home > Pastor’s Desk > 2021 >  September > THERE’S MORE TO OUR WORLD THAN MEETS THE EYE


It’s easy to miss the weight of the opening verse of the Bible –

This opening verse of the Bible tells us some obvious things about the world we live in, such as – the universe had a beginning. This point was, for a long time, mocked and dismissed by so-called enlightened scientists in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries until the discoveries of red-shift, dark energy, and cosmic microwave background radiation, which have all proven that the cosmos had a beginning at a measurable moment in the universe’s past.

Prof. Roger Penrose

Prof. Roger Penrose, Nobel Prize winner.

This point was reluctantly affirmed by Prof. Stephen Hawking, who together with Prof. Roger Penrose proved that the universe must have begun with a ‘big bang’. Hawking later wrote this research into a popular book, A Brief History of Time. But recognising the theological implications of this discovery (since it confirmed Genesis 1:1), Hawking who later divorced his evangelical wife, Jane Wilde, spent the rest of his life attempting to disprove his discovery so that he could disprove the existence of God. He posthumously he published Brief Answers To Big Questions in 2018 in which he claimed that “there was no possibility for the existence of God”. Hawking had many critics of his notion that the laws of gravity created the universe. In effect, he ended his life being unable to disprove the existence of God. But this is not the point that I want to make from the opening verse of the Bible.

Genesis 1:1 also gives He who had no introduction, God, the credit for beginning the universe. For those familiar with the Chronicles of Narnia, in The Silver Chair, Aslan says,

“‘I have swallowed up girls and boys, women and men, kings and emperors, cities and realms,’ said the Lion. It didn’t say this as if it were boasting, nor as if it were sorry, nor as if it were angry. It just said it” (C.S. Lewis, The Silver Chair, Apple Books, p. 35).

In the same way, Genesis 1:1 reveals that God created every molecule in the universe but not as if it was a boast — it just state it as a fact. This opening verse of The Ultimate Story doesn’t make a claim, it reports a fact — that God, the One who is outside of the material cosmos and its four dimensions, created the four dimensions comprising: matter, space, energy and time. However, there is one significant clue within the Hebrew word translated as ‘God’ in this verse that should cause the reader to reflect deeply. God, Elohim (אֱלֹהִ֑ים), is not presented as El (a singular Hebrew word for God), but in its plural form – Elohim. The reader should not be confused into thinking that this plural form of El (Elohim) is polytheism (many Gods) nor is it pantheism (the impersonal universe is God). This is one God who is: perfectly united as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (“Let us make man in our image…” Gen. 1:26), personal (He speaks, Gen. 1:26), and is the Creator of the universe (which means He cannot be the universe — which is known as pantheism). It turns out, according to the doctoral research of Dr. Michael S. Heiser, that “Elohim” means heavenly beings. Before God created the universe and its various dimensions, the only heavenly beings were the members of the eternal Godhead (Father, Son and Spirit), but later included a host of created beings who formed a type of council with Yahweh.

Thus, Genesis 1:1 is accurate when it ascribes the creation of the multi-dimensional cosmos to Elohim since the uncreated Godhead were the original and founding members. But this reveals something very special about the heart of Yahweh: He has always been in community. And as we track through the Scriptures how Yahweh created beings that populated the realm of heaven around His throne, we see that these heavenly beings became God’s heavenly family. The Bible even designates some of these more powerful created heavenly beings as “the sons of God”.

¶ Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and the Satan also came among them.
Job 1:6

And while this is an important point to note about the opening verse of the Bible, I really wanted to draw your attention to the word, heavens. This means that there was at least two dimensions of heaven, and because of Paul’s description of God’s throne-room (Psalm 103:19) being the third heaven (2Cor. 12:2) there must at least be three designations of heaven

I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows.
Second Corinthians 12:2

The Scriptures refer to the sky, particularly the night-sky, as heaven. (Gen. 1:20; 15:5; 1Chron. 27:23; Psalm 8:3). Presumably this is the first heaven. The apostle Paul refers to the realm where spiritual beings interact with our physical dimension as heavenly places (Eph. 1:3, 20; 2:6; 3:10; 6:12). Presumably this is what we might artificially call the second heaven. And probably what Paul then refers to as the third heaven is the domain where evil spiritual beings no longer have access, is the very presence of God. It is also referred to in the Scriptures as the highest heaven (1Kings 8:27; Psalm 148:4).  


