Now, I want to go on and show you how God began reproducing himself, why he put man on the Earth. He put man on the Earth in order to reproduce himself, in order to build into human beings, the holy, righteous, perfect character of the living, eternal, creator God.
The World Tomorrow — the Worldwide Church of God presents the World Tomorrow with Herbert W Armstrong... ladies and gentlemen Herbert W Armstrong. Now we come back here to Genesis, and we find that God is beginning to reproduce himself. First, he made over the Earth, he renewed the face of the Earth to make it ready for man. Now the Earth might have been here for hundreds, thousands, even millions of years before this in Genesis 1. Anyway, the first thing God said, "Let there be light," and all of these things he did, then he created the plant life, and then he created various kinds of animal life — the birds of the air, the fish of the waters and the sea, and then the land animals.
So we find in the second chapter of Genesis, verse 7 (Genesis 2:7), "The Eternal God formed man..." What out of? Not spirit, but "of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life." Breath is air, it's physical.
"And man," which is made now of the ground, "became a living soul," not has an immortal soul. It doesn't say that. But the dust of the ground was made into a man, who became a living soul, as soon as he began breathing, and having the breath of life.
Now let's get a little of this. And what started out at the beginning, it's so very important to explain why the world is like it is today. Why do we have the troubles in the world that we do today?
Knowledge of Good and Evil "And the Eternal God planted a garden eastward in Eden, and there he put the man whom he had formed. And out of the ground made the Eternal God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the Tree of Life also in the midst of the garden, and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil." Now those were two special symbolic trees. I don't doubt that they were literal trees there, but that's not the main point.
They were symbolic of a very great meaning. And the Tree of Life simply meant that if they would take of that, they would obey God, which he wanted them to take, and they would receive his Holy Spirit, which would be the gift of immortal, or eternal, life. So it was called the Tree of Life.
Now the other tree, the knowledge of good and evil. If they took of that, it would be taking to themselves the knowledge of what is right and what is wrong, the knowledge of what is good and what is not good, or what is evil. God has told them. God first spoke to the man and woman that he had created. It says "male and female created he them," and he told them to multiply and so on.
Well, God taught them first. God did not allow this Satan to come near them until after he had told them all about his government, about the possibility of them coming into his family, being born of him, and that that family of humans born of God ultimately will become the divine kingdom of God. But we first have to obey God, and God's laws, which is the way of life, as I say, the way of love and sharing, and giving, and helping, and the way of mercy.
And so, the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. God is not only Creator, God is also not only Lord, God is also not only ruler over us from a point of view of government, but God also is the revealer of basic knowledge. God is the source by revelation that he would reveal to us, of basic knowledge.
Now when Adam and Eve took of that original tree of the knowledge of good and evil, they took to themselves the knowledge to decide, to form the knowledge of what they thought was right and what they thought was wrong. They took to themselves, in other words, the way of get instead of the way of give! That is the decision that they made.
"Thou Shalt Surely Die" Let me read that to you, a little further here. "And the Eternal God," verse 15 (Genesis 2:15-17), "took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it, and the Eternal God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat, but of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, you shall not eat of it, for in the day that you eat thereof," or 'if you eat thereof', "thou shalt surely die."
Now "in the day you eat" is the day that they eat of it, but it didn't mean they would die that same day, but that they would die. God said, you have become a soul, and you will die. You know, one of the first shocks I got when I really began to look into the Bible for myself, is when I happened to run across the 6th chapter of Romans and verse 23 (Romans 6:23), where it says "the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life."
That's the most shocking thing that had ever come to me in my life, to learn I was not an immortal soul, and to learn that the Bible says "the soul that sinneth, it shall die." So consequently, Adam and Eve were told not to take of that tree. But God had kept Satan away from them until he first instructed them. Now here is the most important thing. I want you to get this.
Adam and Eve did not believe what God said. They believed in God, that is, they believed God is the Creator. They knew God was their maker and their creator. But they did not believe what he said. Now finally, God allowed Satan to come along, you'll find that in the third chapter of Genesis (Genesis 3:1-24).
"Now the serpent was more subtle than any of the beasts of the field which the Eternal God had made." Satan had to come now in the form of a serpent, "and he said unto the woman, yea, hath God said ye should not eat of every tree of the garden?" In other words, he was saying, "Didn't God hold something back, wasn't God selfish? Wasn't God unfair?" Satan was always accusing God.
But "the woman said unto the serpent, we may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden, but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden," meaning the tree of knowledge of good and evil, "God has said, You shall not eat of it, neither shall you touch it, lest you die."
Satan... "You Will Not Surely Die" Now "the serpent then said to the woman..." He must have laughed at that, and he said, oh, "you will not surely die." In other words, 'God knows better than that. God's been deceiving you.' That's the effect of what Satan was saying to the woman. "For," he said, "God doth know," you see, he knows better, "he knows that in the day you eat thereof, then your eyes will be opened, and you will be gods." That's the correct translation, that "you will be God yourself," "knowing good and evil."
The truth is, only God knows what is good and what is evil. So it is when, verse 6 (Genesis 3:6), "when the woman saw..." You see, Satan went to the man's wife first, and got to the man Adam through his wife. "And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes," it was beautiful, because God had put it there and God is the author of beauty, "and a tree desired to make one wise, she took of the tree of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave unto her husband with her, and he did eat."
Adam and Eve, first Eve and then Adam went along with her and actually believed Satan. They did not believe what God had told them. Now I want to mention something right here. I'm going to get a little ahead of myself for a moment.
Four thousand years later, when Jesus Christ came to the Earth and preached the good news of the coming kingdom of God, how many people do you think really believed what he said? There were thousands upon thousands who heard him. Two different times, he fed five thousand people who were listening to him, and I think that was only men, and didn't even include women and children. Christ spoke to thousands of people.
Now you would find in the 8th chapter of the book of John, beginning with verse 30 (John 8:30). If you want to jot that down, it'd be nice to read that at home. John 8, in the New Testament, beginning with verse 30 (John 8:30). Many began at that time to believe on Jesus Christ, when he was speaking in the Temple. Now this is 4,000 years after Adam, when Christ had come to the Earth. Then to those, you will find if you read on down, to those who believed on Christ, he said: "Why do you seek to kill me? You seek to kill me and put me to death, because you do not believe what I say."
They didn't believe what he said. They believed on Christ. In other words, they knew he was the Messiah, they knew he was the one that God had sent, but they didn't believe what he said. Do you? Most people on Earth don't. There are thousands who believe in God, but they don't know much about God, and they don't know what God says, and they won't believe it if you tell them.
[Commercial break: Why Were You Born?] You know, we think that a test of intelligence and of sanity is whether you know right from wrong. That is not a test of sanity at all. Very few people know right from wrong. One person thinks to smoke a cigarette is sin; many, many others think it's no sin at all. You see, they don't think alike. And it's the same way with many things. I could just give you that one little illustration in passing, but people don't agree on what is right and what is wrong.
Man Rejects God's Way Now there's a reason for that, and I'm coming to that right now so that you will understand. Let's come on down a little later in this third chapter of Genesis (Genesis 3:22-24). "And the Eternal God said, Behold the man," after he had taken of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil with his wife, "the man has become as one of us to know good and evil, and now lest he put forth his hand and take also the tree of life," lest he get the Holy Spirit of God, lest he become converted, lest he gain immortal life "and eat, and live forever, therefore the Eternal God sent him forth from the garden of Eden to till the ground from whence he was taken. So he," God, "drove out the man and placed at the east of the garden of Eden, Cherubim and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life," lest humanity could go back and take of it.
Now let me show you what that means, and what I have just read here is very, very brief. In effect, this is what it means. And I'll paraphrase it in my own words, not the words that you read in the Bible. Adam had listened to God, and then he had listened to Satan, and then he turned to God and he said, "Look God, I want you to get your nose our of my business. I'll run myself. I'll do as I please. I'll decide what is good and what is evil. I don't need you, and I don't want you to be my God, I don't want you to be my ruler. I reject you as a governor, a ruler over me. I just reject you as the source of knowledge."
