What will it be like once we are born into the family of God? What will we be doing? How long will it last? What is the purpose of it all? In this article we will explore some of the most awesome questions that the human mind can pose.
PRESENT estimates — no doubt underestimates — put the size of the universe at over 20 thousand million light years in diameter. That's about 120,000 million million million miles. Present estimates — also no doubt underestimates — put the number of galaxies in the known universe at over 100,000,000,000. Since each galaxy has roughly l00,000,000,000 stars, that means the universe has over 10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 (ten thousand million million million) individual stars or "suns." Why did God design such an immense universe? And why did God create such an innumerable number of stars? For no reason? For some reason? For an incredible reason!
The Purpose for Human life
God the Father and Jesus Christ are reproducing themselves. They are enlarging their God family. They are begetting sons. Real sons. Literal members of the God family. That's the purpose for human life. That's the purpose for this earth. And that very well could be the purpose for the entire universe. But where in the Bible does it say that? Now we recognize that there is no single, specific place in the Bible which explicitly states that God created the entire universe for the purpose of populating it with His growing family. So we cannot be dogmatic. We are journeying, at least in part, into the realm of possibility. But not the idle, fanciful and foolish "possibilities" — which are, in fact, speculations — that have from time immemorial gushed forth from the minds of men. Rather we are dealing with possibilities founded on solid biblical principles — indeed on specific biblical verses. But even this foundation does not give us license to run amuck into' mythology and mysticism. We must meticulously restrict ourselves to the rigorous rules of sound logic. And, perhaps even more important, we must cautiously restrain ourselves by the sound guidance of common sense. But how could we possibly postulate that God could well have created the universe for the purpose of its eventually being used in God's overall plan to create new members of the God family? And how could we possibly base this postulation on the Bible, logic and common sense?
The Entire Universe
First of all, God is not the author of confusion, but of order (I Cor. 14:33, 40). Everything that He does is for a purpose. He created the universe' (Gen. 1:1) — and He undoubtedly will use it. God our Father knows every star by its own individual name. "He telleth the number of the stars; he calleth them all by their names" (Ps. 147:4). Think, what that means! Remember how many stars there are. At the end of the book of Revelation, we read about the much-discussed, but little-understood "new heavens" and "new earth" (Rev. 21-22). There is just the briefest amount of information. (God whets our appetites. He piques our curiosities — but there is little indication that He gives us more information than we need.) Nonetheless, we can learn quite a little about God's overall plan by carefully examining certain scriptures. In the "new heaven" and "new earth," those who have qualified — and who will by then have been changed into the God kind — will still be living on this earth (Rev. 21:1-2, 24). But man will NOT be forever limited to the earth. "Thou [God] hast put all things [and "all things" means all things!] in subjection under his [man's] 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" (Heb. 2:8). What are "all things"? God tells us in Hebrews 1:10 (quoting Psalm 102:25): "... The heavens are the works of thine hands." The heavens — the entire universe — is "all things." And "all things" will eventually be put under man's subjection and control. Man is destined to assist God in administering the whole universe! What will we ("the saints" in biblical language) do with the universe? As an initial project, we — under the Father's and Christ's direct and personal authority, of course — will restore all things (Acts 3:21), the whole universe to its originally created orderly arrangement. Once the universe is put back into physical shape, the God family will begin implementing the next stage in the Father's overall plan. What it will be, we can only suggest. God does not reveal what we do not yet need to know. However, we can point to certain concepts which set the predominant purpose and fundamental character of the Kingdom of God.
"The Increase of His Government"
The greatest goal that God can set His will to accomplish is the reproduction of Himself — the creation of new sons in His God family. That's what God is doing here on earth — that is the great purpose being worked out here below. No work could be greater. The generation of even one new member of the God family infinitely surpasses everything else in this whole physical universe all multiplied together and squared. And, possibly, the Father will beget billions of new members here on this earth. And it is entirely possible that the Father will continue to beget new sons even after His 7,000-year plan for earth has been completed. Why do we say this? Because by reproducing themselves, God the Father and Jesus Christ manifest the very highest form of spiritual love — giving, sharing, selflessness, outgoing concern. Creating new God-plane Beings is the supreme act of selfless, outgoing love. It pales everything else into insignificance by comparison. God will never become "Creator Emeritus." Even though an eternally increasing number of new sons in the God family is impossible for the limited human mind to comprehend, it makes more sense than permanently closing the God family to new members at the end of the 7,000-year plan. An eternally increasing God family makes more sense no matter how large that family will have become. Because once God's family stopped growing — no matter how many trillions of eons and septillions of sons into the future — there would still remain an eternity of time for only second-rate activities. It would make no difference if there were a googolplex (the largest number that has a name) of universes (1010100) and a googolplex to the googolplex power of sons. "Eventually" it would be finished, and then comes eternity — what would seem to be an eternity of stagnation — forever after. Consequently, we may suggest that the family of God will increase forever. And that is what Isaiah 9:7 seems to indicate: "Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end...." Notice that this verse does not emphasize that God's government shall have no end — as do other scriptures (e.g., Dan. 2:44; Rev. 11:15). What it does emphasize is that the increase of God's government shall have no end. The key word is increase — the family of God forever increasing in number, area, power, responsibility, creativity, happiness, excitement, fullness of life, etc. Is it possible, then, that this is what the enormity of this universe is for: territory — or growing room — for the continuous expansion of the family of God?
