7 PROOFS OF GOD'S TRUE CHURCH: Part One
by Herbert W Armstrong
Where is the one and only true Church today—the Church founded by Jesus Christ in A.D. 31? Seven major eye-opening proofs identify it unmistakably.
YOU LIVE in a world of religious confusion. WHY so many different religions? The world has Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, Shintoism, Hinduism, Islam and Christianity, with its many denominations and sects. Religion is generally regarded as the worship of the Creator or the supernatural—although some Oriental religions are primarily philosophies.
The largest religion in the world, in asserted number of adherents, is Roman Catholicism. Its claim of being the original church of Christianity has won near universal acceptance in the Western world. But where is the absolute AUTHORITY to identify the true religion, and the one original Church, of the Christian religion? Or, is any authentic? Communism rejects religion, labeling it "the opiate of the people." I seriously doubt if anyone has been put through the experience that came to me in settling this question with PROOF POSITIVE.
WHY do most people believe the things they believe? The philosopher C. E. Ayers said truthfully that few, indeed, have ever stopped to ask themselves in retrospect why they believe the things they believe, or HOW they came to believe them.
I have said many times that most people believe that which they have repeatedly heard, read, or been taught, and have carelessly assumed those things to be true without question and without proof.
The Disturbing Dual Challenge
I was born of stable and upright parents, whose Quaker ancestors had emigrated from England to Pennsylvania with William Penn a hundred years before the United States became a nation.
At age 18 I dropped all but the most passive interest in religion. I had put myself through an intensive self-examination, coupled with a survey of the various occupations and professions, to determine where I belonged—to avoid fitting the proverbial square peg in the round hole. This led me into the advertising profession and business life. I was unusually successful. I had continued through the years diligent study and application. I had planned that my business contacts were largely with "the great and the near great." Then, at age 34, I was assailed by very disturbing dual challenges. My wife, after our nine years of happy marriage, had begun keeping the seventh-day Sabbath. I was aghast! That, to me, was religious fanaticism! She claimed to have found this teaching in the Bible.
My first upsetting thought was, "What will my business contacts and friends say?" It was a devastating thought, humiliating!
All the arguments came quickly to my mind. They were of no avail. She said she found this teaching in the Bible. "But the Bible says," I protested, " 'Thou shalt observe Sunday.' "
"Can you show that to me in the Bible?" she asked. "No," I replied. "I don't know much about the Bible. My interest and studies have been in the area of business. But I know the Bible teaches Sunday observance, because all these churches can't be wrong, and they derive their beliefs from the Bible."
"If," she smiled sincerely—but to me exasperatingly, "you can show me where the Bible commands Sunday observance, I'll go back to it." There was no dodging the challenge. My marriage depended upon it! Coincidentally, a sister-in-law, newly married and fresh out of college, hurled at me a second humiliating challenge. "Herbert Armstrong," she accused contemptuously, "you are just plain ignorant! Everybody who has any education knows human life has come by evolution."
I was proud. I had not neglected study and education. I thought I knew the facts about evolution, and I didn't believe in it. But now I had to admit I had never pursued a thorough, in depth research of the question. The dual challenge drove me into determined, almost night-and-day research. That intensive study continued for six months before I found the proven answer. Yet the study to this day has never ceased.
I was not only angered by these challenges—I was determined to prove both my wife and sister-in- law wrong. Both challenges focused on a common starting point—the book of Genesis in the Bible—although that was only the beginning.
These challenges came at a period in life when I had ample time on my hands. I plunged with intense concentration into the study. But I did not begin the research in Genesis. First I delved thoroughly into the works of Darwin, Lyell, Haeckel, Huxley, Spencer, Vogt, Chamberlin and Moore, and even into the earlier works of Lamarck and his theory of "use and disuse," which preceded Darwin's "survival of the fittest" hypothesis. Immediately those writings appeared convincing. They would have to be, to have won virtual universal acceptance in the world of higher education. I readily understood how the field of education had been gripped in the clutch of the evolutionary concept. Evolution, as I finally learned, is the atheists' attempted explanation of the presence of a creation without the pre-existence of a Creator.
This initial stage of my research rudely shook my faith in the existence of God. It brought me to the realization that I had assumed the reality of God, because from childhood I had heard—and therefore accepted—it. For a while my head was literally swimming. Was all I had ever believed mere myth and error, after all? I was awakened to the realization I had never seen PROVED the reality of God. Now I was determined to know the TRUTH! My mind was being cleaned out from ideas and beliefs previously taken for granted. Of all the writers on evolution, Moore alone had culled out many discrepancies in the theory, yet he, too, went along with the doctrine overall.
