Updated: Feb 4
God did not make death, And he does not delight in the death of the living. For he created all things so that they might exist; the generative forces of the world are wholesome, and there is no destructive poison in them, and the dominion of Hades is not on earth. For righteousness is immortal.
God created us for incorruption, and made us in the image of his own eternity, but through the devil’s envy death entered the world, and those who belong to his company experience it.
This is an optional Old Testament selection from the Episcopal Lectionary for the Sixth Sunday after Pentecost, Year B 2018. In the numbering system that lists each Sunday in an ordinal fashion, this Sunday is referred to as Proper 8. If chosen, this will next be read aloud in church by a reader on Sunday, July 1, 2018. It is important because it states the wisdom that human beings – souls in bodies – are born for eternal life. If not for the lures of sin, everyone on earth would personally know God.
It should be recognized that this reading selection comes from an Apocryphal book, which means it is a “Hidden” text that is not officially part of the Christian Bible. As a work that has been denied free access with those deemed most holy, without doubt, it has been scrutinized by scholars “after the fact,” searching for clues of authorship. As such, it has been determined that this is not a work written by King Solomon, and is not thought to have been written by only one human being. This focus on perceived flaws is not how one should address this book, and thus this reading.
The assumption that must be made is that Solomon, who as a child asked God for the gift of wisdom, was granted that wish by God; but Solomon was never the author of any wisdom he spoke.
All wisdom comes from God, flowing through one who is committed in their hearts to receive God’s thoughts. Therefore, the “Wisdom of Solomon” is from the same source, whether it flowed through a king of Israel, or a Prophet of the LORD before or after the fall of Israel and Judah, or an Apostle of Jesus Christ while being tested in the wilderness.
Wisdom exceeds the bounds of knowledge that humans can master, as it accepts the unknown readily, understanding what had been hidden from sight. Experience become the foresight of the future, from a clarity generated by hindsight.
When this view is understood, God is known to be the author. With God accepted as the author, the test of that authorship is the truth. Each line of prose or poetry must pass this test. Regardless of who wrote the words down on parchment, the truth they expose is the proof that God is the source of all wisdom and knowledge.
This selected reading consists of five verses, three from chapter one and two from chapter two. From two arcs on a circle one circuit of thought is connected. The first verse (verse 13) states (according to the King James Version): “For God made not death: neither hath he pleasure in the destruction of the living.” The presence of a colon (rather than a comma) makes the second half of this statement be supporting details to the initial statement that “God made not death.”
This points out that God is the Creator, not a destroyer.
Samael – Poison of God, the destroyer.
God brought forth life into nothingness. Death is not an intention of Creation.
Transition is a state of change in life. The scientific-philosophical mind believes that since Creation there has been no new matter created and no original matter lost. All that was then is now and will be forever, with everything in between merely the natural states of change and transition. Therefore, the “death of the living” has nothing to do with the material universe, as it refers to souls.
In verse 14 we read, “For he created all things so that they might exist; the generative forces of the world are wholesome, and there is no destructive poison in them, and the dominion of Hades is not on earth.” This states that all things are designed to go through changes.
There are seasonal fluctuations, where growth and recession are natural. There are the global transitions, where tectonic plates move, volcanoes eject the inner earth onto the surface and sedimentary formations are from natural growth and rebirth cycles over ages. The temperature changes brings ice ages and global warming, where oceans rise and fall, and rivers, lakes, and streams go from dry to overflowing. All of this is normal life. What appears to be destructive is natural transformation.
The souls of human beings are given creation amid this flux, where changes from one body to the next are as natural as flowers blooming and then wilting away. Hell, which destroys souls, is not part of this world created by God.
When verse 15 then states, “For righteousness is immortal,” the purpose of life is to find righteousness. Righteousness is beyond wholesome. Righteousness is the creation of God within one who rejects the destructive poisons planted by Satan. Righteousness is the human soul’s choice to make, by choosing God over Satan. The reward of righteousness is everlasting life with God.
In the leap to the last two verses of chapter two, the King James Version shows “immortal” being the translation, rather than “incorruption.” As such, it is written in verse 23: “God created man to be immortal, and made him (man) to be an image of his own eternity.”
“Us” is “man,” such that it is written in Genesis, “Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness,” (Genesis 1:26) where the LORD of lords (YHWH elohim), the God who made the gods (“In the beginning [YHWH] created gods [elohim] – Genesis 1:1) is the One God from which all Creation of souls (immortal souls and mortal with immortal souls) come.
More than being in the image of God by having a head, two arms and two legs – all attached to a trunk – the image of God (and gods) is that of the immortality of a soul. A soul cannot be corrupted by death. However, a body with a soul can be corrupted, leading the soul pay for that corruption.
In the final verse of chapter two, which says, “but through the devil’s envy death entered the world, and those who belong to his company experience it,” the corruption of a body with a soul is due to Satan’s envy of mankind. This verse tells of the division in Heaven between the “elohim” of the “gods.” Those of “his company” are the angels that rebelled against God’s command to serve mankind. These were cast within the earth, which makes them like Man, as eternal souls trapped in bodies. However, there is no release from those bodies as those souls are death.
Throw upon him hurled and pointed stones, covering him with darkness; There shall he remain for ever; cover his face, that he may not see the light. And in the great day of judgment let him be cast into the fire. (1 Enoch 7-9)
As an optional reading for the sixth Sunday after Pentecost, when one’s personal ministry should be underway, this wisdom speaks of the lure away from eternal life and towards the trapping of the devil. It is the envy of Satan, brought on because God made Man as wholesome and immortal, that makes Satan thrive on misleading humankind away from its promise. As long as Man’s soul remains uncorrupted, Satan will continue to whisper, “God will still take you in Heaven if you only do this sin. God is forgiving.”
That lure is heard because one has not sacrificed the self for the protection of Jesus Christ within one’s soul. A human soul is too wholesome to not be tricked without that care from the Holy Spirit, which can only come from a total commitment to God (marriage). This is the lesson from Genesis of Eve being deceived by the serpent and Adam following along. Their human forms with eternal souls were separate from God’s presence.
Ministry means having made that sacrifice, so one speaks from knowledge of faith and can guide others to the same protection and reward of eternal life with God. Ministry means opening the eyes and the ears of human bodies holding souls, so they can know the truth. Ministry means speaking the Wisdom of Solomon. Otherwise, the lies of Satan will lead soul after soul to corruption.