I remember clearly the moment I realized the Bible was not the tame collection of bedtime stories I once thought it was. That was the moment everything clicked: the life I had been living up until that point was all a lie. I was living in a war zone.
(You can read a depiction of this part of the story in the FREE download of The Book of Life: Prologue.)
The Lies We Believe
When we are children, fairy tales are the stories that shape our worldview. We believe in magic, we just know that fairies are real, and we have a genuine fear of the monsters under our bed. But what happens as we get older?
Our parents inform us that Santa and the Tooth Fairy aren’t real, and they assure us that there is no such thing as monsters under the bed. As we grow up, we stop believing in magic and the supernatural. We come to learn that these are the elements of folklore, fantasy, and fiction.
So perhaps it’s not surprising that when we try to introduce certain concepts in the Bible, they are difficult for some to grasp. Compared to any other culture, our Western culture is much less likely to believe in the existence of anything paranormal or supernatural, to the point where certain Bible stories have been watered down because they seem too fanciful.
But here’s the truth: if we were to remove every supernatural or non-physical event from the Bible, there wouldn’t be much left. We need to stop reading the Bible through the lens of our Western culture. We can try to explain things away, but the fact remains, just because we don’t believe something to be true, doesn’t mean that it isn’t. Reality does not conform to our wishes.
I said in my last post, the Bible is not just a story of love but also a story of war. Understanding this principle is crucial in setting the stage for the rest of the story. When we set aside our Western glasses, we see that, not only does the Bible reference spiritual warfare far more than we realize, but in fact, this war zone is the stage for the entire story.
Before the Beginning
“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. Now, the earth was formless and void, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.” (Genesis 1:1-2)
Many of us have grown up imagining that these two verses describe a vast expanse of nothingness, a blank slate for God’s creation. But, let’s take a closer look.
A number of theologians suspect that Lucifer’s rebellion and the induction of the cosmic war took place somewhere between the first and second verses of the Bible. To see this, we have to go back to the original language.
The original Hebrew for the words “formless and void” is “tohu bohu,” which is more closely translated as “to lie in waste, desolation, confusion, emptiness, chaos, indistinguishable ruin.” This doesn’t sound like a blank slate; it sounds more like the aftermath of a war.
What we see in the first two verses of the Bible is that, yes, God did create the heavens and the earth, but something happened. One of God’s guardian cherubim and a portion of the other heavenly hosts revolted against God. And at the point where we pick up the story, the universe as we know it, is in a state of ruin. But don’t worry, because there is good news!
Throughout the Bible, “darkness” is used as a way to represent evil and wickedness, which we see present in Genesis 1:2. And that part about God hovering over the waters? In Ancient Near Eastern literature, the “sea” or the “deep” was used as a way to describe the evil forces in the spiritual realm. Now when we take these things into consideration, the third verse of Genesis is so much more profound! Can’t you just see it? God holding back the darkness and evil as He declares, “Let there be light!” Now, that sounds just like the God I know!
Next week, we will continue by diving into the next chapter of the story!
Don’t forget, you can read a depiction of this part of the story in the FREE download of The Book of Life: Prologue!
If you want to join me this summer in Discovering the Story or follow along with the Summer Bible Reading Plan, you can find out the details here!