Is This God’s World?
Have you ever started watching a movie toward the end of it? You probably had a hard time picking up what was happening. But if you had seen the entire movie from the beginning, everything would have made total sense.
That is exactly how it is with our world. “We were born into this … world as it is. We take it for granted. But we can’t explain it,” Herbert W. Armstrong wrote in Mystery of the Ages. “It’s like viewing a movie at a point already near the end.”
Think of the political coups, the terrorism and the wars man has faced in his days on Earth. Think of all those oppressed by cruel dictators. Or the millions who live with illiteracy, poverty, starvation and filth.
Even in the “civilized” world, think of the perverse and hardened criminals who roam the streets. People suffer broken homes, divorce, abandonment, burglaries, kidnappings, rapes and cold-blooded murders. Think of all the victims of floods, earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, droughts and famine.
Why does God allow so much violence and human suffering? If God is a God of love, as the Bible says, why does He allow so many to suffer and die this way?
To answer these questions, we have to understand how this “movie”—the world you live in—began. We’re watching the end of it.
But the Bible can transport us back to the beginning of the “movie” of human history. It is the true, inspired Word of God, and it reveals why the world is the way it is.
God’s Plan for the Angels
Before He brought the material universe into existence, God created angels. These angels were created “to aid [God] in the work of creating, governing and managing what was to be created …. Angels were created to be ministers, agents, helpers in God’s creation” (ibid; emphasis added).
God created these angels instantaneously in perfect beauty and splendor. The epitome of God’s perfect creation was the great cherub Lucifer.
1. When God created Earth, what did the angels do? Job 38:4-7.
These angels, referred to as “sons of God” and “morning stars,” were beholding a beautiful, marvelous creation. But God created Earth unfinished. Think of baking a cake. You can finish the main part of it, but your work is not completely done until you’ve put the icing on. That is how God made His creation. He created it perfect but unfinished in order to give the angels a part in beautifying it.
These angels had free choice. If they chose obedience and worked in harmony with God on this proving ground of Earth, the universe beyond was waiting for them.
God assigned some of these angels to this planet. He gave the great archangel Lucifer a throne to administer God’s government on Earth, ruling the lesser angels and ensuring that they beautified the globe and “put the icing on the cake.”
2. Did Lucifer and his angels fulfill this purpose? Isaiah 14:12-15; Ezekiel 28:15-16; Revelation 12:7-9.
Lucifer led a violent rebellion against his Creator God, His law and His government—trying to throw Him off His throne. He caused war in heaven. But Lucifer and his rebels did not prevail against God’s armies. Instead, God threw them back down to Earth, where He had assigned them in the first place.
3. How did this war affect Earth? Genesis 1:2. What did God do in the aftermath? Same verse; Psalm 104:30.
The once-beautiful Earth—along with the entire universe—became a disaster zone. At this time, God realized that the only being with free choice who could be trusted never to sin was Himself. He was the only being who would never sin—and who would faithfully administer His loving government throughout the universe. Upon recognizing this truth, God decided the only way to accomplish His plan for beautifying creation was to make morebeings like Himself.
That is why God renewed the face of the Earth—and created man.
God’s Plan for Man
God created mankind for the same reason as the angels: to beautify and finish creation. But the human potential goes far beyond that. God made man of material flesh, so if he decided to live a life of unrepentant sin and rebellion (as many angels did), God could erase him from existence (unlike the angels, who are eternal). Yet the Bible reveals something else extraordinary: God also gave man a potential far greater than the one He gave to the angels! Let’s see what the Scriptures say about it.
1. Did Lucifer have a throne? Isaiah 14:13.
God cast Lucifer and his angels back down to Earth, but He did not revoke their authority. Satan was still Earth’s ruler. He still had his throne. He still administered Earth’s government.
Here is what this means: At this point, the world was no longer God’s world
2. Is this fact explicitly stated in Scripture? 2 Corinthians 4:4; Matthew 4:8-9; John 12:31.
Though Satan rules the Earth today, God plans to end his rule shortly. And it is through human beings that He determined to do so. God directly created and taught Adam and Eve and gave them the opportunity to make this world God’s world. To do so, they had to freely choose God’s way over Satan’s.
3. What kinds of trees did God grow in the garden of Eden? Genesis 2:8-9. What instructions did God give Adam regarding these particular trees?Verses 15-17.
God gave Adam and Eve a choice, represented by two trees in the garden. They could choose to rely on God and His power, eventually gaining eternal life, or they could rely on themselves for knowledge, without power or help from God, to carry on their temporary existence until it ended in death.
If man had chosen God’s way in the garden of Eden, and submitted to God, then he would have received God’s power and taken on God’s nature. After a lifetime of allowing God’s Holy Spirit to work in conjunction with his human spirit, he would have developed God’s own character! This was, in fact, God’s purpose in creating man—and the means by which He would be able to restore His government to Earth!
4. Did Adam and Eve choose God’s way in the garden of Eden? Genesis 3:1-6. What did God do in response to their decision? Verses 23-24; Isaiah 59:2.
The first two humans essentially told God they wanted independence from Him and His way. But by doing so, they actually fell prey to Satan! They believed him instead of God. They chose a lifestyle apart from God. Thus, instead of becoming independent, they were kidnapped by him!
5. Since the time of Adam and Eve’s sin, does the “god of this world” influence and deceive the inhabitants of the world? Ephesians 2:2; Revelation 12:9.
Satan, as the “prince of the power of the air” and deceiver of the whole world, has held sway over mankind nearly 6,000 years since Adam and Eve. The first parents passed their anti-God lifestyle on to their children; then they taught it to their children, and so on. All the while, man was heldcaptive in a world swayed and deceived by Satan.
When you look at the world today—and throughout millennia of history, doesn’t the Bible’s history make logical sense? Doesn’t this look like a world created by God—but ruled by Satan?
But the loving, merciful Creator God, who wants every human being eventually to be born into His Family (which is His overall purpose for creating human life), will end man’s suffering.
The Last Days
1. Did Christ warn that the existence of all human life would be threatened in the last days? Matthew 24:21-22. Did Christ say He would intervene? Verse 22.
Just when man is about to annihilate himself using all the mega-destructive weapons of modern warfare, God will finally intervene on a worldwide scale, remove Satan from his throne, and usher in a time of peace and harmony, where He rules with His saints on His throne (Revelation 3:21).
2. How long is this time of peace? Revelation 20:4.
For 1,000 years, humanity will live free from Satan’s deception, under the rule of Jesus Christ, the “King of kings,”and those saints called out of Satan’s world today. Living a life of obedience to his Creator, mankind will experience the rich blessings of that way, a life free from suffering. This world will be God’s world soon. Prepare now to be part of it!