The Apple Of God's Eye

June 27, 2010

Is Jesus God?

t4toby.wordpress.com

God is not merely one Person. God is a divine Family – only one Family – but more than one divine Person. Jesus Christ spoke of His divine Father as GOD. He said He was the Son of God (Matt. 27:43; John 10:36).

Jesus is called God in Hebrews 1:9, John 1 and elsewhere. All the holy angels are commanded to worship Jesus (Heb. 1:6), and none but God may be worshipped.

So the Eternal Father is a Person, and is God. Jesus Christ is a different Person and is God. They are two separate and individual persons (John 1:1). The Father is Supreme Head of the God
Family – the Lawgiver. Christ is the Word- the divine Spokesman.

In Genesis 1:1, the word for “God” in the Hebrew is Elohim. In certain contexts, it is a uniplural noun. It is uniplural, like such words as group, church, crowd, family or organization. Take, for example, the word church. You will read in I Corinthians 12:20 that the Church is only “one Church” – the “one body” – yet is composed of “many members.’’ Even though many individual persons constitute the Church, it is not many churches – it is only the “one Church.”

As explained in Gen. 1:1 the Hebrew word for “God” is Elohim. But, when the historical account first begins to record the fact of God speaking to the man He created, a new and different Hebrew
name is used. In Gen. 2:15 (and previous verses beginning in verse 4) the English words “Lord God” (in the King James authorized version) are translated from the Hebrew YHVH Elohim. The Hebrew Elohim already has been defined as uniplural.

But, YHVH is a name meaning “the Everliving,” or “the Eternal.”T here is no one word in the English language that translates it exactly. God always names beings what they are. Actually, YHVH means “the Self-Existent, Ever-living, Eternally Living, Creating One.” The “Lord” (YHVH) of the Old Testament in nearly every case is the Jesus Christ of the New Testament. That is, Christ was YHVH prior to His birth as a human of the virgin Mary. In John 1:1-3, this same Personage is spoken of as The Word – the Greek wort, is Logos, meaning “Word,” or “Spokesman. Jesus the Christ (Messiah) is, and always has been, the individual Person of the God Kingdom (Family) who is the Spokesman.

The Father of the God Family is the Head – the Lawgiver – the Creator. Yet He created everything by Jesus Christ (Eph. 3:9). Thus in John 1:3: “All things were made [created] by him” – by the Logos or Word, who is Jesus Christ (verse 14).

The specific Person of the Godhead who spoke to Adam, then, was YHVH – the Eternal – the One who became Jesus Christ.

So God is presently a Family of two Persons – God the Father and Jesus Christ the Son. And the wonderful truth is that human beings may be born into this same ONE God Family as distinct, separate Personalities by a resurrection from the dead.

Jesus Christ was the firstborn of many brethren (Rom. 8:29) – having been born again when God the Father resurrected Him from the dead (Rom. 1:4).

December 14, 2009

The Virgin Birth: Fact Or Myth?

Liberal theologians have long denied the divinity of Jesus, the resurrection story and other tenets of traditional doctrine.

It’s easy enough for traditionalists to assign blame to two or three outspoken theologians. But what the theologians really represent is a surfacing of deeply felt, usually unexpressed, doubts in the hearts of the clergy. Increasingly the so-called poetic nature of the nativity stories is stressed in the media. A strict interpretation of the Bible text is summarily dismissed.

Perhaps a little historical perspective on this problem will clarify the controversy.

Brief Modern History

Adolf Harnack was a German liberal scholar. In 1892 he remarked to his students that he did not believe the virgin birth. In his view Jesus of Nazareth was no more than a very capable teacher. Harnack touched off a heated controversy that has ebbed and flowed ever since.

Then Emil Brunner wrote a book about Jesus Christ in 1927 in which he questioned the virgin birth.

After World War II Rudolf Bultmann began his now famous approach of “demythologizing” the Bible. To him New Testament myth had to be separated from New Testament fact. Miracles were indeed statements of faith — but not factual stories.

Students training for the priesthood and ministry have read the published works of these theologians as a regular part of their educational routine. Many have absorbed such teachings, however unconsciously. They have become unsure. They do not understand who or what Jesus Christ really was and is. Their disbelief now extends to the virgin birth.

Thinking men and women are now examining the New Testament documents for themselves. They have no option but to test what they hear, as did the Bereans, who searched “the scriptures daily, whether those things were so” (Acts 17:11).

