The Trinity and The Sixth Day
Chapter 3, Mystery of Creation, by Watchman Nee (CFP)
On the sixth day man was created. He was created according to God’s image. In the first chapter of Genesis it mentions simply the creation of man to indicate his position among the created beings. Only in Chapter 2.7-15 is the origin of man described in detail to indicate his relationship with God.
Let us notice that man was "created" (1.27) by God. He was not "evolved" from the lower animals. We have previously explained this word "created" to mean a calling into being from nothing. This is a distinct act of God and not the result of natural selection. The Bible never endorses the theory of evolution, which remains forever only a theory. Let us consider the following events. On the third day God ordered that "the earth [bring] forth grass, herbs yielding seed after their kind" (v.12). Herbs cannot become trees, nor trees change to be herbs. On the fifth day "God created the great sea-monsters, and every living creature that moveth, wherewith the waters swarmed, after their kind, and every winged bird after its kind" (v. 21). And on the sixth day "God made the beasts of the earth after their kind, and the cattle after their kind, and everything that creepeth upon the ground after its kind" (v. 25). Each and every species of created being is after its kind. Though the Bible does not tell us how these species are divided, nevertheless, the phrase "after its kind" at least proves that all that were created are after their kind. Since God has said "after their kind" or "after its kind," He has clearly ordained the boundary of each kind. There is no possibility of one kind evolving into another. Not only is it impossible for a plant to become an animal, it is also impossible for one species of plant to become another species of plant or one species of animal to become another species of animal.
We Christians believe in the word of God. Without a "thus saith the Lord" we will believe nothing. How can we believe anything which is contradictory to God’s word? His word is sufficient to solve all problems. People of the world may ridicule what they deem to be our foolish logic, but we are satisfied with God’s word. How sad that people do not believe in our God and so they wander aimlessly. They even create for themselves a kind of teaching in which they place their faith. They conclude that for God to create out of nothing and to form man from the red earth is too much of a wonder in which to believe. Yet is it not even a more incredible proposition to have to believe in, as many men do, to believe that a microscopic seed evolves through many species until it becomes an ape and then finally evolves into a man? Is not this even far more exceedingly unbelievable a thing than for God to create man? I would therefore wish to warn people not to believe in such absurdity which has been propounded in these last days. We must not believe in it or even listen to it. We should not heed those books and magazines which advocate such false teaching.
We thank God for the simplicity of His word. He said "after their kind" and "after its kind." We do not observe any plant or animal before our eyes which does not obey the word which God had spoken. Earlier the evolutionists had said how millions of years ago our ancestors had been certain creeping things or animals. Now they tell us that millions of years into the future our progeny will become a kind of creature without fingers or toes. Whether they talk of millions of years before or beyond our current day, we shall never see what they claim or predict, and therefore we have no way to argue with them. The Bible, though, is a current book. It never makes an irresponsible statement. None of the created beings disobeys the law enunciated in Genesis of being "after its kind."
We are told that the word "God" (Elohim) is a uni-plural noun which always is followed by a singular verb. It is rather unusual for a plural noun to be conjoined to a singular verb. But this is used to express the trinity of God. Because in the Godhead there is more than one person, no singular noun can be used. Elohim in that sense is a collective noun; it speaks of three in one, not of three Gods; hence it takes a singular verb. Though the Bible never says plainly that God is triune, there are nonetheless plenty of proofs and hints in it to support this truth. The doctrine of the Trinity is a major teaching of the holy Scriptures which we need not question. Furthermore; in Genesis 1.26 ("And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness") the word "us" reveals the plurality of the Godhead while the word "make" shows the unity of God’s will. In the first chapter of Genesis the phrase "God said" is used 31 times. What God says is His "Word," and as we read John chapter 1 we learn that the world was made by the "Word" of God. So that even in Genesis 1 the creative work of the Lord Jesus (who is the Word) is already being mentioned. We witness in Genesis 1 how the triune God worked together in creation. "God," "God said," and "the Spirit of God"—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—were all present.
[How can God make Himself any clearer that He is One Triune Being?]
Now before God created man, there was a pause. There was a council among the Godhead, and the decision was: "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness; and let them have dominion . . ." (v.26). In pondering upon this divine council we can understand how carefully God worked. Due to the failure of Satan and the preadamic race, the earth became waste and void. Then God restored the earth and its heaven to be habitable. All the living creatures were now made and ready. But then a pause. And then a conversation among the Godhead: "Now let us make man!" Such is the spirit of the word of God here.
Yet what is the purpose in creating men? "Let them have dominion," we are told by the Godhead. Satan has failed, he can no longer rule the world. Though he is yet free, he is under the judgment of God because his sin has already received its sentence. The earth which God has restored is to have nothing to do with Satan. It is to be a new order. In spite of the possibility of Satan retaining his title as "the prince of the world," the man whom God created has a free will—that is to say, he has his sovereignty. For God appointed man —outside the power of Satan—to rule over the newly recovered earth and all the plants and animals on it. If man could preserve the sovereignty which he received from God, Satan would merely hold on to an empty title. For God intended to destroy the power of Satan through man.
