Not to be sold.
Published as a free educational service in the public interest.
text by Herbert W. Armstrong (1892-1986)
© 1978 Worldwide Church of God
Cover Photo by: Nathan Faulkner
All Rights Reserved
Printed in U.S.A.
It's positively astounding! The awesome purpose of human life has remained undiscovered by science. Higher education has never taught it. And organized religion has failed to announce it.
The Incredible Human Potential
does it make sense to you—when humanity has been endowed with such tremendous mental power—that more than half of all people on earth should be illiterate, living in abject poverty, near starvation, in filth and squalor?
Does it make sense to you that human civilization has developed modern science, higher education, the world's religions and its great governments, yet all these are in total ignorance of the way to world peace? None of these can tell us what man is, whether he was put on earth for a purpose, what that purpose is, where he is going or how to get there.
Does it make sense to you—with man endowed with such great powers—that the world should be filled with so much unhappiness, troubles and evils? Did God Almighty the Creator purpose and ordain all of this?
It's time to clear up this mystery. It's time we understand. It's time we come to the answer of these supposedly unanswerable questions that seem to baffle all human thought.
Man Has Rejected This Knowledge
What is the most necessary of all knowledge to know?
It is the knowledge of what man is; the knowledge of why he is— the purpose for which humanity was put on earth; the knowledge of the way to achieve that purpose— of the way to world peace, peace between individuals, groups and nations; the knowledge of the cause of all the world's troubles and evils; the knowledge of the solution to all these problems; the knowledge of the true values—what is important and what is worthless.
That is the missing dimension in knowledge.
Look at the situation as it is now— our present day of enlightenment and mass production of knowledge. But both modern science and higher education have rejected the sole source of this basic knowledge— revelation—and no religion has given us this most-needed knowledge, though it is all contained in the book generally supposed to be the source of belief of at least three of the world's great religions.
Look at the situation as it was more than 1900 years ago. Jesus Christ came from heaven with a message from God containing this knowledge. But even most of those who believed on Him disbelieved the message He brought and demanded His crucifixion for declaring it. His apostles went forth proclaiming the message; they too, with one possible exception, were martyred. Before the end of the first century, Christ's gospel message was suppressed and a spurious "gospel" proclaimed.
Go now all the way back to the beginning of humanity on the earth. Our very first parents rejected this same revealed knowledge imparted to them by their Maker in person. They disbelieved what He said. Yet they did believe Satan's lies. They disobeyed by stealing the forbidden fruit. They took to themselves the knowledge of what is good and what is evil. All humanity has followed their example ever since.
The Eternal God nevertheless has made this vital revealed knowledge and truth available to any willing to believe what He says— in His inspired book, the Book of books—the Holy Bible. This book has actually become the world's best seller. But this precious book has been interpreted and misinterpreted, distorted, twisted, misrepresented, misunderstood, and maligned as no other book ever has.
Humans have written uncounted millions of books. People believe what these books say, though they may be partly, mostly, or totally in error and devoid of truth.
People take these books literally to mean what they say. Yet of the Bible they will say, "You surely don't take the Bible literally, do you?" They will not believe this book means what it says. It is the very Word of the living God, but they refuse to believe what God says.
And thus disbelieving humanity continues stumbling on its way, piling up the mountains of human woes, discontent, unhappiness, sorrow, pain, suffering and death. Yet the Eternal God of truth and mercy makes available even today—in this end-time of the present evil world—vital, exciting, new knowledge to those willing to believe what He says and to obey it.
The Vast Universe—and Man
In this Book of all books. God reveals Himself as Creator of all, not merely the earth and man, but the entire limitless universe. The Maker of mankind is also the Creator of all. On a clear, cloudless night one may behold the star-studded sky. Is it possible there is an unrealized connection between the galaxies with their mighty suns, their planets—and man?
Prepare yourself for exciting new knowledge—the incredible awesome potential for which humanity was created and put here on earth.
Winston Churchill said before the United States Congress that there is a purpose being worked out here below. Few indeed know what that purpose is; yet it is plainly revealed.
And it's the most exciting, most wonderful, hope-inspiring truth that could ever be revealed.
Did you ever wonder about the countless millions of shining stars you have seen on an otherwise black, cloudless night? Sometimes they appear like a stupendous skyrocket which has just burst out into a glittering cluster.
Many of them are tremendous suns incredibly larger than our sun. Probably most of them are surrounded by planets, like our sun is surrounded by Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, and the other planets of our solar system.
Haven't you wondered about them? Are any of them inhabited? Did they evolve, as most scientists—astronomers, biologists, geologists—theorize? Or were they created by an all-intelligent, all-powerful Creator Being? Were they created and set in space for a purpose? Do any of the planets contain any kind of life, or are all like our moon—dead, decayed, lifeless, wasted, empty, uninhabitable? And if they are in a state of decay and lifeless, why would an intelligent Creator have created them thus?
Or did He?
All indications are that only our planet Earth is a life-supporting planet. Others appear to be like our moon—dead, decayed, wasted and empty. Our earth is part of the solar system which is part of a single galaxy called the Milky Way. There are many other galaxies on beyond ours. They extend in space distances so vast the human mind cannot conceive of them in terms of miles, meters, or any measure of distance except light years.
