Newton's Law of Motion, the Equal & Opposite Reaction, in the Spiritual Realm


Rom. 1:20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made

The bandwidth of God’s revelation.  We have said that God’s revelation of Himself was through creation, through the inspired written word, through the teaching and example of Jesus Christ, and through the Holy Spirit that searches the mind of God and reveals to us all truth.  All of these forms of revelation are consistent because they are from the same source.  Humans have limited bandwidth in receiving and comprehending the revelation of God, but individuals have different “bandwidth specialties,” so all would benefit if everyone’s information and understanding could be c0mpared and summed together in a complementary fashion.  Rather than working together and combining their knowledge and resources, humans have followed their evolutionary heritage and formed groups made of up of those with similar personalities, interests, or training, and these different groups have argued and fought one another instead of cooperating.  Christians, who should have access to all the different components of the bandwidth, should take the lead in working together, but they have also formed groups that divided and argued.  Regretfully, a lot of potential opportunities for gaining knowledge and understanding of God are squandered. 

There are many analogies between the physical creation and spiritual lessons.  Jesus taught using life examples that people understood, such as salt, light, birds of the air, sowing and planting, seed and harvest, bearing fruit, wind and rain, wheat and tares, sheep and goats, fish and fishing, boats and nets, plowing fields, coins, pearls and pigs.  Paul used analogies of the human body and the church, the body of Christ (1 Cor. 12).  There are many spiritual principles that have congeners in the physical realm that are less recognized, because they are not as obvious.  But the Bible has teachings that find analogy in laws of physics, chemistry, thermodynamics, evolution, and genetics.  Seeing these relationships can open new and better understanding of the spiritual principles.  

Sir Isaac Newton published in 1687 what is known as Newton’s laws of motion, which were three physicals laws describing the relationship between the forces acting on a body and the motion of that body due to those forces.  These laws of classical mechanics are still valid for the size of objects found in everyday life, such as those Newton had observed, although the description of objects outside that range (sub-atomic particles, superconducting, light speed, black holes, etc) require more sophisticated mathematics such as those used in general relativity and quantum field theory.  Nevertheless, analogies at the macro level of mechanical physics fit Biblical principles just fine, because those types of everyday-life-objects were what Jesus used as examples when talking to the people. 

Newton’s three laws of motion can be summarized as:

[1]  First law:  The velocity of a body remains constant unless the body is acted upon by an external force. 

(If you were to toss something into outer space, it will pretty much just keep going.  Push something on earth and it eventually stops because of the force of gravity and of frictional resistance.  For movement to occur, friction has to be overcome.  If you aim to get somewhere, all things being equal, that’s where you’re gonna end up.)*

[2] Second law:  The acceleration of a body is parallel and directly proportional to the net force and inversely proportional to the mass of the body. 

(When an object starts speeding up, it will stay in the same direction unless hit with another force; the harder it is pushed the faster it will accelerate; the heavier it is the harder it will have to be pushed; with the same force the lighter of two objects with go faster.)*

* (These colloquial-level statements may be slightly scientifically imprecise because some words are used in an “everyday language” context.)

[3] Third law:  The mutual forces of action and reaction between two bodies are equal, opposite, and collinear.

(To every action there is always an equal and opposite reaction: or the forces of two bodies on each other are always equal and are in opposite directions.)

This is the physical law we will discuss: 

For every action there is always an equal and opposite reaction.

The forces of the two actions are equal in magnitude, and by their direction the forces are diametrically opposed.  Under this condition, no movement will occur, although energy will be expended to maintain position.  For movement to occur, one force has to decrease or the other force must increase.  This might be done either by a change (increase or decrease) in energy input or in the transfer to energy to work, as the magnitude of the force output.  One force overcomes the other.

Movement of an automobile.  When a car starts to move, the wheels begin to turn.  The contact between the rubber of the tire and the pavement provides friction because the traction between the tire and the pavement.  The accelerator is pressed and the engine produces more power from the gasoline source.  This is transferred to the wheels by gears in the transmission and differential making the axel turn onto which the wheels are mounted.  When the forward force to make the wheel turn is greater than the resistance between the tire surface and the pavement, the resistance is overcome and the car moves.  As long as the torque of the wheel is less than the resistance that is pushing back, the car doesn’t move.  The car has mass which is attracted to the much larger mass of the earth by gravity, calculated by Newton’s law of gravity.  The inertia, or “reluctance,” of the car to enough expend energy to overcome the force of gravity and the equal and opposite reaction of the resistance from the pavement must all be overcome before the car moves.  However, the resistance against the surface of the tire must be present or else the tire will not have anything to push against.  If resistance is reduced by an oil slick under each tire, then the tire will spin because the force is all expended on the microlayers of oil sliding past one another between the surfaces of the tire and the pavement.  The road surface continues to push back against the tire surfaces in the same opposite force as then the car was still, which is necessary for the car to continue moving and to be controlled, including changing direction or stopping the car.  A sudden change is resistance, such as hydroplaning across a water slick, can cause a loss of control.  Gravity doesn’t change, and the velocity and acceleration are predictable by the energy potential of the engine.  Since we’re not on the Starship Enterprise, velocity does not get close enough to the speed of light for time to be relative instead of a constant.

Resistance from friction.  In the car engine, surfaces attract one another with molecular and ionic bonding.  The energy of these surface attractions must be overcome before parts will move and slide against one another.  Otherwise friction from all this surface attraction will add up until the car engine doesn’t have enough power of force the surfaces to move past one another.  This is a form of friction, or resistance to movement, which is reduced by layers of oil on the surface of the touching parts.  Without oil, a car engine can “seize up” because the surfaces of parts cannot slide.  Heat can be generated which increases friction which increases heat until parts will have the heat energy to change shape and bind irreversible.  

Weights and “body building”.  A barbell on the floor has inertia in proportion to its mass.  If the barbell is to be lifted, a force in the upward direction must be exerted that is greater than the downward force of gravity which is proportional to its mass.  Metabolic energy is produced and expended in a muscle which contracts and exerts force on the barbell.  When the muscle force is greater than the force of gravity, the barbell will be lifted.  Since the body controlling muscle is alive, modifications through training can be made so that force can be exerted more efficiently.  Muscle training – increase in muscle cell size and number – and more efficient energy utilization can produce more body strength to overcome greater resistance of more weight, or an object with greater mass attracted by gravity.  “Resistance training” is building up muscle mass in response to overcoming the action of gravity on the mass of an object.  To pick up a weight requires a force greater than the equal and opposite force of gravity.  

Therefore, developing a force to overcoming an equal and opposite reaction requires the expenditure of energy to produce work or movement, and a living body can produce an increase in strength so that an even greater magnitude of opposition can be overcome.  No energy expenditure, no movement; no resistance, no muscle building.  Also, the rate of movement is proportional to the energy expenditure; and the amount of muscle building is in proportion to the resistance that is being overcome.

The relation of Newton’s third law of motion to some spiritual questions:

Words that cross the physical and spiritual realms.  These are words that are defined mathematically in physics of motion and in muscle physiology that also carry metaphorical meaning in the psychology of human behavior as well as in scripture – energy; work; movement; resistance; overcome; strength or force or power; opposite or opposition; equal or greater than; training; and weight.  

Forces of evil.  Why does God allow Satan to roam around and cause so much trouble?  Why does God allow bad things to happen?  Why does God allow evil?  Doesn’t God have the power to do something?  How can a loving God let this happen?   Who’s in charge around here, God or Satan?

Spiritual growth.  How does the church grow into the full knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ?  How are we created in the image of God?  How are we to grow into the image of the Creator, to be like God in true righteousness?  What is the power of the Holy Spirit and what does that power do for us?  

Purification of the church.  How is the church purified to be the holy bride of Christ?  How does the church get the worldliness and natural human fleshly selfish control out of its midst?  How does the church “keep itself unspotted from the world?”   

God’s discipline.  What is the discipline of God?  What does it mean that judgment will start at the house of God?  How does God’s discipline of love given to children differ from God’s righteous wrath? 

Trials.  What do these verses mean?

James 1:2  Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4 Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

1 Pet.4:12  Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. 14 If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. 15 If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. 16 However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name. 17 For it is time for judgment to begin with the family of God; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God?

“For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction” is a principle of God’s revelation that applies in the spiritual realm as well as in the physical.

Are there consequences to failing the test of "the equal and opposite reaction?"  The scriptures do not directly say, because there is no contingency plan for failure in the church.  The scriptures give the method for success, not defeat.  Jesus said the gates of hell would not prevail.  But God has revealed the answer to that question in the natural realm.  Sowing to the Spirit reaps eternal life; sowing to the natural reaps entropy.  Sowing and reaping applies to the church.  There are many lessons to learn from the laws set up by God that formed the physical creation.


For every action there is always an equal and opposite reaction (Newton’s 3rd law of motion).

Rom. 8:31  If God is for us, who can be against us?

It’s not just a translation.  “If” is in the Greek; it is conditional.  Paul, what do you mean, “IF God is for us?”  Does that mean sometimes we may not have God backing us up?  You mean, like Samson going out to fight the Philistines after his haircut thinking he was going to beat them up, as usual?  Can we ever go out into the spiritual battle without the strength of the Lord?  If we were to do that, what would happen when we meet the forces of the enemy who carry with them a Satanic evil and opposite reaction that is equal to the action of the church? 

Since the beginning in the Garden, the forces of evil have confronted and met the agents of God directly, head-on, face-to-face, in-your-face, and behind-your-back, and they will continue to do so until the ultimate defeat of Satan occurs, as described in the book of Revelation.  In every case, when humans were confronted by Satan and his forces, the humans lost of they did not have the power of God with them.  

Doesn’t God promise to be by our side?  Yes, but that doesn’t mean that we will ask Him to participate.  Jesus said, “My Father will give you whatever you ask in my name (John 16:23), but what if we don’t ask?  Adam and Eve didn’t ask God to enter the conversation with the serpent.  They just thought they could handle this one by themselves.  But God exercised authority over Adam and Eve and banished them from the Garden.  God exercised authority over the serpent, also.  God could have destroyed the serpent, but instead He allowed the serpent to exist with limited power and authority. God allowed Satan to continue to do his evil thing.  Why?

If Adam and Eve represented the natural substrate, created by evolution, into whom God could breathe life and make a living being, were they like an evolutionary dead end?  God gave them dominion over the earth and all that was lower then they on the phylogenetic scale, but Adam and Eve were in an environment described as type of utopia.  How were they to grow spiritually so that they would have a more complete fellowship with God?  During the process of physical evolution, the environment produced a pressure for selection of those species who could best adapt to changes in weather conditions, obtaining food, defense against predators, and efficiently reproduce the future generations.  Those species most fit for handling the selection pressure survived to reproduce and those species who survived less well fell behind in the competition or became extinct.  What was the environmental pressure under which Adam and Eve had to adapt and survive in the Garden?  What physical, mental, or spiritual growth did they have to experience in order to overcome the environmental challenges in the Garden?

