What is Man?
In order to understand what man is, and why he was created, it is necessary to know “pre-history” or what happened before God created mankind. In the previous study (on what God is) we learned that John 1, not Genesis 1, is the chronological beginning of history in the Bible.
God and the Word existed throughout all eternity, before all else (John 1:1-3). What did they do? The first recorded accomplishment of this divine team is found in Job 38:1-7. This passage shows that angels were already in existence when the physical universe was made. The angels shouted for joy when this occurred. We know, therefore, that God created the angels prior to the time of man, and we may surmise that God gave the angels the physical universe—”the heavens and the earth” of Genesis 1:1—as their domain. The angels who later sinned were cast out of heaven to the earth (Revelation 12:7-9).
The Bible refers to angels as ”sons of God” in Job chapters 1, 2, and 38. Hence, God and Christ were the Parents of the angels. There was a divine family—the kingdom of God (Psalm 103:19-22; Matthew 6:9-10; Revelation 4-5).
In Revelation 12 we read something very much like the dreams which were interpreted by men of God in the Old Testament (as when Daniel interpreted the dreams of Nebuchadnezzar, and Joseph interpreted the dreams of Pharaoh). Verses 1-6 are the dream, and verses 7-17 are the interpretation. Here we find that before God made man, Satan and his angels launched an all-out aggression against the kingdom of God. Revelation 5:11 and Daniel 7:10 show that literally millions, perhaps even billions of angels exist. One-third of the angels rebelled against God. There was war on a universal scale. Angels are called “stars“ in the Bible (Job 38:7; Revelation 1:20, 12:4). God calls each one of the stars by name (Isaiah 40:22, 26). It is possible that God had originally created one star for each of the angels to have dominion over (stars, like our sun, are often centers of solar systems containing multiple planets). After the war in heaven (Revelation 12:3-4, 7-9), God did not spare the angels who sinned, who did not keep their proper domain, but cast them out of heaven to the earth (2 Peter 2:4; Jude 6, Revelation 12:8-9).
At this present time it is clear that everything God is doing in the universe is focused in on the earth. We have seen pictures from spacecraft and telescopes on earth which indicate that the rest of the universe is quite lifeless today. The planets are barren, in a state of waste and decay, like the surface of our moon and Mars. If there had been life on other planets, now it is gone. Dinosaurs which once existed on earth perished in a worldwide mammal massacre. All of this is a result of the angelic rebellion and war in heaven (Genesis 1:2). Sometime after the universal cataclysm had occurred, God rejuvenated the earth in six days and placed man upon it. It has been observed from outer space that the earth appears today as a beautiful blue jewel—teeming with life, vegetation, water and atmosphere—and is the only planet of its kind. Portions of the earth, such as Glacier and Yosemite National Parks, are vibrant examples of the finest creative handiwork of God. Other areas, such as the Badlands of South Dakota and Arches National Park, are reminders of the great cataclysm which occurred long ago—their unusual landscapes the result of destruction, not creation.
Revelation 12:7-9 and 2 Peter 2:4 show that the rebellion of the sinning angels (who are now called demons) was put down and the rebels confined to the earth. These rebellious angels are being forced to observe what God is doing in response to the damage they have caused (Genesis 3:15; 1 Corinthians 4:9; 1 Peter 1:12).
Luke 10:17-20 and Genesis 3:1 indicate that serpents and scorpions represent Satan and the demons. God left some animals quite deadly in order to represent how vile their character really is. These evil angels are around, lurking about invisibly (Job 1:7; Ephesians 6:11-12; 1 Peter 5:8-9; Revelation 2:13, 18:2). Do not dwell at length on this (Philippians 4:8 tells us to meditate on things which are positive and uplifting; God's beautiful creation is a good example), but do be aware that Satan and the demons exist, and always resist their impulses to think and act wrongly (Ephesians 2:1-3, Revelation 3:21). Remember that God is far more powerful than Satan (1 John 4:4, John 10:28-29) and that He gives us the power to overcome (James 4:7-10; Ephesians 6:10-18). All spirits are subject to Jesus Christ (1 Peter 3:22; Ephesians 1:19-21; Luke 10:17-20).