But now I had, first of all, to prove or disprove the existence of God. It was no casual or superficial study. I continued in this research as if my life depended upon it—as, in actual fact, it did, as well as my marriage. I studied books on both sides of the question. Suffice it to say here that I did find irrefutable PROOF of the existence of God the Creator—and I found proof positive of the fallacy of the evolutionary theory. I had the satisfaction of winning the admission of one thoroughly steeped in evolutionary thought (she had spent years in graduate work at the University of Chicago and at Columbia) that I had definitely chopped down the trunk of the evolutionary tree; though, like Dr. Moore, she had been so thoroughly brainwashed in evolutionary theory she had to continue in it, even though she had seen and acknowledged PROOF of its falsity. Also I had the enjoyment of being able to cause my sister-in-law to "eat those words" branding me as "ignorant." This, of course, was mere vanity on my part, which I had not yet eradicated. I had proved the reality of THE GREAT MAJESTIC GOD! But my wife's challenge was still tormenting my mind. Already, in the evolutionary research, I had studied Genesis. I knew each of the world's religions had its own sacred writings. Once God's reality was proved, I had expected to pursue the study of comparative religion—to see if any such sacred writings proved authoritative. Through which of these did GOD speak to mankind—if any?
Since I had to research the Sabbath question anyway, and had already delved into Genesis, I decided to continue my study of the Bible—intending to examine in depth the writings of other religions afterward. Eternal life—I am, or I have, an immortal soul." I researched the word "soul" by means of a Bible concordance. Twice I found the words, "The soul that sinneth, it shall die" (Ezek. 18:4 and Ezek. 18:20). Then I remembered I had read in Genesis 2 how God said to the first human, "But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die" (verse 17). In Genesis 2:7 I read how "God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man [dust—matter] became a living soul." This states plainly that a soul is physical—formed from matter. I found that the English word "soul" is translated from the Hebrew nephesh and that in Genesis 1, fowl, fish, and animals, all three, were nephesh, as Moses was inspired to write.
Next, I happened to read where Jesus said, "And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man" (John 3:13). I researched the heaven and hell teaching further. I saw that the inspired Peter, on the day he received the Holy Spirit, said: "For David is not ascended into the heavens" (Acts 2:34).
I was, in utter astonishment, coming to realize that what I had been taught growing up in church was the precise opposite of what the Bible says in clear language. This is not the place for a lengthy, detailed account of my intensive search in the Bible—when I was bent on proving to my satisfaction that "all these churches can't be wrong—for their teachings come from the Bible." The essential point here is the simple fact that I did find irrefutable PROOF of the divine inspiration and SUPREME AUTHORITY of the Holy Bible as the revealed Word of God as originally written. Even all the so-called contradictions evaporated upon unbiased study. Yet, to my utter dismay and chagrin, I was forced to "eat crow" in regard to my wife's supposed "fanaticism." It was not what I wanted to believe, THEN! But by now I had taken a real beating. I had proved truth contrary to what I wanted to believe.
Let me pause here to add a point to what I wrote above, saying most people believe what they have repeatedly heard, read, or been taught. There are two other psychological truisms in regard to WHY people believe what they do. One is that people carelessly accept what those around them believe. Most Thais are Buddhists, because those around them in Thailand are Buddhists. There is the psychological tendency to "go along" with one's peers. One other reason for people's beliefs is that human nature tends to cause one to believe what he wants to believe—and refuse, regardless of proof, what he does not want to believe. There is the old saying, "One convinced against his will is of the same opinion still."
That is why I have said the experience I was painfully subjected to in this six months' intensive study was UNIQUE in human life and conduct. I know of no world religious leader who arrived at his teachings in such a manner. Perhaps that is why GOD'S INSPIRED WORD alone—as I proved—is TRUTH. Only GOD is infallibly correct!
I was brought, by the spring of 1927, to a complete MIND-SWEEPING—my mind swept clean of previous assumptions and beliefs and surrendered to the WORD OF GOD which by then I had proved to be TRUE and the SUPREME AUTHORITY.
More, I had been brought to realize my own inadequacy and nothingness. I had been brought to a real repentance—CONQUERED by the GREAT MAJESTIC GOD—and received as God's gift a solid rock-based FAITH in Jesus Christ. I was baptized, and the indwelling of God's Spirit opened my mind to the JOY UNSPEAKABLE of knowing God and Jesus Christ—of knowing TRUTH—and the warmth of God's divine LOVE! What I once hated I now LOVED. I found the greatest and most absorbing joy of my life in continuing to dig out those gold nuggets of TRUTH from God's Word.
Now came a new enthusiasm for biblical study and receiving the REVEALED knowledge of God. And I was led to find that ONE and ONLY true and original Church of God, founded by Jesus Christ on the Day of Pentecost, A.D. 31.
I now reveal to the reader SEVEN MAJOR PROOFS that identify it.
Proof One: WHO AND WHAT IS GOD?
It seems utterly unbelievable! The religions of this world do not know WHO or WHAT God really is! Yet religion is the worship of God. HOW can one worship what is UNKNOWN?