The pressure to improve in order to survive the environment didn’t come from the Garden, but a slippery co-occupant in the Garden -- the serpent.  The characteristics that needed to change were within Adam and Eve – the control of the sinful nature (as identified in the N.T).  The sinful nature was the flesh, the natural, the evolved physical substrate – their own human nature that they inherited by default from physical (perishable) evolved genes.  The serpent appealed to this fleshly nature, the environmental pressure was exerted, and the fleshly nature failed the test – it succumbed to the equal and opposite reaction rather than overcoming it with the help of the Lord.  Having failed because of giving behavioral and decision control over to the flesh, Adam and Eve were dealt in the same way by God – who gave them fleshly consequences of their disobedience.  Adam would have to toil for food, and Eve would have increased pain in childbirth.  They would die physically and go back to the dust (elements from which they were physically made). 

Thus, a choice to follow the flesh gave consequences of like kind in the physical realm according to the natural laws of God.

Environmental pressure against the sinful nature continued after Adam and Eve left the Garden.
Cain was controlled by his fleshly nature when he became angry and hated his brother Abel when Abel’s sacrifice was acceptable to God but Cain’s was not.  In perhaps the earliest reference to the necessity of overcoming the nature to sin, God told Cain:

If you do what is right, will you not be accepted?  But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it. (Gen. 4:7).  

Cain didn’t do what was right, and he did not master the crouching sin – and he killed his brother.

The power of God is necessary to defeat the enemy.  Satan cannot be defeated by human effort alone. 

Working through the patriarchs, God revealed the blessings that come from faith in Him and in His promises and covenants.  Even so, they had to exercise their trust in the Lord in the face of an opposing reaction.  Noah was obedient in building the Ark according to God’s instructions, but the people around taunted and ridiculed his efforts -- until the door to the Ark was closed.

These lessons were continued and expanded as the people became a nation.  God raised up Moses and trained him over an 80 year period to be faithful and obedient.  In the classic clash between the forces of good and evil with the 10 plagues of Egypt, the power of God prevailed each time.  But God hardened Pharaoh’s heart so that the glory of God could be shown to the people.  The power of God was again shown in the crossing of the Red Sea and destruction of the Egyptian army.  But the children of Israel continued to cycle – forget, remember Egypt, complain, do wrong, sin, get busted, repent, obey, and back again for another cycle. 

They had to learn that they could not defeat enemies on their own, but only with God’s power. 

The Israelites got an object lesson when the Amalekites attacked them at Rephidem as recorded in Ex. 17:8-15.  Moses, Aaron, and Hur stood a hill overlooking the battle, and Moses had the staff of the Lord.  When Moses’ hands were help up, the Israelites were winning; when Moses lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning.  Aaron and Hur helped Moses keep his hands uplifted all day.  This was a testimony the people of that time could understood – a key difference between winning and losing was the presence and power of God.  When Jethro later visited Moses, Moses credited God with all the mighty things that had happened to deliver the people. Jethro was delighted to hear the good things the Lord had done, and he said, “Praise be to the Lord, who rescued the people from the hand of the Egyptians.  Now I know that the Lord is greater than all other gods, for he did this to those who had treated Israel arrogantly.”

The Israelites made a bad choice when they chose to fear the outcome of going into the land of Canaan.  In spite of Joshua and Caleb’s words to trust in the Lord, the people chose to operate only out of the limits of their human capabilities, and they fearfully complained against the Lord and wanted to return to Egypt.  So God said that they would wander in the wilderness forty years until that faithless generation had died.  In a decision obviously made outside the will of God, some Israelites went into Canaan anyway, totally under their own human power.  They were soundly defeated by the inhabitants (Deut. 1:41-46). 

But even after the wanderings, the Israelites still had a lot of cycles to churn through and much to learn about their need for God and His power in order to defeat their enemies.  At the time of the death of Moses, God said:

Deut. 31:16  And the LORD said to Moses: “You are going to rest with your fathers, and these people will soon prostitute themselves to the foreign gods of the land they are entering. They will forsake me and break the covenant I made with them. 17 On that day I will become angry with them and forsake them; I will hide my face from them, and they will be destroyed. Many disasters and difficulties will come upon them, and on that day they will ask, ‘Have not these disasters come upon us because our God is not with us?’ 18 And I will certainly hide my face on that day because of all their wickedness in turning to other gods.  20 When I have brought them into the land flowing with milk and honey, the land I promised on oath to their forefathers, and when they eat their fill and thrive, they will turn to other gods and worship them, rejecting me and breaking my covenant. 21 And when many disasters and difficulties come upon them,

Then, after Moses wrote the words to be kept for the people, he warned them himself of the inevitable disasters that would await them because of disobedience and idolatry.

26 “Take this Book of the Law and place it beside the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God. There it will remain as a witness against you. 27 For I know how rebellious and stiff-necked you are. If you have been rebellious against the LORD while I am still alive and with you, how much more will you rebel after I die! 28 Assemble before me all the elders of your tribes and all your officials, so that I can speak these words in their hearing and call heaven and earth to testify against them. 29 For I know that after my death you are sure to become utterly corrupt and to turn from the way I have commanded you. In days to come, disaster will fall upon you because you will do evil in the sight of the LORD and provoke him to anger by what your hands have made.”

The above verses show the cycle – victory and strength from the Lord’s power, have peace in a land flowing with milk and honey where they can eat their fill and thrive, forget the Lord in their own success and turn to other gods, reject God and break His covenants, God turns away from them and they do not have His power, defeat and disasters come upon them, realize they aren’t doing well and ask why, recognize the disasters are because God is not with them, be forced to seek God because the consequences are otherwise bad, God has mercy on them, they are blessed, go into the next cycle.

Why did the Israelites have to conquer the land God had promised them?

God had promised them the land, why didn’t God just give it to them like putting Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden?  Why did God make them take the land by force?  It took them a long time and a lot of people died in the process.  God had some lessons for the Israelites to learn in this process.  When an opposite and equal (or even greater) force came against the people of God, they were victorious through the power of God and not by their own power.  How much dependency on God would they have learned if everything just had been handed to them all the time?

God’s power, in turn, was displayed when the people were obedient to Him.  The Canaanite people were heathen and evil, and the Israelites had to overcome them.  It was the people of God, operating in God’s power, who overcame the natural resistance put forth by the inhabitants of the land.  But when the people of God were disobedient to God and operated out of their own natural abilities as well, they were defeated by the enemy.  Coming against the inhabitants of the land and winning required the tribes of Israel to learn to work together in the unity of cooperation with one another and under the banner of obedience to the Lord.  If there was sin or disobedience by the people so that the power of God was not with them, they were left with their own strength and were defeated, such as occurred in the battle of Ai (Joshua 7).  The people of Ai were supposed to be an easy victory, requiring only a small portion of Israel’s army.  But the Israelites were routed and ran in fear.  One person, Achan, had sinned by keeping some of the plunder for himself and hiding it, thus breaking a covenant with God, because it was to have been destroyed.  God said to Joshua,

11 Israel has sinned; they have violated my covenant, which I commanded them to keep. They have taken some of the devoted things; they have stolen, they have lied, they have put them with their own possessions. 12 That is why the Israelites cannot stand against their enemies; they turn their backs and run because they have been made liable to destruction. I will not be with you anymore unless you destroy whatever among you is devoted to destruction. 13 “Go, consecrate the people. Tell them, ‘Consecrate yourselves in preparation for tomorrow; for this is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: That which is devoted is among you, O Israel. You cannot stand against your enemies until you remove it. (Joshua 7:11-13)

In Joshua 10, Israel went against the five kings of the Amorites 8 The LORD said to Joshua, “Do not be afraid of them; I have given them into your hand. Not one of them will be able to withstand you.”  God threw the Amorites into confusion and Israel routed them; and even as the enemy fled, the Lord sent hailstones that killed even more than those killed by the sword (vs 11).

This principle of strength in the Lord being necessary to overcome the enemy continued to be shown and tested over and over.  Through cycle after cycle in the time of the Judges, a person of the Lord would rise and defeat the enemies oppressing God’s people.  Then they would have good years of peace -- then prosperity – then self assuredness – then idolatry – then external oppression – then repentance and calling to the Lord – then another judge.  Sometime battles were inordinately one-sided in favor of the enemy, such as with Gideon’s 300 men, to show beyond a doubt that it was the power of the Lord that made the difference.  Samson met an equal and opposite reaction every time he opposed the Philistines, but he beat up on them each time until he broke his vow with the Lord.  Under his own fleshly strength he was defeated.   

As the people evolved socially into the nation of Israel under a kingdom organization, God continued to purify His people and their relationship to Him using by external opposition.  God showed over and over that His power made the difference between overcoming the enemy or being defeated by the enemy; and the devotion and obedience of the people to His law made the difference in His blessing.

Probably no one understood this better at that time than did David, who killed Goliath by the strength of the Lord (1 Sam. 17:45-47).   David still understood his source of strength when he was king of Israel (Ps. 28:7; 59:9,16,17; 73:26; 118:14).  Although a man after God’s own heart, David was human and he sinned and made human mistakes.  David invited humanism into the ranks when he insisted that the fighting men be counted to determine their numerical strength capabilities.   God allowed a plague to kill many Israelites (1 Chron. 21.1-26; 2 Sam. 24:1-25). 

It’s as if God holds back evil that is always there waiting to come against His people.  When God removes a part of the protection, opposition is allowed to enter and destroy the human elements and purify the kingdom of its dependence on the flesh.    

A common theme from Solomon in Proverbs was the knowledge, prudence, and wisdom of trusting in the Lord instead of oneself or others operating out of their own human wisdom and understanding.  (Prov. 3:5; 18.2; 21:21 26:12; 30:12)

External pressure was present against Israel before and after the kingdom was divided.  In 2 Chronicles 14-16, many lessons about the necessity of the Lord’s strength to handle the pressures from outside forces can be seen in the reign of King Asa of Judah.  In his younger years, King Asa did what was pleasing to the Lord, and Judah overcame forces that were even superior, as in the Cushites --(“Such a great number of Cushites fell that they could not recover; they were crushed before the Lord and his forces.” 2 Chron 14:13).  Asa was told, “The LORD is with you when you are with him. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will forsake you.” (2 Chron. 15:2).  But Asa changed in later years, and in the 36th year of his reign, Asa operated out of his own human arrogant wisdom.  Rather than trust God, Asa gave the gold and silver from the temple treasure to bribe a foreign king into a peace treaty.  For this Asa was told,

“Because you relied on the king of Aram and not on the LORD your God, the army of the
king of Aram has escaped from your hand. Were not the Cushites and Libyans a mighty army with great numbers of chariots and horsemen? Yet when you relied on the LORD, he delivered them into your hand. 9For the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him. You have done a foolish thing, and from now on you will be at war.”  (2 Chron. 16:7-9)

Asa continued to operate out of fleshly wisdom and put the seer who gave him this message in prison and oppressed some of the people.  When Asa was afflicted with a severe foot disease, he sought only the human knowledge of physicians and not the Lord, so his disease was terminal (vs 12).

God allowed foreign nations to defeat Israel and Judah and take the people into captivity.  God allowed Danieland friends to be thrown into the lion’s den and into the fiery furnace to test their faith and to show that the outcome was in the hands of the Lord (Dan. 10:17, 19). 

When Nehemiah returned to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem, God certainly endorsed the plan.  Even so, God allowed opposition from inhabitants to try to hinder and stop the work, an oppositional force which Nehemiah had to meet and overcome to accomplish the work.  He did this with the help of God (Neh. 8:10), and so we have recorded for us a model of how to get a job done even with opposition. 

