Of all the physical creation of God, man is unique. Man alone was made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27). But man was formed of the dust of the ground and made into flesh – a material substance. God breathed into the first man the breath of life and he became a living soul (Genesis 2:7). The word “soul” used in this verse carries no connotation of immortality. It simply means that man is a soul; he does not have a soul. Souls die (Ezekiel 18:4). A better translation of “soul” would be “a living being.” Man is a living being because of the blood in his veins and the oxygen in his lungs. If either are removed, he quickly dies. Man is, therefore, wholly mortal and subject to death. Upon death he returns to the dust (Genesis 3:19).
Did God Repair the Damage?
The common assumption is that man “fell,” that is, he was created perfect and complete, but Satan deceived the woman who sinned. Adam followed suit and sinned also. God’s plan for man had been thwarted. What God is now trying to do, by means of redemption, is to repair the damage – to restore man back to the condition that God had originally created.
What is wrong with this belief is that it makes Satan more powerful than God. Satan was able to wreck God’s perfect creation. He was able to obstruct the will of God. In desperation God initiated His plan of redemption – to restore the original perfection. The problem with this is that at least half of the earth’s population have never heard of Jesus Christ. They are heathen with no knowledge of the will of God. Only a small percentage of the people on earth believe they are truly “saved.” Satan is winning the war against God, if this scenario is true. There are two choices: Either Satan did wreck God’s plan and is thereby more powerful than God, or what happened in the Garden of Eden was according to what God planned from the beginning.
The book of Job makes the answer plain. As physical human beings we all must die (1 Corinthians 15:22), but there is a resurrection ahead. Job stated, “If a man die, shall he live again? all the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come Thou shalt call, and I will answer thee: thou wilt have a desire to the work of thine hands” (Job 14:14-15). Notice the key, “thou wilt have a desire to the work of thine hands.” Job knew he was the workmanship of God, a piece of clay in the hands of his Maker. He knew that God had a purpose for him and that purpose was not thwarted by Satan. Job knew God would complete His plan for him and that the resurrection was the completion of that plan.
Creation Not Completed in Adam
The creation of Adam and Eve was not the completion of God’s plan of salvation. Adam and Eve were made of the dust of the ground, subject to death. After sinning they eventually died. Salvation is not God’s attempt to repair the damage after the “fall.” Satan did not thwart God’s plan or do one thing contrary to God’s intentions. God’s work of creation is spiritual, not physical. Man was made flesh, but in the resurrection he will be made spirit. Paul, referring to the kind of body we will possess at the time of the resurrection wrote, “So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body” (1 Corinthians 15:42-44). Adam and Eve were perfect physical beings, but they did not have the Holy Spirit. Only by means of the Holy Spirit can one be resurrected to eternal life. “But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you” (Romans 8:11). God’s plan of salvation will be completed at the resurrection of the dead.
Man Placed Here for a Purpose
Look at the tremendous advances in science and the accumulation of knowledge. Yet, with all these advances, what peril the human race faces. God created the earth and all that is in it in seven days. It is now said man can destroy the earth and all life in one hour. With all the scientific advances of man in this modern world, man has not been able to direct these advances into righteous and constructive channels. But why did God give man these creative powers with the ability to reason, to think, and to construct, much like God in the first place? Man was placed on this earth for a purpose. That purpose is to develop the perfect, righteous character of God. Character is the ability to discern right from wrong and to always choose the right in opposition to the wrong. That decision-making process requires free moral agency and the standard is the Law of God. Christ set the example and by His teaching we can see what is required of us. The goal for all mankind is “… that we should be holy and without blame before him in love” (Ephesians 1:4). The man who repents and accepts Christ as his personal Saviour is in Christ. “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17). He is a new creation on the path to eternal life to be given at the resurrection. “And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness” (Ephesians 4:23-24). Repentance is the first step. To repent means to turn from one’s past way of life which is contrary to the Law of God. Repentance means a change of mind, to turn around and go the other way. Upon baptism the Holy Spirit is granted which renews the mind, eventually enabling those called of God to live a life of righteousness. By constant correction through the word of God and continual prayer, those who receive the Holy Spirit have the mind of God. They are developing holy, righteous character. They are living in righteousness and true holiness. This is God’s purpose for man.
