"We are the children of God: and if children, then heirs; HEIRS OF GOD." Human potential is higher than most people think — enormously higher! God created man to enter His divine family!
Finally. Like the last great crescendo of a gigantic symphony, after nearly 6000 years of man's history, the Creator of the universe is proclaiming to all mankind the ultimate purpose of human life. Now, just before the close of man's age, God is revealing why He created the universe and why He designed human beings. Although known by some individuals in the Old Testament period and preached by Jesus and the apostles in the early New Testament period, this astounding, fundamental truth has never before been made available to all nations on such a massive scale. It's no accident. There's no coincidence. The time is now. We are living in a unique moment of the history of the universe. Our generation will see it all put together. And our generation will have to understand why. We are now ready to approach the ultimate purpose of — and for — human life. It involves our spirit, the spirit in man.* And it also involves the Spirit of God. More precisely, the fundamental purpose of human life involves the union of these two spirit essences — and the resulting new creation which then emerges. Paul epitomizes the overwhelming significance of the entire process with breathtaking succinctness: "... The Spirit of God joins with our spirit in testifying that we are the children of God; and if children, then heirs, heirs of God... " (Rom. 8:16-17, The New English Bible with KJV).
* The spirit in man can be defined as the nonphysical component of the human mind which differentiates it from animal brain. The spirit in man is not an immortal soul — rather it is simply a spirit essence which imparts the power of self-conscious intellect to the human brain, thereby generating the human mind.
The key word is heir — because we are "heirs of God." First we define the word: An heir is a person who is entitled to, and assured of, the acquisition and possession of specified riches, properties, offices, titles and/or responsibilities — to be received at a given time or at a particular event in the future. Now since we human beings are "heirs of God," whatever the name "God" stands for, we are entitled to, and assured, of the acquisition and possession of it. And just as surely as all the heirs of the wealthy Ford, Rockefeller, or Rothschild families are absolutely guaranteed the treasures, rights, privileges and opportunities which are certified and secured by their physical fathers' family names, all human beings can be absolutely guaranteed the enormously more spectacular treasures, rights, privileges and opportunities which are certified and secured by our Creator and spiritual Father's family name — God. So we go to the next step: What is God? What can we be heirs of? The answer to this question simultaneously answers the most fundamental question of human life: "What is man?" Because mankind was created to become literally sons of God. That's the purpose of human life — plain and simple. That's why we were created. That's why the entire universe was created. But this is such an incredible concept that most people will not comprehend it. Why? Is it too complex? No. It's too simple — too simple for minds nurtured by, and accustomed to, the tortuously tangled religious systems and dogmas of this world. So we will repeat it: All human beings — you — were created to literally join the God family. And become God. How can that be? Because God is a family. More accurately, "God" is the family name of the eternally creating class of beings who have designed, are sustaining and will forever rule all reality — spiritual and physical reality, known and unknown reality, reality that does exist and reality that does not yet exist. That's what we are heir to. The family of God! Everything! Forever! The concept that God is a family is as bold as it is thrilling. It is almost a "revolution." To state that God is a family seems like outright heresy compared to the twisted maze of pagan doctrines which have established themselves as the respectable religious systems of this world. Nevertheless, it is true — God is a family. Because, as incredible as it appears to our materialistically hardened eyes, the Bible explicitly teaches that God is a family — and that the purpose of every human life is to join that "very family circle of God" (Rom. 8:15, Phillips). The God family can and will comprise an almost infinite number of individual distinct sons. Ephesians 3:14-15 proclaims that the whole family in heaven and earth is named after God the Father. Or, in other words, the whole family is named the God family.
At the present time today — there are only two beings in the God family: 1) God the Father — the Possessor of heaven and earth (Gen. 14:19; Isa. 66:1; John 5:19) — the Father of Jesus Christ. 2) The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob — the active Creator of heaven and earth — the One who became Jesus Christ. The Jesus Christ of the New Testament is identically the very same Being who appeared as the God of the Old Testament. How does one demonstrate this crucial point? With surprising ease. Read the appropriate New Testament verses: John 1:3, 10; Ephesians 3:9; I Corinthians 10:4 and Hebrews 1:2.
