A human manufacturer sends along with the instrument or device he manufactures an INSTRUCTION BOOKLET describing what his product is intended to do with full directions for accomplishing its purpose. The most perfect mechanism ever designed and made is the marvelous mind and body that is MAN. And it is also only natural that our Maker sent along His INSTRUCTION BOOK - revealing for our good what we ARE, WHY we are, where we are going, and what is the way.
That instruction book is the Holy Bible. Yet man has made this the most misunderstood, misinterpreted and maligned book that ever came into human hands. Nevertheless, the MISSING DIMENSION IN KNOWLEDGE is all there revealed. The incredible HUMAN POTENTIAL is there revealed and made plain - if MAN would only read it - and BELIEVE WHAT IT SAYS! That is our source book. It covers pre-history, history, instruction for the present, and prophecy revealing the future.
It reveals, as we have seen in preceding chapters, that originally from eternity, there existed GOD and with Him there coexisted, also from eternity, THE WORD, a second PERSON who also is God. God created all things by and through this coexisting SPIRIT BEING called THE WORD (John 1:1-4). In Genesis 1:1, the Hebrew word translated God, is Elohim, a uniplural name meaning ONE GOD who is composed of more than one person. In other words, a Divine FAMILY, of which the GOD mentioned in John 1:1 is HEAD.
We have seen how the Bible reveals that God first created angels - also composed of Spirit, though lesser beings than God, and lacking in creative power. Next, God created - brought into existence - the physical universe, including the earth. At earth's creation, a third of the angels were placed here. They were put under rule of the GOVERNMENT OF GOD, administered by the great archangel Lucifer, a cherub. Under the GOVERNMENT OF GOD the earth was filled with wonderful PEACE, HAPPINESS and joy. But ultimately Lucifer led his angels into rebellion. The GOVERNMENT OF GOD was rejected, no longer enforced. The earth as a result, became waste and empty, in confusion and utter darkness.
Then in six days God renewed the face of the earth. During this creation week of Genesis 1, God formed the first life forms that reproduced themselves - the flora and then the fauna - without the thinking, reasoning, decision-making process, and without ethical, moral or spiritual capabilities. Finally came the creation of MAN - created in God's own image and likeness - form and shape - but like animals composed of physical MATTER from the earth. MAN, to be born ultimately into the very GOD FAMILY, was designed to have GODLY-type MIND - ability to think, to reason, to make choices and decisions, capable of forming ethical, moral and spiritual attitudes.
Remember, God's PURPOSE in creating man is to reproduce Himself - with such perfect spiritual CHARACTER as ONLY GOD possesses - who WILL NOT and therefore CANNOT ever SIN! (I John 3:9). Such perfect spiritual and holy character cannot be created by fiat. It must be developed, and that requires TIME and EXPERIENCE. Such character I repeat - is the ability in a single entity to come to comprehend and distinguish the true values from the false, the right way from the wrong, to choose the right and reject the wrong, and, with power of WILL, to DO the right and resist the evil.
Animals are equipped with BRAIN and instinct. But they do not have power to understand and choose moral and spiritual values or to develop perfect spiritual CHARACTER. Animals have BRAIN, but no intellect - instinct, but no ability to develop HOLY and GODLY CHARACTER. And that pictures the transcendental DIFFERENCE between animal BRAIN and human MIND.
But WHAT CAUSES that vast difference? There is virtually no difference in shape and construction between animal brain and human brain. The brains of elephants, whales, and dolphins are larger than human brain, and the chimp's brain is slightly smaller. Qualitatively the human brain may be very slightly superior, but not enough to remotely account for the difference in output.
What, then, can account for the vast difference? Science cannot adequately answer. Some scientists, in the field of brain research, conclude that, of necessity, there has to be some nonphysical component in human brain that does not exist in animal brain. But most scientists will not admit the possibility of the existence of the nonphysical. What other explanation is there? Actually, outside of the very slight degree of physical superiority of human brain, science has No explanation, due to unwillingness to concede even the possibility of the spiritual.
When man refuses to admit even the very existence of his own Maker, he shuts out of his mind vast oceans of basic true knowledge, fact, and UNDERSTANDING. When he substitutes FABLE for truth, he is, of all men, MOST IGNORANT, though he professes himself to be wise. When man, in the name of science, denies - or by indifference, ignores - his Maker, he blinds his mind to what he is, why he is, where he is going, and what is THE WAY! No wonder this world is filled with evils! There has to be a CAUSE for every effect!