God’s instructions to the Israelites through Moses, recorded in Deuteronomy, might be paraphrased as, “If you are obedient to the commands of God, things will go will for you in your life.  If you make some blunders, there are ways to handle that so that the nation can stay pure.  If you get arrogant and proud because things are going so well and you follow your own human thinking like you have already done so many times, get stiff-necked and rebellious, and worship human-made gods, things will get so bad that you will regret it.”  These words were proven over and over. 

O.T. history shows that operating out of the natural results in predictable natural behavioral, financial, political, sociological and other cycles in societies and groups of people.

Looking through the history over the thousands of years covered by the Old Testament is like looking at a long picket fence from one end of as almost a straight line – you see many pickets as if they were one.  But when the fence is being built, each picket is seen one at a time and it may seem like a very long time to build the entire fence length.  In the O.T., we can look along the fence row, and we can also examine each picket one at a time.  We can see actions and reactions, cycles, and lessons learned and lessons forgotten in a span of a few minutes or reading when it took generations and hundreds of years to live them out.  And then we can also read about each episode in detail.  Quite an advantage we have to see things more clearly than the people in the O.T. could; but we are in that position, now, because while we can review history, we are also building our own picket fence, one plank at a time.  Change in the power shift between the physical and spiritual realms occurred so slowly over a generation or two that most people did notice until the enemy showed up. 

Are we any different?  While we are immersed in the detail of the present, can we learn anything about the our own “big picture” by examining principles through Biblical history?  What about 1 Cor.10:1-12)?

The equal & opposite action/reaction was played out more in the physical realm for the Israelites through wars, battles, famine, defeats, plagues, and foreign captivity.  They did not have the Holy Spirit within them, and the spiritual dimension was a perception given only to certain individual prophets, priests, kings, seers, and some others.  But we can see from our perspective that the laws of motion were operating at that time with an equal and opposite reaction always ready to test the people of God for their purity of heart and their obedience to the will of God.  

Faithfulness and obedience of the people in the physical realm was tied to the release of power and blessings and prosperity from God in the spiritual realm.  A big problem developed when the people developed a prideful attitude about their ease and prosperity, and they “reverse engineered” the principle – prosperity in the physical realm must mean God is happy with us, so “now we can relax and build some idols that my Canaanite wife has been asking for.”

As seen through these few examples, God exposed and forced the removal of sin from His people by allowing an opposing reaction, equal in force, to test their works, the product of their source of strength.  If they were obedient to the Lord, then the battle would belong to the Lord and the enemy was overcome.  However, to the extent that they operated out of the sinful nature, they would fail, because flesh against Satan cannot win.  Satan is the prince of the flesh.

Could this be equivalent to the Lord saying to the church, “You have humanistic thinking in your midst.  You have kept it and invited it in and honored it when it should have been destroyed.  Therefore, when opposition comes, your strength will be weakened because you have diluted the power of the Holy Spirit with an illusion of power from the flesh.  Operating out of the natural, you cannot stand against the forces of the enemy.”

The relationship between the laws of motion and the church today can be defined even more precisely with some other passages in the Old Testament and also ones from the New Testament.


For every action there is always an equal and opposite reaction
(Newton’s 3rd law of motion).

Our view of God and of His “job performance” in this universe is done through a human filter that itself is conceptually limited to time and 3-dimensional space.  Yet, God reveals His nature and eternal purpose through Jesus Christ, through scripture, and through the Holy Spirit.  All of these three sources agree across the spiritual and physical realms.  Newton’s 3rd law of motion, the equal & opposite action/reaction, mathematically explains almost all of the physical actions that we observe in our lives.  There are a number other teachings, rather metaphysical in nature, that illustrate this balance of force between two sides, although the application isn’t exactly the same as that found in the scripture. 

Yin and yang.  These are terms from ancient Chinese philosophy literally meaning “dark” and “light,” that refer to opposite forces that work together for balance, and not opposing forces like evil and good, each trying to overcome the other.  This would be more like color balance of flowers in an arrangement or opposing muscles working in concert to produce fine motor skills. 

Karma.  This is a term often applied to a great universal neutralizing force that eventually compensates for everything.  If a person does bad things, they will eventually reap the consequences.  If a person does good things, they will eventually be rewarded in some way.   Karma is like a universal law of cause and effect -- you reap what you sow; you get what you earn; you are what you eat.  Karma might be related to the consequences of the outcome from a battle between the action and equal and opposite reaction. 

The Bible.  The distinction between the action and reaction forces revealed in the scripture is different, because the two forces are not fine-tuned to work together.  They are not complementary.  They are not in friendly opposition; it is a life and death battle, the outcome of which has both temporal and eternal consequences.  One force is the power of the eternal creator God, and the other force is the power of Satan, the prince of darkness, who utilizes any fabrication, deceit, lie, or hype that might help him win.  Satan’s forces attack the people of God externally; Satan also infiltrates the church with demons masquerading as angels of light.  Satan produces circumstances that produce fear, doubt, and discouragement; and Satan presents temptations in the same categories as used in the Garden against Adam and Eve. 

Since the fall in the Garden, man has had to differentiate between control by the will of God and control by the human will.  Man has had to discern between the work of the genuine Holy Spirit of God and the copycat work of Satan.  God allows Satan to come against His people in order to test them, to purify them, and thereby to transform them.  The scripture consistently says that when the Lord’s people stay in His will and rely on His power, they will overcome Satan.  But when they rely on human thinking and wisdom, Satan is not fooled and that humanly derived part of the structure will be destroyed.

The power of God is necessary to defeat the enemy.  The equal and opposite reaction of Satan cannot be defeated by human effort alone. 

Throughout O.T. history, God’s people continually had to learn over and over that they could be successful and defeat their enemies only by the power of the Lord.  The prophets continued to warn God’s people to not go against the enemy in their own human strength, planning, and wisdom.

Isa 30:1  “Woe to the obstinate children,” declares the LORD, “to those who carry out plans that are not mine, forming an alliance, but not by my Spirit, heaping sin upon sin;

Isa 31:1  Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help, who rely on horses, who trust in the multitude of their chariots and in the great strength of their horsemen, but do not look to the Holy One of Israel, or seek help from the LORD.

Jer 9:23  This is what the LORD says: “Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom or the strong man boast of his strength or the rich man boast of his riches, 24 but let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,” declares the LORD.

Jer 17:5  This is what the LORD says: “Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who depends on flesh for his strength and whose heart turns away from the LORD. 6 He will be like a bush in the wastelands; he will not see prosperity when it comes. He will dwell in the parched places of the desert, in a salt land where no one lives. 7 “But blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him.

There are a number of passages in scripture that provide additional information regarding the “action and the equal-and-opposite-reaction” and how God is in ultimate control of both forces.  Satan provides the opposing reaction, but Satan operates by permission of God and within the limits imposed by God.

[1]  Satan and his forces recognize, fear, and confess God, and they are subject to the authority of God. 

James 2:19 You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.

Lu 4:33 In the synagogue there was a man possessed by a demon, an evil spirit. He cried out at the top of his voice, 34 “Ha! What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth?  Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!” 35 “Be quiet!” Jesus said sternly. “Come out of him!” Then the demon threw the man down before them all and came out without injuring him. 36 All the people were amazed and said to each other, “What is this teaching? With authority and power he gives orders to evil spirits and they come out!” 37 And the news about him spread throughout the surrounding area.

Luke 4: 40 When the sun was setting, the people brought to Jesus all who had various kinds of sickness, and laying his hands on each one, he healed them. 41 Moreover, demons came out of many people, shouting, “You are the Son of God!” But he rebuked them and would not allow them to speak, because they knew he was the Christ.

In Mark 5:1-20, Jesus healed a man possessed of many demons, who called themselves, “Legion.”  The man had fallen on his knees in front of Jesus.

What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? Swear to God that you won’t torture me!” 8For Jesus had said to him, “Come out of this man, you evil spirit!”
9Then Jesus asked him, “What is your name?” “My name is Legion,” he replied, “for we are many.” 10And he begged Jesus again and again not to send them out of the area.

Jesus gave permission for the demons to go out and enter the herd of pigs.

In all these cases, the demons of Satan knew who Jesus was and they confessed Him openly.  They were in total submission and obedient to His commands and waited for his permission before acting again in a different manner.  This is seen again in the story of Job.

[2] People who operate out of the authority of their human nature cannot defeat or control Satan or his forces.

In Mark 9:14-29, the disciples couldn’t drive an evil spirit out of a boy, apparently because of a lack of faith.  Jesus ordered the spirit to leave, and the spirit obeyed.  The disciples asked why they couldn’t do this, and Jesus said, “This kind can come out only by prayer.”

In Acts 19:11-20, God did extraordinary miracles through Paul, including casting out evil spirits from people.  The seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were apparently having fun playing demon-games by trying to cast out evil spirits by using names like a magic utterance, “In the name of Jesus, whom Paul preaches, I command you to come out,” but it was all a pretense from out of their human power.  One day, an evil spirit responded, “Jesus I know, and I know about Paul, but who are you?”  The demon-possessed man overpowered all seven of them and beat them up until they ran for their lives.  This apparently served as an example of what happens when people confront the enemy out of their fleshly nature, and they were gripped with fear and held the name of the Lord Jesus in high honor.  “Many of those who believed now came and openly confessed their evil deeds,” including practices of sorcery.  People saw they could not face the forces of Satan when they were using fleshly sources of evil power, themselves.  They could expect to be overcome the same as the seven men.

[3] Satan needs permission from God to operate; and Satan operates only within the bounds set by God.

Wheat sifting.  Satan apparently has asked permission to sift all the disciples as wheat, perhaps coming against them to test their faith to its limit, but Jesus prayed for them that their faith would not fail.   Satan was denied his request.

Luke 22:31 “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you all as wheat. 32 But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”

Protection from the evil one.  In His prayer for unity in John 17, Jesus also prayed for protection of the apostles, those who had been given to Jesus and who He would be sending out (Acts 1:8). 

“I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world.
Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name—the name you gave me—so that they may be one as we are one. 12 While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me.
15 My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. 16They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. 17 Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world.

Jesus had protected the disciples through the training process, losing only Judas, which had been prophesied.  Jesus prayed for the protection of the unity of the apostles so that they could be set apart by the truth and set up the church in unity by the power of the Spirit.  They did not come against the enemy in their flesh, but with the word of God in the book of Acts. 

God allows Satan to test the mettle of Job.  The book of Job comes under discussion as to its authorship, time of writing, and purpose or intent.  It has been called the oldest book in the Bible and an account to be taken absolutely literally.  It has also been called apocalyptic in nature, written the 400 year intertestamental period to the Jewish people under foreign oppression.  It used to be a matter of doctrinal truth that Job must be ancient and literal, because that’s how it was in the Sunday school of my day, and that’s how we liked it.  I now recognize that the message of the book is more important than my traditions and, in fact, can become clearer once one is released from the bondage of traditional thinking. 

In the first and second chapters, Satan is represented as coming before God at the same time as the angels.  Satan holds a conversation with God, and Satan makes an argument with God over Job – how Job’s dedication to God was superficial and based on his good family and good fortune (Chapter 1) and then because of his good personal health (Chapter 2).   So, all of these external things are taken from Job to see if his faith in God will crack internally.  There are a number of observations about these conversations that are important, whether the book is literal or apocalyptic.

