The Word Detective defines “tool” as an instrument or implement: taken from the Old German towlo, defined as a thing that is used to make or prepare something. And so a pan is a tool we use to make or prepare a pancake or fried chicken. The word “implement”, according to Google, derives from late Middle English word for an “article of furniture, equipment, or dress”; from Latin implere “fill up” (later “employ”). Anything then that fills or fulfills something, fills or fulfills a work, that is, in the sense of making an object, preparing a thing or fulfilling a purpose.
For instance, language is a tool or implement we use to fulfill the purpose of imparting knowledge in schools or to communicate with others. Churches are tools we build to fulfill weekly services. Servants are tools we employ to clean homes or buy groceries. Preachers are, thus, employ-ers of teachings or spiritual wisdom. Notice also that a dress or shirt is an implement we use to “fill up” not just our bodies but our whole person or personality – and, thus, fulfill the need of hiding our “unseemly parts”, such as our sexual organs, our past pains (physical scars) and even our guilt (spiritual scars).
Tools have a long history, in fact, longer than humans themselves. Long before we used water to quench our thirst or to bathe ourselves, it was already in existence and, in fact, served as the element, no, God’s tool or implement to create the Universe. (Gen. 1:1-2) First Tool: Water. Then God said, “Let there be light!” (Gen. 1:3) Second Tool: Light. Then He made the Firmament, the Third Tool. Then the Land and Seas, the Fourth Tool. Then He made the Plants, the Animals, the Sun, the Moon and the Stars. All tools for God which He gave as gifts to His best Tool of all: Humans. From then on, all those tools became the tools of humans. What for? To fill or fulfill something that God meant for humans to accomplish. Humans were “employ-ers” (perfect tools) to serve His purposes in the Universe, likewise equipped with perfect tools to do their tasks as bidden.
So far, we have been dealing with material tools, things we can see, touch and use to help us go through life. Like the air we breathe. God put the breath of physical life into our bodies through the first human He created, Adam. Designed as the perfect living tool that was meant to receive, comprehend, utilize, preserve, enhance and cherish all the other things God made in the Universe, the human body does not merely consist of material properties put into motion by muscles, chemicals, electrical impulses and air but by the Living Spirit of God.
The non-physical or spiritual nature of humans is, in fact, the Main Tool or Implement of God passed on to humans. Today, many do not really know or acknowledge this because it is invisible and often masked by the physical counterparts of the human body or physical Universe. Just as air is unseen but gives us life, we do not see the Spirit Who gives us spirit-life. The spirit in us is the immaterial tool we have from God to help us fulfill completely His works on Earth through the use of the body as the material tool in a material world.
Hence, many today do business in order to make their mark in this world. Money is their main tool, aside from humans or labor and machineries or technological tools, to serve their own purpose of using God’s gifts as they see fit, whether according to His original plan or not.
So, if the spirit in us is the first real tool of God to connect us and the Universe to Him as we live out our days upon the Earth, how did it come about? Or, how did all things come about for that matter?
Before God began creating, He already had in mind a plan for the Universe where He will put humans as His caretakers or “employ-ers” – that is, tools to do His tasks, not mere employees. Using the word “tools” to refer to humans certainly tastes unpalatable; but erase that thought when we speak of God’s work. We are but dust after all. Go tell any 3-year-old girl that her Barbie is nothing but molded plastic and see how far you can go. Or tell a billionaire that his Maserati is but a tool to get from Point A to Point B and you will get a mouthful. The Universe, certainly, requires a Master Employ-er to run it well.
To put His plan into action, God Himself employed a divine force that brought about everything we have described above. From the First Tool to all the other tools, that force is the Cause, the Source and the Origin: The WORD. God spoke and it was so. God said and it was done. God declared and it came about. Yes, we can say that the Word is God’s Sole Powerful Tool when dealing with the Universe and humans. After all, John said that nothing that exists came into being without the Word, which was with God in the beginning and was God. (John 1:1-3) Let us clarify this.
