Chapter 23 – The Retelling
I have composed the creation account into a comprehensible narrative, less the figurative language. The purpose of the narrative is to facilitate understanding of the words of spirit and life that come from the mouth of The Logos. The narrative is constructed with an eye to objectivity and intellectual integrity. I hope that it will give you some clarity on why you are here and what you must do.
The beginning of the relationship between God and Man had its origins in a past so distant that it is difficult for the human mind to comprehend. But, at some point in time in the vast eternity in which God dwells He determined to give birth to a family of beings who would possess His character and nature and who could truly be called children, because in their attitudes, actions, understandings and values they were an exact representation of the image of God, their Father. They would live with their Father in eternity and they would be at one.
God, their Father, was very wise and very powerful yet Father knew that raising a family was an undertaking of immense complexity. Father could speak a word and a galaxy of a trillion stars could come into being. Father could conceive and idea and that idea could become a reality in an instant. Children, however, require a lot of time and care. Children require nurture, and that does not happen in an instant.
Some amount of time would be required to raise to maturity the children He would give birth too because to be like Him meant that He would have to endue them with a very special but very dangerous attribute: freedom of choice. To be free to choose would mean that His children would have to be highly responsible and wise; this because to be free to choose means to be free to make a bad choice as well as a good one and God knew that the bad choices His children would potentially make could bring great harm. Learning how to be responsibly free would not come easy.
In a free system bad choices; choices that brought harm to self and others, were statistically inevitable, especially on the part of immature beings lacking experience. The challenge the God who dearly loved His children faced was the fact that He could not simply bestow the wisdom to only make right choices, thereby avoiding harm. To do so would mean that His children were not really free. Influencing them in that manner would be manipulation. To truly be like Him meant that His children would have to make good choices of their own free will because they could see the rightness of the choices they made with the objective intellectual capacities He would give them; not just because Father said so or because they were robotically programmed to do right. God wanted children not slaves. They had to be free to fail. Wisdom and the discipline of responsible living would have to be learned through a process of experiential maturation. Inherently, this implied conflict because the choices of one would inevitably come into conflict with the choices of another and the severity of these conflicts had the potential to cause much pain, suffering and loss. Learning and growth, however, in sentient beings is not possible without challenge, resistance and conflict. This God knew. God would be there to lovingly teach them and guide them but wisdom, knowledge and understanding would be painfully acquired, not simply imparted.
On the day that God set His great plan in motion and began to groom the heavens and prepare a home for His children He also knew that, not only would mere pain be present in the process but also the oppressive presence of the darkness of evil. Evil would bring with it death.
The infinite universe that God would groom for Man’s presence contained not only infinite manifestations of distance, space, energy and matter, that were unfathomable to all but God, but it also contained the possibility of an infinite range of attitudes, actions, behaviors and aspirations.
The infinite God had before Him an infinite range of possibilities. God chose love. Love is a range of attitudes and behaviors that do not center on the self. It might seem likely that the Omnipotent One would become conceited yet God chose as high and noble the range of behaviors that transcended the self and esteemed others. God was the personification of love, He was its author, and every action He took and every attitude He held and everything he made reflected His desire to give beneficently to others and not take for Himself.
Love was such that God determined to share with others the greatest and most powerful attribute He possessed: LIFE: but not just existence – life lived free. To do otherwise would be selfish. Selfishness was the exact opposite of God’s nature and, therefore, not a pattern of behavior He could express or manifest.
So God first made beings to live close to Him in Heaven. God was omnipresent so it could not be said that He was at any one place but the beings He would create were not. Like God, they would exist in a nonmaterial dimension but they were limited in their range of presence because they, unlike God, would be discrete individuals. God is so vast and so infinite that to try to understand Him as a person as individuality is understood is impossible. Because of His vastness God is best understood as a community and He would reveal Himself to Man as such, yet, God is not an abstract concept or a multiplicity of personalities – God is One – God is personal – God is Father. God is ever-present and in everything in incomprehensible ways. The spirit beings he created, however, had limited personal centers and individuality. The place where they dwelt in God’s presence He called Heaven. To the material, which Man would become, it would seem that Heaven was a place but in the nonmaterial realm in which these beings dwelt there are no spacial coordinates. Heaven is the place of God’s presence where every object, attitude, action and being is conformed to God’s nature and will. God is love. Heaven is the loving home of God’s children. The Home of Heaven is the place of God’s Heart.
So God made the Angels to share life with Him in the nonmaterial dimension in which His being was manifest. He made them in His image. Like Him they were free. One chose evil instead of love.
Evil is rooted in a syndrome of behaviors that center on the self. In the infinite universe with infinite possibilities evil had always existed because the possibility of selfish behavior was as ever present as the possibility of selfless behavior. But Because to God, conceit was anathema, everything in the universe that was given tangible existence reflected only love. God in His nature and being manifested only selflessness. Evil existed only as an abstraction. It was not until one of the spirit beings that God had created chose to center his existence on himself and became conceited with the great freedom and power that God had given him that evil became manifest. At the moment when the selfish attitude of a spirit child initiated selfish actions that elevated the self at the expense of others, evil ceased to be an abstraction but became a tangible presence. As love was personified in the nature and being of God, evil now became personified in the nature and being of an arrogant spirit child.
Pride is the root of all evil. Hubris breeds attitudes and actions that elevate the self above others; further, the self is elevated at the expense of others. Self-centeredness becomes exploitative. Exploiting others to gratify the self is the essence of evil and the cause of all destructive conflict.
In Heaven one chose to use his freedom to chart an independent course away from God to gratify and elevate himself as superior, as opposed to living cooperatively in the Heavenly community of which he was a part. Cooperative interdependence is what God intended as a pattern of living for His children. God created His children to live in community not independently. God is community and Heaven is a family, the members of which family care for and support each other to the mutual benefit of all; not dominate or use each other for the benefit of some.
To further complicate the matter, through the use of clever sophistry, this individual was successful in convincing others in the nonmaterial realm to do the same, thus disrupting the community of Heaven. Proactively working against the will of God by disrupting the harmony of Heaven made this individual not only a deceiver but a true adversary; thus satan the devil came to be. The clever twisting of truth through the use of sophisticated reasoning employed by the author of arrogance gave birth to the lie, and so satan became the father of the lie. Lies are the chief agent in the exploitation of others and the elevation of the self. Denial is the handmaiden of the lie.
