The Creator’s Grand Design—Part 17 (Conclusion)

The Ever-living, Loving God

“My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: so shall my Word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.” —Isaiah 55:8-11

“GOD is dead,” many are saying today, and these claim that belief in God is ineffectual in helping men and women meet the problems of this chaotic world in which we live. However, those who say this have in mind the concepts of a god which have come down to us from the Dark Ages. This is a god who, according to the claims made for him, proposed to torment his enemies forever in a fiery hell. He was the god of war in those days when Europe was ruled by the church-state systems of government. He was the god of the so-called Holy Inquisition, and the blesser of those who tortured humans who did not subscribe to their theology.

We agree that this god is either dead or dying. Indeed, he never really lived except in the minds of his devotees. And now these, by the million, are realizing such a god can be no help to them in this nuclear age of learning and science, so they are willing he should be dead. But the true God of the Bible is not dead! He is the ever-living and loving God of all creation, a God of justice and of might, a God who is ever ready to help his people in their times of need.

Concerning the true God, the Prophet Isaiah wrote, “Nast thou not known? Hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? There is no searching of his understanding. He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: but they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”—Isa. 40:28-31

Knowing God

When we look about us in the world and note all the indications of human failure, we cannot see much evidence of the existence and work of an all-powerful and loving God. David wrote, “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament showeth his handiwork.” Here the reference is to the great works of creation. And how wonderfully the works of creation do reveal the glory of the Creator! This is true not only as we look into the heavens, but it is true with respect to all the created things with which we are surrounded: they all display the marvelous wisdom and power of the Creator. But the creative works of God do not explain why his human creatures have experienced thousands of years of pain and death, nor do they explain why mankind today is experiencing the greatest time of trouble that has ever been known on this earth.

Jeremiah 9:23,24 read: “Thus saith the Lord, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: but let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the Lord which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the Lord.” We can see God’s glory in the heavens and in the flowers, in the mountains, rivers, and valleys, but these do not explain why God is permitting chaos to prevail throughout the earth at the present time. They do not reveal God’s lovingkindness.

We can see the glory of God in the birth and growth of a normal baby. But what about the malformed babies, those retarded in mind and body? And what about all the other distressing situations which are a blight on human happiness generally? The glory of the heavens and the delicate beauty of the flower do not answer these questions concerning an all-wise God who delights to exercise lovingkindness in the earth.

Only Through His Plan

It is only as we become acquainted with God’s grand design, or plan, as it is revealed to us in his inspired Word, the Bible, that we can see and know the great Creator as a just and loving God as well as a wise and powerful one. That Word not only reveals the successive creative steps of the Creator in preparing the earth for human habitation, but it also explains his purpose in the creation of man. “Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish [fill] the earth, and subdue it,” the Creator said to our first parents. (Gen. 1:27,28) Thousands of years later God affirmed that he had not created the earth in vain, but had formed it to be inhabited.—Isa. 45:18

God also designed that man should be king of earth, having dominion over all his other earthly creatures. (Ps. 8:3-9) In the New Testament we find the Apostle Paul saying, “We see not yet all things put under him [man]. But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death.” (Heb. 2:8,9) Man disobeyed his Creator and lost his dominion. However, God, in his love, provided redemption for him, which means God’s original design for his human creatures is yet to be realized. Man is to be restored to life and to his dominion over the earth. It is through this great truth of the Bible that we are able to see and know God as one who delights to exercise loving-kindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth.

Obedience Essential

We can see the glory of God in the heavens because the heavenly bodies obey the law of God. Think of the chaos and destruction there would be among the planets and stars and suns, if each one were permitted to go its own way, breaking loose from the gravitational laws which hold each in its own orbit! They cannot disobey. These inanimate creations are held in control by the unvarying laws of the Creator, from which they cannot deviate.

Obedience to divine law is equally important to God’s intelligent creatures. It was so with our first parents, but they were free to disobey if they so desired. They were not robots, but intelligent creatures, made in the image of God. It was contrary to the design of the Creator to coerce his human creatures into obeying his law. He desired them to obey of their own choice. In exercising this God-given freedom, they chose to go contrary to their Creator’s will. This brought the penalty of death, of which they had been forewarned.

