Church of God Message
Call Us: 8133745451
GOD'S PURPOSE FOR MARRIAGE
History of the Universe before Man’s Creation
Marriage as an institution was not created by man for his own convenience at some time in his evolution. It was an institution created by the Creator God at the time man was created. The simple account can be found in the Bible in the book of Genesis in the very first two chapters.
In the account of creation, the Bible states that originally God created the heavens and the earth. Then the earth became waste and chaotic. This happened because of angels’ rebellion against God’s rule. But then in six days God recreated the surface of the earth, then created plant, animal and sea life after their kind. But then Genesis 1:26 – 28 describes the creation of mankind:
“26 And God said, let Us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth. 27 So God created man in His own image, in the image of God created He him; male and female created He them. 28 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 moves upon the earth.”
In this account of creation of man, specifically Adam, God says They, not He created man in their image, after their likeness. So, this was not one God-Being creating mankind, but more than one God-Being doing the creating of mankind in their own likeness and image. Mankind in physical form looks like God in His spirit form. He is created in the shape and form of God. He is also created in the image of God. Man has the capacity to think, imagine, reason and speak a language like God. This is how man is made in God’s image. He was created with intellect similar to God’s.
Then the Bible describes the creation of woman in Genesis 2:18-24: “18 And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help [or helper] meet [or suitable] for him. 19 And out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof. 20 And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found a help [or helper] meet [or suitable] for him.
The account says no suitable helper was found for Adam among the animals God had created. Then verse 21 continues: “21 And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; 22 And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made He a woman, and brought her unto the man. 23 And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. 24 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.”
When God called Eve Adam’s wife, the institution of marriage was created. So, marriage was created at the same time mankind was created. The only creation of God that practices it is mankind. It is not a humanly created institution but a divinely ordained one.
Before we can discuss this account of the creation of mankind and the institution of marriage in detail, we must first understand why God created mankind in the first place, and in the form He created him. Only then can we fully understand why God created man as a physical being like an animal, but still in the image of God with many powers similar to God’s that animals don’t possess; and why God created mankind male and female, and then the institution of marriage.
To understand why God created mankind the way He did, we must first understand the history of the universe before man’s creation. That history is also revealed in the pages of the Bible. Almost all of what we know about God’s purpose for creating mankind and marriage has been taught to us by Herbert W. Armstrong through whom God founded the modern era of His Church. One can read his original words in three books or booklets authored by him: Mystery of the Ages, Why Marriage – Soon Obsolete? and The Missing Dimension in Sex, all available free of charge at pcog.org
What follows is my understanding of the history of the universe from the pages of the Bible.
History of the Universe before Creation of Man
In the very beginning only one Supreme God Being existed. That God Being from the pages of the Bible we know as God the Father. This is one Being who has always existed. All power in the universe literally belongs to Him. And literally everything has come from His body, if we can put it that way. He is the primal source of everything that exists.
God the Father originally thought through everything and planned out the entire creation. He did not want to be alone. He chose first to create just one Being with incredible powers like Himself. John the apostle reveals the name of that first created God Being as the Word in John 1:1: “1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
John reveals that in the very beginning there were two God Beings, and both were God. Then John continues in verses 2-3: “2 The same was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made.”
Here John states that all things, meaning the physical and spirit [angels] creation was actually created by the Word. Paul confirms exactly what John wrote in Colossians 1:16: "For by Him all things were created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him and for him."
Thus, before anything was created, only two divine Beings existed: God the Father, and the Word, who later came in the flesh as Jesus Christ: “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father), full of grace and truth” (John 1:14)
After God the Father had planned out the entire creation, He then worked with the Word to teach Him the entire process of creation. The Word had to learn the plan because the honor of actually creating everything was to be given to Him. The Word in verse 14 is translated from the Greek word logos which means ‘Spokesman’ or ‘word’. So, the Word, or Spokesman of the divine family created everything in the universe.
There is a very important reason why the Word had to create the entire universe. The two God Beings had planned for possible failure and rebellion against their rule. In that event they had already planned that because the Word had created everything, He could pay the death penalty for the sins of created beings by dying for them. The need for that sacrifice did arise after the sin of angels and then mankind and that sacrifice was made by Jesus Christ who was the Word before He came as a human being to earth.
Many believe that the Word has always existed with God the Father as John 1:1 state. But I believe John is talking about the creation of the angelic world and the universe and all things in it. He is not excluding the possibility that the Word was originally created by God the Father. Let’s see from the pages of the Bible if the Word was originally created by God the Father or not.
In summary, here is the proof.
Micah 5:2 states: "But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall He come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel, whose goings forth have been of old, from everlasting."
The New International Version (NIV) renders this verse: "But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me, one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times."
New American Standard Bible (NASB) renders this verse: "But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel, His going forth are from long ago, from the days of eternity."
This verse states that the Messianic King to come was 'from everlasting.'
The Hebrew word translated 'everlasting' is owlam or olam, which is number 5769 in the Hebrew and Chaldee dictionary of Strong's Exhaustive Concordance. It can mean concealed, i.e. the vanishing point; generally of time, out of mind (past or future), i.e. (practically) eternity; frequently as an adverb, always, ancient (time), any more, continuance, eternal, for everlasting, evermore, of old, lasting, long (time), perpetual, at any time, (beginning of the world) plus without end.
Therefore, the words 'whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting' can mean from so old that we human beings cannot imagine it, or from way before the world began, or from ancient time, or practically eternity. However, 'practically eternity' does not necessarily mean absolute eternity, i.e. without beginning.
But let us examine more scriptures to see if the Word has always existed along with the Father.
Colossians 1:15 states: "Who [Jesus Christ] is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature.” NKJV renders this verse: "He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation."
If Jesus Christ before His human birth was the image of God the Father, it can imply that God the Father existed before Him and the Word then became His image. Someone or something has to exist first before another can become his or its image. However, it can also mean that both God Beings existed together with one being the image of the other.
But the verse also calls Jesus Christ as the “firstborn of every creature” or the “firstborn over all creation.” If Jesus Christ is the firstborn of every creature [this would include the angelic world as well], then it implies that He was created before every creature. Firstborn here does not seem to imply firstborn from the dead. Angels do not rise from the dead in a resurrection. By implying 'firstborn from the dead', we are reading something into the text which is not there. So, it does not matter if the translation is 'firstborn of every creature' or 'firstborn over all creation', it still means that Jesus was the firstborn.
Revelation 3:14 states: "And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; these things says the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God."
New King James Version (NKJV) also translates it the same way. So does the New American Standard, American Standard, Revised Standard, New Revised Standard and the New Century Version. But New International Version renders it: "To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God's creation."
