A Voice Cries Out Amid Religious Confusion: Part Five
Plain Truth Magazine
August 1980
Volume: Vol 45, No.7
Issue: ISSN 0032-0420
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A Voice Cries Out Amid Religious Confusion: Part Five

How could the world have become so mixed up? Out of this spiritual wilderness, a voice cries out in clarity and power, with the reassuring truth of the world's only and sure hope!

Editor's Note: We are printing here, serially, the new book by Herbert W. Armstrong with the same title as this article. The book will appear in bookstores later this year.


   IT SEEMS incredible indeed! Higher education teaches technical courses in human physiology, anatomy, anthropology and psychology. The universities take man apart and study him minutely inch by inch. They study every factor and phase of man. Yet they do not know WHAT man is or WHY he came to be here on earth!
   Is he merely the highest animal species, descended by resident forces, with no intelligent planning or designing, by the process of evolution? Is he an immortal soul? Is he human flesh and blood with an immortal soul within him? Just what IS a human person, after all?
   And WHY?
   Why is mankind here on the earth? Did we simply happen? Or was there DESIGN and PURPOSE?
   We say there is a CAUSE for every effect. The effect, here, is man. Man is here! HOW—WHY did he come to be here? Was he put here, or did he just happen by blind, senseless, unintelligent processes of evolution?
   We ought to want to know!
   But higher education does not know. And it doesn't want to know! When we invade the questions of WHAT and WHY, the intellectuals—the custodians of KNOWLEDGE—shy away or stand up and fight. Of the questions WHAT and WHY is man, they are willingly ignorant!
   So, education shuts its mind, and its mouth in tight silence. Science doesn't know. Religion does not reveal, for it also doesn't know!
   Yes, incredible—but TRUE!

God Enters the Picture

   WHY this wilful ignorance? Because GOD is involved. And the primary divisions of this world's civilization—government, religion, education and science—all shy away from GOD. They want GOD to keep His nose out of their affairs! The mention of God embarrasses them.
   In the preceding two chapters we have covered the questions of WHO and WHAT is GOD. And we find God is quite REAL—He is the Creator of all that is, and He has an ultimate PURPOSE—the creation of perfect, holy, righteous and spiritual CHARACTER, in MAN made immortal!
   So the presence of MAN on the earth must have a definite relation to the PURPOSE of GOD the Creator.
   With these basically important questions and statements we must ask, WHY all the evils in today's sick and chaotic world? This world now faces, with no solution, its number one problem—the question of HUMAN SURVIVAL! Can human life on earth survive even through the short remainder of this 20th century?
   Consider now what has been covered about God's PURPOSE for the angels that sinned on earth. For that angelic rebellion leads directly to God's PURPOSE for MAN—to our question of WHAT and WHY is MAN?

Earth's Face in Devastation

   Instead of improving, beautifying, completing earth's creation, the sinning angels brought it to desolation and ruin.
   Come now to Genesis 1:1-2: "In the beginning God created the heavens [RSV] and the earth. And the earth was without form and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep... ."
   The original Hebrew for "without form and void" is tohu and bohu—meaning "waste, desolate, deteriorated." The word was is also translated "became." Thus possibly after millions of years, all had come to be oceanic surface—and light had been by angelic lawlessness turned into darkness.
   Let me here interject a biblical principle within the immediate context. There is this instruction in Isaiah: "Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? ... precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little and there a little" (Isaiah 28:9-10). But most who try to apply this principle in biblical understanding take each "little" verse out of its context, to "interpret" their own ideas into it.
   Much, directly concerned with what is in Genesis 1, is filled in by other passages of scripture in other parts of the Bible.
   So now, let's UNDERSTAND the background. Earth's angels had not completed the creation of the earth by improvement, development and beautification. Rather, they had brought it to desolation and ruin. The GOVERNMENT OF GOD had been nullified on earth.
   And now, of all living beings in the universe, ONLY GOD could be certainly relied upon never to depart from the way of His Law. No higher, more perfect being could be created than the cherub, Lucifer, who rebelled. Character cannot be automatically created by fiat. So God now determined, or had predetermined, to accomplish the SUPREME creative feat—by reproducing Himself! That was to be accomplished through MAN! God knew this must be brought about through MATTER.

