The Miracle of Life
During my freshman year of college, I watched a video called The Miracle of Life. To this day, it is the most fascinating video I have ever seen. Using a flexible mini-cam, the video’s producer gave viewers an inside look, literally, at human reproduction. I remember how many obstacles the male spermatozoa had to overcome before just one sperm, out of several million, reached its final destination—the female ovum.
Considering the odds, and the multitude of things that could go wrong after conception, truly makes the birth of a child miraculous. Children, as it says in Psalm 127:3, are a gift from God.
But why should God give us such a precious gift? And what does that gift of reproduction reveal about our God? For those with eyes to see, it reveals a lot!
God’s Image and Likeness
Notice what the Apostle Paul wrote to the Romans of his day: “For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. Ever since the creation of the world his invisible nature, namely, his eternal power and deity [the spiritual], has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made [the physical]. So they are without excuse” (Romans 1:19-20, Revised Standard Version).
Do you grasp the true significance of that passage? God’s divine nature and awesome purpose is clearly revealed in His physical creation! God’s physical creation, David wrote in Psalm 19:1, declares His glory. God has shown us—so much so that we are without excuse if we remain in ignorance of His purpose.
Look around you! Even the shallowest observer can note this obvious truth: All living creatures reproduce—and they reproduce after their own kind. Life comes from life. In science, this is called biogenesis.
This truth is expounded upon in the very first chapter of the Bible, written by Moses thousands of years ago. God said in Genesis 1:24, “Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so.”
Now consider how this easily discernible truth of physical creation makes known the spiritual things of God. “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness…” (v. 26).
God is a spirit being (John 4:24). You cannot see or touch Him. But through His inspired word and the obvious physical evidence there is in creation, God reveals that He is reproducing His own spirit-life. He is reproducing Himself. He has made this known to man through the physical creation!
Yet, do you realize that billions—yes, billions—of people in this world remain ignorant of this simple, easily proved fact? Yes, even religion has not known about God’s glorious purpose—that He is reproducing Himself.
It’s astonishing, but true.
The original Hebrew word for God in Genesis 1 is Elohim, which is the plural form of the word El or Eloah. That’s why, in verse 26, God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness….” From the beginning, there was more than one.
John 1:1 reveals how many: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” There were two—the Word was with God and was also God. Two beings, one God. In other words, both spirit beings made up one God Kingdom.
One of those spiritual beings, the Word, became flesh in the physical form of Jesus Christ (John 1:14). He was born of the virgin Mary, but begotten of God, by God’s invisible Spirit (Matt. 1:20-21). Talk about the miracle of life! Jesus was God (spiritual) made flesh (physical).
Now if the physical creation reveals the invisible things of God, imagine what God in the flesh could reveal to mankind! He had been with God in spirit for all eternity. Then He came to this Earth as physical flesh and blood for all to see and hear.
Atheists might reject God’s existence, but no one can deny the existence of Jesus Christ. Many thousands personally witnessed much of His life’s work. Hundreds and hundreds have recorded in writing actual events of His life.
What did Jesus Christ come to this Earth to reveal? Above all, God! He came to reveal His heavenly Father (Matt. 18:19, 35). When He was born, Jesus became God’s Son (Matt. 3:17; Luke 1:35). The Son, who became flesh and blood, then set out to reveal His spiritual Father. That is how those two beings are spoken of throughout the New Testament—as “Father” and “Son.”
What started as God and the Word became the Father and Son. In other words, they became a family. But that family was not limited to these two beings alone.
Firstborn Among Many
Christ began His ministry by entering Galilee to preach the gospel of the kingdom, or family, of God (Mark 1:14). He showed how man had the incredible opportunity to be born into God’s family. In Romans 8:28, Paul says, “We know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”
And what is that purpose? Bear in mind, we have already noted that the physical creation makes known the things of God. Now read the next verse: “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren [or children]” (v. 29). Jesus Christ became God’s firstborn Son. But the Bible says there are many more children to follow. God’s family will get much bigger!
Romans 8:29 refers to our spiritual birth. Obviously, Christ was not the first to be born a human being. But He was the first born spirit being—the first to be born a God being! That spiritual birth occurred, as it says in Romans 1:4, when God resurrected Him from the dead to immortal spirit-life.
In the exact same way, by a resurrection to spirit, we too may be born into God’s family. Jesus described this spiritual reproduction process to the Pharisee Nicodemus in John 3: “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
Nicodemus did not grasp this. “How can a man be born when he is old?” he asked. “Can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born? Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God” (vv. 4-5). Jesus taught that spiritual life begins “of water” because we receive God’s Spirit after baptism (Acts 2:38). That is our spiritual begettal. The actual birth, however, occurs when we are resurrected to spirit-life like Jesus was. Verse 6 of John 3 explains: “That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.”
Jesus Christ taught that the physical birth process, from conception to parturition, is an exact type of our spiritual birth.
The Human Spirit
All living creatures reproduce. That alone teaches us a lot about God. But human reproduction teaches much more.
Two created characteristics within man make human beings far superior to animals. We have already noted one of these—man was created in God’s form and shape (Gen. 1:26). Jesus acknowledged this in the New Testament, after Philip asked to see His Father. “He that hath seen me hath seen the Father,” Jesus responded in John 14:9. Jesus, who looked like the average Jew of His day, told His disciples that He also looked like God. That’s because man was created in God’s own form and shape!
The other characteristic that sets man on a much higher plane than animals is the human spirit. God made man and animals out of physical matter. But God placed a spirit in man, it says in Job 32:8, which gave him the power of intellect, enabling him to think, reason and create. Animals, on the other hand, are motivated by instinct.
Paul explains in i Corinthians 2:11: “For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him?…” This spirit is what enables man to know the things of man—the material creation. Animals know nothing of the things of man because they do not have the human spirit.
Continue with the rest of i Corinthians 2:11: “…even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.” So there are two different spirits—the human spirit (man’s mind power) and the Holy Spirit (God’s mind power).
Here is the critical point: Man is born with the human spirit, but not the Holy Spirit. But God intended all mankind to acquire His Holy Spirit!
Man’s Incomplete Creation
Once again, God reveals this incredible truth through His physical creation. God is a family. He created man in His own family image and likeness. Yet Adam, by himself, was incomplete—even physically. He was only half there, you might say. He could not reproduce alone. So God took a rib from the man and created the other physical half—Adam’s helper, the woman. And through marriage, which God also created from the beginning for the very purpose of family, these two became “one flesh” (Gen. 2:24). They were two physical beings, but one family.
Now Adam was also incomplete spiritually. God had equipped him with the human spirit so he could work with physical matter. But Adam needed another spirit, the Holy Spirit, to be able to work harmoniously with other human beings and to have a relationship with his spiritual Father. Adam needed this Spirit to become a complete spiritual creation.
Let’s understand! The human spirit is what empowers man’s mind, making him far superior to animals. The Holy Spirit is what empowers God’s mind, making Him far superior to man! Because God created us in His form and shape, He created in us mind power so we could think and create like He does. But to actually become God—to be born into His family—we need another spirit—God’s Holy Spirit.
Romans 8 makes this unmistakably clear: “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God” (v. 14). God’s Spirit is what makes us His children. Continue in verse 16: “The Spirit itself [Holy Spirit] beareth witness with our spirit [human spirit], that we are the children of God.” The human spirit is what makes it possible for man, unlike animals, to have a relationship with God—for man to acquire the Holy Spirit!
God made His Spirit available to Adam through the tree of life (Gen. 2:9). Partaking of that symbolic tree would have completed Adam’s spiritual creation. It would have enabled him to develop a close relationship with his Creator. Furthermore, it would have enabled him to get along with fellowman—to have a happy marriage, to raise obedient children.
Adam rejected God’s Holy Spirit. He refused to be led by the Spirit, as it says in Romans 8:14. He wanted to decide for himself what was right and wrong. He wanted to devise his own set of values and laws. And man has been following in Adam’s steps ever since.
That is the only possible explanation for the paradox of man. He has been able to produce modern wonders while working with matter. But man has not found a way to get along with fellowman or to develop a close relationship with his Creator. That’s because, ever since Adam made his ill-fated decision, God cut mankind off from the tree of life—the Holy Spirit (Gen. 3:22-24). For 6,000 years man has been spiritually incomplete.
Our Spiritual Mother
God has allowed this world to continue on its present course to teach man a powerful lesson by his own miserable experience. Without God’s Spirit, we might make stunning material advances, but the Bible says we will eventually destroy ourselves (Matt. 24:21-22).
While mankind learns this lesson, God has chosen to prepare a handful of servants now, to assist Jesus Christ at His return to this Earth. He has called these individuals to come out of this evil world (John 6:44; Rev. 18:4). Upon repentance from sin and taking on an obedient attitude, God has promised to supply these select few with the power of His Holy Spirit (Acts 5:32).
Here again, the physical creation teaches this spiritual lesson. Upon receipt of God’s Holy Spirit, we are only begotten as children of God—not yet born (that happens at the resurrection). After spiritual begettal, we must grow and develop inside the womb of our spiritual mother (ii Pet. 3:18).
Jesus taught that our spiritual mother is the church. Throughout the Bible, God refers to His one true church as she, woman, wife, body—even mother (see Gal. 4:26). That’s how we are spiritually fed and nourished before the birth—inside our spiritual mother, the church.
God carries the physical analogy further still. In Revelation 19:7, He says this “woman” will soon marry Jesus Christ: “Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.” Jesus is the Lamb spoken of here (see John 1:29, 36). The wife refers to the church, as Paul makes plain in Ephesians 5:23: “For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.”
Isn’t it plain? God is a Father. Jesus is His Son. The church is the Son’s wife—and that union will produce “many” more children, as Romans 8:29 reveals. In other words, God is reproducing Himself through family!
Yet most people, even in religion, do not understand this truth. “How ridiculous—how nonsensical,” Herbert W. Armstrong wrote, “for professing Christians to claim they are ‘children of God,’ to call one another ‘brethren in the Lord’ and to call God ‘Father,’ and then to deny that God is a family, and that we may actually be born into His very divine family—becoming spirit as He is—becoming divine as He is divine! How stupid to call God ‘Father’—to claim to be His children, to say we are already ‘born again,’ and then believe that we shall always be some utterly different kind of species, some far lower kind of beings—far below either the Father or Christ!” (Why Marriage?, p. 25).
Are you like one of those he describes? One who accepts God as your Father while denying the plain truth—proved in both Scripture and in physical creation—that God is a family?
The Family of God
Paul even referred to the family of God in his letter to the Ephesians. In doing God’s work, Paul had faced his share of trials and tests. “For this cause,” he wrote in Ephesians 3:14-15, “I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named.”
We have already noted how Christ referred to God as His heavenly Father. But here in Ephesians, it says the “whole family in heaven and earth.” Doesn’t that shed profound light on what we have already read in Genesis 1:26? The God family is not limited to two beings. God is looking to expand it through man!
There really is a vast difference between mankind and every other creature. The animals all reproduce after their own kind. But God created man after His kind—in His own image and likeness.
Man alone, of all the creatures on Earth, partakes of this family relationship. That’s because God is reproducing Himself through family! And there is simply no better way to grasp this profound truth than to experience it yourself on the physical level! From the very beginning, God intended human beings to see and experience reproduction within families on the physical level because of how beautifully it represents spiritual reproduction.
That’s why God created man male and female (Gen. 1:27). That’s why He intended male and female to join together as one flesh through the marriage union (Gen. 2:24). And that’s why He has blessed that union with the incredible gift of reproduction (Gen. 1:28). All because of spiritual reproduction—all because God is a family!