The Kingdom of God Is Here

The Kingdom of God is Here

In some ways age is not a great thing. Heading toward 77 in this year of 2021, it is a daily battle to keep physically functioning at a top level. Right. I lost that battle some years ago. But I keep trying to live as normal as possible. There are a few things that seem to be increasing as other are decreasing.

I am recurring statement from my wife is, “What’s that right there?”

I “misplace” things quite regularly. After looking for it until I lose hope of finding it, I will ask my wife if she has seen it. She will casually point to something on a table or desk in plain sight, and say, “What’s that right there?” I have always done that to a degree, but now it seems I am more careless because it happens much more often.

In God’s realm there are things hidden in plain sight, important things, critical things, in fact fatal things. There is one thing that no one can show you where it is and very few people are looking for it. Of those who look for it may seem impossible to find, even though it is in plain sight and no matter where they are.

In Jesus day there were two main groups, sects, or parties within the Jewish community. The Pharisees were sticklers for the letter of the law and the Sadducees were more socially oriented. The Pharisees were marked by rigid realism, and the Sadducees were aristocratic. Sound familiar?

The Pharisees were not impressed with Jesus. They thought he was too free with the law and often were critical of some of Jesus’ actions.  Since Jesus was freely teaching in Jerusalem and thereabout, the Pharisees confronted Him and demanded He tell them when the Kingdom of God should come. Possibly they believed the kingdom would be a physical one there in Jerusalem and Israel and obviously that time had not come.

“And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, ‘The kingdom of God cometh not with observation:  Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.’” –  Lk 24:20-21

They were looking for something hidden in plain sight!

Being the law experts and living by strict observation of those laws, they failed to see the spiritual truth behind the laws. God gave them laws because they were unable to understand the spiritual. Paul the Apostle described the law as babies’ milk to prepare them for meat. He describes it as education as to how God wants us to live and to convict us of sin so we are ready to live life in the spirit of Christ and the Holy Spirit.

You see, the reason why I sometimes have a hard time finding something is because I am looking for the red one that is in my mind when it is not red at all, it is black. Ever done that?

You can not find something when you do not know what you are looking for.

Jesus said the Kingdom of God is here. It is within you. And that is true. It is within you and me now this moment.

Jesus said, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.” – Jn 10:9 KJV

The key to that door is faith.

“And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.  For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.”

The Kingdom of God is here. It is inside you. It always has been. But if you do not recognize it and live with it and by it, it is of no value to you. It remains hidden from you.

Seek and you will find.

 

God is Dividing the People

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There are two kinds of people in this world and God knows each one of us. I know, you think there is a lot more than two kinds of people. But from God’s view there are only two.

Look at the world around you with an open object mindset and you will see the division. It is obvious. This division has grown in the last decade or more. Violence, hatred, cruel and bitter criticism abounds. The left is even talking now of purging or cleansing the right and putting their kids in reprogramming camps. The left considers the right as a scourge (people who cause great trouble or suffering) who should be cleansed from the earth or put in reprogramming camps.

The right considers the left as those who want to promote the elite few and wealthy while enslaving the masses. They oppose much of the social standards, using race as a weapon, and using racial and sexual identity as the primary qualification for living. As well as the lies and deception as a means to an end, cancel culture, and silencing and persecution of any opposing views

There are two realities today. It seems
those in each reality cannot see the others views as real. They each say the other are liars as much or all of what they say is false.

Jesus told us this would happen. As we get close to the end of this age, the deception will grow stronger. I am not saying the left is one and the right or another, but the stark division of people is a live demonstration of how distinctly people can be divided. God also has made a choice between His two kinds of people.

Jesus illustrated this in a parable. A parable is an illustration or allegory. It says one thing to illustrate another and it’s a story that contains a hidden meaning.