The Greek word translated 'beginning' in this verse is arche, pronounced ar-khay, number 746 in the Greek dictionary of Strong's Exhaustive Concordance. It means a commencement, or chief (in various applications of order, time, place or rank); beginning, corner, first (estate), magistrate, power, principality, principle, rule. While this word may mean chief or ruler, nowhere is this word translated chief or ruler in the entire King James Version. Forty times it is translated as 'beginning' and once as 'beginnings'. It is translated as magistrates in Luke12:11, principality in 2 places and principalities in 6 places. But the context of the verse shows that the correct translation is 'beginning', and 'ruler' is the wrong translation.
Other sayings of Jesus also lend support to His statement that He was 'the beginning of God's creation', or that God the Father started His creation first with Him.
Before beginning His messages to each of the seven churches, Jesus Christ is revealing something more about Himself that was not previously known before the book of Revelation was given, or to confirm His identity as the God of the Old Testament. Jesus had already revealed Himself as 'the ruler over the kings of the earth' in Revelation 1:5, and the gospels and the epistles had made it abundantly clear in many places that Jesus is the Creator of all of God's creation and ruler over it. Jesus therefore could not have meant 'ruler of God's creation' in Revelation 3:14. Jesus meant to reveal something new about Himself, that He was 'the beginning of God's creation,' meaning that He was the first Being that God the Father created. This confirms that Jesus was created, or as Colossians 1:15 says "the firstborn of every creature."
Other sayings of Jesus also lend support to His statement that He was 'the beginning of God's creation', or that God the Father started His creation first with Him.
Jesus Christ Himself said in John 14:28, "…my Father is greater than I." And in John 10:29, "My Father ...is greater than all." Paul also stated in 1 Corinthians 11:3, "...the head of Christ is God." Jesus is clearly subject to the Father, and God the Father is the undisputed Head of the family.
Jesus stated in John 5:26: "For as the Father has life in himself, so has he given to the Son to have life in himself." Jesus is stating here that God the Father granted to Jesus to have life inherent Himself. This means that if God the Father had not granted the gift to Jesus to have life in Himself, then He would not have been the Self-Existent One. God the Father granted that to Him. This then implies that God the Father gave life to Jesus Christ in the first place, long before the world began, or before anything else was created. This means that the Word had not always existed along with the Father, and that God the Father created Him.
Jesus also said in John 8:28: "...but as my Father has taught me, I speak these things." This is a clear statement that the Father taught Jesus Christ before anything was created by the Word. Earlier in verse 26 Jesus had said, "...I speak to the world those things which I have heard of Him." Clearly there was a stage at which the Word needed to be taught. There was a stage at which He did not know everything. This can only mean that the Word has not always existed with the Father, and that He was created by the Father.
God the Father seems to have carried out the creation in stages. He first created the Word. There was no heaven at that time. The days and nights began with the material creation. So, the Word had no 'beginning of days.' He existed before days began. God the Father then taught the Word everything, including His law of love. This could have gone on for a very very very long time, and the only words that come close to describing that length of time is past eternity. God the Father had thought through His entire plan of creation well before He created the Word. Then He let the Word plan all the creation in discussion with Him. The Word learnt from God the Father through this planning process. He had to learn how to create. God the Father taught the Word everything. And He also gave the honor of creating everything to the Word.
The only reasonable conclusion we can reach then is that Jesus Christ was created by God the Father as the Word or Spokesman for the God family. He was the beginning of creation by God the Father.
Confirmation by an Angel
In my booklet titled “God’s Messages Delivered Through Angels,” available free of charge on my website www.ChurchofGodMessage.com, I have written that one of the messages delivered to me by an angel was that Jesus Christ is a created Being. In that booklet, I explained how God Himself provided proof for the world that He had indeed delivered His messages to me through angels.
The proof was that the first message delivered to me was that I am of Jewish ancestry. I shared that message with a Church minister in Milwaukee, WI where I attended weekly Church services. Then four years later God revealed to Queen Elizabeth II that I was also a descendant of ancient King David of Israel, a Jew, which the Queen herself is also. If I had not first shared the message with the minister, I could have been accused of just ‘making it up’ that the message had been delivered to me by an angel.
Here is how the message that Jesus Christ is indeed a created Being was delivered to me sometime in late 2007 or early 2008. In one of my weekly messages, I had mentioned that I believed that Jesus Christ is a Being created by God the Father so long ago that we can only call it ‘past eternity.’ This was a complete break with the position of the Church of God which believed that God the Father and Jesus Christ have always lived together for past eternity, and that Jesus Christ is not a created Being.
But my understanding was based on reinterpretation of three scriptures: Micah 5:2, Colossians 1:15 and Revelation 3:14, as already described.
I bolstered my position with the following four additional arguments:
1) Colossians 1:15 says, ‘Jesus Christ is the image of the invisible God.” Jesus Christ could not have been the image of God if God the Father had not existed before Him
2) In John14:28 Jesus Christ said, “My Father is greater than I.” Thus, Jesus Christ is clearly subject to God the Father.
3) John 5:26 says, “For as the Father has life in Himself, so has He given to the Son to have life in Himself.” This means that Jesus has life inherent in Himself, which was granted to Him by the Father. This implies He originally received life from God the Father, meaning that He was originally created by God the Father.
4) Jesus also said in John 8:28, “…but as My Father has taught Me, I speak these things.” This clearly implies that there was a stage when the Word did not know everything and needed to be taught by God the Father. This can only mean that the Word, or Jesus Christ has not always existed with the Father, but had a beginning and was originally created by Him and was then taught everything, just as a child needs to be taught.
When I delivered this message as one of my weekly messages, very soon my pastor delivered a sermon reiterating the Church’s position that Jesus was not a created Being but has always existed along with God the Father. Later other ministers gave similar sermons restating the Church’s position.
God restored all the truths to His Church in these end-times through Mr. Armstrong. These truths were all major Church doctrines. But whether Jesus Christ was originally a Created Being or not is not a doctrine. So, I felt a position different from what the Church believed concerning interpretation of Scripture could be taken. But our Church pastors continued to reiterate the Church’s position over and over again in sermons. Then one morning I went down on my knees to specifically pray for God’s guidance in this matter. While I was on my knees only a few minutes praying, God sent His angel to deliver His message to me. In this message God’s angel provided the four proofs that I have mentioned that Jesus Christ was a created Being. Since then I have never wavered from my position that Jesus Christ was originally created by God the Father so long ago that we can characterize that time period only as past eternity.
How God and the Word Lived
To really appreciate why God the Father and Jesus Christ created humanity the way they did, and instituted marriage, we must first understand how God the Father and the Word lived before they created anything. Then we can appreciate the wisdom in further creating other creatures the way They did.
It is difficult for created beings to fathom how God the Father, the Supreme Being, to whom all power belongs, has always existed. Try as we might, it boggles the mind. We as created beings are used to thinking in terms of beginnings. It is impossible for us to imagine a Being who had no beginning.
