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FROM ETERNITY TO HERE
REDISCOVERING THE AGELESS PURPOSE OF GOD
By Frank Viola
David C. CookCopyright © 2009 FRANK VIOLA
All rights reserved.
THE HIDDEN ROMANCE OF THE BIBLE
I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know. —Ephesians 1:18 NASB
Before the beginning, she was there. She is the most elegant woman in the universe. She is as ancient as God. She existed before angels. Her origins reach further back than antiquity itself. Yet she is forever young.
The word stunning fails to adequately describe her. She is as beautiful as the face of God. She is beyond captivating. She is hypnotic and magnetic. Most of us have never imagined the glory that she carries. Just a glimpse of her matchless beauty could win your heart and possess your being. She is incurably attractive.
This woman defines liberty; she embodies freedom. And she was made for love.
She stands at the very heartbeat of God's eternal purpose. She is His highest passion. His holy obsession, even. She is the purpose of the very creation wherein you and I stand. And your Lord is out-of-His-head in love with her.
Yet despite her beauty, she has been utterly neglected. She has been forgotten. And with rare exception, she has been veiled to most of us. Herein lies my motive in writing the first section of this book: to give her center stage.
God's Ultimate Passion
From the beginning, God has had a secret. Before time, the Almighty shrouded His high and holy purpose in a mystery. And He hid it in His Son. For ages, no one knew what that purpose was. It was deeply hidden in God. It was a secret—the secret of the ages (Rom. 16:25; Col. 1:26; Eph. 3:4–5, 9).
Adam walked with God, yet he didn't know the mystery. Abraham was the friend of God, yet he didn't know the mystery. Moses was the prophet of God, yet he didn't know the mystery. Neither did David, Isaiah, nor Jeremiah.
The mystery was not only veiled to mortals, it was hidden from angels as well. Gabriel and Michael didn't know it. Neither did Lucifer, nor his demonic hosts (1 Cor. 2:7–8; Eph. 3:9–10).
Why did God keep His purpose a secret for so long? Presumably because He didn't want His purpose to be thwarted prematurely. God's purpose embodies His dream, His passion, His very heartbeat. So He kept it veiled until the time became full.
Old Testament authors first proclaimed the sacred mystery in stories, types, pictures, and shadows. But although kings, prophets, and sages proclaimed it, they did not understand it.
And then one day, it happened. God pulled back the curtain and revealed the secret. He chose a man named Paul of Tarsus to unveil it to the world (Col. 1:25–29; Eph. 3:1–11). In Paul's letters, especially Ephesians and Colossians, the apostle speaks of this mystery with great fervor. He virtually exhausts human language to convey its incomparable depths and unfathomable heights. Paul, along with other apostles and prophets of Century One, were "stewards of the divine mystery" (1 Cor. 4:1; Col. 1:25–26; Eph. 3:2–9).
On the day that God lifted the curtain and let the secret out, His enemy froze with terror. Satan never saw, dreamed, nor thought that such a thing could be possible. Although God revealed His mystery in the first century, it remains a secret to many Christians today. The Holy Spirit must open the eyes of His people in every generation for them to grasp it. In this way, the great prayer of Paul in Ephesians 1:17–23 is still being answered.
The divine mystery has everything to do with the woman I spoke of earlier. This amazing lady fills the pages of Holy Scripture. She shows up at the very beginning of the Bible; she appears all throughout the middle; and she's there at the very end. The Scriptures give us an exalted view of this woman along with her immaculate Husband. Each book of the Bible pulsates with her fragrance.
The Eternal Drama
In Genesis 1 and 2, the Bible opens up with a woman and a man. In Revelation 21 and 22, the Bible closes with a woman and a man. The Bible opens up with a wedding, and it ends with a wedding. It opens with a marriage, and it ends with a marriage. It opens with a boy and a girl, and it ends with a boy and a girl.
Your Bible is essentially a love story.
In fact, it's the greatest love story of all time. It is the classic romantic tale. Those who know me well can tell you that I'm a huge fan of love stories. My favorite movies are romantic films. These films have the power to evoke strong emotion, even pulling tears from the eyes of their viewers. Yet the most powerful love story that any human has ever crafted pales in comparison to the epic romance that runs throughout your Bible.
Please pay attention to this next sentence: Every love story that the minds of mortal men and women construct, every love story that has made its appearance in the pages of human history—whether fiction or nonfiction—is but a reflection, a pale image, a faint portrait, a scrambled version of the sacred romance of the ages.
God has authored the most incredible love story ever written. It is a story that has set the standard for all romantic literature to follow. Every great saga follows the story line of the hidden romance contained in Scripture. But none can trump it.
You and I were born into such a romance, the romance of the ages.
