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John A. Heys is a minister emeritus in the Protestant Reformed Churches.

When one walks around a foundation that has been laid for a building that is under construction, that foundation will not tell whether the building will be a hotel, warehouse, office building, hospital, factory or any other large building. It will not tell us how many stories the building will have, or whether the outside walls of the building will be made of wood or stone. But that foundation will tell us how long and wide the building will be, and that someone wants a building, and wants it right there on that spot.

As presented last time, the heavens and earth which God created in the beginning likewise did not give us all the details of the new heaven and earth which comes when Christ appears on the clouds of heaven at the end of time, and of which the earth He created in the beginning of time was a shadow. That first creation does reveal some truths about the coming kingdom of heaven. But as a shadow, that first beautiful creation did not give us all the details about the coming kingdom of Christ.

What is more, the fall of man did not make it necessary for God to begin to repair and improve that creation to bring into being the kingdom of heaven. No one, absolutely no one spoils the work of the almighty God. He has every creature completely and constantly under His perfect control. And though it is true, as we read in Genesis 1:31, that God saw that everything that He had made was “very good”, this does not mean that Satan spoiled things for God and made Him do some new and extra work. Satan is completely under God’s control and is a tool which God uses to realize His own eternal and unchangeable purpose. What Genesis 1:31 means is that God saw that a very good foundation was laid, and a very good shadow was there, that speaks of what He intends to bring forth in and through Christ. Satan did not frustrate God. He did not spoil God’s work. He, Satan, wanted to do that and thought that he had succeeded; but unwillingly, yet very really, he served God in the realization of that of which the first creation was a shadow.

Before He created the heavens and the earth and all that they contain, God had in mind that of which we read in Isaiah 65:17-25. There we read: “For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former things shall not be remembered, nor come into mind. But be ye glad and rejoice for ever in that which I create: for, behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy. And I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in my people: and the voice of weeping shall be no more heard in her, nor the voice of crying. There shall be no more thence an infant of days, nor an old man that hath not filled his days: for the child shall die an hundred years old; but the sinner being an hundred years old shall be accursed. And they shall build houses, and inhabit them, and they shall plant vineyards and eat the fruit of them . . . . The wolf and lamb shall feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like the bullock: and dust shall be the serpent’s meat. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, saith the Lord.”

Plainly God is speaking here of the new Jerusalem, that is, the new creation which He will bring forth in the day Christ returns. He is speaking of that which is also presented to us in Revelation 21:1-4. There we are told, “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold the tabernacle of God with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.”

THAT is what God had in mind when He created the world in which we live. And He used Satan and all the heavenly and earthly creatures which He brought forth to serve the realization of that new creation. That Satan succeeded in his attempt to turn man away from God and be a covenant breaker might seem to be a frustration of God’s will by Satan. But look at the cross of Christ and you will see that, when to man it looks as though Satan triumphed, this is not true. There God used him for our salvation. And the same thing is true of the wicked work of Satan in leading Adam into the sin that brought guilt upon the whole human race. That was necessary for the coming of Christ to lift us above the shadow—glory of the garden of Eden and bring us into that new Jerusalem presented in Isaiah 65 and Revelation 21.

We do well to take hold also of the fact that man as he came forth from the hand of God on the sixth day of creation week was a shadow of what we will be in the new creation. God created man in His own image. God made man to be a thinking, willing creature who could hear God speak, could speak unto God, enjoy His love, and could love Him. No other earthly creature could do that. He was created a little lower than the angels in heaven (Hebrews 2:7); but he was. created in a covenant relationship with God. A relationship of friendship and fellowship was realized when man was created in the image of God. This caused man to be a shadow of that more intimate fellowship of God’s covenant of which we read a moment ago in Revelation 21:3. God will tabernacle, that is, dwell with us through Christ, in a much closer and richer fellowship in that new creation.

Do we not read in Revelation 21:3 that God will dwell with us and be our God? Of course He is the God of all creatures. But when He is our God because His tabernacle is with us, a far more intimate fellowship, a much richer blessedness with Him will be ours. Then fully we will taste and see that God is good. For that His tabernacle is with us means that God is with us not simply in His providence and in a physical way but in His love and in a blessedness that is higher than what we had in the garden of Eden, even as heaven is so much higher than the earth.

Psalm 25:14 is so interesting and comforting. There we read: “The secret of the Lord is with them that fear Him; and He will show them His covenant.” Being a Hebrew parallelism, the statement that God’s secret is with those that fear Him means the same thing as the statement that He will show them His covenant. Showing His covenant means having His secret with us. Now the word secret suggests a relationship of friendship. The closer the friend is to you, the more ready you are to commune with that friend and tell him secrets you keep from all others. No one shares secrets with enemies.