Can one honestly believe the virgin birth? Two accounts of Jesus’ birth appear in the gospels — one by Luke and the other by Matthew. Space only allows for an analysis of Luke’s version.

Luke as Gospel Writer

Luke was a physician who conducted himself like the professional he was. His gospel was written for a prominent Roman official. He chose his sources carefully. He talked to eyewitnesses. He recorded truth.

It is unthinkable that Luke would produce a careless assemblage of half-truths. Notice Luke’s prologue: “Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the things which have been accomplished among us, just as they were delivered to us by those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word, it seemed good to me also, having followed all things closely for some time past, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, that you may know the truth concerning the things of what you have been informed” (Luke 1:1-4, Revised Standard Version throughout remainder of article).

Luke’s sober intention was to convey truth — not myths or half-truths. This Greek-speaking physician was nobody’s fool. He was a well-educated man.

Here is the thoughtful conclusion of Professor A. Plummer about Luke the physician and gospel writer and the apostle Paul: “It is not improbable that it was at Tarsus, where there was a school of philosophy and literature rivalling those of Alexandria and Athens, that they first met. Luke may have studied medicine at Tarsus. Nowhere else in Asia Minor could he obtain so good an education” (St. Luke, pp. 20-21, T.&T. Clark, 1896).

Luke is one of the most versatile and prolific of all the New Testament writers. He uses 800 Greek words not employed elsewhere in the New Testament. He spent valuable time with another prolific writer — the apostle Paul who, like Moses, was not only educated in biblical doctrine, but in this world’s secular and legal knowledge as well.

Only Luke sets the birth and ministry of Christ in the wider context of the Roman Empire. Considerable historical and chronological data are used in his account. He is conscious of the impact of Christ’s teaching in the whole of the civilized world. He realizes the gospel goes far beyond Palestinian borders.

The point is, here is a man uniquely equipped to write an account of the life and teaching of Jesus Christ to one in high office. Luke understands the Graeco-Roman world. He possesses literary gifts and historical awareness. He has professional experience.

Luke’s Birth Accounts

The birth stories of John the Baptist and Jesus Christ are set in the days of Herod (Luke 1:5). The account begins with Zechariah, who is approached in the Temple by the archangel Gabriel while Zechariah is performing his priestly duties. Gabriel predicts the birth of John. Not unnaturally, Zechariah protests his and his wife’s advanced age. Nevertheless Elizabeth conceives (verse 24).

This crucial account follows: “In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary” (verses 26-27).

God is director of this entire scenario. Gabriel was sent by the Creator. The archangel said to the betrothed virgin Mary, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God” (verse 30).

What is to happen to Mary as a result of God’s favor? “And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus” (verse 31).

Tripartite Testimony

Notice the account carefully. Notice how Scripture affirms Mary’s virginity. In verse 27 Luke says that Mary was a virgin. In verse 34 Mary herself states she was a virgin. In verses 35 through 37 the archangel Gabriel affirms her virginity.

But what was Mary’s reaction to the angelic greeting? Just what you’d expect in a real life situation. Luke records that “she was greatly troubled at the saying, and considered in her mind what sort of greeting this might be” (verse 29).

And when Gabriel tells her of the coming birth, her reaction is very human. “How shall this be, since I have no husband?” (verse 34). Mary was betrothed, but not yet living with a husband. She presents the natural difficulties. Then Gabriel proceeds to strengthen her faith. Notice how.

He focuses her attention on Elizabeth’s miraculous experience. “And behold, your kinswoman Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. For with God nothing will be impossible” (verses 36-37).

A Miracle-working God

Such is the crux of the whole matter. God is a miracle-working God. Miraculous biblical incidents are recorded from Genesis to Revelation. Of course, God did create natural law. But the Creator is superior to the created and can transcend natural law.

Birth is not normally possible after menopause. It occurred twice in biblical history. The first occurrence involved the patriarch Abraham and his wife Sarah. Again the reaction was typically human. Abraham said: “Shall a child be born to a man who is a hundred years old? Shall Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child?” (Gen. 17:17). Sarah said: “Shall I indeed bear a child, now that I am old?” (Gen. 18:13).

Notice how God answered these questions. “Is anything too hard for the Lord? At the appointed time I will return to you, in the spring, and Sarah shall have a son” (verse 14).

“Is anything too hard for the Lord?” Each must answer this question for himself or herself.

