There's been a great deal of controversy recently on the question of capital punishment. Is it right or is it wrong for society, through government, to put guilty murderers or people that are a menace to society, and who have committed the capital crimes, to put them to death to protect society? Let me see if I can make this a little more plain, and bring you something you never realized before. So open up your minds, and open your eyes.
The World Tomorrow, the Worldwide Church of God presents the World Tomorrow with Herbert W Armstrong... Ladies and gentlemen Herbert W Armstrong. Well, a week ago I raised the question of why would a God of love and mercy have put to death by drowning millions of people — in fact, all of the people who lived on the face of the Earth at the time of Noah's flood, by that flood, by drowning. The subject is worth a great deal more comment than I had time for a week ago, or than I will have time for in this program, for that matter.
Why did God put humanity on the Earth? Did God put humanity on the Earth, or did we come by evolution? Well, if we came by evolution, there is no purpose whatsoever. There's no reason why you're here, you're not going anyplace. There's no purpose, there's no meaning to life. If God put us here, there is a purpose. He had a reason, he had a purpose, and there was mind and purpose back of it. What is that purpose?
Well, very few know. But God reveals in the Bible just what that purpose is. That purpose is simply this: the creation of holy, righteous, perfect, spiritual character in the beings that God creates. And God's purpose in having put mankind on the Earth is to reproduce himself, and God is that kind of character. And so, God's purpose then, is to reproduce himself in man, in humanity, and to reproduce that type of character in man — holy, perfect, spiritual, righteous character.
Now, very few seem to know just what that is. But that character is the ability of a free moral agent, one who has the right of making decisions, of weighing matters, of having knowledge, and of having mind to come to a realization and the knowledge of right from wrong, and of choosing the right, and of resisting the wrong, even to his own desire. Of resisting the wrong, and having the power of will to enforce that on himself and to always do the right, resisting the wrong. That is character.
Now if God is creating that character in us, we have our part in that creation, you might say, in our own creation. Well now, God reveals.... Let's look at what God does reveal in the Bible. In Genesis 1, verse 26 (Genesis 1:26): "And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness." God was reproducing himself. God made cattle after the cattle kind, dogs after the dog kind, horses after the horse kind, and so on. But God said, "Let us make man after our kind."
Now you'll notice, as I've explained that a number of times, God is more than one person, but only one God. A family is more than one person, but one family; a church more than one person, but a church, one church. Or, a basketball, or a football, or a baseball team, more than one person, more than one player, but only one team. And so it goes.
Now "after the God kind." But God reproduced man out of matter. So we read in the very next chapter, in verse 7 (Genesis 2:7): "And the Eternal God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a soul," a living soul. Now what came out of the ground? In other words, matter out of the ground became a soul, not spirit. Matter became a soul; spirit did not. So man was given only temporary existence.
Now back in the days of Adam, he lived 930 years. Others, Methuselah lived a little bit longer. Many lived over 900 years. Today, the average life is 70 years. It's only a temporary existence, only a temporary existence. But what about God? Is God made of matter? In John 4 and verse 24 (John 4:24), we read: "God is a spirit." God is a spirit. God is composed of spirit. God has immortal life inherent; he doesn't have to breathe air to live. He doesn't have to have blood circulating in veins to keep him alive. He doesn't have to eat food and refuel himself every day by food and water of the ground.
God is a spirit, but he made man of matter. God has immortal life; he gave man only a temporary existence. Now keep that in mind. That is very important. But why are we made of matter? Why did God not make us of spirit? Now the first thing God created, and I may have time to show you later, was angels. He created angels before he created man, and they were created out of spirit. Angels are spirit. They're not made out of matter. In fact, God had not created matter, and the Bible plainly shows that, until long after he had created angels.
Man Is Created Out of Matter But man is created out of matter. Now why was God, why did God create man out of matter? Why are we made, and have only a temporary existence? Well, we come to Isaiah 64 and verse 8 (Isaiah 64:8) for the answer. "And now, O Eternal, thou are our Father. We are the clay, and thou our potter. And we are all the work of thy hand." God is like a potter, and we are like the clay, and God is working on us to mold, and change, and fashion us into his way, into that type of holy, righteous, perfect, spiritual character, so that we can be born of God.