The enthralling lie was this: “You need not be accountable to God but you can live a successful independent existence apart from Him as a god unto yourself.” Rebellious children used the great freedom that God had given them as an agent for self-seeking independence. As they began to center their existence more deeply in themselves they also began to slander their Farther and impugn His love and character. They did this in order to justify themselves in their prideful attitudes and hurtful actions. The slander and self-justification was this: “God is not really loving; but prideful, exploitative and even harsh. Should we not be also?”
The thing that was so hurtful to God was not only the utter falsity of the claim but also the fact that the rebels were unrepentant. Even a being as well-crafted as an Angel could miss-step: and this could happen for reasons that were not distinctly evil but merely misguided. Contrition, repentance and humility can heal damaged relationships. God is faithful to forgive. To ask for forgiveness, however, implies that one is accountable to the forgiver and is an acknowledgment of sin. The satanic rebellion, in its very nature, was all about the denial of sin and also God’s holiness, sovereignty and goodness. Egotistical hubris, particularly on the part of the rebellions leader, overpowered the humility necessary for contrition and became an obstacle to reconciliation; an obstacle which would be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to overcome. The shadow of evil spread.
So on the eve of the ascent of Man some of God’s children had already gone astray. Knowing this would God refrain from consummating the relationship between Heaven and Earth?
There is no wisdom; no insight; no plan that can succeed against God. God had determined to birth a family of beings made in His image to live with Him through eternity in a perfect relational unity. Born they would be and His purpose would succeed because no arrogant child can thwart the will of God. This would be a lengthy and painful process but no child of God ever has or ever will stand in the presence of The Holy One mature unless he has first been sifted like wheat and passed through the flames of the great crucible of The Refiner of Men.
Unlike the Angels, Man would principally inhabit the material realm of tangible matter. This would be so even though Man in his essence is not material at all but spirit. Like the spirit of the Angels, the spirit of Man has no mass, weight or physical dimension. Man would be able to occupy time and space in the presence of God with Angelic beings but Man would rule the physical and only tangentially touch the immaterial spirit world. God creates in hierarchies and so He made Man a little lower than the Angels in his substance, abilities and station before God but their equal in his ability to make moral distinctions and to be holy as God is holy. To enable Man to experience life in the material world God would craft a spirit body of molecular substance that could navigate the physical universe yet still allow physical Man to reflect in his being the image of Spirit God in his character and nature. Man would be a spirit being manifested in a physical dimension made in the image of God.
Mankind would be born at a place God had been working on for a long time. God took great care in preparing a home for His children. The birth of Humanity was an undertaking of great significance that entailed a process of great deliberality. It was not a haphazard, random or sudden event. The process began in the mind of The Logos perhaps at a time before the first star or even the first atom was ever dimensioned. God knew each one of the billions of His Children long before they ever stood on legs. They were with Him in His heart from a far distant time. But by the by, the day arrived when a small blue sphere floating in the infinity of space that Father had crafted carefully over eons of time, along with the rest of the starry heavens, was ready to receive His work of love.
Although carefully conceived the universe was inhospitable to life as God purposed it for Man in his formative stage. Earth was no exception. Earth was just the right size and just where He wanted it in relation to the rest of the Cosmos and He had endowed it with physical properties that would facilitate an abundant life for His children but in its primordial state, it was uninhabitable. To make it a suitable home would require the personal touch of a Fathers loving hand.
And so God’s Spirit presence pervaded the Earth. Then The Word of God spoke into the hearing of all creation and declared: “Let my holiness define this place.” And so God set it apart from the rest of what was made. At that moment God’s purpose for Earth became sure. Earth would not be just a place where inanimate matter proceeded in a continuum of existence according to morally neutral physical laws that God had established to govern the workings of the insensate. Earth would be a place like Heaven. Earth and everything that happened on it would be governed by a higher set of principles that reflected God’s character and nature. Man, the body of which would be formed of the physical substance of Earth, would be governed in his affairs and in his relationship with Father God by a set of moral distinctions. The moral tenants that God was establishing for Man repudiated selfishness, and in relation to the ideal of love that God personified, discriminated between right and wrong; what was holy and what was common; what was good and what was evil; what bore the light and what contained the darkness.
But Earth was not yet like the higher plain of Heaven. Earth was unordered, undefined and void. It was a swirling dark mass of chaotic oceans. So God proceeded to begin conforming Earth to what Heaven was like because only a place like Heaven was a suitable home for His children of the heart.
THE PROCESS OF CREATION
Everything God does He does through process. This is so that everything He has done can be evaluated insightfully through look-back and foresight. God does nothing in the shadows. Everything He is and does is fully illuminated for all to see. The residue of God’s conforming process is evident in everything. This is done purposefully to allow those who care to look to see God’s wisdom and be instructed. The device that God uses to contain the record of His works is time. Through time the results of God’s actions are layered incrementally and chronologically so that the cause and effect of His work can be studied. The record of His work is evident in the ordered resonance in which the cosmos operates with clockwork precision. The record of His work is evident in the geomorphology of the Earth and the elements of which it is composed. The record of His work is evident in Humanity and in the histories they write. Father wants His children to understand Him but because they are limited in their being and God is so infinite, comprehending the extent of His will and purpose is only possible through the examination of events that happened in the continuum of existence long before any individual came into being. The record that time holds allows for that examination. Father provides the evidence about Himself and His works for scrutiny in this way. What is evident in the records is the outcome of both conformity and nonconformity to God’s holy nature, character and purpose for creation. Because there is consistency in the rhythms of the universe and the patterns of life revealed in the record of time; from the outcomes of the past some conclusions can be drawn about the probable outcomes of the future. The wise observe and achieve understanding. Understanding allows for rational and objective decisions about how to pattern one’s life in the present. Life in Earth is entirely about a choice each individual Human must make. Everything in the physical creation is orchestrated to provide data upon which to make this choice. The choice is this: will we chose to be conformed to God’s character and nature or will we remain un-conformed? The decision on this question will determine the future outcome of each Man. This is a choice that must be freely made without coercion based upon the evidence of God’s nature and being that is free for all to see in the residue of the formative process called creation. This is the point of creating through process; to facilitate free will. If everything just popped into existence instantaneously, how could it be evaluated? If everything just happened at once, how could what had happened and the God who caused it be clearly seen through the limited eyes of Man? Because this is the ultimate question and life’s outcome depends upon what choice is made, Father provides an abundance of evidentiary data. The creation is expansive and a lot of time has passed.
