Conclusion of Study One the sixth volume studies in the scriptures “In the beginning”
Fourth paragraph from theheading of “The Period of Divine cessation from creative activity…” (Page 51)
The angelic sons of God “shouted for joy” (Job 38:7) in the dawn of earth’s creative week, and after witnessing step after step in the development, finally saw man, its king, made in the Divine image. But then came the fall of man into sin and death through disobedience followed by the frightful experiences of the fallen angels who kept not their primary estate. And man’s selfish and bloody history under the reign of Sin and Death. Then successively follow the redemption, the selection of the Anointed One (Head and Body) through sacrifice, and the establishment of the Messianic Kingdom with its wonderful restitution of all things spoken by God through the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began. No wonder indeed that there should be Jubilation in heaven and in earth when all of Yahweh’s intelligent creatures shall thus behold the lengths, heights and breadths and depths, not only of God’s Love, but also of His Justice, Wisdom and Power:
“And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, great and marvelous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints. Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? For thou only art holy: for all nations shall come and worship before thee; for thy judgments are made manifest.” —Rev. 15:3,4
“Thus saith the Lord that created the heavens: God himself, that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it. He created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the Lord and there is none else.” —Is. 45:18
“And every creature which is in heaven and on earth... and such as are in the sea... heard me saying, ‘Blessing and honor and glory and power be unto him that sitteth upon the throne and unto the Lamb, forever and forever.’” —Rev. 5:13
Since writing the foregoing we found the following on the subject of the Genesis account of creation by Prof. G. Frederick Wright, DD, LL.D., dated November 19, 1902..
THE GENESIS RECORD
“The first chapter of Genesis, which treats of the creation of the world, is a most remarkable document. It is remarkable as much for the skill with which it avoids possible conflict with scientific discovery as for its effectiveness from a literary point of view. Measured by the influence it has had, there is scarcely any other piece of literature that can be compared with it. Its evident object is to discredit polytheism and to emphasize the unity of the Godhead. This it does by denying a plurality of gods, both in general and in detail, and by affirming that it is the one eternal God of Israel who has made the heavens and the earth and all the objects in it which idolaters are in the habit of worshiping.
“The sublimity of this chapter is seen in the fact that everywhere apart from the influence of it polytheism and idolatry prevail. The unity of God and His worship as the sole Creator of all things are maintained only by those nations which have accepted this chapter as a true and divine revelation.”
cOMPATIBLE WITH SCIENCE
“At the same time the advancement of science has served rather to enhance than to detract from our admiration of this remarkable portion of the grand book of Divine revelation. Within its ample folds there is opportunity for every real discovery of science to find shelter. With such remarkable wisdom has the language of this chapter been chosen to avoid conflict with modern science that so great a geologist as Prof. J. D. Dana of Yale College asserted with great emphasis that it was impossible to account for it except on the theory of Divine inspiration.
“In the opening verse it shuts off controversy concerning the age of the earth, and indeed of the solar system, by the simple statement that the heaven and the earth were created in the ‘beginning,’ without any assertion how long ago that beginning was. But that the solar system had a beginning is proved by modern science with such clearness that the boldest evolutionist cannot gainsay it. The modern doctrine of the conservation of energy proves that the present order of things has not always existed. The sun is cooling off. Its heat is rapidly radiating and wasting itself in empty space. In short, the solar system is running down, and it is as clear as noonday that the process cannot have been going on forever. Even the nebular hypothesis implies a beginning, and no wit of man ever devised a better statement of that fact than is found in the opening verse of the Bible. “In the beginning God created the Heaven and the earth.” (Read Psalm 8)
CREATION WAS GRADUAL
“This whole first chapter of Genesis is based upon the principle of progress in this method of creation. The universe was not brought into existence instantaneously. It was not complete at the outset. In the beginning we have merely the physical forces out of which the grand structure is to be made by a gradually unfolding, or if one prefers to say so, an ‘evolutionary’ process. [As already indicated, it is only in respect to man’s creation that the Evolution theory conflicts with the Bible; and only to attack this point does that theory exist or find advocates.] This is equally true whatever view one may take of the word ‘day’ (Hebrew ‘yom’). Why should an Almighty Creator need six days, even if only twenty‑four hours long, in which to create the world? The answer is that the Creator not only possesses almighty power, but has infinite wisdom, and has seen fit to choose a method of creation which involves first the blade, then the ear, then the full corn in the ear.