Jesus said he used parables to speak to both kinds of people, one will understand the hidden meaning and the other will not understand it. Why? Because he said the truth conveyed in the parable must be spiritually discerned. Here is what He said,

“Another parable He put forth to them, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field; but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way. But when the grain had sprouted and produced a crop, then the tares also appeared. So the servants of the owner came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?’ He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’.”  – Mt 13: 24-26 New King James Version (NKJV)

The Kingdom of Heaven is the subject of this parable. He says the Kingdom of Heaven is like a man who had a field where he sowed wheat, but when it came up the wheat was among tares. The most common tare in the Holy Land is bearded darnel. It mimics wheat. When the two come up it is difficult to tell which is wheat and which is tares. The difference only becomes apparent after the grain of the wheat has sprouted. Then the difference is quite visible.

When the field workers went to the field to prepare for harvest, they discovered the tares and then went to the owner and asked him what happened. Why do you have tares when you sow wheat? The owner revealed that an enemy had corrupted his crop.

Jesus is using the field, wheat, and tares to illustrate the Kingdom of God. Jesus discussed the parable with his disciples. Here is the hidden meaning. Jesus is the owner of the field and the wheat and tares are two kinds of people. The field is the world of people on this earth.

Here is the blunt message so far in this parable. Here is how Jesus put it.

“He answered and said to them: ‘He who sows the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world, the good seeds are the sons of the kingdom, but the tares are the sons of the wicked one.  The enemy who sowed them is the devil’.” Mt13:26-28 – New King James Version (NKJV)

There are authentic people of the Kingdom of God and people who are in the kingdom of Satan. Jesus said there are no other places to be. You are either wheat or tares.

They Have Two Different Destinations

So, there is a problem, the field is corrupt. There is the good wheat and there are the poisonous tares. The servants asked if they should pull the tares to prepare the field for harvest. Jesus instructed them:

“Do you want us then to go and gather them up?’ But he said, ‘No, lest while you gather up the tares you also uproot the wheat with them.  Let both grow together until the harvest, and at the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, “First gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn.’” – Mt 13:28-30 New King James Version (NKJV)

Jesus said let both the good and the bad grow together until the harvest. Then Jesus will separate the wheat from the tares. The wheat will go to the barn and the tares will be burned. Again, Jesus explains the meaning:

“The enemy who sowed them is the devil, the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are the angels. Therefore as the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of this age. The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness, and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth.  Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears to hear, let him hear! Mt 13: 39-43 New King James Version (NKJV)

Jesus tells us there is an end of this age, not the end of the world, but this age of the world. There is a final judgement that will precede a new age. One of the two people will go into this new age and the other will not. Jesus calls them the righteous. The Greek word used for righteous here means the innocent or holy. In contrast tares are those who offend, and practice lawlessness. They will be incinerated.

Which are you? The wheat or the tares. Are you in sync with God, or are you in sync with evil and the devil? It’s your choice. I urge you to make it wisely.

“He who has ears to hear, let him hear!” – Jesus

 

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

 

 

What Is The Kingdom of God

What Is the Kingdom of God

 What Is the Kingdom of God?

As Christians we hear much about the Kingdom of God. But what exactly is it? It is not unrelated to what we think of as a kingdom in the world. A kingdom is defined as a base of power administered by a king or a sovereign of royal power. It usually has palaces and courts.

A kingdom is composed of people within the sphere of the king’s rule.  It has laws and rules by which the people must live by like our government of the United States has. Our founders chose not to have a king like England from where they came. But we still call it a sovereign nation. A democracy has the people as its sovereign.  As a republic, the people of the United States elect representatives who then create the laws and enforce them. Hopefully, but not always, according to what the people as a whole want.

Is the Kingdom of God Different Than A Ruling Government?

Yes, there is a difference. It is the most unique kingdom on earth. I say on earth because God’s Kingdom is available right where we live now.

God’s law works from a different view than man’s law. In scripture the word law means a teaching rather than a rule. God’s law is instruction on how to live on this earth. It is a personal way of living that is in union with God spiritually as well as physically.

God’s law tells us how to live in a spiritual world. Man’s law gives you the rules you must live by in this world. God’s law teaches us how to become the person we were created to be.

It is voluntary!

That’s right. You can choose to obey the laws of the Kingdom of God or ignore them altogether. You can choose to be a citizen in the Kingdom of God or or remain on foreign soil.  It is our choice to make. But the choices come with repercussions. Some more severe than you would like.

