Church of God, New World Ministries

Can Man Become God? (Part 2)

There is much vital, basic and important knowledge beyond the powers of man to discover! Such important knowledge as what man is, why man is, and why he was put on earth and for what purpose?

And if there is purpose, what is that purpose? And how may we attain it?

What is the way to peace? All nations seek and strive for peace, yet none find it, they have war? What are the true values in life? This world pursues the false.

Those are the most basic and important things man needs to know. Yet he may search for the answers in vain. He can know them only through revelation.

Such questions as: How the earth came, when it came, how old it is; how old is human life upon it, the mystery of origins absorb the time, thought, research and thinking of scientists, philosophers, historians, yet they can come up only with guesses, theories, hypotheses, but no proof, the definite knowledge they could know only by revelation.

In taking to themselves the forbidden fruit, the first humans took to themselves the determination of what is good and what is evil. We repeat, in so doing, they rejected the fact that God’s living, inexorable spiritual law is the way of good, the cause of all good and its transgression the way of evil, the cause of all evil. Since they and humanity in general after then have taken to themselves the determination of what is good, they of necessity have followed the way contrary of God’s law. They have followed the way that has produced all the vast mountain of evils that has descended on this sick, sick world.

They made themselves competitors of the living God. That is why it is written in Romans 8:7: “The carnal mind is enmity (hostile) against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.”

So what, then, is the missing dimension in all knowledge? It is revelation from God. For even though rejected by the first humans, even though rejected by mankind in general God did bequeath to mankind His revelation of basic knowledge. We have it in writing! The Holy Bible is that revelation. It contains history, instruction, revelation of basic knowledge, and prophecy.

It does not contain all knowledge. It contains that basic, foundational knowledge otherwise inaccessible to man!

What, then, is wrong with knowledge production today? The most vital dimension is missing! We have said that error generally comes from assuming a false premise, taken carelessly for granted without proof, and building on that premise. And when the basic hypothesis or premise is false, the entire structure built upon it topples with it!

We have said that the tools of modern science are observation, experimentation and reason. Are those tools wrong? Not at all! The error comes from rejection of revelation. For revelation is the true starting premise. When man substitutes his own false hypothesis, the most vital dimension in the knowledge production is missing!

God’s Word, His Instruction Book for mankind is the foundation of all knowledge. It is not the sum total of knowledge. It is the foundation, the true premise, the starting point, the concept that directs the approach to the acquisition of further knowledge.

God intended for man to produce additional knowledge. He gave us the basic, the foundation, the premise, the concept. But He also provided us with eyes with which to observe, with hands and feet to explore and measure, with means to produce laboratories, test tubes, and means of experimentation. He gave us awesome minds with which to think.

God intended man to use observation, experimentation, and human reason. He supplied us with the basic, the foundation, the start in the right direction, with the right concept. But our first parents rejected the most vital dimension in all knowledge. And mankind has rejected the very foundation of all knowledge. Knowledge production has been operating with a foundation based on false premises and erroneous hypotheses.

That is the reason human knowledge production has failed to solve humanity’s problems, and to cure the world’s ills.

Manufacturers of mechanical or electrical appliances send along an instruction manual with their product. The Bible is our Maker’s Instruction Manual which He has sent along with the product of his making – humanity.

Six thousand years of human misery, unhappiness and evils ought to provide sufficient proof for those willing to see, that humanity, starting with our first parents, rejected the most vital dimension.

Now remember, we said creation is still going on. Adam was freely offered eternal life. He was compelled to make a choice. Had he (and of course Eve) made the choice to believe God, accept knowledge from God, instead of taking to themselves the determination of the knowledge of what is good and what is evil, he and Eve could have taken of the tree of life.

That tree symbolically represented the Holy Spirit of God. Taking it would have impregnated within them God life, spirit life. Then Adam’s creation would have been completed within his lifetime. He would have been changed from mortal to immortal, from physical, material composition even as God is!

But the first humans rejected basic revelation of knowledge from God, just as humanity has done ever since. They rejected the way God set in motion to cause peace, prosperity, happiness and joy. They limited the acquisition of knowledge to their human minds.

And ever since man has tried to go his own way, governing himself, living the “get” way, with unconcern for the good of others. And man’s way has resulted in all the mountain of evils that has befallen this world.

Therein is the explanation of all the illiteracy, the poverty, the disease, the filth and squalor of the world’s majority.

Therein is the explanation of the evils that exist in the “more advanced” and “developed” areas of the world. They have education, but with its great, vast missing dimension! Education with no knowledge of the purpose of life. Education that can produce computers, fly men to the moon and back, but cannot solve man’s problems.

And why? Because the problems are spiritual and man has rejected the knowledge of God’s spiritual law, the way of life that would cause peace and universal good! But has God left stricken humanity to its fate? By no means. God’s spiritual creation is still in progress. 