Must we reject miracles because they are not the norm in secular human experience? Notice the wisdom of Winston Churchill: “The idea that nothing is true except what we comprehend is silly, and that ideas which our minds cannot reconcile are mutually destructive, sillier still” (My Early Life, page 126, 1930, MacMillan & Co.).

Which Is the Greater Miracle?

It is foolish to view the virgin birth in isolation. The virgin birth is not inherently less plausible than the physical resurrection of Jesus.

The virgin birth is no harder for God than resurrecting Jesus Christ — and certainly no harder than creating the first man from the dust of the ground — or fashioning Eve from Adam’s rib. Which miracle is harder for God?

Let’s put it another way. God created the heavens and the earth “out of things which do not appear” (Heb. 11:3). Visible matter is therefore not eternal in nature. God created Adam out of dust, without any father or mother. God created Eve out of a rib, without any father or mother. Was it then impossible for God to be the Father of Jesus without benefit of a human father? Which is the greater miracle?

But what was the archangel Gabriel telling Mary? Simply this. If God could make it possible for Elizabeth and Zechariah to have a son John in their old age, Mary could bear a child as a virgin. “For with God nothing will be impossible.”

Questions on the Virgin Birth

Why does John Mark, the writer of the gospel of Mark, fail to report a virgin birth?

Mark is the briefest of the four gospels. He simply omits the first 30 years of Jesus’ life — beginning his gospel with Jesus’ ministry. Says Mark 1:1: “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God’ (Revised Standard Version throughout). Even here a virgin birth is inferred.

What about the silence of the apostle Paul?

Paul’s epistles were all what theologians term “occasional” letters. That is, they were written to either inform or correct a specific congregation or an individual because of problems that arose during the course of his apostolic duties. None is a catalog of Christian doctrine.

Certainly nothing in Paul’s epistles contradicts a virgin birth. Notice Galatians 4:4: “But when the time had fully come, God sent forth his Son, born of a woman…. ” At the outset of every one of Paul’s 14 letters, there is a reference to the Father-Son relationship in the God family. Note an excerpt from the salutation in II Corinthians 1:3: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Also in Colossians 1:3: “We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Draw your own conclusions.

What about Matthew’s quotation of Isaiah 7:14 in the Old Testament? Is not the word virgin a mistranslation? Does not the Hebrew word almah mean “young woman”?

The Hebrew word almah can be translated “young woman,” “girl” or “maiden,” as well as “virgin.” As The New Bible Commentary Revised puts it: “It presumes rather than states virginity” (page 596). Almah is used to describe Rebekah as a “young woman” before her marriage to Isaac (Gen. 24:43). She was a virgin (verse 16).

Almah is never used to describe a married woman. Says The New Bible Dictionary: “In using the word alma, however, Isaiah employs the one word which is never applied (either in the Bible or in other Near Eastern sources) to anyone but an unmarried woman” (page 557).

This is not true of btula — the other term that may be translated “virgin.” Continues The New Bible Dictionary, “The word btula may designate a virgin, but when it does the explanatory phrase ‘and a man had not known her’ is often added… the word btula may also indicate a married woman.”

Moses uses both Hebrew words to describe the virgin Rebekah (see Genesis 24:16, 43). But why did Isaiah use almah to describe the one who would bear Immanuel (meaning “God with us”)? Simply stated, the prophet had to choose one of the two terms. Neither always means virgin. There is no precise word in Hebrew that always means virgin. Since almah never means a young married woman, one living with a husband, it is the better term for Isaiah 7:14.

It is interesting to note that the Septuagint — the most important Greek translation of the Old Testament — translates the Hebrew word almah (Isa. 7:14) into the Greek parthenos. This particular Greek word always means “virgin.” This was the judgment of some 70 Jewish scholars who translated the Hebrew Scriptures into Greek about 250 B.C.

All that aside, remember that here the Greek New Testament interprets the Hebrew. The angel explained to Joseph: ” ‘Do not fear to take Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit… “All this took place to fulfil what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: ‘Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and his name shall be called Emmanuel’ (which means, God with us)” (Matt. 1:20-23).

Just before his ascension, Christ told his apostles: ” ‘These are my words which I spoke to you, while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the law of Moses and the prophets [including Isaiah] and the psalms must be fulfilled.’ Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures” (Luke 24:44-45). That last sentence is the key. The apostles — including Matthew — received an inspired understanding of the correct sense of the Hebrew Scriptures.