But when our minds are opened to the knowledge of our GOD and His purposes, then we have glorious access to the vast MISSING DIMENSION OF KNOWLEDGE: the very knowledge that God is the Divine FAMILY - that God IS REPRODUCING HIMSELF - that He is using MATTER in the process, and that He opens our understanding to vast vistas of new knowledge.
So now CONSIDER. God is composed of SPIRIT. God is CREATOR, DESIGNER, RULER, EDUCATOR. God has SUPREME MIND. He IS the PERFECT HOLY AND RIGHTEOUS CHARACTER! But He is using material substance from this physical earth with which to REPRODUCE HIMSELF. Out of physical EARTH He has formed MAN in His image and likeness (form and shape).
But if man is to BECOME God, in the process of God reproducing Himself, then the CHARACTER that is to be built in him MUST emanate from God - and the Spirit LIFE that is to be his also must emanate from GOD. In other words, God has had to plan to bridge the gap between MATTER (of which MAN is now wholly composed) and SPIRIT (which God now is, and man must become). Matter is NOT Spirit - cannot be converted into Spirit. HOW, then, can God change mortal material MAN into immortal, Spirit-composed GOD?
Man is composed wholly of MATTER. God says: And the [Eternal] God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul (Gen. 2:7). MAN was made out of the dust of the ground. He receives his temporary human life from air, breathed in and out of his nostrils. His life is in the blood (Gen. 9:4, 6). But the lifeblood is oxidized by breathing air, even as gasoline in the carburetor of an automobile. Therefore breath is the breath of life even as the life is in the blood.
Notice carefully that MAN, made wholly of matter, BECAME a living soul as soon as the BREATH gave him his temporary physical life. The scripture does NOT say immortal soul. Man does not have an immortal soul. He IS a soul as soon as physical LIFE enters him. The Hebrew word for soul is nephesh. In Genesis 1:20-24, animals are called nephesh three times - only the translators translated the Hebrew word there creature. Animals have the same temporary physio-chemical existence as man. Both die the same death (Eccl. 3:19-20). The soul that sinneth, it shall die (Ezekiel 18:4). Again, God's Word says: The soul that sinneth, it shall die (Ezek. 18:20). Adam was a soul, and God said to him, in regard to the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, ...in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die (Gen. 2:17). But Satan denied this, and Adam and Eve believed Satan, as most of humanity has done ever since.
So let us UNDERSTAND! Man is FLESH and BLOOD - composed wholly Of MATTER - and that living matter IS a living soul. The SOUL is composed of physical MATTER, not Spirit. I have explained that human brain is almost identical to animal brain. But man was made in the form and shape of God, to have a special relationship with God - to have the potential of being born into the FAMILY of God. And God is SPIRIT (John 4:24).
To make it possible to bridge the gap - or to make the transition OF MANKIND, composed wholly OF MATTER, into SPIRIT beings in God's Kingdom, then to be composed wholly of Spirit, and at the same time to give MAN a MIND like God's - God put a spirit in each human. In Job 32:8, we read, There is a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding. This is a great TRUTH, understood by but very few. I call this spirit the HUMAN spirit, for it is IN each human, even though it is SPIRIT ESSENCE and not matter. It is NOT a spirit person or being. It is not the MAN, but spirit essence IN the man. It is NOT a soul - the physical human is a soul. The human spirit imparts the power of INTELLECT to the human brain. The human spirit does not supply human LIFE - the human LIFE is in the physical BLOOD, oxidized by the BREATH of life.
It is that nonphysical component in the human brain that does not exist in the brain of animals. It is the ingredient that makes possible the transition from human to divine, without changing matter into spirit, at the time of resurrection. That I will explain a little later. Let me make clear a few essential points about this spirit in man. It is spirit essence, just as in matter air is essence, and so is water. This human spirit cannot see. The physical BRAIN sees, through the eyes. The human spirit IN a person cannot hear. The brain hears through the ears. This human spirit cannot think. The brain thinks - although the spirit imparts the power to think, whereas brute animal brains without such spirit cannot, except in the most elementary manner.
A scripture often used by believers in an immortal soul explains. In I Corinthians 2, the apostle Paul is explaining to the Corinthians that he did not come to them using hard to understand speech as many do to exalt their own vanity. He came to them with plain and simple speech, in humility. And yet none of the princes, the elite, the highly educated - the rulers - of this world could understand.
WHY couldn't the more highly learned understand? Because he was preaching Christ's message of the Kingdom of God. This is spiritual knowledge. This kind of knowledge cannot be seen by the physical eye, nor heard with the physical ear. Spiritual knowledge cannot enter the human mind by natural means - for spirit cannot be seen, heard, felt, tasted or smelled. Then he explains that in this manner (verse 11) no MAN could have the knowledge a man possesses, except by the spirit of man which is in him. The brute animal has a brain virtually identical to human brain - and some even larger. But their brains cannot KNOW - comprehend - what man knows. Neither could man without the spirit of man which is in him. In other words, this spirit imparts the power of intellect to the human brain.