It seems that before God created mankind, He had created a heavenly family composed of powerful, intelligent, volitional (able to make decisions and act upon them) created beings. We get a later glimpse of the vast numbers of created heavenly beings who fill the Third Heaven of God’s realm in Revelation 5:11- 

¶ Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands
Revelation 5:11

We get another glimpse of a scene of the highest heaven, in Isaiah 6, where Isaiah the prophet is shown God on His throne surrounded by magnificent heavenly creatures who serve Yahweh as heaven‘s worship leaders whose presence invoke great awe of God.

¶ In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of His robe filled the temple. Above Him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory!” ¶ And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke.
Isaiah 6:1-4

But it seems that God also created a special category of heavenly beings who would watch over (they were called “watchers” Daniel 4:13) and guide the future creation of mankind on earth. These incredibly powerful creatures were given appropriate abilities to be able to interact with mankind. They appear to have been trans-dimensional — that is, they could appear in physical form in this dimension in which we exist, and they could translate back into the second heaven (and originally they could each also translate into the Third Heaven to appear before God as alluded to in Job 1). It seems that Yahweh entrusted to each of these Watchers, also referred to as “the holy ones” and “the sons of God” (Deut. 32:8) and as “Elohim” (Psalm 82:6-7), authority over a nation each, and the right to decree certain governmental decisions-

The sentence is by the decree of the watchers, the decision by the word of the holy ones, to the end that the living may know that the Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will and sets over it the lowliest of men.’
Daniel 4:17

When the Most High gave to the nations their inheritance, when He divided mankind, He fixed the borders of the peoples according to the number of the sons of God.
Deuteronomy 32:8

At some stage, a cohort of these Watchers left their assigned stations and rebelled against the Most High when they shape-shifted into humanoids who then lusted after and seduced gullible women and sired the half-breed nephilim (Gen. 6:2-4) and were doomed to eternal damnation for their wickedness — some of the more powerful beings were too dangerous to be allowed to remain unfettered until the day of damnation and they were, according to Peter “imprisoned in chains in outer darkness” (2Peter 2:4; Jude 6) — the fate the rest will be carried out at the completion of Yahweh’s plan of redemption is consummated at the Judgment “on the last day” (John 6:39, 40, 44; 11:24; 12:48). This is why the forces of evil will do anything to stop the people of God from fulfilling Yahweh’s plan of redemption. Because, when this happens their eternal doom will be enacted and apparently they aren’t too keen for this to happen. It’s why our evangelism—especially our collaborative evangelism—is so critically needed and urgent. And all of this understanding is drawn out of a deep biblical reflection into Genesis 1:1. It just goes to show that Genesis 1:1 reveals that there is much more to this world than meets the eye!

Your Pastor,


Let me know what you think below in the comment section and feel free to share this someone who might benefit from this Pastor’s Desk.


  1. John Sands

    Thank you for this. It is unnecessary for someone’s salvation and living life, but wonderful for helping one to understand and enjoy scriptures and life even more.

    I value this scholarship which is more than just knowledge for its own sake.

    It also adds veracity for doubtful readers. Would be a challenge to Jehovah’s Witnesses. I suspect that Christadelphians would love it

  2. LYDIA

    Thank you! The Scriptures are truly incredible. God’s love is immeasurable. Another few pieces of the box lid…

  3. Richard Brunning

    Thank you Andrew for that insight into the deep meaning of Genesis 1:1. Somewhat over my head, but I can begin to understand that our Father, Son and Holy Spirit are proven to be the Creator.


