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Plain Truth Magazine
October-November 1978
Volume: Vol XLIII, No.9
Issue: ISSN 0032-0420
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Herbert W Armstrong   
Church of God

Born: July 31, 1892
Died: January 16, 1986
Member Since: 1928
Ordained: 1931
Office: Apostle

Herbert W. Armstrong founded the Worldwide Church of God in the late 1930s, as well as Ambassador College in 1946, and was an early pioneer of radio and tele-evangelism, originally taking to the airwaves in the 1930s from Eugene, Oregon.

Why did God create and put mankind on this earth? What is the real purpose of human life? Almost nobody knows! Yet the Bible reveals it plainly.

   Did you ever wonder about the countless millions of shining stars you have seen on an otherwise black, cloudless night? Especially in an airplane at night, some 40,000 feet above the ocean, the whole vast universe above seems to burst forth like a stupendous skyrocket exploding into all the myriads of uncountable suns, which we call stars, that dot the vastness of unending space.
   Many of these seemingly tiny stars are much larger than our own sun. And just as there are planets surrounding our sun, there must be uncountable millions of planets surrounding these innumerable suns.
   Haven't you wondered about the origin of our awesome, vast universe? How did it come to be? Did it evolve? Was it created? Was there a purpose?
   What about the other planets in our own solar system? Do they sustain life? Are there people on Venus? Some kind of living beings on Mars? Do any of the planets sustain any kind of life, or are they all like the moon — dead, decayed, lifeless, pockmarked, wasted, empty, uninhabitable? And if they are in a state of total decay, why would an intelligent Creator have created them in such a manner?
   Or did He?
   These are intriguing questions indeed. Astronomers may hazard some guesses. The actual facts they do not have. Unmanned spacecraft, which have sent photographs back to earth from vantage points very close to some of these planets, do not give any evidence of conditions that would sustain life.
   Pictures from the Martian surface, for instance, showed a sandy desert littered with rocks — from very minute size to perhaps a foot or more in diameter. It was a dry, barren, sterile surface. Other photographs revealed only a wasteland, crater-marked with the evidence of constant meteoric bombardment.
   The other planets are harsh, airless, desolate places. Venus is so incredibly hot and inhospitable with its atmosphere of massive acrid clouds that it reminds one of Dante's description of his entirely fictitious fiery inferno commonly called "hellfire."
   Still man persists in probing the far reaches of the universe for some sign of organic life. Many scientists insist that some form of physical life is to be found somewhere out there. Yet all the presently existing physical evidence indicates this earth is the sole body with living matter in this endless universe — the only planet which has conditions that are actually life-supporting.

The Vast Universe — and Man

   Science customarily rejects divine revelation as a source of fundamental knowledge — especially basic knowledge of human origins and that of the astral bodies. But while science can tell us little or nothing about the origins and present state of these numberless astral bodies, the Bible does give us considerable insight into their existence, how they came to be in such a state of decay, their purpose and their future. Most certainly this is not generally realized or understood. Yet it ties in directly with the existence or presence on earth of man — the meaning and purpose of human life — and actually involves tremendous significance to human destiny.
   In the Bible — the Book of books — God reveals Himself as CREATOR OF ALL, not merely the earth and man, but the entire limitless universe. On a cloudless night one may marvel at the awesome dimensions of our star-studded sky. The Maker of mankind is also the Creator of all that is — all that can be seen by the human eye.
   Is it possible that there is an unrealized connection between the vast galaxies (now apparently lifeless and totally uninhabitable) and man? Actually the true connection is the most exciting, most wonderful, hope-inspiring truth that could be revealed.
   In the first installment of this series of articles (August Plain Truth), I explained that in the very beginning — before this physical universe was created — there existed only the two Superbeings — God and the "Word."
   As the Translator's New Testament puts it: "When everything began the Word already existed. The Word was with God and shared his nature" (John 1:1-2).
   In briefest summary, I further explained that these two Superpersonages in space first created angels, composed solely of spirit, before any physical matter was ever produced. The Bible strongly indicates that the angels were made before the creation of the earth (see Job 38:4, 7) — and most probably prior to the material universe itself. It may come as a surprise to many to learn that angels inhabited this earth before the creation of man. But the Bible plainly reveals it in this and other passages.

