The Herald of Jehovah's Kingdom
The Herald of Jehovah's Kingdom
Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so on earth.
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Themes Archive

 
Conscious Life Begins on Earth
 
    God's heavenly sons, who had sung at the founding of the earth as a special creation, fol-lowed this drama of creation with the keenest of interest. Little did they realize that what was finally to be brought forth on this the closing work day of the creative week was to affect heaven and earth and to make necessary the creating of new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness is to dwell uninterruptedly forever. The evening of this day begins! "And God went on to say: 'Let the earth put forth living souls according to their kinds, domestic animal and creeping animal and wild beast of the earth according to its kind.' And it came to be so." (Gen. 1:24) God here addressed the dry land, which he had called Earth. He did not call for the waters of the seas to develop animals for life on the land. What were the "living souls" that he commanded the earth to put forth? Human creatures? No, but animals inferior to man, namely, domestic animals, creeping animals and wild beasts, distinct family kinds of each that did not crossbreed. The fact that God specified domestic animals disclosed he had man in view with whom certain animals would be pleased to live in close contact, to serve man's interests more fully. On the other hand, the wild beasts would prefer the open fields and forests. The creeping animals included insects and reptiles.
    "And God proceeded to make the wild beast of the earth according to its kind and the domestic animal according to its kind and every creeping animal of the ground according to its kind. And God got to see that it was good." (Gen. 1:25) Included among these "living souls" were the tremendous land reptiles, the dinosaurs with their absence of fur and their definitely snakelike shape of head, such as the stegosaurus with an armor-plated spine, the protoceratops that laid eggs, the diplodocus, the tyrannosaurus, 20 feet high and 45 feet long, and the brontosaurus that weighed as much as 50 tons and was 100 feet long. Bones of these have been found, although they have long been extinct. They were the giants of the animal kingdom, and demonstrated God's power. These and the other forms of animal life preceded man and God took care of them by his due provision; man was not necessary. Job 38:39 to 39:30.
    As respects their food God later said to man: "And to every wild beast of the earth and to every flying creature of the heavens and to everything creeping upon the earth in which there is life as a soul I have given all green vegetation for food." (Gen. 1:30) At that time the lion must have eaten green vegetation like the ox, and this was plentiful, even in the arctic and antarctic regions. Because of the mild climate all over the globe, kinds of animals now found only in tropical regions were not confined to equatorial areas but ranged over large parts of Europe and northern Asia and North America. Frozen carcasses of mammoths with green vegetation in their mouths or undigested in their stomachs found in far northern regions prove it.
    At this stage earth was like a cageless zoological garden. It did not then display the climax of God's earthly creation. But God had not created earth merely for such a show place. He made it principally for the creature to inhabit who would have all these forms of conscious life in subjec-tion. "For thus saith Jehovah who created the heavens, God himself who formed the earth and made it, he who established it, not as waste did he create it: he formed it to be inhabited: I am Jehovah, and there is none else." (Isa. 45:18) The time had at last come for him to start off the realization of this final purpose regarding the earth. To do this he did not transplant any angel from heaven nor any supposed "disembodied soul" up there. Man was not to be a degradation of an angel; he has no ties of relationship with angels. Since the only-begotten Son of God, when becoming human flesh and blood, was made a little lower than the angels, mankind is lower in order than the heavenly angels. Hence in making man God did not work from a lower form of intelligent life up to a higher man but in the opposite direction. Still, it was marvelous, in that it was a new kind of intelligent creature, a material one; and it excited the wonder of the observing angels and made them shout for joy.
    Neither did God address some lower form of animal life say, the most intelligent and the most humanlike—and command it to develop into a man. God proceeded to make a direct new creature, separate and distinct from angels and inferior animals or beasts. This new creature would not be related by ties of flesh to beasts, birds or fishes. Hence the inspired statement is: "Not all flesh is the same flesh, but there is one of man-kind, and there is another flesh of cattle, and another flesh of birds, and another of fish. And there are heavenly bodies, and earthly bodies." (1 Cor. 15:39, 40) If not the earth and if not some lower animal then alive on earth, whom did God address before this new creature came into existence? For it is written: "And God [Hebrew, Elohim] went on to say: 'Let us make man in our image, according to our likeness, and let them have in subjection the fish of the sea and the flying creatures of the heavens and the domestic animals and all the earth and every creeping animal that is creeping upon the earth.' " —Gen. 1:26.
