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Mankind, Knowledge and Life
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Mankind, Knowledge and Life
Arthur C Mokarow  

And this Gospel shall be preached... Matthew 24:14
Sermon Summaries from Ministers of the Worldwide Church of God.

Speaking of the resurrection, Daniel 12:2 says:
   "And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth [speaking about the dead] shall awake [in the resurrection], some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. And they that be wise... " — and the original Hebrew implies more than wisdom, it implies the ability to teach; it is as elders, wise ones, teachers that these are resurrected, having a mature and complete grasp and concept of reality and life and its purpose" ... shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness [here is an educational teaching process] as the stars forever and ever."
   And then Daniel is told in verse four: "But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: " — and this verse zeros in on two characteristics of the time until the time of the end — "... many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased."
   What is happening here — in the world today — in human life? It's experience, learning, education.
   Now let's go back to the beginning to understand.

In the Garden of Eden

   In Genesis 2: 16 we are told very clearly: "And the [Eternal] God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die [or, be dying]."
   Now maybe you have wondered: Why is it that God didn't want me to have the knowledge of good and evil? Have you wondered about that? I have, many times. I couldn't see anything wrong with the tree. Neither could Adam and Eve.
   I had an occasion over in England to hear a lecture by a doctor in literature on "The Place of Original Sin in Literature." This lecturer related all of the literature in the last 1500 years — English, American, French and other nationalities and ethnic groups.
   She was a very intelligent woman but the first thing she did was make the mistake of entering into the subject of the Bible. Because she didn't know anything about that. She said, first thing, they should not have eaten that apple. About two minutes later I had picked seven biblical errors. I felt like telling her it wasn't an apple, they didn't "fall," and on and on and on. It is amazing how humanity is misled. And it was very obvious throughout. She was excellent on literature, she just didn't understand her premise, and that leads into trouble. And that's exactly what happened to Adam and Eve.
   You see, it isn't bad to have knowledge about good and evil, if you have true criteria to base it upon. Satan understood that, so he came along and disturbed the entire process.
   Now I want you to understand something about Adam and Eve. There is an awful lot you can get out of Genesis 2 if you just think about it a little. There is so much there you can never exhaust it all. Think about Adam and Eve. Here Adam was created on the sixth day and immediately given responsibility with Eve to take care of the Garden of Eden, and told to rule and dominate the earth, over everything in it which God had created. This was quite a responsibility. Now the question is, what did Adam know? What did Eve know?
   These two beings, Adam and Eve, had only been living for a very short time and they decided to have and act like they had all knowledge.

The Result of Their Lack of Experience

   As Mr. Herbert Armstrong has stated, human nature at first is neutral, neither good nor evil. It soon becomes a mixture of good and evil tending to go toward either the good or the evil.
   So Satan came along in Genesis 3, very interestingly, and spoke to Eve. And Eve is replying in verse 3: "But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die."
   Now why had God said "die"? For obviously, after they ate the fruit, they didn't instantly die. In fact, they lived nearly a thousand years before they died.
   Something about the tree of the knowledge of good and evil did produce death. But why and how?
   No magic. No instant hocus-pocus. It's a process that develops. You pursue either life or death. You go toward either life or death. God knew that His creatures which He created would function a certain way toward life and a certain way toward death. So He said, "Don't take that which produces death." But they couldn't understand it, because Satan very logically came along and said: "Well, listen! You're not going to die. You're now going to know the difference between good and evil."
   And so we read in verse five, Satan states, "For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods [or judges], knowing good and evil."
   It's just like taking your child, maybe two years old, or a child that's just born, and expecting that child to take care of himself. Everything's available — but no guidance, no education, no development. Just "Here it is. It's yours. Choose." What do you think will happen to that child? Live or die? Death.
   To understand how that functions, you need to understand a little bit of how you yourself come to develop as a person, toward spiritual growth. And then I think you'll see the correlation between Genesis 2-3 and Daniel 12:2-4.
   I want you to see in I Corinthians 15, looking ahead again to the resurrection, some very interesting facts.

After We Have Experience and Character

   Now the first thing that's very interesting, and frankly, very positive, is the fact that we're not all going to be the same when we're resurrected. Sure, we'll have the same character, the same nature. We'll have divine nature. We'll be like God who is "the same yesterday, and today, and forever" in nature and character (Heb. 13:8). The reason you won't sin is because you won't like it. That's better, isn't it? You won't lie, not because you're going to have to fight this terrible nature, but because you have God's nature and you won't want to lie. You won't steal, not because you're going to have to fight your nature to not steal, you won't want to steal. In fact, it would hurt you to steal. It would hurt you to lie, it would hurt you to commit adultery. It would hurt you to break the law of God. But yet there are differences we see in the resurrection.
   Notice in I Corinthians 15:39 where the Apostle Paul writes: "All flesh is not the same flesh: but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts [animals], another of fishes, and another of birds." Then verse 40: "There are also celestial [heavenly] bodies, and bodies [that are earthly or] terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another."
   You see, he makes two comparisons with physical things that we can see. They are observable. You could see these two and you could compare them and you could understand that they are not the same. Then he summarizes and draws a conclusion. He said, verses 41-42: "There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory [power or magnitude]. So also is the resurrection of the dead."
   Just as there is uniqueness and individuality in physical existence, there will be individuality and uniqueness in spiritual existence, one person having more "glory" or power than another.
   Now I think the important question at this juncture is this: Who determines that for you? The answer is: You do to a great degree. We each make that choice in the full capacity of whatever God has given us to become.
   And so Paul goes on (verse 42): "So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption." In other words, we decay in this physical body, it is temporary, but when we are resurrected, we are to be given a body that is not temporary but permanent.
   "And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly" (verse 49).