Yet this human MIND is limited to knowledge of the physical. It cannot KNOW - comprehend - the spiritual things of God. WHY? Because even the human MIND only can know, naturally, what knowledge comes to it through the senses of seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, feeling. A brute animal also may see, hear, smell, taste or feel what a man does, and still be unable to utilize what enters his brain in thought or knowledge. The reason for this will be explained later. Now the second half of I Corinthians 2:11: EVEN so (in like manner) no man can know - have knowledge of, understand or comprehend - the things of GOD, except by ANOTHER spirit, the Holy Spirit of GOD.
Just as no dumb animal can know the things of man's knowledge, neither could man, by brain alone, except by the spirit of man - the human spirit - that is in man. So also, in the same manner, even a man cannot know - comprehend - the things of God, unless or until he receives another spirit - the Holy Spirit of GOD.
Stated still another way, all humans have from birth a spirit called the spirit of man which is IN THEM. Notice carefully that this spirit IS NOT the man. It is something IN THE MAN. A man might swallow a small marble. It is then something in the man, but it is not the man or any part of him as a man. The man was made of the dust of the ground - mortal. This human spirit is not the soul. It is something IN the soul which (soul) itself IS the physical MAN. Notice, further, verse 14: But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him; neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
So, from birth, God gives us one spirit, which for lack of a better term I call a human spirit. It gives us MIND power which is not in animal BRAIN. Yet that MIND power is limited to knowledge of the physical universe. WHY? Because knowledge enters the human mind ONLY through the five physical senses.
But notice that God had not completed the creation of MAN at the creation of Adam and Eve. The physical creation was completed. They had this human spirit at their creation. But now must follow the spiritual creation. This required a second spirit in man - the HOLY SPIRIT of God.
And the [Eternal] God formed man of the dust of the ground... and planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed. And out of the ground made the [Eternal] God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil (Gen. 2:7-9).
Actually and literally, Adam, as yet, was not all there. The spirit of man was in him - but not the Spirit of God. God offered him freely the fruit of the TREE OF LIFE - which symbolized God's HOLY SPIRIT. Taking of the tree of LIFE would have done two things: (1) opened his MIND to comprehend spiritual knowledge, and (2) imparted within him the GIFT of God's Holy Spirit, leading to ETERNAL LIFE. But, when God explained to him the KINGDOM OF GOD, Adam disbelieved what God said and disobeyed - SINNED. Then what?
And the [Eternal] God said... and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever: Therefore the [Eternal] God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken. So he drove out the man: and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life (Gen. 3:22-24).
NOW GRASP THIS, please! Do not forget God's great PURPOSE! Through human man, composed of material substance, God is reproducing Himself - adding to His own holy, righteous, sinless GOD FAMILY. But God is composed of SPIRIT. How does God bridge the gap between mortal physical MAN and immortal SPIRIT-composed God?
The very first human had made the wrong choice, and by SIN rejected the GOVERNMENT OF GOD. God then drove him out of the garden of Eden and blocked all possible reentry to the tree of life. But of course God anticipated the probability of this. God's PURPOSE must STAND! But HOW? It now required the second Adam - Jesus Christ. He had offered Himself before the world was. But He was not to come, born human for the purpose of death, for about another 4,000 years.
God had marked out a 7,000-year period - the first 6,000 for mankind, cut off from God (with a few exceptions), to go his own way - to write the lesson in human suffering and anguish of living contrary to GOD'S WAY OF LIFE, commanded by THE GOVERNMENT OF GOD - which Adam rejected.
This 6,000 years, with Satan still here, would be followed by a single 1,000 years, during which CHRIST would rule, having qualified to restore THE GOVERNMENT OF GOD on earth. Satan would be totally restrained during the seventh millennium. During that seventh millennium, the KINGDOM OF GOD - the RULING FAMILY OF GOD - would be established on earth.
Meanwhile, during the first 6,000 years, a FEW would be offered opportunity to enter into the spiritual creation, which begins with the receiving of the SECOND SPIRIT - that is, the gift of the HOLY SPIRIT of God. Outside of this comparative few, God adopted a hands-off policy toward the human race. Abel, Adam's second son, apparently followed God's way, for Christ called him righteous Abel. Enoch walked with God. Noah found favor with God - but apparently that was all during the first 1,900 years or so.