A Fully Occupied Universe
What happens when the universe is fully occupied? This question goes far beyond our present meager understanding because we are as yet unable to comprehend it. Suffice it to say that the known universe can be infinite in size. Some astronomers postulate that the physical universe is infinite with space expanding and matter continually coming into existence. If not, it can be made so. Or "other universes" — whatever that may mean — may exist. Or can be created. Or other "dimensions." Or anything! There is nothing impossible for God (Matt. 17:20; 19:26). But here's the point: The question is myopic — nearsighted — it is only looking at physical reality. God and His family are spiritual! Therefore all physical reality becomes inconsequential. (Remember, all physical reality is temporary — II Cor. 4:18.) Physical reality is merely patterned after — and perhaps even formed from — the much more real spiritual reality. Consequently, it is absurd to straitjacket God's overall spiritual plan by the confines and limitations of His own physical creation as comprehended by our finite human minds. "For now we see through a glass darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known" (I Cor. 13:12). Psalm 89:1-5 alludes to the unending plan of God to increase His family throughout the universe: "I will sing of the mercies of the Lord for ever: with my mouth will I make known thy faithfulness to all generations. For I have said, Mercy shall be built up for ever: thy faithfulness shalt thou establish in the very heavens. I have made a covenant with my chosen, I have sworn unto David my servant, Thy seed will I establish for ever, and build up thy throne to all generations.... And the heavens shall praise thy wonders, O Lord: thy faithfulness also in the congregation of the saints." Take special note of the following words and phrases: "for ever" and "to all generations" in verse 1; "built up forever" and "in the very heavens" in verse 2; "for ever," "build up" and "to all generations" in verse 4; and "the heavens" and "the congregation of the saints" in verse 5. The congregation of the saints" are those converted human beings who will have been born into God's family. Observe the context in which the congregation of the saints (God's family) is mentioned: the heavens (the universe), building up (continuously increasing) and forever (eternity). Especially note the concept "built up forever" in verse 2. The Hebrew word translated "built up" is in the imperfect tense — meaning incomplete action or, in other words, a continuous, unending process of forever building up. This could well be the magnificent future of God's family. Now once again read Isaiah 9:7. What is the key word used to characterize the never-ending increase of God's government? Peace!
Family Organization and Structure
If the increase in God's family were to continue indefinitely, wouldn't organizational structure become unwieldy and cumbersome after "a while"? If it would, we're all going to be in for a pile of trouble. But this can never happen. First of all, every son will have been proven absolutely loyal and obedient. Secondly, and directly interrelated, God has designed a clear-cut, orderly, governmental organization for His family. The basic concept is a pyramid. Authority will always be from the top down — not from the bottom up (as in many human governments). God the Father will always be at the very top, with Jesus Christ directly under Him. Then will probably come Abraham, Isaac and Jacob as an overall executive team — followed by other "holy men of old" in specific administrative positions. There are some biblical indications that Moses could be involved in governmental matters, Joseph in economics, Elijah perhaps in education. David will be over Israel (Ezek. 37:24), and the twelve apostles will each be over one of the tribes (Matt. 19:28). Perhaps Daniel will rule over the Gentiles, with Paul under him. (Read our free booklet The Wonderful World Tomorrow - What It Will Be Like for a more complete discussion of this fascinating subject.) As each new generation of physical beings is changed into God-Beings and comes into God's family, they will be added to the base of the pyramid. As a result, the base of the pyramid continues to grow progressively wider as God's family grows progressively larger. In this manner everyone has a specifically assigned position, and the government of God can expand in an orderly, well-structured manner — no matter how large it becomes. Please do not misunderstand. God's systematic form of government is not like some super-strict military academy where irrational discipline is a fetish, or some hierarchy-obsessed mega-corporation where people are not individuals. God will not beget a son to make him into a spiritual cog in a monstrous spiritual machine. God's family is a family. Everyone in it — and that means everyone, no matter how large the family grows — will have an intimate, personal relationship with God the Father, Jesus Christ, Abraham, Moses, David, etc. As a matter of fact, everyone in God's family will enjoy a much closer rapport with God the Father than any human son today enjoys with his human father. All the innumerable members of God's constantly growing family will always remain a more. tightly knit group than even the smallest, most tightly knit human family. That sounds impossible, but with God, all things are possible (Matt. 19:26) — and God's personal relationship with all of His children is perhaps the most fundamental building block of His eternal Kingdom. One very basic point: We should recognize that even if the family of God were to continue expanding throughout an infinity of space and an eternity of time, the earth — this earth — will always remain the headquarters of the universe. We can hypothesize that there will be many "regional headquarters" strung out throughout the universe. But this earth will always remain God's overall master headquarters — from which all governmental decisions and organization will emanate. Because this earth — our earth — is where God the Father ("God himself') and Jesus Christ will permanently reside (Rev. 21:3, 23).
