Elohim (specifically the god of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob) created the Heavens and the Earth including the plants, the animals, and mankind. Elohim spoke them into existence in a literal seven day act of creation. Scripture is the authoritative and accurate word of Elohim to mankind. The majority of Scripture is written in a literal and straightforward style. It is correct in describing the creation and both the physical and spiritual aspects of life. The central theme of Scripture is Elohim's relationship with mankind.
The original creation was very good and was made subject to mankind's authority. However, due to mankind's disobedience, creation has experienced a series of judgments and curses that cause deterioration and destruction. The most prominent historical judgments include the pronouncement of death and a worldwide flood. The physical aspect of life deals with what can be observed with the senses and studied through science. Generally, what happens in the physical is a result or effect of what has already happened in the spiritual. This is especially true in the perspective of a covenant relationship. The spiritual aspect of life is measured in righteousness and its effects are experienced in the physical through peace or suffering. It includes the spoken word, blessing and cursing, as well as angels and demons.
Creation was made to be inhabited and the Earth was placed under the authority of mankind who is made in the image of Elohim. The Almighty desires a special relationship with mankind and the desire of our life should be that close relationship. Believers, as the body of Messiah, are able to fellowship together and are also in-structed in how to care and love one another as well. Elohim's relationship with mankind comes in the form of a covenant. Throughout history, multiple covenants have been made with individuals, groups of people, nations, and all of mankind. The covenant is basically a spiritual contract with physical ramifications including blessings for obedience and curses for disobedience. Righteousness and submission to the covenant are followed by judgment. Disobedience and the breaking of the covenant are also followed by judgment. A judgment can come on a personal, national, or global level and often comes in a physical form as a result of something that is spiritually right or wrong.
Due to mankind's disobedience and breaking of the covenants there is a separation from the Almighty that includes the judgment of death. An atonement is needed to bring mankind back into close relationship. This is the work of the Messiah, the eternal king and priest, who came in physical form to die in mankind's place and redeem him from death. Scripture contains many prophecies about the creation, the future of mankind, and the work of the Messiah. The culmination of this is a final judgment on mankind, a new heavens and earth, and close eternal relationship with Elohim for believers in the Messiah.
There is an ongoing rebellion against righteousness in the spiritual and disobedience to the covenant in the physical. This battle is led by Satan and it greatly effects the life of mankind. Although in many ways the angelic creatures are very powerful, through the Messiah believers have been given an authority that is ultimately greater in this battle. One of the greatest battle grounds between righteousness and evil comes in the form of true worship. Elohim has stated how mankind is to have a relationship with Himself. The religious traditions of man (whether Christian, Rabbinical, or secular in origin) cause separation of mankind from the Almighty and the loss of blessing in life.
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The beginning of Todd Elder's work in Creationism came after a difficult time of struggle that almost led to suicide when he was a teenager. The meaning of life, as well as other great questions, needed to be answered because life was not understood and, therefore, had little value. That search for understanding, truth, and reality went through the realms of philosophy, science, and Scripture. Ultimately, it was discovered that Scripture presented the reality of life, both physically and spiritually, and this began the path of building a relationship with the Creator and understanding His creation. For two decades, he has been exploring the concepts of reality, honor, life, eternal life, morality, and history.
The motivation to work in the field of Creationism primarily stems from the need to understand reality. Todd was raised with the concept of Evolution as a basis of reality. When this later came into conflict with Scripture, years were spent learning and comparing Evolution and Creation. He found the weight of the evidence heavily falls in favor of Creation and against Evolution and was surprised how the evidence against Evolution was not taught. The importance of reality in understanding life became a focal point of his studies and thus a career in Creationism had begun.
Scripture study, science, and exploring the landscape are all methods of learning used by Todd Elder. It is within the Scriptures and a relationship with the Almighty, rather than the religious traditions of man, where life is to be found. Toward this end, Todd is working to learn the original Hebrew and Greek languages to better understand the Scriptures and their meaning. Science is used to test what is discovered or learned about life both physically and spiritually. In many ways, trying to live a life in the Almighty's blessing is the ultimate test of this understanding. Todd Elder gave up the standard american dream of owning a house and property and has spent considerable time living in a tent as he explores the United States landscape in order to experience reality firsthand instead of just reading through textbooks. The concepts learned through all of these techniques and experience is bound together under Elder's Model of Creation. This model summarizes the details of both creation and life under twelve main points.
This writer found this an enjoyable and easy read. It is written in very simple language, but deals with some of the most important issues of life in a rather unique way. By the title one might think this is a scientific treatise (and there is some science in it), but the subtitle is really more descriptive of its contents.
The author shows that the real world we all live in is both physical and spiritual, and that the spiritual has a lot to do with the physical. He has proven to himself that there is a Creator and therefore a definite purpose for our lives. Being in harmony with that Creator and His purposes is what makes life truly worthwhile. He did not grow up with this view, but came to it through the struggles of life.
The author explores his creation model through 12 main aspects: The Almighty, the Scriptures, the original creation, physical life, spiritual life, mankind, covenant relationship, judgment, the Messiah, prophecy, the struggle against evil, and man-made traditions. All these things rightly approached will enhance our relationship with our Creator.
The book's writer has a lot of practical Christian living ideas he shares throughout the book. On p. 17 he writes, "The sharing of personal testimonies and events that one has experienced or witnessed in life is one of the best ways possible to encourage other believers or to open the gospel message to non-believers. People can be defensive when taught or preached at, but they are often receptive to things that are personally shared."
Another major theme of the book is learning to hear God's voice in our personal daily lives. In the last chapter Todd shares some of his and his family's experiences on the road to learning this in his own life. These are both interesting and informative.
In concluding the author states, "Life is precious! However, the value and beauty of life can be easily overlooked if a person does not have a relationship with the Creator. The hope and joy of living can be absent without understanding both the physical and spiritual aspects of Life." This book shows us that many of the true values of life may not be what some of us thought they were.
This reviewer found this book very encouraging and enlightening.
Reviewed by Bill Buckman. [The original review can be found on page 17 of the Winter 2012 issue of Shepherd's Voice Magazine .]