So even though science knows comparatively little about the limitless universe, revelation tells us something amazing beyond words about them.
The first verse in the revealed Word of God correctly reads: "In the beginning God created the heavens and earth." The word "heaven" in the Authorized Version should be translated "heavens," since the original Hebrew is in the plural.
The ancient King David of Israel wondered about the stars and was inspired to tell us God created them.
David was inspired to write, "Oh Lord our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! Who hast set thy glory above the heavens . . . When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; what is man, that thou art mindful of him?" (Psalm 8:1, 3-4).
On a clear, cloudless night one may behold the star-studded sky. Can there be an unrealized connection between the galaxies with their mighty suns, their planets—and man?
It may be that King David was not given the revelation of the real connection between man and the stars of outer space, for he continues: "For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour. Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet: all sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field; the fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas. O Lord our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth!" (Psalm 8:5-9.)
David here limits man's dominion to the present—that which God gave mankind in the creation of man—the solid earth, the earth's atmosphere, and the waters and sea (as in Gen. 1:26-28).
That is the dominion man has now.
In the New Testament, written much later, far more is revealed.
Incredible Human Potential Revealed
In the book of Hebrews we read: "For unto the angels hath he [God] not put in subjection the world to come, whereof we speak" (Heb. 2:5). The theme of the context here is "the world to come."
There is but one earth, but the Bible speaks of three worlds, ages, or civilizations on the earth—the "world that then was" (the antediluvian world from Adam to Noah); this "present evil world" (from the Flood until Christ's return, yet future); and "the world to come" (which starts when Christ comes and sets up the Kingdom of God).
This verse speaks of angels as if the world had been put in subjection to angels; in fact, in the very beginning of this book of Hebrews, the first chapter, it is speaking of Christ and angels and the relation of angels to humans.
But bear in mind the general theme here, or context, is "the world to come, whereof we speak"—not this present age, now coming rapidly to its end! Continue on in verse 6: "But one in a certain place testified, saying ..." Then follows a quotation from the first six verses only of the eighth psalm.
In this psalm, David continued showing specifically that God has now placed in subjection under man the solid earth, the earth's atmosphere or air, and the sea. But now the writer of the book of Hebrews is inspired to follow with something radically different— something to happen in the world to come!
This revealed knowledge of God's purpose for mankind—of man's incredible awesome potential—staggers the imagination.
Nevertheless, it is what God says He has prepared for them that love Him (I Cor. 2:9-10).
God revealed necessary knowledge to our first parents, but they didn't believe what He said! Some 4,000 years later, Jesus Christ appeared on earth with a message direct from God the Father in heaven, revealing the same necessary knowledge—but only a handful—a hundred and twenty—believed what He said, though many professed to "believe on him" (as in John 8:30-31,37-38,40,45-46).
Today science, religion and education still do not believe what he said.
But now let's see what is said in this passage in Hebrews, beginning where Hebrews leaves off quoting the eighth psalm: "Thou hast put all things in subjection under his [man's] feet. For in that he [God] put all in subjection under him [man], he [God] left nothing that is not put under him" (Heb. 2:8).
Is it possible God could mean what He says ("all things")? Nothing excluded?
In the first chapter, the Moffatt translation of the Bible renders the Greek word translated "all things" as "the universe."
In other words, for those willing to believe what God says. He says that He has decreed the entire universe—with all its galaxies, its countless suns and planets—everything—will be put under man's subjection.
But wait a moment! Before you disbelieve, read the next words in the same eighth verse: "But now we see not yet all things [the endless universe] put under him [man]." Remember (verse 5), this is speaking of the "world to come"—not today's world. But what do we see now, today? "But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels [or, "for a little while lower"] for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour." Man, other than Christ, is not yet "crowned with glory and honour."
But see how Christ is already crowned with glory and honor. Continue: "For it became him, for whom are all things [the entire universe] and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings... for which cause he [Christ] is not ashamed to call them brethren" (verses 10-11).
In other words, Christians having God's Spirit are joint-heirs with Christ to inherit all that Christ already has inherited. He is now in glory! He has already inherited the entire universe. He sustains it by His power. Man, if he is converted, having God's Holy Spirit (Rom. 8:9), is now only an heir—not yet a possessor.
But see now how Christ already has been crowned with glory and honor—and is already in possession—has already inherited. Begin with Hebrews, chapter 1: "God . . . hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things [the entire universe], by whom also he made the worlds; who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding [sustaining] all things [the entire universe] by the word of his power ..." (Heb. 1:1-3).
The living Christ already sustains the entire universe by His limitless divine power. The passage continues to show His superiority over the angels—He is the begotten and born Son of God— angels are merely individually created beings. Angels are now administering spirits (invisible to us), ministering to us—to us who are now in lower status than angels—but who are heirs of salvation that we shall receive when we, like Christ, shall become born sons of God (Heb. 1:4-14).
Outer Space—Planets Now Dead
Now put this together with what is revealed in the eighth chapter of Romans.