Every good tool we use today is designed to help is put order into our lives, although some tools are meant for bad purposes. (2 Tim 2:20-21) A hammer is for hanging a picture on a wall. When you ask your son to get the hammer, he will not bring a saw or a chisel, will he? Because words are tools to describe things. Just as Adam gave animals names according to their peculiarities. And how else would he call a dog if its name was the same as a cat’s? “Come here doggie!” he would not say to a cat. As a beginner in word usage, he also had to learn from God, the origin of words, obviously.
Today, we use words as easily as we use phones — uh, not anymore, I guess. We click to like something. Still, we write books, emails, SMS, memes, videos, memos, reports, laws, recipes and grocery lists using words. We would not exist as nations or families without the tool of language to help us relate with people and the environment. Even birds and animals have language to help them survive. The word is not only powerful; it gives life and preserves live. And in God’s case, the Word creates life, preserves life or destroys life.
Learning and mastering any field of study requires knowing and understanding the vocabulary, whether law, medicine or engineering, aside from other basic skills that require the use of tools or equipment. But anyone who can memorize all prescription drugs and their uses, proper dosage and counter-indications might pass for a doctor without getting a license.
It was the Greeks who recognized the power of the word in relation to nature and all of life’s issues and simplified it into a concept they called the LOGOS or the Final Principle. Today, we have theology, psychology, cosmology, etc. as literal logos by-products of human efforts to unmask the secrets of life. They did it without divine revelation. Or, perhaps, as Paul intimated, God revealed it to them through the tool of the human conscience. (Rom. 2:12-16) Nevertheless, John acknowledged the Greeks’ wisdom by equating Christ to the WORD. Word for Word. Christ is the LOGOS. Whatever the Greeks had in their mind about the unseen First Principle, Christ was the fulfillment. Yes, the employment or the tool-put-into-use reality of Truth in the mind of humans. Hence, whereas the Word was God’s power to bring about the Universe in the beginning out of the dark chaos; Christ was the power of God to bring light into a sin-darkened world. Christ had become the Incarnation of the invisible power that brought all things that are visible. In the same way that Adam (the First Adam) came into being by the power of God’s Word (Let us create man in Our image!), Christ (the Second Adam) became a man by the power of the Word (“Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.”).
When Christ lived on Earth, what tools did He use? As a child, He already knew the deep meaning and power of words. He amazed the doctors of law by His depth of wisdom at the Temple when He was only 12. Words were His sharp tools, aside from His carpenter’s tools as well. During His ministry, words dominated His days. And He used them not just to teach but to command, heal, feed, comfort, correct, rebuke, prophesy, tell parables, condemn, exorcise demons, calm the seas and the winds, raise the dead, bless, pray and submit to the Father. His food was the will or Word of the Father. (John 4:34) And all that He gave was not without acknowledging the effective power of the Word and showing people that through His Word as well they might overcome the world. He had power because of the Word. He gave power to His disciples by bequeathing to them the same Word. The same power, available through faith in His Being.
But is the LOGOS still our focus today? With all the tools we have made since humans learned crafting things using metal, wood, stone and other materials, we have forgotten the real tools we need to live meaningful and fruitful lives. The Industrial Revolution set the pace for the human penchant to look at all things, including humans, as mere tools of commerce and economic progress. Our physical environment today is no longer a place fit for humans made in the image of God but mainly humans made in the image of humans. Humans, ironically, have been converted into real tools of business corporations or government systems. The power of the Organic Word of God is all but lost in the unorganic, artificial and human-made rules and methods produced by the Industrial Revolution and as further virtualized (that is, ordered according to human rules and without spiritual power) by the Cyber-World we live in today.