Ch1v6 One day the angels came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came with them. 7 The LORD said to Satan, “Where have you come from?” Satan answered the LORD, “From roaming through the earth and going back and forth in it.”  8 Then the LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.”
9 “Does Job fear God for nothing?” Satan replied. 10 “Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. 11 But stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face.”
12 The LORD said to Satan, “Very well, then, everything he has is in your hands, but on the man himself do not lay a finger.” Then Satan went out from the presence of the LORD.

Ch2v1 On another day the angels came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came with them to present himself before him. 2 And the LORD said to Satan, “Where have you come from?” Satan answered the LORD, “From roaming through
the earth and going back and forth in it.”
3 Then the LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil. And he still maintains his integrity, though you incited me against him to ruin him without any reason.”
4 “Skin for skin!” Satan replied. “A man will give all he has for his own life. 5 But stretch out your hand and strike his flesh and bones, and he will surely curse you to your face.”
6 The LORD said to Satan, “Very well, then, he is in your hands; but you must spare his life.” 7 So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD and afflicted Job with painful sores from the soles of his feet to the top of his head.

 (1)  Although Satan and God had a business-type conversation, it is obvious that God was in charge, and that God and Satan were adversarial.  It’s like God was the owner, but Satan was the one leasing the property.  Satan had to ask permission from the owner (God) before making any modifications on the property.  The owner (God) agreed and Satan was given permission to exercise his challenging evil.  The evil came from Satan, but God allowed it to happen.  But both Satan and God placed the responsibility on God – “but stretch out your {God’s] hand” (1:11; 2:5) and “you incited me [God] against him” (2:3).  Satan operates as allowed by God.

(2) God gave Satan permission to come against a man who “was blameless and upright,” “feared God and shunned evil,” and “was the greatest man among all the people of the East” (Job 1:1-2).  Nobody is too good to be tested by Satan, as allowed by God.  There are no exemptions. 

(3) Satan had been “roaming through the earth and going back and forth in it” (Job 1:7; 2:2), which was Satan’s domain of authority, and Satan had permission to attack Job in the physical realm. Satan claimed that there were physical actions, or blessings, from God that sustained Job’s spiritual faith, so Satan was given clearance to meet those sustaining physical blessings with an equal and opposite reaction, taking away first Job’s family and wealth, and second, Job’s personal health and well-being.  The test was to see how much of Job’s life and attitude was based on a genuine spiritual faith and how much was based on some humanistic pleasant worldly circumstances in the physical realm.  

(4) In each case of God giving Satan permission to attack Job, God also gave Satan boundaries or limits beyond which Satan could not go.  Finally, everything was fair game except Job’s life.  If Job had been killed, the experiment would have ended without an answer to the question. 

(5) Job survived the test and kept his faith in God despite the attack against everything he had physically.  Satan did not have the authority to extend the attack from the physical into the spiritual realm – only Job could have done that if he moved into questioning God or losing his faith.  If Job’s strength had been based only on physical circumstances, his pseudo-faith would have failed under the assault of Satan.  God still needed to give Job some counseling lessons at the end of the book, but at least Job had the faith for God to build on in order to bless Job further.

(6) Job also received a lot of humanistic advice from his friends and from his wife.  But Job was faithful to the commands of God. 

Synopsis of past "motion" posts [1, 2, 3] and introduction to the next.

Newton’s laws of motion explain most of the workings we see in the physical realm.  The 3rd law of motion states that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.  In the spiritual realm, God allows Satan the authority to come against the people of God in an opposing action.  The force from the church that is of the Sprit of God will be sustained, but the force build on human thinking cannot stand.  Satan is the prince of the world, and humanistic thinking in the church has its allegiance to Satan, not to God.  So the combat will divide the church, and the humanistic part of the church will fall apart to leave only the force of the Sprit.  If the impact of humanism within the church is so significant that the church cannot repent, then the church might not stand under the enemy’s assault, and it will fail and go into bondage and captivity.  Then God has to intervene and limit Satan so that a remnant of His people can be preserved.  This series of events are repetitive, forming a cycle.  The church in America is in an identifiable section of this cycle.  It is called, "the growing apostasy." 


For every action there is always an equal and opposite reaction
(Newton’s 3rd law of motion)

Satan operates by the permission of God, and God has given Satan authorization to come against and test the people of God by using an equal and opposite force that will be overcome only by the power of God.  The scriptures speak of Satan being used in this way, as discussed in previous posts and as continued here. 

(Point #’s [1], [2], & [3] are in Part 1.)

[4]  Satan can use elements within the natural creation to come against the people of God.  This may include natural disasters, oppressive circumstances, lies and deceit, and misrepresentation of the truth so that its purpose and outcome are inverted while still being called “truth.”  People can allow Satan to fill their hearts with evil so they are under his control. 

(1) Satan’s domain is this world and the physical realm.

1 John 5:19  We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one.

(2) Satan comes against God’s people with an evil power that is equal and opposite that will test every fiber of the work of the church.  The elect must be humble in themselves and strong only in the Lord, because the Lord’s power will overcome Satan, but any operations in human power will be devoured by the enemy.

1 Peter 5:6  Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. 7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. 8 Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 9 Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings. 10 And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. 11 To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.

(3) Satan oppresses people with bondage.  The anointing upon Jesus included preaching, proclaiming, freeing, healing, and releasing the oppressed.  Peter identified the source of these oppressions was the devil. 

Luke 4:18  “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, 19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

Acts 10:38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him.

(4) If anyone thinks they are standing, but it is under human power, they will fall under the force of the enemy.  In 1 Cor. 10:1-10, Paul reminds the church how the children of Israel had set their hearts on evil things and had reaped the consequences. 

11 These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the fulfillment of the ages has come. 12 So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! 13 No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.

Paraphrasing for our purposes,

“The Israelites came out of their natural desires, and when the opposition came, they got wiped out.  If you are thinking that you are standing firm, it’s likely you are coming out of your flesh as well, and when the equal and opposite reaction comes from Satan, you will fall just like they did.  If you are operating out of the natural, that is how you will be tested.  But God limits Satan and will not allow Satan to totally overcome you, but will provide a way so that you can survive the enemy opposition.”

(5)  Satan uses people who turn the control of their lives over to him.   

(a)  In Acts 13:6-12, Elymus the sorcerer was used as “a child of the devil” to apply equal oppositional force to counter Paul’s message to the proconsul who wanted to hear the word of God.   To make sure the power that overcame Satan was clearly identified, Luke said that Paul “was filled with the Holy Spirit.” 

Acts 13:6  They traveled through the whole island until they came to Paphos. There they met a Jewish sorcerer and false prophet named Bar-Jesus, 7 who was an attendant of the proconsul, Sergius Paulus. The proconsul, an intelligent man, sent for Barnabas and Saul because he wanted to hear the word of God. 8 But Elymas the sorcerer (for that is what his name means) opposed them and tried to turn the proconsul from the faith. 9 Then Saul, who was also called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked straight at Elymas and said, 10 “You are a child of the devil and an enemy of everything that is right! You are full of all kinds of deceit and trickery. Will you never stop perverting the right ways of the Lord? 11 Now the hand of the Lord is against you. You are going to be
blind, and for a time you will be unable to see the light of the sun.” Immediately mist and darkness came over him, and he groped about, seeking someone to lead him by the hand. 12 When the proconsul saw what had happened, he believed, for he was amazed at the teaching about the Lord.

(b)  In Acts 5, Ananias and Sapphira sold some land and gave part of the money to the apostles but said that they had given the entire amount received in the sale. 

Then Peter said, “Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? Didn’t it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn’t the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied to men but to God.” When Ananias heard this, he fell down and died.

The Greek word for “filled” in 5:3 is different than the “filled” in 13:9.  The word in 13:9, pletho, means temporarily controlled, whereas the word in 5:3, pleroo, means to be gradually filled up from the inside.  This wasn’t a temporary “the devil made me do it” behavior.  Satan had completely possessed Ananias through and through.

(6)  God allows Satan to work through the enemies of God’s people, who will threaten, intimidate, misrepresent, and lie just as Satan would do himself.  The intent is to defeat the work that God intends for His people to do.  Why would God do that?  To further train the people of God to trust in the Lord and in Him only. 

In Isaiah 36-38, there is a fascinating account of a war by psychological intimidation between the kng of Assyria and Hezekiah, kng of Judah.  Sennacherib sent his field commander who told Hezekiah’s people these lies that sounded just like Satan talking:

Isa. 36:7 And if you say to me, “We are depending on the LORD our God”—isn’t he the one whose high places and altars Hezekiah removed, saying to Judah and Jerusalem, “You must worship before this altar”?  8 “‘Come now, make a bargain with my master, the king of Assyria: I will give you two thousand horses—if you can put riders on them! 9 How then can you repulse one officer of the least of my master’s officials, even though you are depending on Egypt for chariots and horsemen? 10 Furthermore, have I come to attack and destroy this land without the LORD? The LORD himself told me to march against this country and destroy it.’”

Promise them lies, threaten them, and say the Lord told you to. 

16 “Do not listen to Hezekiah. This is what the king of Assyria says: Make peace with me and come out to me. Then every one of you will eat from his own vine and fig tree and drink water from his own cistern, 17 until I come and take you to a land like your own—a land of grain and new wine, a land of bread and vineyards. 18 “Do not let Hezekiah mislead you when he says, ‘The LORD will deliver us.’ Has the god of any nation ever delivered his land from the hand of the king of Assyria?

More lies. 

But, Hezekiah sought the Lord.

Isa. 37:20 Now, O LORD our God, deliver us from his hand, so that all kingdoms on earth may know that you alone, O LORD, are God.”

Isaiah said God would put a spirit in the king of Assyria that he would return home where he would be killed.  Sennacherib’s forces were outside Jerusalem.

Isa. 37:36 Then the angel of the LORD went out and put to death a hundred and eighty-five thousand men in the Assyrian camp. When the people got up the next morning—there were all the dead bodies! 37 So Sennacherib king of Assyria broke camp and withdrew. He returned to Nineveh and stayed there. 38 One day, while he was worshiping in the temple of his god Nisroch, his sons Adrammelech and Sharezer cut him down with the sword, and they escaped to the land of Ararat. And Esarhaddon his son succeeded him as king.

In Isaiah 38, Hezekiah became sick unto death and prayed to the Lord to intervene.  The Lord spoke through Isaiah who told the king that he would recover and live another 15 years.  But when things were going well, the Babylonians sent congratulations to Hezekiah about his healing (Isa. 39) by an envoy.  Hezekiah proudly showed the Babylonians all the gold, silver, and other things of value in the temple, palace, and the entire kingdom.  Isaiah told him how foolish he had been, because the Babylonians would come and take all of it away along with some of Hezekiah’s descendents. 

Isa.39:8  “The word of the LORD you have spoken is good,”  Hezekiah replied. For he thought, “There will be peace and security in my lifetime.”

“Oh, well.  At least it won’t happen to me.”  Hezekiah sought the Lord when he was in trouble, but otherwise he operated under his human understanding.

[5]  God directs evil spirits and demons to do His bidding whenever He chooses.

(1)  Abimelech, a son of Gideon, had murdered his 70 brothers so that he could be the undisputed ruler over Israel.  Abimelech received help from the men of Shechem to do this deed.  After Abimelech had governed Israel three years, God sent an evil spirit between Abimelech and the citizens of Shechem, who acted treacherously against Abimelech.  God did this because of the evil Abimelech had committed (Judges 9:22-24).