Many times the Hebrew prophets did not fully comprehend the exact nature of what they were writing (Dan. 12:8-9).

Matthew was given inspired understanding of many Hebrew scriptures concerning Jesus Christ. Isaiah 7:14 was just one.

Matthew’s genealogy begins with the genealogy of Joseph. What is the point of a genealogy of a stepfather?

This genealogy shows something vital about Jesus — as well as about his legal father. Matthew 1:1 simply states: “The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.”

King David was founder of the Jewish royal family. Matthew’s genealogy follows the Davidic royal line to Jesus’ legal father. Here are Jesus’ regal credentials.

Why do you think King Herod slaughtered all the male children in Bethlehem age 2 and under (Matt. 2:16)? Herod thought Jesus, as heir to David’s throne, might usurp his kingdom.

It was left to Luke to explain the actual Davidic bloodline through Jesus’ mother Mary.

Source: The Plain Truth, 1985

December 12, 2009

Is Man An Animal?

Editors Comment: The following article is from the Trumpet.com and has some very interesting points to make regarding the distinction between man and animals. The author addresses the fact that man is a physical being, with a spiritual attribute and that of the whole man, the mind is the all important factor between him and animals. Science forgets that the body is merely the physical vehicle which the mind directs. With mankind, it is by thought; with animals, it is through instinct. Looking for the connection is simply grasping at the thin end of the straw. The article is well worth the read if you’re interested in the subject.

—————————————————————————————-

psycnet.apa.org

Science is exposing a shocking new truth, columnist Mark Morford declared this past summer: “In the wilds of nature, to not have some level of homosexual/bisexual behavior in a give

n species is turning out to be the exception, not the rule” (San Francisco Chronicle, July 1, 2009; emphasis his).

You know where he’s going with this. “[E]ither humankind is part of nature and the wanton animal kingdom, a full participant in the messy inexplicable glories of the flesh and spirit and gender play, or we are the aberrant mistake, the ones who are lagging far behind the rest of the kingdom ….”

Morford’s in-your-face arrogance is maddening. But he appears to have science on his side. “[A]s many as 1,500 species of wild and captive animals have been observed engaging in homosexual activity,” noted Scientific American in June 2008. “Researchers have seen such same-sex goings-on in both male and female, old and young, and social and solitary creatures and on branches of the evolutionary tree ranging from insects to mammals.”

Science, according to Morford and his ilk, has solved the contentious question of homosexual behavior in humans: Homosexuality is a scientifically proven, therefore irrevocable, fact of life. To oppose it is to oppose nature itself.

The truth, however, is not that simple. This argument—which is patent liberalism masquerading as objective science—is riddled with flaws.

Animal or Human?

Morford’s reasoning is premised on one of the most pernicious errors ever peddled by science. Canonized into scientific lore long ago, then pumped relentlessly by modern education into believing minds, this lie has been sold as undeniable fact, an irreproachable law of science. What is it?

That man is an animal.

Check any modern biology textbook—they all say the same thing. Humans, Homo sapiens, are classified as members of the animal kingdom. Scientists classify man this way because of similarities between the physical characteristics and workings of some animals and the physical characteristics and workings of humans.

What about the gargantuan—and, at least to scientists, inexplicable—mental differences? Animals don’t think or reason, write, read, listen to music (let alone compose it or perform it), drive cars, or understand mathematics and chemistry. They lack the mental capacity to do any of these beyond even the most rudimentary level.

Aren’t the extreme differences between the mind of animals and the human mind greater than the meager similarities between the physical makeup of humans and some animals? Of course. Yet rather than give us our own kingdom, scientists lob humans into the animal kingdom.

A Slippery Slope

The unqualified classification of man as an animal is founded on an error and ends in moral confusion, and, ultimately, social breakdown.

Consider Morford’s reasoning, borne of this error. Many scientists and intellectuals like Morford, using this as their premise, have moved far beyond merely studying the physical similarities between humans and animals. Today we have “advanced” to the point of actually studying the behavior of animals to determine what is normal and abnormal behavior for humans. Since, Morford says, animals the world over supposedly engage in homosexual behavior, he reasons it’s neither unnatural nor abnormal for humans to practice homosexuality.

Such reasoning is more pervasive than you might imagine. Regarding such human proclivities as promiscuous sex, single motherhood, even child rearing, leading scientists and intellectuals are actually looking to animals to determine what is normal behavior and what is not.