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Anyone who has attended a large event such as the recent Will Graham Outreach event that was held at the Launceston Silverdome would be familiar with the varying levels of access that are provided to staff and volunteers associated with this type of event. The security system used included identification in the form of different coloured shirts, prayer volunteer cards, and all access cards that permitted access to the entire venue with no questions asked by security personnel. This is like the access level that God has to our lives. Being omnipresent, He has unhindered access to every aspect of our lives. He knows our innermost thoughts, sees all that we do, hears all that we say. God has the ultimate ‘all access’ card.


How can we determine whether a claim is true or false? Some people think there are different kinds of truth — my truth, their truth, and your truth. But how do they know that their assessment of truth is true? After all, their assessment – that there is my/their/your truth might just be based on their truth rather than the truth. Truth has certain qualities that distinguishes it from what is false-
 Truth corresponds to reality.
 Truth is verifiable (that is, if it is true, it can be evidentially shown to be so).
 Truth is falsifiable (that is, if it is false, it can be evidentially shown to be so).
 Truth is sometimes testable (that is, claims that are experiential can be tested by experience – including scientific claims, historic claims, and existential claims).
We have good reasons for the believing that the Bible is true because it is the divinely inspired, reliable and authoritative Word of God which has been superintendedly preserved by the Holy Spirit (read more about this).


Parents, Kids Church leaders, and Christian school teachers should be intentional about shaping children to be fully devoted followers of Christ who have reasons for believing Christianity is true – which shapes them into virtuous contributors to society and to find their role in God’s Kingdom. This will be one of the necessary and indispensable means for the Church to fulfil the Great Commission of Christ.


We live in a fast paced world. We expect things to happen quickly. None of us like to be kept waiting. Even when we order something online we expect it delivered straight away. Some of us having to work two or even three jobs just to be able to pay the bills. We describe ourselves as time-poor. Yet, we all get twenty-four-hours in a day. Sixty-minutes in an hour. And sixty-seconds in a minute. Most of us need to adjust how we see, understand, and treat our time. This will involve, what will be for some, adopting a foreign and largely unaccustomed view of time that involves worship, sabbath, and deepening relationships. From this biblical perspective we will come to see time as a gift from God, not a curse, or source of frustration. Within this gift of time God teaches us how to worship in those times when it is difficult to do so. Rather than thinking this divine gift of time is ours to do with what ever we want, God uses this gift to teach us that we should gift it back to Him beginning with (but not limited to) treating Sunday as a sabbath to come together to recommit our hearts, voices, minds, and presence with God’s people, back to God. God gives us passing time to learn to deepen relationships – especially with our kin, and our friends. Time is meant for relationship building. 


One of the greatest lies that the would-be enemy of all our souls attempts to perpetuate is that we are what we are and we can never change. This lie is whispered into the ears of many people’s invisible ears so imperceptibly that they actually think it originated with them. “You were born this way – and you can never change”, “This is who you really are – and you can never change”, “There’s no hope of anything ever changing for better – so you might as well just kill yourself” and so on. But these sly alien voices inside the heads of the vulnerable are lies. People can change. People do change. Some circumstances were always going to be temporary and were always going to change. I know this is true because I am living proof. I am who I am but I am not who I used to be and I am not yet who I will be.


It may well still be the best-selling book of all time – and continues year-by-year to be so – but certainly is not the best-read of our current times! If there was ever any doubt about this, the events this week in Hobart, at St. Mary’s (Catholic) College Girl’s School, should remove all doubt! A furore erupted over the news that the prescribed Scripture reading for the year-end graduation celebration, which incorporated a Mass, was “Wives submit to your husbands” taken from Ephesians. Callers into ABC radio’s breakfast program decried this assault against women – especially young, vulnerable girls. One caller, responding to the news that the text being used was a citation from Ephesians, denounced Ephesians and apparently demanded, “Just who does this Ephesians bloke think he is?!” Another caller stated, “Why are they quoting ancient Roman philosophers in the twenty-first century?!” And yet another caller somehow linked all religious wars to passages like this one in the Bible! He remarked, “I’m an atheist. All wars are started by those who are religious! No war was ever started by atheists!” (Perhaps he had never heard of Stalin, Adolf Hitler, Mao Zedong, Pol Pot, Vladimir Putin, who were collectively responsible for the deaths of over 20,000,000?) This furore led to the Archbishop conceding that the Ephesians passage did not have to be used at the graduation ceremony. But this furore has highlighted just how unaware many Tasmanians are about what the Bible is, what is actually says, and why it says it. And I am now about to correct this deficiency.  