    "Let us," said God (EloMm'). There is no echo of polytheism here, as if God were a number of gods or persons within himself. Furthermore, the custom of a ruler to speak of himself in the plural number as "we" and "us" appeared with the Persians, as shown at Ezra 4:18. But God is not to be understood here as talking to himself, deliberating with himself, and addressing himself in the plural of majesty and excellence. Whom, then, does he address? The Jerusalem Tar gum, which is an Aramaic paraphrase of Genesis, reads: "And Jehovah said to the angels... : 'Let us make man.' " Many Jewish rabbis, too, believe God here addressed the angels by his words, "Let us." But to get the inspired interpretation of God's words, we must turn to the words of his inspired apostles, who inform us that God used his only-begotten Son, the Word, in bringing all other things, including man, into existence. (John 1:1-4; Col. 1:13-17) We make no mistake, then, in understanding that God said, "Let us," to his co-worker, his only-begotten Son, the Word, in his prehuman condition. He could properly say to him, "Let us make man in our image, according to our likeness," because, says the apostle Paul, "he is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation"; "the Christ, who is the image of God." —Col. 1:15 and 2 Cor. 4:4.
    It was because of being made in the image and likeness of God that man would be, not just a mere conscious living creature like the fishes, birds and beasts, but a son of God. An earthly creature, in order to be a son of God, would have to resemble his heavenly Father and should be able to receive his Father's spirit and bring forth its fruitage of love. (Gal. 5:22, 23) For man and his mate to be the children of God it was necessary for them to be above the lower animals and to fulfill the divine purpose: "Let them have in subjection the fish of the sea and the flying creatures of the heavens and the domestic animals and all the earth and every creeping animal that is creeping upon the earth."
    "Although he used his only-begotten Son in the work, the record speaks as if God alone did the work, creating man, not in their image, but in his own. "And God proceeded to create the man in his image, in God's image he created him; male and female he created them." (Gen. 1:27) Here we have the third, fourth and fifth times that the verb "create" is used in relation to the work of God. Does it here mean to make something out of nothing? No; but he used matter already to hand, as the fuller account of man's creation discloses. The way Genesis 1:27 is worded also agrees with the fuller account, that God created first the one human, the man, the male, and after that he "created the female. For this fuller account we must here turn to chapter two of Genesis.
    "Then Jehovah God proceeded to form the man out of dust from the ground and to blow into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man came to be a living soul. Further, Jehovah God planted a garden in Eden, toward the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed. Thus Jehovah God made to grow out of the ground every tree desirable to one's sight and good for food and also the tree of life in the middle of the garden and the tree of the knowledge of good and bad."—Gen. 2:7-9.
    Taking the dust of Eden, or the sixteen chemical elements of the dust, which was inorganic matter, God proceeded to create man, forming his body with nostrils to breathe the atmosphere of the expanse. Still air may have filled the hollow places of the body thus formed, but the body did not breathe; it was lifeless. What made it begin to live? Was it the putting of a "soul" in it, an outside intelligence such as the pagans try to describe, and making it take up residence in the body? To the contrary, God's own record says that Jehovah God proceeded to "blow into his nostrils the breath of life". That is, with air through the nostrils God expanded the body's lungs and started it to breathing and to living. He put the force of life into that body that he had formed complete with all its parts. What resulted when God combined the human body with the force of life, causing it to breathe? A living soul! God's record says: "And the man came to be a living soul." The apostle Paul agrees with this, saying, at 1 Corinthians 15:45: "So also it is written, 'The first man, Adam, became a living soul.' " This first man did not have in him what pagans call a "soul", but he came to be a living soul, just the same as the fishes and the land animals are living souls. (Gen. 1:20, 21, 24) When Luke 3:38 speaks of "Adam, the son of God", it does so, not because Adam had a soul in him and the lower creatures did not, but because Adam was created in God's image and likeness. Adam was therefore the highest soul on earth, and so he could have in subjection to him the other souls in the sea and on the land and in the air.
    How did God create the female of the human kind? She proved to be something new and dif-ferent; but she was created from matter already at God's disposal, starting with a rib from man's side. Since Adam was not self-reproducing, how could she be of Adam's bone and flesh unless God took part of Adam's body as a base with which to create her? God had made it impossible for man to crossbreed with any of his inferiors, the animals, even the manlike ape, and God made the man to realize this fact. "And Jehovah God went on to say: 'It is not good for the man to continue by himself. I am going to make a helper for him, as a complement of him.' Now Jehovah God was forming from the ground every wild beast of the field and every flying creature of the heavens and he began bringing them to the man to see what he would call each one; and whatever the man would call it, each living soul, that was its name. So the man was calling the names of all the domestic animals and of the flying creatures of the heavens and of every wild beast of the field, but for man there was found no helper as a comple-ment of him. Hence Jehovah God had a deep sleep fall upon the man and, while he was sleeping, he took one of his ribs and then closed up the flesh over its place. And Jehovah God proceeded to build the rib that he had taken from the man into a woman and to bring her to the man. Then the man said: 'This is at last bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh. This one will be called Woman, because from man this one was taken.' "—Gen. 2:18-23.
