The human body, comprised of its various organs, is not life. It survives only as the spirit impinges life on it. As soon as the spirit moves out of the body the person is pronounced dead, inferring the spiritual departure from the body. The spirit comprises the real person, who knows that he knows. The condition of that person is determined by the activities he would have fulfilled during his lifetime.
The parable of Lazarus and the rich man, in Luke 16:19-31, provides a glimpse of what happens, resulting from human activities. One’s works might be that of projecting God’s Kingdom or projecting Earthly kingdoms. For instance, in the parable of Lazarus and the rich man, we see a rich man having lost his wealth during his next life. And yet Lazarus, leading a miserable life, accessed God’s Kingdom.
As a spirit being, a human being manipulates the physical body to achieve some valuable products. The purpose of the physical body is to be manipulated by the spirit, rather than the other way round. Valuable products mean tangible objects to enhance the livelihood of humanity. This includes the advancement of educational knowledge to improve people’s lives. Education is not education until it has improved people’s lives, rather than degrading people’s lives.
Life is life, as long as the spirit is in control, rather than the body being in control. The combination of the spirit and the physical body is necessary, only as the spirit would be in control. As soon as the physical body takes control, the person would be headed towards degradation. But as long as the spirit would be in control, the person’s chances of living are elongated, on a gradient scale.
The purpose of any other genetic life formula on Earth is to sustain the ecosystem of the entire planet. The grass feeds herbivorous animals that feed carnivorous animals, to systematically curtail the overpopulation of herbivorous animals. The excretion and death of such animals nourish the soil, to remain fertile. The rotation repeats itself, to keep the earth cyclically recreating itself.
Human beings are different from the organic planetary system. Humans were not created to regulate the ecosystem of the earth. The parabolic story of Adam indicates that the purpose of human creation had been to manage the Earth to ensure the productive functions of the ecosystem. In other words, humans were meant to manipulate the ecosystem for purposes of positive development. The degradation of the Earth shows failure in that direction.
The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. And the Lord commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden, but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die”(Genesis 2:15-17 NIV).
The freedom to eat from any tree in that Garden included the Tree of Life. The above text is not clear on whether the two paranormal trees were also pleasing to the eye. The tree of life had been in the centre with the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. This implies that both paranormal trees existed alongside each other, according to verse 9:
“And the Lord God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground—trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden was the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil” (Genesis 2:9 NIV).
God expected Adam to make his personal choice, between life and death. The helper became necessary to nudge Adam’s free choice. But more interestingly, God had allowed the existence of a deceiver, in the form of a serpent, necessary for christening Adam’s character. Among those created in God’s image, would be those choosing against the tree of life.
The story of Adam and Eve is parabolic, rather than it should be taken literally. The students of the Bible should always focus on the creation of Man in God’s image, more than the formation of Adam. The creation portrayed in Genesis 1:26-27 is more Heavenly than it should be regarded as Earthly. That creation involved the entire humanity, whose quantity is unknown.
Being born into the physical existence, through the woman, does not necessarily suggest first-time existence. That child would have been in existence since the creation of humanity. As to how many times that child has gone through life experiences through birth, growth and death, is known only by God. The only ones who avoid coming back are those who have passed the christening test. Jesus gave a clue, in His conversation with the Sadducees.
“At the resurrection, people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven. But about the resurrection of the dead—have you not read what God said to you, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not the God of the dead but of the living” (Matthew 22:30-32 NIV)
Jesus revealed what happens to the dead in Christ. The deaths of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were redeemed in Heaven. The hint is collaborated by the parable of Lazarus and the rich man (Luke 16:19-31). Jesus also highlighted that believers would not see death (seeJohn 8:51). The fact that those people would have renounced their physical bodies does not mean cessation of life.
This is different from those dying without Christ, having to experience the same worldly troubles over and over again. God pronounced the meaning of death, which took place on the day Abraham, took the wrong fruit. On that same day, God pronounced the discomfiture to be experienced by humanity.
To Adam, he said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat of it,’ “Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil, you will eat of it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your brow, you will eat your food until you return to the ground since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return”(Genesis 3:17-19 NIV).
For God’s image to pass the test, it is necessary to go through christening. This is similar to how a ceramic potter exposes his pottery to the fiery furnace. The good product comes out undamaged. The scientific relevance of this is that the poor product perishes in the fire, while the good product would come out stronger.