And so God initiated the relationship between Heaven and Earth by first establishing His abiding presence and setting the relational boundaries that would govern the interactions between Himself and Man. The first step in the process of birthing Humanity and conforming Earth to what Heaven was like.
Now that the terms of the relationship were defined God proceeded to dimension the physical space in which His children would live. Life is fragile. In order for it to thrive in an environment otherwise unconducive would require some mitigating action. So God created a benign expanse between the hostile environment of space and the impenetrable boundary of the Earth’s crust. The space would be shielded from the harmful electromagnetic radiation emanating from the cosmos and suitably insulated from the dynamic convective, magnetic, radioactive and gravitational forces at work in the Earth’s crust and core. This narrow band of benign space close to the surface of the earth would contain of a medley of gaseous molecules suited to supporting a wide array of organisms. Man would not be alone.
God himself gave the expanse a name. He called it Heaven because when what transpired in this space was fully conformed to His will and purpose it would be indistinguishable in its character from the High Heaven in which God dwelt. Heaven and Earth would be at one.
Like everything else in creation God constructed the expanse of heaven to convey to His children understanding about Himself and their relationship to Him. Physical life would be dependent upon the nourishing qualities of the elements contained in the atmosphere. Their ingestion, like food, would be a constant requirement. Every time Man took a breath he would be reminded that his existence and that of all life was dependent upon God. Should God withdraw His providence, even for mere minutes, life would cease. Life was not possible apart from God. Earth cannot exist without heaven.
The process of atmospheric formation took time. God knew that Men someday would see the great wisdom with which He accomplished this work in the record of time left in the constituent elements of the Earth affected by the ages of chemical processing and transformation that were necessary in order for the Earth to have a breathable atmosphere. Some would come to understand from that evidence that metamorphosis and great cataclysms were necessary in order to bring nothing to a mature useable something. They would come to understand that this idea applied, not just to the Earth, but to the lives of Men. In the residue of time Men would come to understand The Eternal One as a God of great patience who took great care in constructing His works. They would see that God was persistent and faithful to finish what He had begun. Some would look with admiration upon the works of God and be inspired to glorify Him for the magnificence of what He had achieved and for His unfailing love. Others, however, would only be able to draw up the wisdom of ages from the well of time with a bucket.
And so the roof of the heavens and the floor of the earth were established on the home God was building for His children. God was confident that what He had begun would be completed as he intended – - – so He moved forward.
While the atmosphere was maturing another process was at work shaping the surface of the planet. Convection was a phenomenon evident in all matter and all systems of matter that God had created. Convection allowed for the redistribution of heat and matter and allowed for uniform, consistent and stable environments. Convection eliminates extremes and promotes moderation.
Convective processes were at work in the core and crust of the Earth just like they were at work everywhere else in the universe but the homogeneity they had promoted in the form of the Earth with its consistent surface and uniform covering of oceans was not suitable to the lifestyle He envisioned for His children and the organisms that would inhabit the planet with them.
The earth was covered with water. This was no accident. There was theology in that. From water comes life. There would be a birthing from the primordial waters of the Earth. Just as a child is birthed from the amniotic fluids of the mother’s womb so Mankind itself would be birthed from what emerged from the womb of the Earth and passed through the amniotic oceans.
And so the Word of God spoke and through powerful tectonic forces dry land emerged from the waters of the planet. At first the land was concentrated in one place. Men would later come to understand the record left in the pages of time and call the emergent continents and their accretions by various names such as Pangea, but from these supercontinents land was distributed across the surface of the globe. The geologic and volcanic forces involved in these processes that spanned hundreds of millions of years contributed to the atmosphere that was being groomed to accommodate life. In this way the expanse of Heaven and the ground of the Earth were united in a symbiosis; and there was knowledge of God in that because what God intended was unity between Heaven and Earth: a unity that was interdependent and inseparable in purpose. Everything that was going on in the Earth modeled unity of purpose. And so God saw what He had made and it was good. It was good because it reflected who He was and His holiness as He intended.
Time came to a place where the result of the dynamic interactions between the crust of the Earth and the expanse of Heaven had produced a result that was suitable to sustain living things.
And so The Logos spoke and said: “Let there be life.”
And finally, after endless ages, life, God’s great gift, came to be on the Earth.
Inanimate matter and the interactions of the various elements which composed the cosmos, was governed by a set of physical laws that God had established and that were at work everywhere in the universe. Gravity, fusion, convection and the host of other principles of physics that held everything together operated pretty much in a pattern of recyclical perpetual motion. Matter continually associated and then disassociated through entropy and recombined into various structures as matter re-accreted through the force of gravity. This happened in structures as large as a galaxy to structures as small as atoms and molecules. Physics would position the continents and evolve the atmosphere in a predictable way over time.
Life, however, was a different matter. Life is divine.
In The Logos was life.
What is it that makes God so extraordinary? Life! He alone is life. God is life. Like God, life is not physical or material. What is life exactly? To the human mind the idea of life is comprehensible and the character of life is describable but the essence of life is inexplicable. It is inexplicable because it is a nonmaterial force existing in a material world. Life cannot be measured in a laboratory. Life cannot be isolated in a jar and studied. Life derives only from God and is imparted only by God in an in-material way.
Life animates the inanimate. Perhaps it could be said that the universe was alive. The Living God was in it everywhere and it all moved in resonate harmony. The universe was filled with beauty and to the human eye it might be said that the stars even seemed to reproduce or at least replicate in some fashion. It even seemed that the earth itself lived, animated by the dynamic physical forces at work within it. Perhaps it all was alive in a way that humanity would never fully comprehend. For a certainty, however, the rocks were dead.
In order for the dust of the Earth to become animate and live would require a deliberate reordering on the part of The Creator. Life and the vessels that held it would not simply evolve naturally as a logical consequence of physics like the positioning of the continents or the composition of the atmosphere or the appearance of a solar system.
And so God, with great deliberateness, began the sequential ordering of the tiers of living things.
Life would be a community. The biosphere would be composed of a multitude of different organisms that were interdependent.
God creates in hierarchies. This idea was clearly seen in the Cosmos. Matter was ordered in tiered systems progressing from molecules to super clusters of galaxies. A unifying force, gravity, held everything together in relation to everything else. The smallest atom, commiserate with its size, had influence on the largest galaxy, no matter how distant. As the animate universe moved cyclonically as influenced by gravity and its constituent parts changed position in relationship to each other, the force of gravity and physics dynamically reconfigured all matter on a constant basis. The universe was a community of matter in which every atom was interconnected to every other atom in some way, no matter how faintly. To every action there was a reaction. Like the universe around it, the biosphere of life that would exist in the expanse of Heaven would be a hierarchical community of interdependent systems, each part of which had influence and impact on every other part.
The foundational tier of life was vegetation. It was foundational because all other life would depend upon the operation of plants and plantlike microscopic organisms, both on the land and in the sea. Plants would take the energy from the sun and the elements of the Earth and convert it into fats, proteins, carbohydrates and a variety of other useable chemical compounds that all other life would depend upon for existence. They would also reprocess the atmosphere by acting as a kind of filter and by converting carbon dioxide into oxygen. The vegetative covering on the earth would also play a part in regulating the atmospheric temperature and impacting weather.
Although the plants and microorganisms that God would make were the simplest kind of living things and performed life functions that would seem very basic to the eyes of Men they were, in truth, structures of immense complexity. Ingeniously, plants and microbes would be composed of microscopic modular components called cells. Each cell was self-replicating and could be united to millions to billions of other cells in a self-directed pattern that formed an organism. The instructions for creating the pattern of cell formation that organized into a plant were contained in special molecules (DNA) in each plant cell that contained genetic information. The instructions were passed on perpetually from parent cells and plants to the next generation. The tiny cells which formed vegetation were also micro chemical factories converting sunlight, soil, water and atmosphere into complex molecules for use by the plant itself and other organisms. Even the humblest Bacteria was a triumph of engineering.
It was not just genetic coding that was passed on generationally but the life force in the plant itself. Just how this happened only God Himself knew. It was an unfathomable mystery that the limits of the human mind would never be able to fully comprehend. What was comprehensible was that vegetation would be a life form with a limited individual existence. A species of plant could live on into indefinite periods of time through the perpetuation of its seeds but the individual organisms that composed a kind of plant had very limited existences, especially plants that were composed of soft tissues. Because they needed to constantly replicate, sexuality featured prominently in the life cycle of the plants. The wise God constructed plant regimes that needed to obtain genetic material from kindred plants (pollination). This process was dimensioned in order to allow for the recombination the most successful expressed traits of the species into the healthiest and most adaptive organisms possible; this to foster the highest chances for species survival in the dynamic environment of the biosphere. Spores or seeds would be produced and redistributed into the environment by the parent plant and these would replicate into the image of the parent(s).
To assist with pollination and the management of soils and a multitude of other biological functions a regime of insects was introduced. There were grazers and there were predators to manage the grazers. There were microbes to consume and decompose the dead vegetation. There were insects and microbes both flying and terrestrial performing any imaginable task in the world of plants.
Life began simply and through time became more complex and interdependent as God in careful increments added more life in the firmament of Heaven.
Although life in the world of plants was an amazingly complex array of interactions it was essentially only about one simple thing: acquiring enough resources from the environment in order to successfully replicate. Life functioned interdependently and communally but autonomously according to a pattern preprogrammed into the DNA of all living things. Choice was not a feature of this tier of life neither was right or wrong. All living things simply reprocessed electromagnetic radiation and/or the chemical elements in their systems in order to derive enough energy and structure to survive long enough to make more of themselves. For plants, microbes, and insects this level of existence was perfectly acceptable in the sight of God. He looked at what He had done and it was good; but it was not holy.
And so the crust of the Earth separated into oceans and continents and vegetation appeared and adapted to the seas and the various climates and soils of the Earth. God created countless thousands of different species of plants, insects and microbes to fill all of the various environmental niches throughout the planet.
And after eons of time and the rise and fall of mountains; the appearance and recession of oceans and the progressive distribution of vegetation throughout the earth, time came to a place where it was efficacious to introduce a higher tier of life. Animals would soon come.
Because God did all these things with deliberate progressive purpose a record was left in the book of time for the ages to read. The book was written for the benefit of His children so that they could come to understand how their Father had loved them long before they were ever born. There were hundreds of millions of pages in the book of the life of the Earth. The fingerprints of God were on every page. The book was a triumph of the mind; it was an overwhelming body of evidence. The book was filled with splendid illustrations. The awesome beauty of the pictures God painted spoke to the soul of Men of a Father’s enduring love and faithfulness. Wise children would see the power of the mind of The Logos in the leaves of time and stand in awe of His work. Most, however, would sit on their buckets scratching their heads and imagining that the book they were reading wrote itself.
For plants, and the organisms that dwelt with them in their world, the energy from the sun was all that was needed. Illumination was useful but not essential as plants do not see. For insects, smell, touch and movement were more useful locational and positional clues than actual visual acuity in the micro world of vegetation. Plants were fundamentally static so navigation did not play a role in their life cycles.
Higher animals, however, would be mobile. God would give them true eyes as sensors so that they could benefit from illumination for guidance in navigating their environment and so that they could detect resources, landmarks and other organisms. Mobility would allow species to migrate across the surface of the earth in order to better exploit resources of food and water and in order to avoid extremes of weather and temperature. Mobility would also allow access to optimal settings for reproduction. The ability to traverse was essential since a group of large organisms could soon over utilize local resources and perish for lack of consumables. Plants, the foundational tier of life would now become food for the higher tier of animals. Plants reprocessed solar energy and the soil (elements) into usable nutrients. This so the higher animals would not have to be burdened with this continuous life function and so that they could function in all kinds of weather, seasons and resource regimes over time and distance.
Animals would be sensate but not sentient. They would never be able to understand or have perspective on their environment. They would only be able to react to it. Therefore, in order to navigate the environment intuitively, which would be the only way they would be able to proceed, they would need positioning cues preprogrammed into their genetic makeup as points of reference. These points of reference would need to be durable over vast spans of time. Any individual animal might only live a few years but the species would live over hundreds of thousand or even millions of years. The directives for migratory movements and also propagation would be programmed into the DNA of the species. Cues in the landscape to assist with migration were useful but subject to erosion or change brought about by earthquakes and volcanism. Positioning cues would of necessity have to be extraterrestrial and enduring. Celestial bodies would meet this requirement.
The phases of the moon; the principle stars in the major constellations; the sun and its seasonal recession through the year; the earth’s magnetic field: all of these celestial cues would have significance in governing the movement of the higher animals throughout the earth. They would provide time signals delineating the seasons and affecting the reproductive cycles of all living things.