Man in God's Image

   To prepare the earth for the creation of man, God renewed the face of the earth. This is explained in Psalm 104:30: 'Thou sendest forth thy Spirit, they are created: and thou renewest the face of the earth."
   Now back to Genesis 1:2: The earth was in a state of ruin. "... And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters."
   The first thing God did was turn darkness back into LIGHT as originally made. God said, "Let there be light: and there was light" (Genesis 1:3).
   So in six days God RENEWED THE FACE OF THE EARTH (not its original creation) preparing it for the creation of MAN!
   Once again the earth was a perfect creation—but lacking the finishing touches.

The Purpose of Man on Earth

   WHY did the Creator God put MAN on the earth? To improve the physical earth as God gave it to man, finishing its creation (which sinning angels had deliberately refused to do.) and, in so doing, to RESTORE the GOVERNMENT OF GOD, with God's WAY of life; and further, in this very process FINISHING THE CREATION OF MAN by the development of God's holy, righteous CHARACTER, with man's own assent.
   Once this perfect and righteous character is instilled in man, and man converted from mortal flesh to immortal spirit, then is to come the INCREDIBLE HUMAN POTENTIAL—man being BORN INTO the divine FAMILY of God, and then participating in the completion of the CREATION over the entire endless expanse of the UNIVERSE! God shall have reproduced HIMSELF thousands of millions of times over!
   So, on the sixth day of that re-creation week, God [Elohim] said, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness" (Genesis 1:26).
   Man was made to have (with his assent) a special relationship with his Maker! He was made in the form and shape of God. He was given a spirit (essence in form) to make the relationship possible. Much more of that a little later.

The Soul Is Mortal

   But God made MAN wholly of MATTER! This was necessary for the supreme accomplishment God willed.
   "And the [Eternal] God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath [air] of life; and man became a living soul" (Genesis 2:7). Man, formed from material dust of the ground, upon breathing air, BECAME a living soul. It does not say man is, or has, an immortal soul. What was formed from material ground BECAME a soul.
   Therefore the SOUL is physical, composed of matter, and can die. This is a TRUTH believed by very few denominations, and probably by no other religions—another PROOF that identifies the one true Church of God!

How Human Mind Functions

   Now we come to another truth, so far as I know, exclusive to the one true Church.
   Did you ever wonder about the vast difference between human mind and animal brain? This, incidentally, is another PROOF of the falsity of the theory of evolution!
   The physical brain of the higher vertebrates in the animal kingdom is almost the same in physical form, design, constituency, as human brain. The brains of whales, elephants, dolphins are larger—and chimp almost as large. Yet the output of the human brain is indescribably greater. Few indeed know WHY!
   Many passages of Scripture show that there is a spirit in man. Spirit is not matter, and man is wholly matter. But, as there could be a small metal object swallowed by mistake, IN man, yet no part of the man himself, so with the spirit within each human. Because it is in the form of essence—not a "ghost" or being of itself—and to distinguish it from God's Holy Spirit, I designate it as the "human" spirit. Nevertheless, it is spirit and not matter.
   This "human" spirit imparts the power of intellect to the human physical brain. The spirit cannot see, hear, taste, smell or feel. The brain sees through the eye, hears through the ear, etc. The "human" spirit cannot of itself think. The physical brain thinks.
   What, then, is the function of this "human" spirit? It is NOT a "soul." But, 1) it imparts the power of intellect—of thinking, and of MIND power, to the human brain; and 2) it is the very means God has instilled, making possible a personal relationship between human MAN and divine GOD.
   God creates, as previously explained, by the principle of DUALITY. So it is with the creation of MAN. It is accomplished in TWO STAGES: 1) the physical phase, which began with the first man, Adam; and 2) the spiritual state, which begins with the "Second Adam" Jesus Christ (I Corinthians 15:45-46).
   So also, man was made from his creation (and birth) with the one "human" spirit—but he is INCOMPLETE; he was made to need another Spirit—the HOLY SPIRIT of God—and when that gift of God is received, God's "Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God" (Romans 8:16)—in the begotten (or first stage) of man's spiritual creation.
   This is most clearly explained in I Corinthians 2.
   "... Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart [mind] of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him" (verse 9)—spiritual knowledge. The natural mind can know only what the brain can physically see, hear, taste, smell or feel, through the five physical senses. The natural mind is confined to physical, material knowledge!
   "But God hath revealed them [spiritual things] unto us by His Spirit ..." (verse 10).
   "For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? ..." (verse 11). A cow, sheep, or dog cannot know the things a MAN knows—and neither could a man, except by the spirit of man which is in him. Likewise, the natural man with this one spirit is limited to material knowledge—"even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God."
   ONLY when the Holy Spirit enters, combining with the "human" spirit, can a man come to really comprehend that which is spiritual—"But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned" (verse 14).
   That is WHY the most highly educated are, overall, the most ignorant—they are confined to knowledge of the material. Knowledge of God and the things of God are foolishness to them. But, of course, God says, "The wisdom of this world is foolishness with God" (I Corinthians 3:19).