After the Flood, Abraham, Isaac, Israel, and Joseph lived God's way. Then God called and formed the nation of Israel, but they were offered no spiritual salvation or eternal life - only material and national blessings. God called and used a few prophets. Then Christ came and made spiritual salvation possible for all. Yet only the first comparatively very small spiritual harvest has been called to spiritual salvation during the nearly 2,000 years since Christ.
Human Reproduction the Type of God's Reproducing Himself
Few people realize that human reproduction has a sacred and GOD-PLANE MEANING NOT APPLICABLE TO ANY OTHER KIND OF LIFE. Human reproduction pictures spiritual salvation - which is actually God the Father reproducing Himself in the GOD FAMILY. Now see the ASTOUNDING COMPARISON!
MAN, remember, is composed wholly of MATTER from the ground (Gen. 2:7 and 3:19). But HOW can God bridge the gap, in reproducing Himself, of converting a wholly physical man into a wholly Spirit-composed member of the GOD FAMILY?
It starts with a spirit (a portion of spirit essence) IN the wholly physical man. Remember, this spirit is NOT the man - only something IN the man. Remember, too, this spirit cannot see, hear, or think. The MAN sees, hears, and thinks through his physical brain and the five senses of seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling, and feeling. The spirit in man imparts the power of PHYSICAL INTELLECT to the physical brain, thus forming human MIND. This spirit acts, among other things, as a COMPUTER, adding to the brain the psychic and intellectual power. Knowledge received in the brain through the eye, ear, and the senses is immediately programmed into the spirit computer. All memory is stored in this spirit computer. This computer gives the brain instant recall of whatever portion of millions of bits of knowledge may be needed in the reasoning process. That is to say that MEMORY is recorded in the human spirit, whether or not it also is recorded in the gray matter of BRAIN. This human spirit also adds to man a spiritual and moral faculty not possessed by animals.
God had made the needed second spirit - the HOLY SPIRIT - available to Adam. But on Adam's rebellion and taking the forbidden fruit, God had driven Adam out and closed all access to the tree of LIFE - symbolic of His Holy Spirit. Yet through Christ, a repentant humanity may yet receive God's GIFT of His Holy Spirit. To Nicodemus Christ said, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Of course Nicodemus could not quite understand that. Almost nobody today understands it. Jesus explained, That which is born of the flesh IS FLESH, and that which is born of the Spirit IS SPIRIT (John 3:6). Man came from the ground. He IS flesh. Jesus was not talking about another physical birth or experience of conversion in this life but about a spiritual birth - when man shall BE Spirit, no longer composed of matter, but composed wholly of SPIRIT! Yes, LITERALLY! Then he shall have been born of God. God is Spirit (John 4:24, RSV).
Now to become human, each of us had to be begotten by his human father. Likewise, to be born again - of THE SPIRIT which is of GOD the Father, one must first be begotten of the SPIRITUAL FATHER - of GOD. This is explained in Romans 8:16-17: The Spirit [of God] itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the [begotten] children of God: and if children, then heirs [not yet inheritors or possessors]; heirs of God, and Joint-heirs with Christ...
And God's Holy Spirit, now combined with our human spirit in the human MIND, does two things: (1) begets the human with divine eternal life to be later BORN into the God FAMILY as a Divine Being, then composed wholly of Spirit; (2) imparts to the human mind power to comprehend SPIRITUAL KNOWLEDGE - to understand the things of God (I Cor. 2:11). Also God's Holy Spirit imparts divine LOVE, FAITH, and POWER to overcome Satan and sin.
This Spirit-begotten Christian now has, conditionally, the PRESENCE OF ETERNAL LIFE - GOD LIFE - within him (or her), but is NOT YET an immortal SPIRIT BEING - not yet composed wholly of SPIRIT. He is now an heir of God as the son of a wealthy man is the heir of his father - but NOT YET born again, - NOT YET an inheritor or a possessor. But if His Holy Spirit dwells in us, God will, at Christ's coming back to earth as King of kings, quicken to immortality our mortal bodies BY His Spirit that dwells in us (Rom. 8:11; I Cor. 15:49-53).
Now see how the astonishing analogy continues: Just as in human reproduction, the impregnated embryo, which later becomes the fetus, is not yet BORN, but still being nourished through the human mother; so the begotten Christian is not yet BORN into the God Family. The divine life has merely been begotten. Satan has managed to deceive most of fundamentalist Christianity into believing they already are born again on accepting Christ.