Here it speaks of Christ as God's Son: "... that he might be the firstborn among many brethren" (Rom. 8:29). Humans, having God's Holy
Spirit are heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ—who, alone of all humans, has already been born as God's Son by a resurrection from the dead (Rom. 1:4). He is the first of the human family to be born into the Family of God—the Kingdom of God. He is our pioneer who has gone on before. We shall follow at the resurrection of the just at Christ's return to earth in supreme power and glory.
Why is the human mind, while able to invent the computer and send men to the moon and back, helpless in the face of its own problems and relations with others here on earth?
This eighth chapter of Romans, verse 9, says if we have within us the Holy Spirit of God we are His begotten sons, but if we do not have His Spirit we are none of His—not Christians at all. But verse 11 says that if we have God's Holy Spirit growing within and leading us we shall be raised from the dead by His Spirit—(or if living when Christ comes we shall be changed from mortal to immortal).
Now continue: "For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. . . . The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: and if children, then heirs;
heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ, if so be that we [in this life] suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us ..." (Romans 8:14-18).
Continue, Revised Standard Version: "For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God; for the creation [all the suns, planets, stars, moons] was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and obtain the glorious liberty of the children of God. We know that the whole creation [stars, suns, and moons now in decay and futility] has been groaning in travail together until now; and not only the creation but we ourselves [we Spirit-begotten humans], who have the first fruits of the Spirit [the very few now being called to salvation—the "firstfruits"] groan inwardly as we wait for the [birth ] as sons" (verses 19-23).
What an amazing marvelous revelation of knowledge!
No more amazing, awesome, eye-opening passage could be written! It is so astonishingly revealing, one doesn't fully grasp it just reading quickly through.
In Hebrews 1, we see that Christ, the first human to be born by a resurrection from the dead, has been glorified and now sustains the entire universe. He is our pioneer who has gone on ahead.
At His return to earth in power and glory those who have been converted and received God's Holy Spirit shall be born into the God Family by a resurrection. Then the entire universe will be put into subjection under them!
Then, from Romans 8, if we have and are led by the Holy Spirit of God, we shall be raised to Spirit composition and immortality in the God Family even as Christ was in a.d. 31 by His resurrection.
Now once again from verse 19, "For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God" (RSV). This shall happen at the time of the resurrection, when those who are human actually become—by a resurrection or instantaneous change from mortal flesh to Spirit immortality— sons of God.
Now understand please. Why should the whole universe—the creation—be waiting with eager longing for the actual birth and appearing of all these sons of God, to be born into the Family of God? The following verses portray a universe filled with planets in decay and futility—yet as if subjected now to this dead state in hope! "Because the creation itself [the universe not now capable of sustaining life] will be set free from its bondage to decay and obtain the glorious liberty of the children of God."
How did all the planets fall into the bondage of decay? Surely God did not so create them!
Decay signifies a state or condition caused by degeneration and decomposition from a previous un-decayed state. God, then, created these planets in a state of NONdecay. But something caused deterioration to set in.
What could have caused all this "bondage to decay"?
It cannot be the state in which God created them! Everything we read in God's revealed Word about God's creation shows it to have been "very good." Angels, who were perfect from the creation until iniquity or lawlessness was found in them, caused the whole surface of the earth to turn into a state of decay, confusion and emptiness.
Could the whole universe have been created capable of sustaining life? We are not told specifically by revelation in God's Word whether it was or not, but what we are told throws additional light on why God decided to create man!
Continue this passage in Romans 8:22: "We know that the whole creation [universe] has been groaning in travail together until now." Consider that the creation is compared to a mother about to be delivered of her child. The creation is pictured as groaning in travail in hope (verse 20), awaiting the birth by resurrection to immortality, of the children of God. It is as if the creation is the mother and God is the father. Anyway the whole thrust of the passage is that when we (converted humans) are born of God—then having the power and glory of God—we are going to do as God did when this earth had been laid "waste and empty"—Hebrew tohu and bohu (Gen. 1:2). Christ, who renewed "the face of the earth" (Psalm 104:30), was renewing what had been destroyed by the rebellion of the sinning angels.
What these wonderful passages imply and indicate goes far beyond the amount specifically revealed.
This passage indicates precisely what all astronomers and scientific evidence indicate—the suns are as balls of fire, giving out light and heat; but the planets, except for this earth, are in a state of death, decay and futility—but not forever—waiting until converted humans are born the children of God; born into the very Divine Family of God, forming the Kingdom of God.
Jesus' gospel was the Kingdom of God. Christ's gospel of the Kingdom actually includes all this knowledge here revealed—even the whole universe is to be ruled by us, who, with God the Father and Christ, become the Kingdom of God.
God is first of all Creator, but God is also Ruler. And He is Educator, who reveals knowledge beyond and outside the scope of human mind of itself to comprehend!
Put together all these scriptures and you begin to grasp the incredible human potential. Our potential is to be born into the God Family, receiving total power! We are to be given jurisdiction over the entire universe!
It will be an eternal life of accomplishment, constantly looking forward in super-joyous anticipation to new creative projects, and still looking back also on accomplishments with happiness and joy over what shall have been already accomplished.
We shall never grow tired and weary. Always alive—full of joyous energy, vitality, exuberant life and strength and power!
