Before the Foundation of the World

Before the world ever came into existence, the Lord had purposed just exactly how His creation would exist. He knew where to place the Earth to provide a perfect place in the universe for life, and understood the intricate designs necessary to make His creation bountiful and good. The Psalmist writes in Psalm 19:1, “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament shows His handiwork.” Finally he created man. He gave them dominion over his creation, that man should wisely use its bounty for his benefit. He gave them a mind to think, to judge, and to understand His will for them. In their hearts he put eternity (Ecclesiastes 3:11), and in their perfection He designed them for that eternal purpose (Genesis 2:17).

 

Man was not created to die. The Lord told His people, Israel, that He had no pleasure in the death of one who dies, “therefore, turn and live.” (Ezekiel 18:32) Why would He create man to do something which causes Him no pleasure? Instead, He created man perfect. They were able to walk with Him in close communication. They could enjoy the fruit of a beautiful garden without the toil and labor that accompanies a garden today. Yet, according to God’s good pleasure in creating man, He desired that man voluntarily serve Him. Therefore, He gave man the ability to contradict His will.

 

Adam and Eve chose to sin, leaving them completely separated from God. Romans 5:12 tells us that since the time of Adam, all men have made that same choice. All men have sinned, and now receive the consequence of that sin: death. All men were, therefore, completely separated from God, having no hope to be joined with Him again.

 

God knew this would happen. Unlike man, God is not limited by a mind that only sees the present and remembers the past. God also can foresee the future, and arrange the future to fulfill His will. Consider the flood as an example. In Genesis 6:6 we see that the Lord is sorry He made man, and is grieved in His heart. From our previous discussion, we know this was not the Lord’s will. However, I Peter 3:20-21 explains that just as Noah and his family were saved through water, so also we are saved through water in baptism. As Noah answered God affirmatively with a good conscience in building the ark, so we answer Him with a good conscience in immersion. The flood was no accident. It was no flippant response from an angry God. It was fashioned and foreordained to fulfill God’s eternal purpose.

 

We should not wonder, then, why God created man if He knew man would contradict His will. God made provision for man’s sin before the foundation of the world. I Peter 1:20 states, “He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you.” God knew that at a certain time man would choose to transgress His will, only the perfect and precious blood of His Son, Christ Jesus, would be able to pay the price for that transgression. He used the events of history to further fulfill His eternal plan: that the perfectly appointed time should come for His Son to manifest Himself on this earth (Mark 1:15).

 

God did not have to rethink man’s existence, as though He had not realized the consequences of giving man free will to sin. His creation was not an accident. God purposed it by His merciful nature (Ephesians 2:4-5), designed it perfectly before time began (Titus 1:2), and manifested it at the appointed time (Titus 1:3).

 

Even actions contrary to His will fulfilled His eternal purpose. Man tried so hard to prevent God, but all the actions of their futile mind furthered His plan. Herod tried to kill Jesus (Matthew 2), only to provide fulfillment of prophecy. The Jews eventually succeeded in killing Him, only to accomplish the task He set out to fulfill: pay the price for man’s sin (I Peter 1:18-19).

 

Only God, whose thoughts and ways are far above our thoughts and ways, could fashion a plan so perfect in detail. Praise be to Him that His ways are past finding out. May we consider just how perfect God’s purpose for man is, and strive to please Him. Not trying to improve or modify His plan, as though we understood better than He, but coming to Him with a contrite heart, willing to yield, and ready to listen.

 

Ephesians 3:8-12

To me, who am less than the least of all the saints, this grace was given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God who created all things through Jesus Christ; to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places, according to the eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through faith in Him.

 

Romans 11:33-36

Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out! For who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has become His counselor? Or who has first given to Him and it shall be repaid to him? For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever, Amen.