When God created man, He expected man would naturally live by His laws. But it did not happen. Man rebelled and chose not to take instruction. Israel asked for a king because they thought they needed an earthly authority like other nations to keep them in God’s way. We have had kings over us to this day.

In the U.S. we claim a democracy run by the people, but is it? As was then it is today, many of our leaders and kings tend to be susceptible to corruption. Even so is the will of the people the will of God?

God tried something else again unique. God birthed a royal son into human flesh. This son, Jesus, lived a sinless life. That means He never lived a moment, took a breath, outside God’s desires for Him. He never had a thought of disobedience. He came as the final king. Man rejected him as king and sentenced him to death.

But God had a backup plan. He would maintain His kingdom. He raised Jesus from the grave and gave him a new spiritual body. Jesus walked the earth in that body and gave instructions to the few that had put their faith in him before his death.

What Was Jesus’ Instructions?

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. And love your neighbor as yourself.”

He said if you do those two things all of the law, the instructive will of God, will fall in place. That sounds simple, but as we know it is not so easy. Life gets in the way. But here is a secret to God’s kingdom. If we fail, we have someone to stand up in court for us. Jesus did not die because He failed the test. He died because we did.

Jesus is our king if we choose to accept him as our king. These are the ones who participate in the Kingdom of God. Even now on this earth, we can live in the Kingdom of God. It is a kingdom with an unlimited abundance of resources available to every member just for the asking.

“And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent.” – Jn 17:3

Where Is the Kingdom of God?

Most kingdoms have borders and fiercely protect those borders. The Kingdom of God is universal. It is everywhere. It is where you are right now. Jesus put it this way:

And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.” – Lk 17:20-21

The Pharisees had asked Jesus about the future. When will the kingdom come? Jesus said it is not future, it is already here. You can enter the kingdom any time you choose to seek and find it. It all around you, even within you, but you do not see it.

The Kingdom of God began on earth in the Garden of Eden. It has never not been here.  But it is a spiritual kingdom not a physical one. It cannot be seen with physical eyes, but only can be discerned by the spirit. It will always be a spiritual kingdom and its entrance requirement will never change – faith in the person of Jesus Christ.

Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” The only way we can approach Jesus or the Kingdom is spiritually.

How do we do that? First we recognize we are physical beings in a physical world living by our own desires, training, and the influences of the world around us. Secondly, we recognize there is someone much higher on the life ladder than we on this earth. Third, we take a step of faith…

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:” – Eph 2:8

You see, membership in the Kingdom of God is a gift. But it is a gift you can ask for.  Only then are you able to follow Jesus’ instuction to love God and love your neighbor as yourself. It is up to you.

 

 

 

Who Is Jesus Christ

Who Is Jesus Christ

Who Is Jesus Christ?

Why would I want to read this article? The title may sound like a silly question. Most people on this planet know, know of, or have heard the name Jesus. But, do you really understand the breadth of who this man from the first century is?

Let me begin with the beginning or I should say, our beginning. The Apostle John said,

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him, and without Him was not anything made that was made.” — Jn 1:1-3

In the beginning…” Our beginning. The Bible tells us God has no beginning or end. In our beginning there was God and the Word.

Who is the Word?

And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only Begotten of the Father), full of grace and truth.” — Jn 1:14

John tells us the Word became a flesh and blood human who lived in our midst. He was the only son of the Father, God. In Greek philosophy, the concept behind the Word (Logos) is the divine principle that permeates an orderly universe. That which permeates the universe became a human being, a man. The power that created our physical reality and holds it together became a man called Jesus.

Jesus is the only begotten son of God. Have you ever heard violence begets violence? God begets God. John said without Jesus nothing that exists came into existence. Through Jesus our reality came into being. God created and permeates everything you can see, touch, smell, hear, or taste through Jesus.

Why Was Jesus Here?

Jesus was here to rescue us! To save us. Save us from what? Some think he came to save us from the grip of Satan. Not so. Only you can save yourself from Satan. You are in charge, not Satan.

Here is a shocker for you. Jesus came to save us from his Father, God.