Tragically, this “progression” has resulted in the sweeping acceptance, even promotion, of animalistic behavior in human society!

Where does it end? Many animals practice cannibalism—does this mean human cannibalism is all right? Animals fight and kill each other all the time—does this justify fighting and murder among humans? Of course not, reasonable people would reply. Yet scientists and radical liberals use precisely this logic to justify homosexuality.

Increasingly, this reasoning is being used to undermine the traditional family. A growing contingent of anti-family, anti-traditional radicals argue that since no other animals possess the marriage institution, why should humans? Some, in an effort to undermine the traditional role of the human male, argue that while male animals are generally involved in conception, most never stick around to protect, provide for and educate their progeny—so why should men be any different?

Such pitiful reasoning exposes the absolute degeneracy of the human mind today.

Humans laud themselves for being smart and progressive. We can easily recognize the vast gap that separates us from other living creatures—the uniqueness of our intelligence, our culture, our ability to think and reason, and our countless impressive achievements. Yet despite these magnificently unique qualities, we willfully lump ourselves in with the dumb animals.

We possess the most powerful instrument on the planet: the human mind. It sets us miles apart from every other life form. Yet we look to animals—creatures devoid of any ability to think or reason, creatures driven by basic instinct—as a means of determining human morality and conduct, and establishing societal norms.

There is an explanation for such thinking: Mankind has been deceived into rejecting divine revelation from God!

We Have Been Deceived!

The classification of humans as animals, and the resulting justification of animalistic behavior among humans, goes beyond being illogical and perverted.

At its core, it is motivated by an evil spirit being who is determined to undermine and destroy the existence of God, the traditional “Christian” beliefs, morals and institutions that underpin many Western societies, and, most importantly, the incredible potential God has created within every human being.

Unsurprisingly, Morford, like many of the scientific surveys, failed to define how “homosexual behavior” was classified among animals. Animals do not have the varied and complex emotional make-up of human beings. Just because two bottlenose dolphins are seen briefly mounting each other, this does not make them homosexual. Did two squirrels wrestling make them homosexual? If the definition of “homosexual behavior” is as broad as it appears, then it’s no surprise the figures are so high.

And if animals are exhibiting homosexual tendencies, we would strongly challenge the notion that God made them to do so. God created this planet flawless, meaning it was created within the boundaries of His law. This is why, after six days of labor, God looked back on His handiwork and said it was “very good” (Genesis 1:31). Just look at the way animals behaved in the Garden of Eden, before the curses associated with man’s sin entered the world (e.g. Genesis 2:19). Then look at the prophecies of how they will behave again once God’s Kingdom is established and those curses are removed (e.g. Isaiah 11:6-9). God did not make the animals wild, violent and bloodthirsty. They exhibit those qualities—as man does, sadly—because they are in the thrall of this world ruled by the devil (e.g. 2 Corinthians 4:4).

So not only are scientists stupidly looking to the creature rather than the Creator for their instruction in how to live (e.g. Romans 1:25), but they are studying and exalting a Satan-inspired perversion of the behaviors God intended animals to exhibit! “Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools” (verse 22).

We ought to be looking up to the majestic throne room of God and gleaning instruction on how to live from the Being infinitely superior to us in morality, character and conduct. But this evil spirit, using science and other instruments, encourages man instead to turn our gaze downward into the world of brute animals—be they homosexual scarab beetles, or promiscuous dogs, or filthy baboons—for insight and instruction into human behavior.

Instead of relying on God’s Word, mankind relies on his own materialistic observations and classifies himself as little more than a brute beast aimlessly walking this Earth. Can’t we recognize the absurdity of such thinking?

The God Kind

The Bible explains in detail why God made man. It reveals our purpose for existence. It provides instruction on ideal human conduct. It shows our ultimate potential.

Consider God’s instruction in Genesis 1:26-27. “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth …. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him: male and female created he them.”

Did you notice how clearly God delineates the human kingdom from the animal kingdom?

We’re just scratching the surface. In verse 25, God explained how He made each species of animal after its own kind, the “cattle after their kind,” and “every winged fowl after his kind.” But read verses 26-27 again: God made man after the God kind!

