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Devotional Biology

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  1. Introduction & Preface
    4 Steps
  2. Chapter 1: Biology for the Believer
    15 Steps
  3. Chapter 2: The Living God: Biological Life
    14 Steps
  4. Chapter 3: God’s Glory: Biological Beauty
    6 Steps
  5. Chapter 4: God is Distinct: Biological Discontinuity
    9 Steps
  6. Chapter 5: God is Good: Mutualism & Biological Evil
    10 Steps
  7. Chapter 6: God is Person: Animal Behavior & Personality
    17 Steps
  8. Chapter 7: The Provider God: The Anthropic Principle
    12 Steps
  9. Chapter 8: The Sustaining God: The Biomatrix
    8 Steps
  10. Chapter 9: God is One: Monomers, Biosimilarity, and Biosystems
    8 Steps
  11. Chapter 10: God is Three: Biodiversity
    11 Steps
  12. Chapter 11: God of Hierarchy: Biological Hierarchy
    13 Steps
  13. Chapter 12: The Almighty God: Metabolism
    8 Steps
  14. Chapter 13: God the Word: Animal Communication & Language of Life
    8 Steps
  15. Chapter 14: God’s Fullness: Reproduction, Diversification, and Biogeography
    10 Steps
  16. Chapter 15: The History of Life
    9 Steps
  17. Appendix
    4 Steps
Lesson Progress
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The following transcript was automatically generated and may contain errors in spelling and/or grammar. It is provided for assistance in note-taking and review.

In chapter two of your book, we are looking at the topic of the living God. In Scripture, we’re told that the God who created the universe, the God who authored Scripture, is a living God. He’s described as a living God in Hebrew and in Greek. They have an adjective used before God, in front of God, with God, calling Him a living God. He’s also called the God who lives. He’s also referred to as He who lives forever. His names also include He who lives forever and ever. He’s called the Living Redeemer, the Living Father. Jesus himself is called the Bread of Life. He’s called the Light of Life. He’s the Prince of Life. He’s the Word of Life. He’s even called Life itself in John 11.25. He is referred to as Eternal Life. He’s referred to as the Living Stone, the Ever-Living Word. and the one who was dead, but now lives, and he who was once dead, but now lives, and lives forever. It’s very clear throughout scripture, from beginning to end, that God is referred to as a living God. One of the characteristics of God is life. However, God is invisible. All his attributes are invisible. So that attribute of God called life, whatever that is, is also invisible. It can’t be seen. Yet, God wants us to understand that invisible nature. And so he has created illustrations in the physical world to help us understand his invisible life. And in this particular case, I believe he’s created the organisms of the planet, the plants, the animals of the earth, to illustrate what life is like. It’s not exactly the same as God’s life, but it’s supposed to give us a picture of the life of God. In fact, you see this in the very first chapter in the creation of organisms. God said, “Let the earth bring forth grass.” Later in verse 20, God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures.” Nefesh Chaim is what it is in Hebrew, living creatures. In verse 24, on the next day, the sixth day of the creation, God said, “Let the earth bring forth the living creature.” Nefesh Chaim, living creature. In chapter 2, verse 7, it talks about the creation of Adam. God breathed into his nostrils, Adam’s nostrils, the breath of life, and man, Adam, became a living soul. In fact, it’s the very same phrase, “Nephesh Chayim,” that is translated in the first chapter, “living creature,” is translated “living soul” here. So we have in the case of the animals of the sea, the animals of the land, and humans that God created living creatures. Creatures refer to created things. So we have God creating illustrations of his invisible life by creating physical organisms. Let’s back up a little bit and look at the issue of life itself. We’re going to deal with, first of all, the different types of life. Scripture refers to different types of things that have perhaps very different types of life. And then we’re going to talk about the nature of life. First, the different types of life. Even perhaps before we look at scripture itself, we can think of the fact that I think we have an intuitive feeling that there are different types of life in this world.