The Bible further shows that the purpose of human life — the ultimate goal for all human beings — is to eventually become equal with the Creator of the universe! Equal with God? Shocking? Undoubtedly! But this remarkable fact is surprisingly easy to prove. There is no difficult exegesis (scriptural analysis) involved. Complex philosophical arguments are not needed. Hebrew can even be "Greek" to you — and you can still understand this simple, beautiful truth. In one sense, all that is required is a four-step process: 1) The Creator of the universe is the One who became Jesus Christ. 2) Jesus Christ is equal with God (John 5:18; Phil. 2:6). 3) We are joint heirs with Christ, and as a result, we will be glorified together with Him (Rom. 8:17). 4) Whatever glory God the Father had given Christ — the position of Creator — Christ will eventually give to us (John 17:11, 22). In other words, every converted individual will eventually enjoy the same relationship to Christ — God the Creator — as Christ presently enjoys with God the Father. Christ knew He had had — before His human birth — identically the same glorious level of God-plane existence as had God the Father. "And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was" (John 17:5). Consequently, Christ knew full well what He was saying — and what He was doing — when He gave precisely this same glory to His human followers. He was adding new members to God's growing family. "And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one" (verse 22). In another sense, all that is required is a simple, word-by-word reading — without interpretation — of Genesis 1:26. Here God succinctly gives the purpose of human life: Whereas animals reproduce after the animal kind, man reproduces after the God kind! Or, more properly phrased, human beings are the instruments through which God is reproducing Himself. (See box on page 12 for a full explanation.) It cannot be repeated too often: We were born for the express purpose of literally becoming equal with the Creator of the universe — members in the same eternally ruling God-family Kingdom. But what will we be like? Like God! Exactly! Exactly like God! We will do what God does. We will feel, act, enjoy and experience at precisely the same incomprehensible level of awareness at which God feels, acts, enjoys and experiences. A point of clarification here: We are not saying that human beings will become God the Father or become Jesus Christ. That would be utterly ridiculous. God the Father is God the Father and Jesus Christ is Jesus Christ. And nobody else can "become" them. Furthermore, neither are we saying that those who will be born into God's family will ever have the same power or authority as the Father or Christ does. Of course not. What we are saying, is that human beings will become members of the same God family — composed of the same Spirit, doing the same Work and living the same level of life as are God the Father and Jesus Christ.
But we will not lose our unique awareness and our individual personalities. We will not be diffused into any "cosmic consciousness"; we will not be absorbed by any "infinite intelligence"; and we will not be swallowed up by any "universal love." All of these philosophies have one point in common: They preach the utter dissolution of the individual human personality. You are to be diffused into the "cosmic consciousness," absorbed by the "infinite intelligence" and swallowed up by "universal love" — much like a drop of yellow paint which becomes completely diffused after being dropped into the ocean, or like a decaying human body which becomes totally absorbed into the surrounding soil after many years in its grave, or perhaps like those hapless human minds which were swallowed up by the invading monster brains which terrified us in the science-fiction movies of the 1950s. The Bible absolutely repudiates all such attempts to destroy the dignity of each distinctive human mind. Human beings will always retain their individuality — we will become individual personalities In the Father's God family.