The heavenly romance that I've been speaking about begins in Genesis 2. Let us now revisit day seven of God's creation and watch the drama unfold.CHAPTER 2
A WOMAN INSIDE OF A MAN
On the seventh day God had finished his work of creation, so he rested from all his work ... Then the Lord God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper who is just right for him." So the Lord God formed from the ground all the wild animals and all the birds of the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would call them, and the man chose a name for each one. He gave names to all the livestock, all the birds of the sky, and all the wild animals. But still there was no helper just right for him. So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep. While the man slept, the Lord God took out one of the man's ribs and closed up the opening. Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib, and he brought her to the man. "At last!" the man exclaimed. "This one is bone from my bone, and flesh from my flesh! She will be called 'woman,' because she was taken from 'man.'" This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.
—Genesis 2:2, 18–24 NLT
Creation is finished, but God isn't. Not yet anyway.
The earth is filled with life. Plant life. Bird life. Fish life. Animal life. But Adam, God's first human, is alone. Utterly alone.
The Sabbath ends and it is now Sunday, the first day of the week. It is day eight of creation. God now gives Adam a daunting task: to name all the birds and the land creatures. So Adam begins to name the animals. As each creature marches by, he can't help but notice that each of them has a companion. Every animal has a creature just like it, yet different. Every life form has a counterpart.
The buck has his doe, the lion his lioness. Adam sees the tiger and the tigress in step, as well as the leopard and leopardess. Every animal and its companion marches past a lonely human who has no such counterpart.
The result? A painful anguish fills Adam's soul. He realizes more than ever that he is alone, very alone. There is no one like him.
Of all the creatures that walked by Adam that day, none had a hand like Adam's for him to hold. As each animal passed by him, Adam was hoping, even waiting, for one who was like him. But none ever came forward. The end of the eighth day drew near.
All the creatures that God formed had walked by Adam. And his loneliness only intensified. He became painfully aware that he was the only creature under God's heaven who didn't have a companion. He was the only one of his kind in the entire universe. And remember, creation has ended.
The Loneliness of Man
Have you ever been lonely? Have you ever suffered the anguish of being alone? Consider that for a moment, and think of the unparalleled loneliness that Adam must have felt on planet earth after he was created. There wasn't another human on the entire globe.
Not only was Adam the only creature on earth who possessed no counterpart, there was something else about him that no other creature shared. Something inside of him desperately longed for liberation and release. Something pounding within his breast yearned to be freed. Do you know what that something was?
It was passion.
God put within Adam's beating chest an intense, all-consuming passion. An overwhelming love, if you please. But Adam was alone. So he had no outlet for that passion. Adam could not pour out his passion upon a life form different from his own. He desired a human companion, a complement, a creature like himself, who would be the recipient of his passion. The tragedy: Throughout the entire universe, no such being existed, and so the passion that was caged inside the depths of Adam's bosom found no outlet. It had no release.
Adam, therefore, was profoundly frustrated. He was a man possessed by a passion. But there existed no one upon whom he could lavish it. God saw Adam's profound dilemma. He also felt it. For in some unfathomable way, the Almighty could identify with Adam's quandary. How do we know this? Because Adam was made in the mold of divinity. Thus it was no accident on God's part that Adam was alone. It had the fingerprints of divinity all over it.
In the presence of Adam's loneliness and frustration, the Lord God thundered this word, "It is not good for man to be alone."
God essentially said, "Adam, it is not good for you to be alone. I will give you a companion upon whom you can pour out the passion that I have put within your heart. I will give you a counterpart. I will give you one who will match you. You will have a Mrs. Adam, one who will be like you, but not you."
New Life on the Eighth Day
Recall that creation is finished. Day seven has passed. We are nearing the end of the eighth day—the first day of the week.
It is evening. And God does something extraordinary: He puts His man into a deep, deathlike sleep. This may be the first time that unfallen man had ever slept. If so, a deep sleep was no small thing for Adam to experience.
Behold, I show you a mystery: There was a woman hidden inside of Adam.
I want you to imagine Adam lying on the ground in a hypnotic, deathlike sleep. Watch his still body as the Almighty comes down to him and breaks open his side. The angels of heaven hide their eyes over what is about to take place. Out of Adam's very being, the Lord God extracts another being. The Almighty takes out of Adam a part of Adam, and by it He fashions another Adam. God takes a human out of the first human and builds a second human. And that second human has within its pounding heart all that is part of the first human, including his passion.
God did His most magnificent work while Adam was asleep. This episode contains an important insight: When man rests, God works.
So out of Adam's side, God "fashioned" a woman (Gen. 2:22, Hebrew text). This woman is not part of the first creation. She appears after creation, on the eighth day. Consequently, this woman is a new creation.
Adam's drastic surgery is over, and he awakens from God's anesthetic. As Adam wipes the slumber from his eyelids, he turns and looks. What he sees is beyond telling. Before his very eyes stands a living, breathing, pulsating being. Another human. But not just another human, she is Adam in another form.
Immediately, he notices that she has a hand just like his, a hand to hold. She has lips just like his, but fuller and more inviting. At that moment, Adam realizes that he is no longer alone. He has a counterpart to match him. He has a companion. Instantly, the two are hypnotically drawn to each other. Adam falls deeply in love with her and she with him.