But why! Why has God purposed all of this?
Why was man made mortal, of material substance from the ground? Why does man, who is composed of matter the same as animals, who dies the same death as animals, have a mind thousands of times greater in mental output than animals? What makes the difference? Why is the human mind, while able to invent the computer and fly to the moon and back, helpless in the face of its own problems and relations with others here on earth?
What is the cause of all human wretchedness and suffering?
What is the origin of evil?
What is the origin and source of human nature, and how shall humans be made free of it?
Science has no answers; religion has failed to tell us; education is in ignorance on these questions.
But read on, for the plain TRUTH!
What Led to the Creation of Man?
why did the living God decide to create man and put him on earth? God does not do things without a reason.
To understand—to comprehend the whole picture in the order of time sequence—we must now go all the way back into prehistory. That missing dimension in knowledge, too, is revealed in the Word of God— God's message and revelation of knowledge to mankind.
Did you ever start viewing a motion picture when it was more than half way through? You probably were bewildered—not having seen what occurred before and led up to the point where you first began to see.
It's the same in coming to an understanding of what God has prepared for humanity—of the ultimate human potential.
True understanding can come only by beginning the story at the beginning!
If one should ask, where do you find the actual beginning of events in the Bible, most who possess even a slight knowledge of the world's "best seller" would say, "Why in Genesis chapter one, verse one, of course."
The real beginning, in order of time sequence, is found in the New Testament, in the first chapter of John, verse one. The events portrayed in Genesis occurred later— possibly even millions of years later.
But the event recorded in John 1:1 reveals an existence perhaps long prior to the time God created the earth and the material universe.
Note it: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God." It continues, "The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made."
The term "all things" is translated in Hebrews 1:3, in the Moffatt translation, as "the universe." The entire universe was made by Him!
The fourteenth verse of John 1 says: "And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth."
The Personage called the Word was the one who ultimately—yet more than 1,900 years ago—was born Jesus Christ.
The name, "the Word," is translated from the original Greek text, and means, literally, just what is translated into English— "Spokesman." But He was not the Son of God "in the beginning." Yet the Scriptures reveal that He has always existed, and always will—"from eternity to eternity." He was "without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days nor end of life . . ." (Heb. 7:3).
So think on this, if you will!
Originally there existed only these two Spirit Personages, self-existent. They had creative powers—they had perfect supreme minds—they possessed perfect, holy and righteous character.
But THERE WAS NONE ELSE—nothing else! There was no matter—no material universe—yet! No other living being or thing.
Only these two, equal in mind and powers, except that God was supreme in authority, and the Word in perfect harmony under that authority. They were of one mind, in absolute agreement.
But all things—the universe and everything existing in it—were made by the Personage called the Word. Yet, as we read in Ephesians 3:9: "God . . . created all things by Jesus Christ." And prior to becoming Jesus Christ, He was "the Word!" Also, in His human life Jesus said He spoke only as the Father directed.
In the eternity even prior to "prehistory" there were these two Supreme Beings. Alone! No other life forms—no other living beings! Nothing else! But they possessed minds of supreme capacity. And, much, much later, they created humans after their own likeness and image. They endowed man with the power of mind. It seems obvious that human minds were made to function in the same manner as the Creator's, although in an inferior way.
But how do we humans use our minds? We are endowed with something akin to creative powers. Man produces buildings out of existing materials. Man has produced intricate machines. But how? Man thinks it out—makes plans— before the actual making.
How much must the Great God and the Word have thought out, planned, and designed in their minds, before the actual Creation?
They did not create matter first. The laws and facts of radioactivity tell us with certainty that there was a time when such matter did not exist.
God through the Word first designed and created spirit beings—angels, each individually created—millions or perhaps even billions of them! They were composed wholly of Spirit. They were given self-containing life—life inherent—immortality. But also God created within them minds—with power to think, to reason, to make choices and decisions!
The Supreme Creative Accomplishment
But there was one super-important quality that even God's creative powers could not create instantly by fiat—the same perfect, holy, righteous character inherent in both God and the Word!
This kind of character must be developed, by the choice and the intent of the one in whom it comes to exist.
So mark well that perfect, holy and righteous character is the supreme feat of accomplishment possible for Almighty God the Creator—it is also the means to His ultimate supreme purpose! His final objective!
Such perfect character must be developed. It requires the free choice and decision of the separate entity in whom it is to be created. But, further, even then it must be instilled by and from the Holy God who, only, has such righteous character to endow.
Perfect, holy and righteous character is the ability in such separate entity to come to discern the true and right way from the false, to make voluntarily a full and unconditional surrender to God and His perfect way—to yield to be conquered by God—to determine even against temptation or self-desire, to live and to do the right. And even then such holy character is the gift of God. It comes by yielding to God to instill His law (God's right way of life) within the entity who so decides and wills.
Actually, this perfect character comes only from God, as instilled within the entity of His creation, upon voluntary acquiescence, even after severe trial and test.
Now as to the angels: God 1) created them with minds capable of thinking, reasoning, making choices and decisions with self-will, and, 2) revealed plainly to them
his TRUE AND RIGHTEOUS WAY.