The only answer is that the Bible reveals that ALL NATIONS have been deceived (Rev. 12:9). The true understanding of the very identity of God is one proof that the one and only Church founded A.D. 31 by Jesus Christ is, today, the Worldwide Church of God. (READ “WHO ARE WE” ON OUR HOME PAGE OF OUR WEBSITE)
It seems inconceivable—but you live today in a world of religious CONFUSION! Among the largest of the world's religions are Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, Shintoism, Hinduism, Islam and Christianity, with its hundreds of denominations and sects. The latter is the largest in number of adherents. And yet only one religion, neither Roman Catholic nor Protestant, knows WHO and WHAT God is! Modern science does not know. Higher education does not know or teach it. The intellectuals of the world in the first century were the Athenians. Certain philosophers of the Epicureans and of the Stoics encountered the apostle Paul. "What will this babbler say?" queried some in ridicule (Acts 17:18). Others sneered sarcastically, "He seemeth to be a setter forth of strange gods."
They took Paul and brought him to Areopagus, the supreme tribunal, on Mars Hill. "May we know," they asked cynically, "what this new doctrine, whereof thou speakest, is? For thou bringest certain strange things to our ears."
Here were the world's most "scholarly." Paul was preaching the truth of GOD. "Ye men of Athens," said the apostle forthrightly and boldly, "I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious. For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions [idolatrous objects of worship], I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you. GOD that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; neither is worshipped with men's hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things; and hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth."
WHO is GOD?
CREATION is the basic proof of God. These Athenian Epicureans and Stoics did not even know that. Perhaps the adherents of many religions do not.
But what of the real NATURE of God? Just WHO and WHAT is God? We need a more concrete understanding than to say, merely, that God is the Being who created all. That is the starting point. Only the one original Church Jesus founded in A.D. 31 has the full answer. It seems inconceivable that, of all the religions and churches in the world today, only ONE is unique in UNDERSTANDING the nature of the CREATOR of all that is!
Mankind could know! God reveals Himself in plain language in His Word, the Holy Bible. But no book has been so distorted, twisted, and misrepresented as this ONE SUPREME AUTHORITY OF TRUTH! The generally accepted teaching of traditional Christianity is that God is a "Trinity"—God in three Persons—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, which is designated as a "Ghost." By about A.D. 59 the gospel Jesus Christ proclaimed had been suppressed (Gal. 1:6-7). A counterfeit "gospel" had replaced it. From about A.D. 70 there ensued "the lost century" of Church history. All historic record of the true Church of God had been systematically destroyed during that hundred years. The curtain had been rung down on Church activities, and when the curtain of recorded history lifted, an entirely different church appeared, calling itself "Christian." Extreme persecution by powerful forces had driven the true Church of God underground.
The church by the fourth century was more like the Babylonian mystery religion, having appropriated the name "Christianity" (Rev. 17:5).
There had been two heated doctrinal controversies—one called the Quartodeciman controversy between Polycrates and the bishops of Rome on the observance of the spring festival (should Passover or Easter be celebrated?). The other, between Arius, a priest of Alexandria, and the Roman bishops on the Trinity doctrine. Emperor Constantine, the supreme head of the Roman Empire, called the Nicene Council in A.D. 325 and made both the pagan Easter (named from the goddess Astarte) and the Trinity doctrine LAW! The Trinity doctrine limited God to three Persons. More of that later. The King James biblical scholars translated the Greek words for Holy Spirit as "Holy Ghost," under the delusion that the Spirit of God was a third Person. Also the translators of the 1611 version usually used the pronouns "he," "him," etc., in relation to the Holy Spirit, but not always: The pronoun "it" also is used. But how does God reveal Himself authoritatively? If one should ask, "Where, in order of time sequence, do we find the real beginning in the Bible?" the reply probably would be Genesis 1:1, beginning with the words, "In the beginning God... ." RIGHT? WRONG! In order of time sequence the earliest prehistoric revelation is in the New Testament, in John 1:1-3: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made."
The Word was one Personage. God was another Personage. Yet the Word was a Personage separate from God—as shown in verse 14: "And the Word was [much later] made flesh, and dwelt among us... . " The Word became Jesus Christ. The English "Word" is translated from the original Greek Logos, meaning "Word" or "Spokesman." That all things were made by Him is confirmed in Ephesians 3:9, where it speaks of God "who created all things by Jesus Christ." "He spake, and it was done" (Ps. 33:9).
Here are TWO Personages, yet both are GOD. How is that? A man named David Smith may have a son named Paul. But Paul, though a separate individual, is also a Smith. However, Jesus Christ did not become the Son of God until about 4 B.C., when born in human flesh of the virgin Mary. Prior to that, He had ALWAYS existed, even as had God. Christ was originally "without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life" (Heb. 7:3).
