According to the Pew Research Center, an astounding 2.2 billion people in the world base their religious beliefs and worldview on inspired Hebrew scriptures. Inspired by God’s Spirit, Hebrew men wrote bold declarations about the world’s origins, future, and man’s ultimate destiny. Interpretations of the Bible abound, but what is actually written? In Romans chapter 3 the apostle Paul wrote:
Do the Jews have any advantage over the Gentiles? Or is there any value in being circumcised? Much, indeed, in every way! In the first place, God trusted his message to the Jews.
Put another way, here Paul is saying that the inspired Hebrew scriptures of the Jews are the very words of God!
Let’s put aside religious biases, mystical interpretations, or even our secular worldview. Let’s read with an open mind what the Bible tells us about our origins and our future. Right at the beginning we read a mystery, namely, that the God of the Bible reproduces “His kind”. In the Genesis account of man’s creation the Bible speaks of “mankind made in God’s image”:
Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. (Genesis 1:26)
But what does it mean “to be made in God’s image”?
The Bible says “God is Spirit” but clearly we are “flesh and blood”. So isn’t something wrong here? No. We need to look to man’s future. In chapter 8 of Paul’s letter to the Romans he spoke a mystery. He said creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. He spoke of a hope of man’s “spirit form” in the future, as distinct from flesh and blood. Instead of “mankind” or “fleshkind” he was really speaking of man as a “spiritkind” or “Godkind”.
I consider that what we suffer at this present time cannot be compared at all with the glory that is going to be revealed to us. All of creation waits with eager longing for God to reveal his children … For we know that up to the present time all of creation groans with pain, like the pain of childbirth. But it is not just creation alone which groans; we who have the Spirit as the first of God’s gifts also groan within ourselves as we wait for God to make us his children and set our whole being free. (Romans 8:18-23)
These are powerful and inspired words. Paul is saying that both creation and man himself groan due to imperfection and mortality. But it is possible for each of us to be translated to an immortal “spiritkind” like our Creator. Paul sums it up like this:
For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality. (1 Corinthians 15.53)
This speaks of a mystery that will happen at some point in the future (in fact, on a biblical timescale this mysterious event seems imminent). As we read on in the Bible we discover that each person can choose their destiny. Each person in immortal (spirit) form can live with their Creator God on a new and perfect earth – like the Garden of Eden. The Bible calls this “Paradise”. Now that blows your mind!