God the Father first thought of creating. He planned out His creation and thought through the attributes and characteristics that His entire creation and each of His creatures should have. Of course, He wanted company. He was alone. He wanted to create creatures with whom He could have a good, happy, joyous and deeply satisfying relationship. It would be better to have company than to live alone. But the state of companionship would be better only if the relationship would be a harmonious, happy, joyous and respectful one. Otherwise company would only bring misery, pain and suffering.
God mulled over His plan from every angle over untold eons of time. He determined that the only way He could have a loving relationship with other beings would be to create intelligent beings like Himself. It was absolutely essential for Him to give them “free will” or ‘free moral agency.’ They could choose to live according to His way of life, or choose to live any other way they wished.
Without ‘free will’ God’s creatures would be mere robots, programmed to behave in a particular way. We can visualize quite easily why ‘free choice’ was so important by looking at God’s creation on earth. The kind of deeply satisfying, happy and joyful relationship human beings can have with their own children, or other human beings is not possible with any other creatures made of matter, be they trees, birds, fish or any kind of animals, no matter how loving or loyal the animal, dog or cat or another creature might be. The animals have instinct. They have limited freedom of choice. They act according to instinct as they have been programmed, in the interest of self-preservation and procreation of their kind. Animals can have a satisfying relationship among themselves. But it is an animal plane relationship. It is not a human level relationship, or a God plane relationship. In fact, God created the animal world to teach us the importance of creating “free will” in human beings and the angelic world.
God also created different creatures with differing abilities of communication. We can have a better relationship with animals that can communicate verbally in more complex ways than other creatures.
Humans have animal-like bodies, but with a human spirit imparted to them by God which gives them human intellect or intelligence, which is the power to think; the “mind power.”
The best passage that explains what the ‘human spirit’ is as contrasted with God’s holy spirit is 1 Corinthians 2:9-12: “But as it is written, Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for them that love Him. But God has revealed them unto us by his [Holy] Spirit: for the [Holy] Spirit searches all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knows the things of a man, save the [human] spirit of man which is in him? Even so the things of God knows no man, but the [Holy] Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the [human] spirit of the world, but the [holy] spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.”
In the above verses, the words “Holy” where Paul is talking about God’s holy spirit, and the word “human” where he is discussing the human spirit have been added. Paul here explains that the ‘human spirit’ in man helps us understand the things of man, a much higher level of understanding than that of animals. But the spiritual things of God can be understood only if we possess God’s holy spirit. The human spirit alone cannot help us understand spiritual things.
Another verse that sheds further light on the ‘human spirit’ is Ecclesiastes 12:7: At death, “Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the sprit shall return unto God who gave it.”
Job 32:8 also says the same thing: “But there is a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty gives them understanding.” In Job 34:14-15, he says: “If he [God] set his heart upon man, If he [God] gather unto himself his [human] spirit and his breath; all flesh shall perish together; and man shall turn again unto dust.”
This human spirit in man does not impart human life. Human life is first imparted by God at conception, and is sustained by circulation of blood, oxidized by the breath of air, and fueled by food. But God reveals in the Scriptures that there is a spirit within every human. This spirit is not present in animals. Human and animal brains are quite alike. But man’s superiority in being able to think, reason, acquire knowledge, make complex decisions and choices, communicate at a more complex level in complex languages, create and appreciate music and art, and develop attitudes of both good and evil comes not from the human brain, but from the ‘human spirit.’
Human intellect, similar to God’s intellect makes a personal relationship possible among human beings as well as between God and man, which is a much higher plane relationship than the animal level relationship. But without ‘free will’ a human plane, deeply satisfying and loving relationship would not be possible. Therefore, ‘free will’ is absolutely essential for human beings to have a loving, deep, personal and satisfying relationship with a spouse, children, parents, friends, other human beings, and God.
So, God planned to create intelligent beings who would love Him of their own free will and choose to obey Him. They would obey His laws from the heart, of their own free will, because they would understand that the laws have been given for their own good, as well as for the good of fellow human beings and God’s entire creation. They would love Him as He would love them. God also wanted these beings to have an abundant, happy, joyous, meaningful and thoroughly satisfying life themselves. By creating beings similar to Himself, God in effect, would be reproducing Himself.
God started His creation work small. He first created a divine Being like Himself - the Word, who later became Jesus Christ in the flesh. Just imagine, a brand new Being with incredible intelligence and power, just like God the Father Himself. Now only two Beings existed, and nothing else. Then God the Father tells the Word that He created Him. God had to begin explaining everything to the Word. He was created out of God’s holy spirit, which is God’s power.
The holy spirit imparts godly character to the person who possesses it. To truly know God, one must know what His character is! The character of both God the Father and Jesus Christ the Son is that of spiritual holiness, righteousness and absolute perfection.
One word that sums up God’s character is LOVE, which is defined as outgoing concern for the welfare of others. It can also be called the way of “giving” instead of “getting”, the way of sharing, helping and serving. God’s nature includes the attributes of PEACE, HARMONY, JUSTICE, MERCY, COMPASSION, HAPPINESS AND JOY towards all those He has created. It is a way devoid of covetousness, lust, greed, vanity, selfishness, envy, jealousy, resentment, bitterness, hatred, competition, strife, violence and destruction.
God the Father and the Word lived this way of life ever since the Word was created for practically the past eternity. They lived the way of their perfect character. This was their “life-style”. When John the Baptist baptized Jesus Christ, God the Father said, “You are my beloved Son.” Beloved means God loved the Word and the Word loved the Father and obeyed Him completely. They lived in total agreement with each other. But it is also a principle of God’s way that when two walk together, one has to be the head and in control. One has to be the leader. God the Father was the head.
The results of living this way for eternity were perfect cooperation, peace, harmony, joy, happiness and most important of all, tremendous accomplishment. They made this way of life a LAW, a code of conduct or relationship between God the Father and the Word.
Since Jesus Christ was wholly composed of the holy spirit, LOVE, giving, sharing, peace, happiness and joy were His very nature. God the Father first demonstrated this kind of godly love towards the Word, a much higher level of love - God plane love - than brotherly love, a human plane lover. There was no jealousy, envy, competition, greed, hatred or strife between God and the Word. These feelings arise in human beings because Satan and his demons broadcast these attitudes, moods and feelings into their minds. But there was total absence of these feelings and attitudes between God the Father and the Word. When God the Father exhibited total love for the Word, it was natural for the Word to respond in kind.
Godly love far exceeds what is implied by the English word agape. The love God has for us goes much deeper than we can imagine. It implies a decision to love someone even when there is no expectation of a reciprocal response. It often is not a mutual, two-way love.
Godly love is selfless and sacrificial. Jesus said: “This is My commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you. There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (John 15:12-13, New Living Translation). See 1 John 3:16-18.
Godly love is amazing! It does not seek retaliation (Matthew 5:38-39) It is willing to go beyond one’s duty in serving others (verses 40-42). It even means loving one’s enemies! (verses 43-48). The perfect example of these virtues was the earthly life of Jesus Christ!
