Most people know next
to nothing about God.
To understand ourselves, why we are, where we are going, and how, we need to know more about our Creator.
By Herbert W. Armstrong
Ask anyone where the real beginning is in the Bible. He would probably reply, Genesis 1:1. But he would be absolutely wrong!
The real beginning of the Bible is NOT Genesis 1:1, but in the New Testament, John 1:1-2: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God.
In the beginning there existed two all-knowing, all-powerful, all-perfect SUPERBEINGS. Each possessed supreme MIND and CREATIVE power. One is called the Word, the other is called God. But the Word, it states, was also God - though a separate Personage.
Although the one called God was supreme in authority, yet He and the Word were in all other respects equal. In mind they were in complete harmony and agreement.
There existed at first only these two Superpersons in space - no matter, no other beings or life forms, no physical universe. Both Superbeings had always existed. There never was a time when they did not coexist.
Continuing in verse 3: All things were made by him [the Word]; and without him was not any thing made that was made. God created all things by and through the Word. Since these two Beings thought precisely alike in perfect harmony, the Word created all things exactly as directed by God.
God is Creator
Do you want to know what God is? Above all, God is Creator!
These two supernatural SPIRIT BEINGS were both Creators. But, as human beings think, plan and design - even putting their plans on paper before starting to build or construct so these two Superbeings thought, planned and designed.
There was no hurry. They might have thought and planned for many millions (or even billions) of years, as we count time, before starting the actual MAKING or CREATING.
Whether you believe it or not, matter was not the first thing to be created.
God created not only the visible, but the invisible!
The Bible says of the Word: For by him were all things 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 (Colossians 1:16).
These two original Persons, being SPIRIT BEINGS themselves, composed of spirit (remember God is spirit - John 4:24), designed and produced a type of spirit being somewhat like themselves - only naturally of far lower degree. These beings, called angels, are invisible to human eyes.
These spirit-composed angels were of three or more levels of power and ability in thought - simple angels; a higher class of angels called seraphim; and the highest, cherubim, of which there were only three - all inferior in mind and power to God. These created beings (angels) were equipped with minds - with the ability to know, think, reason, form conclusions, make decisions, set CHOICES.
The supreme accomplishment
Now as Creator, what was the most important creation that God could make? Was it the angels? Was it the heavens and the earth - the whole universe? Or was it man himself?
It was none of these things!
The supreme achievement of creation is righteous, holy, perfect CHARACTER. I define it as the ability in a separate entity with mind and free moral agency to CHOOSE the right: one who, seeing the way to both good and evil, voluntarily chooses the good, even against strongest temptation and pressures and desires to choose evil, and who wills, against strongest opposing pressures, to do good.
These created beings - the angels - did not have perfect character at creation. Character cannot be created automatically and instantaneously by fiat. Character (whether good or evil) must be developed in separate entities possessing thought processes and minds able to think, to know, to reason, to make independent conclusions and choices. And that risks development of evil character.
Of course, this righteous, holy and perfect character must of necessity COME FROM the original perfect Beings, yet as a result of the independent thinking, reasoning, knowing, and actual choice and desire of the recipients.
Who is God?
It is vital, at this point, to know something more of God. So now consider. God is Creator, Designer, Educator, RULER. God has SUPREME MIND! He IS perfect, holy and righteous character.
The Eternal God is not only Creator of all that is, but is also RULER over all He creates. He is also Educator. He reveals knowledge basic and vital to know - knowledge otherwise inaccessible to man and some of it even to the angels (see I Peter 1:12). What God creates He maintains. What He creates, He creates for a purpose. He intends it to be put to a use - a right use that preserves and improves. This use, maintenance and improvement is controlled by the GOVERNMENT OF GOD!
Just what is God? He is Creator! But He maintains and preserves what He creates. How? By His government - the government of God!
Now the tremendous supremacy of these two great God-beings was exhibited at this point. They had in mind a tremendous objective for the angels - a purpose supreme. This required the creation of a new substance, MATTER, which comprises the whole vast universe.
So now we finally come to Genesis 1:1. The first four words of the Bible are: In the beginning God... Since in the Bible God reveals Himself as Creator of ALL - the entire universe with its galaxies, its suns, planets and moons - this places God (as we have previously seen from John 1:1-3) in existence before all else. The next word tells us what God did: He created. God is, first of all, Creator! And what did He create at this time - after the creation of the angels? ...the heaven [s] and the earth (Genesis 1:1).
The Authorized or King James Version renders the word heaven in the singular, but the original Hebrew is in the plural - heavens - as it should be translated. It is so rendered in the Revised Standard Version and other modern translations. Genesis 1:1 is speaking of the original creation of matter - the entire universe, including our earth. The original Hebrew words imply a perfect creation. God reveals Himself as Creator of perfection, light and beauty. Every reference in the Bible describes the condition of each phase of God's creation as very good - perfect. It is a perfect creation, beautiful to the eye. God is a perfectionist!
Creation not finished!
Even though God is perfect - and He is a perfectionist, having created everything perfect - He often does not complete His creation all at once. This was true of the angels. The second stage of the angelic creation was the development of character - whether good or evil.
This earth, as only few know, originally was populated by angels.
God had a great purpose in mind for them. Great accomplishment was planned for them. God purposed that the angels utilize the raw materials and the many properties built into the matter of the earth to complete its creation - for God is the Author of beauty, harmony, peace, joy, perfection and glory.
This, of course, demanded law and order - harmony - and that all the angels pull together for their grand accomplishment. So the Creator set over them a GOVERNMENT - His government, with His constitution and laws. God's LAWS were - and are a way of life; the way of love outgoing concern for the welfare of others; the way of peace, harmony, helping, serving, sharing.
The government of God is a way of life. It is the way that develops righteous, holy, perfect character. It is the way that produces peace, harmony, happiness, joy, abundance. It is the way of love. It is love to God in implicit obedience, adulation, worship, reliance and faith - knowing that God Himself is love!
So God established on earth a throne to administer His government. On it, He placed a superarchangel named Lucifer. This great Lucifer was originally a bringer of light and truth. He was perfect as created.
Next to God, this superangel was the most powerful and most mighty being that it was possible for God to create. He was perfect in all his ways until iniquity (lawlessness) was found in him of his own free choice (Ezekiel 28:15).
The first rebels
This Lucifer led his angels (one third of all the angels - and it is probable that it was the same third that populated the earth under Lucifer) into sin - transgression of the laws of God's government.
God had wisely chosen to make angels, and later humans, free moral agents - with free choice. Otherwise neither angels nor humans could attain God's holy, perfect, righteous character. God gave the angels minds of their own. And He made them immortal - they never die. They were each individually created. They do not reproduce themselves.
God bestowed upon angels minds possessing great knowledge - superior to that possessed by man. One might suppose that, endowed with such great knowledge and being created holy, they would never choose wrongly or commit sin.
But some of them did! Their superior knowledge did not prevent rebellion, sin and worldwide chaos and destruction.
Originally, the angels under Lucifer were holy - and Lucifer himself, sealing up the sum of wisdom, perfection and beauty, was created perfect. Yet he led the first rebellion, and evidently induced his angels to follow him in this super sin. Thus the angels sinned (II Peter 2:4). They rebelled against God's way. They deliberately formed within themselves evil character. They turned from God's government to vanity, lust and greed; jealousy and envy; competition leading to strife, violence, war. They resented any rule over them. They wanted to choose their own way, not God's way.
Thus the government of God was rejected, removed from the earth.
The creation of this group of angels was now complete! They had formed evil character. They became demons. And the great Lucifer became Satan the devil.
So possession of vast knowledge and endowment with free choice does not constitute perfect righteous character.
What God is
But now look at God Himself and consider what He must have considered. God possesses perfect, righteous character. God will not sin. God will not go contrary to the perfect, holy, spiritual law that He created and set in living, active, inexorable motion, to cause and produce all good. God has so set Himself that He cannot sin.
So here we have the state of things, as God saw them, after the sinning devil and demons were cast down to the earth they had ruined.
When the earth first was created, the angels shouted for joy (Job 38:7). There was happiness, joy, ecstasy, perfect peace on the earth as long as the government of God was administered on earth. But the universal sin of the angels on earth had apparently brought universal destruction! The earth was in a state of ruin.
Can we see, therefore, that God had these facts to consider? That immortal beings possessing great knowledge and freedom of choice, but without proven righteous character, could not guarantee the preservation and improvement of His creation.
You see, God is Creator and Preserver of His creation. It is Satan and his angels who turned to destruction - and became destroyers.
The second phase of God's great purpose
God knew that if the angels chose evil character, it left Him as the only Being in existence who could possibly be relied upon never to deviate from His government, its laws and its way of life.
We have now reached the point where the government of God - the means of building and instilling righteous, holy, perfect character - was abolished from the earth. It must be restored. That is uppermost in God's mind!
God must have said: There's just not enough of me. He needed millions or billions of perfect and righteous beings, governed by His government, to complete in beauty, majesty and glory not only the other planets of our solar system, but of our Milky Way, and the countless other galaxies of the limitless, vast universe. So now comes the next phase of God's overwhelmingly grand purpose: to REPRODUCE HIMSELF into billions of Godbeings.