What did God tell Adam in the garden? Don’t eat of the tree of knowledge. If you do you will disobey me and you will die. God is the God of order. Simply look at physics and our universe. Everything works together by design. God tells us what the order for our lives should be.

Throughout the Bible every writer gives us information about how God desires that we live. They tell us why and how God designed us.

God breathed his spirit into us to raise us from the dust of the earth and gave us life as we know it. It is the very presence of God within us that makes us tick. God tells us if we attempt to live by our own standards, we are usurping the power of God.

Why would we defy the thing that created our reality and gave us life? I said we are in charge, not Satan. True we are in charge. God not only gave us life, but God also gave us a free will. He put us in charge of ourselves. Jesus Christ oversees the world, but we oversee ourselves. We choose how we live, whether in or out of the will of God.

Why Do We Need Saving from God the Father?

“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” — Romans 6:23

Paul tells us again what God told Adam; disobedience brings death. A single act of missing the mark that God set for us to live constitutes sin and therefore the judgement of God of death.  Believe me it is impossible for us live a life with not a single sin. God has an orderly designed creation.

So God cannot give us a pass because we are nice guys living a wholesome clean life. How does God fix that? It is not God’s desire that we suffer death. So, God has created himself a dilemma.

“The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9

God pronounced death for those who sin not because he hates people who sin. Quite to the contrary. God loves us even when we sin. We do not kick our kids out the house because they disobey the rules. We do not cease to love them because they defied our instructions.

“He that loveth not, knoweth not God, for God is love.” – 1 Jn 4:8

How Does God Solve the Dilemma?

“The thief cometh not but to steal and to kill and to destroy. I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.’  — John 10:10

Jesus said,

…and whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant, even as the Son of Man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give His life as a ransom for many.”

What is a ransom? The Greek word here for ransom (lutron) meant just that—a payment to release someone from bondage: prisoners of war, slavery, debt. What Is our debt? The wages of sin are death. We put ourselves in debt, in slavery, in prison, in opposition to God. Our debt is death.

Jesus came to pay the ransom; to pay off the debt. Jesus came to give life in place of death.

But guess what, our free will is still honored. If we choose to continue living in our sin, God will honor our decision and give us death. We must choose to accept that which was gifted to us by Jesus Christ.

What is Meant by Life and Death?

We are not talking about life and death in this physical realm. All the living will eventually die, with exceptions, but that is another article. Let us just say you and I will more than likely die. But what is the death spoken of the in the Bible? I will answer by defining life.

Life as dealt with in this article is eternal spiritual life. God created us to live with him forever. But sin is not part of his world. Sin equals death. Death is ending our spiritual life. That is the simple version. You have one way to escape spiritual death. That is through the sacrifice of Jesus.

Jesus died that death for us. God became man in Jesus and the God in Jesus died. God the Father restored life to the dead body of Jesus three days after his death—the resurrection.

How does that apply to you and me? We can receive Jesus’ resurrection even before we die. How? We simply choose life over death. We choose God’s way of life over sin’s way of death. When we make the choice with gravity and knowledge of what is happening, God gives us the eternal spirit called the Holy Spirit which Jesus said “I will send you the Holy Spirit.”

Who is Jesus? He is life!

 

 

 

What Is Faith?

Faith versus doubt, religion or confidence concept

Faith is a precious commodity. Christians today often banter faith around like a ping pong ball. People expect faith to solve every situation and to bring all desires to fruition. Sadly, many are disappointed in its power.

As a pastor, I had trouble with faith. I thought I knew what it was but had a difficult really defining it. It was one of what I call “fuzzy” things in Christianity. It is so commonplace people assume they understand it.

So what is faith?

Faith Is A Difficult Term

Paul said, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. (Hebrews 11:1 KJV) Put another way “Trusting is being confident of what we hope for, convinced about things we do not see. (Heb 11:1 CJB)

Where does faith or trusting come from? How do we become confident? What is okay to hope for? Can we hope for anything we choose and expect faith to make it a reality? How do we become convinced about things we do not see?

