Skip to comments.Who And What Is God?
Posted on 02/17/2009 4:03:27 AM PST by Yosemitest
NOTE FROM THE POSTER
Bible Correspondence Course Lesson 13
Who And What Is God?
There is much confusion about the IDENTITY, the NATURE and PURPOSE of God. Even traditional Christianity does not really understand. The astonishing truth about God is found in the Bible, as this lesson reveals! WHEN the Editor was in India years ago, he noticed cows and oxen wandering through the streets the Editor asked his driver, "Dont these cattle stray quite a distance from home?"
"Oh yes," was the answer. "But," The Editor asked, "when they wander all over the streets so far away, how do their owners know where to find them, to drive them back home for the night?"
The driver smiled. "The owners dont. The cattle and the oxen know their owners and where they live. They find their own way home in the evening."
God Not Known Today
The preceding incident illustrates the scripture found in Isaiah 1:2-4: "Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth: for the Lord hath spoken, I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me. The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his masters crib: but Israel doth not know, my people doth not consider. Ah sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evildoers, children that are corrupters: they have forsaken the Lord, they have provoked the Holy One of Israel unto anger, they are gone away backward."
These words were directed to ancient Israel, a nation to which God had revealed Himself by many infallible proofs and miracles. But the Israelites rebelled against Him and forgot who and what He is. How much less do the nations today know about who and what God is!
Today, modern science does not know whether God even existsmuch less who and what He is. Neither does higher education know or teach the amazing truth about Gods identity, Rather, modern education has universally accepted the fable of evolution. Evolution is the atheists attempt to explain the existence of a creation without the preexistence of a Creator. It totally excludes God from the picture.
A World in Religious Confusion!
It seems utterly unbelievable, but the religions of this world do not know who or what God is! Yet, religion is the worship of God. But how can one worship what is unknown?
You live in a world of religious confusion! Among the largest of the worlds religions are Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, Shintoism, Hinduism, Islam and Christianity. The Christian religion, with its hundreds of denominations and sects, is the largest in number of adherents. Yet not even traditional Christianity really knows who and what God is!
One billion peoplenearly a fourth of the worlds populationlive in China. In ancient times the religion in China was ancestor worship. Then came Confucianism, Taoism, and later, Buddhism. Today, communism prevails and therefore the nation is atheistic.
In India, the second largest nation in population, Hinduism is the chief religion. Do the multiple millions of Hindus know who and what the true God is? The answer is an astounding no!
Russian Orthodox Christianity was once the predominant religion of Russia, the third most populous nation. But now it, like China, is atheistic.
In ancient Egypt, the people worshipped Isis and OsirisEgyptian gods corresponding to Nimrod and his mother-wife, Semiramis. The ancient Greeks and Romans had mythological gods such as Jupiter, Hermes, Dionysus, Zeus, Apollo, Diana and many others. But they did not know who and what God is, and neither do their modern-day descendants!
There is only one church on earth today that knows who and WHAT God is! That one true Church was founded in A.D. 31 by Jesus Christ, and that "little flock" is still in existence today!
The "Unknown God" Revealed
In Acts 17:15-34, we are told of the Apostle Pauls stay in the Greek city of Athens, where he preached Gods truth. In the first century world, the Athenians were considered to be the intellectuals. One day, some of the Epicurian and Stoic philosophers encountered the Apostle Paul.
"What will this babbler say?" queried some in ridicule (Acts 17:18). Others said sarcastically, "He seemeth to be a setter forth of strange gods."
These intellectuals then brought Paul to Areopagus, the supreme educational and religious court of Athens, located on Mars hill.
"May we know," they asked, "what this new doctrine, whereof thou speakest, is? For thou bringest certain strange things to our ears" (verses 19-20).
Here were the worlds most scholarly men. And Paul began preaching the truth of God to them.
"Ye men of Athens," said the apostle forthrightly and boldly, "I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious. For as I passed by, and beheld your [idolatrous] devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you, God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; neither is worshipped with mens hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things; and hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth" (verses 22-26).
Who is God", He is the Creator, the One who "made the world and all things therein." Creation is the basic proof of Gods existence. These Athenian Epicureans and Stoics, like the adherents of many religions today, did not even know that.
But what is the real NATURE of the Creator God". Just who and WHAT is God? We need a more concrete understanding than to merely say: "the Being who created everything." Certainly that is the starting point, but there is much more.
Before beginning your study of this all-important subject, be sure to get your Bible so you can look up every verse given in answer to the questions asked in this lesson. This procedure is absolutely essential in your study of the Bible with this course. "Study," said the Apostle Paul, "to shew thyself approved unto God" (II Tim. 2:15). Be sure to "prove all things," as Paul exhorted the Thessalonians (I Thess. 5:21). Now lets begin this fascinating and revealing study of Gods Word.
God in Prehistory
If you were asked where in the Bible can one find the earliest account of the existence of God, you would probably say, Why, in the very first verse of the Bible, Genesis 1:1, of course. Wouldnt that be right?
Lets begin this study by going back in time into prehistory, before the existence of the material universe.
1. Where, in the time order of Gods existence, is the earliest revelation of who and WHAT God is? John 1:1-3.
COMMENT: The Greek word translated into English as "Word" in John 1:1 is Logos. It means spokesman, or one who speaks, and is the name of a divine Being.
COMMENT: The Word is a divine Being who was made flesh and blood nearly 2,000 years ago, He became the human Jesus Christ! He was begotten by God who, through this very begettal, became His Father.
But at the prehistoric time described in verse 1 of John chapter 1, the Word was not yet the Son of God and God was not yet His Father, He was made Gods Son later, through being miraculously begotten by God and born of the virgin Mary as a human being.
Jesus begettal by God the Father was unique in the history of the world. Mary, His mother, was the only virgin who has ever conceived a child whose father was God! In this sense, Jesus is the "only begotten" Son of the Father.