He didn’t just create humans as a separate kingdom higher than that of the animals; He created humans after the God kind, with a colossal potential that no animal can ever have. Notice what the late Herbert Armstrong wrote about this potential: “This revealed knowledge of God’s purpose for mankind—of man’s incredible awesome potential—staggers the imagination. Science knows nothing of it—no religion reveals it … and certainly higher education is in utter ignorance of it” (Incredible Human Potential).

If you’re weary of science and education forcing your gaze downward, it’s not too late to begin casting your gaze upward, into the realm of hope and truth, the realm overflowing with divine instruction and guidance. If you’d like some help, request, then study, our free book The Incredible Human Potential.

September 14, 2009

What is The Role Of Righteous Angels Today?

1In Genesis 1:1 we are told that “God created the heaven and the earth.” But physical matter — this earth, the stars, the galaxies — was not the first thing God created.  In fact, before bringing the material universe into existence, God created the angels (Job 38:4-7), called “stars” in Rev. 1:20.

Revelation 12:4-9 also speaks of the angels who followed Satan’s rebellion as the “stars of heaven.” And in Isaiah 14:12 we learn that Lucifer, before he sinned, was called “son of the morning” or “day-star,” as some Bible margins render it.

Angels are individually created beings. They cannot marry and reproduce (Matt. 22:30), but are called “sons of God” because God created each angel as a separate, immortal spirit being, and in that sense is the angels’ Father (Heb. 12:9). And so we find the angels shouting for joy at the creation of the earth, long before the creation of man. They were joyful because the earth was to be their home or abode.

However, the Bible also speaks of angels who sinned and you have probably not heard of that before. It is stated plainly in your Bible though (II Pet. 2:4, Jude 6). How many angels remained obedient to God? The Bible indicates that two thirds of the angels did not follow Lucifer (now Satan) in his rebellion against the government of God (Isa. 14:12-14, Ezek. 28:13-15). These countless millions of angels are God’s servants, helping to carry out His plan for mankind.

Appearance of Angels

The Bible also describes various types of angels whose appearance and function differ. For instance, there are cherubim at God’s throne (Ps. 99:1). There are also lesser known seraphim (Isa. 6:1-7). There are also “beasts” and “elders” surrounding God’s throne? Rev. 4:2-11. (more…)

August 13, 2009

What If Adam Had Taken Of The Tree Of Life?

Deeply Rooted In The Word Of God - catatonickid.wordpress.com

Deeply Rooted In The Word Of God - catatonickid.wordpress.com

“What would have happened to the world if the first human, Adam, had taken of the tree of LIFE?” That is a question I have never heard or read of being answered. But elsewhere than in Genesis the Bible does at least imply the answer, partially. It seems almost no one ever thought to ask that question. Would we not have lived in a different world?

You now live in a world of awesome progress, development and accomplishment. Yet this same world is filled with appalling evils. Crime, violence, immorality multiply. Discontent, unhappiness, frustration fill human minds. WHY this astounding paradox?

Amid 20th century scientific and technological advances approaching the miraculous — amid tremendous advances in production of increasing knowledge and its dissemination, we live in a world half literate, and half in abject poverty, living in filth and squalor.

WHY? Why cannot mankind solve his problems and eradicate his evils?

The die was cast at the very foundation of the world. Late 19th and 20th century intellectual progress has turned to and accepted the theory of evolution as the basic premise on which knowledge production and advancement is based. But knowledge development has been paralleled with escalating evils. Evolutionary ideas have not led to the increasing of, but the rapid elimination of well-being. Evolution cannot give us the answer to this mysterious paradox. It gives humanity NO HOPE for the future.

The only answer lies in the incident of the forbidden fruit in the garden of Eden. The only explanation of this world’s paradox and the meaning of the purpose of human existence lies in understanding of that incident, which in fact was the foundation of this world.

Yes, WHAT IF the first man Adam had taken of the tree of LIFE, instead of the forbidden fruit?

Adam was required to make a choice. In that choice the die was cast on the whole 6,000-year human society up to this time. The CAUSE of every evil experienced by the billions of human lives during these 6,000 years lies in the decision made by the human father of all mankind.

Yes, WHAT IF he had taken of the tree of LIFE?

Look at that pivotal incident of all human existence. The forbidden tree was to result in DEATH. It was the tree of the KNOWLEDGE of good and evil. On man’s taking to himself that knowledge, God closed off the tree of life (Gen. 3:22-24) from all mankind until Christ, the second Adam, came. The exception to this were the prophets of ancient Israel for the writing of the Bible.