I believe this is one of the most difficult and misunderstood words in God’s Word. It is also the most frustrating for many Christians. This single word has driven a huge number of people out the church; people who came in trying to generate enough faith to cure the problem that sent them there in the first place.

Faith Is Not Currency

Faith is not a cure all. It is not magic. I have heard people say faith is the currency of the spiritual world. With it we buy and sell, trade, exchange, and manipulate the grace of God. One soon discovers this is a myth. Faith is not currency.

With faith we can cure someone else’s or our own disease or misfortune. It seems God will heal if we just have faith. God will come through if we stay steadfast in our faith.

But this brings us again to what is faith. Stay steadfast in what? If, as Paul says we are convinced about things we do not see, how do we know what to put our faith in? Can we determine what this thing is we cannot see? Do we define what the faith will do? Are we not then telling God what to do?

It is easy to fall into the currency trap. I will buy my loved one’s cure of disease with faith.

How Do You Maintain Faith in the Face of Disaster?

In this day of Covid-19 we might find a more accurate version of faith and illness. We can take precautions, stay away from other people, do the CDC recommendations of social distance, masks, and hand washing. But will this assure us that we will not contract the virus?

My wife just came back from a pedicure. She explained to me about the technician’s virus precautions and she said, “I just had to take it on faith that the room was safe.” She did not say, “I know the room was safe because I had faith that it was.” She understood the room may be safe and it may not be safe. That was beside the point. Her faith in God’s wisdom allowed her to take the seat and enjoy her pedicure. She could not see the germs or virus in the room. She trusted, not in her decision to go ahead or her conviction that it was clean, but she trusted the workings of God to do his will.

Now the vaccine is out. Can we have faith that is will protect us? No. We can have faith that God can use it if he chooses to do so.

The Secret to Faith

In the words of Paul the Apostle, “Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.” (Heb: 11-3 KJV) Again in another translation, “By trusting, we understand that the universe was created through a spoken word of God, so that what is seen did not come into being out of existing phenomena.” (Emphasis mine, Heb: 11-3 CJB)

Something we cannot see created everything we can see. And that same unseen factor continues to hold everything together. That unseen thing is God. Without God nothing exists. John said, “All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.” (JN 1:3 KJV)

Faith does not operate on things of this world. This world is only a training ground for the world to come. It is for us to learn to trust God in every fiber of our being. Is not to trust him to do what we wish him to do, but trust that we are okay with what God does.

I believe faith is a developed attribute, not a mental decision. Faith comes from spiritual knowledge and understanding. It is a byproduct of spiritual revelation.

My faith comes from this: Jesus, the son of God through whom God created our physical universe, became a human being just like you and me. Mankind he created crucified him and he died. He laid in the tomb or grave of the dead with the faith that his Father would raise him to his new life as king. That is faith!

That same resurrection he has promised to those who love him and follow his word. I know the result of my physical life and it is not to return to dust, never to see life again. That makes everything else in my life seem trivial except to serve him as he sees fit. To know God will raise me to the same type of life Jesus had when he walked the earth after God raised him from the dead on the third day. What will I be like in heaven? He has shown me by his life.

Yes, faith is an asset in living in this life, but a blind faith that God will affect your situation or your life without spiritual help may lead to a terrible disappointment.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Is the Bible True?

Is the Bible True?

Is the Bible True?

The Bible is the best-selling book of all time.

 “Although it is impossible to obtain exact figures, there is little doubt that the Bible is the world’s best-selling and most widely distributed book. A survey by the Bible Society concluded that around 2.5 billion copies were printed between 1815 and 1975, but more recent estimates put the number at more than 5 billion.

“By the end of 1995, combined global sales of Today’s English Version (Good News) New Testament and Bible (copyright for which is held by the Bible Societies) exceeded 17.75 million copies, and the whole Bible had been translated into 349 languages; 2,123 languages have at least one book of the Bible in that language.” (Guinness Book of World Records)

“It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible.” —George Washington, first president of the United States.

The Bible is a book of spiritual truth. It gives us information about the spiritual world in which God created us to live. It also gives us information about the physical world. The Bible gives tells us how to have an orderly society, basic principles of success in occupational and financial matters. It speaks to living a healthy and nutritional life, personal relationships, and how to live in both the physical and spiritual world.