But just as in human reproduction, when the HUMAN characteristics of form and shape and the human body and brain gradually begin to form during the period of gestation, so now the RIGHTEOUS and HOLY CHARACTER of God begins to take form and GROW. Actually in many, this Divine CHARACTER may form so slowly it seems hardly in evidence at first, except that in some there will appear the glow of that ecstasy of spiritual romance which may radiate in that first love of spiritual conversion. But, so far as growing in SPIRITUAL KNOWLEDGE (II Pet.3:18) and spiritual CHARACTER goes, most of that is still to be learned and developed.
When newly converted, one is now a spiritual EMBRYO. Now he must be nourished and fed on SPIRITUAL FOOD. Jesus said man must not live by bread (physical food) alone, but by EVERY WORD OF GOD. The BIBLE is the written Word of God, just as Christ is the personal Word of God. This growth is the character development that REQUIRES TIME and comes largely by EXPERIENCE. Above all, it requires continual BIBLE STUDY to show ONE'S SELF approved of God, as well as much continual and earnest PRAYER. When you study the Bible, GOD IS TALKING TO YOU. When you PRAY, you are TALKING TO HIM. You get to really KNOW God in this manner, just as you become better acquainted with people by conversation.
Yet much of this spiritual character development comes through Christian fellowship with other spiritually begotten people in God's Church. Further, just as the human physical embryo and fetus are given physical nourishment through the human mother, God's CHURCH is the spiritual MOTHER of its members. God's Church is called Jerusalem above, which is the MOTHER of us all (Gal. 4:26).
Notice the exact parallel. God has set called and chosen ministers in His Church to feed the flock, for the perfecting of the saints, for THE WORK OF THE MINISTRY [proclaiming Christ's gospel of the Kingdom of God in all the world], for the edifying of the body [Church] of Christ: till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ(Eph. 4:12-13). It is the duty of Christ's true ministers (and how few today), to PROTECT the begotten but yet unborn saints from false doctrines and from false ministers!
What a wonderful picture of God's reproducing Himself is human reproduction! And remember God intended human reproduction to be a FAMILY matter. It adds human children to the human FAMILY. The HUMAN FAMILY is the exact TYPE of the GOD FAMILY. God has bestowed MARRIAGE and FAMILY life on NO OTHER form of life except on HUMANS, whose potential it is to enter the FAMILY OF GOD!
But consider further! As the physical human fetus must grow physically large enough to be born, so the begotten Christian must grow spiritually in grace and knowledge of Christ (II Pet.3:18) must overcome, develop in spiritual character, during this life, to be born into the Kingdom of God!
That is well illustrated by the parables of the pounds and the talents. In the parable of the pounds (Luke 19:11-27), Jesus pictured Himself as a nobleman going to a far country (heaven) to receive a kingdom and later to return. He called his ten servants and gave each a pound. While He was gone, one of the ten traded with the money and gained ten pounds. He was commended and made ruler over ten cities in the Kingdom of God. A second gained only five pounds - he did half as well, starting with EQUAL ability. He was given reign over five cities. A third gained NOTHING - and had even that pound taken from him.
In the parable of the talents (Matthew 25:14-30), one was given five talents, another two talents, and another one - each according to his own ability (like handicap golf). On Christ's return, the one who had been given five talents had gained five more (representing spiritual growth and overcoming in this life). He was commended as a good and faithful servant and given responsibilities accordingly in God's Kingdom. The one who had gained another two accomplished just as much in proportion to ability. He, too, received an equal reward. But the one who had been given the one did NOTHING WITH IT. In other words, in his Christian life here and now; he did not overcome, he did not grow spiritually - he developed no character.
The pounds or talents in these two parables represent the initial measure of God's Holy Spirit given at conversion. But as the Spirit-begotten person is continually led by the Holy Spirit - following where God's Spirit opens his understanding, growing in spiritual knowledge and overcoming - the measure of God's Spirit in him increases. But Jesus was filled with the Holy Spirit - not by measure (John 3:34). The parables show that the convert who does not GROW in Spirit and character development will lose out! He represents one who RECEIVED CHRIST and considered he was already born again but did not think he needed to overcome, grow spiritually, or develop spiritual character. He thought he was already saved. He said he didn't believe in salvation by works. What he didn't realize is that while salvation is a FREE GIFT, we are REWARDED according to our works (Matt. 16:27). But by doing NOTHING, he lost not ONLY the reward, but he lost out on the free GIFT of eternal life.
Christ's answer to such, when He returns with the KINGDOM OF GOD is, Thou wicked and slothful servant... Take therefore the talent from him... And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. He failed utterly in God's real PURPOSE - reproducing in us the holy, righteous CHARACTER that we may receive from God. Many have been deceived into a FALSE salvation.