And when we are born of God, we shall be God! I wish people could understand that, but in this world, even the preachers that claim to be preaching the gospel of Christ, which they don't know, and don't even understand, don't understand what it is to be born again! Jesus Christ plainly said to Nicodemus in the 3rd chapter of John (John 3:6): "That which is born of flesh is flesh" — matter. Flesh is matter, made from the ground. That's what we are, not spirit. But he said: "That which is born of the spirit," when he was explaining about being born again, "that which is born of the spirit is spirit."
That which is born again is not matter, is not flesh, is not mortal any longer. These people that say they're born again Christians are still matter. They are not spirit; they have not been born again, and they don't understand what it is to be born again. I beseech you — open your ears, open your eyes, and open your minds. Blow the dust off your Bible; read the Bible, the word of God, the revelation of God, not what men say, but what God reveals, and understand the truth, because it has not been understood.
Now, God formed and shaped, physically, of matter. He formed us of matter, so that he could form and shape us spiritually. He formed and shaped us into the likeness of God, the same form and shape as God, out of matter, in order that he could, in matter, form and shape us into a spiritual character. Now why did he do that? Well, let me explain something.
There is a great sculptor in London, England. He's done some work for us on the Ambassador College campus. I rate him as the greatest sculptor in the world. He's been appointed sculptor to the royal family of England. And I've seen sculpture work that he has made for us. Now he will make it out of something like clay, that he can fashion and mold and shape and bend whatever way he wants to, and he makes it into a certain form and shape. But he makes it into the form and shape that he wants. Matter can be changed.
In fact, I'm reminded of what Elbert Hubbard said to me one time: "Nothing is permanent in this world, but change." Nothing in this world is permanent but change. In other words, matter continually changes. Matter deteriorates, matter decomposes. Matter does not remain the same. Matter can be re-formed, reshaped, and changed, and matter always is continually changing. Now a sculptor makes a form, but he wants it made so it's going to be more or less permanent. So he has a mold made of it, that's just exactly the reverse, and then molten bronze is poured into it, and when that hardens, then it is hard, and it's as near-permanent as we can make it.
Now even bronze is going to change and deteriorate in hundreds and thousands of years, but for at least a hundred years or more, it remains permanent. Now spirit does not change. Jesus Christ, we read, is the same yesterday, today, and forever. God says, "I change not." Spirit is unchangeable. Now, God creates in a stage of duality. In other words, it's a great deal like a woman baking a cake. She bakes a cake, but it's not complete. Now actually, the cake itself is complete, but it isn't finished until she puts the icing on the cake. You see what I mean?
God Created Angels God created angels, but their creation was not complete until character was formed in them. Now God himself cannot put character instantaneously into one. If God created character instantaneously by fiat, there wouldn't be any character, because character is that capacity of a separate entity, of the individual, to come to its own knowledge of the truth, and to make his own decision, and to will to follow the right instead of the wrong. And the individual created has to make that decision. He has a part in his own creation, in other words. That's something that I fear people have never quite understood.
Let's come to understanding, because God gives great understanding in this word, his Bible, greater understanding that you'll get in any course in philosophy in any university anywhere in the world. I've read to you in II Peter, the 2nd chapter and the 4th verse (II Peter 2:4), how the angels sinned. Angels sinned. But we read further about that back in Ezekiel 28, verses 15 and 17 (Ezekiel 28:15-17). Speaking of the one who became Satan the devil, the former archangel Lucifer, it says of him here: "Thou was perfect in thy ways from the day thou was created, until iniquity," or lawlessness, "was found in thee."
As far as God had gone in the creation of this archangel Lucifer, it was, he was perfect, everything God had done. The cake a woman makes may be perfect, as far as it's gone. It's not complete yet. In verse 17 we read (Ezekiel 28:17): "Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty." God had made him very beautiful. Well, a woman can make a cake very tasty, and all of that. It'll still be more tasty though if she puts the icing on.
"Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty. Thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness." He had been perfect as God made him until iniquity was found in him. He had a mind; he had his part in his own creation. He was not fully created, his creation was not complete, until he had made the decision to follow God's way, which he already knew and had been perfect in. He had been one of the two great superarchangels, or cherubs, whose wings covered the very throne of God in heaven.
He knew the ways of God. He knew right from wrong, but he hadn't made the choice yet. When he was placed on this Earth, and on a throne on this Earth, he became jealous of God, and his beauty went to his head, just like a lot of people. People become suddenly rich, can't take it. People who are suddenly promoted to a great position can't seem to take it; it goes to their head, and they go wrong. And this went to Lucifer's head, and he became Satan the devil.
Now his creation was complete, and once a spirit creation is complete, it can't change. You know, it reminds me of cement paving. I've seen so much pouring of cement on our campus, because we've had to pour paving and walks, and all kinds of things. And when they pour the cement, they can actually walk in it, and it's fairly thick, but it's still liquid. But in a few hours, it dries and hardens, and once it hardens, it's pretty hard to change.
God Cannot Sin Now once an angel's creation had been completed, a spirit creation complete cannot change, never changes. God never changes. God cannot sin, and once we're born of God, as you'll read in I John the 3rd chapter, and coming down to the 9th verse (begin with the 1st verse and read to the 9th - [I John 3:1-9]), and you'll find that we are already the sons of God, but not as we shall be. It doesn't appear yet as we will appear when Christ comes, and then when our creation is complete, and we are really born again, it's says we cannot sin. We will not be able to sin. Those that are born of God cannot sin, because God's seed remains in them, because then they have been changed as spirit!
They are no longer human flesh and blood. They're no longer matter; they're no longer able to change. God cannot change, and will not. Jesus was made human as well as divine. Jesus was subject to change. Jesus was tempted in all points like we are. He could have sinned, he just didn't. He was so close to God, so filled with the Holy Spirit of God that he never sinned, so he could pay the penalty of your sins and mine by paying the penalty which was not paid for him, because he had never sinned. He paid it for you and for me.
But once you are made immortal, and once your creation is complete and you are a completed spirit, you cannot change. That's something I've never heard preached. That's something you never heard before, I'm quite sure. And it's something you need to study a little more in your Bible, and learn the wonderful things that God has prepared for those that love him. Now angel creation is not complete until they've had their part in the formation of character, and their character is complete, just like a cake is not completed until the icing is put on. That's the only way I can explain it so you can completely understand it.
Now the mind of man was incomplete. God made man incomplete. God created Adam in his form and shape, but out of matter. But he only made one man. Now even as a physical creation, man was not complete, because it was God's purpose to recreate himself, in other words to reproduce himself, but the man needed to reproduce. And he created one man, and one man alone could not reproduce himself. No, the man wasn't complete yet. So God made man, the physical man, in two stages. First, he made him a male. Then he took one of his ribs, and made a female. And when the female had come, the two joined together as one.
And the two could reproduce, and they reproduced a son; his name was Cain. They reproduced another son; his name was Abel. But Adam had not followed the way of God; he followed the way of Satan. He made the wrong decision, and as a result, he did not teach his children right, and God had shut up the Holy Spirit from them anyway. And Cain lost his temper and killed his brother Abel, and was the first murderer, and then he lied to God about it. And he was a liar, the first human ever born was a liar and a murderer. And we've been at some kind of evil and sin ever since.
Now there were the two trees in the Garden of Eden, and one tree represented God-revealed knowledge, and other self-devised spiritual knowledge. Now man was made physically with one spirit in him that gave him the capacity to acquire materialistic, physical knowledge. You don't have to have God's help to acquire physical knowledge. But man, in order to acquire correct spiritual knowledge, and a spiritual mind, a spiritual attitude, needed another spirit. God did not create him complete mentally.
Physically, he was not complete until his wife Eve had been created. Mentally, he was not complete until he had received a second spirit. But now he had his part in that, in the development of character. And he had to make the choice, the very first man had to make a choice. And made a choice just exactly as the archangel Lucifer had done, and Lucifer became Satan. He had deceived and misled his angels, and they became demons. Now Adam did the same thing, and Adam now was, well, condemned to death, and that was the first death. He made the wrong decision.