So at the prehistoric time described in John 1:1-3, we find revealed the existence of only two divine Beings. One is God. And with God is another Being who also is Godone who was later begotten and born as Jesus Christ.
3. Hebrews chapter 7 sheds more light on the preexistence of Jesus Christ. Speaking of Melchizedek, who was "king of righteousness" and "king of Salem" (which later became known as Jerusalem) in the days of Abraham, we are told that He had been the High Priest of God. Had Melchizedek also existed from eternity? Heb. 7:3. Is the risen Jesus Christ our eternal High Priest today? Heb. 6:20; 7:25-27,
COMMENT: Since Melchizedek was without descent, was "like unto the Son of God," and abides as High Priest forever, and since Jesus Christ is now our eternal High Priest, Melchizedek and Christ (the Word) are one and the same divine Being!
Christ, when He was the Word, was an immortal Being who had always existed. There had never been a time when He did not existHe was literally without "beginning of days." He was then "like" the Son of God, but He was not yet the Son of God. He also was God, along with God who became the Father. (Students who wish to study the subject of Melchizedek further may request the free reprint article entitled "The Mystery of Melchizedek Solved!")
Both members of the God Family have existed eternally (Ps. 90:2; Heb. 1:8, 10-12; I Tim. 1:17), It is impossible for our finite human minds to understand how these two Beings could have always existed, but neither can we really understand what electricity is. Yet we know electricity exists and is very real!
COMMENT: Jesus was both human and divine. God was His Father and Mary was His mother. He was both the "Son of God" and the "Son of man." He was born of the virgin Mary so that, as a human, he could die for the sins of all mankind.
As the Son of God and as the Creator of the entire universe and of all mankind (John 1:3; Eph. 3:9), Christs life was worth more than all other human lives combined! Therefore, He could pay the death penalty of sin for the entire human race, so that others could receive Gods Spirit and ultimately be born into the Family of God and become Christs younger brothers (Rom. 8:29; Heb. 2:11).
What Does God Look Like?
1. In whose image and likeness did God make man? Gen. 1:26. Can we therefore conclude that both members of the God Family look like a man? Same verse.
COMMENT: We know what form and shape a man has. Since Adam was created in the "image" of God, after His "likeness," God therefore has the form and shape of a man. The Bible reveals that God has a face, torso, arms, legs, hands, fingers, feet and toes.
2. Recall that the Word of the God Family became flesh and blood and lived on the earth. Did Jesus look so much like any other average man in His community that He had to be specially pointed out to be identified? Matt. 26:47-49.
3. Whom did Jesus tell Philip that the Father in heaven looked like? John 14:9.
COMMENT: If we could see both God the Father and Christ the Son as they appear today in their glorified state in heaven, their faces would be as bright as the SUN in full strength! Their eyes would be like flames of fire, their feet like burnished brass and their hair as white as snow!
God Is a Family, Not a Limited "Trinity"
We have learned that two Supreme BeingsGod and the Wordhave always existed. But what about the generally accepted Trinity doctrine of traditional Christianity? According to this teaching, God is composed of three divine Beings: the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Do you know how the Trinity concept entered the Christian-professing world? It most emphatically did not come from the Bible!
We read in Revelation 12:9 that all nations have been deceived by Satan the devil. It seems incredible that Satan not only could have deceived the whole world, but also "Christianity"the very religion bearing Christs name and claiming to be His religion, Yet, paradoxically, Satan did! How did he introduce the false doctrine of the Trinity?
Satans deception was accomplished through a great false church, which was started in A.D. 33 by a man named Simon, who is mentioned in the eighth chapter of Acts. Simon was the leader of the pagan Babylonian mystery religion.
Two years after Jesus Christ founded the Church of God, the deacon Philip, who later became an evangelist, went to Samaria and preached Christs Gospel there. Simon, a sorcerer who had bewitched the people of that region, came with the crowd to hear what Philip had to say.
3. When the Apostles Peter and John came to Samaria to lay hands on the newly baptized for the receipt of the Holy Spirit, did Simon try to buy from them what he thought was the power to impart the Spirit of God? Acts 8:18-19, Did Peter recognize that although Simon had been baptized along with a number of others, his attitude was totally wrong, and that he only desired to gain more power and further exalt himself in the eyes of the people? Verses 20-23.
COMMENT: Peter strongly rebuked Simon for his evil intentions. But Simon refused to repent, as indicated by his merely asking Peter to pray for him (verse 24).
Desiring to exalt himself among the people, Simon proclaimed himself an apostle. He appropriated the name of Christ and began calling his pagan Babylonian mystery religion "Christianity." He accepted the doctrine of "grace" for the forgiveness of sin (which the pagan religions had never taught), but then turned grace into license to disobey God (Jude 4). He planned to turn his pagan religion, now under the name "Christianity," into a universal religion, and to use this as a means of eventually gaining political rule of the world!
Simons religion grew rapidly. About 20 years later, the Apostle Paul indicates that much of the Middle East had turned from the true Gospel to a clever counterfeit! (Gal. 1:6-7.)
But how did the Trinity doctrine become stamped upon the counterfeit Christianity started by Simon?
In A.D. 325, the Roman emperor Constantine called the Nicene Council to settle several religious controversies, which included arguments about belief in a Trinity. Constantine was not a "Christian" then, but as political ruler, he assumed control of the church. The religious council approved the Trinity doctrine. Constantine then made this teaching law throughout the empire. But he was not able to make it the TRUTH!
The word "trinity" is not found anywhere in the Bible. That is because God is not a Trinity!
Recall from our studies with Lesson 8 that the false doctrine of the Trinity was further promoted by the addition of uninspired wording to I John 5:7-8. Those words were added by editors of the Latin Vulgate translation probably in the early fourth century.