 

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3 thoughts on “Before the Foundation of the World”

  1. Consider also, if you will, Acts 10:44-45, where we see that while Peter was still speaking the Holy Spirit fell upon Cornelius’s household, and they began speaking in tongues. What is important to notice is who was astonished at this, and why they were astonished. “Those of the circumcision who believed were astonished, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also.” They recognized the significance of this event. This indicated to them that God accepted Gentiles into the kingdom, as co-heirs with Christ, just as He had accepted the circumcision before. It was not about Cornelius’ household. It had to do with Gentiles as a whole. Acts 11:15-18, “’And as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them, as upon us at the beginning. Then I remembered the word of the Lord, how He said, ‘John indeed baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ If therefore God gave them the same gift as He gave us when we believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could withstand God?’ When they heard these things they became silent; and they glorified God, saying, ‘Then God has also granted to the Gentiles repentance of life.’”
    In my studying, I have not found a third example of tongues falling on a group or an individual as in the case of the Apostles in Acts 2 and Cornelius in Acts 10. If you know of one, please correct me. The purpose was to show God’s acceptance of both Jew and Gentile, in like manner, into the kingdom of God. No other example is given, because the Spirit no longer baptizes us in this manner. He doesn’t have to. It is understood by all now that God will give His Spirit to all men who believe, both Jew and Gentile.

  2. There is much truth in your article “Before the foundation of the world.” I must agree with the scriptures which says, “According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love” (Ephesians 1:4). God chose people in him before the world was ever created.

    God’s original plan for man was that he would never die, but because of sin, man is appointed to die. “And as it is appointed unto men once to die,but after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27). God actually has no pleasure in the death of the wicked (Ezekiel 33: 11) but “precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints” (Psalms 116:15).

    I again agree with you that we are saved through water baptism, yet we must include Spirit baptism also. “Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God” (John 3:5). “For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body” (1 Corinthians 12: 13).

    Being baptized in the name of Jesus Christ and receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost with the evidence of speaking in other tongues is the true Bible way of receiving salvation (Acts 2:4, Acts 2:38).

    Many people today try to deny the gift of the Holy Ghost with the evidence of speaking in other tongues,they will quote 1 Corinthians 12: 30 “do all speak with tongues.” This scripture is speaking of the gifts of tongues, which is a gift given to some, but not all born again believers, whereas the “initial evidence” of speaking in other tongues is manifested in every person who receives the Holy Ghost. It is the same with faith, all believers have a measure of faith, but not all believers have the gift of faith. The “gift” of faith is only manifested when a special work or healing needs to be fulfilled.

    The true apostles’ doctrine does not eliminate the Spirit baptism. It is just as important as being water baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins.

    1. Thank you, D. Hall, for your comment. I appreciate your thoughts on John 3:5, as it is an important Biblical concept that must be understood in the context of the passage. Nicodemus came to Jesus expressing a belief that Jesus came from God (v2), and Jesus expresses to him that this belief was not in itself sufficient to see the kingdom of God. “unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (v3) This certainly confused Nicodemus, as it probably would any of us at first read, because he could not figure out how one is born again, when in the flesh one is already born (v4). Therefore, Jesus explains this new birth into the kingdom is not a birth of the flesh, but rather a spiritual birth. “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.” As you say, there are two facets to this instruction. “born of water and the Spirit…” In the context of the passage, we see that this is to distinguish this from fleshly birth. Jesus is giving us a picture of how we become children in the kingdom of God. It is not just that we are immersed, but that we also live by the Spirit. The Spirit indicates the life that is in us. It is both a physical act of submission in a watery grave, and also a complete change in our nature. We are now children of God, and our mind is set on spiritual matters. Our DNA, spiritually speaking, is the DNA of our Father. His Spirit is within us, and we act in ways that exemplify who He is. Romans 8:1-17 explain this concept in great detail. I encourage you to deeply consider them in light of the idea of receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit (as is promised through baptism in Acts 2:38). If we have the Spirit of God dwelling in us, we have life. Our fleshly mind, which considers the affairs of this world, is done away with, that we might consider the spiritual. “For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God…” (v15-16)

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