All of the life that would follow would be preprogramed in their DNA to respond seasonally to the positions, appearances and emanations of specific celestial bodies. As the universe moved in cycles, so too, life on Earth would move in cycles affected by the movement and rhythm of the heavens. In this way Heaven and Earth were again shown to be interdependent and once more the wisdom of God was seen. In the order and timeliness of The Logos the power of community was manifest.
Who can fathom the time and care Father took in positioning the heavens and the planets and the moon and the sun in just the right way to foster His purpose? Father constructed a clock to mark the passage of time that was so accurate and enduring that Men would reverence Him for the magnificence of the mechanism and the beauty of the jewels in the movement. Most, however, were only able to mark time by counting the drops falling in their buckets and were never able to see beyond the scope of their own existence, let alone ponder or homage The Eternal One.
And so time came to a place where the foundations were finished – and God moved forward.
The Logos spoke and the next tier of life began to appear. The seas started filling with higher beings. The Logos spoke again and birds began flying.
Like everything else, this phase of the amazing telesis of creation was a process spanning time. Everything God made was built progressively on what came before. It was all done this way so that His children could evaluate His work and come to understand His nature.
When later Men would go to the well of ages and draw up the sands of time only some would see progress intelligently planned. But for most the sand would simply slip away through the holes in their buckets not understanding that the wisdom of the well could not be contained in a mere pail but required a vessel of special integrity that few possessed.
And finally animals.
The array of life that God created was truly incredible. The ecosystem was a complex structure of interdependent tiers of organisms that God had crafted with great care incrementally over a vast amount of time from the simplest algae to the largest dinosaur. It was truly beautiful and magnificent. Life was the community that God intended.
But life was not merely a community; it was also a community college.
When the apex of what God had done arrived a teachable moment arrived with it. It was an education for the beings that God had already created that were free to think and a lesson for the ones yet to come who would look back on creation through the pages of the history book that God had written in the record of the rocks.
The interesting thing about life was this: Every organism that God had created was completely selfish.
They were selfish collectively as a species and as individuals. Their entire lives were devoted to procreation and to acquiring enough resources from the environment to sustain their existence. This was done without regard to the impact on other individuals of their own or other species. It was an entire ecosystem in which the strong survived and the weak perished. The big fish ate the smaller fish and the predators preyed mercilessly on the herds. To the extent that animals cooperated together it was only to aid in procreation, the raising of young and foraging. But even that cooperation had its limits.
Selfishness was the root of evil. Selfishness was not at all like God. Why would God create an entire ecosystem that modeled behavior that was the antithesis of Godliness?
It was not selfishness by choice. It was selfishness by design. Because of the limited existence of the finite beings God had made, in order for them to sustain to reproduce, which was their primary function, they had to manifest determined self-preserving behaviors. Additionally, every organism was potential food or a potential enemy of every other so every creature had to maintain some kind of defensive posture, which is inherently inward and centered on the self. God programmed these behaviors into life. Life could not act otherwise. With every organism in the biosphere functioning under the same set of underlying directives in a system that had been carefully layered and developed incrementally over time, nature was able to achieve a balance. A cyclical harmonic rhythm could be achieved; between the Earth and the vegetation that sprang from it; between the grazers and the plants; between predator and prey. Like the cosmos, the system was self-sustaining.
But only to a point.
When God created the biosphere He also created a laboratory classroom in the great community college of Life. What was being taught in this classroom was that even the most elaborately conceived and flawlessly executed selfish systems do not sustain or succeed over time.
Not only did individuals perish, entire species died as well. And not only species but entire regimes of life died out. Species died by the countless thousands. Single celled organisms died out and organisms of a trillion cells as well. Plants died and so did insects and higher animals. They died.
There were many reasons for these extinctions. The Earth and the Cosmos were dynamic systems. Although they would appear to move slowly by human standards, never the less, they were in constant flux. Changes in the environment put pressure on the biosphere. Volcanism would cause mass casualties and interrupt breading cycles. Solar storms would cause weather patterns to change, initiating droughts or floods, which some species did not recover from. As the continents drifted and as the solar system rotated through the galaxy changes in geography and gravitational forces affected climate and the dynamics in the sun and the planets. These positional and gravitational changes initiated long periods of warmth or cold that affected the decline of some species and the ascendance of others. Pressured by changes in the environment, nature became unbalanced. Grazers over grazed; predators over predated. In the end, both died away.
Although there was a considerable amount of adaptability and redundancy built into the system (one species could fill the niche of another) once the diversity of life was significantly impacted Life could not simply recover on its own. The larger and more complex an organism was, the more prone it was to extinction. Once a species was extinct, it could not raise itself from the dead. It was well and truly gone forever and this unbalanced nature. A significant problem was that beings that were predestined to act only selfishly could not make management decisions about themselves or their consumption of resources. They had no concept of themselves as parts of a larger whole. The biosphere was interdependent but any individual only could act as if they were the only entity that mattered. They could not make decisions to renounce some of their own self-interest in behalf of other species or other individuals of their own species. When it came down to it, they would eat their own young with no regard for the future. Actions were initiated without any thought of how those actions would impact the community in the present or the future. Life existed only in the moment. To live in the moment without regard for the future or others is the essence of life in the flesh.
In order for the biosphere to sustain its functionality and diversity, God had to actively intervene.
God created succeeding regimes of life. He created regimes that dominated the sea and He created regimes that dominated the land. He made larger and smaller; He made reptilian and mammalian. Some of the organisms He made were highly intelligent. They could modify the landscape or even make tools. Some were as dumb as a post. Some of these regimes of animals dominated the Earth for millions of years. In the end, however, the result was always the same. Unless God’s pervasive presence sustained things, they passed away.
In The Logos was Life and the lesson of life that was being taught in the great biology class of the ages was that unless God was present in the equation life was not sustainable. Selfishness led to death. The presence of the selfless God enabled life.
When Men would finally evaluate the data that had been collected in the laboratory of Life they would note that indeed, species appeared to experience mass extinctions and new regimes of life and new species seemed to appear with great abruptness. They would go to the graveyard of history and dig up the bones of those who had died and note that they were well and truly dead and that they walked no more upon the Earth.