There is a definite reason why Satan, the arch-deceiver, wanted this false doctrine introduced into this worlds Christianity. The Trinity doctrine is his clever attempt to completely do away with the heart and core of the Gospel Jesus Christ preachedthe "Gospel of the Kingdom of God." It limits the number of members of the God Kingdom or Family to only threewith no possibility of expansion!
Jesus Gospel is the message He brought to mankind from God the Fatherthe good news of the Kingdom or Family of God coming to rule the earth. That is the one truth above all else Satan wants to hide from the eyes of man!
Through the Trinity doctrine, as well as other false doctrines, Satan has thoroughly deceived traditional Christianity, believe it or not! Notice the candid admission of one world-famous evangelist who teaches the doctrine: "When I first began to study the Bible years ago, the doctrine of the Trinity was one of the most complex problems I had to encounter. I have never fully resolved it, for it contains an aspect of mystery... To explain and illustrate the Trinity is one of the most difficult assignments." The reason it is so difficult is because it simply is not true!
4. Does Genesis 1:1 speak of one God? COMMENT: "In the beginning God..." was written by Moses in the Hebrew language. The English word "God" is translated from the Hebrew word Elohima plural noun. It, like the words "family," "team" and "church," denotes more than one component forming a whole.
God is NOT a Trinity. God is a Family composed of the two Personages mentioned in John 1:1. However, the God Family will not always be composed of only two divine beings.
God is in the process of expanding His divine Family! Many thousands have already been begotten by Gods Spirit, and will soon be born into His Family (either by a resurrection from the dead or an instantaneous change to immortality) at the return of Jesus Christ. Still later, thousands of millions will eventually be born into the Family of God!
God the Father is the divine Father of the GOD Family, and when we who are now the Spirit-begotten sons of God are BORN into His divine Family at Christs return, we shall be like God (I John 3:2), for we shall then be the Spirit-born Sons of God!
God Is Creator
2. How did the Word create the universe and everything that exists? Ps. 33:6-9; 148:1-5; 104:30; Gen. 1:1-3. Does God the Father, as the Supreme Creator, tell Christ what to do? John 8:28-29. And does Christ always obey? Same verses.
COMMENT: Christ at all times does what His Father tells Him to do. When creating all things, He spoke, as the workman, and the Holy Spirit was the power through which all that Jesus commanded was accomplished.
Editor-in-Chief Herbert W. Armstrong gave a human analogy of this creative process:
Similarly, God the Father is Creator. He "created all things by Jesus Christ," who utilized the power of the Holy Spirit to accomplish the task!
3. But matterthe earth, stars and galaxieswas not the first thing
God created. What does the Bible reveal was created before the material universe? Job 38:4-7. COMMENT: In verse 7 the biblical terms "morning stars" and "sons of God" refer to angels. Notice that Revelation 12:4-9 speaks figuratively of the angels who followed Satan in his rebellion as the "stars of heaven." In Isaiah 14:12, we learn that Satan, before he sinned, is referred to as "Lucifer, son of the morning" or "Day Star" (see margin of most Bibles).
In Job 1:6 we read that when the "sons of God" (angels) presented themselves to God, Satan came among them, Angels here are referred to as "sons of God" only in the sense that God is their Creator. There is no father-son relationship as Jesus has with God the Father. Angels were not begotten and born of God, as was Jesus Christ (Heb. 1:5)--they were created.
Angels are individually created beings, They can never be begotten by God the Father through His Holy Spirit or be born into His Family as humans can. (Recall that the subjects of spiritual begettal and birth have been thoroughly explained in previous lessons.) But angels shall forever remain the "sons of God" in the sense that God created each angel a separate, immortal spirit being.
And so we find that the angels, who had been created previously, were shouting for joy at the creation of the earth, perhaps millions or billions of years before the creation of man, How many angels God created and how long ago, He does not reveal. However, the earth, at first, was the abode or home of angels. The next lesson will reveal much more about the creation, purpose and activities of the angels.
4. Was the entire material universe created at the same time as the earth? Gen. 1:1.
COMMENT: Genesis 1:1 speaks of God creating the heavens and the earth. In the Authorized (King James) Version, the singular form of the word "heaven" is used. But other translations render the original Hebrew in the plural form"heavens"implying that the entire material universe was created simultaneously with the earth.
A Perfect Creation Becomes Ruined!
We have learned that two all-knowing, all-powerful, all-perfect Superbeings have existed from eternitypossessing supreme mind and creative power. These two divine Beings, composing the nucleus of the God Family, created the entire universe, including man.
Just as human beings think, plan and design before starting to build or construct, so these two Superbeings thought, planned and designed the entire creation. There was no hurry. They may have thought and planned for many millions (or even billions) of years, as we count time, before the actual creation.
But these two Supreme Beings first designed and created the angels, which are invisible to human eyes. God created these spirit beings before creating planet earth, the home or "habitation" (Jude 6) for at least a third of the angels. The angels were so filled with joy and happiness that they "sang together" and "shouted for joy" when the earth was created (Job 38:7).
1. In addition to the creation of angels, the earth and the heavens, did God also create governmental administrations? Col. 1:16.
COMMENT: The Bible reveals that God placed the great archangel Lucifer on a throne on earth to administer Gods government over the angels who were placed here. Gods Law, by which Lucifer was to rule, is a way of life. It is the way of loveoutgoing concern for the welfare of others the way of peace, harmony, helping, serving, sharing.
2. Did Lucifer continue to administer Gods government on earth according to Gods Law? Or did he rebel and thereby sin greatly? Ezek. 28:12-15; Isa. 14:12-14. (The "king of Tyrus," as succeeding verses in Ezekiel 28 show, refers to Lucifer, now Satan, the evil spirit being who inspired the human "prince of Tyrus"verse 2.) Who followed Lucifer in his rebellion? Rev. 12:3-4.