But God of necessity allowed them free moral agency in accepting God's right way, or turning to contrary ways of their own devising.
What was God's ultimate objective for the angels? Beyond question it is that which, now, because of angelic rebellion, has become the transcendent potential of humans!
As the testing ground, and opportunity for positive and active creative accomplishment. God created—brought into existence—the entire vast material universe.
God now created not only matter, but with and in it energy and such laws as man has discovered in the fields of physics and chemistry. God formed matter to be present in both the organic and the inorganic states.
And so we come now to that which is revealed in Genesis 1:1:
"In the beginning [of the physical universe] God created the heavens and the earth."
'The word "heaven" appears in the singular. But this originally was written by Moses in Hebrew. And in the Hebrew the word is in the plural—"heavens"—thus including not only our earth, but the entire material universe.
It is therefore indicated that at that time—after the creation of angels—the entire universe was brought into existence at the same time as the creation of our earth.
The Perfect Creation
The original Hebrew words (the words originally written by Moses) imply a perfect creation. God reveals Himself as Creator of perfection, light, and beauty. Every reference in the Bible describes the condition of any completed phase of God's creation as "very good"— perfect.
This first verse of the Bible actually speaks of the original physical creation in its entirety—the universe—including the earth, perhaps millions of years ago—as a perfect creation, beautiful and perfect as far as its creation was a finished, completed work. God is a perfectionist!
In Job 38:4, 7, God is speaking specifically of the creation of this earth. He said all the angels (created "sons of God") shouted for joy at the creation of the earth. This reveals that angels were created before the creation of the earth—and probably before the material universe. The suns, planets, and astral bodies are material substance. Angels are individually created Spirit beings, composed solely of Spirit.
It will come as a surprise to many to learn that angels inhabited this earth before the creation of man. This passage from Job implies it.
Angels on Earth Sinned
Other passages place angels on earth prior to man.
Notice II Peter 2:4-6. First in time order were "angels that sinned." Next in time sequence, the antediluvian world beginning with Adam, carrying through to the Flood. After that, Sodom and Gomorrah.
This Book of books, containing the revealed knowledge of the Creator God, tells us that God created angels as composed of Spirit. But can you imagine angels becoming sinning angels? Angels were created with power of thought, of decision and of choice, else they have no individuality or character. Since sin is the transgression of God's law, these angels rebelled against God's law, the basis of God's government.
Notice carefully what is revealed in II Peter 2:4-5: "For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment; and spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly."
These verses show that universal sin brings universal destruction to the physical earth. The antediluvian sin, culminating with the Flood, was worldwide, universal sin. Notice: ". . . the earth was filled with violence . . . for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth . . . for the earth is filled with violence . . ." (Gen. 6:11-13). "But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord. . . . Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God" (verses 8-9). All flesh had sinned— over the whole earth. But only Noah "walked with God." So, the Flood destroyed the surface of the whole earth—all but Noah and his family.
The sins of Sodom and Gomorrah spread over the territory of those two cities. And physical destruction came to their entire area. The sin of the angels was worldwide; the destruction of the physical earth was worldwide.
The verses quoted above place the sinning of the angels prior to the antediluvian sins that started with Adam, prior to the creation of man. And that should be a surprise revealing of one phase of the missing dimension in knowledge! Angels inhabited this earth before the creation of man.
And the government of God was administered on earth until the rebellion of the sinning angels.
How long these angels inhabited the earth before the creation of man is not revealed. It might have been millions—or even billions—of years. But these angels sinned. Sin is the transgression of God's law (I John 3:4). And God's law is the basis of God's government. So we know these angels, apparently a third of all the angels (Rev. 12:4), sinned— rebelled against the government of God. And sin carries penalties. The penalty for the sin of the angels is not death, as it is for man. Angels are immortal Spirit beings and cannot die. These Spirit beings had been given dominion over the physical earth as a possession and an abode.
The universal, worldwide sin of the angels resulted in the physical destruction of the face of the earth.
God is Creator. God is also ruler over His creation. He preserves what He creates by His government. What God creates, He has created for a purpose—to be used, preserved, and maintained. And this use is regulated by God's government. When the angels rebelled against God's government, the preservation of the physical earth and all its original beauty and glory ceased—and physical destruction to the surface of the earth resulted!
God is Creator, Preserver, and Ruler.
Satan is Destroyer!
So, now, we read in Jude 6-7:
"And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day. Even as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire."
Now back to Genesis 1:1-2. Verse 1 implies a perfect creation. God is the author of life, of beauty, of perfection. Satan has brought only darkness, ugliness, imperfection, violence. Verse 1 shows the creation of a perfect earth, glorious and beautiful. Verse 2 reveals the result of the sin of the angels.
"And the earth was [became] without form, and void." The words "without form and void" are translated from the Hebrew tohu and bohu. A better translation is "waste and empty" or "chaotic and in confusion." The Hebrew verb translated "was" is on occasion translated "became," as in Genesis 19:26. In other words, the earth, originally created perfect and beautiful, had now become chaotic, waste, and empty, like our moon, except its surface was covered with water.