"Angels That Sinned"

   I also explained that these angels were not created with perfect character — their creation was not yet complete.
   Can you imagine God's holy angels becoming sinning angels? Yet that is precisely what happened! Angels were created with powers of thought, of decision and of choice — else they would have no individuality or character. Since the New Testament reveals that sin is the transgression of God's law (I John 3:4), these angels (apparently only those that were placed on this earth) rebelled against God's law — which is the very basis of God's government.
   Sin carries penalties! When the angels rebelled against the government of God, the preservation of the physical earth and all of its original beauty and glory ceased — and physical destruction to the surface of the earth resulted.
   With this very brief, high-spot summary, the account of the super-sin committed by the angels brings us, chronologically, to that point in time where the first installment of this series of articles ended.
   But the far-reaching implications of this angelically induced earth-wide cataclysm of destruction are not confined to the planet Earth and its immediate environs. The penalty of sin by the angels was not death — for God had made them immortal spirit beings who cannot die. God gave them this earth as their abode and, more importantly, its rule as an opportunity to qualify to possess and beautify the entire universe.
   Their immediate penalty was disqualification — forfeiture of their grand opportunity — and perversion of mind as well. Of course, at the helm of this angelic rebellion was Lucifer — the superarchangel who had led the other angels into sin — into total rebellion against God's government. He was originally created as a bringer of light, but now he became the author of darkness, error, confusion, evil and destruction.
   So the rebellion of Lucifer and his angels brought this extreme cataclysm to the earth. And in all probability it did more!
   Whatever God creates (as I explained in Part One) is created in a perfect condition. It is impossible to believe that the other planets in our solar system were created as dead hulks of waste and empty decay. Every evidence from our unmanned space flights indicates that these astral bodies are in a state of total decay. Now God is not the author of confusion, waste, decay and destruction. But Satan is!
   It is apparent therefore, based on what is revealed in the Bible, that a similar cataclysm of destruction happened to the surface of our moon and the other planets of our solar system — perhaps extending to all of the astral bodies in the universe. And all of this was caused by the rebellion of Lucifer and his angels.
   Satan and his angels were then disqualified to administer God's government over the earth. But it is a principle of God that a government must never be without a head. Consequently Satan was to be left here on earth until his successor, who has already been qualified to rule, is inducted into office.
   Now notice what God did next.

Renewing the Earth's Surface

   God did not leave the earth in a state of rack and ruin. God had planned ahead! He knew before the creation of the earth that angels, with independent powers of thinking, reasoning, choosing, forming opinions and making decisions, could rebel and turn to sin and destruction. He had devised a fail-safe system.
   As a result of the angelic destruction wreaked upon this earth, the earth came to be in the condition described in Genesis 1:2, with water covering the whole face of an earth in darkness. Notice the brief description. "And the earth was [became] without form, and void [Heb. tohu and bohu, meaning "chaotic, in confusion, waste and empty"]; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters."
   Notice that it was dark. It speaks only of a fluid surface — oceans — no dry land showing. In Psalm 104:30, we read: "Thou sendest forth thy spirit, they are created: and thou renewest the face of the earth." And here in Genesis 1:2, God had sent forth His Spirit in order to renew the surface of the earth.
   Notice verse 3: "And God said, Let there be light: and there was light." Satan is the very symbol of darkness, evil, sin and ugliness. This darkness was caused by his great supersin and that of his angels. But God is the very symbol of light — of truth — of beauty. So on the very first day of what is often called "creation week" God changed the earth's surface from darkness, ugliness, decay and confusion to light, beauty and harmony.
   I cannot emphasize too strongly the fact that God is the author of beauty — of quality — of perfection. Satan is the author of ugliness, inferiority, imperfection, cheapness, destruction. In the six days of renewing the face of the earth and lavishly decorating it with flora and fauna, God made it beautiful — gloriously beautiful!
   God had now completed renewing the face of the earth, preparing it to become the abode of man.