COMMENT: The archangel Lucifer rebelled against God. Instead of continuing to administer the government of God on earth, he became a traitor. In his rebellion, one-third of all the angels followed him in his unsuccessful attempt to invade and take over Gods headquarters in heaven and dethrone the very Creator God Himself! Lucifer was renamed "Satan," which means "adversary," and the angels who followed him in this attempted coup became "demons."
3. Did the beautiful and majestic earth become waste and empty, chaotic and in confusion as a result of Lucifers sin? Gen. 1:2.
COMMENT: The Hebrew words for "without form and void" are tohu and bohu, which mean "chaotic and in confusion," "waste and empty."
COMMENT: The Hebrew word translated "in vain" in Isaiah 45:18 is tohu. This is the identical word used in Genesis 1:2, meaning confusion, emptiness or wastein this case a result of rebellion against Gods government and His Law.
In Isaiah 45:18 we have the plain statement that God created the earth NOT "tohu," that is, NOT in confusion, Not in disorder. But in Genesis 1:2, the earth "was," or the earth becameas it ought to be translatedchaotic and in confusion!
5. What does Genesis 19:26 tell us that further proves the earth became something it was not when originally created by God?
COMMENT: The same Hebrew word translated "was" in Genesis 1:2 is translated "became" in Genesis 19:26. There it clearly refers to a changed condition. So the word "was" in Genesis 1:2 denotes a condition that was different from a former condition. In other words, the earth "became" something it had not always been before. The Rotherham translation of Genesis 1:2 reads as follows: "Now the earth had become waste and wild." It hadnt always been that way!
God did not create the earth in a state of confusion, topsy-turvy and chaotic. I Corinthians 14:33 states that "God is not the author of confusion." But the devil is! God is the author of peace, of order and of law.
God would not have created the earth in disorder, chaos and in confusion just to straighten it out. That doesnt make sense!
6. After the destruction of the earths surface resulting from the sin of the angels, did God then recreate the surface of the earth and make it habitable for plant, animal and human life? Ps. 104:30. Also read the entire first chapter of Genesis, noticing especially verse 26.
COMMENT: After Lucifers rebellion caused the ruination of a perfect earth, God set out to renew the surface of the earth, making it a place fit for human life.
God then undertook the most stupendous creation of allthat of reproducing Himself through human beings! The ultimate creation of God Beings as members of His divine Family, superior to angels, will be the crowning pinnacle of Gods creative powerthe zenith of all divine accomplishment!
God reproducing Himself is a project so transcendently and incredibly awesome it is hard for the human mind to grasp. The great Godwho is self-existent, before all else, Creator of all elseis in the process of reproducing Himself, creating what will ultimately be millions of others like Himself. Gods Sons will each be divine, powerful and perfect in charactereach by his own free choice perfectly like-minded with the Father, having so set himself that he will notcannotsin! (I John 3:9.)
To accomplish this incredibly awesome feat, God first made man from the dust of the ground in His own "likeness." This was so that humans, upon Gods call to repentance and begettal by the Holy Spirit, could begin to develop the character of God while still flesh and blood. Then, at the resurrection, they will be changed to immortality and given powerful spirit-composed bodies like that of the Creator God Himself!
COMMENT: The chaos caused by Lucifers rebellion can be seen throughout our solar system. Apparently the rest of our galaxy and the entire universe have been affected as well. But God will one day make all things new!
In the meantime, God has made the earth a habitable place for man. Yet, He has allowed the devastation, clearly visible on other planets (as evidenced by photos of pockmarked landscapes taken by deep space probes) and in space debris, to remain as mute testimony to the results of sinof going contrary to Gods government and His way of life.
8. Did Isaiah clearly indicate that the government of God will expand not only on the earth, but eventually to other parts of our galaxy and even throughout the universe? Isa. 9:6-7.
COMMENT: God promises there will be no end to the increase of His government! Peace, harmony, happiness and eternal joy will spread throughout the universe.
But only those who develop Gods righteous character and are born into His divine Family will become part of His government, prophesied to soon be restored on this earth.
Duality Principle in Creation
The Bible reveals there is duality in Gods creative processincluding the creation of godly character within man.
First, it is important to understand that the angels were created in two stages. The duality principle is seen in their creation as well as in the creation of the earth and of man.
God created the angels with mindswith the ability to think, know, reason and make choices. But their creation could not be a finished creation until charactereither good or evilwas developed in them. This is a process requiring time and experience. That character development was the second stage of their creation. God initially instructed the angels in His way of righteous character. It is the way of Gods spiritual Lawthe basis of Gods government.
Then came the time of the creation of the physical universe. Here again we find the duality principle involved.
Gods physical creation can be compared to unfinished furniture sold in stores. Such furniture may be of fine quality, but it lacks the finishing touchesit needs to be sanded, then lacquered, varnished or painted.
At the time God created the heavens and the earththe universe with its countless galaxies containing solar systems and attendant planets they, like unfinished furniture, were not yet complete. They were a perfect, orderly creation, but more was yet to be done before that original creation would be finished!
Now we come to a double duality in the creation of the angels and of the earth.
Gods Word tells us the earth was inhabited by angels prior to the creation of man. Scripture indicates that God placed at least a third of the angels on earth, They were given the opportunity to share in finishing the earthworking with its many elements to improve, beautify and complete it.
This required harmonious teamworkall working together toward the common God-ordained goal. God intended the earth to be the "proving ground" to qualify the angelsby righteous character development and by finishing earths creationto participate with Him in the ultimate completion of the billions of planets of the vast universe!
COMMENT: We learned that Lucifer ultimately turned against God and sinned. And when Lucifer (now Satan) sinned, the government of God and His Lawthe means of building and instilling righteous, holy, perfect characterwere abolished from the earth.