Adam's Sin Caused Four Things To Happened As a result of Adam's sin, these four things happened. One — as you read in Revelation 13:8, Christ as the lamb of God was slain from the foundation of the world. In other words, it was decreed by God in heaven, after Adam sinned, that Christ would come as the second Adam, live a righteous, holy life, not bring the penalty of sin on himself, but pay the penalty of sin in the stead of all mankind.
Now the second thing that happened at that time, as you read in Hebrews 9:27, it was "appointed to all men once to die, but after that the judgment." There would be a resurrection. God determined that all who died would be resurrected, and then judged. Now a third is in Genesis 3:22-24. God closed up and sealed the Tree of Life, which meant the Holy Spirit.
Fourth, "As in Adam all die," I Corinthians 15, beginning with verse 22 (I Corinthians 15:22), "so in Christ all will be made alive." Now all will come to the first death, but the penalty of sin is not this first death. All die that death. All your loved ones have died, I mean, that are not still living. But there is going to be a resurrection, and the only hope is a resurrection. That's the only hope held out in the Bible. And I want to go into that in a later program.
Now man was given only a temporary existence. They had come, in the time of the Flood (I won't go back and read that again as I did a week ago), but they had come to such depravity, they had come to such universal sin, that it was impossible for man in this life, without the spirit of God, to make any progress toward that perfection of character that God is going to bring mankind into. And the kindest thing that God could do was take away, just shorten this temporary life, that's all it is anyway, it's a temporary existence. But God has the power to give life and to bring back life, and bring them back in a resurrection.
The Whole World Was Evil Because they had come to a place where the whole world was so evil, that it seemed like no one was doing right. The Lord had the capacity and the power to give life and to take life. It belongs to God; it's his. But he had only took it until he could bring them into a time when their eyes would be opened. They were only bringing more and more unhappiness, misery, discontent, suffering, and sorrow on themselves. And it was in love and mercy that God drowned all humanity at that time.
Now then, we have come to a similar time again, and let me read you in closing, and this time what Jesus said in Matthew 24, and verse 37 (Matthew 24:37). "But as in the days of Noah were, when they had all turned..." It's that universal sin, and violence, and sex, and things of that kind which we've turned to today. "So shall it be in the coming of the Son of Man." And we're right near those days now, at the very end of this world, and this temporary existence. And the coming of Christ to change everything, and to take over the rule from Satan, and to rule this world, and to bring this world peace and happiness and joy and righteous production. It is very near at hand.
Now, I've run out of time, but I want you to read this booklet: Life After Death. I'd like to send it to you, I'd like to give it to you gratis, of course, no request for contributions of any kind, no charge. Is There Life After Death? The only promise of any future, the only hope given the world in the Bible that God gives you, is that of the resurrection. And what about your loved ones who have died? Where are they now? Are they in heaven? Are they in hell? Where? You need to read this book, Life After Death.
All you do is just send your request to me, and also I want to give you a year's subscription to the world's great mass-circulation magazine The Plain Truth, now in six languages, over 5,200,000 copies circulated every month. And it's handsomely illustrated, a very handsome magazine, discussing world troubles, world conditions, world news, in the light of Bible prophecy and what the Bible says about it, and giving you understanding, understanding of life, understanding of world news, things that you need.
And you can't live without it, and there's no subscription price, no request for money. We don't beg the public for money, never have, never will. So all you do is send your request to me, Herbert W. Armstrong, Pasadena, California. That's all the address you need. Herbert W. Armstrong, Pasadena, California. The zip code is 91123. Or, if you live outside of California, why don't you go to the telephone and call a toll-free number, and request it on the telephone. It'll come to you right away.
You just dial 800-423-4444. Now that free call is 800-423-4444. Just four 4's, you can't forget it. Then if you do live in California, Alaska, or Hawaii, you dial another number, but dial collect. We'll pay for the call. The number's area code 213-577-5555, just four 5's. That's area code 213-577-5555. So until next time, Herbert W. Armstrong, goodbye friends.
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