What did the forbidden tree really mean? That knowledge has no connection with material knowledge. Man was created with a mind capable of acquiring knowledge concerning matter — dealing with wood, metals, agriculture — the sciences and technology. Good and evil are concerned with relationships with other minds.

Man was made to have and need a relationship with his Maker — the supreme mind. He was made to engage in relationships with fellow humans — who have minds. Good and evil concerns MIND in relationships with other minds. But man’s mind was not a finished creation. It contains a spiritual content, not present in the brains of nonhuman vertebrates. Animals are equipped with instinct, but not thinking, reasoning, knowing minds. The human mind not only can receive knowledge of the material and its use, but also ATTITUDES in relation to other minds. That is, attitudes of love or of hate. Attitudes of self-centeredness and vanity; attitudes of envy, jealousy, animosity, competition, strife and violence; attitudes of rebellion or, on the other hand, attitudes of outflowing love, humility, reverence for God, obedience, cooperation, helping, serving, sharing — concern for the welfare and good of others.

God Lives and Works

God the Creator from eternity has existed as God — a supreme spirit Personage — and the Word — also a supreme spirit Personage, willingly and by nature subservient to God in love. Constituting the God family, these two exist eternally (John 1:1-5, 14). They lived! How did they live — by what relationship? God loved the Word who 1,986 years ago became Jesus Christ. The Word loved God. Two can’t walk together except they be agreed. They were in perfect harmony. Neither can two continue happily together except one is leader or head. God has always been head over all.

Living, they were doing. What have they been doing? They have been CREATING. Planning, designing, bringing into existence — positive constructing, not destroying. They worked thus together in love, peace, harmony. God created all things BY the Word who became Jesus Christ (Eph. 3:9).

This way of LOVE, peace, cooperation always was their way of life. That way of life became the supreme LAW of the universe — for law is merely the WAY of life. People make laws to regulate their lives. There is a basic law or constitution on which every government is based. Even games in sports have rules. So outflowing LOVE is the foundational LAW of the government of God. Sin is the transgression of that law.

Adam transgressed that law — he sinned — when he rejected the tree of LIFE and continuing contact with God and chose, instead, to take to himself the knowledge of good and evil — the knowledge of HOW to live in relationship with other MINDS — both God and human. Thus he rejected the law of God.

Now, WHAT IF he had taken of the tree of life? God closed off the tree of life until Christ the second Adam came to redeem mankind. Jesus said, “I will build my Church.” He chose 12 disciples. (The word disciple means student, one being taught.) Jesus taught them about the kingdom of God. He promised them they would receive the Holy Spirit. On the day of Pentecost, A.D. 31, the Holy Spirit came with a supernatural display (Acts 2). The Holy Spirit is the divine spiritual sperm, which impregnates with eternal LIFE (Rom. 8:11). Also it is the LOVE of God shed abroad in our hearts (Rom. 5:5).

What Did the Tree of Life Symbolize?

Therefore, the tree of life in Eden symbolized the Spirit of God, which imparts eternal LIFE. Adam was not created with eternal life. In that respect, his creation was not yet complete. Human creation is still going on!

IF Adam had taken of the tree of LIFE, he would have received that LIFE just as the true Christian may today — by receiving the Holy Spirit. Only, Adam had not yet sinned — until he disobeyed. He would have needed no repentance as we do today. But he would have BELIEVED God. He would have received the Holy Spirit — the LOVE OF GOD, which divine love fulfills God’s law.

What more? Like Christians today, he would have become an HEIR of God. He would have been begotten to become a child of God, not yet born.

In I Corinthians 2:9, we read that the knowledge of spiritual truths, attitudes and purposes of God cannot be seen by the eye nor heard through the ear. All knowledge receivable by humans enters the mind through the five senses. But (verse 10) God reveals spiritual knowledge through his Spirit. Without the Spirit of God in combination with our human spirit, no human can comprehend spiritual knowledge. That is the reason the greatest, most intellectual, most highly educated minds CANNOT UNDERSTAND the Bible — which imparts spiritual knowledge.

Therefore, as the forbidden tree was one of knowledge leading to death, so the tree of LIFE was one of spiritual knowledge leading to immortal LIFE. What Adam took to himself was spiritual knowledge, which his mind, without the Holy Spirit of God, was not capable of comprehending. He decided for himself what is right and wrong. But Satan influenced him, through Eve, to decide selfishly.