When there are only the two beings, both composed of God’s Holy Spirit, and no feelings of jealousy, envy or hatred have ever come between them, but instead they have lived in perfect love with each other, and they know that whatever they create will be jointly owned and shared by them, and the one Created knows that the Creator is the Superior and Perfect One, and He has taught the Created One everything he knows, there can be nothing else but love, perfect harmony, peace and joy in the relationship between the two. God the Father and the Word perfectly understood each other and trusted each other completely. They lived for a past eternity of time and became one in their relationship. Jesus said in John 10:30: “I and my Father are one.”
Mankind was created in the way it was created with the institution of marriage to learn to develop the kind of relationship based on love that has existed between God the Father and the Word for past eternity.
The Word learnt that “Nothing is too hard for the Father to do” as He has all the power, understanding and knowledge, because He has generated it all. Later when God’s plan called for the Word to come in human flesh, live a sinless life and die, even though each and every human being ever born had sinned, the Word through practically an eternity of experience trusted that the Father could help Him live a sinless life to become a perfect sacrifice for the sins of humanity. That kind of complete and total trust between the two was developed in past eternity of living together as the only two Beings in existence.
Further trust between the two God Beings, based on the Word’s understanding of the knowledge and power of God the Father, was developed when they planned out the creation together. God the Father must have given ideas to the Word about the kinds of beings to be created which would have convinced the Word that the Father was the Supreme Being of all that existed. Anything that could cause any disharmony between the two was ironed out in an eternity of living together. And the Word came to know that the Father loved Him totally and completely. And He loved the Father wholeheartedly with complete and total trust in Him. The process of planning the creation together deepened the bond between them.
There are two important implications of Law. Law presupposes GOVERNMENT. An authority, the government leadership, enacts the Law, administers and enforces it. The law prescribes penalties for violations of the Law, and the authority enforces the penalties when violations do occur.
When only God the Father and the Word existed, there was government, with God the Father in command. God’s form of government is from the top down, with God in supreme control handing down His laws. Laws are not legislated by the governed. It is not a government by the consent of the governed. Since God the Father created the Word, this put His government over Him, with the Father as the supreme ruler. Since the Word created everything else, this puts Him in supreme authority over all He created, and God the Father over everything that exists.
There was no problem of government between God the Father and the Word. They had proved that between themselves through a past eternity of time and living together in a loving and trusting relationship. They were confident that they would never violate the law of love or the way of life between them. They also knew that further intelligent beings would also have to live by that law for there to be perfect love, peace, harmony and joy in the universe. But they had to consider the possibility of some of the intelligent created beings choosing to live another way of life, contrary to the laws that God the Father and the Word had instituted. As a result, conflict and adversarial relationships would arise, leading to discord and hatred. The penalty according to law would then apply.
Perfect spiritual godly Love is how we can describe the relationship between God the Father and Jesus Christ. This is how they want human beings to relate to them, to each other, and in marriage and family relationships. The institution of marriage was created only for human beings in all of God’s creation to develop that character trait in them.
Next Phase of Creation
God always begins His projects small as if proceeding cautiously. He is never in a hurry. He does not need to be. He has always existed and will always exist. When His first creation project proved to be perfect and a total success, only then did God and the Word decide to proceed further.
Now since the Word had the honor of creating the rest of the creation, would He proceed by creating hundreds of millions or perhaps billions of beings, or would He proceed cautiously and create a small number of beings first? To see if we can find the answer, we should consider what the Bible says about the twenty-four elders. They are mentioned in Revelation 4:1-4, 6-11: “After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will show you things which must be hereafter. And immediately, I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne…
“And round about the throne were four and twenty seats: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold…”
These verses show that the twenty-four elders are clothed in white raiment, a symbol of righteousness [which is given after testing and trial of one’s total obedience to God], wear crowns and sit on thrones. Jesus Christ also is pictured in Revelation 19:12 as wearing many crowns. And God the Father and Jesus Christ sit on thrones.
No angels are pictured as wearing crowns, or sitting on thrones, except for Lucifer who was given a crown and a throne to sit on as ruler over the earth. This is implied by Isaiah 14:13 where Lucifer says: “…I will exalt my throne above the stars [angels] of God…”
When human beings qualify to become eternal beings as God’s literal sons in His kingdom, they also will wear crowns and sit on thrones. This indicates that the twenty-four elders have higher authority than the angels. They are God’s counselors who have qualified to sit on thrones and wear crowns. If the twenty-four elders were created at the same time as the angels, it is difficult to imagine that the twenty-four elders qualified to sit on thrones and wear crowns, but none of the angels (except Lucifer), including the archangels Gabriel and Michael, qualified to wear crowns and sit on thrones. This indicates that the twenty-four elders were likely created before the angels were created.
It is therefore likely that God the Father and the Word decided to proceed cautiously in the next phase of their creation. They first decided to create 24 spirit beings instead of hundreds of millions or billions of them. It appears that these elders look like the Word, and have human-like faces.
After the twenty-four elders were created, they were taught God’s way of life and His laws. Of their own free will, they learnt to love, respect and honor their Creators, God the Father and the Word. Living that way of life produced perfect harmony, peace and abundant joy for the Creators and the twenty-four elders. They also learnt about God’s method of government.
It is hard for us to imagine what the twenty-four elders did, but it probably had at least something to do with future creation. Of course, in the process they had to learn all the science behind it as the Word had to learn it before them. They participated in planning for further creation and learnt how to do it from God the Father and the Word, as the Word had learnt from God the Father. And while planning out future creation, the twenty-four elders visualized and learnt how God’s way of life and laws would apply to the creatures that would come into being.
The process of learning and living God’s way of life for the twenty-four elders must have gone on for a very long time, perhaps hundreds of millions, or even billions of years. The Word lived for practically a past eternity before the twenty-four elders were created. It stands to reason that the twenty-four elders would have lived a long-time and proved themselves faithful to God and the Word before God would move ahead with the next phase of His creation. They too lived God’s way of life perfectly and had no inclination to go contrary to that way even in their thoughts. They loved God the Father and the Word with perfect agape or godly love as they were loved by God.
This phase of God’s creation plan was also a perfect total success. God’s creation lived in perfect peace, harmony, happiness, joy and love for God and for one another. And the twenty-four elders honored and respected God the Father and the Word as their Creators. As a result, the elders qualified to sit on thrones and receive crowns. They have also qualified to be called righteous, because they are shown clothed in white raiment which is a symbol of righteousness.
Now the 24 elders are counselors of God the Father in heaven. They see what is going on in the earth and with the angels in heaven, find solutions to problems and discuss them with God the Father and Jesus Christ who then implements them.
When Was Heaven Created?