COMMENT: The government of God leads those under it into Gods way of life, which is the way of His Law. It is the way that develops righteous, holy and perfect character. It is the way that produces peace, harmony, happiness, joy and abundance. It is the way of love. Therefore the government of God must, and will, be restored on earth! That is uppermost in Gods mind.
3. What was the first step in Gods plan to restore His government on the earth? Turn to and read Genesis 1:26 once again.
COMMENT: God created man to have rule over the earth. Gods purpose in creating man was to: (1) restore the government of God upon the earth; (2) complete the physical creation of earth, which the angels had turned to ruin; (3) in the process, complete the creation of man by developing righteous spiritual character in him; and (4) establish the Kingdom of God, which will become composed of countless divine God Beings, who will eventually finish the creation of the vast universe.
This supreme purpose required that man reject Satans way and embrace Gods way of love, based on Gods spiritual Law. It required that man first be made of matter so that if he was led into Satans way he could be changed"converted" to Gods way of love through repentance, baptism and the receipt of the Holy Spirit. This was absolutely necessary because spirit, once a finished creation (like the character of those angels who became evil) cannot be changed! Spirit is constant and eternalnot subject to change. But physical matter is constantly changing and therefore capable of further change.
The first human was created with the potential of qualifying to replace Satan as the worlds ruler under God, thus restoring the government and Law of God to this earth. But it was necessary that Adam first resist and reject Satans "get" way and choose to live the way of Gods Lawthe way of Gods love, which is the "give" way.
After creating Adam and Eve, their Makerwho is the Source of all wisdom and knowledgeinstructed them in the government and Law of God, (The account in Genesis chapter 2 reveals only a very condensed summary of Gods instruction.) Satan was restrained from any contact with them until God first had taught them what they needed to know.
COMMENT: In the gloriously beautiful Garden of Eden, in which God placed Adam and Eve, were two trees with great symbolic meaning. One was the "tree of life." Taking its fruit, freely offered by God, symbolized obedience and faithfulness to Gods Law of outgoing love. Partaking of its fruit also symbolized receiving the gift of Gods Holy Spirit, which spiritually begets one into Gods Family. Spiritual understanding would also be granted through the Holy Spirit.
The other tree with great symbolic meaning was the "tree of the knowledge of good and evil." Taking its fruit would be taking to themselves the knowledge of what is good and what is evilof deciding for themselves what is right and what is sin. This, of course, meant the rejection of Gods Law, which defines right and wrong. And this would result in death!
COMMENT: The glorious archangel Lucifer, as God originally created him, was the pinnacle of Gods creative power in a single being. Few today remotely realize Satans great power, now turned to cunning deception.
The wily devil got to Adam through his wife Eve. He did not say, "Choose my way." Appearing to her as a serpent, he said, "Choose your own way," cleverly deceiving her. Adam, who was not deceived, nevertheless chose to follow Satans way also. And mankind everafter has followed the way of Satan. Adam thus failed to restore Gods government and failed to replace Satan as ruler of the world.
But God is now in the process, as understood by the duality principle of creation, of creating more God Beings for His Family. God realized that if a third of the angels could choose the way that resulted in evil character, it left Him and the other member of the God Family as the only Beings in existence who could be relied upon to never deviate from His government and His LawHis way of life.
God realized He needed thousands of millions of perfect and righteous beings, ruled by His government, to complete in beauty, majesty and glory not only the other planets of our solar system, but also of our Milky Way galaxy, and the countless other galaxies of the vast, limitless universe. So, about 4,000 years after Adams sin, came the next phase of Gods awesome purpose of reproducing Himself into billions of God Beings!
6. Notice now the duality principle with regard to Jesus Christ. How is Jesus referred to in I Corinthians 15:45?
COMMENT: The "first" Adam was the first man, created by God from the dust of the ground. The second or "last Adam" was Jesus, who also was made flesh and blood, but who became an immortal being by a resurrection, thus completing in Himself the second phasethe spiritual phaseof Gods creation of mankind.
In Gods Master Plan for His spiritual creation of mankind, it had been determined by God and the Word that the Word would in due time divest Himself of His supreme glory and be born as the human Jesus Christ. This would make possible the spiritual phase of the creation of manGod reproducing HimselfGod creating in man His very own holy, righteous and perfect character!
What a marvelous plan for the ultimate in creative accomplishment! How great is our God in mind, purpose, planning, designing as well as creatingfrom the tiniest germ to the greatest sun, and ultimately, other God Beings!
The incredible human potential is that the great majestic God is, in man, reproducing Himself. Man can literally be born into the God Family!
COMMENT: Christ qualified to be the Supreme King over all the earth by overcoming Satans way and obeying God perfectly. He will depose Satan and restore Gods government when He returns. But in the meantime, He is acting as our High Priest, helping us to qualify as co-rulers with Himhelping us to resist Satan and to build righteous character in preparation for our future spiritual birth into the God Family.
8. How did Jesus speak of this spiritual birth? John 3:3-8. COMMENT: Once again we see the duality principle in action in describing the creation of Sons of God. Mans first birth is into the human family, which is composed of flesh and blood. His second birth will be into the divine Family of God, which is composed of spirit, and which possesses perfect, holy, righteous character!
Gods Character Revealed
Why is it so important for us to know who and what God is? Because Gods glorious purpose for our existence is that we ultimately become like Him!
When God formed Adam out of the dust of the ground, he was made in the "likeness"the outward form and shapeof God Himself. This unique form and shape was given to man alone. At his creation, man was also given the gift of intellectthe ability to think, to reason, to make choices and decisions. This God-like attribute of mind and character was not given to any animal. Man possesses these unique characteristics and abilities because he was created with the potential to become God!
