Have you ever heard of antimatter? It has all of the characteristics of matter, it takes up space, it’s made out of the same kinds of particles—except all of it is completely opposite matter. So there are antineutrons antielectrons and positrons that make up antimatter molecules. When antimatter contacts matter there is a complete conversion of matter into energy (a really efficient explosion) that releases purely radiation. Some scientists have posited that the big bang resulted from the collision of antimatter and matter and that there was just a little bit more matter than antimatter… yeah, it doesn’t make much sense to me either. Where did they both come from before they collided?
Here’s the cool thing, there could be entire stars and solar systems made up of antimatter because it’s just matter that’s completely opposite what we’re familiar with.
Actually, it’s opposite what you’re made out of, so I’d keep my distance if I were you.
We can actually create antimatter here on earth.
And if you’re worried about the sounds of that then you’re not the only one. Some people thought the large hadron collider might create a black hole here on our planet. Don’t worry, it’s successfully run from 2010 to 2012 and no black holes yet.
So we can make antimatter. You know what’s even more impressive? We’ve managed to figure out a way to store it (in very small amounts). So once you manage to produce some antimatter from atom smashing you can store it using a vacuum and magnets to keep it from touching anything. So far, storing it is difficult and short-termed, but that should improve.
So why am I telling you all of this? Because this can be a very helpful analogy to understanding God and us—or more specifically—God and sin.
To understand the phrase God’s holiness it might be helpful to understand what it means for God to be holy and for us to not be holy. And from that why we need to be reconciled with God.
So it might be helpful to think of God as matter and us as antimatter. He’s a holy perfect God that cannot be in contact with sin and since God is infinite (there’s a lot of him) and we’re finite (there’s not much of us) when we collide with God we explode and he’s all that’s left.
Traditionally commentators have looked at God’s warning to Adam that if he eats of the fruit of the tree he “will surely die” as meaning a spiritual death because he doesn’t actually die that day. So it must have been a spiritual death. Or some others suggest that the verse simple suggests that “in that day” means in that age or era, so Adam’s death some 930 years later is not at odds with what God has said.
Most options require a lot of back flips and reliance on other than apparent understandings of that verse.
The Hebrew is very clear. It’s emphatic.
“You do this, and this will happen.”
But it doesn’t.
Adam doesn’t die. Neither does Eve.
They were supposed to die.
What happens right after God confronts Adam and Eve with their sin?
He kills some animals.
But it’s not Adam and Eve.
For the rest of history of the Old Testament things—innocent things—had to die to make up for our sin. It’s as if in the very moment Adam and Eve sinned they became antimatter in a universe of matter. They should have exploded. They should have ceased to exist. But God in fear of the destruction of his precious creatures, who he had poured his very self into, bent time and space and put them in a magnetically-controlled vacuum-sealed jar separate from him. He had to remove himself in some ways from his creatures so that they wouldn’t die instantly on contact with him.
There’s a strange story of a man who touched God. He reached out his hand and touched the arc of the Covenant and was killed instantly. I don’t understand this passage, but it might help to use that analogy of antimatter, because every other time they Israelites moved the Arc (when they followed God’s directions) they had to have the arc on long poles and none of them were actually ever supposed to touch it.
Like antimatter and matter, the arc of the covenant had to be suspended between people; separate, untouched.
The word reconciliation is used a lot in church, but not often explained well. Reconciliation is making things fit together. Reconciling us (sinners) to God (perfect holiness) demands something to be done to make us fit together.
God has to make antimatter fit back together with matter.
For us to be in perfect union with him we have to be able to make contact with him, and when we sinned contact with him meant our destruction–perfect and complete annihilation
Death spiritually and physically.
Praise be to the one who made the irreconcilable, reconcilable.