In spite of the evidence of their death, which was plain for all to see, great numbers of bucket-headed students insisted that the departed were not really dead at all but that they had somehow shifted their shapes and metamorphasized into other creatures. In the contemporary regimes of life, that were observable, there was no evidence that this was happening in real time and in the entire history of humanity no species that had ever become extinct was ever noted to have turned into something else. Perplexingly, considerable numbers of students persisted in this belief and congratulated themselves on their clever and sophisticated interpretation of the data. They also took endless pleasure in pouring cold water from their buckets on those who saw The Masters hand in everything that had been made as opposed to the hand of probability and random chance, which the bucket-headed imagined changed chaos into order, beauty and life.
Finally, time came to a place of convergence. The creative processes that God had set in motion billions of years earlier matured. The Earth that was once void and undefined was now ready geophysically, biologically and Spiritually to receive Man. Along the way, God had filled the Earth with every good thing that would be required in order for His children to have abundant life. There was a regime of life in place that could be managed beneficially by humanity and mineral resources that could be modified and exploited for utilitarian purposes within easy reach.
But above all else, there was the book of time that God had written, which bore the record of His wisdom, power and love. And God’s presence was there to teach His sons and daughters how to read it with clarity and to understand the difference between the light and the darkness.
And so the day of days came. And The Great I AM; The Alpha and The Omega; The Eternal Father formed the final place of dwelling, the body that His son would inhabit, out of the substance of the earth He had made. It was not as if He knelt and scooped up the earth with His hand and compressed it into Man, as if God has hands. The way in which Father created something from nothing cannot be understood by the dust, which He would now animate into life. And it should be noted that it was not a body of mere material substance, like that of the animals, that God would make for Man, but one worthy to carry the presence of the holy spirit being that a child conceived in the image of a Holy Father could inhabit.
When He had finished He brought His child to His breast and holding him close, from the lips of God with a loving kiss, life was breathed into humanity from the deepest depths of the very being of The Ancient of Days. At that moment the billions that He had held in His heart from before the founding of the world were now on their way to an eternity of unity and harmony with The One who had loved them for so long and had taken such great care in preparing the way for their coming.
Unlike the animals, Man was made in the image of God. The animals were created intentionally selfish without free will and their limited existences were unalterably locked into cyclical patterns of foraging and reproduction. Man, however, was free and was created to reflect a higher nature that could manifest selflessness and understand the difference between the holy and the profane. Man was not made to live in the moment, spending his days in the selfish pursuit of the material, like the animals. Man was made to walk the Earth on the higher plain of spirit and to live forever in perfect relational unity with God.
In the spirit world, the Angels were birthed as direct creations, since they were genderless like God, and lacked material substance. Like the rest of material life, however, God created Man as a community. Man would have gender and humanity would come into being through a lengthy process generationally.
Resident in the male was a set of characteristics and behaviors. Resident in the female was a similar but yet different set. United together, Man was complete. God was teaching His children something about Himself and His nature by making them in this manner. God could have made everything androgynous. Androgyny fosters selfishness and isolation. Gender promotes an attitude that transcends the self and fosters community. God existed as a community of cooperative interdependence. This is the way of living He intended for His children and so it was modeled in creation.
To further emphasize community, the female was cleaved from the male. God did this in a deliberate and pointed way. As Father had fashioned the male from the substance of the earth to demonstrate Mankind’s unity with it and all that happened thereupon, so the female was taken from the male, making a similar statement. The female body was fashioned from a rib bone of the male to emphasize Mankind’s nature as a cooperative unity of equality.
The home that God had worked on for so long now received His children. It was a home filled with everything necessary for abundant life but also a home filled with stimulating activity and almost limitless opportunities to expand the mind. It was a home where God was present. It was noted that the home had heaven as its roof and the earth as its floor. The Home also had four walls. The home, which God called Eden, had boundaries.
And so God looked upon everything He had labored so long to create. It all turned out just as he had intended. God was well pleased.
But there was one last important process yet to come.
God placed the man He had made in the environment, and as a father teaches a son Father God explained to the child the terms of the relationship that they were entering into. He explained His son’s place. He explained that He had made Man to have dominion over all that Father had made that was on the earth. The biosphere was a resource to be utilized and managed. He explained all of the possibilities for moral, spiritual, social and intellectual growth that were present in the relationship he would have with his Father. He explained how Humanity would populate the earth. He explained unity and life. He explained the actions and attitudes that were necessary on the part of His son to maintain and cultivate the parent/child relationship that they were embarking on. He explained love and demonstrated it.
But also, God explained the boundaries of the relationship they were entering into. God explained that, because He was the creator and progenitor of all things, He was also The One who would define what conduct was acceptable and what was not. He explained carefully that it was not His son’s place to make decisions about right and wrong and good and evil and He explained what the difference was so there would be no misunderstanding. He communicated His expectation that His son would abide his Father’s directives. God made it clear that obedience to his Father’s law was an expression of love and gratitude on his part and that choosing to obey would foster and deepen their relationship and result in an endless happy life. God also explained that disobedience would damage their relationship and result in death.
Yes – Father explained freedom. He explained the glories of it – and its pitfalls.
When the woman came to be with him, it also became clear to her what the expectations of conduct, attitude and demeanor were.
As God watched all of this unfold He knew that while it was possible to communicate all of His expectations and explain the costs and benefits of adherence to His holiness or disdain thereof; it was also true that learning was not just an intellectual pursuit: learning was and is experiential.
God knew that resolving the issue of adherence and obedience to His sovereignty was not something that would be worked out overnight without much struggle. The experience with the lack of fidelity of the Angels was an ongoing one. There was no reason to believe that the experience with Man would be any different. So before the world began, God accounted for and made arrangements to deal with the redemption of His children from bad decisions that could lead to death.
And so the man and the woman he had made dwelt in the paradisiac home He had prepared for them. They lived in harmony with God. They lived in harmony with their environment. They lived a completely transparent existence without shame because they and God were at one.
In the course of time, however, trouble began, as God knew it would. The adversarial deceiver of the spirit world interjected himself into the physical realm. Using the same sophistry with which he had managed to co-opt a significant portion of the Angelic world, he began to plant the seeds of doubt and distrust of God in the minds of Man.
The reasons ha satan did this were the same reasons he had for disrupting Heaven: pride and selfishness.