Redemption is the Completion of Creation
The creation of Adam and Eve was a physical creation, but creation was not completed then. God’s creation is, in reality, a spiritual creation. The physical creation is a type of the spiritual creation. It seems God has allotted seven thousand years to complete His plan, and that Satan has been given six thousand years to deceive mankind. But the seventh one-thousand-year period will be the Millennium during which Satan will be removed and man will have a Sabbath rest from all his sufferings and evil. Jesus Christ will return to this earth to set up the kingdom of God. The earth will be as full of the knowledge of God as the waters cover the sea (Isaiah 11:9). This is when God will set His hand to save the world, the time of the great harvest of souls. Redemption, then, is the workmanship of God. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:8-10). We are now being created unto good works – the building of holy, righteous character. God is molding those now called into a spiritual creation. The process of salvation is continually going on today.
“Ye Must Be Born Again”
Jesus told Nicodemus,
…Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born? Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit (John 3:3-8).
Jesus made it plain that Adam was made of matter, but that a birth was required to become spirit. We have all been born of the flesh, from fleshly physical parents, but salvation requires that we be born of God, of the spirit. Jesus said, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” Christ came into the world to pay the penalty for our sins. He died in our stead. He gave His life to take upon Himself the penalty we have all acquired for breaking the Law of God. Upon repentance and the acceptance of Christ as personal Savior, along with baptism, we receive the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38). This is the germ of eternal life, the begettal of the very life of God in us. By a lifetime of overcoming the pulls and lusts of the flesh, by growing in the grace and in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ, and by enduring to the end, we will be changed into spirit at the time of the resurrection. We will be changed from mortal to immortal – this physical body changed into a spiritual body – born of God. God’s plan of salvation and His plan of creation will have been completed in the life of each one resurrected. The clay model will have been fashioned into the completed spiritual creation.
Christ – the Beginning and the End
The plan of salvation – the entire creation – begins and ends in Christ. Jesus Christ was the Creator of the entire universe (Ephesians 3:9). He created Adam. But, He is also the beginner of the spiritual creation of God. He is the first born among many brethren (Romans 8:29). “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man. For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings” (Hebrews 2:9-10). Jesus was made perfect through suffering, setting the example for us. “Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him” (Hebrews 5:8-9). Jesus is the author of our salvation – the first one born in the flesh who manifested perfect character. He is our example. Satan did not thwart God’s plan. All that took place was planned from the beginning. There is no struggle between God and Satan. Satan is allowed to do only what God permits. Redemption is not the repairing of the “fall of man.” Redemption is the completion of God’s spiritual creation. The resurrection of the dead will complete the supreme creation of God – the creation of the sons of God who possess perfect spiritual character.
The Reason for Human Suffering
Jesus set the example; He learned through suffering (Hebrews 5:8-9). Our choice in life is to accept God’s Way or Satan’s. God’s Way is the way of peace, happiness, and joy. Satan’s way is the way of vanity, greed, and strife. The suffering in this world is the result of following Satan. Man must learn the lesson of suffering by experience. As Christ learned by suffering, so do we. All the sorrow, war, bloodshed, and evil in this world today, and in the past, is the written lesson of human experience. We learn through suffering. By that means, and that means only, we learn to build holy, righteous character. The one called of God must suffer many things. “Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the LORD delivereth him out of them all” (Psalm 34:19). This is why Christians are not taken from the evil circumstances of this world. God permits His children to suffer in order to learn to build holy, righteous character. As Jesus suffered, so must we. God permits people to sin, and nations to go to war, so that mankind will learn that the way of Satan brings neither happiness nor salvation. The mountain of misery and woe in today’s world attests to that. Only a comparative few today have learned that God’s Way is truly good.
Why You Were Born
The purpose of this human life is that God is re-creating Himself in the human kind. We become, upon conversion, begotten sons of God, but as yet unborn. Through a lifetime of trial and overcoming, by growing in grace and in knowledge, and by enduring to the end, we shall be born of God at the resurrection. We shall be changed from flesh to spirit, from mortal to immortal. “So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body” (1 Corinthians 15:42-44).
Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality (1 Corinthians 15:50-53).
The purpose of this human life is to be born into the kingdom of God, to become a member of God’s family. Grasping this magnificent truth should fill our minds with joy and give us a new meaning to life. The meaning of life has a transcendent purpose, far greater than most human beings realize. It means to come out of the darkness of error and hopelessness and to embrace the true light of the wonderful plan of God.