Divinely Inspired and Divinely Revealed

Many believe that you must accept the Bible’s truth simply on faith. I believe faith is a developed attribute, not a mental decision. Faith comes from spiritual knowledge and understanding. It is a byproduct of spiritual revelation. Paul the Apostle says this – “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Paul says faith is what gives the ability to face both the present circumstances and the future with a steadfastness that nothing else provides.

Yes, faith is an asset in believing the Bible, but a blind faith that the Bible will affect your knowledge or your life without spiritual help may lead to a terrible disappointment. But let us look at the physical proofs of the Bible’s accuracy.

The Bible and Archaeology

How can we be sure the people mentioned in Bible really existed? Biblicalarcheaology.org published an article “53 Bible People Confirmed in Authentic Inscriptions”. The article includes kings, pharaohs, priests, assassins, government officials, governors, and relatives of mentioned people. All have been identified by inscriptions, steles, monoliths, stone tablets, seals, letters, and other means. All those identified show to have lived in the general time period recorded in the Bible.

The Bible and Astronomy

Some discoveries by astronomy seem to contradict the Bible like Copernicus’ conclusion in the 16th century that the earth was a sphere and traveled around the sun. This contradicted the church’s view that earth was the center of the universe and the sun rotated around a flat square earth. The church accepted the Greek astronomer Ptolemy’s view who decreed the earth was the center of universe. Some interpreted Isaiah’s statement about the “four corners of earth” meaning the earth is square and flat. (Isaiah 11:2) Yet Isaiah said in 40:22 that God sits above the circle of the earth. Aristotle determined the earth was a sphere.

This created a huge controversy in organized religion because it showed the Bible was in error. In fact, it was simply an error in interpretation. This of course is the cause of most “contradictions” in the Bible. Time has shown again and again this is case. The World Christian Encyclopedia counted 33,830 denominations in 2001. Each of the denominations most likely has a different interpretation of some scripture in the Bible or doctrines drawn from the Bible.

Age of the Earth

This is a biggie, right? Astronomers looking at the number of lights years a planet or star is from earth would show the universe to be many billions of years old. Many Bible scholars believed the universe to be around 6000 years. This was determined by counting backwards using genealogy in the Old Testament. Science has shown this not to be true. It is an argument still today in some religious circles. The Some people explain away the conflict by assuming God can create a 20-billion-year-old universe if He chooses.

Yet such arguments are unnecessary. The Bible does not contradict scientific evidence, and science does not disprove the biblical record. But the argument is mute because the Bible does not say when the universe God created the universe. We can assume from genealogy that God created Adam about 6000 years ago. The Bible does not say God created Adam and the universe at the same time.

Let’s look at Genesis 1 and see what the often-misunderstood creation account really says. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters” (Genesis 1:1-2, New International Version). The first statement in this account refers to God’s initial creative act. No exact time is given as to when this took place. What is evident, from comparing this passage with other scriptures, is that between verses 1 and 2 something happened to render the earth “formless and empty” [in Hebrew, tohu and bohu]. Isaiah 45:18 tells us that God “did not create [the earth] a chaos [tohu], he formed it to be inhabited” (New Revised Standard Version). The initial creation was followed by destruction and chaos. The New International Version’s footnoted alternate reading for verse 2 is, “Now the earth became formless and empty . . .” This indicates a time difference between the original creation described in verse 1 and the time leading to the creation of man beginning in verse 2 ….We are not told exactly when the initial creation took place. But the Bible hints that the original creation was followed by widespread destruction brought about by the rebellion of the powerful angel Lucifer, who became Satan (Isaiah 14:12-15). Thus the account of Genesis 1:3-31 is apparently a description of a restoration of the earth as a habitable planet just before the creation of man (see Psalm 104:30). Biblical genealogies indicate that this occurred approximately 6,000 years ago, though nowhere does the Bible tell us when God first created the heavens and the earth. (Is the Bible True? United Church of God)

 Updates coming.