God "made known to us the secret of His will.
And this is in harmony with Godís merciful purpose
for the government of the world when the times
are ripe for itóthe
purpose which He has cherished
in His own mind of restoring the whole creation to
find its one Head in Christ; yes, things in Heaven
and things on earth, to find their one Head in Him."
Ephesians 1:9, 10 (Weymouth First Edition translation)
This wonderful text says so many things about the plan
of God for us. Among other things it shows that His
plan is secret, yet revealed to some. It shows His
purpose is merciful, not vindictive. It shows that it
involves two kinds of salvationóin
heaven, and on earth as well. These words above also
show that God, though he "cherished" what He wants to
do, is willing to wait until "the times are ripe for
it." Clearly He intends to govern the whole world at
that time through Christ. Clearly, also, this
government intends to restore everyone lost in the
centuries that have passed since the perfections of the
Garden of Eden. Is it possible to find two verses which
say more than this?
Godís plans and purposes, though simple in concept, are
so detailed in the Bible that hundreds of thousands of
pages of commentary on it are only a beginning. Thus it
is so refreshing to find such short and simple summaries
as Paul wrote to the Ephesians in the words above.
* * * * *
This little "kernel" commentary on Godís Plan will be
very brief and to the point. To inquire more into the
depths and beauties, we recommend The Divine Plan of the
Ages (Volume 1 of Studies in the Scriptures),
available through this website.
* * * * *
We will restrict our consideration to Godís Plan for
mankind since that is the subject of the Bible.
God intended to have a perfect earth populated with a
perfect race of people living forever in health, peace,
and plenty. Despite how things look, those plans have
not changed. He also planned to have an intimate family
of His ownóbeings
possessing life within themselves and sharing the very
nature of God. This plan, though invisible in its
progress, is being accomplished as part of how God is
utilizing and arranging the affairs of earth.
When God created man, He wanted beings capable of choice
and free will. Yet, He wanted also to ensure peace in
His universe. These two objectives seem almost
impossibly contradictory. How can free-will beings not
violate the very principles which ensure peace? The
ONLY way is for their well-educated free wills to WANT
to and to be able to cooperate. This was Godís
challenge in creating man.
We can learn in three ways: information, observation,
and experience. We could, of course, like computers,
learn by being mechanically programmed. But this would
make us robots, not free-will creatures. We would not
be able to give, receive, or appreciate LOVEóa
quality which in great measure defines God.
God chose to use all three teaching methods for
mankind. He knew, in the long run, it would workóeven
though it would be painful in the short term.
When our original parents were created, they could not
learn from observation since there were no lessons to
observe. So, Godís first lesson for them was
instruction. He told them the rules and that if they
disobeyed those rules, they would die. (Genesis 2:17,
marginal translation) He knew this would be
insufficient because He understands free will.
Three things are important to note:
(1) The death penalty was not extreme. God was making
the point which all intelligent beings must eventually
know and accept: He insists on peace and perfection in
the universe. The presence of anyone violating that
peace will not be acceptable. The elimination of
violators is imperative to success, and it will forever
be the rule.
(2) The test was purposely clear but not necessarily
comprehensible. If Adam had been told, "You cannot kill
your wife," the penalty would have made sense, and the
principle would have been obvious. But the test was
subtle: "Of all of the fruit around, donít eat that
one." The test was not clear because, in the
end, God will want all to obey NOT because they
understand, but because they will believe in His wisdom
whether or not they understand it. Only with that kind
of trust in their Creator will men maintain free-will
peace in the universe. This was a test of OBEDIENCE,
not of comprehension.
(3) The third point, and one of great import, is that
God allowed this test before Adam had offspring.
Because God counts there to have been ONLY ONE
DISOBEDIENCE, His justice requires ONLY ONE OFFSET for
that disobedience. Adamís children INHERITED death. We
do not die because of our own sins; we die because
genetically we did not inherit life. (I Corinthians
15:21, 22; Romans 5:12)
Man disobeyed. The sentence was pronounced and is yet
being felt by Adamís offspring: "Dying thou shalt
die." Man now is learning by observation and
experience. The lesson is hard! But it will not be
forgotten. Mankind, after the lesson is learned, will
WANT to obey and to reap the benefits. He will
UNDERSTAND what is good and why it is good. He will be
enthusiastic for life, and will, from the heart, obey
God because he understands, respects, and loves His
principles and attributes.
Godís justice is inviolate. It does not compromise.
For all eternity it will require the forfeited life of
one human being and of the potential race within him.