“Thou shalt surely die,” God had said to Adam. (Gen. 2:17) The Apostle Paul wrote that “by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners,” and also that “in Adam all die.” (Rom. 5:19; I Cor. 15:22) Thus it was that death was introduced into human experience. By inheritance, death passed on from one generation to another, and with it, all the sickness and pain that ultimately leads to the grave. The wreck of the human race which resulted from disobedience to divine law is like the chaos and destruction that would have taken place among the stars had they not been held in course by the laws which still control them.

Why Permitted?

God permitted sin to enter into the world so his human creatures might, by experience, learn the terrible results of disobedience to his law. In Genesis 3:22 we read, “The Lord God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil.” The ‘us’ referred to in this statement is the same as in Genesis 1:26, where the Creator is quoted as saying, “Let us make man in our image.” The reference is to Jehovah and his beloved Son, the Logos, or Word, who cooperated with his Heavenly Father in all the creative work.—John 1:3

The Heavenly Father and his beloved Son foreknew what the terrible results of disobedience to divine law would be; but Adam did not know, although he had been told he would die as the result of sin. Jehovah and the Logos knew also the human race could gain this information fully only by being permitted to experience it. So when Adam and Eve sinned, the Creator observed (Gen. 3:22) that they had “become as one of us, to know good and evil”; that is, they were destined to acquire this information because they had embarked upon a course whereby they would learn these lessons by experience.

Adam and Eve, in the Garden of Eden, experienced ‘good’ for a short time, although, having known nothing else, they perhaps did not fully appreciate the blessings which their Creator had provided for them. After they sinned they were driven out of that garden home, and it was then they began to experience evil. Being perfect to begin with, they lived for hundreds of years; and probably much of the time during these years they were free from severe physical pain, although, figuratively, they did eat their bread by the sweat of their faces.

But finally death took its toll, and our first parents returned to the earth from which they were taken. Since then, throughout the centuries, generation after generation has likewise suffered and died. Some good has been experienced by many, but for the most part it has been a long, dark night of weeping during which evil has been experienced by all almost continuously. David wrote about this, saying, “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.”—Ps. 30:5

The ‘Good’ Time

It will be during that future morning of joy, ushering in a new day of blessings for mankind, that the people will gain their real experience with ‘good’. It will be only then that the vast majority will fully learn why God has permitted evil. Then they will realize the relatively short time of distress in this life will be as nothing compared with the eternity of joy that will stretch out before them as restored and perfect human sons of God.

This future time of blessing has been made possible in the plan of God through the Creator’s loving gift of his Son to be the Redeemer and Savior of the world. (John 3:16) Jesus, in his love, laid down his life in sacrifice, taking the sinner’s place in death. He did this in cooperation with his Heavenly Father to provide release for the human race from sin and death. Paul wrote that Jesus gave himself a ransom, or corresponding price, for all, and this manifestation of divine love toward the human race is, in due time, to be testified, or made known, to all mankind.—I Tim. 2:3-6

Christ’s work of redemption through his death provides for a resurrection of the dead. Apart from the resurrection of the dead, there would be no answer to the question as to why God permits evil. If this life, entailing so much misery, is all there is to hope for, then our faith is vain. If there is no resurrection of the dead, then the sufferings of mankind during the present life are also in vain. It would indicate there is no God of love who cares for his human creatures.

But there is to be a resurrection of the dead. The Old Testament teaches it, and this hope-inspiring doctrine of the divine plan is abundantly confirmed in the New Testament. Paul wrote, “Now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.” (I Cor. 15:20) The reference to Jesus as the firstfruits of the resurrection implies there will be afterfruits, and, indeed, this is what the Bible teaches.—I Cor. 15:23

Coming forth from death in what the Bible refers to as the first resurrection, will be those who, during the present age, have suffered and died with Jesus. These are restored to life and exalted to heavenly glory to live and reign with Christ in that thousand-year kingdom which will be the medium of blessing for all mankind. (Rev. 20:4,6) Those who participate in the later, general resurrection will be restored to life as humans here on the earth. As we have seen, this was God’s design in the creation of man, and that design is to be carried out.