For God to complete the spiritual creation of mankind as God Beings, we must learn to think more and more like God does, developing His attitude and character while flesh-and-blood human beings. Then, when resurrected or changed into immortal spirit, we will be eternal members in Gods Family, possessing the supreme character and awesome powers of God!
Our purpose in human life, then, is that we grow in Gods character, But what, exactly, is the character of God?
The character of both God the Father and Christ the Son is that of spiritual holiness, righteousness and absolute perfection. That character can be summed up in the word love, defined as an out-flowing concern for others. It is the way of "give," of serving, helping, sharingthe opposite of the "get" way of Satan the devil.
It is the way devoid of all coveting, lust and greed, vanity and selfishness, competition, strife, violence and destruction, envy and jealousy, resentment and bitterness.
Gods inherent nature is the way of peace, justice, mercy, happiness and joy radiating outward toward those He has created. God is the embodiment of perfect, holy and righteous character!
Since God possesses perfect, righteous character, He will never sin! God will not go contrary to the perfect, holy, spiritual Law He set in living, active, inexorable motion to cause and produce all good. God has so set His will that He cannot sin, or transgress His Law (I John 3:9).
COMMENT: The spiritual Law of God enables us to know what God is like because it describes His character, which is summed up by the word LOVE!
2. How did Jesus summarize the Law of God? Matt. 22:36-40.
COMMENT: Gods Law is further defined in the two Great Commandments: LOVE to God and LOVE to neighbor. Gods Law is further divided into ten points by the Ten Commandments. The first four tell us how to love God, and the last six tell us how to love our neighborall fellow human beings.
COMMENT: When a spiritual "magnifying glass," so to speak, is put on the Ten Commandments, they are enlarged in spiritual principle into many more points. And in a larger sense, the entire Bible is a magnification of Gods Law. The Law is the basis of all Scripture. It defines Gods way of lifethe way to peace, success, happiness, joy and eternal life. Notice how like God His Law really is.
4. Is the Law of God good? Rom. 7:12.
COMMENT: God is good!
5. Is the Law of God just? Same verse.
COMMENT: God is just!
6. Is the Law of God holy? Same verse.
COMMENT: God is holy!
7. Is the Law of God spiritual? Verse 14.
COMMENT: God is spiritual!
8. Is the Law of God perfect? Ps. 19:7.
COMMENT: God is perfect!
COMMENT: God is eternal and so is His Law, for the Law expresses the very character, the very nature, of God!
Gods Law travels in the direction of His character. It is the way of LOVE. It is the way of giving, serving, helping, God has that character! He has an outgoing concern for all of humanity, He gave His only begotten Son to reconcile us to Him, thereby making the joys of His character and everlasting life possible for us. He showers on us every good and precious gift, including the Holy Spirit, which we can receive as a begettal from the Father after we repent and turn from the wrong way of Satans world, begin to resist it, and turn to God through faith in Jesus Christ as our personal Savior!
COMMENT: Righteous, holy, godly character is the possession and practice of love, joy, patience, mercy, faith, kindness, gentleness, meekness, temperance, self-restraint and right self-direction. Character also involves knowledge, wisdom, purpose and abilityall properly controlled and developed through independent choice.
COMMENT: We can have the Fathers love if we have His Spirit and keep His commandmentsstrive to live the way He, Himself, lives.
There are just two possible ways of life: Gods way, or Gods Law, summed up in the Ten Commandments, which we call the "give" way; and Satans way of competition, greed and vanity, which we call the "get" way. This is the way of disobedience to God. All sufferingall unhappiness, fear, misery and deathhas come from living by Satans way of "get," instead of living by Gods way of "give," which is the only way to peace, happiness and joy.
One-third of the angels failed to develop the godly character that would have guaranteed them everlasting peace and happiness. They believed Satans way of "get" was better than Gods way of "give," and therefore developed evil character. The rebellious Lucifer was no longer qualified to be ruler of the earth. Someone had to qualify to replace him. So God created Adam and gave him the opportunity to develop the godly character required of a righteous ruler. But Adam failed.
So Adams descendantsall mankindhave been born in Satans world of competition, strife and violence, and have been allowed to transgress Gods Law. God has allowed this for a great purpose. He wants man to learn, through experienceand experience requires timethat Satans way of "get," which is disobedience to Gods spiritual Law, causes only misery, suffering, heartache and death.
Those who are called of God and voluntarily choose to reject and resist Satans way and live a life of obedience to God are developing the holy, righteous, perfect character of God. Thus they are qualifying to rule and reign with Jesus Christ, the second Adam, who will REPLACE Satan as world ruler at His soon return to RESTORE the government of God to the entire earth!
God Now Creating His Supreme Masterpiece!
What is the most important creation the Creator God could produce? Was it the angels? Was it the heavens and the earththe entire universe? Or was it the first man? It was none of these!
The supreme pinnacle of Gods creative works is the creation of His very own perfect, holy, righteous character within His created living beings!
But this is something that even God with His supreme power cannot do of Himself by divine fiat or command! Yes, there is actually something that even God cannot doby Himself, alone.
King David mused on Gods purpose for man: "When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained"great, vast in size and distanceworks of Gods creation. David then asked, "What is man, that thou art mindful of him?" (Ps. 8:3-4.)
Even one hundred thousand people, assembled in a large stadium, look like tiny insignificant ants when seen from several thousand feet above, Yes, why should God be mindful of insignificant man?
In Hebrews chapter 2 this same psalm is quoted, and there Gods Word proceeds to reveal that in man God has determined to complete the very pinnacle of perfection in all His creation! The creation of Gods own perfect and righteous spiritual character in man is the SUPREME GOAL of GodHis ultimate purpose for mankind! Yet, God cannot do this aloneall by Himself, Man must have his own part in this supreme masterpiece of all creation.