It seems there was another phase of creation before the material universe was created. The Bible mentions three heavens: the first heaven is earth’s atmosphere; the second heaven is space where all the galaxies, stars and planets are located; and the third heaven is where God the Father’s throne is located. Genesis 1:1 tells us: “In the beginning God created the heaven[s] and the earth.” Does this mean that all the three heavens were created when the material universe was created? It may not be so. Question then is: When was the heaven created where God’s throne is located?
Genesis 1:1 is talking primarily about the material universe. Therefore, it seems that our atmosphere and space with its billions of galaxies, stars and planets were created at the same time as the earth was created.
Ezekiel 28:14 talks about Lucifer: “Thou art the anointed cherub that covers; and I have set you so: you were upon the holy mountain of God; you have walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire.” Lucifer was one of the two cherubs who covered God’s throne in heaven. It is possible that God’s throne and hence the third heaven was already in existence when the angels were created. So, God the Father and Jesus Christ may have created the third heaven, where God’s throne is located before the angels were created.
Psalm 45:6 supports this view: “Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever.” God’s throne has thus always existed in His holy city, heaven. Psalm 11:4 tells us: “…the Lord’s throne is in heaven…”
This is the creation the 24 elders may have been involved in planning with God the Father and the Word well before the material universe was created.
However, it is also possible that the third heaven was created by God the Father and was in existence before even the Word was created.
Creation of Angels
After the 24 elders proved to God that they had thoroughly learnt His way of life and His laws, were convinced that it was the best way to live a happy, peaceful and joyous life, and would always live the way of love, God the Father and the Word decided to proceed with the next phase of their creation plan. They decided to create many more beings: hundreds of millions, or perhaps billions of angels.
In this phase of creation, God for the first time decided to create variety, for all angels don’t look alike. The Bible does not indicate what the angels look like, except that the cherubim have four faces each, the face of a man, lion, ox and eagle, one on each side (Ezekiel 1:10; 10:14). But when the angels appear to human beings, they appear as human beings. The archangels Michael and Gabriel have wings, but the Bible does not indicate what their faces are like.
All angels are not created equal. There were three cherubim of archangel rank, apparently the highest rank: Michael, Gabriel and Lucifer. There are the four cherubim who transport God’s throne (Ezekiel 1:10, 10:14). And then Isaiah mentions Seraphim (Isaiah 6:2, 6.) Also see Revelation 4:8. And then there are other angels of lower ranks.
The angels have differing capabilities. God created variety in them to perhaps provide inspiration and models for them to create a variety of creatures on their own. And certainly, variety makes for a more interesting and exciting world. Isn’t the quality of life improved because there are so many varieties and colors of roses? What would the world be like if roses were only red in color? How comparatively unexciting our world would be if all dogs, cats, horses, cows and other creatures were of one variety only?
The angels are spirit beings, composed wholly of spirit. They do not have circulating blood in their bodies, and do not need to breathe air or be fueled by food to sustain their lives. Their bodies do not deteriorate and age like human bodies. So, they can potentially live forever. But they do not have life inherent in them as Jesus Christ has. They are not self-existent. Though they have spirit bodies that can live forever, their lives are still in God’s hands. He can terminate them as He pleases. Ezekiel 28:18-19 says “…I will bring thee to ashes…and never shall you be any more,” which indicates that God has already judged Satan to be worthy of death.
After being created, the angels first learnt God’s way of life and His laws. They learnt about God’s government at His throne. They learnt to love each other, and respect and honor God the Father and the Word. The angels learnt to love and respect the 24 elders as well. This could have gone on for millions or even hundreds of millions of years. God’s government over the angels was administered by the three archangels: Lucifer, Michael and Gabriel. God, the Word and the 24 elders loved the angels and the angels loved, respected and honored them in return. The 24 elders must have assisted God the Father and the Word in teaching the angels God’s way of life and His laws. God’s government produced a wonderfully happy state of affairs in heaven with perfect love, peace, harmony, cooperation and unspeakable joy.
Training for God’s Government
God created three Cherubim of archangel rank: Lucifer, Michael and Gabriel. Two of the cherubs were assigned the task of covering God’s throne with their wings. Perhaps all three handled this responsibility, though only two at a time. What a fantastic opportunity for them to learn God’s government up close, at the very seat of that government. Lucifer was one of the cherubs assigned that role. Thus, he was trained in God’s government at the very headquarters of that government in heaven. This is described in Ezekiel 28:14: “You are the anointed cherub that covers; and I have set you so: you were upon the holy mountain of God; you have walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire.”
The cherubim are super beings. Here is how Lucifer is described in Ezekiel 28:12-13, 15: “…Thus says the Lord God; You seal up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty. You have been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was your covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of your tabrets and of your pipes was prepared in you in the day that you were created…You were perfect in your ways from the day that you were created…”
That is the description of a super spirit being in whom was created the sum total of wisdom, perfection in beauty and brilliance, great genius and superb musical talent and numerous other skills. His understanding of God’s ways and laws and applying them in life was perfect. The name Lucifer means “shining star of the dawn,” or “light bringer.” Apparently, Michael and Gabriel the archangels embody similar perfection, but perhaps differing in their abilities and talents.
Either Michael or Gabriel initially covered God’s throne with the archangel Lucifer. Later when Lucifer was sent to the earth, both Michael and Gabriel handled those duties. These duties gave the archangels the opportunity to observe and experience the administration of God’s government in heaven. They learnt how to administer God’s laws and create perfect order and harmony.
One can be certain that heaven was not a dull place, with only business and no play or entertainment. Lucifer and other angels were created with incredible musical talent to be used. Inhabitants of heaven must have produced and enjoyed beautiful, celestial music and entertainment. God and the angels must have lived a perfectly peaceful, happy and an incredibly joyous life. This wonderfully happy state of affairs must have gone on for perhaps hundreds of millions or even billions of years, if the history of the Word is taken as a guide.
The Material Creation
When God and the Word were convinced that the angels were perfectly trained in Their way of life of Love, His laws, and administration of His government, they began sharing their future plans with the angels. They discussed with them plans for the creation of the material universe. They told the angels about the kind of creation it would be and invited input from them to get them to exercise their imagination and build up great anticipation and excitement for the project. This planning could have gone on for a long time. The angels looked at the plan from every angle and learnt how thorough God is in planning and executing projects. When anticipation and excitement had built to fever pitch, the Word then created the material universe. That is what is described in Genesis 1:1: “In the beginning God created the heaven[s] and the earth.”
When the angels saw the beauty of the earth, they were absolutely thrilled and shouted for joy as stated in Job 38:4: “4 "Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding. 7 When the morning stars [meaning angels] sang together, and all the sons of God [again meaning angels who are sons of God by creation] shouted for joy?”
God is the author of perfection and beauty, and not of chaos and disorder. So, when the earth and the universe were created, they were created in a perfect, beautiful state. That is why the angels shouted for joy. But the earth and the universe were created for the angels to work with. They were to further beautify and preserve the earth.
