Chapter 2: What is God’s Purpose for The Bible?

God’s purpose for the Bible is:

  • to share His identity, character, and nature with humanity
  • to share with them everything they need to know, in order to have a relationship with Him
  • to share His Eternal Plan and Purpose.

Excerpt from Incredibly Human: Community in the First Creation

Copyright© 2015 D. A. Combs

All rights reserved.

Reprinted 2017

 

 

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Chapter 2 – The Bible

Before the world began, God had a plan and purpose for humanity. Of course, He wanted them to know about it. After all, what would be the point in keeping it a secret? So, He chose to use the Bible, also known as Scripture, to be the vehicle of that divine communication.

Although to many the Bible is just a record of unrelated stories and events, a serious study reveals that it contains a purposeful disclosure of God’s plan. He has unfolded that plan step by step, and He invites us to come closer to understand it. He invites everyone to become a part of it.

As one would expect, the Bible goes back to ancient times. Some of its stories were first transmitted orally from one generation to the next until Moses, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, wrote them down on scrolls around 1300 BC. From that point on, there have been over forty human writers—both Jewish and non-Jewish, prophets, priests, kings, and church leaders—who wrote over a period of nearly fifteen hundred years. The result of such diversity over such an extended period of time could have easily produced a work of mass confusion and contradictions, but that is not the case. Instead, there is a focused continuity in its message of God’s Eternal Plan and Purpose. This was only made possible because behind its text is the divine author, the Spirit of God, who provides the inspiration to human writers.

Questions

What have you learned today about the Bible that is noteworthy to you?

Have you ever read the Bible?

Do you have a favorite verse?

 

Excerpt from Incredibly Human: Community in the First Creation

Copyright© 2015 D. A. Combs

All rights reserved.

Reprinted 2017

Chapter 1: What Evidence Is There That the Seventh Day Continues?

Each of the six creation days closed with this repeating text, “And there was evening, and there was morning.”2 By describing the days in that way, God pictures the human workday, and sets the example of work and rest as patterns for humans to follow. After one works, it is evening, and then comes morning again, and the cycle continues. Not only does the statement, “And there was evening, and there was morning,” create a model for the human workday, it also officially signals the completion of each of the first six days.3

Then, suddenly, something new happens,

By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done (Genesis 2:2–3).

Note that the phrase “And there was evening and there was morning” is not repeated for the seventh day, because the seventh day never ended. Its closing is still a future event.4

The writer of the New Testament book of Hebrews understood that the seventh day continues on when he wrote:

And yet his works have been finished since the creation of the world. For somewhere he has spoken about the seventh day in these words: On the seventh day God rested from all his works. And again in the passage above he says, “They shall never enter my rest” (Hebrews 4:3b-5).

In the context of affirming that God’s day of rest continues, he told the story of the ancient Israelites who were led out of Egyptian slavery by Moses in about 1300 BC. They traveled through the desert and came to the border of the land that God wanted to give to them. They sent out twelve spies, and ten returned with a fearful report that the land was occupied by a fierce people whom they felt were undefeatable. Only two of the spies had faith, Joshua and Caleb, who said that God would help the Israelites to take the land.

However, the people sided with the bad report. Due to their lack of faith, God told them that their generation would never enter the land. Instead, they were forced to wander in the wilderness for forty more years. When those years were completed and that generation died, Joshua and Caleb led the next generation into their promised land.

The author of Hebrews 3:7–4:13 wrote about this ancient story during a difficult time for the church. Under persecution, some of the Christians were becoming discouraged and were backing away from meeting with one another. The writer warned them to not be like the unbelieving Israelites who were poised on the edge of the Promised Land but who never entered it. He encouraged the church to believe in God’s promises and trust Him, because their reward would be the promised kingdom of God.

It would have been scary and difficult for the Israelites to go to war for their land against such a fierce people. Likewise, it was scary and difficult for the early church under persecution. In both cases, they could enter into God’s rest by faith and be assured that He would take care of them. They did not need to worry or try to handle these difficulties on their own. They could have peace knowing that God had things under control. The writer encouraged them,

For anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his (Hebrews 4:10).

By not trusting God, one generation of the Israelites missed out. The writer of Hebrews was saying to the church, “Persevere! Stay faithful! Don’t miss out on what is ahead.”

It must have been common knowledge to the author that God is still resting.  Of course, that would mean that the seventh day has never ended. In fact, it would mean that the seventh day has lasted over the full expanse of human history.

2 Genesis 1:5, 8, 13, 19, 23, 31.

3 Personal communication with Martin Poenie, Ph. D. University of Texas at Austin, 2015.

4 Hugh Ross, The Genesis Question (Colorado Springs: NavPress, 1998) 64.

 

Excerpt from Incredibly Human: Community in the First Creation

Copyright© 2015 D. A. Combs

All rights reserved.

Reprinted 2017

All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

Describe the Three Creations and the Days that are associated with each

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For the purpose of this study, (as illustrated in Figure 1–1), God’s Eternal Plan and Purpose is organized over three time periods described as the First Creation, the Fallen Creation, and the New Creation.

The time period between the creation of the universe and the next six days is referred to as the First Creation. Each of those days focused on either creating the favorable earthly conditions that would sustain life and/or the formation of life.

After creating, God rested on the seventh day. At first, the human pair lived in a wonderful relationship with each other and with God. Then they rebelled against Him. As a result of that rebellion, humanity’s relationships with God and with one another were broken. This is normally referred to as the fall. Thus, on the seventh day, the First Creation became stained with sin and distorted by evil, and became a Fallen Creation. Almost all of humanity’s history takes place in the seventh day, which continues today.

Throughout the Fallen Creation, God continued to reach out to humanity. Then at a predetermined time, God entered the physical realm through human birth as Jesus. He came to die and heal humanity’s brokenness, preparing the way for the fulfillment of His plan. Three days after His death, Jesus arose from the grave and ascended back to heaven.

With the resurrection of Jesus, the symbolic eighth day of the New Creation began while the Fallen Creation still existed all around it. This in-between portion of time when both the Fallen Creation and the New Creation coexists is called the Church Age and the Last Days of the Fallen Creation.

During the beginning of the New Creation, God works through the Holy Spirit and the Church to draw humanity to Himself as the end of the Fallen Creation draws near. Then, the Fallen Creation’s seventh day ends with the return of Jesus who will usher in the millennial kingdom that will fully remove the effects of sin. Afterward, God’s glorious kingdom of heaven will come to earth just as the Lord’s Prayer petitions: “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” At that time, the metaphorical eighth day will fully dawn into a new heaven and a new earth.

What are the three time periods addressed in this study?

On what day did sin enter into the world?

When did the New Creation begin?

Where do you think most Christians expect to spend eternity: in heaven or in a heaven on earth? Which do you think is more appealing?

 

Excerpt from Incredibly Human: Community in the First Creation

Copyright© 2015 D. A. Combs

All rights reserved.

Reprinted 2017

Free Online Bible Study

This is a free online Bible Study taken from Incredibly Human: Community in the First Creation. The first lesson has already posted under the category, Incredibly Human: Community in the First Creation. Follow the blog and you will automatically be alerted to each weekly lesson as it is released usually on Mondays. Also, please feel free to join in the discussion by asking questions and commenting. I would love to hear from you.

I have been asked why the book is called Incredibly Human. Isn’t that a bit vain? Not when you consider that the reason that we are incredible is because of God who:

incredibly made us

incredibly loves us

and who has an incredible future for us.

So, what are you waiting for?

Join the study!