At the Top of the Pyramid
One final question: How do we know that God's plan for this earth is the very first time that He has set His hand to reproduce Himself? As a matter of fact, can we even be sure that our God is indeed the top God — with no other personalities in the God family over • Him? How-do we know that we are, in fact, literally in "on the ground floor of eternity" — or, more accurately, in "at the very top of the pyramid of infinity"? It is surprisingly easy to deduce' from the Bible that we humans on this earth will be the first new members of God's family and, consequently, its top executives forever: 1) Colossians 1:15; Romans 8:29 — Jesus Christ is the firstborn among every creature and among many brethren. 2) John 3:13 — no man has ascended into heaven except Christ. 3) Revelation 4 — no other member of the God family except Jesus Christ is around God the Father's throne. 4) Genesis 1:1 — our God created the heavens — the entire universe — as well as the earth. 5) Revelation 21 and 22 — in. the "new heavens" and "new earth," only the Lord God Almighty (that's God the Father) and the Lamb (that's Jesus Christ) are mentioned. Together, all five points — and there are others — biblically prove that there are only two members of God's family at the present time, and that we humans on this earth have the incomprehensible privilege of qualifying for the very top executive positions in God's family, under the Father and Christ, for eternity. There are many other scriptures which confirm the fact that human brings on this earth have been given what amounts to an immensely spectacular, imagination-staggering opportunity: we are slated to be the top executives of the universe for all eternity. To begin to understand what this means, we describe the following very rough analogy: All the people who have ever lived on the earth are represented as one small pebble on top of a very large pyramid. The pyramid represents the future members of God's family. Incredibly, this one pebble will eventually (we make the basic assumption that God will utilize at least the entire visible universe as presently known) be sitting on top of, and governing, a colossal pyramid at least the size of the earth — and possibly the size of our solar system — reaching to the orbit of Pluto! Remember, as time goes on, the family (from the biblical indications) must grow larger and larger — so that the small pebble, representing all the original physical inhabitants of earth, will be ruling over an increasing pyramid of incredible, unbelievable, unimaginable size. (Remember, the "pyramid" is the analogy; the reality is the family, the God family where each and every member knows the Father and elder brother Jesus Christ far better than any human children know their father and elder brother.) The human mind cannot even conceive of, much less verbalize, what our future responsibilities will be. (And to think how we quibble over nothing.) How many galaxies and how many sons will be involved? The largest number imaginable (a googolplex to the googolplex power to the googolplex power — a googolplex number of times!) is still essentially zero when compared with infinity. And infinity is exactly what God is offering us. Infinity for eternity!
Psalms 82:6 and John 10:34
"I have said, Ye are gods [Elohim]; and all of you are children of the most High." Can anything be clearer? You are gods! Plain and simple. Of course, people have interpreted this basic three-word statement (just two, words in the Hebrew) as they have wished, transforming the meaning of "You are gods" into everything but what it really says. Here are a few choice examples: "You are righteous judges," "holy people" "godlike beings," "angels," "men invested with a Divine prerogative," "representatives of God," "Heavenly appointed princes," "sons of the Covenant," etc. Anything but what the text actually says! It says, "Ye are gods." The highly reputable Soncino Books of the Bible commentary introduces Psalm 82 with this circumspect appraisal: "The interpretation of the Psalm depends upon the meaning attached to the word Elohim..." (A. Cohen, ed., [London: The Soncino Press, 1960], p. 270). We heartily concur. Simply consider this same word in the first verse of Genesis: "In the beginning God [Elohim] created the heaven and the earth." What is the "interpretation" of Elohim here? Why should it be any different in Psalm 82? Certainly it ought to be clear when Elohim creates mankind in Elohim's "likeness" (Gen. 1:26) and then says to His creation', "You are Elohim." In the New Testament, Jesus Christ quotes Psalm 82:6 and corroborates its obvious meaning. Read John 10:34, "Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods?" Now notice the declaration which immediately follows in verse 35: "... the scripture cannot be broken." In other words, Jesus states that the purpose of human life is to become God. He then quickly establishes this fundamental point — for those who thought that perhaps they didn't hear quite right — that the scripture cannot be broken!
Was Christ Always the Son of God? by Lawson C. Briggs
There was a time when Jesus Christ was not the Son. He existed. He was God (John 1:1; I John 1:1-2). But He had not yet been begotten as a Son. "And the [preexisting spirit being called the] Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth " (John 1:14). Nowhere in all the Bible is the second member of the God family shown as having been " the Son" before His physical conception in the womb of Mary (see Matthew 1:18-25). But He was God. Verse 23: "... They shall call his name Emmanuel. which being interpreted is, God with us." Does the Bible tell us plainly that God's Son was begotten at a certain specific moment? It does. And this is quoted in Hebrews 1:5: "... Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee...." The fuller account is found in Psalms 2:7-9: "I will declare the decree: the Lord hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee. Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession. Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel." The above-mentioned verse in Hebrews continues: "And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son." This part of Hebrews 1:5 was cited from Psalms 89:26-27: "He shall cry unto me, Thou art my father, my God, and the rock of my salvation. Also I will make him my firstborn, higher than the kings of the earth."