The Creation of Humankind

   And now was to come the crowning piece of God's handiwork — MAN! "And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness... So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them" (Gen. 1:26-27).
   But why did God create man?
   Here is a truth perhaps never before understood by man. Look now at God's supreme, overall purpose. As He had previously surveyed the colossal cataclysm that the angelic rebellion had produced, He must have realized that it left HIMSELF as the ONLY Being who will not and CANNOT SIN! The only possible assurance of accomplishing His great purpose of finishing the creation — populating and beautifying the entire universe — was for Him to reproduce Himself.
   But what part could man possibly have in such an awesome purpose? Notice what King David was inspired to write: "O Lord our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! Who hast set thy glory above the heavens... 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?" (Psalm 8:1-4.) Marveling at the entire creation, David had asked how God could take any account of puny man.
   Continue: "For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour. Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet.... O Lord our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth!" (Ps. 8:5-9.)
   David here limited man's dominion to the present — that which God gave mankind at his creation — the solid earth, the earth's atmosphere, and the waters and sea. That is the dominion that man now has!
   But in the New Testament, written much later, a far greater destiny and dominion for man is revealed.

The Transcendent Goal

   In the book of Hebrews, we read: "For unto the angels hath he [God] not put in subjection the world to come, whereof we speak" (Heb. 2:5). The theme of the first half of this chapter, in context, is "the world to come" — the world tomorrow! Then verse 6 follows on with a quotation from the first six verses of the eighth Psalm. Again David was specifically showing that God has now placed in subjection under man the solid earth, the earth's atmosphere or air, and the sea. But the writer of Hebrews is inspired to follow with something infinitely greater — something to happen in the world to come.
   The revealed knowledge of God's purpose for mankind — of man's incredible, awesome potential — staggers the imagination. Science knows nothing of it — no religion reveals it — and certainly higher education is in utter ignorance of it.
   Continue now in this passage in Hebrews, beginning where this New Testament book leaves off quoting the eighth Psalm and adds the awesome human potential: "Thou hast put all things in subjection under his [man's] feet. For in that he [God] put all in subjection under him [man], he [God] left nothing that is not put under him" (Heb. 2:8).
   Is it possible God could mean what He says — "all things"? Nothing excluded? In the first chapter, verse 3, the Moffatt translation of the Bible renders the Greek word that is translated "all things" as "the universe."
   In other words, for those willing to believe what God says, He says that He has decreed the entire universe with all its galaxies, its countless suns and planets — everything — will be put under man's subjection.
   But wait a moment! Before you disbelieve, read the next words in this same eighth verse: "But now we see not yet all things [the endless universe] put under him [man]." Remember, this is speaking of the "world to come" — not today's world.
   But what do we see now, today? "But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour..." (verse 9). Man, other than Christ, is not yet crowned with glory and honor. But he will be in a new age — yet in the future.
   This is only a brief inkling of the fantastic, awesome, transcendent purpose of man — only one of the many passages in the Bible that describes his incredible potential. God needs millions or billions of perfect and righteous beings, governed by His divine government, to complete the creation of, in all their beauty, majesty and glory, not only the other planets of our solar system (now in utter waste and decay), but also our galaxy, and countless other galaxies of the limitless, vast universe.
   I have yet to tell you of the incident of the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden — where man went wrong — and why he was created of matter, the dust of the ground. Expect surprises as you learn more of the crowning pinnacle of even God's unmatched creating powers.
   How could the great God — the Self-Existent One — the Creator of all else — reproduce Himself into multiple millions of others just like Himself — divine, supreme in power, perfect in character — each by his own choice perfectly like-minded with the Father, each having so set himself that he cannot sin?

   (To Be Continued)

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Plain Truth MagazineOctober-November 1978Vol XLIII, No.9ISSN 0032-0420
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