The Life of Experience

   At the present time, as pictured by the Feast of Tabernacles, we dwell in temporary dwellings. The apostle Paul talked about this in II Corinthians 5:1 : "For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved [destroyed], we have a building [again he talks about a place in which you dwell] of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens." Now what is especially interesting is verse two:
   "For in this [in this temporary physical body — this instrument in which we can function and operate to gain experience and to learn] we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven [the resurrected spiritual body which is to be given to each of us]." So all you are doing in this body of flesh is temporarily residing in it. But it's something you can use. You have five senses. Your five senses give you discernment. You can observe, listen, smell, taste, touch.
   These feed through your nervous system, register in your brain, and everything comes together according to the effect of knowledge and environment and the genetic makeup of your "dwelling." You figuratively "groan," as Paul says, but you come to certain "understandings," don't you? You come to decisions of good and evil, right and wrong, in combination with your environment and your genetic makeup of your "dwelling." You amass experience and you build character — either good or bad character — by the process.
   Now since God has given mankind free choice, we have to make decisions. We feel limited, unequal to our task. And of course as we get older, we generally have less energy. There was a question the other day on one of the talk shows: When does a person physiologically hit the apex of his strength and begin to decline? I thought about 29, give or take three or four years. The person who was asked said 25. Now do you know what the answer was? Twelve, biologically. It shocked me (if that was correct).
   Use makes this "dwelling" wear out. So life does not get easier, it gets harder.
   But nevertheless, the point is, this body is a vehicle of use, of development, which is supposed to be the temple of God (see II Cor. 6:16, I Cor. 6:15) through God's Spirit. It starts to wear out. You sort of groan, with all life's problems, and even with life itself. But you get fond of your body. You would like to stick around with it a little longer.
   But what is this body? Since it's sort of an instrument that we use for a period of time, for about 70-odd years (give or take ten or whatever), what is it that's happening to us? Why is it that God told Adam and Eve at the time when the Garden of Eden was there and the tree of knowledge of good and evil, "When you eat it you're going to die"?
   The possibilities in this world, this physical life, are almost limitless. And there is a whole universe out there. You think, "Tremendous!" But the problem is, are you equipped to handle it? They have just been finding out now that when change escalates, it puts a fantastic, monumental, Goliath amount of pressure and stress on the human creature.

It All Comes Together — In Time

   We have been going through a transition in society. And the funny thing is, the more man learns, which he is not yet equipped to handle, the deeper he goes, the more confusing it gets. And that's why you see people in some of the disciplines of education who have really gotten in so far over their heads that they start to go insane.
   What would a Being do who is omnipotent and omniscient, who has created everything that exists, including you, and plunked you into this universe, into the garden spot of the earth, and you are just at the beginning, wide-eyed and innocent, neither good nor evil, neutral, knowing really very little? You are like a little child except that the little child when it first comes to birth does not even have the awareness that it is.
   That was not only Adam and Eve but it is still humanity today. God would say, as He said to them, "Do it my way. I know all the answers. And I'll show you the way." But they chose not to do it the easy way, they set out to learn it the hard way.
   So you see, we groan to receive a body that is not limited because we have an element that God gave telling us to go beyond being temporary. It is something that is infinite. And God gave it to every human being, converted or unconverted; it is the spirit m man.
   God told the children of Israel, "I set before you life and death, choose life" (see Deut. 30:15-19). And it's your free choice, too.

The Spiritual Key

   What happens — or should happen — in mankind, that doesn't happen to animals? Elihu in the book of Job knew. He said in Job 32:7: "I said, Days should speak, and multitude of years should teach wisdom." In other words, the progressive experience from the time of birth, if God be with you, should start to produce wisdom in a human being that in the beginning was neutral. Do you understand that at the end you don't end up neutral? Elihu understood that.
   "But there is a spirit in man" — and here is that divine essence — "and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding" (verse 8 ).
   Mr. Armstrong has likened the spirit in man to the tape on a tape recorder. Our human bodies, the genetic makeup, the five senses are the recorders. You know, it's a funny thing, they can't even tell where the mind is today. You probably always thought it was in the brain. They're not so sure. They even found out that when you make judgments, evaluations, it's even in the cells of your fingers. Isn't that something? Everybody is trying to find the spot. Where is the mind?
   Maybe you can't find that which is spirit. How can humanity understand that, when people don't even know how to define what electricity is (though they can use it). And ask someone sometime to tell you what wind is. And scientists don't even know what light is. Does it come in particles, waves, or particles and waves?
   And mankind's greatest problem: Try without God to define good and evil. It's a real problem when you don't acknowledge God as the One who tells you right from wrong.
   What is good? How do you tell with your children? How do you explain it to them? How do you explain to yourself everything that's happening, what's right and what's wrong? What music is right? What music is wrong? What clothing is right? What clothing is wrong? What entertainment is right? If you're going to be the one who decides right from wrong, there's no way to decide it except at the end but then you're dead, and you know it wasn't right. That was the trouble with the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
   Now you move along to our time. There have been great technological "miracles" and great problems. Computers (which, by the way, can't think, so can never take over the human mind), fantastic machines, from self-correcting typewriters to fruit-pickers, laser magic, riches — and unemployment, disease, war, and death. Things have got richer and better, seemingly; knowledge has increased more, and more people are traveling to and fro. There's going to be a lot more leisure time (and people going nuttier!) and the pursuing of materialism. For that's what is prophesied, just before the resurrection, a great, apparently prosperous, world-spanning trading society, called Babylon the Great.
   And because the majority does not and will not understand spiritual things, having been deceived into choosing that which has caused them to grow in wrong character and knowledge, they will fight at the return of Christ, and shake their fists at the seven last plagues.

Publication Date: 1979
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