Therefore, there was only ONE way to release Adam and
his race from death. A SUBSTITUTE must be provided.
That substitute would be "the MAN Christ Jesus, who gave
himself A RANSOM (substitute) FOR ALL, to be
testified IN DUE TIME." (I Timothy 2:5, 6)
How can this work? Jesus existed as the second highest
being in the universe long before man was made. He
volunteered to become a MAN (with a potential race in
him) in order to become the substitute payment to
justice in Adamís place. But he had to be perfect
exact equivalent of Adam BEFORE Adam disobeyed. No
descendant of Adam could do this because no descendant
of Adam had inherited any life to sacrifice. Jesus,
while having a human nature provided by his mother, had
LIFE provided by God, his perfect father (as did AdamóLuke
3:38). He voluntarily sacrificed this human nature for
Adamís (and the raceís) release from death.
This leaves two pressing questions.
(1) If Jesus "gave his flesh for the life of the world"
(John 6:51), how is it that he was released from the
(2) If Jesusí sacrifice releases Adam and the human
race from death, why are we all yet dead or dying?
We mentioned earlier that one of Godís creative
objectives was to have a personal, intimate "family" of
just like Himself, beings possessing immortality (life
within themselves [John 5:26]ódeath-proofness).
Clearly He would not give this destruction-proof nature
to any individual who had not been proven to be
eternally worthy of such a nature. To give immortality
to an untested being would be to insure chaos in the
universe for an eternity.
God decided to use some of the years of disaster on
earth to develop what he calls His "new creation." In
the midst of earthís sin, chaos, deceptions, death, and
other horrors, God saw the perfect "proving ground" for
those He would ultimately make into His own personal
Divine family. Jesus would be the first of these "new
creatures." While he would, indeed, die as manís
ransom, a human being never again to live, God arranged
a miraculous way to preserve Jesusí identity and to give
it a resurrection on the Divine plane where Jesus has
become "the express image of His (Godís) person."
Three and a half years before the crucifixion which
supplied our ransom, God "begat" Jesus with the Holy
spirit. In other words, He began in him a "new
new mind with spirit rather than human desires,
inclinations, and objectives. If that new mind grew and
remained perfectly faithful to God during the 3-1/2
years of sufferings which Jesus tolerated at the hands
of ignorant men, God would, upon the death of the man,
give this new creature a divine body. Jesus
would be "born of the spirit"óthe
first of Godís personal family of Divine Sons. Jesus
was faithful. He was raised a divine being of
incredible power and glory, far above the nature he had
enjoyed prior to becoming a man.
Our second question is closely allied to this making of
"new creatures." Even though the ransom sacrifice has
been provided to redeem Adam and his race from the
grave, it has not yet been applied to that end.
Instead, God determined to allow about 2000 years for
the race to increase to the population size God desires
for the earth. During this 2000 years He determined to
call from among men those who have a faith structure
like Jesus had
those whose confidence in the ransom makes them
possessed with a zealous desire to want to be like Jesus
and to help him restore the race "when the times are
ripe for it." God calls this His "church." The Greek
word for church is EKKLESIA; it means "called out."
God, as He did with Jesus, "begets" these disciples with
the Holy spirit, thus beginning in them "new creatures"
with spiritual aspirations, motives, and ideals. Once
this church is complete and all raised to be spirit
beings like their Lord (I John 3:2), THEN it will be
time for the resurrection of Adam and all of the rest of
his descendants to be perfected for an eternal idyllic
life on a perfected earth. It is this which Jesus
refers to when he suggests to pray, "Thy Kingdom Come;
Thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven." (Matthew
Thus will be fulfilled the words of Ephesians 1:9, 10
with which we began this article. The glorified
spiritual church, along with Jesus, will reign to put
away all traces of disobedience. (I Corinthians
15:21-28) The Kingdom, perfected, will be returned to
God, and all the pain of the past will be gone
except that it will have served to make man
intelligently free-will recipients of joys forevermore.
Godís work of "restoring the whole creation" has been
promised by His prophets since the world began. Peter
makes this point in Acts 3:19-21 where he shows that
this restoring period is the very purpose of Jesusí
second advent. Once the Millennial Kingdom is finished,
it will clearly be seen that "God is the savior of
all men (the whole world), specially of those
that believe (the church which believes ahead of the
world and receives the incredibly Ďspecialí
salvation)." I Timothy 4:10
* * * * *
The other little "Doctrinal Kernels" on this website
help to bring into focus how the details of the Bible
enhance and support this wonderful plan of God for His
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