To conclude the parallel: As the physical fetus gradually develops the physical features, organs and characteristics one by one, even so the begotten Christian must develop the SPIRITUAL ATTRIBUTES during this life, one by one, love, faith, Spiritual knowledge, patience, gentleness, kindness, and temperance. He must be a DOER of the Word of God. The fetus that fails to grow would die and never be born!
Bridging the Gap
Finally, HOW has God planned to bridge the gap from physical to spiritual composition - to reproduce Himself out of PHYSICAL HUMANS THAT COME FROM THE PHYSICAL GROUND? First, God put IN the physical MAN a human spirit. It is NOT, however, the human spirit that makes the decisions, comes to repentance, or builds the character. As I have emphasized, this spirit does not impart life, cannot see, hear, feel or think. It empowers the PHYSICAL MAN, through his BRAIN, to do these things. But this spirit RECORDS every thought - every bit of knowledge received through the five senses and it records whatever character - good or bad - that is developed in human life.
The human MAN is made literally from CLAY. God is like the master potter forming and shaping a vessel out of clay. But if the clay is too hard, it will not bend into the form and shape he wants. If it is too soft and moist, it lacks firmness to STAY PUT where the potter bends it. Notice in Isaiah 64:8: But now, 0 [Eternal], thou art our father, we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand.
Yet God has given each of us a MIND OF HIS OWN. If one REFUSES to acknowledge God or God's ways - refuses to repent of the wrong and turn to the right, God cannot take him and create Godly character in him. But the human CLAY must be pliable, must yield willingly. If the human stiffens up and resists, he is like clay that is too dry and stiff. The potter can do nothing with it. It will not give and bend. Also, if he is so lacking in will, purpose, and determination that he won't stay put when God molds him partly into what God wants him to be - too wishy-washy, weak, lacking root of character; he will never endure to the end. He will lose out.
We are, in truth, the WORK OF HIS HANDS. Yet WE ourselves must do our part in this spiritual development. If we lazily neglect Bible study and prayer - or if we let other material interests become more important and we NEGLECT such great salvation, we lose out. But if we have the strength of character to YIELD, OF OUR OWN WILL to put ourselves in God's hands, HE will instill within us His SPIRIT and by it His righteousness - His character - open our minds to His spiritual knowledge. We have to WANT IT! We have to WORK AT IT! We have to PUT IT FIRST, above all else. It must be GOD'S righteousness, for all of OURS is like filthy rags to Him. He continually instills His knowledge, His righteousness, His character within US - IF we diligently seek it and want it. But WE HAVE OUR VERY IMPORTANT PART IN IT.
Then all credit goes to GOD. As we receive the CHARACTER OF GOD through the Holy Spirit of God, more and more God IS REPRODUCING HIMSELF IN US. Finally, in the resurrection, we shall be as God - in a position where we cannot sin, because we ourselves have set it so and have turned FROM sin and have struggled and struggled AGAINST sin and overcome sin. God's PURPOSE WILL be accomplished!
WHY Made From Material Substance?
Once again, STOP AND THINK! WHY did God choose to make MAN out of physical matter instead of Spirit? He made angels out of Spirit.
Remember God's PURPOSE is to reproduce Himself! His Divine children are to be begotten of Him and then BORN into His God Family. Christ, our pioneer, was begotten by the Father in a manner no one else ever was, when conceived by the Holy Spirit in the virgin Mary. He was the begotten (the ONLY begotten, in that manner) Son of God from human conception and birth. He is already the FIRSTBORN of many brethren (Rom. 8:29), born a Son of God by a resurrection from the dead (Rom. 1:4), as we may be later.
To show the preeminence above angels that is already Christ's and also is our potential, remember we are joint-heirs with Christ, and God says of Christ, being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they. For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? (Heb. 1:4-5.) In the book of Job angels are spoken of as sons of God in chapters 1, 2, and 7, but only as created sons. Still, as in Hebrews 1, God never said to them, You are my own begotten sons. But when we humans receive the Holy Spirit of God, we do become His begotten sons and His heirs, to receive by inheritance His NAME - just as my begotten sons inherited my name.
When we are BORN of God, we shall BE Spirit. Then why did God form man in the first place of material substance - out of the earth? I have partially answered that question already. Angels, being spirit, are immortal. Those who sinned shall go on bearing their punishment forever. Their punishment is NOT death. Their punishment is loss of the glorious opportunity God gave them to accomplish His purpose on earth, and to live forever in the resentment, bitterness, attitude of rebellion, and utter hopelessness and frustration of mind their own sins brought upon them. Once they perverted their own minds, they can never regain balance. Happiness and joy has left them forever.
