The Good News, in conjunction with the Correspondence Course Department, presents brief excursions into the study of the Bible, delving into topics relevant to the development of future members of the God Family. Bible study is one means by which Christians are renewed daily (II Cor. 4:16), so let's refresh ourselves with more of the precious truths of God's Word! Instructions: The format of these ministudies is similar to that of the Ambassador College Bible Correspondence Course. Look up and read in your Bible the scripture references given in answer to the questions. Comments following the questions elaborate on the scriptures just read. That's all there is to it! (These studies are based on the King James Version of the Bible, unless otherwise stated.) Why were you born? What is the purpose for human life? Why are we here? Where are we going, and what will we do when we get there? The Bible reveals that you were born for a tremendous purpose. But few really grasp the magnitude of the awesome future God offers mankind. Believe it or not, you were born to rule! Just as surely as Prince Charles of England was born into Britain's royal family to be a king, you are destined, when "born again" into the universe-ruling Family of God, to reign as an even greater and eternal king. Incredible as it may sound, your Bible reveals that you were born to ultimately help rule the universe. To fully understand God's incredible purpose for humankind, we need to go back to the first chapter of Genesis. 1. What do the very first words of the Bible tell us about God? Gen. 1:1. The original Hebrew word translated God in verse 1 is Elohim. Elohim is a uniplural or collective noun, like the words church, family and kingdom. In other words, the term Elohim stands for a group composed of two or more individuals. Elohim in Genesis 1:1 means the God Kingdom or Family. 2. But who are the individuals presently composing Elohim? John 1:1-2. Was it the "Word" who created all things? Verse 3. What did the Word later become? Verse 14. Who, then, is the Word? Eph. 3:9. And who is the other divine member of the God Family? I Cor. 8:6. John 1:1 and Genesis 1:1 take us back to the same time in prehistory — to the original creation of the universe. Both verses reveal that the two supreme beings composing the God Family created all things. The Greek word translated into English as Word in John 1:1 is Logos. It means "spokesman" or "one who speaks." It was actually the Logos — the Spokesman, the Word of the God Family — who "spake, and it [the creation] was done" by the power of the Spirit of God (Ps. 33:6-9, 104:30). And so everything was created and made by the divine being who later became the human Jesus Christ. Nearly 2,000 years ago this same divine personage was begotten in the virgin Mary's womb by God who, through this miraculous begettal, became His Father. Yet at that prehistoric time of John 1:1 the Word was not yet the Son of God. He was "made" God's Son later, through being begotten or sired by God and born of Mary as a human being. 3. Is the God Family eternal, or ever living? Ps. 90:2, 102:25-27. Both members of the Godhead have always existed, though our finite human minds can't quite understand how. Neither can we quite understand what electricity is, yet we know electricity exists. But what does all of this have to do with your being born to rule? Everything! For God is even now in the process of expanding His universe-ruling Family. And you can become a member of that eternal, spirit-composed Family. 4. After whose "image" and "likeness" was man created? Gen. 1:26-27. In God's pattern for all life, kind reproduces like kind. And just as each created form of plant or animal life reproduces after its own kind, so humans reproduce humans. But unlike any of the animals God created, man was created in God's own "image" and "likeness." God made man like Himself —same form and shape. And He is now in the process of creating man after His own kind. Notice again what God said in Genesis 1:26: "Let us make man in our image." The original Hebrew here indicates far more than merely the outward form and shape of God. "Image" also refers to mind and character. God intended for man, to whom He gave the gift of a thinking, reasoning mind, to develop the very mind and character of God. The attributes of human mind and character truly make man God's unique physical creation. God has shared some of His own qualities with human beings and expects us to develop the "image" of God's perfect mind and holy character. Simply stated, God is reproducing Himself. All human beings, past, present and future, have the awesome potential to become God's literal children — members of God's own divine Family. 5. Is God still in the process of forming and molding man as a potter works with clay? Isa. 64:8. Did Job realize God was forming a special creation in his life? Job 14:14-15. Notice the latter part of verse 15: "Thou wilt have a desire to the work of thine hands." The "work" was Job. Job knew he was a piece of divine workmanship in the hands of the Master Potter. 6. Are the Spirit-begotten children of God clearly being fashioned by God for a specific purpose? Eph. 2:10. "We" in New Testament language usually refers to God's Spirit-begotten children, as Paul intended in verse 10. God's begotten sons are His " workmanship." They are being "created in Christ Jesus unto good works." God, through the power of the Holy Spirit He has put into His children (after their repentance and baptism), is forming in His people His perfect spiritual character. With their obedient cooperation, He is creating in them His own character-image. He is creating them to be the supreme masterpiece of all His works of creation — individuals who will ultimately be capable of exercising the awesome powers of the God Family. And so man, the material creation, is only the first phase of this creative process. The clay model has to be fashioned by experience, and with the aid of God's Holy Spirit, into the finished spiritual masterpiece possessing the very character of God. An analogy of this process would be a caterpillar going through a metamorphosis and emerging as a beautiful butterfly. Humans must undergo a spiritual metamorphosis or change into perfect, spiritual members of the divine Family of God. 7. Does God plainly show that it is His purpose to expand His divine Family by bringing many sons into it? Heb. 2:9-10, Rev. 21:7. Isn't Jesus Christ actually the first of many sons of God? Rom. 8:29, Col. 1:18. To be conformed to the image of Christ means to become like Him — to be glorified as He is glorified — to be part of the divine Family of God as much as Christ now is. 8. But what must happen to flesh — and blood human beings before they can enter God's Family? I Cor. 15:49-53, John 3:3-8. Jesus said we must be "born again" —changed into spirit. Yes, born again — this time born of the Spirit of God as divine Sons in the Family of God! Next month we'll study more about this incredibly wonderful truth. And we'll see what life as powerful spirit beings will be like, living and working with Jesus Christ and other born-again members of God's universe-ruling Family.