However, the Hebrew word here translated secret means a circle of persons sitting together. It can be translated as a consensus divan, that is, a couch, or better still, here in Psalm 25:14, as a loveseat where we sit with God and have a communion of rich love with Him. That is the idea of God’s covenant as we read of it so often in Scripture. It is a relationship of friendship and fellowship between God and His elect children, a very intimate and close fellowship much richer than the shadow thereof which existed between God and Adam before he fell into sin.

All this God had in mind before He created Adam, in fact before He created the heavens and the earth and all that they contain. It was with a view to this rich, much more intimate relationship between God and man that He made man in His own image. He saw that all that He had made was “very good”, because it could all serve to bring forth this indescribably blessed life with God in the sinless world that is coming in the day of Christ.

Consider the fact that man was created able not to sin. But according to God’s counsel, which had the intimate covenant life with Him in mind, man fell and became not able not to sin. And all this took place with a view to lifting man in Christ and through His cross, resurrection, and ascension up into heaven so that man would become not able to sin, and in that perfect state have a fellowship with God that is closer and richer than that which the angels know. Man was created in God’s image and was high above all earthly creatures. But God’s plan was to lift him higher in His Son. He was created as God’s friend-servant, and that was a glorious and blessed state for a creature. But God had in mind making man His sons and daughters through His only begotten Son. Friends and servants do not have the same intimacy and freedoms in your home that your sons and daughters enjoy. And we are promised this richer, more wonderful life in the new Jerusalem. Living with His Son, Who came in our flesh and lifted it to heavenly glory, we shall then have a close, most blessed fellowship with God. And of that, Adam’s and Eve’s fellowship with God in the garden of Eden was only a shadow.

What we must take hold of is the fact that Godformed man out of the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life. And this we read as the background of God calling all the other creatures into being. Follow the theistic evolutionistic philosophy and say that Genesis 1-11 is just a story and not historical fact. (And why stop there? What in Scripture gives us the right to stop there and call just that fiction?) But as we began to say, insist that Genesis 1-11 is fiction and not fact. Why must we take other parts of Scripture, that are just as unique, as historical fact?

If the first part of the Old Testament is only a story of what happened, may we not insist that the New Testament also begins with a story? By some evolutionistic process a virgin brings forth a son. Why call that creation of man only a story, while the far more awesome birth of the Son of God in our flesh through a virgin birth is considered historical fact? If Genesis has eleven chapters that are fictitious, may we not say that Matthew 1 and Luke 1, 2 are also fiction?

And what about Eve? Somewhere in the sixth period of billions of years they say a male human being came into existence. Did it take another billion of years for him to bring forth a female human being? Poor Adam! He was all alone for a billion years. Well, anyway, some of those billion years he spent in sleep (Genesis 2:21). But how could he live that long without eating or drinking? And notice that, according to this story, the animal world did not bring forth a body so different from the male body; but it came out of a male’s body. God took a rib of Adam and out of it He made Eve. Are we to believe that this explains how Adam came into being? God used a rib of a beast to make man over a period of billions of years?

Why did not God, Who has perfect control of speech and language, not tell us in a much clearer way that we came out of the animal world? Why does He not use that clearer word evolve, if that is the way He brought man into being? He surely knew that word as well as the words call and breathe. Why does He have to tell us that Adam slept while Eve was being formed? After all, then, it must have been a female beast that brought forth Eve, even as a male beast in an evolutionistic process brought forth Adam.

No, let the theistic evolutionist tell us whether and why that evolutionistic process has now ended. Or do they believe that such an evolutionistic process will raise man to heavenly glory? Do they believe that man will still evolve into a god? The antichrist, according to II Thessalonians 2:4, will call himself God. Does that mean that the evolutionistic process is still working and that Paul teaches us here that man will evolve into becoming a god?

Rather take hold of this wonderful truth that even as God formed man out of the dust of the ground, creating him in His own image, and thus laying a very good foundation for the rich, blessed covenant life we are going to have with Him, He will in a moment (not over billions of years) raise His elect through His Son, and on the basis of His cross bring us with body and soul into the covenant blessedness of which Adam’s life in the garden of Eden was a shadow. What we saw in that garden was caused by what we are going to be, and was eternally unchangeably real in God’s heart and mind. Man did not evolve out of the animal world. He did fall into a spiritual condition far worse than the beast of the field. But God brings us to a higher glory than that wherein He created man by the cross and Spirit of His Son.