The real answer was brought out by Job. “If a man die, shall he live again?” Job asked, and answered - “All the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come. Thou shall call, and I will answer thee, thou wilt have a desire to the work of thine hands” (Job 14:14-15).

The latter part of his quotation, most often overlooked, is the key to this whole riddle. Read it again! “Thou wilt have a desire to the work of thine hands”!

Study that! Job knew he was merely the work of God’s hands, merely a piece of divine workmanship in the hands of the Creator, merely a piece of plastic clay in the hands of the Master Potter.

The prophet Isiah explains this also: “But now, O Lord, thou art our father, we are the clay, and thou our potter, and we are the work of thy hand” (Isa. 64:5).

And in calling us forth from the grave, in the resurrection, God is having a desire to finish the work of His hands. The model, from which the finished spiritual product is to be molded, is material substance, human clay.

In the creation of Genesis 1, God formed and shaped man physically, into God’s image. But we do not, as humans, have the spiritual character of the perfect God. During this lifetime, for those whom God calls, if they yield and respond, God begins to re-form and shape us spiritually, while we become more and more like Him in spiritual character.

For the grand and glorious purpose, God has marked out a duration of seven thousand years. Each 24-hour day of the Genesis 1 creation was a type of the seven millennial days of the spiritual creation.

Except for those whom God specially and individually calls during the first six millennia days, God leaves man to write his lesson in human experience. Man made the choice of relying on himself under the sway and influence of Satan. God is allowing man to demonstrate beyond question his helplessness, without God’s Holy Spirit, to live in a way that produces peace, happiness, and universal abundance.

Or, the parallel: God is allowing Satan the six millennia days for his labor of deception and evil. And on that seventh millennia day, he shall not be allowed to do any of his evil work. He shall be imprisoned, while the living Christ brings truth and salvation to the world!

So now let’s look briefly at redemption. What is it?

“By grace are ye saved through faith for we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them” (Eph. 2:8-10). Notice, there are good works to salvation.

The “we” in New Testament language always means Christians, those truly converted. We, then, are God’s workmanship. Yes! “Created.” now being created to what objective, to what purpose? Note it! “Unto good works”! Unto perfect spiritual character.

Now Paul here is not speaking of Adam’s creation, six thousand years ago. He is speaking of Christians, now, being created unto good work. We are His workmanship – the Creator is till creating. He is molding, fashioning, changing us, transforming us to His own noble, righteous, holy, spiritual character. Yes, creating in us this perfect character. Salvation, then, is a process!

But how “the god of this world” (I Cor. 4:4) would blind your eyes to that! He tries to deceive you into thinking all there is to it is just “accepting Christ” with “no works” and presto-chango, you’re pronounced “saved.”

But the Bible reveals that “He that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved” (Matt. 24:13).

“Therefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature” (II Cor. 5:17). Yes, a new creation! “And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; and that ye put on the new man, which after God is (being) changed in righteousness and true holiness’ (Eph. 4:23-24).

It all begins in the mind. Repentance, the first step in salvation, is a change of mind. We believe in the mind. The receiving and indwelling of the Holy Spirit is a renewing of the mind. Gradually, through Bible study, learning to live by “every Word of God,” being continually corrected, keeping in constant prayer, the very mind of God is placed within the yielded man. And thus the new man, a holy, spiritual character is being created in righteousness and in true holiness.

In this new creation God works in man, the man must be “born again.” God made Adam solely out of matter. Jesus said to Nicodemus, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh”! Then He explained we must be born again to enter into the Kingdom of God, not again of the flesh, not entering our mother’s womb, as Nicodemus thought He meant, but born of the Spirit, born of God. As we were born of the flesh from a fleshly human father, so now we must be born of the Spirit of God, the heavenly spiritual Father.

And this process is brought about, in God’s great purpose, by a man first coming to see how wrong are the ways of mortal humans, thinking and living contrary to the revealed laws of God. The first stage is repentance. Surrender to Almighty God.

But we now are the “clay models,” in the hands of the Master Potter. If in this life our thinking, our ways, are changed until we really do become in spiritual character new creatures in Christ Jesus, conformed to His will, then that clay model, worked over, fashioned and shaped as God would have it, is finally turned into the finished spiritual creation.

This entire creation begins in Christ, and is finished by Him. God created all things by Jesus Christ (Eph. 3:9). Jesus was the workman then, who created the original Adam. But our spiritual creation begins in Him, too. He it is who became our living example, who came into the world to lead the way and became the firstborn from among the dead (Rom. 8:29), the first completed perfected spiritual man.

Now come to the ultimate purpose of human life on the earth. It is stupendous, beyond the capacity, perhaps, for many to grasp. But see it, with your own eyes, in your own Bible.

Each year, on the Sunday called “Easter,” millions celebrate the resurrection of Christ. But do they really believe that He rose from the dead? For that matter, how many believe He really was dead at all? The Bible says He rose from the dead. But how many believe He has been alive ever since? How many believe the very Christ who died is alive today? How many know what He has been doing these past 2,000 years.? Do you?

The entire book of Hebrews is devoted to telling us what He has been doing, what He is doing now, and what He will do in the future.

Read it in your Bible. Expect shocking surprises, happy surprises. Begin at the beginning of Hebrews – chapter 1, verse 1: “God, who at sundry times and in diverse manners spake in times past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds.”

The “all things” refers to the entire universe! It is so translated in the Moffatt translation. 

Continuing the same sentence, “who being in the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person.” Moffatt translates that “express image” as “stamped with God’s own character.” Continue: “and upholding all things by the word of his power” (v.3).

Moffatt translates that as “sustains the universe with his word of power.” In other words, God Almighty, the Father of the Kingdom of God which is the divine Family of God has appointed the resurrected living Christ, His Son, as Chief Executive in the administration of the Government of God over the entire vast universe!

Several times, in the Bible, converted Christians, in whom is God’s Holy Spirit, are called heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Jesus Christ (Rom. 8:1; Gal. 3:29; 4:7; Titus 3:7). Now could that mean we are appointed to share that rulership of the entire vast universe with Christ?

Begin now with Hebrews 2:6, quoting from Psalms 8:4-6. The question is asked, “What is man, that thou are mindful of him?” Yes, what is there about sinning, mortal man that God should be concerned about him?

What are you that God should be concerned about you? Note well the incredible answer:

“Thou madest him a little lower than the angels” (Heb. 2:7). Yes, now much higher than animals, but still lower than angels who are composed of spirit (Heb. 1:5-7, 13-14).

Continue, verses 7-8: “thou crownedst him with glory and honor, and didst set him over the works of thy hands: thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him.”

In chapter 1, quoted above, “all things” is also translated “the universe”. Could it mean God has put the entire vast universe under man? That has been too utterly fantastic for even theologians to believe! But notice the last sentence in that same verse: “But now we see not yet all things put under him.”

That explains it. God has not yet put the vastness of the universe under man’s control and governing. Not while we are still humans! Man has so far proved he is incapable of even governing himself, here on the earth! No, we don’t see man yet in such fantastic power. But what do we see, now?

Notice the 9th verse: “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels” – mortal, like we are now – “for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour” - as explained in the first chapter, crowned, the executive Ruler over the universe “that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man. For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things” – God created everything by Jesus Christ (Eph. 3:9), “in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings” (v. 10).

Do you grasp what that says? “In bringing many sons unto glory.” We humans who repent, come to believe God, believe what He says, believe what He reveals, believe the knowledge He reveals to us, now, through the Bible instead of rejecting knowledge from Him as Adam and Eve did, as most in science and higher education do, we become God’s sons when He puts within us His Holy Spirit. We are the sons He is bringing to this supreme glory!

Now grasp this: “to make the Captain of their salvation.” Christ is the Captain of our salvation. Or, that may be translated also as the “pioneer,” who had gone on ahead before us, into this matchless glory. He already has inherited all things, the universe.

But notice further: “to make the Captain of their salvation perfect” – how? How was even Christ made perfect? “Through sufferings”!

And notice, in verse 11: “He is not ashamed to call them brethren.” Christ, in glory, is not ashamed to call us, who have His Spirit, who rely on and obey Him, brethren.

“Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; and being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him” (Heb. 5:8-9).

There it is again. Jesus is the author of our salvation. He wrote that salvation by His experience, and that was the first writing of it. He was the first human ever to achieve it, to be perfected, finished as a perfect character. Do you begin to understand?

Satan did not upset God’s plan. All that has happened, God foreknew and permitted, for a purpose. Redemption is not a repairing of the damage, not a restoring to a condition “just as good” as Adam before the “fall.” No, that was merely the beginning, the material creation. Redemption is the great spiritual creation. In it, God is creating in us something infinitely superior to Adam before he sinned. Do you see now what God is creating, in you and me?

He is creating something higher than angels or archangels. He is creating the supreme masterpiece of all God’s creation, holy, perfect spiritual character. And what is character?

Perfect character, such as God is creating in us, is a person finally made immortal, who is a separate entity from “God, who, through independent free choice has come to know, and to choose, and to do, what is right. And that means to believe and know that what God instructs is what is right.

Inanimate rock will roll downhill by the power of gravity. Water runs in its channels through creeks and rivers into oceans. Great planets, some many times larger than the earth, must travel in God’s ordained course. These things are marvelous examples of the creative power of God. Yet these things are inanimate, they have no mind, no free choice, no character.

Dumb animals do not sin. They do not know enough to sin. They act by instinct, or according to the training of others. They do not have character.

Character is the possession and practice of love, patience, mercy, faith, kindness, gentleness, meekness, temperance, self-restraint, and right self-direction. Character involves knowledge, wisdom, purpose, ability, all properly controlled and developed, through independent choice.

Holy, righteous character is something that is developed only through experience. Experience requires time and circumstances. And so, God creates time and God creates circumstances which produce character.

And so, God first formed out of the dust, out of matter the flesh-and-blood man, in the image of God (and “image” means form and shape, not composition). And through seven thousand years of experience, God is taking the human family through a process, the results of which, even “as we have borne the image of the earthy (mortal Adam), we shall also bear the image of the heavenly” -  Christ Jesus immortal, the “second Adam” – (I Cor. 15:49).

Yes, once fashioned, shaped and molded according to God’s purpose, even we shall be like Him, for we shall see him as he is” (I John 3:1-2).

There are just two broad principles of life – God’s way, or God’s law, summed up in the Ten Commandments, and Satan’s way of competition, greed, vanity.

All suffering, all unhappiness, fear, misery, and death has come from the transgression of God’s law. Living by that great law of love, then is the only way to peace, happiness, and joy.

God placed man on this planet to learn that lesson, to learn it through generations of experience. We, too, learn by suffering. God has revealed the true way; His revelation always has been available to man. But man, given the right of free choice, always has turned his back on God, and God’s true way. And even though man, as a whole, still refuses to see or learn the lesson, he has written this lesson indelibly in the history of human experience.

We learn through experience and through suffering. This, then, is the very stuff of which character is made. Once this godly character is developed in us, what shall we be like in the resurrection?

Already, now, in this life, the truly converted Christian, having God’s Holy Spirit dwelling within, being led by God’s Spirit, is a son of God. In prayer he addresses God as “Father.”

Notice it in your Bible: “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be” (I John 3:2). What we shall be is not now apparent, does not now appear – is not yet seen. Continue: “but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him, for we shall (then) see him as he is.” Our appearance, then, will be like that of Christ now. And what does Jesus Christ look like now?

His appearance is described in Revelation 1:14-16: “His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were as a flame of fire; and his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength.”

But once actually born of God, entering into His Kingdom, His Family by the resurrection, we shall be composed of spirit. We shall be like God, and like Christ now is, completely sinless. “Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin, for his seed remains in him, and he cannot sin, because he is born of God” (I John 3:9).

As Christ was born of God by His resurrection (Rom. 1:3-4), so shall we be. “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn of many brethren” (Rom. 8:29).

At that time, we shall be changed from mortal to immortal. “For our (citizenship) is in heaven: from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ; who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body” (Phil. 3:20-21).

Do you begin to comprehend why you were born?

One religion believes that the final end result of human life is to be the total extinction of individual consciousness. How glorious is the truth, promising the very opposite extreme!

The purpose for human life is that in us God is really re-creating His own kind, reproducing Himself after His own kind, for we are, upon real conversion, actually begotten sons (yet unborn) of God. Then through study of God’s revelation in His Word, living by His every Word, constant prayer, daily experience with trials and testing, we grow spiritually more and more like God, until, at the time of the resurrection, we shall instantaneously change from mortal into immortal, composed of spirit. We shall then be born of God, actually born into the God Family!

But, remember, the word “God” in Genesis 1:1 comes to us from the Hebrew word Elohim. Elohim means one God, not many gods. But that one God is a divine family, a Kingdom. There is but one true Church, one Church, but many members (I Cor. 12:20).

As an illustration, there is the mineral kingdom, the plant kingdom, the animal kingdom, the human kingdom, in this material world. Spiritually, there is the angel kingdom, and, high above all, the Kingdom of God. A human, flesh and blood cannot enter into the Kingdom of God (John 3:6, I Cor. 15:50) but one born of God can.

Do you really grasp it? The purpose of you being alive is that finally you can be born into the Kingdom of God, which is the divine Family of God.

When you fully grasp this tremendous, wonderful truth, your mind will be filled with transcendent joy. It gives a new meaning to life so wonderful you’ll never comprehend the full heights of its splendor. It means, of course, total renunciation and denial of those injurious things and ways which have falsely seemed so bright and alluring to this world.

But your eyes will be open at last to the great deception, the scales will fall from your blinded vision, you’ll see the meaning of life, its great purpose, as you never dreamed it could be. Giving up this world’s evils, temptations and pitfalls, its snares and delusions which have glittered and then ended only in sorrow and suffering, is but emerging from gross darkness into the splendor of true light, and of happiness and joy forever. In the words of I Peter 1:8, you will “rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory!”

 
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