Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Full Circle In God's Purpose For Mankind

If you bring up my index to this blog, and then use the “find” feature (Ctrl-F) and enter “hope,” you’ll find I’ve written a few articles about it. Probably the two most relevant ones are: Death History and Future Hope and Understanding Heaven and Human Destiny.This time, I want to provide a bird’s eye view of the full-circle of events that will fulfill God’s initial purpose for the earth.

So many religions complicate and convolute the simple Bible-stated truth regarding sin, redemption and the future hope of mankind. Here is what the Bible teaches without all the unscriptural additions and folklore.

To understand the future hope, we first need to understand what the original hope was. Genesis chapters one and two state that Adam and Eve would care for animals, reproduce, Cultivate ground, and expand the original garden. There was perfect health and peace, plenty of food and water, and plenty to keep the human couple feeling happy and fulfilled.

In order to test their loyalty and true love for their creator, they were given one very simple restriction -- Don't eat from one particular tree. There were probably dozens if not hundreds of lush and delicious plants and fruit from trees to enjoy so this restriction was very reasonable. The stated consequences for disobedience was also plain and simple -- Adam and Eve would cease to exist. They would go back to the dirt they were made of.

Note that there is no mention of going off to another form of life. Becoming a different type of life (such as a spirit being) would not have been a punishment, it would have been circumventing the plainly stated punishment and, really, have been a blessing instead of curse. But quite clearly they were to cease existing -- no conscious existence at all. Death was the end-judgement, death was the punishment.

But then many might be alarmed and rightly ask, "What about us? We weren't there in the garden of Eden. It's not our fault that Adam & Eve blew it." And they would be right. We must also remember that it was not God’s fault . However, God is not so unrighteous that he would leave Adam's offspring in the lurch. Hence the provision of the ransom sacrifice of Jesus Christ. What mankind lost was everlasting life as sons in God's family. That is exactly what Jesus will restore.

Since it was God's original purpose for the earth to be a beautiful gem of a global paradise filled with humans that perfectly cooperated with God’s design and would live forever, that is what is being restored. Basically, after a huge interruption to God’s original purpose (through Adam and Eve’s disobedience), mankind will finally be on track again.

But what of all the thousands of people who died faithful to God throughout history. Jesus said there was to be a resurrection, that those in the grave would be brought back to life on earth.

Think about it: If God had intended to have us become angels, why didn't he just make us angels in the first place-- just like he did to the angels already existing before mankind came to be? Some say that he placed us here as an intermediate step, but that wouldn't be fair that the angels who were created as angels didn't have to go through a trial period. God is not unfair like that.

So we were never intended to be in heaven, have never been in heaven before and, for the most part, will never go there. (There are a few that Jesus is taking to form what Revelation calls "the bride" of the Christ. These will rule with Jesus.)

Essentially, this is the full-circle of paradise lost to paradise regained. The only change from the original purpose is that as a reward to Jesus for his faithfulness, he is being allowed to invite some humans to join him as rulers over the earth.

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