According to the Hebrew text, when Adam saw this new creation, he uttered these words: "At last ... this is bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh" (Gen. 2:23). "Finally ... I am no longer alone!" "Finally ... the passion of my heart has an outlet!" "Finally ... the love that has been beating inside my chest has a home!"
Adam had stood on this earth alone. He had been the loneliest creature on the planet. Single and solitary. But now, on the first day after creation, he stood in the presence of one who was just like him. She was Adam in a different form. And in a blinding flash of insight, Adam realized that his loneliness had vanished. His passion had a place to break forth. It could now find release.
Adam loved his new bride. And as he loved her passionately, a passion for him awakened within her own bosom. So with an unfallen, pure passion palpitating within her breast, the first woman lavished her love upon the first man.
The Circle of Passion
Now I would like to venture a question: From where did the woman acquire the capacity to passionately love? The answer: from Adam, for she came out of him. Did the woman force herself to love Adam? Not at all. Her passion was simply the natural response to Adam's passion for her. In fact, it was his own passion returning back to him. The first woman had her husband's passion pounding within her chest and coursing through her veins. For she was made from Adam himself.
So finally, at last, God's first man had gained a companion. Surely, it was true love at first sight. Instantly, she became his bride. But there came a climactic moment when she would become more than a bride. She would become his wife, for the two would become one. And the bridled passion that flooded Adam's bosom would be fully satisfied.CHAPTER 3
A CLOSE-UP OF THE FIRST EVE
Male and female created he them; and blessed them, and called their name Adam, in the day when they were created. —Genesis 5:2 KJV
Consider the first woman, the bride of Adam. She is magnificent beyond description. She is more breathtaking than most of us have ever imagined. There are characteristics within her that we routinely miss when we read the opening chapters of Genesis. Let's explore some of them now:
She was Adam in another form, for she was taken out of him (Gen. 2:23).
She took Adam's name. According to Genesis 5:2, God called the man and the woman "Adam." After the fall, Adam would name his bride "Eve." But before the fall, she took her husband's name.
She was God's masterpiece. Adam's counterpart was more beautiful than Adam. Interestingly, an artist always makes his masterpiece last. This woman was God's masterpiece, His magnum opus, if you please. She was the pinnacle of His entire creation.
She was utterly devoted to Adam, and Adam was utterly devoted to her. Think about it. There wasn't another available woman in existence from which Adam could choose. He had no other options. She was all he had. Consequently, Adam had eyes for no other woman. His eyes never wandered from her, for there was no other woman to distract him. Likewise, Eve only had eyes for Adam. There wasn't another man in existence for her to love. The utter devotion that each one had for the other was unwavering.
She was uncreated. Eve was not created out of whole cloth. She was fashioned and molded from Adam's own body. She was flesh of his flesh, bone of his bone. Her DNA was identical to that of Adam's. She was by him, to him, and for him. She possessed the genes of her husband.
She was flawless. Adam was created before the fall. He came into existence before sin ever made its appearance. Thus he was perfect. He was innocent and sinless. He had no guilt or shame for anything. He was unplagued by an inferiority complex. What about his dear bride? When God took Eve out of Adam's side, was she not perfect? Was she not flawless? Or did she make her appearance on this earth with a headache of guilt and a soul that throbbed with condemnation? Absolutely not. She was just as perfect as her husband. She had no flaw. Words fail to describe how beautiful Eve must have been. She was breathtaking, pure beyond pure, more beautiful than beauty itself. Like Adam, she was robed with light and crowned with glory (Ps. 8:5). She was the perfect woman.
She was Adam's body. She came out of his side. She was taken from his own anatomy. Therefore, she possessed the same life as Adam. She was inseparable from him, yet different.
Adam was the source of Eve's life. Adam was the basis for her existence. Eve could only exist because a part of Adam was in her. Without Adam, she had no existence.
She was made wholly for Adam. God created Adam with a desire to unleash his passion. He desired to love and be loved. Eve was the answer to that desire.
She was always in him. She preexisted in Adam before she made her appearance on earth. Adam roamed this earth with a girl hidden inside of him. His body constituted the womb from which she would one day come forth.
She was the increase of Adam. When she came out of his side, Adam was increased. When she was formed, Adam was enlarged. When she was built, Adam multiplied. Ultimately, she would bear children to Adam and fill the earth with his image.
She was interdependent upon Adam. God pulled her out of Adam's pleura, his side. God "split the Adam," and took out of him the kinder, gentler part, thus making the woman his "better half." Together, they bore the complete image of God.
She was Adam's glory. In 1 Corinthians 11:7, Paul says, "The woman is the glory of the man." This means that Eve reflected Adam. The woman was the glorious expression of the man. When you saw her, you saw him.
Excerpted from FROM ETERNITY TO HERE by Frank Viola. Copyright © 2009 FRANK VIOLA. Excerpted by permission of David C. Cook.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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