The devil’s disdain for Father God was such that he determined to show how deficient and fragile the Men God had made were by playing on their vanity and inexperience. By doing this he would demonstrate how arbitrary and subjective God’s holiness was and how easily an objective decision could be made to reject its limitations. This to hold God up as weak and His creation as unworthy in order to draw attention to himself as superior in his attitude, understanding and outlook. The whole purpose of his actions was to hold himself up as more worthy than God and to be homaged as such by the sentient, particularly the Angels. Everything about the interactions with Man was designed to justify his independent course away from God and to gratify his ego. The fate of inferior humanity was inconsequential. The devil knew they would suffer and die, but what of it?
And so the devil made a subtle appearance one day in the realm of Man. Slyly, he interjected the contrarian argument into the mind of the woman.
The man and the woman were familiar with the spirit world. They lived in the presence of Father God and had seen angels. The woman was not alarmed when she received messaging from the spirit. The message she received was food for thought. Everything was so new and bore evaluation and contemplation.
To be a spirit being made in the image of God living in a world with seemingly limitless possibilities was quite an amazing thing. One would think that such prospects would engender contentment, yet the devil understood that no matter how much one has there is a part of every individual that yearns for more. Children wish to be free and independent from their parents, no matter how benevolent. People want to decide for themselves.
So when the devil suggested, as he had misleadingly suggested to the angles previously, that one could successfully pursue a course of living independent from God; he got the woman’s attention. When he further suggested that others, such as himself were doing it, and that God was not being entirely truthful when He asserted that negative consequences would ensue from transgressing the boundaries that He had set; she began to doubt. She began to doubt the validity of everything she had been taught or told. When finally ha satan posited that it was possible to elevate oneself to the status of a god with sovereign authority, he had created a perfect psychic storm in the mind of the woman.
Selfishness is a powerful motivator. When combined with conceit pride is produced. Hubris, a godlike pride, refuses to acknowledge boundaries for to be a god is to be a definer not a respecter. Ha satan, using the power of selfish pride, was able to nudge the woman into attitudes and actions that carried her away from God on an independent course of disrespect for the holy boundaries Father God had established. This is just what he had been able to do with the angels that followed him.
In order to turn humanity, why did the devil play on the vanity of the woman and not the man, for are not men vein as well? Woman is the part of Mankind in which emotions are dominant. Man is the part of Mankind where reason and objectivity are dominant. The man could likely parry or meet the sophistry of the devil, a stranger, with objectivity. It is extremely difficult for a man to rebuff the emotional pleadings of his woman, where sexuality, companionship and a host of other interdependent needs are part of a close relational equation. It’s easy to say no to a stranger, in whom you have nothing invested, but very hard to say no to your wife, who is everything to you and, in this case, the only other human you have ever experienced.
And so through the emotional manipulation of the woman, the devil was able to turn the man.
When you disrespect someone you disengage from them. The quality of your relationship declines noticeably. The greater problem for humanity, however, was not just the relational distance that was developing between God and Man but the realization that allowance for the unholy or even unholy thinking in the pattern of life that God had established for them was not as particularly satisfying as they might have imagined: and, it was really noticeable. Instead of rising to a higher plain, as the devil had suggested, they were sinking to a lower state of being that was beneath their station as children of God. Even they could see it. When one’s life begins to be governed by selfish aspirations it becomes undifferentiated from the carnal pattern of life modeled in the biosphere. Physical life is selfish and lives in the moment; spirit life is selfless and lives with the future in view. To be selfish is to be no different from the animals. To be selfless is to be like God. This idea is completely contrary to the messaging of ha satan to humanity, who argues contrarily that to be selfish is to be like God. Decide arbitrarily for yourself based upon the personal needs of the moment. This is what God does: but this is a lie. God does not exist in that frame of reference. God does not live selfishly in the moment but selflessly in the context of eternity, in which His self-sacrificing love on behalf of His creation endures forever and His faithfulness to His promise and purpose continues for all generations. Selfishness leads to death. This was the great lesson written in the book of ages that God had spent so many eons writing. Agape, however, is life. This is the conclusion of the Book and the further lesson that Father is teaching all His children but one that unfortunately many, including the man and the woman whom He placed in Eden were, and are, unable to learn.
The words of The Logos are spirit and they are life. Learning their meaning requires motivation and discipline. Most, however, would rather make buckets, esteeming what they can dredge up with them from the soupy primordial swamp of the biome of life more useful and satisfying than the living water that springs from the mouth of The Eternal Father.
The response of humanity to the realization that they had been sold a bill of goods by the devil was very interesting. The man and the woman tried to walk back their decision. Instead of coming clean and attempting to repair their now damaged relationship with God they opted for a cover-up. They attempted to control the ramifications and consequences of their actions through their own reasoning’s and efforts. They lost themselves in the business of life and made a decision not to confront their nonconformity. For the first time they felt shame; the shame that comes from knowing that you have brought discredit upon your family. But how could they believe that Father God would not notice that the family name had been besmirched? They knew their cover-up was flimsy and ineffective, and so, for the first time they also felt fear as well. They felt fear because they did not trust God. The most damaging effect of the lies of the devil was to destroy the bond of trust that Humanity had with their maker. The man and the woman came to believe that their Father was not a benevolent force in their life but a hostile one with ulterior motives who needed to be avoided. So they ran from God in fear rather than running to Him in trust; trusting that He would be able to heal what had been broken.
The decision by the man to acquiesce to his wife was a decision to trust in the self as opposed to trusting in God. But it was even more than a question of trust. The man loved his wife more than God. The woman came from the man. They were one. Loving the woman more than God meant that he loved himself more than his Creator. Blood; the flesh, truly became thicker than the Water of Life.
Selfishness – self-love – is the antithesis of godliness and wholly indicative of the carnal. Humanity had fallen from the selflessness of the Spirit likeness, in which they had been created, to the selfish likeness of the physical creation, which they had been appointed to manage but not emulate.
Father, of course, was watching all of this unfold. He did not intervene. To do so would have been manipulative and would have tainted the outcome of the free will decisions of His children. They had all of the facts necessary in order to make informed decisions and they had received guidance directly from Him. So He let them choose their course. He let some time pass to allow for the pair to collect themselves; process what they had done and offer an interpersonal response. But when the only response that was forthcoming was a cover-up, Father confronted them.
Father’s confrontation was leading and inquisitive, not hostile. He was hoping for contrition, confession and supplication. What He received was the worst of all possible responses: recalcitrance.