Today, we live, breathe, speak, eat, work, see, hear, ride and sleep tools practically. Nothing is done without modern tools or techniques being employed. Tools change and improve, in a way; just as life changes and improves, in many ways. We even use robots to clean homes today while we are away at work. We can order food delivered by driverless cars. We use AI to think, analyze or decide for us. We innovate to solve any problem. We confidently claim that we can breeze through or override any crisis with our tools. So on and so forth. Yet, the time we save using these tools we lose in terms of devitalized food, degraded environment, dysfunctional relationships and diminished, unorganic bodies; thus, negating the “life-time” and “life-quality” gained by paying back with shorter, unhealthful lives.
Even in the throes of a pandemic, we never cease to depend on tools to help us get by. All our tools of government, commerce, transportation, medical service, social welfare, military and police protection, agriculture and industry strain to employ their prescribed functions in order to battle the enemy and address the global crisis and alleviate human fear and suffering. The immediate value of wireless global telecommunication could never be overly appreciated at this moment in history. Yet, even that is merely a tool that falls very short of the real solution which we direly need. We can all stay at home; but how shall we feed the hungry, preserve the economy and care for the sick in a world whose tools for distributing food, providing income and effectively fighting the virus cannot be employed effectively?
It can all be very overwhelming, especially for the front-liners in the hospitals, checkpoints, farms, seas and marketplaces who continue to feed and minister to the sick and the well. What does the Word of God say about all of this? Is this a judgment upon the world, upon religions, upon human governments, upon us all for our unfettered pride in our messed-up tools, and in our failure to seek and employ the power of the Word? In spite of all our tools and claims of civilization’s progress, we cannot even seem to get our act together to formulate a solution to the problem, let alone put our collective faith in God to cause Him to make a miracle or show a sign, as many must be praying in their hearts. When will He step in to make things better or worse? He alone knows. So, has He finally abandoned the world? Perhaps, in our partitioned world of faith-systems, global political alliances and economic vested interests, we had it coming.
Can we still look at this world as a viable tool of God or a failed one through the religions we have established and which have replaced the Organic Word of God? The many tools of religion have failed. Remember when God sent plagues to Egypt, the Hebrews had no religion, no nationhood. They did not even expect God to release them from slavery; hey, many wanted to remain as slaves! But God gave the Word to Moses, “Let My people go!” It was by His grace and power that He saved them. Today, many may feel they are the New Hebrews being called out by God into the Promised Land because they have “Christ’s Religion”. In reality, they are the New Egyptians who have gathered to themselves idols they worship to give them modern, comfortable and lucrative lives: their modern tools and techniques. These idols or tools are what God is battling today.
Our dependence on tools, on religion, on false systems and on impotent methods will not save us. We cannot postpone God’s judgments. Many times, God rejected the offerings of Israelites because their worship was merely external. They had the right tools of worship prescribed by God through Moses; but they used them with wrong motives. Their lives and their hearts did not please God. That is why God removed those tools, even religion itself and replaced them with the Word living in the heart. (Jer. 31:31-33) Problems solved. But only for a while. Religions multiplied and more tools came about; and the Word was again forgotten.
Question: Why do so many today still wait for the old Temple in Jerusalem to be rebuilt in preparation for the Messiah’s arrival? Yet, the Word clearly says that Christ is coming back and will bring the New Jerusalem down from Heaven where He will reign with His people forever. And He will be the Temple there, not as a tool of worship but as the object and end of worship as He — The WORD — means it even today. Do we see now why tools of worship are unnecessary? No, not not even pulpits, preachers, pastors, priests or popes.
Question: So, if Jerusalem or Samaria is not where true worshipers of God will worship, where and how will we worship today? All the churches and public places have been closed. Because of COVID-19? Because of quarantine? No, because the Word of God says so! Many will call this “Holy Week” a solemn season of grace, piety and penitence. You cannot be more solemn than during a plague! But solemnity, piety and penitence, as prescribed tools of religious devotion, and all other ritualistic tools have no power at all to stop God’s judgment when the purpose of the Word has been totally rejected through its replacement by unorganic human tools for millennia now. When God declares judgment by water, by hailstorm, by cyclones, by pestilence or by plague, who can stop or question him? What can our tools do to flatten the curve of those who will fall under His righteous judgment? What can science and technology do to assuage the wrath of God against the continued disobedience of humanity?