David was inspired to reveal how God renewed the face of the earth:
"Thou sendest forth thy spirit, they are created: and thou renewest the face of the earth" (Ps. 104:30).
Now another surprise for most readers. Here is another bit of the missing dimension in knowledge, actually revealed in the Bible, but unrecognized by religion, by science, and by higher education.
From verse 2 of Genesis 1 on, the remainder of this first chapter of the Bible is not describing the original creation of the earth. But it is describing a renewing of the face of the earth, after it had become waste and empty as a result of the sin of the angels. What is described from verse 2 on, in the supposed "Creation chapter" of the Bible, did occur, according to the Bible, approximately 6,000 years ago!
The earth had become waste and empty. God did not create it waste and empty, or in confusion. God is not the author of confusion (I Cor. 14:33). This same Hebrew word—tohu—meaning waste and empty, was inspired in Isaiah 45:18, where it is translated "in vain." Using the original Hebrew word, as originally inspired, it reads: "For thus saith the Lord that created the heavens;
God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain [tohu}, he formed it to be inhabited."
Continue now with the remainder of verse 2 (Gen. I): "And darkness was upon the face of the deep [the ocean or fluid surface of the earth]. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said. Let there be light: and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness" (verses 2-4).
Satan is the author of darkness. The rebellion of the angels had caused the darkness. God is the author of light and truth. Light displays and enhances beauty, and also exposes evil. Darkness hides both.
The verses which follow in this first chapter of the Bible describe the renewing of the face of the earth, yielding beautiful lawns, trees, shrubs, flowers, vegetation—then the creation of fish and fowl, animal life, and finally man.
The Great Lucifer
But first, before coming to man, we need to fill in the prehistory portion.
How did this sin of the angels come to take place? How did it start?
Remember, God the Creator preserves, improves and enhances what He creates by His government. What He creates is created to be used. This earth was to be inhabited and used by angels, originally.
When God placed angels— apparently a third of all (Rev. 12:4)—on the newly created, perfect, beautiful and glorious earth, He set over them, on a throne, to administer the government of God, an archangel—the great cherub Lucifer. There were only two other beings of this extremely high rank of cherub, Michael and Gabriel.
So far as is revealed, these are the supreme pinnacle of Spirit-composed beings within God's power to create. This Lucifer was a super being of awesome, majestic beauty, dazzling brightness, supreme knowledge, wisdom and power— perfect as God created him! But God of necessity created in him the power of choice and decision, or he could not have been a being of individuality and character.
First, notice what is revealed in Isaiah 14. (This famous chapter begins with the time, shortly ahead of us now, when the Eternal God shall have intervened in this world's affairs.) "And it shall come to pass in the day that the Lord shall give thee rest from thy sorrow, and from thy fear, and from the hard bondage wherein thou wast made to serve, that thou shalt take up this proverb against the king of Babylon, and say. How hath the oppressor ceased! The golden city ceased! The Lord hath broken the staff of the wicked, and the sceptre of the rulers. He who smote the people in wrath ... he that ruled the nations in anger, is persecuted, and none hindereth" (verses 3-6).
This is not speaking of the king of ancient Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar. The time is yet ahead of us— but shortly ahead. It is speaking of the modern successor of that ancient Babylon of King Nebuchadnezzar. This "king of Babylon" shall at the time of this prophecy have been utterly defeated by the intervention of the living Christ in His power and glory. Continue on: "The whole earth is at rest, and is quiet: they break forth into singing. Yea, the fir trees rejoice . . . and the cedars of Lebanon, saying, Since thou art laid down, no feller is come up against us" (verses 7-8).
This passage in Isaiah 14 speaks of the doom of this coming king at the hands of the glorified, all-powerful Christ. It refers to him as Satan's chief political ruler and military destroyer, totally deceived by Satan in the years very shortly ahead of us.
Then, coming to verse 12, this human earthly type of Satan the devil suddenly transposes to Satan himself—the former archangel, Lucifer:
"How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!" A better translation here is: "How art thou, who didst weaken the nations, cut down to the ground." The Revised Standard Version translates it: "How you are cut down to the ground, you who laid the nations low!" This the former Lucifer did through the human political-military leader in his power—spoken of in the first eleven verses.
The word "Lucifer" means "Shining star of the dawn," or "Bringer of light," as God first created him. Now continue: "For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars [angels] of God."
Notice, Lucifer had a throne; he was a ruler. His throne was on earth, for he was going to ascend into heaven. Continue: "I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High" (verses 13-14). Actually, it is plain that Lucifer had nothing less in mind than knocking the Creator God off His throne and becoming supreme God himself.
Apparently he planned to put himself in place of God, over the universe!
But finally, as the context returns again to the human type: "Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell [Heb. sheol], to the sides of the pit" (verse 15).
From that point, the thought returns to the human king. Lucifer was the supreme masterpiece of God's creative power, as an individually created being, threatening, as a Frankenstein monster, to destroy his own maker—and assume all His powers to rule the whole universe.
His rebel rule was not a government based upon the principle of love—of giving, of outgoing concern for the good of others, but based on self-centeredness, on vanity, lust and greed, on envy, jealousy, the spirit of competition, hatred, violence and destruction, on darkness and error, instead of light and truth, on ugliness instead of beauty.