Now we know it would be very easy for God by himself to destroy the devil. We therefore do not know why God would rather have man to work with Him in destroying the works of the devil. Nevertheless, God proceeded to make man and to give him dominion. This office was lost to Satan, and yet, alas, very soon we witness the fall of man. Man loses his sovereignty, and the devil regains the power and reign of his title as "the prince of the world." In chapter 3 of Genesis, to be discussed later, we shall see more of this. But suffice it for us for now to know that God has only one purpose in His counsel and works regarding this world, and that is, to destroy the power of Satan. The Lord Jesus called Satan the enemy (see Matt. 13.39). We believers who have been chosen by the Lord should therefore never forget this purpose of our being involved in destroying the works and the power of the devil. Whatever we do, we should not ask if this matter is good or bad but ask instead if it is profitable to God and destructive to Satan. We will not do anything if it has no power to affect the kingdom of darkness and to cause damage to the devil.
In all our works we are to judge them not by the apparent result but by the effect they shall have in the spiritual realm as to who will gain and who will lose. This is spiritual warfare that is not to be waged by the efforts of flesh and blood. This is also to be the criterion at the judgment seat on that day: whether a work is to be burned or to stand shall be based on how effective it was in effecting the will of God. (The best way to attack the power of darkness is on the one hand to resist the works of Satan in the Spirit and deny him the victory, and on the other hand to use prayer as a weapon by asking God to destroy all the works and wiles of Satan. Positively, let us do the will of God. For each time we do His will, Satan suffers loss.)
On that sixth day man was created in God’s image and after His likeness. This does not refer exclusively to the flesh, it instead shows that man is in a position to represent God on earth since he bears a similarity to God in both mind and morals, thus enabling him to know God and to communicate with Him. Unfortunately, through sinning he lost the image and likeness of God. The foolishness of man towards God today is beyond comprehension. And except he is born anew from above, he will never know how to converse with God. In the New Testament Paul has told us that man "is the image and glory of God" (1 Cor. 11.7). For when God created man, He created him to represent His own glory. To whom was the glory to be shown? To Satan who resides in the air. But the first man failed. The Second Man did not fail, however, for He being "the very image of his [God’s] substance" (Heb. 1.3), Christ Jesus was able to fully represent God.
"And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb yielding seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for food: and to every beast of the earth, and to every bird of the heavens, and to everything that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for food" (1.29,30). In the world before sin entered in, meat was not eaten. Only in the sinful world has meat become a necessity. In the future—in the new heaven and the new earth—aside from eating the fruit of the tree of life, there is no record of eating any meat at all. The will of God for us today is: "For every creature of God is good, and nothing is to be rejected, if it be received with thanksgiving: for it is sanctified through the word of God and prayer" (1 Tim. 4.4,5). In this world of ours which is full of evil, "to abstain from meats" (4.3) is to deny that the world is under a curse.
"And God saw everything that he had made, and, behold, it was very good" (v.31). God never made anything bad. All things bad come from sin and not from God’s creation. We who live in this evil world should not murmur against God, because in Him there is no evil and nothing bad ever came from His creative hands. On the contrary, God treated mankind with utmost kindness. He prepared the grass and herbs on the third day as food for man, the animals and birds—whom He then made on the fifth and sixth days. He made ready the environment before He put us in it. If we truly see this touch of kindness, what comfort it can be to us! God always provides for His creatures. Before the grass, He prepared the earth; before the animals, He prepared the plants. Sometimes we grow fearful because we fail to see God and His goodness. But how blessed are those with faith! For nothing can shake their hearts!
The Counterfeit Trinity
"Come, Lord Jesus," by Watchman Nee (CFP)
The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and is about to come up out of the abyss, and to go into perdition. And they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, [they] whose name hath not been written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast, how that he was, and is not, and shall come. (Rev. 17.8)
Rev. 17.8 The angel explains to John that the beast he saw has four stages of history; namely, the beast (1) was, (2) is not, (3) is about to come out of the abyss, and (4) will go into perdition.
In the book of Revelation this beast, as has been said, represents Antichrist as well as the Roman Empire. In this connection, though, it points to a man, not to a state. The reasons for this view are as follows:
(1) This beast "was"—How then can we say that the Roman Empire once existed earlier prior to the time of John?
(2) The beast "is not"—Yet neither can we say that the Roman Empire did not exist at John’s time.
(3) The beast "is about to come up out of the abyss"—Abyss is the place where the spirits are imprisoned. How can we therefore say that the Roman Empire is about to come out of the abyss?
(4) The beast is "to go into perdition"—How, moreover, can we say that the political entity known as the Roman Empire will go into hell in the future?
Since, from this reasoning, this beast cannot apply to the Roman Empire, it must have reference to Antichrist. "Was" shows that before the time of John there was such a person who once lived on earth.
"Is not" indicates that at John’s time this man is not in the world since he must have died. The phrase "is not" is also used in Genesis 42.36-38 to indicate death.
"Is about to come up out of the abyss" reveals that he is now in the abyss but will come out of it, that is to say, he will be resuscitated.
"Go into perdition" discloses that he will not live forever on earth, neither can he rule forever, because his destiny will be that of being cast into the lake of fire (19.20, 20.10).
His being "was, and is not, and is about to come" is a clever counterfeiting of God "who is and who was and who is to come" (cf. 1.4,8; 4.8).
"And they that dwell on the earth shall wonder"—And this wonderment will eventually lead them to worship the beast (13.12). Only those whom God has chosen will be kept. All whose names have been written in the book of life from the foundation of the world will be preserved by God and kept from worshiping the beast.