(2)  After King Saul had disobeyed God and God had rejected Saul as King of Israel, God instructed Samuel to anoint David, youngest son of Jesse, as the next king.  God removed His Spirit from Saul and the Spirit of the Lord came upon David.  The Lord sent an evil spirit to torment Saul, but when David played his harp, the evil spirit left (1 Sam. 16:13-23; also 18:10 & 19:9).

13 So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the LORD came upon David in power.  14 Now the Spirit of the LORD had departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the LORD tormented him. 15 Saul’s attendants said to him, “See, an evil spirit from God is tormenting you. 16 Let our lord command his servants here to search for someone who can play the harp. He will play when the evil spirit from God comes upon you, and you will feel better.” 
23 Whenever the spirit from God came upon Saul, David would take his harp and play. Then relief would come to Saul; he would feel better, and the evil spirit would leave him.

(3)  Ahab, King of Israel, was trying to determine if he would defeat the Arameans at Ramoth Gilead and was asking his own prophets, who all told him that the Lord had said Ahab would be successful.  Ahab sent to receive word from Micaiah, a prophet of God.  Micaiah told Ahab of a vision he had seen.

1 Kings 22:19 Micaiah continued, “Therefore hear the word of the LORD: I saw the LORD sitting on his throne with all the host of heaven standing around him on his right and on his left. 20 And the LORD said, ‘Who will entice Ahab into attacking Ramoth Gilead and going to his death there?’ “One suggested this, and another that. 21 Finally, a spirit came forward, stood before the LORD and said, ‘I will entice him.’
22 “ ‘By what means?’ the LORD asked. “ ‘I will go out and be a lying spirit in the mouths of all his prophets,’ he said. “ ‘You will succeed in enticing him,’ said the LORD. ‘Go and do it.’
23 “So now the LORD has put a lying spirit in the mouths of all these prophets of yours. The LORD has decreed disaster for you.”
24 Then Zedekiah son of Kenaanah went up and slapped Micaiah in the face. “Which way did the spirit from the LORD go when he went from me to speak to you?” he asked.
25 Micaiah replied, “You will find out on the day you go to hide in an inner room.”
26 The king of Israel then ordered, “Take Micaiah and send him back to Amon the ruler of the city and to Joash the king’s son 27 and say, ‘This is what the king says: Put this fellow in prison and give him nothing but bread and water until I return safely.’ ”
28 Micaiah declared, “If you ever return safely, the LORD has not spoken through me.” Then he added, “Mark my words, all you people!”

Ahab was killed at Ramoth Gilead.

Although Ahab was not a good king, he still knew that he needed the Lord’s favor in order to win the battle.  But he tried to manipulate the system.  He had a court of “yes-prophets” assembled who told the king what he wanted to hear.  Ahab went with what he wanted to hear even in the face of a true prophecy to the contrary.  Ahab’s intuitive cognition had decided the issue, and his reasoning cognition was filtering the data to be consistent with the conclusion he had already reached.  The prophet Micaiah’s vision of a lying spirit operating under the authority and permission of the Lord is consistent with the story of Job.  Even though the lying spirit was identified and the falsehood of Ahab’s prophets was exposed, Ahab and his prophets still believed what their intuition had said and filtered out the truth and even punished Micaiah, the messenger. 

[6] Satan has the authority to meet anyone or anything in this world that is good with an equal and opposite reaction that is evil.   

(1)  Satan apparently argued with the archangel Michael over the body of Moses.  The archangel did not approach Satan under his own strength, but said, “The Lord rebuke you.”  (Jude 1:9). 

(2)  As recorded in Matt. 4:1-11 and Luke 4:1-15, Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness and was tempted by the devil.  The areas of temptation were the same three categories Satan had used successfully against Eve in the Garden, except this time, Jesus showed how to deal with the devil by using the strength of God.  The devil made promises that were lies, he made offers of things he misrepresented and could not provide, and he took scripture out of context and twisted it for his own application.  Jesus responded by quoting scripture in the truth that God intended.  Jesus showed us an example of dealing with Satan when he would come against God’s people with an equal and opposite reaction.  We should stand in the strength of the Lord and upon His word.

If Satan would come against Jesus Christ, God the Son, why would Satan shy away from coming against anyone?

Satan, masquerading as an angel of light (2 Cor. 11:14), comes to take away (Matt 13:39, Luke 8:12), to gain a foothold (Eph. 4:27), to scheme (Eph. 6:11), to set traps (1 Tim. 3:7, 2 Tim 2:26), and to lead astray (Rev. 12:9).  People who come against Satan in their own human power cannot succeed.  Since Satan is the ruler of the kingdom of the air (Eph. 2:2) and the dominion of darkness (Col. 1:13), anything done for the cause of Christ is against Satan; and Satan will respond with an equal and opposite reactionary force of evil to test every part of the work of the church.  The prince of this world stands condemned, but only by the power of the Holy Spirit (John 16:10-11).  The effort that is out of the flesh will fail; the work empowered by the Holy Spirit will succeed against the enemy.

“Overcome” is a battle term. 

John16:33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

1 John 5:4 for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. 5 Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.

Individual members of the body of Christ can overcome in their own world, but they do not overcome the world.  The church, the body of Christ, the sum of all the elect overcomes the world by overwhelming with the power of the Holy Spirit the equal but opposite reaction brought by Satan.  

Rom. 12:21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.


For every action there is always an equal and opposite reaction
                               (Newton’s 3rd law of motion) 

Satan is allowed to come against the work of the church to test its foundation – is the work built on the foundation of the control of the Spirit or the control from out of the flesh – is it on the rock of Jesus Christ or is it on the sandy soil of humanistic thinking.   In this system of testing, the extent to which the church is in the will of God and operating under the Spirit's control, everything the church asks for will be given and it will succeed in overcoming the world.  The battle is on spiritual turf, and the battle belongs to the Lord no matter how it may seem from the trickery of the enemy.  But to the extent that the church is operating out of human knowledge and wisdom in attitude, doctrine, or work, the church is battling the enemy on the enemy's natural home turf and using natural implements.  Satan is the prince of darkness and of the natural, and Satan will not be defeated using only human thinking and resources.  Any part of the church that is built on a foundation of sand will not hold up to the test.  

“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”
Matt. 7:24-27

Since this analogy corresponds to a natural law of physics, it's not surprising that we can extend the comparison into a little "pseudo-quantitation."    What is the magnitude of the "equal and opposite reaction?"  How much is Satan allowed to throw against the church?  Satan has the authority to test the church using a force of evil that is almost equivalent in magnitude to the force the church would have if it were operating totally out of the Spirit.  That is why the power of the natural will not stand -- its work will not stand the test.

The illustration to the left gives two walls - one build of concrete slab which has reinforcing re-bar installed before the concrete formed.  Although the shapes and colors are different, the pieces are knitted together into one wall, which is mounted on the rock.  If Satan comes at the wall with 1000 pounds of force, the wall stands because it is rated for that.  Satan gets to come against the church assuming that the church is operating out of the Spirit.  In the second wall, made by human effort and thinking, the force is still 1000 pounds but the wall is rated at only 100 pounds, because the pieces are not joined but just stuck together with mud.  

It is obvious which wall will still be standing after the force hits it broadside.

What is the magnitude of the equal and opposite reaction?

How can it be suggested that Satan has permission to test the church with a force that is almost equal to the force that assumes the church is totally relying on the power of the Holy Spirit?  

The church is not presented in the scripture in any other way.  There is no other plan than growing into perfection.  There is no provision for a hybrid operation of Spirit and flesh.  Call it ideal, but there isn't anything else.  How could anything be of God and not be perfect?  We as individuals are declared as perfect and sinless, and so is the church.  There is no portrayal of the bride of Christ with blemish spots.  

… just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. Eph. 5:25-27

Message from the story of Job

At the risk of making too much literal application out of the story of Job, there is some information in these passages about God's expectations of His people.  As noted before, God twice presented Job to Satan as an example of near perfection, and twice Satan responded with accusations and unrighteous judgments.  God did notsay, "Now consider Job; he does pretty well for a natural human being.  You can test him, but not too hard because his flesh might crumble, and he might forsake Me and sin."  No, God’s expectation of Job was that Job was totally committed to Him.  Satan was therefore allowed to test Job in equal magnitude – to use everything out of the natural realm to wreck disaster on Job - business, family, wealth, and eventually his own health.  Yet, Job's spirit withstood the test and he did not sin by blaming God.  God allowed Satan to test Job, but within prescribed limits.  Thus, the evil came from Satan, but God was still in ultimate control. 

If we could adapt and paraphrase the Job passages (Job 1:8-12; 2:3-7) as if God were having a discussion with Satan about the church -- 

Then the Lord said to Satan, “Do you see My church?  It is washed in the blood of the Lamb; it is made pure as the bride of Christ.  It is sanctified, and My Spirit resides in it.  It has the power to overcome the world and to crash the gates of Hell.  It is declared blameless and upright and is imputed with My righteousness.  There is nothing on earth like it.”

Satan replied, “They may seem that way, but they’re just a bunch of Sunday morning performers who exercise their freedom to desire my benefits.  You have blessed their work, and they are all self-righteous about it.  They’ve got their own little pet doctrines that they’re so proud of.  Let me use the “equal and opposite reaction” force and work them over.   You will see their rebellious nature surface; and they will return to their roots of natural evolution and reveal they are only paying lip service to a religion created in their own image.”  

The Lord said to Satan, “Very well, then, all of the work of the church is your hands.  You have the authority to bring the natural forces against it and test its faith, and we will see what remains as pure and perfect.  But you cannot destroy the church; even if members and groups of the body are pruned and fall away, the faithful must be left to continue building into the next cycle.”

Then Satan went out from the presence of the Lord.  And Satan dressed himself in Sunday attire and sang loudly and raised his hands on Sunday morning.  And he expounded about how much better some Christians were than others, and he made up lies and suspicions that judged other’s motives with slander.  And he brought to church with him demons of jealousy, competition, and pride.  And, together, they stirred up strife and chaos among members because their rights and entitlements weren’t respected; and congregations separated and split.  He brought difficult economic times to raise the stakes of competition between different groups for limited resources.  He made people prideful in their doctrine that they had developed and they became arrogant and said other Christians were not saved.  As the members of the body became more intently focused on one another, Satan stealthily brought values of the world into the church that fit into the developing idolatry of self-opinion.  The basic institutions that God had ordained came under attack – the Christ-centered focus of the church and the purpose and sanctity of marriage as created and established by God to model Christ and His church.  Since these attitudes were not in keeping with the scripture, the inspiration of the Word, itself, had to be diluted and its relevance to the current generation was questioned.  Groups split over everything from disputable matters of doctrine to the deity of Jesus Christ, Himself.  The holy righteous nature of God became more like human behavior; and the birth, death, and resurrection of Jesus were classified as being “optional.”  The church blended with the world as a social club of tolerance for anything.  During the course of this self-destruction of the church, the political system changed to reveal a new Brotherhood; and the great persecution came, and those following human values fled into the world.  Some, who previously could not live together as the church in the unity of freedom, learned a new meaning of unity – that of dying together.  But, throughout all of this, some remained faithful to the love of God through Jesus Christ our Lord.  