Whereas, if MAN, composed of matter, sinned and refused to repent and turn from his sin, he will die the second death - he shall utterly PERISH (John 3:16) - he will be as though he had not been (Obadiah 16). This reflects God's MERCY.
The Physical Changes, the Spiritual is Changeless
But there is another all-important reason. As the humanist philosopher Elbert Hubbard said, Nothing is permanent but change. Matter does not remain as it is, unchanged, permanently. But it continues changing permanently. Perhaps stone or iron is as unchanging as any element. But after a few thous and years, the giant stones in the wall around Jerusalem, for instance, have lost all their newness and show their age. Whatever you see now on this earth in time will CHANGE.
Spirit however, is CHANGELESS - except as God instilled in angel beings the power of mind - of thinking, reasoning, making decisions and exercising will to act on decisions or choices. But Spirit substance apart from the mind power of God or Spirit beings IS CHANGELESS. Once Satan and his demons made the decision they did, being spirit, they cannot change!
In reproducing Himself God requires righteous CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT. And that requires CHANGE. If God had made us of Spirit, once the decision was made to reject God, we could never have repented - could not change from Satan's WAY to God's! Man, composed of matter, is subject to CHANGE. Man, if called by God, can be made to realize that he has sinned, and he can REPENT - CHANGE from his sin - turn to GOD'S WAY. And once his course is changed, with God's help he can pursue it. He can GROW in spiritual knowledge, develop character, overcome wrong habits, weaknesses, and faults.
And this is all done by the PHYSICAL MAN, through the PHYSICAL BRAIN. The human spirit in man empowers the brain with physical intellect, and the Spirit of God united with it empowers the brain with Spiritual comprehension, and these spirits RECORD the knowledge and the character and preserve them, as well as the physical shape and appearance. These spirits do not develop the righteous character, but through the Holy Spirit God does give us His faith, His righteousness - as long as we ourselves earnestly desire it. But once holy and righteous character is developed in physical man, HOW does God bridge the gap, changing MAN into SPIRIT?
The Spirit MOLD
I have shown you that the Scriptures picture man as the clay which he literally is - and God as our Potter. We might call God also, our SCULPTOR, for with our submission and eager willingness, we are the WORK OF HIS HANDS in spiritual and character development. As Job said, If a man die, shall he live again? All the days of my appointed time will I wait till my CHANGE come. Thou shalt call, and I will answer thee [in the resurrection]: thou wilt have a desire to the work of thine hands(Job 14:14-15).
This brings us to the question of death of the physical MAN, and the resurrection - Job called it the CHANGE - into the Kingdom of God. Now notice, as quoted before, in Isaiah 64:8: But now, 0 [Eternal], thou art our father, we are the clay, and thou our potter, and we all are the work of thy hand. God could not form, shape, change, and develop His character in us - once we had sinned, as all have - had we been made of Spirit. Notice further: Shall the clay say to him that fashioneth it,What makest thou? or thy work, He hath no hands? (Isa. 45:9.)
Another passage of scripture so often mis applied says: For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it [the faith] is the gift of God: not of works (Eph. 2:8-9). We do not earn salvation by good works or gain it by works - BUT when we receive it as God's GIFT, the degree of reward will be according to our works (Matt. 16:27) - performance in living GOD'S WAY - building character. But now read the rest of this passage which is nearly always purposely omitted by those misleading people on this point ...not of works WHY? ...lest any man should boast. For we are HIS WORKMANSHIP, created in Christ Jesus UNTO GOOD WORKS, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them (Eph. 2:9-10).
I have tried to point out that we must gain contact with God and that HE is the potter - or sculptor - fashioning, molding, and shaping our lives and righteous character into His CHARACTER IMAGE, AS WE DESIRE AND YIELD. All right. The Godly character in us, I have stated, cannot be created by fiat. It must be developed. We must yield. We must desire it, seek it. But it comes from GOD. Thus if we keep a close daily contact with our Creator, through His Spirit and through our spirit - for remember, His Holy Spirit beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God (Rom. 8:16) - then He is fashioning and shaping our characters. Had God made us of Spirit, this could not be done once we had sinned.
Now, as Job brought out, we die. Afterlife comes through the resurrection. When we die, all consciousness ceases. This is covered in chapter 12. The physical brain becomes unconscious and decays.
With what BODY do we come, in the resurrection? That question is answered in I Corinthians 15: But some man will say, How are the dead raised up? and with what body do they come? ...that which thou sowest [burial in the ground], thou sowest NOT that body that shall be, but bare grain, it may chance of wheat, or of some other grain: but God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him... (I Cor. 15:35-38). The body that dies is NOT the same body that will come up in the resurrection.