The hope of the resurrection has been confused in the minds of many by the false claim that there is no death. If no one really dies, how could there truly be a resurrection of the dead? This false teaching goes back to Satan’s lie to mother Eve, “Thou shalt not surely die.” (Gen. 3:4) But when we accept death as the reality that it is, how heart-cheering is the hope of a resurrection of the dead! It means all will be given the opportunity of picking up the broken thread of life, and going on to benefit from the experiences of the present time.

Consider a retarded child. Suppose that within a few months, or even years, medical science could find a way to restore that child to normal health of mind and body. How quickly the past would be forgotten, and how the child and its family would rejoice in the new-found buoyancy of health and life! Through divine power, this will be the experience of all who have suffered and died. After all, death is but an interlude of sleep between the weeping of the present dark night of trouble and the joys of earth’s new day of rejoicing in health that will become perfect upon obedience, and a life which will be everlasting. Then all will know that God permitted evil to give mankind an opportunity, based upon experience, to choose between disobedience and death, and obedience and all the radiant joys of a life that will be everlasting.

Through the Kingdom

While humans have been unaware of it, ever since the fall into sin and death, God has been preparing for man’s ultimate deliverance. He sent his Son to be the Redeemer from sin and death, and now for more than nineteen hundred years he has been selecting from the world those who will be associated with Jesus in the future work of blessing all mankind. That work of blessing will be accomplished through the invisible, spiritual ruler ship of the messianic kingdom, in which Jesus and his faithful followers of the present age will be the chief rulers.

Prior to the present age, God was selecting and preparing a group of humans who will be the visible representatives of Christ throughout the earth. These are the ancient, faithful servants of God, beginning with righteous Abel. They are referred to in the Bible as those who will be made “princes in all the earth.” (Ps. 45:16) In the eleventh chapter of Hebrews we read of some of the leading ones in this group, and we are told of their heroic deeds of faith. Actually, they died for their faith, and through all their experiences they had the assurance that they were pleasing to their God, Jehovah, the living and loving God of all creation.

The faithful followers of Jesus during the present age have, also lived and died by faith. These, too, have had the assurance of God’s favor and blessing in their lives. They have suffered, grown old, and died, just as all mankind; but they have known God has a wonderful plan to restore them to life, and to exalt them to glory, honor, and immortality, to live and reign with Christ a thousand years for the blessing of the world of mankind. Because of this they have been convinced that the light afflictions of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the eternal weight of glory which awaits them in Christ’s kingdom.—II Cor. 4:17

Witnesses for Jesus

The faithful followers of Jesus have rejoiced in their privilege of bearing witness to his name and of telling the whole world, as they have had opportunity, of the grand design of the Heavenly Father to shower blessings of joy and life upon all mankind. These have not been popular among those who worshiped the god of the Dark Ages. It has not always been easy to declare boldly that the wages of sin is death in the midst of those who have insisted there is no death.

But the Lord has given strength to his people, and still does. We rejoice to know of his abounding love, and that from everlasting to everlasting he is the same true and ever-living God, not only of wisdom and justice, but also of love and power. How good, indeed, to realize that God’s love provided a way of escape from death, and that his power will restore the dead to life!

In our testimony we can also affirm the workings of the Holy Spirit in our lives. We rejoice in the new hope of life which it has begotten in us, and we look forward to the birth of this new life in the resurrection. We are glad also that in the coming kingdom God’s Holy Spirit will be poured out upon all flesh, and that it will bean important factor in enlightening the world concerning the true and living God. What a privilege it is to assure all that in God’s due time “the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.”—Isa. 11:9

No, our God is not dead! He has been unknown to mankind in general, but he has nonetheless been preparing for their blessing. He has worked in a mysterious way, his wonders to perform, but his wonders have been performed, although unrecognized by the world. And still greater wonders are to come. Critics have tried to explain away the miracles of the Bible. They have cast doubt concerning Noah and the Flood, about the miraculous crossing of the Red Sea and of the River Jordan. They have scoffed at the story of Daniel in the lion’s den, and the three Hebrews in the fiery furnace.