Then the Lord said, “Who is this that darkens my counsel with words without knowledge?  Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth?  Tell me if you understand so much.  Will the one who contends with the Almighty correct him?  Let him who accused God answer him!  Would you discredit my justice and condemn me to justify yourself?” (Job 38:2,4; 40:2,8)

What message would the Spirit give to the church -- the words spoken to the church at Philadelphia (Rev. 3:7-13) or to the church at Laodicea (Rev. 3:14-22)?  

Rev 3:7  These are the words of him who is holy and true, who holds the key of David. What he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open. 8 I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.

Rev. 3:16  So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. 17 You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. 18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see. 19 Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent. 20 Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me. 21 To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne. 22 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”

Is this an unfair representation of the trends in the American church today?  I think not.

What is the purpose?

This sounds so serious and fatalistic.  Why would a gracious God allow this to happen?  This is the only way that the church, and its individual members of the body, will grow into the full knowledge and maturity of our Lord Jesus Christ.  The opposite force applied by Satan forces the church, and the individuals within, to reach for the power of God to overcome the world.   The only alternative without the power of the Holy Spirit is submission to the natural law of entropy, which leads to destruction.  At times the church places itself under the authority of God and at times it assumes its own human authority and submits to the law of entropy.  Natural forces take over, and the church goes through cycles like the rest of the physical creation.

The church has been declared sinless and perfect, and the Spirit of God lives in the church as it is being built into a holy temple – into the full knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.  But the church is also made up of humans who make mistakes and who introduce their own wisdom into the guidance of the Holy Spirit.  This dilutes the power of the church and this amalgam of Spirit and humanism doesn’t work together.  It is in conflict.  The human element has to be purified out so that only the power of the Spirit remains.  Then the Spirit of Christ continues to be the foundation for future growth.

Satan doesn’t have to back off and play “patty cake” with the church.  Satan has the authority to come against the church as if the church ideally had the power of God behind it without human dilution.  That part built on the Holy Spirit will stand; that part built on human endeavor will not.  It is the test of faith, the test of patience, the test of endurance, the test of purity for the bride of Christ.

Jesus said that the branches of the true vine are tested and pruned so that they can bear much more fruit.  Those who remain in Jesus grow and bear fruit; those who do not remain in Jesus are pruned and discarded and burned.  This is to the glory of the Father that the church proves its faithfulness.

John 15:1 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.

The work of the church will be tested to show what it is made of; it will be refined by fire and proven to be genuine to the praise of Jesus Christ.

1 Cor. 3:11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, 13 his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man’s work. 14 If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. 15 If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames.

1 Pet. 1:5 who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7 These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.

1 Pet.4:12 Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. 14 If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. 15 If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. 16 However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name. 17 For it is time for judgment to begin with the family of God; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God?

James 1:2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4 Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

In the following passage, Paul clearly identifies what we are calling “the equal and opposite reaction” (great pressure) and that he could not overcome it in the flesh (far beyond our ability).  This happened to purify Paul and his work of any human effort (might not rely on ourselves) because only the power of God (but on God, who raises the dead) could overcome the enemy (He has delivered us) by the participation of the body of Christ (you help us by your prayers). 

2 Cor 1: 8  We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about the hardships we suffered in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life. 9 Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. 10 He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, 11 as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many.

Other passages also emphasis the value of using the power of God to overcome the enemy.

Romans 5:2b And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.

Hebrews 12:5-10,14 My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord . . . for the Lord disciplines him whom he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives . . . If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children . . . he disciplines us for our good that we may share his holiness. . . Pursue holiness without which no one will see the Lord.

Mal. 3:2-3 For he will be like a refiner's fire or a launderer's soap. He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; he will purify the Levites and refine them like gold and silver.

Paul was given a thorn in the flesh that God would not remove.  It made him constantly rely on God’s grace to overcome.

2 Cor. 12:7 To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment
me. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

The apostles rejoiced that they were worthy to bear suffering for the name of Jesus (Acts 5:410; the people scattered from persecution in Jerusalem and preached the word (Acts 8:1); Paul was tested by the Jews (Acts 20:10); Apelles was tested and approved in Christ (Rom. 16:11).  The church at Corinth was told to test itself to see if they were in the faith (2 Cor. 13:5).  Paul said (1 Thess. 2:1-4) that he was approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel because God tested his heart with strong opposition.  Paul said the Thessalonians persevered in faith and through all the persecutions and trials and the name of Jesus Christ was being glorified (2 Thess. 1:3-12).

Laws from the physical creation reveal principles in the spiritual realm

God is the creator of both natural and spiritual realms, and the creation testifies to the divine nature (Rom. 1:20).  There are principles that operate similarly in both the natural and spiritual realms, and to consider analogies between them help in understanding both.  These principles are found in scripture, but they are not intuitively obvious unless one is looking for them.  Newton’s third law of motion, “for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction,” is a physical law that is also a principle operating in the spiritual realm.  God allows Satan to come against the church, against groups, against individuals, against any endeavor for good so that it may be purified to the glory of God.  There are other laws of nature that also affect the operation of the church.  One such law is that of sowing and reaping – sow to the Spirit and reap life or sow to the flesh and reap destruction.  This spiritual principle can be explained by the laws of thermodynamics.  Other important spiritual insights into the nature of God and God’s purpose for life can be clarified by considering the physical principles of evolution and genetics.  The environmental pressures from the "equal and opposite reaction" produce a result similar to the "survival of the fittest"  of physical evolution - except the "fittest" in the spiritual realm are those who rely on the Holy Spirit power of God and not on themselves.


“Jesus I know, and I know about Paul, but who are you?” Acts 20:15

“…apart from me, you can do nothing.”  John 15:5

An example of a natural “equal and opposite reaction” from the enemy which would defeat the people of God if they came against the force out of their own natural power – with the enemy overcome only by the spiritual power and strength of God.

David and Goliath - 1 Samuel 17

A natural “equal and opposite reaction” force of the enemy comes against the people of God.  The Israelites, operating out of their natural power, cower in fear of the overwhelming natural force exhibited by the enemy.    

1 Sam. 17:1  Now the Philistines gathered their forces for war and assembled at Socoh in Judah. They pitched camp at Ephes Dammim, between Socoh and Azekah. Saul and the Israelites assembled and camped in the Valley of Elah and drew up their battle line to meet the Philistines. The Philistines occupied one hill and the Israelites another, with the valley between them. A champion named Goliath, who was from Gath, came out of the Philistine camp. He was [almost 10 feet] tall. He had a bronze helmet on his head and wore a coat of scale armor of bronze weighing [about 125 pounds]; on his legs he wore bronze greaves, and a bronze javelin was slung on his back. His spear shaft as like a weaver’s rod, and its iron point weighed [about 15 pounds]. His shield bearer went ahead of him.

The enemy challenges the people of God to come to his turf and fight a battle in the flesh – on his terms – on his measure of strength.  

Goliath stood and shouted to the ranks of Israel, “Why do you come out and line up for battle? Am I not a Philistine, and are you not the servants of Saul? Choose a man and have him come down to me. If he is able to fight and kill me, we will become your subjects; but if I overcome him and kill him, you will become our subjects and serve us.” 10 Then the Philistine said, “This day I defy the ranks of Israel! Give me a man and let us fight each other.” 11 On hearing the Philistine’s words, Saul and all the Israelites were dismayed and terrified.

The Israelites offer natural wealth and reward for someone to face the enemy.  

Goliath, the Philistine champion from Gath, stepped out from his lines and shouted his
usual defiance, and David heard it. 24 When the Israelites saw the man, they all ran from him in great fear. 25 Now the Israelites had been saying, “Do you see how this man keeps coming out? He comes out to defy Israel. The king will give great wealth to the man who kills him. He will also give him his daughter in marriage and will exempt his father’s family from taxes in Israel.”

Someone who recognizes God as the source of real power hears the challenge.

26 David asked, “Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?”

The “brethren,” who think in the natural, belittle, judge, and insult the one who operates out of the spiritual strength of God.  

28 When Eliab, David’s oldest brother, heard him speaking with the men, he burned with anger at him and asked, “Why have you come down here? And with whom did you leave those few sheep in the desert? I know how conceited you are and how wicked your heart is; you came down only to watch the battle.”

The king assumes his natural and physical armor will be needed, because he is thinking only in the natural.  

38Then Saul dressed David in his own tunic. He put a coat of armor on him and a bronze helmet on his head. 39 David fastened on his sword over the tunic and tried walking around, because he was not used to them. “I cannot go in these,” he said to Saul, “because I am not used to them.” So he took them off.

The one with the spiritual strength of God comes against the enemy with seemingly overwhelming natural advantage.  The enemy challenges in the natural; the man of God responds with a pronouncement of the identity of his strength. 

And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. 44 “Come here,” he said, “and I’ll give your flesh to the birds of the air and the beasts of the field!” 45 David said to the Philistine, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the LORD Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. 46 This day the LORD will hand you over to me … and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel.

The battle is the Lord’s.

47 All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the LORD saves; for the battle is the LORD’s, and he will give all of you into our hands.”

David’s father, Jesse, had asked him to go and check on the progress of the battle with the Philistines and to bring back some “assurance” from his brothers that the battle was going favorably for the Israelites (1 Sam. 17:18-19).  “Assurance” was the evidence of winning a battle, because it was the plunder of enemy possessions taken by conquest – the spoils of victory.  But some enemy possessions are evil and only adulterate what is good.

Today, if a shepherd boy named David were sent out to the battle lines between the people of God (church) and the Philistine army led by a giant named Goliath (the world of natural humanism), and if he were asked to bring back a report, what would the “report card” say?  What victories of the church over the world could be documented?  Or has the “plunder of the world” been taken like a cherished prize and incorporated into the church, like King Saul was going to do in Israel (1 Sam. 15).

Satan can adjust the magnitude and extent of coverage of the equal and opposite reaction to the area of the body that is to be tested.

Christians need to understand the concept that Satan can come against the church, the body of Christ, at all possible levels of organization.  Satan’s forces may be directed against the entire body, against certain parts that make up the entire body (eyes, ears, hands, feet, etc.), against components of those parts (muscle, bone, connective tissue, neurons, etc.), against the cellular composition of those tissues (cell membrane, nucleus, mitochondria, etc.), against the molecular composition of the cells (amino acids, phospholipids, proteins, fatty acids, etc.), against the atomic composition of the molecules (organic carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, sulfur, and inorganic ions sodium and potassium), and against sub-atomic particles. 

What’s the analogy?  Let’s go in reverse.  Sub-atomic particles are like individual members, atomic components are like a network or a few working together, the molecular level is like small groups, the cellular components are like different congregations,, organizations of cells into tissues is like categories of size similar to denominations (Baptist, Lutheran, etc), anatomical parts like organizations of Protestant, Catholic, independent, Church of England, etc. that make up the entire universal body of Christ of Christians and groups everywhere.

A Satanic attack can be at any level of organization, and the categories strengths and weaknesses of the body of Christ are, in principle, the same at all levels – in all cases there is a battle between the Spirit and the flesh for control, there are people (individuals or those in authority over a group) who are making decisions that involve spiritual discernment into and submission to the will of God, there is obedience and action that comes out of that obedience to the love of God as shown through Christ, there is knowledge of the word of God, and more.  The principles are the same, but the appearance of the battle outcome is dependent on the size of the part of the body as is the effect of the outcome on the entire body.