And God said, "Okay, you have to make your own decision." You can't have perfect character without making your own decision for it. If God makes it for us, we would be nothing more than a machine without a mind, without any character of any kind. And in my own words, God said, "Okay. You have rejected me. You don't want me to be your God, you don't want me to be your ruler, you don't want me to be your source of knowledge. All right, you go, you and your posterity," which means the whole population of the whole Earth. We have all come from Adam. "You go and your children after you, and you form your own governments."
Look at the governments we have all over the Earth. "You decide for yourself what is right from wrong," and that's what they're all doing. I was taught things that were supposed to be wrong in the church I was brought up in, as a boy, and later I found it was exactly opposite from what the Bible said. The people then, on this Earth and since Adam, have been cut off from God.
They have formed their own governments, they have formed their own religions, they have formed their own conceptions of what God is, and very few know. It might surprise you to know that very few Catholics or Protestants know who and what Christ really is. Consequently, God said, "I sentence you, and the world and all your posterity after you, to be completely cut off from me, and you will have to decide for yourself what you think is right and wrong. That's what you've decided, Adam. I'll let you have what you have decided."
"You had to make your own decision. I didn't make it for you. I showed you the right way, and you didn't believe me. And you turned the wrong way. You disobeyed me, you didn't believe me in any way. So I sentence you, and sentence the world after you, to be cut off from me completely. You will be cut of from real knowledge about me, and about purposes, and about why you're here, and where you're going, and what is the right way. You'll be cut off from basic knowledge, so you go and form your own way."
During The 6,000 Years But God added, "I do reserve the right," and that was to last for 6,000 years, and he says "During that 6,000 years, while you are writing the lesson of going the way of Satan" which is a lesson of nothing but unhappiness and in other words going the way of get instead of the way of give, and that's the way they have gone. During that time, the world has not known God, but God did reserve to himself the right to choose certain ones that he would choose, and call them, and reveal the knowledge of himself to them, and call them for a certain commission or a purpose that he had for them, and they were subject to know something about God.
The world has gone on since, in that condition. The world as a whole has been absolutely cut off from God. It does not know God. Now, someone had to come first and qualify to replace Satan who is discredited now, to set up and restore the government of God on this Earth. And you know that for 4,000 years nobody did. Let me just show you a little bit about that 4,000 years.
You turn over here just to the 6th chapter of Genesis (Genesis 6:1), and we read. "It came to pass when man began to multiply upon the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them." Do you know that we've come to that once again? We now are in the midst of a population explosion. People, the population of the Earth, grew by addition at first, but finally it grew by multiplication, if you know the difference.
"And that the sons of God saw the daughters of men, that they were fair, and they took to them wives of all they chose." They were not the ones that God would have chosen. And now the 5th verse (Genesis 6:5), let's just skip through it just as quickly as possible. "And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the Earth," man going the way of get, man trying to go the way of vanity, lust and greed, the way of jealousy and envy and strife, and competition, and of war, and of bloodshed and murder, and everything wrong.
"That the wickedness of man was great in the Earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually." Do you know that the population explosion of that time had come to the place where there were more than a billion people, and perhaps as many as two billion people on this Earth at that time?
Now notice in verse 11 (Genesis 6:11): "The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence." The ways of man, the ways of get, the ways of tearing down, the way of hate, led to corruption and violence. "And God looked upon the earth, and behold, it was corrupt. For all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth." They were cut off from God. That is the result of Adam's sin.
God Changes His Mind "And the Eternal said," that "I will destroy man whom I have created, from the face of the earth, both man and beast and the creeping thing and the fowls of the air, for it repenteth me that I have made them." Even God has changed his mind. "Repent" means a change of mind. "But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Eternal. These are the generations of Noah. Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations."