Look now at the other biblical passage describing this supreme angelic creation of God, in Ezekiel 28.
Lucifer a Created Being
Actually, the entire concept in chapter 26 speaks of the ancient great commercial city of Tyre. It was the commercial metropolis of the ancient world, even as Babylon was the political capital. Tyre was the New York, the London, the Tokyo, or the Paris of the ancient world. The ancient Tyre, port of the world's shippers and merchants, gloried herself in her beauty, even as Paris in our time.
Chapter 27 carries on with comparisons to passages in the eighteenth chapter of the book of Revelation referring to a politico-religious leader to come (verses 9-19).
But coming to chapter 28, the theme comes more completely to the time just now ahead of us, the same time depicted in Isaiah 14. Ezekiel 28 speaks of the prince of Tyre, an earthly ruler. God says to the prophet Ezekiel: "Son of man, say unto the prince of Tyrus [actually referring to a powerful religious leader to arise soon, in our time], Thus saith the Lord God;
Because thine heart is lifted up, and thou hast said, I am a god, I sit in the seat of God, in the midst of the seas; yet thou art a man, and not God, though thou set thine heart as the heart of God: Behold, thou art wiser than Daniel; there is no secret that they can hide from thee: with thy wisdom and with thine understanding thou hast gotten thee riches, and hast gotten gold and silver into thy treasures [or "treasuries"—RSV] . . . and thine heart is lifted up because of thy riches: therefore thus saith the Lord God; Because thou hast set thine heart as the heart of God; behold, therefore I will bring strangers upon thee, the terrible of the nations . . . they shall bring thee down to the pit, and thou shalt die the deaths of them that are slain in the midst of the seas" (Ezek. 28:2-8). (Compare with II Thessalonians 2:4, speaking of that man of sin, "who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God ... so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.")
What a Super Being!
But at this point, as in Isaiah 14, the lesser human type lifts to a greater spirit antitype. Instead of the prince of Tyre—a human man—it now speaks of the king of Tyre. This is the same Lucifer.
Ezekiel the prophet continues: "Moreover, the word of the Lord came unto me, saying. Son of man, take up a lamentation upon the king of Tyrus, and say unto him, Thus saith the Lord God; Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty" (verses 11-12).
Please read that again! God would never say anything like that of a human man. This superb spirit being filled up the sum total of wisdom, perfection and beauty. He was the supreme pinnacle, the masterpiece, of God's creation, as an individually created being, the greatest one in the almighty power of God to create! The tragic thing is that he rebelled against his Maker!
"Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God" (verse 13). He had inhabited this earth. His throne was here. "Every precious stone was thy covering . . . the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created" (verse 13). He was a created being—not born human. He was a Spirit being—not human flesh. Great genius and skill in music was created in him. Now that he has become perverted in all thinking, acting and being, he is the real author of perverted music—of discordant moans, squawks, shrieks, wails—unhappy, discouraged moods. Think of all the supreme talent, ability, and potential in a being created with such capacities. And all perverted! All gone sour—all dissipated, turned to hatred, destruction, hopelessness!
God does not choose to know, in advance, what you or I will be thinking, reasoning, deciding, tomorrow or in the future.... Otherwise we should be nothing more than automatons.
Yet, take courage. The awesome human potential, if we care enough about it to resist Satan's wiles and evils and discouragements and to persevere in God's way, is infinitely superior and higher than Lucifer's—even as created, before he turned to rebellion and iniquity!
But continuing the particular revelation of this crucially important missing dimension in knowledge: "Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so," says God of this Lucifer. This takes us back to the twenty-fifth chapter of Exodus, where God gave Moses the pattern for the Ark of the Covenant. The description begins with verse 10, and verses 18-20 show, in the material pattern, the two cherubs who were stationed at each end of the very throne of God in heaven—the throne of the government of God over the entire universe. The wings of the two cherubim covered the throne of God.
Trained at Universe Headquarters
This Lucifer, then, had been stationed at the very throne of God. He was trained and experienced in the administration of the government of God. God chose such a being, well-experienced and trained, to be the king ruling the government of God over the angels who inhabited the whole earth.
Continue: ". . . thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire." This is not talking about any human being. But continue: "Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity [lawlessness] was found in thee" (Ezek. 28:15).
He had complete knowledge, understanding and wisdom. But he also was given full powers of reasoning, thinking, making decisions, making his choice. And, with all this foreknowledge—even of results and consequences—this superb being, the highest that even God could create by fiat, turned to rebellion against his Maker—against the way that produces every good. He turned to lawlessness. He had been trained in the administration of perfect law and order. As long as Lucifer continued in this perfect way, there was happiness and joy unspeakable over the whole earth. There was glorious peace—beautiful harmony, perfect love, cooperation. The government of God produced a wonderfully happy state—as long as Lucifer was loyal in the conduct of God's government.
What Caused the Angels' Sin?
Lucifer was created gloriously beautiful—perfect in beauty, but he allowed vanity to seize him. Then he turned to erroneous reasoning. God's law—the basis of God's government—is the way of love—outgoing concern for the good and welfare of others, love toward God in obedience, humility, and worship—the way of giving, sharing, helping, cooperating. He reasoned that competition would be better than cooperation. It would be an incentive to excel, to try harder, to accomplish. There would be more pleasure in serving self and more enjoyment.
