Hebrews 11:1-3 (NKJV) 1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. 2 For by it the elders obtained a good testimony. 3 By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.
In our last post we began looking at the great faith chapter of the New Testament, Hebrews 11. As a matter of review, we looked at verse 1 and discussed the definition of faith found there. Faith is hope that has been given substance. Faith is supported by the evidence found in two places. First, we find evidence of the reality of faith in the alters we should build around the things God has done in our personal lives. Whatever he did in the past he will do again. He may do it differently, but he will do it.
The most important evidence we have is the Word of God. Romans 10:17 tells us that faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. Faith is a matter of relationship above all else. The written Word is the evidence of what the invisible God will do. Because I know that God is a God of integrity, I know that I can trust his Word. Philippians 4:19 says God will meet my needs. Matthew 6:33 tells me that if I seek first God’s kingdom, everything I need will be added to my life. That is the evidence that the provision I cannot see is coming to me. I do not know how or when, but it is coming. Faith is the evidence of what I cannot see at the present time.
Hebrews 11:2 is the foundation scripture for what we are going to be looking at for a time.
Hebrews 11:2 (NKJV) 2 For by it the elders obtained a good testimony.
The rest of this chapter is primarily a list of people and what they did. The King James Version says they obtained a good report. Today, the world is inundated with news. We have many 24-hour TV networks dedicated to reporting news. Every event is accompanied by report after report. Rarely are they good reports. Mostly the reports focus on the worst-case scenario and the worst in human nature. By faith, the elders listed here obtained a good report. This good report was not from a news network or the judgement of any man. They obtained a good report before God. I want to understand how.
It is interesting that the statement in verse 2 concerning the elders report comes before verse 3. This chapter focuses on what people did and the underlying factors that enabled them. Verse 3 is a statement of what God himself did. It also reveals the process of how he did it. I think we might look at verse 3 as the first of the good reports spoken of in verse 2.
Verse three says, “by faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the Word of God.” This statement has two valid interpretations. Read as it is written above, we conclude that it is by faith that we understand and accept that God is the one who created. That is true and valid. The only proof we will ever have that God created the worlds and not an accident of evolution, is the fact that the bible says so. (See verse 2b.) You can forget about ever proving the creator through historical or scientific evidence. You can see evidence which pointes to it, but you will never prove it to the satisfaction of the world. A true Christian needs no such proof. We have the Word, that is enough.
Why will we never have definitive proof that will convince the world? Hebrews 11:6 tells us that without faith we cannot please God. Physical proof would eliminate faith and the ability to please God. We will not find Noah’s ark on Mt. Ararat. We will never find the ark of the covenant or the holy grail. We will only have the evidence of faith in his Word as proof that God created.
There is another way to punctuate this verse. Since capitalization and punctuation are not in the original languages, both are done at the discretion of the translators. We might punctuate verse 3 this way. By faith, we understand, that the worlds were framed by the Word of God. This punctuation would say that faith was not just how we understand that God created but faith is also how he created.
Verse 3 begins by saying “by faith the worlds were framed by the Word of God.” The first step in the process of creation was that God framed the worlds with his Word. God had an inner image of what he wanted. God saw in his heart everything that is. The term “frame” is very descriptive. A frame sets a picture off from its surroundings. A frame defines the picture. It reveals its true nature.
God had a desire in himself. He defined that desire and set it apart by framing it using his Words. When he spoke words into the void, what he saw in himself was released and the physical world was created. The process begins with the release of something called “light.”
Genesis 1:3 (NKJV) 3 Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light.
Light, scientifically, is the building block of all matter. God began defining what he wanted by releasing the basic building block of physical matter. He continued framing the worlds by taking the building block he released and organizing it into various things using his Word. He divided the day from the night, he set the heavens in motion as a timekeeping device for the earth, and he created the plants and animals. All of this was done by framing what God had in his heart with the Word of God.
The result was that the things which appear were made out of things that, to natural eyes, are invisible. What is it that was invisible? The power of God was invisible to the natural world. What the power of God created was visible. It was the natural world.
The process by which God created was to take what was in his heart, frame it with His Words and release those words by speaking them. The release of his inner image in words created all that we see. That is what God did and that is how he did it. If the natural world was created by this process, it is reasonable to assume that it will respond to the same process. This process is called faith.
After the creation of man, the process of faith was adjusted somewhat. God created humanity as his children. He gave them dominion over the natural world. He told them to “keep” the garden. This word means to protect it and cause it to be fruitful or productive. How were they to do that. I do not think it was with a shovel or hoe. I do not think they were to protect it with a sword. They were to exercise dominion the same way God created. By releasing his inner image through words born of their intimate relationship with him.
After the fall, man and God were separated in the spirit. It was not until Jesus came and paid the price for sin that man once again could walk in the dominion as God intended him to. However, the process remained. God still communicated his heart to people. Before the fall it was from the inside out. After the fall it was from the outside in. Even so, if a person could receive God’s word, allow the image contained in it to take root and then act of that Word, the physical world would respond, and great things could be done.
By this process, called faith, the elders obtained a good report. Let us look at the attitudes and actions that made this process work. If they could do great things by faith while living under the Old Covenant, we can do greater things living under the new and better covenant.
Hebrews 12:24 (NKJV) 24 to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel.