There is a process in manufacturing where things are designed to wear out, which is called planned obsolescence.
From a design perspective most designers desire to create the perfect product that will last and last without breaking down, wearing out or failing. I recall many years ago that someone produced a pair of ladies stockings with a material and a weave pattern that would not snag, run or tear. But they would not put it into production because if women bought them they would never need to buy stockings again and the company would go out of business quickly.
Now whether that is a true story or just an urban myth I don't really know, but it does illustrate the point and value of planned obsolescence. Designing something to fail is not necessarily a bad thing, but perfection is better.
God too tells us that the creation now that He established is designed currently to fail. These few scriptures tell us as much and we need to consider what that means for us.
When God created the heavens and the earth He made them to be very, very good. He saw to it that the creation would hold together, be self repairing, would be in total balance and remain that way for a long time.
Indeed we see in the first chapter of Genesis what the plan of the creation was like, and at the end of each of the days of creation we see the comment that what had been created that day was very good.
We need to understand also that in the book of Genesis there are two descriptions of the Creation.
Chapter 1 describes the plan of the Creation from beginning to end with man being created in the image of God on the sixth day and God then resting from all His works on the seventh day. For man to be made in the image of God, man must be made perfect as God is perfect. But it is clear today that man is NOT perfect and most of the time man is not even much good. The imperfection of sin prevents man from being fully in the image of God and so man is not perfect or in the image of God. How can this be?
Well in Genesis 2 we see the unfolding of this plan of Creation and the way in which God actually built all that we see around us. And interestingly it does not follow the same exact structure of the plan in Genesis 1.
What we see in Genesis 2:4-7 is this description of the creation of man.
4 These are the generations of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens. 5 When no bush of the field was yet in the land and no small plant of the field had yet sprung up-for the LORD God had not caused it to rain on the land, and there was no man to work the ground, 6 and a mist was going up from the land and was watering the whole face of the ground- 7 then the LORD God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.
Now it is evident from chapter 1 that plants were created during the third day,of the Creation. But here we see that God created man before there were any plants of any kind on the earth.
Contrary to the opinions of evolution theories, which state that man evolved from lower life forms by degrees and mutation, what we see here is that man was not the final stage but the first stage of animal life. In fact the creation of man predates the creation of all the plant life on the planet. Adam would have seen and watched as God created everything on the face of the planet, and in fact as we continue reading Genesis 2 we see that as God created things He brought them to Adam to name them.
When God created Adam he was made perfect for Adam walked with God and spoke to Him directly. There was no sin in the world yet and so Adam, and Eve also when she was made, were perfect and would have lived forever.
But this was not going to happen. Man failed. Man succumbed to the temptation of sin and fell subject to a creature that was no God for in believing and accepting the word of Satan man chose the path of the devil and through that choice fell from perfection and earned death.
When man chose sin to open his eyes and see the difference between good and evil, he brought imperfection into the world. By doing what was evil and rejecting the word of God man changed everything.
That very first sin not to eat of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was not about stealing fruit. It was about rejecting the word of God. That is what sin really is. Sin is lawlessness and lawlessness is the rejection of what is good, right and true in the sight of God.
And in that initial sin everything was changed. God cursed the earth because of the sin of Adam and Eve and we see this in Genesis 3:17-19.
17 And to Adam he said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, 'You shall not eat of it,' cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life; 18 thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. 19 By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”
Here is where God cursed the earth and changed it from a perfect paradise to a place of hard work and toil. It was because of sin that God changed the earth to a place that would wear out and die.
Back in Romans 8:18-21 we see Paul describe this action in this way.
18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. 19 For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.
This creation was subjected to futility…by God. It was changed after the sin of Adam and Eve to become a futile place where things wear out, decay, rust, rot and die. This whole planet is futile and everything that man does on it is futile and a waste of time and energy for there is nothing a man can do that will last forever.
The reason why is that man is prevented from creating anything permanent because of death. Every man's work will come to nothing because they will eventually die and whatever they have done or achieved in this life will become someone else's and who knows what they will do with it.
Solomon recognised this fact and truth of life in this world and bemoans it throughout his writings in the book of Ecclesiastes. He speaks over and over of things in this life being all in vain. Vanity of vanities he calls all things and says,
“I have seen everything that is done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and a striving after wind.” Ecclesiastes 1:14
One could argue that if everything is in vain and that no matter what you do it will eventually come to nothing, then why bother doing anything at all? But that is a foolish argument and Solomon had the answer to that in the end of his book, which I will let you find for yourself.
Knowing that everything is subject to futility and will fail, we need to understand now why God has done this. Why did God curse the earth and set it up so that things would wear out and all living things, man, beast and plant would die.
Well God knows what He is doing and He allowed this to happen for a very good reason. In what we can see in this world are the possibilities of perfection. We can see in the creation a shadow of what God can do and in wisdom we can understand that He CAN make things perfect. He has done so before and in what we see around us we can still see the basis of a perfect creation.
And now He offers us the possibility of entering into His perfect creation once again. A place that is free from sin, free from sickness, death, pain, suffer and all forms of evil. A place that is permanent and without the ability to wear out or fail. And in it He has promised eternal life.
What God has offered us now is HOPE.
He has established the way to step apart and away from the futility of this existence and to seek out and find the fulness of all He has to offer. He is offering us to take us into His kingdom and recreate us in perfection, not subjected to the futility of this world but filled with the hope of salvation and life.
And the path He sets before is is to follow Jesus Christ and so be saved. In Jesus Christ, God is reconciling the world to himself for those who choose to see, accept and believe in Him. And that reconciliation will be complete.
It's not just forgiveness but it is a complete and total makeover of your life to become like Jesus.
In the plan of creation on the sixth day in Genesis 1:26 we see that when God planned to make man He planned to make man “…in our image after our likeness.”
This is an important scripture for it tells us the order of things. What comes first? Man is first created in the “likeness” of God. Now if you think about that for a moment you will realise that some things are like others but not EXACTLY the same. Brothers, sisters, parents and so on bear a likeness or a resemblance to one another but they are not EXACTLY the same. They are not images of one another but are just alike in many ways.
So too when God first created man and in particular man as we see him today, we are made in the likeness of God, but we are not in His image. To be in the image of God would be like a reflection in a high quality mirror. It would be a mirror image or an EXACT replica of the one looking into the mirror.
And we see the scripture talks about Jesus in a similar way for it says in Hebrews 1:3,
“He [Jesus] reflects the glory of God and bears the very stamp of his nature…” (RSV)
Jesus is the image of God the Father for He is a reflection of the Father and in Him we see what the Father looks like. Jesus told Phillip once that, “If you have seen me you have seen the Father.” (John 14:9) What Jesus is referring to here is that because He reflects the glory of God and bears the very stamp of God's nature, then if you are looking at Jesus you will see the same attitudes, attributes and behaviours as the Father would exhibit.
And as we look more deeply at this whole matter we see that now God is working on those who come to Him in Jesus Christ so that we too can reflect the glory of God and bear the stamp of His nature.
The work of the new covenant and the work of the Holy Spirit in it and in us is to bring about a transformation. That is the of God, that we are transformed into the image of Jesus Christ and thus the image of God. We see this in 2 Corinthians 3:18 which says,
And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.
So when we look back at Genesis 1 and the work that was being done on the sixth day of the creation, what we see is that on day six God was not creating man in His “likeness” but was now working at transforming man into His “image.” God is transforming those who come to Him in Jesus Christ to be perfected in the spirit so that we can inherit the new heavens and new earth and live in eternity in His kingdom.
This was why God let the world fall into planned obsolescence. It was so that He could offer The hope of something better for those who chose to follow Him. He offers a hope for a better place that does not wear out, die or fail. And we hold onto that hope as we walk with Christ looking to Him and being transformed by the Holy Spirit to be made ready for this great and wonderful promise, a promise of permanence not obsolescence.
(Photo sourced from freeimages.com taken by the photographer at www.digital-delight.ch)
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