For example, an attack against some cells may produce a bump that itches, but it could heal without significant impact on the work of the entire body -- unless the DNA of the cells was changed so that a change was spread and more and more cells taken over as in a cancer.  Sometimes eyes, hands, or other body parts have to be removed because of cancer.  Satan can attack the bones of the body that would affect the function of all parts.  Satan could come against the sodium and potassium ions of the body so that the neuronal control of the muscles was affected and movement wasn’t coordinated and purposeful.  Satan could come against the body with an infection – locally to impact the function of body components or systemic to impede the health of the entire body.  Such an attack might be a post-modern world view, the disingenuous complaint of “intolerance,” or a growing trend for the inspiration of scripture being challenged by humanistic doctrine trying to justify itself.

Satan could come against parts of the body with scandals and accusations, some of which may even be factually based.  Individuals with public Christian statements can be brought down when a hidden sin is reveled, as in the case of some publicly elected officials.  These all have negative impact on the church in the eyes of the world.  Satan could come against the body with persecution, as in Acts 8:1.  Satan could come against the body with humanistic influence of the surrounding and prevailing society, as in the first century when the church began to adopt the organization of the Roman government. 

The entire body must work together if meaningful and coordinated work is to take place.  The hand may be more suitable for some work and the feet for other work.  The eye is sensitive to one type of sensory input and the ear for another.  But for the body to be maximally effective, every part must be functioning at its best capacity. 

If the hand gets hurt, the foot doesn’t say, “Yeah, yeah!  The hand got hurt.  Maybe now we feet can get some of the hand’s red blood cells and some of the oxygen flow to the cells of the hand.  Maybe we feet can grow larger and that old hand will grow smaller.  That hand wasn’t doing things right, anyway.”  If the eye gets hurt and has to be covered with a patch, the ear doesn’t say, “Good.  Maybe I’ll be more appreciated now.  Jesus will say I am more important.”  And the eye doesn’t say to the ear, “You won’t be able to see the volume control.  Go ahead and crank your ear buds up to 130 db.”  When this inner destructive competitive talk occurs, the enemy is applauding and laughing, “Keep it up -- more, more!”   

We, as individual Christians, relate most to the spiritual battle at our own personal level – our spiritual growth, our decisions, our struggles, our testimony, our Christian witness – “this little Christian light of mine; I’m gonna let it shine.”  We can also understand the impact of a group at work or at a congregation – feeding people, helping people, building a house, other group ministries.  It begins to be a stretch to understand the “body implications” of the spiritual battles of a congregation – congregational decisions, doctrine, make up of the membership, ministry involvement, changes in location or type of worship services.  It is difficult to see the relationship between the expression of love, peace, and unity and the power of Christian witness to the world even at a denominational level.  Increase the scope to major groups and then to the universal body of Christ and it gets into a range where the relations between cause and effect are not easily recognizable. 

We understand that an individual can make decisions to follow the Spirit and be blessed or to follow the fleshly desires and reap the consequences.  In this context, we can understand consequences of divorce, lost jobs, ruined relationships, going to jail, losing money, accident, disease and loss of Christian credibility.  We can understand the fulfillment of the promise of blessings.  Congregations make decision, too, that produce divorce (splits), ruined relationships (chaos), losing members and budget, accident or disease (1 Cor. 11:30), and loss of a credible witness to the community.  Credibility loss can be suffered by large groups, like denominations, at a national or worldwide level.  It is the same strengths and vulnerabilities at all the levels; it is the same enemy operating with evil force; it is the same categories of temptations as first presented in the Garden and then to Jesus and then listed in 1 John 2:16.

What level of body organization is being referred to when “new atheist” types such as Richard Dawkins or Stephen Hawkings say that those who believe in a God are superstitious and their belief system is responsible for the bad things that go on in the world – wars, violence, disease, whatever?  Is there any differentiation between congregations here – any differentiation between denominations – or have all God-believers been lumped together?  When those in the world hear these types of atheistic statements, do they differentiate between levels of church organization?  “Well, I know two people who are pretty genuine, so Hawkings can’t be right – there must be a God.” Or -- “Well, that church on the corner has nice people for members, so Dawkins must be incorrect in what he says about Christianity.”  Public anti-Christian statements from atheists or the media are directed against the entire body of Christ without regard to some special group somewhere who really are acting in the love and unity of Jesus in their small area.

Christians can impact their neighbors; congregations can impact the surrounding community; denominations can have a wider spread; but the image of the universal body of Christ is what the world sees as the church.  Satan’s forces of an equal and opposite reaction against the church are directed against the entire church; therefore, it takes the entire church working together to come against Satan.  How effective are the individual parts of the body trying to answer the forces of Satan that are against the entire body, such as trying to find rebuttals to the charges of atheists?  Satan comes against the church with a power that is almost equal to the power of the Holy Spirit operating and living in the body of Christ.  However, the magnitude of power that Satan is authorized to use is greater than the power of the Spirit when He is all diluted out with humanism.  Satan’s defeat will require the power of the Holy Spirit operating in a universal church that is maintaining the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace in the love of the Lord Jesus Christ.  A universal church that is divided into sections, into denominations, to competitive factions with internal strife and chaos, will not have sufficient power (that requires the unity of the Spirit) to stand up to the equal and opposite reaction of the enemy.  The humanism in the church will be exposed and will fail, and the mission of the church that is adulterated with human effort will fail and will be cut out.  What remains (the remnant) will operate out of the power of the Spirit and the purity of the gospel and will seed the beginning of a new cycle of the church – the kingdom of God on earth.

Christians operating individually or in groups must do as much as they can for the kingdom and the gospel of Christ.  Christians in fields of science must combat error both in science that tries to be theological and theology that tries to be scientific, with one bending the other to conform to prior conceptions.  But the biggest detriment to the witness of the church is division in the body of Christ.  Chaos and division is of the flesh and not of the Spirit.  It is this back and forth between natural and spiritual influences on the church that produces cycles of prosperity and persecution for the church.  It seems that the lessons have to be relearned after a certain number of generations – there is not enough intergenerational transfer of spiritual knowledge and wisdom.

God’s people operated through natural cycles throughout the Old Testament period.  The natural is all they had, because Jesus had not yet died for their atonement and the Spirit of God had not created a new and clean heart within.  God’s plan in the coming of the Spirit on Pentecost was for the church, and individuals, to have the power to operate beyond the natural realm, beyond the flesh, to overcome, by the power of the Spirit, the gravitational pull of the world and to break free to grow into the full knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ and to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

We have no confidence in the flesh (Phil. 3:3); and when in the flesh, we have no confidence.  

Newton’s laws of motion explain most of what we see operating in the physical realm.  The 3rd law says that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.  The law, together with the law of gravity, explains mathematically how cars travel on a road, why we don’t float off into space, and why the earth has its orbit.  In order for movement in one direction to take place (work), one opposing force must be greater than the other, which means a greater force is applied which involves additional expenditure of energy.  The transfer of energy from its source to the application against the opposing force should be of high efficiency.  If the efficiency is low, a lot of the energy may be used up overcoming internal resistance and in the production of a product called entropy, from which no more energy can be obtained – an energy dead-end.

This law can explain some principles in the spiritual realm, as well.  God has permitted Satan to come against His people – the Israelites in the O.T. and the church today.  Satan has natural forces at his disposal, both forces of the natural creation as well as the fleshly, natural component of man, as formed by God according to His plan worked out through the process of evolution.  It is consistently shown throughout scripture, from Adam and Eve in the Garden, through the O.T. and the N.T., that man cannot overcome Satan by his own natural power, but will overcome Satan by the power of God through the Holy Spirit. 

When man, as an individual, as a group, or collectively as the universal church, chooses to operate out of human desire (flesh) and rebel rather than submit to the will of God (Spirit), God allows man to receive the outcome of the laws that govern the physical world.  When subject to the equal and opposite reaction and to the law of entropy, the church will fail under its own earthly power.  The church makes the decision out of internal human thinking infiltrated from the world, and the church places itself under subjection to the operation of physical laws and to that outcome.

The process of man’s learning, forgetting, and relearning dependency on God is cyclic as the blessings from obedience to God produce pride and self-sufficiency, which produce reliance on self and humanism (idolatry), sowing to the flesh and reaping entropy, suffering the decaying effect of entropy, seeking again the power of God by obedience.  Those components of the church’s structure that are humanistic will fail and collapse, leaving only the structure built on the spiritual foundation.  In this process composed of both discernment though the Spirit and trial and error through human effort, the dross of humanism is burned away, because it cannot stand against the equal and opposite reaction, from the enemy.   That which is of the power of God is left standing, as the church builds itself up in love. 

The church seems to be moving more and more from an influence in society into isolation from society and a relegation to irrelevance by society.  Divisions within the church are getting deeper, not being overcome.  As the world further encroaches into the church with humanistic thinking, the church is having difficulty maintaining any positive impact on politics, law, attitude, education, or behavior in society.  The church is finding it difficult within itself to reconcile its traditional views about the inerrancy of scripture and the nature of Jesus Christ with the pressure for approval and adoption of the works of the flesh that are demanded by a “you are intolerant” shouting society.  So, something in the doctrine of the church has to go, and it is increasing evident that the compromise involves the authority of scripture and the divinity of Jesus.  In the effort to stem membership loss by being more “user friendly,” the church is adapting to the world and has taken “come as you are – you can change into the image of Christ through the power of God’s love” and has post-modernized it into“come as you are – you’ll fit right in – we’ve changed so you won’t have to.”

This is the product of the work of humanism in the church.  What is the certain result that will occur when the force of the enemy’s “equal and opposite reaction” of the natural realm is applied?  The result is certain because is given in the word of God -- From the flesh the church reaps entropy; from entropy comes destruction within the church; from destruction comes apostasy; from apostasy comes the judgment of God. 

More and more components of the church in America are stepping into the handbasket, with a bound destination that has been predetermined by God, because God has allowed Satan to be the conductor.  The lunch served on the Handbasket Express is “snake surprise.”  The conductor says, “You will not surely die.”

When the church follows the guide of its own natural humanistic thinking, the church voluntarily submits itself to the laws of the physical realm and will receive the same consequence of these laws as anything else in the natural universe.  The church, as the body of Christ, can corporately make the same choices as an individual – obedience to the will of God or human directed rebellion.  

The church places itself into a cycle that was created by God.  God created the natural cycles, and God provided a way through Christ to overcome the natural.  That way is narrow, and few there be who find it – and even fewer there be who stay on that path without deviation into the natural.

What does a natural cycle look like?  Nature provides a illustration that is easily accessible.  

It is summed up in the life cycle of a bacterial colony.


For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made Romans 1:20

Similar principles operate in physical and spiritual realms.  We are continuing to explore principles of God’s physical creation that are analogous to actions in the spiritual realms as described in scripture.  If we as Christians do not take natural laws into account when interpreting the scripture, we sell ourselves short and cut off much of our own bandwidth to the revelation that God has provided concerning His plan for us. 

Most conservative Christians believe that the Bible is the source of absolute truth, but there comes with this belief a certain sense of obligation to properly interpret the scripture.  Sometimes, however, it is a problem to differentiate truth from our traditional doctrine and interpretations which have been classically considered a direct derivation from the truth. 

It is difficult to maintain a balance between a closed canon and a completed revelation on one side and the other side having spiritual growth and increase in understanding of what the Bible has to say to our lives.  There are differences in the definition of “revelation.”   Does revelation mean additions to the accepted recording of what Jesus said while on this earth and what His apostles wrote empowered by the Holy Spirit (i.e., New Testament) – most notable example being the Latter Day Saints (Mormons)?  Is revelation those insights into meanings of passages that we did not understand before or into new applications to our life situations?  The Holy Spirit may reveal truth to us individually as we are ready to receive and apply it to our lives, but it may be a personal revelation and not one that has application to everyone, or that is intended to be a binding church doctrine.

Three sources of revelation that bear a consistent, true witness.  But we do have sources of revelation of God all around us that has not yet been totally discovered.  Matters dealing with the revelation of God seem to go in threes – three testimonies (1 John 5:7), three holy relationships (Trinity), and three sources of revelation.  They all testify in concert with one another.  The three sources of revelation are the teachings and example of Jesus Christ as contained in the scripture (and other scripture leading up to it), the Holy Spirit that guides us into all truth (John 16:13), and the physical creation – the things that God has made – testifying to the divine nature (Rom. 1:20).  All of these sources bear witness to God.  The Spirit of God moved across the waters (Gen. 1:2); Jesus taught the words of the Father (John 8:28-29); the Holy Spirit testifies of Jesus and speaks His words (John 16:13-16); the creation reveals the divine nature of God (Rom. 1:20); and everything was made through Christ (Col. 1:16-17). 

It is all linked together.  Shall we reject the testimony of the revelation of God that He, Himself, has provided by separating the operation of spiritual principles from those laws within the physical realms?  Who has authorized this separation?  Has the One who created all of it said that we should dismiss some of the revelation? 

But, instead of integrating sources of revelation, we have polarized.  Theologians, particularly Christians, have felt a responsibility to protect the doctrine once delivered to the saints, which is more their own finite understanding and interpretation of ancient writings than the unchanging word of God.  Change has been slow to occur and new discoveries of insights into God’s word have often not been received well.  On the other hand, scientists have generally emphasized discovery, but have been slow to accept or defend sacred immutable truths.  The theological side protects their doctrines and bends discoveries into compliance while those who claim to believe in human reason and wisdom call any belief in a deity superstitious; and the more personal God is to a believer, the more criticism this way of thinking deserves.

Is the word of God living, or not; or is it not dead, but just stagnant?  Is God’s word supposed to be stagnant?  Have we been charged with the protection of God’s word from contamination from alien beings?  The church is the body of Christ, but we are the body guards?  Can we be like the one-talent man who buried his talent when we should be like the five talent man who doubled his investment? 

The scripture says God’s word is alive.  The word through Moses was alive (Acts 7:38); the words from Jesus were from the Father living in Him (John 14:10); the word of God is living and enduring (1 Pet. 1:23).

Heb 4:12  For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. 13 Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.

The word is alive because it has to grow into maturity and bear fruit.  The word is living and active, but our doctrinal interpretations are entombed in “carbonite” and we are as sight challenged as was Hans Solo. 

God is the creator of all.  God is the creator of heavens and the earth.  God spoke and physical matter and energy came into existence along with the laws to govern the natural realm.  God created the spiritual realm as we try to conceive of it through the scriptures.  Given the common source, it would seem inconsistent to not have analogies and correlations between how things work in the physical realm and the spiritual realm.  We separate the physical from spiritual to our own detriment.  In doing so, we lose valuable information about how God works, about His will and expectation, and about His plan for us and for His church.  Christians can be so protective of the doctrines and interpretations they have created that there isn’t time to discover new truths in God’s living and active word. 

Spiritual truths illustrated in physical laws.  Jesus used physical world stories to illustrate spiritual principles in parables.  While these stories are physically and biologically accurate in what they say, they used words and plots that were understood in the first century – seeds, soils, orchards, vines, fruit, harvest, weather.  We understand that the parables use relatively simple physical truths to illustrate profound spiritual principles concerning the nature of God.  Therefore, we know it’s not good exegesis to take the parables and try to make 21stcentury scientific textbooks out of them.  Jesus’ authority to speak spiritual truths in physical illustrations was confirmed by the signs and miracles that showed His authority over all elements of the physical world.  After all, everything that has been created was made through Him (Col. 1:16-17).

There are many more spiritual truths in the scripture that could be discovered, but are waiting to “catch up” with for our human technical knowledge so the analogies can be seen.  A great deal of insight into the revelation of God and His plan for us can be seen when passages of scripture are interpreted in light of correlations with the same principles that were created to operate in the physical realm. 

The church is territorial with its doctrinal turf.  “Quit sitting on your doctrines and get up and attack the gates of hell.”  As the exponential increase in scientific and technical knowledge continues through discovery, more and more of the principles of creation are understood in greater detail.  Our rate of increase of human knowledge derived from natural scientific discovery continues to exceed the rate of understanding of the revelation of God as taught and modeled through the Word of God.  This dichotomy in rate of discovery between the physical and spiritual realms has presented a problem for many centuries.  The church has been slow to accept any change.  The church used to take traditional interpretations of selected scriptures and canonize what was considered at the time to be a scientific fact.  When a scientific discovery was made that opposed these views, sometimes made by clergy who also were scientists, the person discovering the new data was persecuted and the new data were condemned by the church – and sometimes people were killed for heresy.  Ideas that we would consider illiterate today were defended as doctrine, such as a flat earth and the earth as center of the universe. 

Similar tendencies exist today.  Some people still hold to Archbishop James Ussher’s calculation of a traditional time of the evening before Sunday, October 23, 4004 BC for the creation of the world in 6 x 24 hour days.  Although this was considered a scholarly piece of work in 1654, there is little credible scientific evidence known today that could support that date.  This date, or a similar one of a young earth age, is assumed to be correct by many Christians who aren’t familiar with the evidence themselves but are familiar with the theological castigations directed toward “all those evolutionary atheists,” which is a reference often made about scientists in general.  This territorial divide between a traditional interpretation of the Genesis creation account and the scientific evidence restricts people’s appreciation of the necessity of both science and theology in a more complete understanding of the nature of God.   

Carefully defending the right to commit error.  In this way, theologians have committed both of what statistics calls Type I and Type II errors.  One error is making an incorrect conclusion from a sampling of data and the other error is saying no correct answer is there, when it is, but it was missed.  Both types of errors miss the truth – both make the wrong assumptions.  One error finds a conclusion which is not true and the other error can look at the correct conclusion but call it wrong.  Type I errors are made by those insisting on a virtually unsupportable 6 day creation scheme that is preconditioned by a narrow view of scriptural interpretation, and calling it “literal.”   The same people make Type II errors when they claim that almost all scientific evidence consistent with an “old earth” has to be wrong because it doesn’t match their preconceived conclusions.  An outcome of these errors in interpreting Genesis 1-3 is that the same approach is carried over to other passages in both Old and New Testaments, and using scientific knowledge to help interpret biblical passages is either ignored or deemed theologically unacceptable.   As a result we limit ourselves in understanding the revelation of God and in our growing to be like God.  Because Christians fall so short in understanding the magnitude of what God has provided through Christ and through His Spirit, the shortage is often filled with whatever else is handy -- the empty inflated balloon of humanistic thinking. 

The truth of God’s nature is expressed through revelation, and God has given three sources of revelation that are to be used together to add understanding and completeness.  We have not yet discovered all the meanings of every verse in the Bible; we have not yet heard all the teaching of the Holy Spirit; we have not yet discovered everything there is to possibly know about our physical universe. 

Before getting into a discussion of correlating principles between the physical and spiritual realms, there are a few brief definitions of terms that will be needed, although a more complete explanation will be given later. 

Thermodynamics deals with energy, specifically the transfer of energy involving heat.  There are three Laws that govern nature; the first two will be briefly defined here.

First Law of Thermodynamics -- Conservation of Mass and Energy – Energy can change form, but it cannot be created or destroyed.  You’ve got what you started with.

Second Law of Thermodynamics – Entropy – Nothing is 100% energy efficient – In reactions involving energy conversion, some of the energy will end up in a useless form called “entropy.”  This is a dead end – no more useful energy can be extracted.  The natural course is for energy states to go lower, into greater disorder or chaos.  High entropy is disorder; low entropy is order.  If all energy available has been converted to entropy, there is no useful energy left in the system.  This could be analogous to death, at least from the perspective of a living organism.

Isolated, closed or open system.  A isolated system is thermodynamically sealed so that there can be no input of new energy or matter over that which was present at the origin.  An open system has a source of new energy which is continuous or at least over and above that energy placed into the system at creation.  Outside energy, but not matter, can cross into a closed system.

Outside energy source – new energy source outside the system – With the accumulation of entropy in a isolated system, all reactions within an isolated system will eventually come to a halt, since entropy is high and no more useful energy can be obtained.  In an open system, the energy systems do not have to halt because new energy needs are supplied from outside the system. 

The universe.  One simple statement of the second law is “The universe is running down.”  That statement assumes that the universe is a isolated system and that no additional energy was put into this closed system after the initial “big bang.”  Therefore, inside this isolated system, the law of entropy operated without opposition or without any introduction of replacement new energy.  There are natural limits assumed within the universe upon which operational theories and laws are based – such as, there is no speed greater than the speed of light and there is no temperature lower than “absolute zero,” at which point all heat has been removed and all motion stops.

Cycle – a repetitive process, usually continuous, that can be described mathematically in the pattern of a circle, coil, or wave.  The components of a cycle are often predictable because the responses or outcomes of processes are dependent on precursors and substrates in the same relationship as in previous phases. 

As in the case of Newton’s laws of motion, newer mathematical modeling has been developed to define more recent physical observations in the universe – (eg., theories of relativity, bending of time, mathematics of black holes, quantum theory, etc).  However, the principles of the laws of thermodynamics, as those principles of the laws of motion, accurately describe the natural controls that govern our environment within which we interact and those things that affect our lives.  These principles of these natural laws governing our experience of everyday life correlate with, and allow considerable insight into, spiritual principles given in scripture – particularly those of sowing to the Spirit or flesh and reaping life or destruction, transformation into the likeness of God, spiritual growth, metamorphosis, being clothed with Christ, and the genetics of the new creation.

Direction for future posts (as presently envisioned)

That being said, the following few paragraphs give some goals – what we will attempt to show in future posts – using some logic, some data from scientific experiments, some exegesis from the scripture, and some revelation from the Spirit through prayer about the meanings of some very complex things.  This is a work in progress that is being developed and modified along the way and is subject to revision.

God created the physical universe from nothing that can be physically measured in energy, matter, dimensional space, or time.  Perhaps we could assume there was a transfer of power from outside the physical realm – perhaps being from “another universe” or from the spiritual realm where God exists.  But this transfer provided a link between the two realms from the beginning.

Understanding the above principles necessitates deriving truth from the logos of God expressed in creation as well as in the recorded word.  The laws and principles in the physical realm that apply to processes in the spiritual realm include the laws of motion, the laws of thermodynamics, evolution, genetics, sowing and reaping, cycles, and quantum mechanics.

A foundation for understanding many of the above principles can be illustrated by the life cycle of a bacterial colony under specifically controlled tissue culture conditions.