Satan is a murderer, liar, and destroyer of life. We read in Isaiah 14:12-15 and Ezekiel 28:11-19 about his origin (chapter two of Mr. Armstrong's book, Mystery of the Ages, elaborates on this subject). Satan was once a perfect, righteous angel, the pinnacle of God’s creation—but he corrupted himself and became the father of all sin.
God, on the other hand, never lies (Titus 1:2; Hebrews 6:18). The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of truth (John 16:13, 1 John 4:6). Those who are of God and have God's truth in them simply are not of this world (John 17:6, 8, 14-19). This world is based on lies and half-truths. Satan has deceived it thoroughly (Revelation 12:9). Remember the lesson of the two trees in the garden of Eden: One, representing God, is pure—it is truth and life. The other is a tree of knowledge of good and evil—it represents Satan’s way of mixing truth with lies.
Now we come to Genesis 1. The earth had been originally created at the same time the rest of the universe came into existence, about thirteen billion years ago. The angels were given dominion over what God had made. After the universe-wide angel rebellion, God restored the earth in six days and placed man upon it, approximately 6,000 years ago (as demonstrated by Bible chronology). The first verse of Genesis states simply that God created the heavens and the earth (the physical universe); this links up with Job 38 which indicates that the angels already existed at that time. The second verse of Genesis states that the earth had become in a state of ruin and decay. This was a result of the angelic rebellion and war in heaven. Psalm 104:30 says that God renewed the face of the earth. God restored the earth to its original condition of being able to sustain life upon its surface.
Do you understand this? When God put life back on earth, it was with a definite purpose—He had a reason for creating mankind. God had cast Satan and the demons to the earth. The earth had come to be in a state of darkness, chaos and confusion. God began the restoration by sending light into this darkness on the first day. In the Bible, darkness symbolizes Satan, while light represents God—for ”God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5).
In the first five days of re-creation, God made the world habitable. On the sixth day He created mankind in His own image. But man was made mortal, out of the dust of the ground. Because angels had rebelled against His government, God intended to prove humanity, to whom He intended to give immortality, before expanding His divine family any further.
1 John 4 instructs us to test the spirits, whether they are of God (verse 1), and to come to know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error (verse 6; see also Hebrews 5:14 and 1 Corinthians 2:14-16). We should ask God for wisdom in these matters (James 1:5; 1 Kings 3:9-10). Before any human is allowed to have eternal life, he must demonstrate to God that he has acquired the ability to discern good from evil, and that he will choose to do what is right with unshakable character.
Notice 1 John 5:18-20. The mind that is submitted to God will be able to understand the things of God, but the mind that is rebellious will not. If you seek God sincerely and diligently, you will find Him (Isaiah 55:6-9; Jeremiah 29:13; Matthew 6:33; Acts 17:27; Hebrews 11:6). Those who obey God’s commandments will be given understanding (Psalm 111:10).
Hebrews 12:5-11 shows that God wants to help us develop good character. He will chasten us as necessary in order to help us overcome our faults (which is why ”the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom”—Proverbs 9:10). God chastens His children because He loves them (1 John 4:8). He wants to give them eternal life, but does not want any more ”rebellious-angel types” in His kingdom. The independent, free-thinking spirit that does whatever it wants, that has no care or concern for the will of God or for others, simply will have no place in future eternity.
Over the course of 6,000 years God has been preparing the saints for the first resurrection (Luke 13:28; 1 Corinthians 15:20-23, 50-54, Revelation 20:4-6). God has required these saints to live in the world while it was being manipulated by Satan, to come to hate its evil ways (Galatians 1:4; 1 John 2:15-17; Proverbs 8:13; Hebrews 1:9), to overcome it as Christ did (Revelation 3:21, 21:7) and to be made ready to help save the rest of humanity later (Romans 11:31-32), at a more favorable time when Satan's influence has been eliminated (Revelation 20:1-6, 10-12).
We will learn more about these topics in our next Bible study, when we take a closer look at the two trees in the garden of Eden and the lesson that they teach us.
This Bible study was given by Matthew Kalliman on 7/3/07