Now come to Genesis 1:1: "In the beginning God... ." This was written originally by Moses in the Hebrew language. The English "God" is translated from the Hebrew Elohim—a uniplural noun. It is uniplural in the same sense as the words "family" and "church"—denoting more than one component forming the whole. Not two Gods—but ONE God consisting of more than one Person. When, only nineteen hundred-plus years ago, Jesus was begotten of God in the womb of His human mother Mary, He was the only human ever so begotten prior to human birth! Yet, as we shall see later, humans may become begotten children of God—after human birth, but preceding a spiritual birth.
Throughout the first chapter of Genesis, the Hebrew name of God is always the Hebrew Elohim, which denotes both the Word and God. But in chapter 2, Moses began adding another name for God—Yahweh in the Hebrew, usually combined with Elohim: Yahweh-Elohim. In the King James English translation, it is rendered "LORD God," which is somewhat misleading.
It is interesting, at this point, to explain this name Yahweh. There is no one word in the English language which adequately translates it. It means "the self-existent, eternal-living, creative one." The Moffatt translation renders it "the Eternal." The Fenton translation uses "the Ever-Living." Personally, I prefer to use only the one word "Eternal," instead of "Lord."
In any event, the English "LORD" in the King James translation refers to that Person in the Godhead who in John 1:1 is called "the Word"—the very one who later became Jesus Christ.
Who Was the God of the Old Testament?
That leads to an important point in the UNDERSTANDING of WHO and WHAT GOD is. Many if not most seem to believe the God of the Old Testament was the one Jesus prayed to as His FATHER. But many New Testament passages quoting from the Old Testament prove that the one of the Godhead who was born in human flesh as Jesus Christ was the Yahweh of the Old Testament and the Word of John 1:1. That knowledge is a portion of PROOF #1 identifying the true original Church today.
Jesus came, among other purposes, to REVEAL the Father. Ancient Old Testament Israel knew of only ONE PERSONAGE in the Godhead—although their Scriptures contained the Hebrew Elohim. But to them, primarily, God was conceived of as not only ONE God, but only ONE Person! The truth is, Israelites generally knew nothing of God—the Person to whom Jesus prayed and the Father Jesus came to REVEAL.
However, another technical point is: God only became the FATHER of the GOD FAMILY when Jesus Christ was begotten and born as a human. Yet He may become our Father in heaven when we are begotten by His Holy Spirit. More of that later.
Now notice that God (Elohim) is more than one Person, even though only ONE GOD. In Genesis 1:26, Elohim said, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness... ." Notice! Not "Let me," but "Let US"—plural, or uniplural. Then, in Genesis 2:2-3, "On the seventh day God [Elohim] ended his work which he had made... . And God [Elohim] blessed the seventh day... ."
Then, verse 4: "These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God [Yahweh Elohim] made the earth and the heavens." Again it was through the Word, in the Hebrew named Yahweh, that the earth and heavens were made—as GOD created all things by Jesus Christ (Eph. 3:9).
Does God Have Form and Shape?
God reveals that He is spirit-composed (John 4:24). Unless supernaturally manifested, spirit is invisible to human eyes. Jesus said to His disciples, "Ye have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his shape" (John 5:37). Later "Philip saith unto him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us." Jesus answered, "Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? He that hath seen me hath seen the Father" (John 14:8-9). WHY? Because God the Father—if human eyes could see—looks like Jesus. And what did Jesus look like? Certainly NOT like artists' renderings you have seen which are supposed to picture Him. For one thing, HE DID NOT HAVE LONG HAIR (I Cor. 11:14). He looked like other Jews then in Judea, else the chief priests would not have paid Judas Iscariot 40 [sic] pieces of silver to identify Him. Now notice once again Genesis 1:26: "God [Elohim] said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness [form and shape]... . " God is described in the Bible as having eyes, ears, nose, mouth, hair, arms, legs, fingers, toes. Jesus was "the express image of his [the Father's] person" (Heb. 1:3).
What Is the Holy Spirit?
If the Holy Spirit is not a Person—a "Ghost"—then what does the Bible reveal about the Holy Spirit? The natural carnal mind of man simply cannot grasp an understanding of spirit. It is not matter. The Hebrew word for spirit, ruach, and the Greek pneuma both are often translated into the English "wind," "air," or "breath"—because these physical words perhaps most closely explain spirit to the human mind—yet spirit is not physical or material. The Holy Spirit is the spirit (not Ghost) that emanates out from both God and Christ everywhere in the universe. Through His Holy Spirit, God projects Himself, in spirit, everywhere in the universe—yet both God and Christ have form and shape, even as man.
The Holy Spirit is many things. It is the very LIFE of the immortal God, which, entering into a human, begets him with God-life.
It is the POWER of God by which, when Christ "spake," it was done. It is the POWER by which God stretched out the heavens—created the vast endless universe.
The Holy Spirit, entering into man as God's gift, opens the mind to UNDERSTANDING of spiritual knowledge, unknown to the human mind otherwise. It is the LOVE of God "shed abroad in our hearts." It is the FAITH of Christ which may be given to God's begotten children. It is the POWER of God, begotten within humans, enabling us to overcome Satan and sin.
"How Great Thou Art"
We have covered the nature of God. Now consider HOW GREAT He is. King David was meditating on this, and man's insignificance by comparison. He wrote: "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?" (Ps. 8:3-4.) Isaiah was inspired to write: "Who hath measured the waters [oceans] in the hollow of his hand, and meted out heaven with the span, and comprehended the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance? ... Behold, the nations are as a drop of a bucket, and are counted as the small dust of the balance... . All nations before him are as nothing ..." (Isa. 40:12-17). Then God is quoted: "To whom then will ye liken me, or shall I be equal? ... Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who hath created these things, that bringeth out their host by number: he calleth them all by names by the greatness of his might, for that he is strong in power ..." (verses 25- 26). Yet, there is much more to come, in relation to David's comparison of God to man, and why God should be concerned about us, in a later installment—and fantastically thrilling it is!
NONE but the Worldwide Church of God today possesses the REVEALED TRUTH and knowledge of WHO and WHAT God is!... To Be Continued...
Proof Two: THE GOVERNMENT OF GOD AND CREATION OF HOLY RIGHTEOUS CHARACTER
The most important feat of creation is holy, righteous CHARACTER. That is so stupendous an accomplishment that even the GREAT MAJESTIC GOD, in all His matchless supernatural power, cannot create such character instantaneously or automatically by fiat. That ought to take the reader's breath! Is there actually something that even GOD cannot do—by Himself alone? Such character is the ability of a separate conscious, thinking entity with free moral agency—capacity for free choice—to come to KNOW the right from wrong, good from evil, to make the decision, and then with God's help exercise the WILL to DO the right or good, even contrary to self-desire.
Angels Created First
Now for the moment go back to John 1:1: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." That is the very earliest prehistoric record. It could have been millions or thousands of millions of years ago. The two eternally living Spirit Personages, who together constituted the ONE God, were ALONE in empty space. There was no physical universe—YET!
But, even as man thinks, and designs and plans before making—so did God, who much later made MAN in His own image. God—with the Word—first conceived the plan and design to create angels, also immortal spirit beings, composed wholly of spirit. So God created angels before creating the material universe, as revealed elsewhere in the Bible.
The Duality in Creation
There is the DUALITY principle in God's creative process. Angels were the first thinking, reasoning, separate entities created by God. Angels were created with minds—ability to know, reason, make choices. But their creation could not be a finished creation until CHARACTER—either good or evil—was developed in them. And this is a PROCESS, to be EXPERIENCED. That character development was the second part of the DUAL stage of their creation. God initially INSTRUCTED them in His WAY—that of righteous character. It was THE WAY of God's spiritual law—the basis of God's GOVERNMENT. Then came the time of the creation of the PHYSICAL UNIVERSE. There was a vital connection between the creation of angels and the creation of the material universe. For that, too, was created on the DUALITY principle. To illustrate, I compare this physical creation to the manufacture of unfinished furniture—sold in stores of most cities. Such furniture may be of fine quality, but lacks the finishing polish, paint or whatever. So God created the heavens and the earth—the universe with its countless planets in innumerable solar systems and galaxies, including planets such as our Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, etc. Genesis 1:1, where "heavens" is in the plural in original Hebrew and modern translations, together with Genesis 2:4, which speaks of "... the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that the Eternal God made the earth and the heavens," indicates the earth was created as part of the material universe—all simultaneously created. Other scriptures imply this. But, like the unfinished furniture, the universe, including the earth, was not at that time completed. Angels had been created prior to the universe, because they sang together and shouted for joy at earth's creation (Job 38:4-7).
A Double Duality
Now we come to the fact of a double DUALITY in the creation of angels and of the earth. For the earth was inhabited by angels prior to the creation of man. Apparently God placed a third of the created angels on earth. They were given opportunity to share in God's creating activities by FINISHING the earth—working in and with its many elements, improving, beautifying, completing it.
This required harmonious teamwork—all working together toward the common God-ordained goal. The earth was the proving ground to QUALIFY them, by righteous CHARACTER development and finishing earth's creation, to share with God the same creative participation in completion of the myriads of planets of the vast universe. To regulate this effort of the angels, God placed on earth's THRONE the archangel, the cherub Lucifer, to administer the GOVERNMENT OF GOD over the angels. I repeat: That GOVERNMENT is based on God's spiritual laws—as all governments are based on a constitution of foundational law. God's spiritual law is the way of God's holy, righteous CHARACTER.
Angels Led into Rebellion
The third of the angels (Revelation 12:4) on earth completed their creation by developing evil character—sinning (II Peter 2:4). The super-archangel Lucifer (Isaiah 14:12-14) had been perfect in all his ways from the day of his initial creation, till iniquity—lawlessness—was found in him. "Thus saith the Lord God; Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty. Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering ... in the day that thou wast created. Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee" (Ezekiel 28:12-15).
Lucifer was not satisfied with rule over only the one planet—as the testing ground to prepare him for all planets. He wanted to rule all at once. He said, "... I will exalt my throne above the stars of God ..." (Isaiah 14:13). He had been created with exceeding beauty, which "lifted up his heart" in vanity (Ezekiel 28:17). He became lustful, jealous and envious of God, decided on a WAR of invasion, attempting to overthrow God on the heavenly throne of the universe. He led his angels into rebellion. These angels "kept not their first estate, but left their own habitations"—meaning this earth! (Jude 6.)
But Lucifer and his angels were cast back down to earth (Revelation 12:4). The creation of this third of all angels was finished—creation of evil character within them completed. Once their creation was completed, being spirit, they could never change! And they are immortal! The GOVERNMENT OF GOD no longer was operative on earth! Lucifer's name was changed to Satan the devil. His angels became demons. Their minds had become perverted for eternity.
Proof Three: WHAT AND WHY IS MAN?
It must be as shocking to the reader as it was to me to learn that NONE of the religions or churches but the Worldwide Church of God understands both WHAT man is and WHY humanity was put on the earth!
Science cannot give you the answer. Modern higher education does not know or teach the answer. And, along with these basic and important questions, WHY all the evils in this chaotic and sick world, now facing the number-one problem of whether human life can survive through the remainder of this 20th century? I ask, HOW can even the most highly educated be so IGNORANT of SO IMPORTANT a TRUTH?
Earth's Face in Devastation
Instead of improving, beautifying, completing earth's creation, the sinning angels brought it to desolation and ruin. Come now again to Genesis 1:1-2: "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep... ."
The original Hebrew for "without form and void" is tohu and bohu—meaning "waste, desolate, deteriorated." The word "was" may also be translated "became." All was oceanic surface —and light had been by angel lawlessness turned into darkness. Let me here interject a biblical principle. The entirety of a subject is often not stated within the context of one place. There is this instruction in Isaiah: "Whom shall he teach knowledge? And whom shall he make to understand doctrine? ... For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little" (Isaiah 28:9-10). But most who try to apply this principle in biblical understanding take each "little" out of context, in order to interpret their own idea into it. Much directly concerned with what is revealed in Genesis 1 is filled in by other passages of Scripture in various parts of the Bible.
So now, let's UNDERSTAND the background. Earth's angels had not completed the creation of this planet by improvement, development and beautification. Rather, they had brought it to desolation and ruin. The GOVERNMENT OF GOD had been nullified on earth. And now only God could be certainly relied upon never to depart from the way of His law and His government. No higher, more perfect kind of being could be created than Lucifer—and he had rebelled. Since GOD ALONE would never deviate or turn from GOD'S WAY, God now determined (or probably had already predetermined) to accomplish the SUPREME creative feat—to REPRODUCE HIMSELF! In God's supreme wisdom He knew this must be brought about through matter!
Man in God's Image
Genesis 1:2. The earth was in a state of ruin. "... And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters To prepare the earth for the creation of MAN, God first renewed the face of the earth. This is explained in Psalm 104:30: "Thou sendest forth thy spirit, they are created: and thou renewest the face of the earth." Now back to Genesis 1:2. The earth was in a state of ruin. "... And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters." The first thing God did was turn darkness back into LIGHT as originally made. God said, "... Let there be light: and there was light" (Genesis 1:3). So in six days God RENEWED THE FACE OF THE EARTH (the six days in Genesis 1." The first thing God did was turn darkness back into LIGHT as originally made. God said, "... Let there be light: and there was light" (Genesis 1:3). So in six days God RENEWED THE FACE OF THE EARTH (the six days in Genesis 1 is not the time of earth's original creation), preparing it for the creation of MAN! Once again the earth was a perfect creation—but lacking the finishing touches.
The Purpose of Man on Earth
WHY did the Creator God put man on the earth? To improve the physical earth as God gave it to man, finishing its creation, which sinning angels had deliberately refused to do; and in so doing to restore the government of God, with God's way of life, and, further, in this very process, TO FINISH THE CREATION OF man by the development of God's holy, righteous CHARACTER, with man's own assent. Once this perfect and righteous character is instilled in man and man converted from mortal to immortal spirit, then is to come the INCREDIBLE HUMAN POTENTIAL—man being BORN INTO the divine FAMILY of God and then participating in the completion of the CREATION of the entire endless expanse of the UNIVERSE!
So, on the sixth day of that (re)creation week, God (Elohim) 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, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them" (Genesis 1:26).
Man was made to have (with his assent) a special relationship with his Maker! He was made in the form and shape of God. He was given a spirit (essence) to make the relationship possible. Much more of that a little later.
The Soul Is Mortal
But God made MAN wholly of MATTER! This was necessary for the supreme accomplishment God willed. "And the Eternal God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath [air] of life; and man became a living soul" (Genesis 2:7). Man, formed from material dust of the ground, upon breathing air BECAME a living soul. It does not say man is or has an immortal soul. What was formed from material ground BECAME a soul. Therefore the SOUL is physical, composed of matter, and can die. This is a TRUTH believed by very few denominations and probably by no religions other than Christianity—another PROOF that identifies the one true Church of God!
How Human Mind Functions
Now we come to another truth, so far as I know exclusive in the one true Church. Did you ever wonder about the vast difference between human mind and animal brain? This incidentally is another PROOF of the falsity of the theory of evolution! The physical brain of vertebrates in the animal kingdom is almost precisely the same in physical form, design, and constituents as human brain—and the brains of whales, elephants, dolphins are larger, and of chimps almost as large. Yet the output of human brain is indescribably greater. Few indeed know WHY!
Many passages of scripture show that there is a spirit in man. Spirit is not matter, and man is wholly matter. But, as there could be a small metal object swallowed by mistake in man, yet no part of the man himself, so with the spirit within each human. It is in the form of essence—not a ghost or being of itself, and to distinguish it from God's Holy Spirit, I designate it as the "human spirit." Nevertheless, it is spirit and not matter.
This "human spirit" imparts the power of intellect to the human physical brain. The spirit cannot see, hear, taste, smell or feel. The brain sees through the eye, hears through the ear, etc. The "human spirit" cannot of itself think. The physical brain thinks.
What, then, is the function of the "human spirit"? It is NOT a "soul." But it 1) imparts the power of intellect, of thinking and of MIND power to the human brain; and 2) it is the very means God has instilled to make possible a personal relationship between human MAN and divine GOD.
Two Stages of Man
God creates, as previously mentioned, by the principle of DUALITY. So it is with the creation of MAN. It is accomplished in TWO STAGES: 1) the physical phase, which began with the first man, Adam; and 2) the spiritual stage, which begins with the "second Adam," Jesus Christ (I Corinthians 15:45-46).
So also, man was made from creation (and birth) with the one "human spirit"—but he is INCOMPLETE. He was made to need another Spirit—the HOLY SPIRIT of God, and when that gift of God is received, His "Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God" (Romans 8:16)—in the begotten or first stage of the spiritual creation.
This is most clearly explained in I Corinthians 2. "... Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart [mind] of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him" (verse 9)—spiritual knowledge. The natural mind can know only what the brain can physically see, hear, taste, smell or feel. The natural mind is confined to physical, material knowledge! "But God hath revealed them [spiritual things] unto us by his Spirit..." (verse 10). "For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? ..." (verse 11). A cow, sheep or dog cannot know the things a MAN knows—and neither could a man, except by the spirit of man which is in him. Likewise, the natural man with this one spirit is limited to material knowledge: "... even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God" (verse 11).
ONLY when the Holy Spirit enters, combining with the "human spirit," can a man come to know that which is spiritual. "But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned" (verse 14).
That is WHY the most highly educated are overall the most ignorant. They are confined to knowledge of the material. Knowledge of God and the things of God are foolishness to them. But, of course, God says, "... the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God" (I Corinthians 3:19).
World Cut Off from God
Now back to the first human, Adam.
Remember God's PURPOSE in creating man on the earth: 1) to restore the GOVERNMENT OF GOD on earth, and by regulating human life through that GOVERNMENT, to complete the physical creation of earth where angels turned it to ruin, and in the process to complete the creation of MAN by developing righteous spiritual CHARACTER; and 2) to establish the KINGDOM OF GOD and eventually the incredible human potential of finishing the creation of the vast UNIVERSE.
This supreme PURPOSE required: 1) that MAN reject Satan's WAY, embracing GOD'S WAY of LOVE, based on God's spiritual law; and 2) that man be made first of matter so that if he were led into Satan's way of GET, he could be CHANGED, converted to GOD'S WAY of LOVE.
Spirit, once a finished creation, cannot be changed! That is why the one-third of the angels who followed Satan are forever demons. Spirit is constant and eternal—not subject to change. But physical matter is constantly changing.
Through God's master plan for His spiritual creation, to be covered later, it had been determined by God and the Word that the Word would divest Himself of His supreme glory, and in due time take on Him the likeness of human flesh as Jesus Christ, making possible the spiritual phase of the creation of MAN—God REPRODUCING HIMSELF! What a MASTER PLAN for the extreme ULTIMATE in creative accomplishment! How GREAT is our God—in mind, purpose, planning, designing, as well as CREATING—from the tiniest germ or insect to the most huge sun, dwarfing our own great sun to insignificance!
And the incredible human potential is that the GREAT MAJESTIC GOD is, in MAN, reproducing Himself—man can be born into the GOD FAMILY! The first human, Adam, was created with the potential of qualifying to replace Satan, the former Lucifer, on earth's throne, restoring the GOVERNMENT OF GOD. But it was necessary that he resist and reject Satan's GET way and choose GOD'S WAY of His law—the way of LOVE (GIVE)! His Maker talked first to Adam and Eve—instructed them thoroughly in the GOVERNMENT and spiritual LAW of God—even though in Genesis 2 only the most condensed summary of God's instruction to them is revealed. Satan was restrained from any contact with them until God first had completely taught them.
Two Symbolic Trees
In the gloriously beautiful Garden of Eden, in which God placed them, were two symbolic trees. One was the "tree of life." Taking its fruit, freely offered, symbolized obedience and faithfulness to God's law of outgoing LOVE and receiving the gift of God's Holy Spirit.
The other was the "tree of the knowledge of good and evil." Taking of its fruit was taking to themselves the knowledge of what is good and what is evil—deciding for themselves what is right and what is sin. This, of course, meant rejection of GOD'S LAW, which defined for them the right and the wrong.
The glorious archangel Lucifer, as God originally created him, was the pinnacle of God's creative power in a single being. Few today remotely realize the great power, now turned to cunning deception, possessed by Satan. Apparently Adam completely underestimated him. The wily Satan got to Adam through his wife Eve. He did not say, "CHOOSE MY WAY." He appeared as a subtle serpent. He cleverly deceived her. He put DOUBTS in her mind about God's veracity. He deceived her into believing God had been unfair—selfish. He subtly injected vanity of mind. He misled her into thinking it was right to take of the forbidden fruit. Adam, not deceived, nevertheless went along with his wife. With her, he took to himself the determination of what is right and what is wrong—thus DISBELIEVING what his Maker had said, REJECTING God as Savior and Ruler—rejecting God as the Source of revealed BASIC KNOWLEDGE. He believed and followed Satan's WAY!
Man's Sentence Pronounced
When the Eternal God "drove out the man" from the Garden of Eden and barred reentrance—lest he go back and receive eternal life in sin (Genesis 3:22-24)—God PRONOUNCED SENTENCE!
God said, in effect, "You have made the decision for yourself and the world that shall spring from you. You have rejected me as the basic Source of knowledge—you have rebelled against my command and my government—you have chosen the GETTING, TAKING way of Satan. Therefore I sentence you and the world you shall beget to 6,000 years of being CUT OFF from access to me, my revealed knowledge, my WAY of life—EXCEPT for the comparative exceedingly few I shall specially call for special service preparatory to my Kingdom. Go, and produce your own fund of knowledge with your carnal, hostile minds. Produce your own carnal scholarship and system of disseminating it. Go, and create your own gods and religions. Go, FORM YOUR OWN HUMAN-DEVISED GOVERNMENTS. Satan, in all this, will deceive your world into receiving his ATTITUDE of vanity, lust and greed, envy and jealousy, suspicion and disbelief, competition and strife and violence—into unrealized REBELLION against me and my WAY of outflowing LOVE! After your world has written the lesson of your WAY in 6,000 years of evils, troubles, frustrations, sickness, sorrow, suffering and DEATH, I will INTERVENE! I will by supernatural divine POWER take over the government and education of the whole world, calling all to me—to repentance from your false way, and to eternal salvation."
Except for those specially called for special duty preparing for God's KINGDOM, ALL HUMANITY HAS BEEN CUT OFF FROM GOD THESE 6,000 years!
I know and privately discuss world conditions with many heads of state—kings, emperors, presidents, prime ministers, ambassadors, men high in governments. They all have to deal with problems and evils with which they are utterly unable to cope.
WHY? Few indeed know. But I have just told you the cause. This knowledge makes the one true Church of God unique in the world!
The TRUTH that all are CUT OFF from God except those specially called by God was emphasized by Jesus. He said, plainly, "No MAN CAN come to me, except the Father which ... sent me draw him ..." (John 6:44). No scripture contradicts that.
The Only Day of Salvation?
The most universal false teaching, believed by virtually all churches called Christian, except the one and only true and original Church of God, is that ALL are automatically lost unless they profess Jesus Christ as Savior and that now is the only day of salvation.
Those cut off from God are NOT lost—unless called and then lost. They are simply NOT YET JUDGED! All so far called since Adam have been called, not for salvation alone, but primarily for a special mission—and salvation goes along automatically if they do repent, believe, receive and are led by the Holy Spirit.
All still living will be called during the millennium, with Christ ruling all nations—and all others previously uncalled will be resurrected and called in the "great white throne judgment" following the millennium. There will be no Satan to overcome then.
Just as Adam was required to reject and overcome the pull of Satan to qualify to succeed to the throne of the earth, so was Jesus Christ, the second Adam. Jesus Christ did qualify. Those converted prior to His return must also qualify, in order to sit with Him on His throne (Revelation 2:26-27 and 3:21).... To Be Continued...