Knowing how the world really works helps you live in it more easily and more successfully. One major permanent principle is that the world works on an integrated plane of physical and spiritual unity.
We need air, water, and food. These trend towards the physical end of the scale. We also need love and loyalty and we depend upon courage and commitment. These exist towards the spiritual end of the scale.
That connection between spiritual and physical is revealed in the words, “In the beginning God created heaven and earth.” This is not a description for creating a universe in six easy steps. After all, what is heaven? Where is it? This initial statement discloses that understanding the universe is possible only if you first see that the world comprises the spiritual—the intangible HEAVEN—along with the physical—the tangible EARTH.
That is why the first verse of Genesis opens with this vital communication. After all, the Bible is not a collection of historical legends and primitive myths, but instead it is a roadmap to reality. You can’t move forward until you fully absorb the real life implication that the invisible spiritual reality is just as important as the visible physical reality.
The second verse continues by announcing that the earth was chaotic and disordered. Furthermore, darkness lay upon the face of the deep. Verse two ends by disclosing that God’s spirit wafted upon the face of the water.
Let’s take a closer look at the various natural phenomena mentioned in the Bible’s first two verses. Heaven and earth? Yes, God created them. Next comes darkness. This doesn’t need to be created because it is the natural condition in the absence of light and light doesn’t appear until verse three. We next encounter the water upon which God’s spirit wafted. Water? Where did that come from? When exactly was water created?
This is one of those instances where the Hebrew words make all the difference. You see, the fifth word of the Hebrew Bible is ‘heaven.’ This is what it looks like:
שׁמים = heaven
Here are another two important words in the Lord’s language:
מים = water
אש = fire
One of the amazing things about Hebrew letters is that their shapes are not random hieroglyphics. Their form profoundly relates to their meaning. The letter shin, the second letter of the word fire, the ש resembles a fire with tongues of flame leaping upwards. Thus this letter shin is always associated with the idea of the energy and power represented by fire.
Perhaps you do not read Hebrew, but even if you regard letters as just symbols, you can see that if we write the Hebrew word for ‘fire’ followed by ‘water’ we get something that looks remarkably like the word for heaven.
אשמים fire + water
That extra letter is the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet, alef, possessing a numerical value of one. When you multiply anything by one, you are left with the original value.
1 x 493 = 493.
1 x 27 = 27.
1 x orange = one orange
With this understanding, 1 x (fire + water) = שמים
Ancient Jewish wisdom stresses that just as we study the paintings of an artist to get to know and appreciate that artist, we should study God’s creations to get to know and love Him. The best way to study His world is by exploring the fields of physics, chemistry and mathematics. These simply explore the rules God built into Creation.
Admittedly there are many who study these fields and remain blissfully unaware of the Creator, just as there are many who enjoy works of art and music knowing nothing of how they came into being. But for those intent on growing closer to the Creator, studying the natural world is an elegant pathway.
It therefore makes sense to ask why fire and water make up the word for heaven. It should immediately strike us that both fire and water can be lifesaving as well as destructive. Fire, or as it is sometimes called, energy, keeps us warm, allows us to cook our food, and provides alternatives to walking or riding an animal. However, it is also capable of wreaking havoc and destruction. Similarly, water is the essence of life but floods drown and destroy human habitation.
Spiritual power, symbolized by the ‘heaven’ in Genesis 1:1 is life-saving while also possessing destructive ability. Adolf Hitler deployed enormous spiritual power that converted bus drivers, professors, and engineers into brutal and sadistic savages. People who destroy their bodies with alcohol or drugs are seeking spiritual solace though in the wrong place. Spiritual power helps men and women commit to monogamous marriage and to their children. When humans engage in economic productivity and create wealth, that too requires the deployment of spiritual power.
There is no better way to grow one’s spiritual power than by studying the thousands of verses that follow after, “In the beginning God created heaven and earth.” One of the beautiful aspects of God’s wonderful world of human economic interaction is that after a transaction, both buyer and seller are happier than they were before. It is therefore in the spirit of making both you and me happier that I tell you of my recent book Business Secrets from the Bible. This is an invaluable resource for anyone hoping to escalate their ability to create revenue. Yes, create it. And why I said, ‘create’ rather than ‘get’ is one of the forty secrets for financial abundance that I present in this truly invaluable work. It’s an obvious and appreciated gift for both grads and dads, so take advantage and order it now.