The creation of character within individual beings requires the existence of mind within those beingsthe ability to reason and make decisions. Of all living things and beings God has created, only twoangels and humanshave that ability. It is, therefore, only in angels and humans that Gods perfect spiritual character may be formed.
Perfect spiritual character is the ability of a separately created entity with mind and independent free choice to come to the knowledge of the right (Gods "give" way) as opposed to the wrong (Satans "get" way), to decide and will to do the right, even against desires or pulls to do the wrong, and finally overcome pulls toward the wrong until doing the right becomes a fixed habit or characteristic of ones nature.
Now consider: In the original creation of angels, it was impossible for God to build or create this character in them by divine fiat. That would have made them mere automatons or machinesit would not have been character.
Therefore the creation of angels could not be finishedcompleteuntil character, either righteous or evil, had been formed and instilled within them by their own decision and will.
After Lucifer and one-third of the angels rebelled, the creation of these angels was finishedthey created evil character within themselves! Once their fateful course had been set, their creation was complete. And, being immortal spirit, they can never change.
The character of both God the Father and Christ the Son, which Lucifer and one-third of the angels failed to develop, is that of spiritual holiness, righteousness and absolute perfectionthe way of Gods Law. God will never sin or transgress His Law. And He is now in the process of creating this same godly character in Spirit-begotten Christians as they, by their own choice, and with the help of Gods Holy Spirit, live His righteous way of life!
The previous four lessons of the Ambassador College Bible Correspondence Course reveal the ways and means by which God creates His perfect, sinless character within those He has called, (Youll find it profitable to review these lessons after completing this lesson.) Lesson 9 shows that those who have been developing evil character by sinning (and all, except Christ, have sinnedRom. 3:23), must first repent of having broken Gods holy, righteous Law. Then they must be baptized "for the remission of sins" (Acts 2:38), as Lesson 10 thoroughly explains.
Next, Gods Word promises that those who repent of their sins and are baptized will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit from God, granting them the spiritual power and understanding necessary for righteous character development. Lesson 11 covers this subject in great detail.
Lesson 12 shows how Christians, who have thus been begotten by the Spirit of God, are to be developing and growing in Gods holy, righteous character. Spiritual character growth results from following Gods way of life as revealed in the Bible. Lesson 12 explains what Gods waythe Christian way of lifeis all about.
Finally, at the resurrection to eternal life, the supreme masterpiece of Gods creation will have been finished! Those whom God has called and who have voluntarily chosen to work with their Creator in completing His supreme creation within them while flesh and blood will at last be a "finished" creationcreated in Gods own spiritual "image" with His perfect, righteous, holy charactereternal members of His divine ruling Family!
This multiple choice test is designed to help you review the preceding lesson. Its an enjoyable way of putting to use some of the vital knowledge and understanding you have gained through this lesson.
Select one of the four choices given under each question or incomplete statement. The other three are incorrectunless stated or indicated otherwise.
Take sufficient time to understand each question or statement, as well as the choices. Try to do as many as you can without referring to the lesson. If you have difficulty deciding on the correct answer, then review the part of the lesson in question.
1. The religions of this world
2. Evolutionary science and secular education
3. Evolution is
4. The record in the Bible which gives the very earliest account of the existence of God is found in
5. How many God Personages have existed for eternity?
6. The "Word" mentioned in the first chapter of John
7. Hebrews, chapter seven, refers to the preexistence of Jesus Christ. By which of the following names or titles was He not known in times past?
8. Jesus Christs life was worth more than all other human lives combined because he was
9. What does God look like?
10. Emperor Constantine of Rome
11. Does the Bible teach that God is a Trinity?
12. Why is the truth about the Trinity so important?
13. God created all things by
14. What did God create first?
15. When God originally created the heavens and the earth,
16. Why were Lucifer and the angels placed on earth?
17. God originally intended that His angels
18. How did the beautiful earth become waste and empty, chaotic and in confusion?
19. Why must the government of God be restored on earth?
20. Which of the following is not Gods purpose for creating man?
21. The "give" way and the "get" way
22. What word does the Bible use to sum up Gods character?
23. The Ten Commandments
24. How can Gods love be in us?
25. The supreme creative effort of God-His ultimate purpose
ANSWERS TO LESSON 13 TEST
1-C, 2-D, 3-B, 4-A, 5-B
6-C, 7-D, 8-A, 9-B, 10-D
11-B, 12-D, 13-C, 14-A, 15-C
16-D, 17-B, 18-C, 19-D, 20-A
21-D, 22-C, 23-D, 24-A, 25-C
I thought this was about Obama.
I did enjoy this, thanks for posting it.
"Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age."
Please stop spreading the heretical teachings of Herbert W. Armstrong and his Worldwide Church of God cult.
WORLD WIDE CHURCH OF GOD
"You Must Be Born Again!"
"Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God," said Jesus (John 3:3).
Nicodemus was totally perplexed. He asked Jesus: "How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter the second time into his mothers womb, and be born?" (Verse 4.)
Jesus told him: "Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again" (verse 7). But Nicodemus simply did not comprehend what Jesus was talking about (verses 9-12). How like so many people today! They, too, are baffled by these simple words of Christ.
Most professing Christians think they were "BORN AGAIN" when they "accepted Christ" and were "baptized." From that time, supposedly, they received the Holy Spirit and have been living a NEW LIFE in Christ.
True, a real Christian has received the Spirit of God, and is indeed living a NEW LIFE in Christ (Eph.4:22-24). But is this what it means to be "born again"?
The new birth described in the Bible is FAR MORE than most professing Christians have assumed. When Jesus spoke of being "born again," He did not mean what most people think.