Now we come to a MOST IMPORTANT part concerning the SPIRIT IN MAN - which I have termed the human spirit. It does not impart human life. It does not see, hear or think. The HUMAN MAN makes his decisions, and it is in the physical MAN that character must be built. It is the human CLAY that God forms into His character. The SPIRIT in man RECORDS what the brain comes to know, even the attitude, the facets of CHARACTER, not only of the human brain, but also of the whole body. It keeps the imprint even of the fingerprints.
Compare it to a sculptor's mold. The sculptor may want to produce a bronze statue of a man. The sculptor might use clay to form a clay model - or plaster of Paris. Then the sculptor makes a MOLD of the model he has formed and shaped. The mold is a hollow form, made from the finished model. Into the mold is poured molten liquid bronze, which then solidifies. The mold is removed, and the bronze figure is an EXACT COPY of the original model.
The spirit that is in every human acts as a MOLD. It PRESERVES the human's MEMORY, his CHARACTER, his FORM AND SHAPE. Now I do not conceive, naturally, that the spirit is a hollow form. But it supplies the same purpose as the sculptor's mold. If one has received the Holy Spirit, then in the resurrection, God will provide a SPIRIT BODY, formed and shaped by the Spirit mold. The resurrected being will be COMPOSED Of SPIRIT, not matter as the human model was. In the resurrected SPIRIT form he will suddenly come ALIVE. It will seem like the next flash of a second from his loss of consciousness at time of death. He will have all his memory intact. He will look as he did in human life in form and shape. Even his fingerprints will be the same.
The CHARACTER which he allowed God to build within him will be there. He will be alive FOREVER! And like God the Father, by his own will, he will have been made so that he CANNOT sin (I John 3:9). The body that comes in the resurrection is not the same body that was flesh and blood in this human lifetime. God does not turn flesh and blood matter INTO Spirit. The flesh and blood physical body, after death, decomposes and decays, but the spirit that was IN that body, like the sculptor's mold, preserves all the form and shape, the memory, and the character INTACT. And that mold, being spirit, does not change - even though the resurrection may take place thousands of years after death.
Notice what happens AT DEATH. Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it. After death, whether buried in the earth, cremated, or what, the physical body returns to the earth. But the spirit that was IN the man, now having recorded everything - the body's form and shape, the facial identity, the memory and the character - returns to God. It will be PRESERVED UNCHANGED.
Such saints as Abraham, Moses, David and Daniel died thousands of years ago. STOP AND THINK ABOUT THAT! God had to provide some way to PRESERVE the form, shape, appearance, mind and character of saints for thousands of years. They were composed of corruptible flesh and blood. All that was THEM (man is composed wholly of matter) long since decomposed. Yet in the resurrection, it will seem to them as the next fraction of a second since loss of consciousness at death.
In the interim of death, they knew absolutely NOTHING. Says God's Word, For the living know that they shall die: but the dead KNOW NOT ANYTHING (Eccl. 9:5). The spirit which returns to God is the human spirit that was in them throughout life. It was not an immortal soul, for the soul was mortal and corruptible. Those who died with God's Holy Spirit will be in the first resurrection (Rev. 20:4-5). They will come forth IMMORTAL, in a glorious body of SPIRIT composition, their faces aglow as the SUN.
All others who have not been called to eternal salvation by God during their human lifetimes will be resurrected after the thous and-year reign of the Kingdom of God under Christ, in the Great White Throne Judgment (Rev. 20:11-12). They will be resurrected MORTAL, once again in a flesh and blood physical body, just as before. In this great judgment they will be called - their eyes opened to God's truth. Then finally, there will be a last resurrection (Rev. 20:13-15) of those who HAD been called by God in their mortal human life, but had rejected or turned from the truth. They, with those who reject it in the Great White Throne Judgment, will be in the lake of fire (II Pet.3: 10-1 1), which is the second death. They then shall be ashes under the soles of the feet of the immortals in God's Kingdom (Mal. 4:3), and will be as though they had never been (Obadiah 16).
Then, ahead of the millions of immortal redeemed, shall lie the tremendous awesome HUMAN POTENTIAL - when God the Creator shall have put THE ENTIRE UNIVERSE under our jurisdiction (Heb. 2:7-8). But there is MUCH MORE yet to be revealed. WHY all the troubles, sufferings, heartaches and evils in the world these past 6,000 years? There is of necessity a CAUSE for every EFFECT. There is yet SO MUCH of this overview of all God's truth to be revealed!
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