Then God chose a pioneering party of angels to rule the earth. He chose one of the highest rank among them: Lucifer, to be the ruler to administer His government on earth. Lucifer had proved himself thoroughly capable of administering God’s government through his training and testing at God’s universe ruling headquarters. The earth was to be the abode of apparently one-third of all the angels under Lucifer. And Lucifer was set on a throne as Isaiah 14:13 indicates: “For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God…”
God’s Purpose in Creating the Material Universe
But what was God’s purpose in creating the material universe. God created the angels with intellect or mind-power. They have the power to think, reason, make choices and decisions, and the freedom to live and act in any way they choose. But free choice means that the angels could choose to live God’s way or choose to live another way.
Though God gave the angels incredible intellect, there is one quality that even God cannot create instantly with His creative powers. That quality is God’s holy, righteous character. To create holy, righteous character is a supreme act of creative accomplishment for God Almighty. This is how the late Herbert W. Armstrong, Pastor General of the Worldwide Church of God described it in “Mystery of the Ages”, pages 69-70 (emphasis in original):
“God assigns angels responsibilities, but God created within them MINDS – WITH POWER TO THINK, TO REASON, TO MAKE CHOICES AND DECISIONS!
“But there was one super-important quality that even God’s creative powers could not create instantly by fiat – the same perfect, holy, righteous CHARACTER inherent in both God and the Word!
“This kind of character must be DEVELOPED, by the CHOICE and the INTENT of the one in whom it comes to exist.
“So mark well this super-vital truism – that perfect, holy and righteous character is the supreme feat of accomplishment possible for Almighty God the Creator – it is also the means to his ultimate supreme PURPOSE! His final objective!
“I repeat, such perfect character must be developed. It requires the free choice and decision of the separate entity in whom it is to be created. But, further, even then it must be instilled by and from the Holy God who, only, has such righteous character to endow.
“But what do we mean by righteous character?
“Perfect, holy and righteous character is the ability in such separate entity to come to discern the true and right way from the false, to make voluntarily a full and unconditional surrender to God and his perfect way – to yield to be conquered by God – to determine even against temptation or self-desire, to live and to do the right. And even then such holy character is the gift of God. It comes by yielding to God to instill HIS LAW (God’s right way of life) within the entity who so decides and wills.
“Actually, this perfect character comes only from God, as instilled within the entity of his creation, upon voluntary acquiescence, even after severe trial and test.”
So, God created the angels with free choice. But even God cannot create His prefect, holy and righteous character instantly in an intelligent being. That character has to be developed over time, through tests and trials. Even then such character is instilled by God. The intelligent being cannot do it by himself. God must develop that character in him or her. But it requires the agreement and willing cooperation of the one in whom the holy, righteous character is to be developed.
What then was God’s purpose in creating the material universe? Mr. Armstrong answers:
“What was God’s ULTIMATE OBJECTIVE for the angels? Beyond question it is that which, now, because of angelic rebellion, has become the transcendent potential of humans.
“As the testing ground, and opportunity for positive and active creative accomplishment, God created – brought into existence – the entire vast material universe” (ibid. p. 70).
God’s objective for intelligent beings is to create His own holy and righteous character in them. God wants that they always obey His laws and live according to His way of life, no matter what the circumstances. God had tested the angels and they had passed the test so far and learnt and lived God’s way of life. Now if the angels were removed away from His presence, would they still live according to His way of life? Could they be totally relied upon to live that way of life no matter where they were in the universe? And would they always administer God’s government in the universe? The earth would be the next testing ground.
The angels had demonstrated in heaven that they would live God’s way of life and live under and administer God’s universe ruling government. Lucifer and the angels with him now had the best possible opportunity to prove themselves and qualify to become rulers and creators in the entire universe on their own. It was an incredible privilege for them to be the pioneers in the next phase of God’s creation plan.
The Earth under Lucifer’s Rule
When Lucifer and the angels came to earth, they must have been absolutely thrilled. Here was an opportunity for them to create whatever they wanted on their own. They effectively ‘owned’ the earth under God. God had created the earth perfect and very beautiful, but as Mr. Armstrong calls it: “It is perfect, but subject to a beautifying finish that God intended angels to accomplish.” Mr. Armstrong continues describing God’s purpose in creating the angels:
“The original “unfinished” creation was produced by God alone. But He intended angels, prehistorically, and MAN, now, to utilize creative power – to finish this part in God’s creation – of adding the final beautifying and utilitarian phases of what shall be the FINAL COMPLETED CREATION!
“And whether or not it had been revealed to the angels, it was a supreme TRIAL AND TEST. It was to be the PROVING GROUND of obedience to GOD’S GOVERNMENT and their fitness to develop into final finished creation the millions of other planets in the vast universe” (ibid. p. 89).
The angels must have first explored the earth, its soil, water, air, energy and other matter to understand its properties. They must have applied themselves to understanding the various laws of physics, chemistry and mathematics that God had set in motion. The Word must have taught them certain things to start with and then guided them in their discovery. In fact, just as God inspires human thoughts, He also inspired the thoughts of Lucifer and the angels in their discovery of the earth.
The angels would have learnt and developed mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology and the other sciences. Then God may have shown the angels how to create vegetation. The angels would have explored this creation and understood it. Their intellectual capacities are far superior to those of human beings. So they would have understood the earth much faster than we can understand it. The angels must then have created some vegetation and living creatures on their own. As time passed, they continued making further progress in creating life. They began to master the earth, and were becoming competent in creating vegetation, living creatures, whole eco-systems and sustaining them. They would have experienced a great sense of accomplishment as their competence increased and they created ever more complex creatures.
The angels were increasing their knowledge on how to create, while God’s government was being administered on earth by Lucifer. They experienced the joys of incredible creative accomplishment, and were living happy lives, enjoying fine music and entertainment under the guidance of the master musician, Lucifer himself (Ezekiel 28:13). This productive and happy state of affairs could have gone on for perhaps hundreds of millions, or a few billions of years.
Archaeologists and paleontologists have unearthed what appears to be the plant and animal world created by the angels under Lucifer’s rule. That is the world we know as the dinosaur world.
From these fossil records, paleontologists have constructed what that world looked like. Though giant dinosaurs capture the fascination of children and adults alike, it should be understood that there was a great multitude of creatures of various shapes and sizes. But certainly, in contrast to our modern world, giants many times the size and weight of our largest land creature, the elephant, abounded. And they were not concentrated only in a few areas but roamed all over the earth. They could be found in what is now North and South America, Asia, Europe and Africa.
And to sustain all these gargantuan and smaller creatures were huge forests of ferns, conifers, cycads (plants that resemble palm trees) and gingkoes (a tree native to China and having fan-shaped leaves and fleshy yellowish seeds with a disagreeable odor – American Heritage Dictionary). These forests were probably greater than any that we have a record of in our world. In addition to the tall trees, there were low lying mosses, horsetails and ferns that a variety of creatures chomped on. There were also large inland areas of shrub and scrub, as well as desert regions.