Many today who have taken the name of Jesus deny his virgin birth, his miracles, and his resurrection from the dead. But how different it will be when the wonders of tomorrow begin to unfold! Noah will be awakened from the sleep of death and will be able to confirm the account of the Flood and of his own experience in connection with it. Moses, likewise, will be on hand to relate how the power of God enabled him to lead the Israelites through the Red Sea. Joshua, also, will then be there to tell about the crossing of Jordan. And who will doubt the story of Daniel in the lions’ den and the three Hebrews in the fiery furnace when they hear these ancient servants of God confirm their truthfulness?

In addition to these wonders there will be the actual awakening of all the dead—not all at once, of course, but as they can be provided for throughout the period of the kingdom. The Prophet Isaiah describes the kingdom of Christ as a mountain, and tells us that in this mountain death will be swallowed up and tears will be wiped away. He describes the response of the people to this miraculous dispensing of the blessings of health and life. They will say, Isaiah declares, “Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, and he will save us: this is the Lord; we have waited for him, we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation.”—Isa 25:6-9

Yes, the people will then recognize and rejoice in the true and living God of the Bible. Recognizing that all their own plans have miserably failed, they will gladly follow the arrangements of Christ’s kingdom and thus find peace, security, health, and life. There may be some individuals who, despite their experimental knowledge of both good and evil, will choose the evil course of disobedience. The Bible reveals these will be destroyed, they will not be permitted to corrupt the good ways of those who are rejoicing in the Lord and his blessings of health, life, and happiness.—Acts 3:23

God Is Not Dead

Yes, the God of all creation is very much alive, and his grand design for his human creatures is developing rapidly to its glorious consummation. As yet mankind in general is unaware of this, and the hearts of the people are filled with fear as they look ahead to the things coming upon the earth. For example, God said, “Multiply and fill the earth.” (Gen. 1:27,28) The carrying out of this divine commission is now causing much anxiety on the part of many. “We are having a population explosion,” they say, “and something must be done about it else the earth will, in a very short time, become over-populated.”

The world fails to understand that the one who gave the human race the commission to fill the earth is fully qualified to withdraw the commission by neutralizing the powers of procreation which make its accomplishment possible. However, the fact that we have reached the time in human experience when the earth would soon become overpopulated except for divine intervention in the affairs of men is one of the sure indications that such intervention is near.

Divine intervention in all human affairs will come through the agencies of Christ’s kingdom, and it is good to realize this control over the activities of men will soon be established; for it is this that will assure mankind of peace, of health, and of life everlasting. In a word, this means that all the glorious promises of God, including the awakening of the dead, will soon be fulfilled.

The blessings described in these promises are very near. They do not belong to the remote and distant future. While today the world is filled with darkness and chaos, through God’s Word of prophecy the rays of the coming morn can already be seen, assuring us that the dawning of the grandest day the earth has ever known is just at hand!

That will also be the world’s blessed thousand-year day of judgment. The psalmist wrote: “Say among the [nations] that the Lord reigneth: the world also shall be established that it shall not be moved; he shall judge the people righteously. Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad; let the sea roar, and the fullness thereof. Let the field be joyful, and all that is therein: then shall all the trees of the wood rejoice before the Lord, for he cometh, for he cometh to judge the earth: he shall judge the world with righteousness, and the people with his truth.”—Ps. 96:10-13

And think of the joy that will come to mankind through the awakening of those who have fallen asleep in death! This is described in the Bible as a returning from death. The Prophet Isaiah wrote, “The ransomed of the Lord shall return, … with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads; they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.” (Isa. 35:10) Truly, “Great and marvelous are thy deeds, O Lord God, Sovereign over all; just and true are thy ways, thou King of the ages. Who shall not revere thee, Lord, and do homage to thy name? For thou alone art holy. All nations shall come and worship in thy presence, for thy just dealings stand revealed.”—Rev. 15:3,4, NEB

Dawn Bible Students Association
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