While the parable of the Prodigal Son helps in understanding human development, Jesus had not been designated to go through the fiery furnace. His fiery furnace experience was only necessitated by our sinfulness, leading to His crucifixion. Only Adam’s offspring goes through the orientation of the fiery furnace. This describes a designed program for humans to appreciate Godliness, before induction into God’s Kingdom.
We have to explore the reason for the existence of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, which defines human death. The mystery surrounding what we were doing before Adam was assigned to be our genetic ancestor cannot be unveiled at this stage. The forgetter mechanism rests with the entire humanity, signifying the death, pronounced to Adam, after eating the wrong tree.
The redemption, coming through Christ’s sacrifice describes the chemistry, necessary for christening those willing to accept God’s Kingdom. Jesus’ mission reveals acceptable behaviour. The rest of the stories in the Bible, project a shadow of Christ’s deliverance program. Humans are simply, lost children of God, and are not different from their Father.
The coming of Christ was not a thumb-suck idea out of God’s desperation for salvaging humanity. The christening aspect was designed right at the beginning, being the process, found necessary for humanity to meet the Godly standard. In his perfect standard, a human being is not different from God. This is what is missed by people who degrade other fellow human beings.
However, there is an appealing nature, projected by Satan. Success in this world implies outsmarting other fellow humans. This idea is promoted by Satan whose inspiration stems from pride. How then does a human being go about crushing the essence of pride? Without Christ, no one would have known what humility implies.
“In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!”(Philippians 2:5-8 NIV).
The sins of humanity are innumerable. But everything emanates from assuming to know better than God. That idea originated from Satan, who attempted a coup in Heaven. Satan’s incarceration on the planet Earth facilitated the christening of humanity, created in God’s image. Nothing else is highlighted of Jesus’ mission, except the idea of humility.
Humans love positions of authority, which serve to invalidate the idea of humility. Jesus kept emphasizing that the greatest among His disciples ought to be the servant of all. Nothing is admirable about being a servant, according to the evaluations of humanity. Jesus ensured that there would be no leader among the disciples after He would have left.
“But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi,’ for you have one Teacher, and you are all brothers. And do not call anyone on earth ‘father,’ for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. Nor are you to be called instructors, for you have one Instructor, the Messiah. The greatest among you will be your servant. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted”(Matthew 23:8-12 NIV)
Being born into the world grants one the opportunity to access the gift of life. According to the parabolic story of Adam, the tree of life was blocked, immediately after Adam took the wrong tree. The only reason for God to block the Tree of Life was to ensure avoiding living forever in sin. Otherwise, like Satan, humans would have had no means of accessing redemption.
And the Lord God said, “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.” So the Lord God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken. After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the Tree of Life(Genesis 3:22-24 NIV).
The tree of life is mentioned again in Revelation 22, signifying the restoration of what had been lost at the Garden of Eden. The only reason for blocking understanding is the parabolic configuration of the plan of salvation. Even when Jesus was present, He ensured that these mysteries could not be accessed by those not yet willing to accept humility. This is why those brought to Christ can never be according to the preacher’s wishes.
Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be any curse? The throne of God and the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him”(Revelation 22:1-3 NIV).
The Book was written by John, while confined on the Island of Patmos. The title suggests the exposure of hidden mysteries, but still impossible for outsiders to understand. It takes only the humble to understand God’s mysteries. Living in this world grants an opportunity to choose between life and death.
While appealing to maintain one’s ego, pride is the only way that confines humanity to perpetual death. In the parable of Lazarus and the rich man, Jesus sought to highlight the futility of putting value in pride, rather than in humility. The way to Heaven is through the adoption of humility rather than adopting pride. Unfortunately, this appears not saleable to a sinful humanity.
Andrew Masuku is the author of Dimensions of a New Civilization, laying down standards for uplifting Zimbabwe from the current state of economic depression into a model for other nations worldwide. A decaying tree provides an opportunity for a blossoming sprout. Written from a Christian perspective, the book is a product of inspiration, bringing relief to those who have witnessed the strings of unworkable solutions––leading to the current economic and social decay. Most Zimbabweans should find the book as a long-awaited providential oasis of hope, in a simple conversational tone.
The Print copy is now available at Amazon.com for $13.99