This world was not created in a few short years. According to the U.S. Geological Survey the earth is approximately 4.54 billion years old. This means that the Dinosaur world could have been the result of billions of years of learning and creating by the angels under Lucifer’s rule.
There are indications in the Bible that the angels had to some extent mastered the material creation. Satan was able to inflict sore boils on the body of Job when God allowed him to do so (Job 2:7). This indicates that Satan understands the human body very well and can manipulate it. In Isaiah 11:6-9 God has prophesied that the nature of wild animals will be changed in God’s kingdom. Then God says: “They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain…” This indicates that it was not God’s intention to create animals that would devour one another.
Present animal nature is a manifestation of Satan’s nature. Perhaps after the Flood God allowed Satan to order the world according to his ways and we see the results in the animal world. The animals were not hostile to man before the Flood but became so after the Flood. This means that Satan has a great deal of mastery over the material creation. He can affect changes in the bodies of animals and their natures. Incidentally, bodies of carnivores don’t have to be changed for them to become herbivores. During world wars 1 and 2 when meat was in short supply, the zoos maintained carnivores on grains and vegetables for years. After the war they were easily switched back to eating meat. And as Isaiah 11:6-9 indicates in God’s kingdom there will be no carnivores again. The Lion will eat straw like the ox.
Lucifer and the angels on earth were most probably creating living creatures on their own after having learnt to create from God and the Word. So, they were well acquainted with the constitution of animal bodies. Revelation 9:4-6 describes terrifying biological and chemical weapons that will be used in a future world war. These weapons will not kill human beings but inflict terrible pain and suffering on them so that they will prefer death rather than living through the pain and suffering. These weapons will certainly be inspired by Satan, which provides further evidence that he understands human bodies very well and can manipulate them. But he is restricted and can do only what God allows.
For perhaps billions of years Lucifer and the angels lived God’s way of life and Lucifer administered God’s government on earth. But at some point in time Lucifer began to entertain thoughts in his mind of doing things his own way; ways that were different from God’s way of LOVE, the way of outgoing concern for the welfare of others equal to one’s own welfare, the way of sharing, caring and cooperation. He felt the way of competition would be better as it would be an incentive to excel for greater accomplishment. He thought it would be better to serve the SELF to maximize one’s own pleasure. He began to imagine a world in which he would be the ruler of the universe.
Ezekiel 28:15-17 reveals that Lucifer’s heart was lifted up with pride, and because of his incredible beauty, brightness, talents and wisdom, vanity seized him. He began to think he could do things better than God. This led to wrong reasoning which corrupted his wisdom.
Such thoughts were violations of God’s law of LOVE for their Creator and fellow-brings. This iniquity began to manifest itself in what Lucifer and the angels with him began to create.
In the dinosaur world, besides the great herbivores, great carnivores also existed that preyed on other creatures. This indicates how far Lucifer had allowed his thinking to be perverted. He and the angels with him began creating creatures for whom survival of the fittest would be a way of life.
God and the Word allowed the conspiracy to go on and let Lucifer and the angels exercise their free will. Did Satan discuss with God his idea of creating creatures that compete with each other, and only the fittest survive? It is quite possible. God would have told him He does not agree with his philosophy. After Satan’s continual harping on his plan, God may have simply turned a deaf ear to it. Satan may have used God’s disapproval of his ideas to convince the angels that God does not listen to them. So, there is not much of a future for them in God’s scheme of things. They don’t have the ‘freedom’ to exercise their creative powers to the fullest extent.
God allowed Lucifer and the angels with him to continue their experiments in creation and govern it the way they liked and show God their alternate way of life.
Lucifer in his thinking became more and more perverted, contrary to God’s way of life of LOVE. God describes what Lucifer’s perverted thinking led him to contemplate through the prophets Isaiah and Ezekiel.
Isaiah 14:12-14: “How are you fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How are you cut down to the ground, which did weaken the nations! For you have said in your heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars [angels] of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north.”
“Sides of the north” means in the northerly direction, where God’s heavenly city is located. Isaiah here is revealing that Lucifer had nothing less in mind than taking the throne of the universe from God. He thought of deposing God and becoming the ruler of the universe himself.
Ezekiel describes what caused Lucifer’s thinking to become perverted. Ezekiel 28:15-17: “You were perfect in your ways from the day that you were created, till iniquity was found in you.” This verse makes it clear that rebellion of the angels did not originate with the other angels, but with Lucifer himself. Continue in verses 16-17: “By the multitude of your merchandise they have filled the midst of you with violence [indicates introduction of competition leading to violence], and you have sinned: therefore I will cast you as profane out of the mountain of God: and I will destroy you, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire. Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty, you have corrupted your wisdom by reason of your brightness: I will cast you to the ground…”
God here reveals through Ezekiel that Lucifer’s heart was lifted up with pride because of his beauty, and vanity seized him. He began to think he could do things better than God. This led to wrong reasoning which corrupted his wisdom. Herbert W. Armstrong describes how sin entered Lucifer’s mind in his book “Mystery of the Ages” p. 91-92:
“He [Lucifer] was created gloriously beautiful – perfect in beauty, but he allowed vanity to seize him. Then he turned to erroneous reasoning. God’s law – the basis of God’s government – is the way of LOVE – outgoing concern for the good and welfare of others, love toward God in obedience, humility and worship – the way of giving, sharing, helping, cooperating. He reasoned that competition would be better than cooperation. It would be an incentive to excel, to try harder, to accomplish. There would be more pleasure in serving SELF and more enjoyment.
“He turned against God’s law of LOVE. He became jealous of God, envious, and resentful against God. He allowed lust and greed to fill him, and he became bitter. This inspired a spirit of violence! He deliberately became his Maker’s adversary and enemy. That was his choice, not God’s – yet allowed by God!
“God changed the adversary’s NAME to what he became, SATAN the DEVIL – Satan means adversary, competitor, enemy. [DEVIL is derived from the Greek word for diabolical.]
“Satan directed his supernatural powers henceforth to EVIL. He became bitter not only against God, but against God’s law. He used his subtile wiles of deception to lead the angels under him into disloyalty, rebellion and revolt against the Creator and finally into a WAR of aggression and violence to attempt to depose God and seize the throne of the UNIVERSE.”
Why Angels Joined Satan’s Rebellion
Question arises, what caused all the angels under Satan to join him in rebellion against God? Mr. Armstrong provides one possible explanation. He writes:
“I know well the method he used. He uses the same method still today in leading deceived humans into disloyalty, rebellion, and self-centered opposition against God’s government. First, he turns one or two to envy, jealousy and resentment over an imagined injustice – then into disloyalty. Then he uses that one or two, like a rotten apple in a crate, to stir up resentment, feelings of self-pity, disloyalty and rebellion in others next to him. And, as each rotten apple rots those next to it until the whole crate is rotten, so Satan proceeds” (ibid. pp. 85-86).