    Jesus Christ did not pronounce this Genesis record of the creation of man and woman and of God's marrying them childish, mythical and too fantastic to be believed. He knew it was absolutely true, because he himself had been there as God's creative agent. Quoting the Genesis record, Jesus said to his religious critics: "Did you not read that he who created them at the beginning made them male and female and said: 'For this reason a man will leave his father and his mother and will stick to his wife, and the two will be one flesh'? So that they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has yoked together let no man put apart." (Matt. 19:3-6; Gen. 2:24) In this way the Creator kept the human race from being of hybrid flesh, a family of pure human souls.
    It was when marrying them that God gave them his blessing and in it stated to them his purpose in putting them on the earth. As it is written: "Further, God blessed them and God said to them: 'Be fruitful and become many and fill the earth and subdue it, and have in subjection the fish of the sea and the flying creatures of the heavens and every living creature that is creeping upon the earth.' " The animals that they were to have in subjection they were not to kill for food: "And God went on to say: 'Here I have given to you all vegetation bearing seed which is on the surface of the whole earth and every tree on which there is the fruit of a tree bearing seed. To you let it serve as food. And to every wild beast of the earth and to every flying creature of the heavens and to everything creeping upon the earth in which there is life as a soul I have given all green vegetation for food.' And it came to be so." Gen. 1:28-30.
    The reason why they and the animals should feed on the vegetable kingdom was that the vege-table kingdom is soulless, whereas there is "living soul" in the animal kingdom. Literally, Genesis 1:30 quoted above reads: "And everything creep-ing upon the earth in which there is living soul." An American Translation renders this phrase: "And to all the land reptiles, in which there is a living spirit"; the Revised Standard Version: "And to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life." But the Hebrew expression here is different from that of Genesis 2:7, which declares that God blew into man's nostrils the "breath of life". Hence the New World Translation best renders Genesis 1:30 with the expression "life as a soul". In the Hebrew Bible the word neph'esh, besides meaning the living person or animal, often means the life as a soul that such person or animal possesses. For that reason Jehovah God, after the flood of Noah's day, commanded mankind not to eat the blood of the animal kingdom: "Only flesh with its soul its blood you must not eat. And, besides that, your blood of your souls shall I ask back. From the hand of every living creature shall I ask it back; and from the hand of man, from the hand of one who is his brother, shall I ask back the soul of man. Anyone shedding man's blood, by man will his own blood be shed, for in God's image he made man." (Gen. 9:4-6) On the basis of this meaning of "soul" Jesus Christ on earth could "give his soul a ransom in exchange for many".—Matt. 20:28.
    The creation of man and woman occurred in the morning of the sixth day and crowned God's earthly work. "After that God saw everything he had made and, look! it was very good. And there came to be evening and there came to be morning, a sixth day." (Gen. 1:31) God's work in its entirety was very good. It was the product of Him who is the sum of all goodness. As his Son Jesus once said to a man who called him "good Teacher": "Why do you call me good? Nobody is good, except one, God." (Mark 10:17, 18) The goodness of God's work means that Adam and his wife were created in human perfection, with no parts missing and no parts superfluous, completely sound. No sin and imperfection in man can be traced to the Creator: "The Rock, perfect is his activity, for all his ways are justice. A God of faithfulness, with whom there is no injustice; righteous and upright is he. They have acted ruinously on their own part; they are not his children, the defect is their own." (Deut. 32:4, 5) How could God create man in his own image and likeness and at the same time create him imperfect and unbalanced as to wisdom, justice, power and love? He could not do so. The perfect man and woman, according to God's mandate to them in Eden, were to reproduce their kind and to fill, not heaven, but the entire earth with their perfect offspring. At the same time they were to subdue all the earth outside their garden of Eden and to hold all other living creatures in subjection.
    God's sixth creative day now came to its close. God could now desist from earthly work and turn over to the perfect man and woman the populating and the subduing of the earth on the 7,000-year-long seventh day of God's creative week. "Thus the heavens and the earth and all their army came to their completion. And by the seventh day God came to the completion of his work that he had made, and he proceeded to rest [or, desist] on the seventh day from all his work that he had made. And God proceeded to bless the seventh day and make it sacred, because on it he has been resting [or, desisting] from all his work that God has created for the purpose of making. This is a history of the heavens and the earth in the time of their being created, in the day that Jehovah God made earth and heaven." (Gen. 2:1-4) No record exists of God's creating a "hell" of fire for tormenting human souls.