Nothing! Still, God has left us with the one single tool by which we can fully fill or fulfill His purposes in our life and in the world. The WORD. Even when all the tools we have and use today fail and nothing will help or save us, His Word will remain for us to employ and do what He means us to do. Even when all the doctors and hospitals fail and can no longer stop the spread of this plague, the power of the Word will save us or carry us through the gaping hole in the ground. Even when the body that we received from Adam and Eve succumbs to the destructive power of the sickness that spreads like wildfire, our only hope for ourselves and for our families rests in the Word.
The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom. Fear is itself a tool God uses to lead us to Him. A global fear is something many of us have not fully experienced until today. Some who lived through the last world war know how it is. God uses fear to bring us closer to His Word. And yet many fear learning the Word. We see danger or death as something more powerful than the Word. Why? Because the Word is so alien while danger, sickness and despair are so real. The Word exists often only as songs, prayers, verses, stories and sermons heard and learned in the background of hectic life while the troubles of the world are as present, loud and clear as the broadcaster’s voice or YouTube rant.
The Word is so distant because it comes from Heaven or we do not know where, while the news is just a post or chat away – or right in one’s palm. We merely watch mass or worship service online as a modern tool we have invented to cope with our withdrawal blues from our former normal lives. We fellowship and share words and good thoughts as we seek God’s favor through this crisis. But how does one harness the power of the Word to make a difference at all or in all of this trial, minus all the other tools that actually hinder us rather than help us?
Faith is the assurance of things hoped for and the evidence of things unseen. The Word works only as a human tool though faith, Organic Faith. For God, a word from Him can create a Universe. But a faith that believes in the power of the Word can move a mountain. Christ taught the apostles how to do this within 3 years. Yet only through the Spirit were they able to begin using the power. The Spirit Who broke through the darkness and chaos at the beginning alone can help us break through the present darkness. The All-Sufficient Word seeks to break through our hardened, unorganic hearts so distracted by so many human ideas and means. The opportunity to wean us from our many useless tools is here right now!
Today, casinos, clubs, courts, colleges and churches are closed. Gambling, drinking, haranguing, gallivanting and assembling are out. Cities and towns, cleaner and fresher, are almost totally free of people and vehicles. Our major tools we used to depend on so casually are unusable. Yet we live and survive, most of us. We have time to rest and think. The Word, which has been there all along, waits and waits and waits. What we do to it and with it most probably we will do again when things normalize. We will go back to our many tools and forget the one tool given to us by God by which we can overcome the world.
And what remains is the Word of God waiting to be harnessed by the heart and the spirit, precious human tools from God meant to employ the Word in simplicity and organic faith. If this is all COVID 19 accomplishes to people today, then God would be truly justified by His deeds in calling this plague upon this world. Our tools of statistics and scientific analysis will not help us fully understand the root cause and lasting effects of this tragic global event. While they may assist us manage real-life challenges on a national scale, the masses of people can only follow the advice and lead of authorities. But each person’s ultimate accountability is to his or her God. As each one does what is necessary to prevent the spread of the disease, it also behooves each one to consider the eternal consequences of the ongoing crisis and in employing the proper response to our Creator. With effective tools or “weapons of war” from God, stand ready to fight His invisible enemies according to His Word. (2 Cor. 10:4-6)
Each person is a tool or instrument of God for His perfect purposes. Whether we live or die, our goal is to be found in His likeness that we may inherit His glory, honor and immortality. That, no sickness or any evil can take away from those who believe in Christ and in the Power of His Word.