He turned against God's law of love. He became jealous of God, envious, and resentful against God. He allowed lust and greed to fill him, and he became bitter. This inspired a spirit of violence! He deliberately became his Maker's adversary and enemy. That was his choice, not God's—yet allowed by God!
God changed his name to what he became, satan the devil— which means adversary, competitor, enemy.
He directed his supernatural powers henceforth to evil. He became bitter not only against God, but against God's law. He used his subtile wiles of deception to lead the angels under him into disloyalty, rebellion, and revolt against the Creator and finally into a destructive war of aggression and violence to attempt to depose God and seize the throne of the universe.
As long as Lucifer remained loyal and administered the government of god faithfully, this earth was filled with wonderful and perfect peace. The angels were vigorously happy to the extent of joy! The law of God's government is THE WAY OF LIFE that causes and produces peace, happiness, prosperity, and well-being. Sin is the way of life that has caused all existing evils.
God now renewed the face of the earth, preparing it to become the abode of MAN!
Why God Created Man!
Here is a truth perhaps never before understood by man!
Here is AWESOME TRUTH!
Look, now, at the situation as God must have seen and considered it. God has given us minds like the mind of God—only inferior and limited. God made us in His image, after His likeness (form and shape), only composed of matter instead of Spirit. But God says to us, "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus" (Phil. 2:5). We can learn to think His thoughts after Him. If we have His Spirit, we can learn to think, to some degree, even as he thinks!
How must God have looked at this situation after the colossal debacle of Lucifer and the angels that sinned?
This lucifer was the supreme masterpiece of God's creative power as a single, separately created Spirit being! He was created the most perfect in beauty, mentality, knowledge, power, intellect and wisdom within the almighty power of God to create in a being, with power to think, reason, make choices and decisions on his own. God knew that no higher, more perfect being could be created as an initial creation.
Yet this superior being, trained and experienced at the very throne of the government of god over the universe, had resorted to wrong reasoning and made a diabolical perverted decision. He worked on the angels under him until he turned their minds to rebellion also.
When Lucifer allowed thoughts of vanity, jealousy, envy, lust and greed, then resentment and rebellion, to enter and occupy his mind, SOMETHING HAPPENED TO HIS mind! His mind became perverted, distorted, twisted! His thinking became warped. God gave him and the angles control over their own minds. They can never straighten them out—never again think rationally, honestly, rightly.
Lucifer was the supreme masterpiece. If Lucifer and his angels went wrong, there was no assurance the other two thirds would not.
As God surveyed this tragic cataclysm, He must have realized it left only a God-plane Being who would not and CANNOT SIN! The only possible assurance of accomplishing His great purpose was for Him now to reproduce Himself!
But let us answer another question before concluding:
WHY is it impossible for God to sin? No greater power exists that will prevent Him—but God has simply by His own power— supreme and above all power—set Himself that He will not!
What God saw was this. No being less than God could be certainly relied upon never to sin, that is, never to turn against God's law, and God's government, which makes possible His ultimate purpose. To fulfill His purpose for the entire universe, God saw that nothing less than himself, and His holy, righteous and perfect character, could be absolutely relied upon to carry out His supreme purpose throughout the entire, vast, endless universe!
The question might be raised: Could not God have known, in advance, what Lucifer and the angels under him would do? Doesn't God know everything? The answer is no. If God were to have known in advance what choice they would make. He would have had to force them to make it—taken away from them power to think, to reason, to have a choice, to make decisions. God does not choose to know, in advance, what you or I will be thinking, reasoning, deciding, tomorrow or in the future. He gave these Spirit beings, as He gives us, the power to think for ourselves, to choose, to make decisions. Otherwise we should be nothing more than automatons, doing what we are compelled to do. He simply did not choose to know. His purpose includes the development of character in His created beings. All that had happened caused God to now UNDERTAKE THE MOST STUPENDOUS CREATION OF ALL—— that of REPRODUCING HIMSELF IN MAN! The ultimate creation, in humans, of God Beings in His God Family—superior to angels!
This is the CROWNING PINNACLE of even God's unmatched creative power! The very zenith of all Divine accomplishment! A project so incredibly transcendently awesome it is hard for the human mind to grasp.
The great GOD—self-existent, before all else, is creator of all else, is reproducing himself into multiplied millions of others just like himself—Divine, supreme in power, perfect in character—each by his own choice perfectly like-minded with the Father, each having so set himself that he cannot sin!
What an incredible potential!
Human Nature - Did God Create It?
about it a moment! Greed, violence, jealously, lust, envy, hatred - so
many of humanity's weaknesses and problems are commonly attributed to
human nature. but where did such an evil nature come from? Where we just
born with it? That doesn't make sense, for surely sweet little babies do
not possess the same selfish, harmful nature so many adults exhibit.
What then is the real origin of what we call "human nature"?
You'll be surprised at the answer. Write for a free copy of our
informative booklet Human Nature - Did
God Create It?
. . .