For example, most people will say a plant is living, and an animal is living. But there’s something really different about them. People react differently to, let’s say someone comes along and chops a plant off, like mows the grass, versus somebody comes along and chops off the head of a rabbit.

That’s not reacted to in exactly the same way. As if there’s something qualitatively different, something really substantively different between an animal and a plant. Perhaps they have different types of life. Perhaps there’s something fundamentally different between them. In fact, that seems to be confirmed by looking at scripture itself. First of all, in examining different types of life, I’ve already referred to the fact that God is referred to as a living thing, as a living God. So we have the fact that God himself is life. So he has a quality called life. For the moment, I’m going to call that divine life. It’s the life of God, the life of divinity. Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit, all three have the quality, the nature, the characteristic of life. This is a special kind of life, though, I would suggest. I’m going to argue eventually that it’s going to say this is a different kind of life than every other kind of life. Because God is different than every other kind of living thing. First of all, God is uncaused. He didn’t have a beginning. Nobody created God. He was, He always has been, He is, and He always will be. So His life, the life of God, is one that does not have a beginning. We’re going to contrast that with everything else. Everything else that has life had a beginning. Everything else, all other life, began at some point in time. God’s life never began. It has always been. Secondly, God’s life is what we call autonomous. It doesn’t depend on any other life to exist. It didn’t come into being because of any other life. Because it didn’t come into being, it’s always been. And it can keep on going, even if there was no other life in the universe. The life of God would continue. It’s autonomous. It can live on its own. It can continue to exist without anything else being around. And that’s different from all other types of life, because God himself created everything else, and holds everything together, and allows it to continue. All other types of life are dependent upon God. God’s life is not. Also, God’s life is infinite. It’s not bounded. We’ve got a finite amount of life. Any other organism has just a certain amount of life, not infinite life. Somehow God’s life is infinite. It’s unbounded, without limit in its characteristics and its quality. And that would be only true of the life of God. That would be only true of divine life. So divine life is probably substantively, qualitatively different from all other types of life. Divine life is a unique kind of life. And that in turn suggests that all other types of life are different. That means we have at least two different types of life. So we have divine life, and I’m going to say all other life that isn’t divine life is created life. Or we might say creature life. Creature would refer to created things. So anything that has life that isn’t God is a created life. That is a different life. All those types of life are created by God. They can’t exist aside from God if God stepped out of the universe or whatever. Those things couldn’t continue to exist because all things hold together by God. God holds everything else together that exists. So, whereas God’s life is uncreated, exists forever, and will exist forever into the future, The created life starts at one point in time and has to be maintained by God.

It’s dependent upon God for its existence. Also, any of these creatures have a life that isn’t infinite, but in fact limited. It’s finite. So creature life, unlike divine life, is created, dependent, and finite in opposition to, or in contrast to, divine life. Now I would suggest that within and among the creatures that have life, there are different types of life in different creatures. First of all, the scripture defines some organisms known. I’m going to call them here spirit creatures. It describes cherubs. It describes seraphim. It describes angels. These are spirit beings. These are beings that are created beings. They’re created by God. So they have that finite, dependent, created life, like all other creatures. But there’s something different about these as opposed to other organisms. They are in fact spirit beings and not physical beings. But they are in fact created. It says in Colossians 1.16, “By him were all things created, both visible and invisible. even the invisible organisms have been created by God. Now technically in this list, angels, cherubs, seraphs, only the cherubs are specifically mentioned in scripture as being living creatures. They’re described as living creatures in Ezekiel. Spectacular descriptions of these living creatures known as cherubs. But we can probably deduce that the angels are also living, and that the seraphim are also living. They’re just not specifically listed as being living. They probably are. None of them are described as dying or dead. We have no reference in scripture to a dead cherub, or a dead angel, or a dying angel, or a dying cherub, or a dying seraph.

