As I was preparing the next post in my “Supernatural” series, I was heavily reminded of a concept that first occurred to me over a decade ago, long before I was introduced to the truth of the Divine Council. The concept has been percolating in my mind for over a decade. It is a way of visualizing mankind in relation to God. A way that will pair nicely with the next chapter, as well as other aspects of this book. It reads like a map you would encounter in a story such as Pilgrim’s Progress. Or maybe just as a setting for a chapter or two.
There are two mountains in this setting with a valley between them. The tops of the mountains are in the clouds and you can’t see the tops of them. Likewise, there is a fog in the valley. Not a dense fog that would restrict travel, but it is thick enough that your long-range sight is reduced. The second mountain is larger than the first, but it’s hard to determine how much larger it is. You can look up and see the mountains forming on either side, but you have to focus in order to notice specific details.
The First Mountain
The first mountain represents the original state of man, when God looked at all He had created and it was very good, as defined by Genesis 1:31. More detail is gleaned from Genesis 2. God created the man and placed him in the garden to tend and keep it, with the eventual goal of the glory of God being spread throughout the earth. God then made woman out of man, both in His image. She was to help Adam in the work that he was given in every regard, but he was to remain the head of the household. As the garden grew, they were to expand the kingdom by procreation.
No, I didn’t get all of this from Genesis 1-2. You see, God created us upright and wholesome. The term “very good” tells us that we were without defect. As the creator, God has a rightful claim to our fidelity. This is first seen in Genesis 3 when God calls out to Adam, “Where are you?” This is not to say that an omniscient God was unaware of Adam’s whereabouts. Instead, I look at is as God’s expectation that Adam would continue in the state in which he was created. Naked and unashamed. God wasn’t lost. Adam was.
Likewise, there are occasions throughout the historical record of the Bible where God shows that He has expectations of humanity that are not realized when His elect people are in view. Before Genesis 3, Adam had not fallen short of the glory of God. Since then, all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Falling short is missing the mark, whether it be missed by a little or a lot. Any miss is a complete miss. Hitting the mark is what it looks like to be at the top of that first mountain. And nobody hits that mark. Nobody.
In the fall, we tumbled down into the valley. We can’t see the mountain from whence we came, but we can see examples of what it was supposed to be like. Both from what we were supposed to accomplish and also for how life has been thrown into turmoil as a result of our corporate failing. In Genesis 3, Adam is told that he would toil for his sustenance. Eve was told that she would have great pain in childbirth. There would be strife in the family based on envy. Spiritual and physical death were also results of the fall. None of this was intended originally. This is the environment in the valley, not on that first mountain. There is a fog here. It skews our perception of the world around us and the reality above us. It causes us to look at the waves around us rather than He who controls the wind and the waves.
Those in the valley are able to look back at that first mountain. In this act, we realize what we have lost. Difficulty, strife, pain, death. All of it terrible, but above all we lost the relationship with God, represented by Adam walking with God in the cool of the day. That loss is what we must repent of. We have sinned and fallen short. We are not sinners because we sin. We sin because we are sinners. We are born as native valley dwellers, and to belong on the mountain we must be born again. Born from above. And as we are born again, we realize that the first mountain is where we are from, but that is not what we are destined for.
The Second Mountain
The second mountain is the destiny of those who are found in Jesus. It includes all of the features of the first mountain and then some. An idyllic life, with work and companionship culminating in the glory of God being spread all throughout creation. The curse is no more. Once again, we walk with God in the cool of the day. We have agency and are not robots. God’s glory is to be spread across the lands and we have a say in what that looks like. Don’t worry about goofing it up. Your fallen proclivities will be a thing of the past, of the valley. You will be glorified in every sense of the word.
But your experience doesn’t stop at that of Adam in the first two chapters of the Bible. The second mountain is taller than the first. And just as you can’t see everything of the first mountain, the second is even more veiled. Remember, this lifetime is one where we don’t see clearly. We need a lamp for our feet and a light for our path. Our hearts are wicked and not to be trusted. We must learn to rely on the word of God in the valley so that we will be prepared to love the word of God in the cool of the day.
Isaiah 64:3-4 When you did awesome things that we did not look for, you came down, the mountains quaked at your presence. From of old no one has heard or perceived by the ear, no eye has seen a God besides you, who acts for those who wait for him.
So take heart while we are in the valley! The world oftentimes looks like it is closing in on us, but we serve a God who has overcome the world! This valley is but a vapor. The mountain to come has a permanence that is beyond our ability to fathom. Our mortal minds cannot comprehend just how wonderful it will be to be in harmony with our creator. As a Christian, I get a foretaste of this. My prayers are heard because I have an advocate. Without faith it is impossible to please God, but with faith, I can please Him.
This faith is a gift of God, so I am not boasting in my standing before Him. I didn’t earn it and I am not suggesting anyone make such an attempt. Instead, I seek to follow biblical examples in my plea to you, the reader. The Kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, therefore, and believe the gospel! And all of this will be added to you! If you would like to discuss this further, reach out! The internet makes me close to you, no matter where you live. And even if I’m unavailable, know that God will not leave a true seeker without a witness. He has a record of putting His people in the path of His people.