There may have been additional wrong reasoning that led the angels under Lucifer to rebel with him. After Lucifer and the angels thought they had ‘mastered’ the material universe, they felt that they knew all there was to know about God’s creation. They thought they knew all the laws that govern the universe and matter on earth. They knew how to create living creatures. God had taught them everything there is to know about creating and the universe. They would develop any additional knowledge necessary on their own through trial, error and experimentation. They did not need God anymore. So why be ruled by God? Why not take over the universe from Him? Satan convinced them that they would have a glorious future ahead for themselves. They could do as they pleased and govern themselves.
This obviously was wrong reasoning. The angels who rebelled would not be governing themselves but be governed by Satan. They were to find that out later after the revolt failed miserably. Anytime two or more individuals get together in a group or society, for that group or society to function smoothly and harmoniously, there must be government. And a government has to have some leader in-charge; some constituted authority. The government has to function by certain laws. Laws must prescribe punishment for their violation. And laws have to be enforced by duly constituted authority. By overthrowing God’s government over them, the angels would not be doing away with government, but substituting Satan’s government for God’s government. Doing away with all authority is anarchy, with everyone doing as he pleases. Such a group or society cannot function smoothly.
The angels rebelling with Satan should have known that he would be the authority over them. His government would function according to his laws. The results of the earth functioning under Satan’s government are not hard to visualize. Satan is the ruler of the earth, but still under God’s authority. He is not absolute ruler of the earth. He can do only what God allows him to do. But still his limited rule has brought only pain, suffering and extreme misery on all humanity. If he was allowed to become the absolute ruler of the earth, the result would be utter chaos and destruction of humanity and the earth. In fact, when Satan is allowed by God to exercise more power in the very near future, within a few short years he will bring humanity to the brink of annihilation and the earth to utter destruction. If Jesus Christ does not come and intervene to prevent man from destroying himself, Satan will succeed. But we have God’s word in the Bible that Jesus Christ will prevent that from happening.
Satan may have convinced the angels with him that they knew all there is to know about the universe, but later when God created our present mammalian animals, sea creatures and flying creatures, Satan and the demons, must have been stunned. Here was a world God created totally different from the dinosaur world that Satan and his demons thought was incredible. And the creation of man must have been even more shocking for them. They could not have imagined that God would be able to create intelligent living beings out of matter. Then when it was revealed to the apostle Paul (I Corinthians 6:3) that we humans shall judge angels, it must have been a further staggering blow for the angels that God will actually make puny human beings into superior beings in character and ultimately have power over them.
Creation of man would also be a humbling experience for the angels. They would see humanity go astray under Satan’s rule. They would see vain thoughts of puny human beings as they interact with other humans and even God. Then they would realize how some of their thoughts about God may have been equally vain. They would finally learn the lesson of how superior is their Creator to all that He has created. They would learn the lesson that rebelling against their Creator will always be futile.
Now consider how the angelic world was different from what had been created before. Apparently, the 24 elders are created in the image of God. The book of Revelation does not give any indication otherwise. But it seems angels were created with different looks, perhaps because God now wanted to create variety. It appears that the 24 elders are created equal in rank. The angels because of the very large number created had to be created with a hierarchy of differing ranks. Some of them were higher rank leaders, while others were of lower rank. Angels also were created with different talents and abilities, much like humans. Could these differences have been exploited by Lucifer to cause resentment and a false sense of unfairness against God, among the angels under his command?
People can become jealous, envious and resentful of talents, abilities and beauty of people of other races. When people live among those of their own race, they never get the idea that God has discriminated against their race by creating them the way He has. But feelings of discrimination and envy can and do arise when people of different races live together.
It is possible that Lucifer whipped up resentment against God and the Word among the angels under his rule because of the differences in their looks, abilities, talents and rank. It is probably one of the tactics he used to convince the angels to join him in rebellion against God. He uses the same tactic to cause hatred and division between different human races.
Once Lucifer decided to wrest the throne of the universe from God the Father, how long did it take him to convince all the angels under him to join him in the rebellion? The Bible does not indicate the time involved. It could have taken tens or even hundreds of millions of years. But once all the angels were aboard, they decided to attack God the Father, the Word and God’s angels at their headquarters in heaven. They rose up from the earth and stormed heaven. This is indicated by Jude 6: “And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.”
However, Lucifer and his angels were unsuccessful in their rebellion. While they fought in heaven, some of them probably went on a rampage throughout the universe in fits of rage and frustration. They didn’t care if they destroyed the universe. They caused much destruction of the surfaces of stars and planets, throwing everything into chaos. They hurled massive rocks on the surfaces of stars and planets, or threw some of them out of their regular orbits so that they collided. Whatever they did caused the craters and other destruction we see on the planets, probably through some of the universe in addition to our galaxy, the Milky Way. Everything on earth was also destroyed. That is how Lucifer – son of the morning, the light bringer – became Satan the devil. The rebellion changed Lucifer’s character to that of “Destroyer.” He became a rebel, a violent aggressor. He became God’s adversary and turned to EVIL, determined to oppose God in every project.
Then God decided to put an end to this rampage by Satan and the demons. He blasted Satan and the rebelling angels back to earth [where they were assigned] from heaven, or wherever they were in the universe. This is indicated in Luke 10:18: “And he [Jesus Christ] said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.”
We have to understand the depth of God’s humility from Satan’s rebellion. God dealt with them in a gentle and humble manner as equals, just as a human being would treat another human being as an equal. As a result, Lucifer and the angels with him thought they were equal to God in power and wisdom. That is why they felt they could succeed in defeating God the Father and wresting the throne of the universe from Him.
God and the Word Survey the Scene of Destruction
The result of Satan’s rebellion on the earth is described in Genesis 1:2-3: “And the earth was [better translation is ‘became’] without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. 3 And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.”
The words ‘without form and void’ can also be better translated as ‘the earth became chaotic and in confusion.’
Thus, as a result of Satan’s rebellion and what he and the demons did to the earth, and our solar system, the earth became chaotic and in confusion, covered with water. And the earth’s surface was covered in darkness because sunlight did not penetrate through its atmosphere as it was filled with toxic gases, ash and other particles. This must have been a very sobering experience for Satan and the demons as they now had to dwell in darkness on the earth. They would have begun to realize their limitations. They could not create light or cause it to envelop the earth. They could have spent thousands, or even millions of years in darkness on earth till God set the next creation event in motion as described in Genesis 1:3, “3 And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.”
Till Satan’s rebellion, God’s plan of creation had been highly successful. Satan’s rebellion had somewhat thwarted that plan. But it was not completely unsuccessful. Two-thirds of the angels in heaven did not rebel against God. They remained loyal to Him through the rebellion and fought Satan and the demons. However, using the earth as a testing ground for the angels had yielded results, though not what God had hoped for.
Copyright © Church of God Message. All rights reserved.