Two Literal Births
Nicodemus was familiar only with the process of physical birth. Therefore he understood when Jesus said to him, "That which is born of the flesh is flesh" But then Jesus explained we must be born againnot again of the fleshnot again entering our mothers womb, as Nicodemus thought He meant. He explained that we must be born of the spiritborn of God! God must be our Father this time! As we were born of the flesh through fleshly human parents, even so we must be born of the Spirit of our spiritual heavenly Father.
Here are two different kinds of birthone physical, the other spiritual. When you were born of your fleshly parents you were composed of flesh. But "that which is born of the spirit is SPIRIT" (John 3:6)--no longer composed of flesh, but of spirit!
There will be no blood in the body of one "born of the Spirit." He will not have to breathe air to exist. He will be literally COMPOSED OF SPIRIT, declared Jesus.
Thats the plain teaching of your Bible! The new birth is not an emotional experience, but a literal birth!
So Nicodemus would not mistake the true meaning of being born of the Spirit, Jesus explained to him: "The wind bloweth where it listeth [where it wills], and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit" (verse 8).
Notice that carefully. When you are "born again," born of the Spirit of God, you will be invisible to mortal eyes like the wind (unless you choose to manifest yourself). The effects of the wind may be easily discernible, but the wind itself cannot be seen.
Clearly, Jesus compared the spiritual birth to the physical birth. The latter is a type of the former. Human parents pass on a physical nature at birth to their children; so when we are born of our heavenly Father, we will possess His Spiritual nature in its fullness!
And further into the lesson,
The POWER of God
Most of professing Christianity today also assumes that God is a "trinity" composed of God the Father, God the Son and God the "Holy Spirit." Could this be true? Lets learn what the Bible tells us about the Spirit of God.
COMMENT: It was by the Spirit of God that the Eternal (YHWH)--the Logos (Christ)--created the entire vast universe. Invisible spirit energy was literally transformed into the material creation we see about us (Heb. 11:3). And by His Spirit, God reformed the surface of the earth (Ps. 104:30). No wonder the Bible calls it the "power" of God!
COMMENT: God, the ultimate source of all power, willed that spirit energy emanating from Himself be TRANSFORMED into physical energy and matter. Christthe Logos, or "Word" (John 1:1)--"spake and it was done." He is the One who said, "Let there be light." And the Spirit of God, moving over the face of the waters performed the command, and "there was light" (Gen. 1:3).
COMMENT: God sits at the controls of the entire universeHe rules and sustains everything by the POWER of His Spirit!
COMMENT: Gods Spirit is not a "third person in the God Family. It is His divine POWER that emanates from Him and permeates the universe!
5. But what about I John 5:7 which many suppose proves God is composed of three persons?
COMMENT: This verse is left out of most modern translations of the Biblefor a very good reason! It is spuriousafraid! Most any Bible commentary reveals that this verse is not found in any old Greek manuscript and was not found even in the Latin Vulgate until as late as the eighth century. Admits Adam Clarke: It is lacking in "all the ancient versions but the Vulgate; and even of this version many of the most ancient and correct MSS. [Manuscripts] have it not."
Those who believe in a "trinity" grasp at this verse to support their belief because they have NO Bible proof for their conviction! Rather, history reveals the trinity concept is a pagan invention and belief found in many ancient countries. The Egyptian trinity consisted of Isis, Osiris and Horus; the worship of the trinity traces back to the worship of Nimrod, Semiramis and Tammuz soon after the Flood!
COMMENT: In Greek, as in English, the word "spirit" is neuter. It naturally requires a neuter pronoun which is rightly translated into English as "it," and is usually so translated. However, in some cases the translators have used a masculine pronoun where the original Greek uses "it." John 14:17 is such a case. The pronouns "he" and "him" should have been rendered "it." No doubt the translators erred because they themselves assumed the Holy Spirit to be a person.
In John 14:26; 16:7-8, 13-14 the Holy Spirit is personified as the "Comforter" (Greek parakletos, which is grammatically masculine), hence the pronoun "he" (ekeinos) was used in the original Greek to agree with "Comforter," but should also be translated "it" in an English version.
The plain fact of the whole matter, which few have ever realized, is that the commonly accepted "trinity" doctrine attempts to limit for all time the size of the Family of God. It denies the very PURPOSE for which Elohim created mankind! You will grasp this astonishing truth more fully as you continue studying.
So what else may I assist you with?
That was my impression.
As to the Law: (as Christians we are)
“not under the law”(Romans 6:14-15)
“delivered from the law.” (Romans 7:6)
“Dead to the law.” (Romans 7:4))
“Free from the law.” (Romans 8:2)
“for by the law is the knowledge of sin.” (Romans 3:20)
“For Christ is the end of the law for rightousness to everyone that believeth.” (Romans 10:4)
“Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.” (Romans 3:28)
“Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid, yea, we establish the law.” (Romans 3:31)
“For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did, by the which will we draw nigh to God.” (Hebrews 7:19)
“But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident for the just shall live by faith. And the law is not of faith, but the man that doeth them shall live by faith.” Galatians 3:11-12)
“Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.” (Galatians 3:24)
“Love worketh no ill to his neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.” (Romans 13:10)
What’s your point?
The phony enthusiasm of a snake oil salesman.
God is NOT a Trinity...
God is a Family composed of the two Personages...
...the God Family will not always be composed of only two divine beings...
God is in the process of expanding His divine Family!
There we go again, the same lie that the serpent told Eve - you shall be as God.
“I’m closer to the Garner Ted Armstrong Evangelistic Association, but they don’t have a copy of the Ambassador College Bible Correspondence Course 32 Lessons, so ... I get it where I can.” Yosemitest
Get help, instead.
My Journey From the Depths of Despair
Testimony by survivor of Garner Ted Armstrong’s false teachings.
For Those Needing Information on Garner Ted Armstrong
Garner Ted Armstrong and the Masseuse
Communiqué From The Council Requesting Garner Ted Armstrong’s Removal
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.