So they’re probably all alive, and they all will remain alive. In other words, that they cannot die. This is a life that starts at a particular point in time, but never ends. This is creature life without physical bodies. Because all of these angels, cherubs, and seraphims do not have a physical body, but they have life. So these are creatures, creature life without physical body. They’re probably different than the life that organisms have. Organisms that have a physical body. So, in among those organisms, the Bible describes animals of the air. These are described as nephesh hayim, which means “living creature” in Genesis 1, 20 and 21. They’re described as alive right there in that verse, but several other places throughout Scripture all the way into Revelation, animals are referred to as living things.

They’re also described in various places as dead or dying. These are the animals, specifically the air. We refer to dead flying creatures, or dying flying creatures, in Exodus 7. You’re not supposed to touch a dead animal from the air. The animals in the water, they’re referred to as living things in Genesis 1:20 and several other places throughout Scripture. And again in Leviticus, They’re referred to as organisms that are dead or dying. And I mentioned the dead or dying because if an organism is never alive, then it can never die. So even if something isn’t specifically mentioned as being alive, if it’s ever referred to as dying or being dead, it probably implies that it was once alive. So even though it sounds the opposite, when you have evidence that something is dead or dying, it means it’s an organism that can be alive. So we have animals of the air that are alive, animals of the water that are alive, and then we have animals of the land.

Again, in Genesis chapter 1, verses 24-25, they’re referred to as nephesh hayim, living creatures. And they’re referred to as living creatures repeatedly about Scripture, and dead or dying in various places in the Scripture. Now, the animals of the land even include what the Bible describes as creeping things. The insects, the little creepy crawlers. Insects, rodents, amphibians, things that stay low to the ground. These are also explicitly described as being alive or living in Genesis 1. And in Exodus and Ecclesiastes, they’re referred to as dead or dying. So all of these would be examples of another category of life, organisms with physical bodies that in fact have life as well. Now, of course, humans would be in this category. Humans are referred to as living. Even the very recently born humans are referred to as living. And those are in the womb. Exodus 21 refers to the living thing in the womb. And in Genesis 2.7, I’ve already mentioned Adam is referred to as a nephesh hayim, as a living creature. And living soul is how it’s translated usually. And throughout scripture, humans are called living things as well, and of course can die. So our summary from this is that so far we’ve got divine life, and then everything else, all other types of life, which are creature life. And then among the creatures that have life, There are the spirit creatures that have life. And then there are the animals of the air, animals of the land, animals of the sea, and humans. I’m going to put those four groups, all those animals and humans, into one category I’m going to call Nephesh life. I’m going to call it Nephesh life because Genesis chapter 1 does that. It says the creatures of the land were Nephesh Haim. The creatures of the sea were Nephesh Haim. the creatures of the land were nephesh hayim. And man became a nephesh hayim. So all of them are classified using biblical words as nephesh life. These are physical bodies that have life. And as we’ll argue in a future chapter, they have what the Bible refers to as souls. In fact, in Genesis 1, Nefesh haim is translated “living creatures” in Genesis 2.7. The same phrase is translated “living soul.” So nefesh refers to a soulish creature, a creature with a soul. So nefesh life would be organisms with physical bodies and with life, also known as souls. They include both humans and animals. Now, I would put these into different categories because in Ecclesiastes, we’re told that the spirit of man goes upward. The spirit man continues after his death, but the beast goes downward. He dies, and apparently his life terminates. So there’s apparently a difference between animal life and human life. Animal life ends at the death of the animal. Human life continues. that we continue and live on past the death of our body. Even for unbelievers, even if for a person that lives in hell forever, that person is alive in that particular situation. So human life continues on forever. Animal life apparently ends. So what we have here is a classification of different types of life that the Bible speaks of. Life isn’t a simple thing. There are different types. There’s life that never had a beginning, and is infinite. That is the life of God. And then there’s other types of life that have a beginning, that are held together by God, or continue to exist by God. Those are creature organisms, creature life. And in those categories, subcategory to that are the spirit beings that have life. So they have life, but no physical bodies. Then we have organisms that have physical bodies and life. And in that subcategory, there are humans and animals. Next time we’ll talk about the consequences of having different types of life.