When Father asked the man about his attitude and actions and the distance that had developed between them the man’s response was classic: he disclaimed any responsibility for the rift but instead shifted the blame to God Himself. He protested that God had dimensioned a system in which it was impossible for him to maintain good relations with his Father and that the woman that God had made was the root of the problem. So in the most profound act of self-justification in the history of humanity, the man simultaneously reproached God and betrayed his wife in the same breath. No contrition; no confession; no supplication: only hubris.
Father next turned to the woman and asked her about the matter. Her response was similar. She was a victim, she said. Whatever was wrong was the result of deceptions perpetrated by ha satan. No contrition; no confession; no supplication: only denial.
What was a Father to do? To be like Him is to be free, but freedom means responsibility. To be responsibly free means to be able to accept responsibility for the intended and unintended consequences of one’s actions. The selfless reconciliation of the unintended through contrition and atonement is noble and Godlike. Free Men living in the image of God manifest this virtue. There was nothing Godlike or virtuous in the ignoble response of the man and woman to the conciliatory gesture of their maker. The response was self-centered. It was flesh; not spirit.
Since they would not take responsibility, God would enforce accountability; the vary accountability they had denied and deluded themselves into believing that their father would not require.
God is holy and the purpose God intended in creating sentient beings in His image was to be able to unite with them perpetually in community. The holy, however, cannot unite with the unholy. Since the man and the woman had made themselves unholy it was now not possible to continue the relationship that God had intended.
And so, God let the consequences of their unholy actions and attitudes ensue. They had chosen to become flesh so God proactively burdened them with its onus and limitations. Physical life spent its entire existence in the selfish pursuit of material necessity and procreation. This would now be Man’s lot. Instead of nourishing his soul on the higher values and aspirations of the spirit in a completely provident environment man would now labor continually for his necessity like the animals. Woman’s life would be bound up in procreation, like the animals.
Commiserate with the choice Man had made to become flesh, God reclaimed the immortal body of spirit he had fashioned for Humanity and re-clothed Mankind in a mortal body of flesh. To facilitate Man’s labors God chose a hominid design not unlike the forms of other insentient animals that had populated the planet predating on the herds of ice age grazers.
In this form, Mankind’s physical lifespans would be limited.
Because of the harm brought by the hatred of ha satan for God and His purposes God now cursed him to destruction. The destruction would entail not only his being but also his ideas and sophistry. Destruction would extend to the beings which unrepentantly followed him as well.
The destruction of the devil would not happen immediately but in the due course of time. Like everything else, which God accomplished through process, The Logos would process out of existence ha satan once the fallacy of his lies was clearly demonstrated for all humanity to see and the record of its failures had been written in the book of time, along with the failures of all the other selfish systems that had existed on the Earth. When ha satan met his doom there would be no doubt about who and what he was or how the resultant suffering and harm consequent of the separateness from God he preached had abased and corrupted Humanity. There would be no doubt that his way led to death and his accusations against God were lies.
God knew that, although the man and the woman He had placed in Eden had chosen to corrupt themselves, others of His children that would issue from them would make a different choice. Some would choose Spirit over flesh. Some would choose to be holy as he was holy. Some would be righteous and it was not equitable that the righteous should suffer the same fate as the unrighteous.
So God made a provision through The Logos to redeem the righteous from the hopelessness of death. The Logos would crush ha satan and gather to Himself the righteous children of God, who would be born through the ages. The Logos would atone for the sin of the parents of Humanity, whom he had made, making it possible for those yet unborn to have a chance to unite with Himself in the holy way He intended.
But for the man and the woman He had placed in Eden; once Father God had re-clothed Mankind in mortal flesh He drove them out of His presence. Since they had chosen not to repent of their sin they would not be able to reenter right relationship with God or dwell in His provident presence any longer. Further, there was no way through their own efforts that they would be able to reunite with God or indefinitely sustain their lives.
Death was now an ever present reality for the generations of Humanity that would be born. Because the man had chosen to live in the present without regard for the consequences of his actions on the children that would descend from he and his wife, the entirety of Humanity would now be born outside of right relationship with God. They would be born outside of Eden without access to life. Eternal life is the mode of existence for sentient beings created in the image of God; united with Him and dwelling shamelessly in His presence conformed to His holiness. This is the essence of Eden – a concept not a place. Disunited from God, everlasting life is not possible because only what is holy like God can endure forever. The unholy; that which is common: mere matter; is constantly recycled and recombined into new forms. This would now be the fate of the physical forms of all subsequent humanity. Entropy would reclaim their bodies, as it reclaimed all physical forms, from galaxies to Amoebas. Their spirits, the parts of their being that were not physical, would only be able to unite with God through the provision that he would make through The Logos.
Since now the physical life of all of humanity was contained in the ova of the woman and since she was now living apart from God, all humanity would be born apart, and their spirits would be contained in replications of the hominid form he had re-bodied them in; a body that was consigned to a limited existence and subject to entropy. Further, since they were born in the flesh they would spend their lives in the pursuit of the flesh: foraging and procreation, since that is what the necessity of their physical form would compel them to do. Knowing this, the man now named the woman as he had named the animals previously. He called her “Mother” (Hava), a functional description of her place in the new relationship between man and woman. He would now dominate her as the males of other species dominated the smaller weaker females and her fundamental function would be precreation. In this position she would not be godlike, as she had supposed from the lies of the devil, but dependent on the male for protection and resources.
And so, unrepentant Humanity now exists in mortal flesh, disunited from God, independently in the physical environment pursuing the daily necessity of life as their object of existence; living in the moment, unholy, and no different than the rest of the biome: Save for one thing – the spirit animating the flesh – the spirit of Man – still bears the image of God. The spirit of Man can still make choices and moral distinctions.
The spirit image of God resident in the physical shell of the body will create constant conflict within humanity for all the generations to come because the carnal nature of animals is incompatible with the Spirit nature of God, which is expressed in Man’s ability to choose. It will create conflict in the individual and it will create conflict in society. Those who choose to allow the carnal nature of the animal body they inhabit to become the dominate expression of their personalities will come into conflict with those who choose to allow the holy to be the dominate expression of their life. The conflict between the holy and the unholy will become hateful, destructive and perpetual. These conflicts will be layered on top of the conflicts for mates and resources that are a natural feature of the biome.
The Fate of Man: constant internal and external conflict in a hateful world selfishly pursuing the material and sexuality and eschewing the holy with no hope of change wrought by the efforts of Humanity either individually or corporately.