The "generations" means from father to son, to grandson, to great-grandson and on. "And Noah walked with God," so Noah was obedient to God. Then God called Noah. Now Noah wasn't seeking God, and that's the point I want you to make, that God called Noah. "And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me," and then he told him to make this ark.
Here was Noah building a great ship, or an ark. They were a long ways from an ocean, or even a big river, and you can just imagine how he was jeered, how he was mocked, how he was ridiculed by the people around him. "Look at that crazy fool, making a great big ship out here! There's no water. How's he going to get it to the ocean?" Well, God had told Noah that he was going to send a flood upon the Earth, and Noah would be saved in this ark. And Noah didn't question God, he had believed what God said.
[Commercial break: The Plain Truth Magazine] Now, as we go along, we will find, coming to the 12th chapter (Genesis 12:1). "Now the Eternal had said unto Abram," or perhaps that should be called Abram, "Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, and unto the land I will show thee." Abraham did not seek God. Abraham wasn't looking for salvation or conversion. He was interested in the gaiety and the pleasures of life at that time in Babylon, where he was, and God called him.
I want you to notice that the world is cut off from God except those that God has called, and when he called them, he called them for a special purpose. He called Abraham for a special purpose, and then Isaac and Jacob after him, and even one of Jacob's sons, Joseph. Later, God called Moses. He had a job for Moses to do. Moses had the spirit of God, and God talked with him face to face because God had a job for him to do.
But, coming all the way down to Christ, the world knew nothing about God. But in the days of Moses, God called Moses to deliver the children of Israel out of Egypt. They were slaves in Egypt. Moses didn't especially want to take them out of there, but God did, and he called Moses to do it. Now Moses began to object. He said, "Well, I stutter, and I have an impediment of speech, and I can't do what you want me to, God."
And that's the way human beings always have been. Well, I'm going to break off there for this time, and I want to begin there again with Moses, and the children of Israel. God called men who were slaves, and to make them as his own nation, if they would only have his laws, and they agreed to do it. But they didn't keep them. It's the same old human story. They didn't believe God. They didn't believe Moses.
Next Time... Why Earth Is So Corrupt Now we'll carry on from there next time. As we come on down to Christ, you'll begin to realize why the Earth is so corrupt, why there is so much evil in the Earth. They should have learned their lesson after the flood, but they didn't. So now I think we begin to see what brought on all of the evils and troubles in this world. We're going to see more of it, and more of God's purpose, and more of those whom God did call, and more of them will come to Christ in the next program, I hope.
And I will show you what God's real purpose is, and how, in the end, the average person in the world today has very little knowledge of God. As I said, many people believe there is a God, but they don't believe what God says, because they don't even know what he says. There's going to be a 1,000-year reign of Christ on the Earth as king of kings, and the government of God restored, and the kingdom of God, which is the family of God ruling, will be set up.
After that, after the end of that thousand years, and after Satan has been released for a little while and then put clear away forever from humanity, then there will be a resurrection of all who have lived from Adam on that had not been called by God. Of course, like Abraham, he will be resurrected before that time, and those that God has called. I could go on and name Daniel, and Isaiah the prophet, and Jeremiah, and David, and so many of those.
But those that are Christ's, will be turned to immortality at Christ's coming. But the rest of the dead will not live again until the thousand years are finished. Then there will be a great resurrection which is called the judgment of the great white throne. That is the judgment that Christ talked about. And everybody, beginning with Cain, the son of Adam, and Seth, and all of them, are going to be resurrected and brought back to physical, mortal life. And they're going to then, there won't be any devil around to deceive them.
I'll have to show you next time how Jesus Christ came and qualified to restore the government of God on this Earth, but has not yet been inducted into office, so Satan is still here to this day. I'll explain all of that, and why. You know, it all makes sense. It all adds up when to come to understand it, why the world's like it is, why humanity is here, where we are going, and God's great master plan of bringing us to that place. So, with that, this is Herbert W. Armstrong saying goodbye, for this time.