BEFORE proceeding to an analysis of man’s essential nature, his condition in death, and his relationship to immortality and a future life, it is essential that an understanding be acquired of the purpose of God in His creation. An examination of this purpose will now be made. In the beginning God created the earth. His purpose in creating it is plainly stated. It was that the earth should become the dwelling place of a race of pure and holy beings. “He created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited.” Isaiah 45:18.

Here it is plainly declared that for the Lord to have created the world without the purpose of peopling it would have been rather useless. But “he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited.” If this earth had not been populated, it would have been created in vain. If it had been left empty and uninhabited, it would have been folly to have brought it into existence. Nothing beyond this statement is needed to show that this world exists, and was brought into existence, for the sake of intelligent and reasoning beings.

In accordance with this purpose for the earth, “God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.” Genesis 1:27.

The Purpose for the Race

The divine purpose for the human race is covered in the following statement: “And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.” Genesis 1:28.

In bringing man into existence and placing him in control of the earth, God crowned him with “glory and honour” and made him but “little lower than the angels.” (Psalm 8: 5.) He made man in His own image, after His own likeness. It was the design of God that man should retain this likeness to his Creator not merely in physical form, but in character as well. His purpose was that this earth should be the abiding place of purity and holiness. And that purpose has not changed. God still holds to it. The sin and fall of man has delayed its realization. It has not destroyed its possibility, or its certainty. God will yet have a clean universe.

“Be fruitful and multiply” was the instruction of God to man in man’s perfection. That is, man was to bring into existence a multitude of beings such as he himself was, pure and holy, all of them retaining their likeness to God. These were never to die, for they were given access to the tree of life. This tree was placed in the midst of the Garden of Eden. Of its fruit they could “freely eat.”

The Garden of Eden a Model

As these pure and holy beings increased and filled the earth, they were to constitute the kingdom of God on earth. As each subject of this kingdom would possess eternal life, the kingdom was clearly designed to remain on this earth forever.

“And subdue it.” As children were born to the holy beings whom God had created, and grew up to the age when they would go out and establish homes of their own, they were to look upon the Garden of Eden as a model of what they were to make the whole earth. It was the design of God that the entire world should become a great paradise and be forever the dwelling place of the pure and holy. This was God’s plan for the race; this was His purpose for the earth.

The Fulfillment of God’s Purpose Delayed

Adam’s sin delayed the carrying out of that divine purpose. It did not overthrow it, defeat it, or destroy it. God has not forsaken His original purpose for this earth. He has postponed its fulfillment. The earth will yet be the eternal abiding place of a pure and holy race of human beings.

Adam’s sin changed some things. It changed the time of its realization. It changed the method of its accomplishment. Because of this sin the sentence of death was passed upon all mankind. “The wages of sin is death.” Romans 6:23.

A curse was pronounced upon the ground.

Man was condemned to a life of toil.

The right to eat of the tree of life was taken away. Adam and Eve were driven from the garden, and angels were placed at its entrance to keep them from entering again.

They lost their lives, purity, and the dominion of the earth.

A Promise of Ultimate Victory

Here, however, at the very beginning of their new life, a gleam of hope was given them regarding the possibility of a restoration of all they had lost. In pronouncing sentence upon the serpent for their deception, God said: “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” Genesis 3:15.

In these words the exiled pair found a promise of ultimate victory over sin and death though they saw also that there would be constant strife and warfare between themselves and their mighty foe. But they took hold of this promise of a Redeemer and looked forward to its fulfillment by God.

When God brought Adam into existence, He gave him dominion over the creatures on this planet. Adam was given “dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.” Genesis 1:28.

With this agree the words of David, who declares that God made man “to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet: all sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field; the fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas.” Psalm 8:6-8.

The Dominion Lost

Thus, Adam was made the head of the human race, the governor of the world. This earth was his kingdom, his dominion; and everything in it was under his control and direction.

Consequently, when Adam was overthrown by Satan, more was involved than the fall of man. The dominion of this earth passed under the sway of a new ruler. Satan took Adam’s place as the governor of the planet, and the human race passed under his dominion. He now became the “god of this world.” (2 Corinthians 4: 4.)

The dominion of the earth and of the race upon it was wrested from man, and both man and the planet fell under the control of sin and unrighteousness.

This is vividly illustrated in the words Satan spoke to Christ in the wilderness of temptation, when he “shewed unto hi all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it.” Luke 4:5, 6.

Thus, Satan claims to be a king and a god. And, within certain limits, his claim is true. From the statements of the Bible there can be no doubt that the devil is a prince, or head, over evil angels, over men, and over a world of spiritual darkness.

His kingdom is a great kingdom. He wields almost unlimited power. His territory includes the entire earth. His subjects are numbered by tens of millions. Myriads of angels and a race of human beings are in his service. His control is not limited to demons and men, but extends over the earth itself, which he gained in his warfare with the one to whom God gave it. All things were placed under the feet of Adam, the whole earth being in subjection to him. But he did not retain this exalted position of power and authority, for he himself fell under subjection to the devil.

With him the dominion passed under the same control. This world became the possession of Satan at the fall of man, and thus became the home of the great revolt against the government of God.

But notwithstanding all this, God’s purpose for this planet and for the race upon it has not changed. He created it to be inhabited by a race of pure and holy beings. He will not be defeated or thwarted. He will yet have His way. His purpose will be fulfilled. His plan will be carried out.

Read Chapter Seven

Life, Death, and Immortality—Index

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