Consequently, he decided what he thought was right or wrong in relation to others from an attitude of self-centeredness — not from that of outflowing love toward others.

The tree of LIFE — symbolic of God’s Holy Spirit — was shut off and CLOSED to humans until Christ. Thus the foundation of this world — this civilization — was laid. Man has acquired material know-how to produce awesome progress, especially in this 20th century. But his progress is materialistic and physical. The uncompleted human mind has been capable of that. But the human mind has been only HALF there!

In relationship to God, what little mankind knows has been perverted by Satan. Man has been selfish in his relationship with people. He has lived the way of GETTING, not GIVING. He has been filled with greed, animosity, competition, violence, destruction. He has destroyed all of God’s earth his hands could touch or change — polluted the air and the water, worn out the soil. But WHAT IF Adam had taken of the tree of LIFE which God freely offered him?

“He Would Have … “

He would have received the Holy Spirit of God. He would thus have been given a spiritually comprehending mind. He would have continued in close relationship with God, especially in the Person of the Word, later designated as Yahweh, who would have revealed knowledge and truth progressively to Adam as he was able to absorb and understand it. He would have received the LOVE of God, God’s divine love for fulfilling the law. He would have received the FAITH of God, and even spiritual POWER to resist evil and for self-control.

But, would Satan have been banished from the earth at the time? From here on many questions may arise that God has not as yet revealed to us in the Bible. But some answers are evident, and others indicated by what is revealed.

Christ, the second Adam, resisted and rejected Satan in the great temptation (Matt. 4). But he did not take over the throne of the earth from Satan at that time, although he had qualified to take it over.

We, who do receive the Holy Spirit, are not made immortal at once, nor even in this mortal life. We must continue to overcome, to grow in grace and spiritual knowledge, and we must endure to the end of this mortal existence before we shall be made immortal. So it is indicated surely that Adam would have continued as a mortal, having God’s Spirit, until God’s righteous character had been developed in him. Eventually he would have been made immortal, Satan would have been deposed and Adam would have sat on the throne of the earth.

He would have been taught by God continually. He surely would have learned to teach Cain, Abel, Seth and other children, from the cradle, in God’s way of life and in resisting Satan.

God has not revealed it all. But we may know it would have been a far different world than that which Satan has deceived.

What DID and WILL Happen

But the first human, Adam, did not take of the freely offered tree of LIFE. So what is important to us is what did, and will happen.

God’s PURPOSE in creating and putting on earth the human family was and is to reproduce himself — to create in and through the human family his own GOD FAMILY WITH PERFECT SPIRITUAL CHARACTER, to have the human family born into the GOD FAMILY. God’s PURPOSE stands. It shall be accomplished. But how?

God’s own perfect character can only be created in us by him, but with our own individual free choice, decision and will. The first Adam did not then acquiesce in that decision and free will. He yielded to Satan and opposite character through his wife Eve.

Thereupon God moved swiftly to do certain things.

First, he shut off access by humans to the tree of LIFE — to immortality. God was not willing that humans should live eternally in the unhappy torture of perverted minds and the consequences of sin.

At the same time, so that sinning man be not lost from God-like happiness and the possibility of being born into the God family, it was thereupon necessary — at the very foundation of the human world — that Christ should come, be born human, and through death pay the penalty for the sins of all humans who repent and turn to God’s way of life.

Simultaneously, it was appointed that all humans should die, but after this, through a resurrection, come to judgment (Heb. 9:27) in which the book of life could be opened (Rev. 20:12) — and, that as in Adam all should once die, so in Christ should all be made alive (I Cor. 15:22) and then judged.

In due time, nearly 4,000 years from the foundation of this world, Christ came. He said, “I will build my Church.” As a foundation (with the prophets), he called and taught his 12 disciples. He commissioned them, as apostles, to teach all whom God would call. To them, upon repentance and belief, the Holy Spirit would be given, begetting them as sons of God. Even then, the Holy Spirit was still closed off to all except those chosen and drawn by God.

At the end of the Church age and 6,000 years from Adam, Christ would return to earth as King of kings and Lord of lords, ruling all nations, with the saints, for one millennium.

After this shall come the Great White Throne Judgment when all not called previously shall be resurrected in the judgment and come to understand what only a privileged few, who are called now, already understand.

Undoubtedly, billions of humans finally shall be born into the God family.

Source: The Plain Truth, March 1983

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.