The members of God's family in tomorrow's world will be more distinct from one another than members of the human family are distinct from one another in today's world. All will have their own individually specific memories, abilities, personality traits, jobs, responsibilities, preferences and ideas. But there won't be any competition or conflict, because the old culprit — self-centered human nature — will have long since been eliminated. We will generate our own unique ideas, create our own original thoughts, enjoy our own preferential activities, fulfill our own personal responsibilities, and on and on. When mankind is promised to be made "equal with God," that, of course, means that individual human beings will eventually become qualitatively equal with God — and obviously does not mean that individual human beings will eventually become quantitatively equal with either God the Father or Jesus Christ. Being "equal with God" only means that we will be in the same God family as the Father and Christ are in — and has nothing to do with an equality of power, authority, intelligence, etc., within the God family. In other words those people who will be changed "in the twinkling of an eye" (I Cor. 15:52) will share the same exact qualities of life which today are only possessed by God the Father and Jesus Christ. For example, one of God's qualities is that He has inherent life — He generates eternal life intrinsically within Himself Because God is life. "For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself..." (John 5:26). Consequently, since the two original Beings in the God family created all mankind to grow to become qualitatively like themselves, when we individual human beings are changed into new, individual God-Beings, we, too, will generate eternal life intrinsically within ourselves (John 7:38; 4:14; 3:16; 6:47; etc.). But, quantitatively, man will never equal God the Creator; just as surely as God the Spokesman (Jesus Christ) will Himself never, quantitatively, equal God the Father (John 14:28). These two original Beings in the God family will always remain in overall command. Their absolute authority will never be in question — although they will delight in sharing progressively more of their responsibilities with their offspring as the God family continues to expand throughout space and time.
A practical analogy will help us to more fully comprehend the wonders of God's magnificent purpose — and the majesty of our individual calling. Picture the model of a large family corporation (the Rothschilds of Europe are perhaps the best example): The "patriarch" father founded the company "from nothing" many years ago. He labored long by himself to build the business. When he had sons, he desired to prepare them for the time when they could become an integral part of his organization. He nurtured them and he trained them. And so, after receiving all the proper education and experience, his sons matured into able, dedicated men. Their father now took great pleasure in turning over much administrative responsibility and governing authority to his sons. Each son was placed in charge of one major division — in addition to occupying a seat on the board of directors. As a direct result, the business was able to expand enormously in many directions at once. The father, of course, still presided over and ran the whole operation — yet it was the collective strength of his sons which made the family corporation grow great. The sons, of course, enjoyed the same quality of life as did their father — intellectually and financially — but the father would always remain somewhat richer in all areas. The sons counseled and advised their father on all decisions — but the father would always be the boss. His word would always be final. Everyone thoroughly loved his work — and his life. A family atmosphere prevailed. And when each son would have his own sons, the ruling family would geometrically increase, causing the family corporation to continually grow. So it will be when human beings become sons in the eternally ruling God family. After being nurtured and trained in this physical life, after receiving all the proper education and experience, we will be able to assume the positions of enormous responsibility and authority which Almighty God will take great pleasure in sharing with us. At that time, each individual son will have precisely the same relationship with God the Father in administering the entire universe as human sons have today with their physical father when they help administer their large family corporation. And, in the very same analogous manner, we, as sons of God, will enjoy the same quality of life that God the Father enjoys. Furthermore, as strange as it sounds, we will counsel and advise our Creator Father — we will have suggestions and opinions which will actually help God the Father administer the whole universe; suggestions and opinions which will be original and unique. Life will be scintillating. Eternity could never get boring: "... In thy [God's] presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore" (Ps. 16:11). And the God family will forever expand beyond all the bounds which our restricted human imaginations have erected.
What will we look like as sons in God's family? There's only one way to find out: What does Jesus Christ look like today? How will that help? Jesus Christ is our elder brother in the God family — the pioneer of our salvation (Rom. 8:29; Heb. 2:10; 5:9). What He looks like today is what we will look like in the resurrection. Because Christ has promised to give to us just exactly the same quality of glorified body which God the Father has given to Him: "And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them [all of Christ's disciples] ..." (John 17:22). And Christ did more than "just" promise — He swore by Himself (Gen. 22:16; Heb. 6:13) and He confirmed it by an oath (Heb. 6:17). This means that God and Christ are putting their own names on the line. They are staking their eternal reputations — risking everything for man. Let's read the present-day description of Jesus Christ as described by John in the book of Revelation. "And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle. His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire; and his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters. And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp two-edged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength. And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last" (Rev. 1:13-17). What you have just read is a prophetic description of what you can look like in a very few years. You can go further. Read about your potential future environment. Read about the indescribable majesty of the throne of God the Father in the fourth chapter of Revelation. Read about the fantastically beautiful "portable" throne of God the Creator in chapters 1 and 10 of Ezekiel. Finally — and the most "mind-expanding" of all — read through the 21st and 22nd chapters of Revelation. Discover the imagination-defying, incomprehensible "new heaven" and "new earth." And it all can be yours — everything — forever — because you can be an heir of God!