Of the many tributes paid to her majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, was the often noted reflection that during her reign the world underwent a series of rapid changes that were dramatic and unprecedented in human history. There were technological inventions that revolutionised the way people could access international travel options enabling them to be virtually anywhere in the world within a matter of hours. New forms of communication emerged with the development of a global satellite communications network enabling people to watch Neil Armstrong take his one giant leap Live on their black-and-white TV screens (as I did in the corridors of Corio Primary School in 1969). Space exploration, the stuff previously just in the realm of science fiction writers, became a reality with manned and unmanned voyages to the Moon, Mars, and beyond. But the past one hundred years have also been a time of great upheaval with empires crumbling, governments toppled, wars waged, genocides committed, pandemics raging, nations birthed, rulers assassinated, and massive refugee movements from oppressive Islamic and Communist regimes. Added to this has been the demise of professional journalism and the rise of internet-citizen-journalism where it is now common for TV News reports to feature footage taken from someone’s cell-phone which was posted on social media rather than the more expensive option of sending their own film crew there. And while we’re mentioning the internet, let’s not forget to mention – the internet. This alone has possibly been the most monumental change in the way people communicate, work, learn, and shop. But while it was noted that the Queen had witnessed all of these many changes, it was also noted that the Queen herself was an unchanging constant during all these upheavals who brought about a sense of stability, peace and reassurance. To millions of people around the world, she was their rock in a world of turmoil and change. Yet this was only possible because she herself had an immovable, dependable rock upon which she had built her life.


home > Pastor's Desk > 2022 > October 7th > Who Builds A City On A HillFor those who don’t know, I was born in Geelong, and have always been fan of the Geelong Football Club. But I’m not just a fan, I’m a paid-up member of the Club. In fact, I’m a student...


This is not for everyone. If you are already a parent, this is not for you. Instead of reading this I suggest you read one of my other more abstract Pastor’s Desk articles. If you are not a parent and have no intention of ever being a parent, this is not for you. Instead of reading this I suggest you read one of my more weighty articles on FindingTruthMatters.org. If you are not yet a parent and one day hope to become a parent, this is for you. Find a quiet place, take the next six minutes thirteen seconds and use the reading of this article as an investment into your future parenting strategies. I did not invent these guidelines. Like many parents who have also discovered the value of these guidelines, once discovered, they seem obvious. These successful parents probably grew up with own parents who inculcated these guidelines almost intuitively. However, my suspicion is that this is becoming increasingly rarer. As with all true guidelines they are adaptable, flexible, and are not a guarantee of parental success — but if ignored they become the point in the mathematical problem solving where you can see you made an error in your working out. In other words, while these guidelines may not guarantee success, if ignored their neglect almost certainly leads to frustration and disappointment. Here are five indispensable guidelines for every prospective new parent.


I’ve been praying for Penn Jillette for some time now. It began when I first heard him ridicule the Bible and Christianity. My fascination with Penn (and Teller), and other world-class magicians, has been due to my pursuit to develop my craft of preaching. There are a lot of similarities between preachers and magicians (just as there is also a lot similarities between solo musicians and preachers). I seek to learn from magicians about how to keep an audience’s attention, how to tell a story, and how to make a point by employing the element of surprise. But there are some significant differences between what magicians do and what preachers do though. A magician is deliberately deceptive. A preacher is striving to uphold truth in an honest way.