World Cut Off from God

   Now back to the first human, Adam.
   Remember God's PURPOSE in creating man on the earth: 1) to restore the GOVERNMENT OF GOD on earth, and by regulating human life through that GOVERNMENT, a) complete the physical creation of earth where angels turned it to ruin, and b) in the process complete the creation of MAN by developing righteous spiritual CHARACTER; and 2) establish the KINGDOM OF GOD, and eventually the incredible human potential of finishing the creation of the vast UNIVERSE!
   This supreme PURPOSE required: 1) that MAN reject Satan's WAY, embracing GOD'S WAY of LOVE, based on God's spiritual Law and 2) that man be made first of matter so that, if he was led into Satan's way of "GET," he could be CHANGED, converted to GOD'S WAY of LOVE.
   Spiritual beings, once a finished creation as (were the one third of the angels who became evil characters) could not be changed! Spirit is constant and eternal—not subject to change. But physical matter is constantly changing.
   Through God's Master Plan for His Spiritual Creation, to be covered later, it had been master-planned by God and "The Word" that "The Word" would divest Himself of His Supreme Glory, and in due time, take on Him the likeness of human flesh, as Jesus Christ, making possible the spiritual phase of the creation of MAN—God REPRODUCING HIMSELF! What a MASTER PLAN for the extreme ULTIMATE in creative accomplishment! How GREAT is our God—in mind, purpose, planning, designing, as well as CREATING—from the tiniest germ or insect to the most huge sun, dwarfing our own great sun to insignificance!
   And the incredible human potential is that the GREAT MAJESTIC GOD is, in MAN, reproducing Himself—man can be born into the GOD FAMILY!
   The first human, Adam, was created with the potential of qualifying to replace Satan, the former Lucifer, on earth's throne, restoring the GOVERNMENT OF GOD.
   But it was necessary that he resist, and reject Satan's "GET" way, and choose GOD'S WAY of His Law—the way of LOVE (GIVE)!
   His Maker talked first to Adam and Eve—instructed them thoroughly in the GOVERNMENT and spiritual LAW of God—even though in Genesis 2 only the most condensed summary of God's instruction to them is revealed. Satan was restrained from any contact with them until God first had completely taught them.
   In the gloriously beautiful Garden of Eden, into which God placed them, were two symbolic trees. One was the "Tree of Life." Taking its fruit, freely offered, symbolized obedience and faithfulness to God's Law of outgoing LOVE, and receiving the gift of God's Holy Spirit.
   The other was the tree of "the knowledge of good and evil." Taking of its fruit was taking to themselves the knowledge of what is good, and what is evil—deciding for themselves what is right and what is sin. This of course, meant rejection of GOD'S LAW, which defined for them the right and the wrong.
   The glorious archangel Lucifer, as God originally created him, was the pinnacle of God's creative power in a single being. Few today remotely realize the great power, now turned to cunning deception, possessed by Satan. Apparently Adam completely underestimated him.
   The wily Satan got to Adam through his wife Eve. He did not say, "CHOOSE MY WAY!" He appeared as a subtile serpent. He cleverly deceived her.
   He put DOUBTS in her mind about God's veracity. He deceived her into believing God had been unfair—selfish. He subtiley injected vanity of mind. He misled her into thinking it was right to take of the forbidden fruit.
   Adam, not deceived, nevertheless went along with his wife. With her, he took to himself the determination of what is right and what is wrong—thus DISBELIEVING what his Maker had said, REJECTING God as Savior and Ruler—rejecting God as the Source of revealed BASIC KNOWLEDGE. He believed and followed Satan's WAY!
   When God "drove out the man" from the Garden of Eden, and barred reentrance—lest he go back and receive eternal life in sin (Genesis 3:22-24)—God PRONOUNCED SENTENCE!
   God said, in effect, "YOU have made the decision for yourself and the world that shall spring from you. You have rejected me as the basic source of knowledge—you have rebelled against my command and my government—you have chosen the "GETTING," "TAKING" way of Satan. Therefore I sentence you and the world you shall beget to 6,000 years of being cut off from access to me and my Spirit—except for the exceedingly FEW I shall specially call. And that FEW shall be called for special service preparatory for the Kingdom of God. They shall be required to do what you have failed to do—reject, resist and overcome Satan and his WAYS, and follow the ways of my spiritual LAW.
   "Go therefore, Adam, and all your progeny which shall form the world, produce your own fund of knowledge. Decide for yourself what is good and what is evil. Produce your own educational systems and means of disseminating knowledge, as your god Satan shall mislead you. Form your own concepts of what is god, your own religions, your own governments, your own lifestyles and forms of society and civilization. In all this Satan will deceive your world with his attitude of SELF-centeredness—with vanity, lust and greed, jealousy and envy, competition and strife and violence and wars, rebellion against me and my Law of LOVE.
   "After the world of your descendants has written the lesson in 6,000 years of human suffering, anguish, frustration, defeat and death, I will supernaturally intervene. By supernatural divine power I shall then take over the government of the whole world. With reeducation, I will produce a happy world of PEACE. And on repentance, I shall then offer eternal salvation to all. After a thousand years of that happy world to come, I will resurrect from death to mortal life all who have died uncalled during this 6,000 years. Their judgment shall then come. And on repentance and faith, eternal life shall be offered them.
   "During this 6,000 years, when I myself shall cut them off from me, they shall not be eternally judged. Only, as they sow during their life-times, they shall reap. But when I open eternal salvation to them, there shall be no Satan to hinder or deceive them—no Satan for them to overcome. Those few called during this first 6,000 years shall have to reject and resist Satan's pulls and overcome. But those who overcome shall sit with me in my throne, and have power under me to rule all nations under my Supreme Rule."
   The most universal false teaching, believed by virtually all churches called Christianity, except the one and only true and original Church of God, is that ALL are automatically "lost" unless they profess Jesus Christ as Savior—and that now is the only day of "salvation."
   Those cut off from God are NOT "lost"—NOT YET JUDGED!
   Few UNDERSTAND this basic Master Plan of God. The reader cannot possibly be more surprised at the truth revealed in this volume than was the author, more than 50 years ago. The WHOLE WORLD has been deceived, as God's Word foretold! One deceived is not aware of the deception! Don't underestimate Satan!
   One, reviewing the multiplied evils in the world today, might think MAN has cut himself off from God. But it is GOD who cut off mankind from Him. And WHY?
   Does that seem to make God appear unfair? Quite the opposite!
   Consider! When God drove Adam and Eve out from the Garden of Eden, He set angels to bar mankind from reentering. Suppose God had left the gate into Eden open. What would have happened? Probably the whole of mankind would have surged back in to take of that tree of LIFE! Without any repentance—without even FAITH in God or in Christ—mankind would have helped himself to RECEIVING ETERNAL LIFE.
   THINK a moment!

God Not Unfair

   How UNfair would God have been, had He allowed that? Man, with all his sins—and sin has a habit of increasing in the one who indulges in it—would have become immortal—living for ever while suffering the pains, mental, physical and spiritual, that sin would bring on him!
   Man does not seem to realize that he now is the SLAVE of sin. He does not realize that only a real repentance—turning from sin—and the living FAITH of Jesus Christ can FREE him from that penalty! Sin enslaves! It punishes! It brings sorrow, remorse, anguish. It inflicts physical injury, sickness and disease. It produces frustration and hopelessness.
   The most UNfair, UNkind, cruel thing God could have done would have been to leave the way open into the Garden, with free access to all comers to the tree of LIFE—symbolic of the gift of ETERNAL LIFE!
   But what did God do? He drove out the man and the woman. He barred reentrance.
   He, however, made salvation and eternal life in extreme happiness and bliss become available to ALL the human family. But, with Godly wisdom, He set a time-order and conditions! For the first 6,000 years—now almost completed—all but the predestined FEW were cut off. Meanwhile He called a comparatively infinitesimal FEW to repentance and faith and—dependent on those conditions and overcoming—the gift of His Holy Spirit and eternal life!
   Then in due time, after approximately 4,000 years from Adam, God sent Jesus Christ to live a perfect life, overcoming Satan, qualifying where the first Adam failed, to replace Satan as RULER on the throne of the whole earth. Those who, as Jesus did, overcome Satan, their own selves and sin (the "called," that is), will sit with Christ in His throne when He comes to set up THE KINGDOM OF GOD and to restore the GOVERNMENT OF GOD, which the former Lucifer rejected and ceased to administer!
   Those very few called, beginning with "righteous Abel" up to now and on to Christ's return to earth, have had to do what Adam refused to do—REJECT THE WAY OF SATAN, who rebelled against the GOVERNMENT OF GOD!
   Who, then, is a real Christian? Only those who have been, and are being led by the Holy Spirit of God (Romans 8:9, 11, 14). And none can receive the Holy Spirit until that person, 1) REPENTS—of his sins, his transgressions of God's Law, and 2) has complete faith in Jesus Christ—which includes BELIEVING Jesus Christ. I mean, believing what He says—His WORD, the Holy Bible!
   Now, what of all the others—the THOUSANDS OF MILLIONS? Up to now, unless called and drawn by God, they simply have not yet been judged! I do not mean they shall not have to give account for their sins. They shall, indeed! But their judgment is COMING. Judgment has begun in the true Church of God (I Peter 4:17). Jesus said, "No man can come to me, except the Father ... draw him ..." (John 6:44). NO MAN CAN come to Christ otherwise! But this is merely the FIRST harvest.
   When Christ comes as KING OF KINGS and LORD of lords, He will reign for the next thousand years. EVERYBODY living from His coming will be called.
   After that thousand years, shall occur the "Great White Throne Judgment" of Revelation 20:11-12. All who ever lived from Adam on, who were uncalled by God, shall be resurrected MORTAL in human flesh and blood as they were in their first life. Then they shall give account for the sins of their former life—but on real repentance and faith they shall be forgiven and receive God's Holy Spirit, begetting them to ETERNAL LIFE.
   GOD'S WONDERFUL MASTER PLAN WILL CALL EVERYONE WHO EVER LIVED TO RECEIVE ETERNAL SALVATION but, there is a time order in resurrections (I Corinthians 15:22-23). "For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order; Christ the firstfruits, afterward ..." (two other resurrections revealed in Revelation 20:11-13, are not covered in I Corinthians 15.)
   Those called in the Millennium, and those in the Great White Throne resurrection and judgment, shall NOT have Satan, then, to overcome.
   How WONDERFUL are God's ways—even though hidden now from most of humanity bringing so much suffering on themselves!
   As the apostle Paul exclaimed, "O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!" (Romans 11:33).
   In MAN, God is reproducing Himself! The word for God in Genesis 1:1 is Elohim in the original Hebrew. It is a uniplural name, like church or family or group. God said "Let US"—not ME—"make man in OUR image." God truly is a Family into which we, literally may be born!
   WHAT, then, is man? He is a living being made from the dust of the ground. He is CLAY, and GOD is the Master Potter, molding, shaping, forming our CHARACTER—if we respond when He calls and draws us to Him. With our willingness He is infusing into us HIS VERY OWN SPIRITUAL HOLY, RIGHTEOUS and PERFECT CHARACTER!
   WHY is man? God created man on the earth to build in us what the sinning angels refused to let Him build in them—His perfect CHARACTER! He is, in His time order and way, developing us to become VERY GOD—each of us—and to finish the creation of the unfinished UNIVERSE!
   It's all WONDERFUL beyond words. But, for NOW, we still live in this deceived world led by Satan.

A Voice Cries Out Amid Religious Confusion: Part Six

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Plain Truth MagazineAugust 1980Vol 45, No.7ISSN 0032-0420