In one short, most remarkable statement, God sums up the whole purpose of human life — the primary, underlying reason why God created all physical reality. This declaration gives the all-encompassing reason: "... Let us make man in our image, after our likeness...." This is the first biblical reference to man — and with it God announces His firm intention to begin to reproduce "after His kind." Prior to this verse, the basic life-principle "after its kind" (literally from the Hebrew " to, or for, its appointed division") is repeatedly stressed as God's guiding design for the reproduction and purpose of all life. And so, just as God had created the plants and the animals " after their kind," He created man after His own kind — after the God kind. Why is the phrase " after its kind" never applied to man — even though it is consistently applied to all other life? The answer: Because the purpose of human life is not to physically reproduce after the human kind — but to be spiritually reproduced after the God kind! In the same manner as a newborn spider, a bird, or whale was designed to grow up to become exactly like its family and parents, every human being was designed to grow up to become exactly like his spiritual family and parent — exactly like God, exactly like the Father and exactly like Christ. Because just as the animals had begun to reproduce themselves, God had begun to reproduce Himself. Over the centuries men have devoted multiple tens of thousands of volumes in search of "the plan," "the purpose," and "the answer" to mankind's existence. All to no avail! In striking contrast, God reveals all three — He spells out in precise detail the exact plan, the full purpose, and the ultimate answer for each human life. He does it in just four original Hebrew words (ten in English): "Let us [the God family] make man in our [the God family's] image, after our [the God family's] likeness." How much clearer could one state that the God family — comprising, at the present time, only two Beings, God the Father and God the Son — created man for the purpose of joining them as literal members in the eternally ruling God family? Genesis 1:26 is the critical verse which presents the foundational purpose of human life. It informs us that the God family created us in their image and after their likeness. Many have heard Genesis 1:26 recited often — and familiarity has bred contempt. So, quite unintentionally, we water it down — so that " Let us make man in our image, after our likeness" is interpreted as " representational," or as a metaphor, or a figure of speech — anything but the simple meaning of the words themselves.
In this psalm, David stated that he looked forward to the time when he would awake from his death and bear the likeness of God. The Hebrew word here translated "likeness" (temunah) is elsewhere used to directly represent God Himself (Num. 12:8; Deut. 4:12, 15, where " similitude" is the translation); but it is a completely different Hebrew word from the fleshly (Gen. 1:26) " likeness" of God in which human beings were created. Will David bear the " likeness" (temunah) of God without actually being in God's eternally ruling family? The answer is plainly, no!
Revelation 3:9; 19:10; 22:8-9
Revelation 3:9 states that physical humans living under the soon-coming government of God will worship before the feet of God's present-day human servants. But Revelation 19:10 and 22:8-9 state that human beings must not worship before the feet of even the greatest angelic beings (and certainly not before other human beings). We are commanded to worship God alone, There is only one logical way for these two statements not to be in diametric contradiction — only one way to make sense out of these scriptures — that is if God's human servants of today will literally be changed into individual members of the God family
I John 3:1-2
These two remarkable verses do not need any explanation. "Consider the incredible love that the Father has shown us in allowing us to be called 'children of God' — and that is not just what we are called, but what we are. Our heredity on the Godward side is no mere figure of speech.... We don't know what we shall become [we cannot yet comprehend how we shall appear] in the future. We only know that, if reality were to break through, we should reflect his likeness ["we shall be like him" — KJV], for we should see him as he really is!" (Phillips.) Read these words. Each one. Literally! What more can be said?