy of the Church (or the spiritual Israel) entering eternity under the New Covenant.

God promised them a Messiah to come and set them free. But time and again they interpreted the prophecies in a secular way.  Israel would start worshipping false gods, God would abandon them to be conquered by other nations; eventually they would tire of enslavement and return to Him.  The Messiah was the one prophesied to liberate them. At the time of Roman occupation, they were again looking for a political liberator, rather than one who would set them free from the curse of sin and death.  When Jesus arrived, most Jews wanted to change Him into their package of expectations - one to set them free from the Roman tyranny. Jesus' spiritual message was lost on them. Because He wasn’t what they expected, they killed Him on a cross.  Jesus was to be the final blood sacrifice. 


The 'red text' in some Bible editions record Jesus' own words. Whilst all of the Bible is God's message to us, no words are more important than what Jesus had to say. Jesus was God in human form. He was proof of something so mind-blowing, all of us have trouble comprehending the significance of it. God, the One who could speak the whole of the universe into existence just by opening His mouth, wanted to identify with our human frailty.   Even more stunning than that, this same God was willing to die in our place, just so that the relationship between us could be restored! And as a final revelation of His eternal purpose, so earth-shattering we can only mouth the words without ever truly grasping their deepest meaning, God wants to have us for His eternal spouse!!!

The red text is what it is all about.  It explains to all of us the 'meaning of life'. It is the only reason for living that has any significance. You can make billions, but you can't take it with you when you die. You can build cities and have your name engraved in pyramids, but in the end you pass on.  And your only hope for eternity is to choose God's plan. None of your plans will come to anything permanent.  If you have any doubt as to why you are a Christian, go back to the red text. This is the Gospel - God's unmistakable message to us as to why He started all of this in the first place. 

Misinterpretations of any of the words recorded by Moses, or David, or Solomon, or Malachi, or even John, or Paul, can lead us into confusion, division, or even heresy.  If you call yourself a Christian, surely what Christ Himself had to say is more important than anything else? If in doubt, go back to the red text! Tampering with the plain, obvious meaning of the red text surely is a terrible thing, yet some preachers seem to think nothing of doing so.

Jesus presented a value system that utterly contradicted worldly values and ways.  If some one hits you on one cheek, He said, don't fight back, but turn the other cheek. The gentle will inherit the earth, not the aggressors. If someone sues to take your shirt, give him your coat also. Love your enemies. Woe to the wealthy, because you already have your reward. You can't serve both God and money. If you want to be a leader, be the servant of all. Just wanting to commit sin makes you guilty of breaking God's Law, because God looks at the heart. 

So what was Jesus trying to do by saying all this? It was hard enough to keep sin in check by not acting on our impulses.  Now even our thought-life wasn't safe!  Was He trying to make life so hard, it would be impossible to ever please God? No.  He was trying to do two things.  Firstly, He wanted to explain the Spirit of the Law of God - keeping the letter of the Law doesn't merit salvation. Secondly, He wanted to make it plain you really aren't capable, in your fallen state, to keep the Spirit of the Law - you need God's forgiveness and mercy.  And that was on its way!

So there is the Gospel message, the New Covenant: the only way back into God's 'good books' is through Jesus Christ. That means you must accept that Jesus died and rose again, proving He overcame death.  And you have to accept that His sacrifice was for your breaches of God's Law, thereby paying the penalty that would otherwise need to be paid by you. But even the demons believe this and shudder. The only real way to appropriate these things into your life is to acknowledge your own sinful nature, repent of your sinfulness and ask Jesus to become Lord of your life.  You can't do it mechanically, without really meaning it.  You can't fool God.  But if you do this sincerely, you will never be the same.


So what is it like, that watershed hour, in which you choose for God rather than for self; that moment, when the Bible says you become 'born again'?  First, to repent of your sinfulness in the presence of the Almighty is emotional in the extreme. It rates up there with when you say 'I do', or the first time you hear your baby cry. I would be suspicious of any repentance that is not accompanied by many tears. (Too many 'conversions' are not in response to a call to repentance.) Suddenly you get a small, yet overwhelming, glimpse of the incredible grace of God. You don't deserve what you are about to receive, but still God wants you to have salvation. And then comes that indescribable moment when you invite Jesus into your heart - it is like a light comes on or a flame is lit somewhere in the deepest part of your being, and you know you will never be the same again. This is the Holy Spirit, your personal link to both Jesus and the Father. You will find that the curse of sin and death on you will be lifted. Sure, you still have a long way to go in changing your 'leopard's spots' and you will still physically die one day. But you will live eternally in the Lord's presence.  And you will find that your name was in that Book of Life all along!


In a number of places, the Bible makes the comparison of the final union between the Church and Jesus to a Bride and Groom. In old Jewish tradition, a man would strike a deal with the father of his chosen bride. He would then return to his own father's place to build an upper level, where in due course consummation of the union was intended to take place while the wedding celebrations raged below.   He could not return to collect his bride until his father gave the OK.  Meanwhile, the bride would prepare herself for his return, not knowing when.

You can easily recognise the analogies in the things Jesus said. We, also, don't know when. And He is away at His Father's house, preparing a place for us.  The early disciples expected Him in their lifetime.  Most generations since have been the same.  And that is not a bad thing, because we all should live as if He is coming today. In John 13, He gives us a New Commandment, to love one another as He loved us.  That's not a repeat of 'love your neighbour as yourself.' He loved us more than Himself. In John 17, Jesus voiced further expectations:


 "...that they may all be one, even as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us; that the world may believe that you sent Me. … I in them, and You in me; that they may be made perfect in one …"


God created everything because the Son longed for a Bride. 

If you were Jesus, would you want to return to the divided, corrupted and compromised bride of today? One the world ridicules and laughs at? And bring her into the 'promised land'?  And present her to the celebrants as a bride 'without spot or wrinkle'?  Maybe I'm wrong, and maybe we will all be perfected by the snap of the fingers, (like a magician doing his trick), in that instant when Jesus returns. But it seems to me, that then it might have been better if God had made us all like little robots in the first place.

I believe Jesus will return to a bride so full of love and unity, He can't wait to come and get her.  It is the job of the Holy Spirit to convict us of our sin and to inspire us to so love one another, we are willing to lay down our lives for each other. That's what Jesus did - He practised what He preached. It is our job to surrender to the Holy Spirit's prompting.


Each of us has a choice to make during our life time: Do we want to spend eternity married to Jesus, or not. Not making a choice is the same as ‘not’.