“I have spoken, and I will bring it about. I have purposed it, and I will also carry it out.”
THE very first words of the Bible make this simple but profound statement: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” (Genesis 1:1) We have seen only a few of the many things God created in the universe, and we understand very little about things such as space, light, and gravity. (Ecclesiastes 3:11) But Jehovah has revealed to us his purpose for the earth and for humans. He created humans in his image and wanted them to enjoy living on earth. (Genesis 1:26) They would be his children, and he would be their Father.
2 From the third chapter of Genesis, we learn that Jehovah’s purpose was challenged. (Genesis 3:1-7) However, there is no problem that Jehovah cannot solve. No one can stand in his way. (Isaiah 46:10, 11; 55:11) We can be certain that Jehovah’s original purpose will be fulfilled exactly at the right time!
3. (a) What important teachings help us to understand the message of the Bible? (b) Why will we now discuss these teachings? (c) What questions will we consider?
3 No doubt, we know what God’s purpose is for the earth and for humans, as well as what Jesus’ role is in that purpose. These are very important Bible truths and are likely the first truths we learned when we began to study God’s Word. Now we want to help others to learn these very important teachings. We have a special opportunity to do so during this time of the year, when we are inviting people to attend the Memorial of Christ’s death. (Luke 22:19, 20) If they come to this important event, they will learn more about God’s wonderful purpose. So now is a good time to think about specific questions that we can use to encourage people to attend. In this article, we will consider three questions: What is God’s purpose for the earth and for humans? What went wrong? And why is Jesus’ ransom sacrifice the key that unlocks the door for God’s purpose to be accomplished?
WHAT WAS THE CREATOR’S PURPOSE?
4. How is creation “declaring the glory of God”?
4 Jehovah is an awe-inspiring Creator. Everything he created is of the highest standard. (Genesis 1:31; Jeremiah 10:12) What can we learn from the beauty and order we see in creation? We learn that all the things Jehovah created, from the smallest to the largest, are beneficial. In addition, when you think of the amazing human cell, or see a newborn baby, or watch a gorgeous sunset, how do you feel? We admire these things because Jehovah created us with the ability to know what is truly beautiful.
5. What has Jehovah done so that all of his creation would work well together?
5 Jehovah carefully set boundaries for all of his creation. He made laws in nature, and he made moral laws. He made these laws so that everything in the universe would work well together. (Psalm 19:7-9) All things in the universe have an assigned place and function. For example, the law of gravity keeps the atmosphere close to the earth, and it controls the oceans and tides. Without gravity, life on earth would not be possible. The boundaries that Jehovah set in nature result in perfect order in the universe. This shows that he has a purpose for the earth and for humans. In our ministry, we can help others to get to know the Creator of this amazing universe.
6, 7. What are some gifts that Jehovah gave Adam and Eve?
6 Jehovah’s purpose was for humans to live forever on earth. (Genesis 1:28; Psalm 37:29) He is generous, and he gave Adam and Eve a variety of precious gifts. (Read James 1:17.) Jehovah gave them free will and the ability to reason, to love, and to enjoy friendships. The Creator spoke to Adam and instructed him on how to do what is good. Adam also learned how to take care of himself, the animals, and the land. (Genesis 2:15-17, 19, 20) Jehovah gave Adam and Eve the ability to taste, touch, see, hear, and smell the good things he made for them. In this way, they could enjoy life in their beautiful home. Adam and Eve had plenty of interesting work to do. And they could keep learning and discovering new things forever.
7 What else was part of God’s purpose? Jehovah gave Adam and Eve the ability to have perfect children. And their children would also have children, until humans filled the whole earth. Jehovah wanted parents to love their children, just as he loved his first perfect human children, Adam and Eve. He gave the human family the earth and all the precious and beautiful things on it. This would be their home, and it would never be taken away from them.
WHAT WENT WRONG?
8. Why did God give Adam and Eve the law found at Genesis 2:16, 17?
8 Things did not immediately work out as Jehovah wanted. What happened? Jehovah gave Adam and Eve a simple law so that they would know the limits of their freedom. He said: “From every tree of the garden you may eat to satisfaction. But as for the tree of the knowledge of good and bad, you must not eat from it, for in the day you eat from it you will certainly die.” (Genesis 2:16, 17) That law was not difficult for them to understand. And it would not be difficult for them to obey, since there was plenty of other delicious food in the garden.
9, 10. (a) What did Satan accuse Jehovah of? (b) What did Adam and Eve decide to do? (See opening picture.)
9 Satan the Devil used a serpent to fool Eve into disobeying her Father, Jehovah. (Read Genesis 3:1-5; Revelation 12:9) Satan made an issue of the fact that God’s human children were not allowed to eat “from every tree of the garden.” It was as if he were saying: ‘You mean you cannot do what you want?’ Next, he told her: “You certainly will not die.” That was a lie. Then he tried to convince Eve that she did not need to listen to God. Satan said: “God knows that in the very day you eat from it, your eyes will be opened.” Satan was saying that Jehovah did not want them to eat the fruit because this would give them some special knowledge. Finally, he made this false promise: “You will be like God, knowing good and bad.”
10 Adam and Eve had to decide what to do. Would they obey God, or would they listen to the serpent? Sadly, they decided to disobey God. They rejected Jehovah as their Father and joined Satan. Now they were on their own, without Jehovah’s protection.
11. Why could Jehovah not ignore Adam and Eve’s sin?
11 When Adam and Eve broke God’s law, they were no longer perfect. Moreover, they became God’s enemies, because he hates wickedness. His “eyes are too pure to look on what is evil.” (Habakkuk 1:13) If Jehovah had done nothing about Adam and Eve’s sin, the well-being of all his creation would have been threatened. Both angels and humans would have wondered whether they could depend on his word. But Jehovah is faithful to his own standards; he never violates them. (Psalm 119:142) Although Adam and Eve had free will, they could not avoid the consequences of rebelling against Jehovah. They eventually died and returned to the dust from which they were created.
12. What happened to Adam’s children?
12 When Adam and Eve ate of the fruit, Jehovah could no longer accept them as part of his family. He sent them out of the garden of Eden, and they could never return there. (Genesis 3:23, 24) Jehovah made them face the consequences of their decision. (Read Deuteronomy 32:4, 5.) As a result, they could no longer imitate Jehovah’s qualities perfectly. Adam lost a marvelous future not only for himself but also for his children. He could give his children only imperfection, sin, and death. (Romans 5:12) Adam took away from them the opportunity to live forever. Adam and Eve could not have a perfect child, and their children could not have perfect children. Ever since Satan turned Adam and Eve against God, the Devil has tried to influence all humans to do the same.
THE RANSOM MAKES FRIENDSHIP WITH GOD POSSIBLE
13. What does Jehovah want for humans?
13 Jehovah still loved humans. Although Adam and Eve had left him, he still wanted humans to have a good relationship with him. And he did not want any of them to die. (2 Peter 3:9) Therefore, God immediately made arrangements so that humans could have a friendship with him again. How could he do this without going against his own standards? Let us see.
After Adam and Eve abandoned him, God immediately made arrangements for humans to have a friendship with him again
14. (a) According to John 3:16, what did God do to rescue humans from sin and death? (b) What question can we discuss with people?
14 Read John 3:16. Many of the people we invite to the Memorial know this verse by heart. But how does Jesus’ sacrifice make everlasting life possible? We have the opportunity to help people understand the answer to this question when we invite them to the Memorial, when we are with them at the Memorial, and when we visit them later. The more they understand the ransom, the more they will realize how much Jehovah loves humans and how wise he is. What points about the ransom can we share with them?
15. How was Jesus different from Adam?
15 Jehovah provided a perfect man who could give his life as a ransom. That perfect man had to be loyal to Jehovah. He had to be willing to give his life for humans. (Romans 5:17-19) Jehovah transferred the life of Jesus, his first creation, from heaven to earth. (John 1:14) So Jesus became a perfect human, just as Adam had been. But unlike Adam, Jesus followed the standards Jehovah expected from a perfect man. Even under the most extreme tests, he never broke any of God’s laws.
16. Why is the ransom such a precious gift?
16 By dying as a perfect man, Jesus could save humans from sin and death. He corresponded exactly to all that Adam should have been. Jesus was a perfect man, absolutely loyal and obedient to God. (1 Timothy 2:6) He died for us, and his sacrifice gives all men, women, and children the opportunity to live forever. (Matthew 20:28) The ransom is the key that unlocks the door for God’s purpose to be fulfilled.
JEHOVAH OPENED THE DOOR FOR US TO RETURN
17. What does the ransom make possible?
17 Jehovah provided the ransom at great cost to himself. (1 Peter 1:19) He values us so much that he was willing to let his precious Son die for us. (1 John 4:9, 10) In a sense, Jesus became our father instead of Adam. (1 Corinthians 15:45) Jesus made it possible for us not only to live forever but also to return to God’s family one day. By means of the ransom, humans will become perfect and Jehovah can accept them back into his family without breaking his own laws. Imagine how wonderful it will be when all those who are loyal to Jehovah become perfect! Finally, everyone in heaven and on earth will be united as one family. We will all be children of God.
18. When will Jehovah become “all things to everyone”?
18 Even though our first parents rejected Jehovah, he did not stop loving people, and he provided the ransom. And although we are imperfect, Satan cannot prevent us from being loyal to Jehovah. By means of the ransom, Jehovah will help us to become completely righteous. Imagine what life will be like when everyone “who recognizes the Son and exercises faith in him” will have everlasting life! (John 6:40) Our loving and wise Father will fulfill his purpose and help humans to become perfect. Jehovah will then become “all things to everyone.”
19. (a) What should gratitude for the ransom motivate us to do? (See the box “Let Us Keep Searching Out Deserving Ones.”) (b) What will we consider in the next article?
19 Our gratitude for the ransom should motivate us to tell others about this priceless gift. People need to know that by means of the ransom, Jehovah lovingly offers all mankind the opportunity to live forever. But the ransom does far more than that. It settles the issues that Satan raised in the garden of Eden. We will consider how it does this in the next article.