Here is how it all began.
- they would have no reason to oppose you, and
- that would mean that they really had no legitimate reasons for not submitting to your authority.
who suppress the truth by their wickedness,
Romans 1:18-23 (NIV)
The fact that God created all things is celebrated time and time again in the Bible. Here are some of the many verses about that: [Note: (NIV) means that these quotations are from the New International Version of the Bible]
Note: Later in that same chapter, after saying that idols are a fraud,
The angels are created beings. Although they have certain aspects which are superior to man (greater strength, for example, and at times, the knowledge of heavenly matters or upcoming events which God has revealed to them), they should never be worshiped or prayed to, for such actions would show that we considered angels equal to God, which is not the case. In fact, when humans who are overwhelmed by their presence try to worship them, angels refuse to accept it. For example, when the apostle John is overwhelmed by the angel's description of the New Jerusalem in Revelation 22, to the point where he falls at the feet of the one who has been describing it to him, the angel says:
On the other hand, the popular depiction of angels as chubby babies with wings does not do them justice either. I do not think that such a sight would have reduced otherwise stalwart men into a state of fear or awe when they see angels, as is evident in these and other verses:
Another incorrect idea which is sometimes put forth is that people become angels when they die. Sometimes well-meaning but incorrectly informed people comfort themselves over the loss of a loved one by saying that 'now heaven has a new angel', or that they themselves now have an angel in heaven watching over them, but this is not a scriptural idea. Angels and mankind are two different kinds of creatures and humans do not change into angels at death.
There are verses which tell of a great power struggle -- no, actually a war -- which began in the realm of these heavenly beings. At the end of His creation of the heavens and the earth and all that is within them, "God saw that all that he had made, and it was very good." (Genesis 1:31) Therefore, at the time of creation, all of the angels were sinless and the rebellion of Satan and some of the other angels had not yet occurred. However, at some point, it appears that Satan decided that he wanted to be in God's place, and he led a rebellion of some of the angels against God.
Some people see in Ezekiel chapter 28 a glimpse of Satan's part in the rebellion. Although chapter 28 is a prophecy against the earthly king of Tyre, from about verse 11 to verse 19 it seems to have a kind of dual story which refers to someone who was:
- "...the model of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty." (v.11)
- "...in Eden [the Garden of Eden] (v.13)
- "...every precious stone adorned you" (v.13)
- "...annointed as a guardian cherub" (v.14)
- "on the holy mount of God; you walked among the fiery stones." (v.14)
- driven in disgrace from the mount of God; a guardian cherub who was expelled from among the fiery stones (v.16)
- "Your heart became proud on account of your beauty, and you corrupted your wisdom because of your splendor." (v.17)
- thrown to the earth (v.17)
- The verb for 'create' in Genesis 1:1 is, according to the NIV Study Bible, only used in the Old Testament about divine activity, never about human efforts. That makes sense, for only God can bring something out of nothing. Humans can do a wonderful job of using matter which God has created to form other things, but we can't bring matter into existence.
- One excellent observation from the NIV Study Bible about Genesis 1:2, where it speaks about the earth being 'formless and empty', is that this phrase actually gives us the structure for the rest of the chapter. Certain verses in Genesis chapter 1 speak of God forming aspects of creation, while other verses speak of God filling that empty form with various features/creatures. For example, God makes light (v.3) and then God makes the sun, moon and stars and sets them in place. (v.14) He makes the expanse (the sky) separating the waters, and draws the waters below the sky into a sea (v. 7-10), then later fills that sea with fish and other sea creatures, and fills the sky with birds (v.20-22). The dry ground is formed (v.9), which is later filled with living creatures and mankind. (v. 24-26).
- Perhaps the most beautiful image of all in these verses is that even before the light is created, the Spirit of God is depicted as hovering over the formless, empty, dark scene. Scripture declares that the Spirit of God was active in creation:
What a sharp contrast to the viewpoint of those who think that the universe 'just happened', or that if there was a Creator, he has just set things in motion and then left it all on its own! Instead, the Scriptures depict the Spirit of God as hovering over the creation, much like a mother bird protectively circling her young. In fact, Scripture sometimes uses that very image to portray God's care over his people: