God’s Purpose for Man

MEMORY VERSE: “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, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.” —Genesis 1:26

GENESIS 1:26-31

THIS very wonderful and simple account of the creation of man in the image and likeness of God himself, and the dominion that was to be given to him, shows that it was God’s purpose that man, in perfection, was to dwell upon the earth and have dominion over it and every living creature upon it. The earth was created for man and man for the earth.

The Apostle Paul, in Hebrews 2:6-9, stresses this theme when he states, “But one in a certain place testified, saying, What is man, that thou art mindful of him? or the son of man, that thou visitest him? Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; thou crownedst him with glory and honor, and didst set him over the works of thy hands: thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him. But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.”

Man in his perfection, “crowned with glory and honor,” was established in the perfect surroundings of the Garden of Eden. And in Genesis 1:28 God instructed Adam and Eve to “be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion.” But there was a condition. God expected obedience as a condition to the fulfillment of his promise. (Gen. 2:16,17) The penalty for disobedience was death and the loss of dominion.

God’s stated purpose for man then was that he, if obedient, would have everlasting life in perfect surroundings right here on the earth. As Adam’s family grew, the Garden of Eden would have grown until the whole earth would have been a virtual Garden of Eden, populated by a race of perfect human beings obedient to and in harmony with their Creator.

We know, however, that Adam was disobedient and the death sentence was passed upon him, and he was expelled from his perfect surroundings, losing his dominion.

From outward appearances it seemed that God’s eternal purpose for man was thwarted. But God in his foreknowledge had designed a plan to restore his fallen creation to their former state of perfection.

The Apostle Paul expresses this plan or redemption and restoration thus: “According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Eph. 3:11) The Diaglott translation reads, “According to a plan of the ages, ‘which he formed for the anointed Jesus.” God’s original purpose for man has never changed. His plan for man’s restoration is the golden thread throughout the Bible.

This plan centered around Jesus, who in his prehuman existence was a great and wonderful spirit being, spoken of in the Scriptures as the Logos. He was the first creation of God, and because of his faithfulness and loyalty God used him as his agent in creating all things.—Col. 1:15-20; Rev. 3:14

God’s perfect justice demanded that since Adam in his perfection had sinned, to redeem him and his offspring required a perfect man to take Adam’s place in death. But there were no perfect men, for all had sinned, having inherited imperfection from their father, Adam. (Rom. 3:23) So God’s plan provided that the life principle of the Logos would be transferred to the babe Jesus. (John 1:14; Gal. 4:4) Since God was his father, Jesus was perfect, and could take Adam’s place “to taste death for every man.”

Having provided the means for the redemption of man from sin, the next phase of the plan of the ages is to arrange for the restoration of man to the perfection enjoyed by Adam in the Garden of Eden.

The Apostle Peter, in Acts 3:19-26; 4:1,2, terms this great work “the times of restitution of all things.” He describes it as involving the resurrection of the dead. All who have drawn the breath of life will be given an opportunity to “hear that prophet.” “Him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you.” They will be given an opportunity to learn obedience under the favorable conditions of Christ’s kingdom.

Those who do learn obedience will be granted everlasting life, and then the eternal purpose of God will be accomplished, when man will be “crowned with glory and honor and set over the works of his hands” here on earth.

Dawn Bible Students Association
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