Mankind’s Aversion Therapy Lesson

God’s little understood plan for bringing salvation to humanity

God is battling to save the world from Satan, right? 1 Timothy 2:4 says God “will have all men to be saved.” But few Christians realize there is a time order to God’s plan of salvation. And today, God is definitely not trying to save humanity.

Consider: Billions over the past 6,000 years have lived and died never knowing Christ. Billions of lives have been tragically cut short by war, violence, disease epidemics, starvation and malnutrition. Billions who have lived unfulfilled, unhappy lives. If God is trying to save the world now, He must be failing miserably. How could a just God allow so many to die without even having a chance for salvation? Yet, that is what mainstream religions would have you believe.

That is not God’s plan!

In Galatians 1:4, the Apostle Paul called our age “this present evil world.” The natural mind of man, Paul wrote in Romans 8:7, is hostile toward God. Elsewhere, Paul referred to Satan the devil as the “god of this world” (2 Corinthians 4:4). In Revelation 12:9, the Apostle John said that Satan has “deceived the whole world.” If God is struggling against Satan to save this world now, He is losing the battle.

God is not losing the battle against Satan—mankind is! But God is allowing it so we will learn, by our own tragic experience, a lesson we will never forget.

God created man perfect physically (Genesis 1:31), yet unfinished spiritually. God offered to complete man’s spiritual creation by giving him His Holy Spirit to combine with man’s human spirit (Romans 8:16; 1 Corinthians 2:9-11). But Adam rejected God’s Spirit when he followed his wife and ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

This was not about two fruit trees—it was about two ways of life. The tree of life represented living God’s way of life as led by His Holy Spirit (Acts 5:32). Obeying God and receiving His Holy Spirit would have given Adam the power to think like God and develop a loving relationship with his Creator and with fellowman. The tree of the knowledge of good and evil represented Satan’s way of life. Adam ate from it, and he and his offspring willingly subjected themselves to the seductive and deceitful spirit of Satan (Ephesians 2:2).

Adam could have received eternal life, not through an actual fruit tree but through the Holy Spirit, which that tree symbolized. Romans 8:10 even refers to God’s Spirit as life. This spirit-life comes only as a gift from God (Romans 6:23). But he rejected that gift and ate from the tree of human reasoning—which leads to death.

Genesis 3:22-24 explain the outcome of Adam’s rebellious decision: “And the Lord God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever …. So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.”

Herbert W. Armstrong described this “sentence” in Mystery of the Ages. God said, in effect, “You have made the decision for yourself and the world that shall spring from you. You have rejected me as the basic source of knowledge—you have rejected power from me through my Spirit to live the righteous way—you have rebelled against my command and my government—you have chosen the ‘getting,’ ‘taking’ way of Satan. Therefore I sentence you and the world you shall beget to 6,000 years of being cut off from access to me and my Spirit …. After the world of your descendants has written the lesson in 6,000 years of human suffering, anguish, frustration, defeat and death—after the world that shall spring from you shall have been brought to confess the utter hopelessness of the way of life you have chosen—I will supernaturally intervene. By supernatural divine power I shall then take over the government of the whole world. … I will resurrect from death to mortal life all who have died uncalled during this present 6,000 years. Their judgment shall then come. And on repentance and faith, eternal life shall be offered them.”

Mr. Armstrong referred to this 6,000-year lesson man is recording by his own experience as aversion therapy: learning to abhor this “present evil world” we have chosen.

God compares the evils of our present generation to the days of Noah. Genesis 6:5 says every imagination of the thoughts of man “was only evil continually.” Jesus prophesied that those same immoral conditions would be widespread in this end time (Matthew 24:37). In Noah’s day, the masses mocked God’s warnings until the floodwaters came and “took them all away” (verse 39).

This will be the end result of man’s rebellion against God, which began in the Garden of Eden nearly 6,000 years ago. Once the Great Tribulation is upon us, mankind will see the culmination of his six-millennium experiment in rebellion. This self-inflicted horror is what it will take for mankind to finally turn to God in humility and sincere repentance.

But then Jesus will return, remove Satan from his throne, and rule all nations with God’s government of love. Then, finally, God will offer salvation to every human being who has ever lived.