“That there is a Divine plan of evolution, appears on the face of this whole chapter. The creation is begun by bringing into existence the simplest forms of matter, and continued by imposing upon them those activities of force and energy which produce light. This is followed by the segregation of the matter which forms the earth, and the separation of land from water, and of the water upon the earth from that which is held in suspension in the air. If anyone wishes to carp over the word ‘firmament,’ and insists upon its bald literal meaning, he is forbidden to do so by the subsequent statement (Gen. 1:20) that the birds are made to fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven. The medium which held up the water in the clouds was one through which the birds could fly.
CREATION OF VEGETATION
“At the third stage the land was covered with vegetation, which is the simplest form of life, but which, when once introduced, carries with it the whole developing series of vegetable products. So comprehensive is the language in which the creation of plants is announced that it leaves ample room for the theory of spontaneous generation, which is yet one of the mooted questions in biology. In the light of this how remarkable are the words ‘and God said, Let the earth bring forth grass... and the earth brought forth grass.’
“The same remarkable form of expression occurs in introducing the fifth day of progress, where we read (Gen. 1:20): ‘And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life.’ ... And again, introducing the sixth day’s work the same phrase is used (Gen. 1:24) ‘Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind.’... If one should insist on interpreting this language according to the mere letter he would have what neither science nor theology would accept.
A SPECIAL CREATOR
“When it comes to the creation of man a very different expression is used. It is said that God made man in His own image and breathed into him the breath of life. How much this may signify with reference to the mode of man’s creation is not necessary to consider at this point. But the expression fitly corresponds to the exalted dignity which belongs to man when compared to the rest of the animal creation.
The most noteworthy characteristics of man are brought to light both in this and in the subsequent account of the beginning of his career. Not only is man said to be made in the image of God, but he is fitted to rule over the beasts of the field and has the gift of language, through which he can bestow names upon them. Furthermore, he is a being free of will, which knows the difference between rights and wrong – in short, is in possession of a moral nature which places him in a class by himself.
“That so many things should have been told us about the creation, with nothing which is absurd and fantastic, and so little which creates any difficulty in harmonizing it with modern science, is the clearest evidence which we can have that it was given by Divine inspiration. Not even Milton, with all his learning and with the advantage of this account before him, could curb his imagination sufficiently to keep from making a travesty of his whole conception of the creation of the animal kingdom. What but the hand of inspiration could have so curbed and guided the writer of the first chapter of Genesis?
MAN CREATED – NOT by EVOLution
There is a vast difference between the size and development in the brain in man and that in the lower members of the order ‘primates.’
“Physiologically and psychologically man differs even more widely from the lower members of his order. He has the power of grammatical speech. He can arrange his thoughts in sentences, which can be represented by arbitrary marks on paper or some other substance. Man has an ear for harmony in music, which no animal has. This involves a delicacy of structure in the organs of hearing of a most marvelous character. Among his mental qualities, that of scientific or inductive reasoning is most remarkable when contrasted with the mental capacities of the animal creation.
“In his great work on ‘Mental Evolution,’ Romanes thinks he finds in the lower animals all the rudiments of man’s mental capacity, but they are so clearly rudimental that they leave the gap between man and the animal nearly as great as ever. By collecting all the manifestations of intelligence in animals he finds that they all together manifest as much intelligence as a child does when it is 15 months old. But this intelligence is not in any single species, one species being advanced to that degree in one line, and another, in another...
REASON VERSUS INSTINCT
“Keen as the dog’s sense of smell may be, it is of no help in teaching him geology. Nor is the eagle’s acuteness of vision of any assistance to him in studying astronomy. In vain would one conduct a dog over the world to learn the extent of the ice cap during the glacial period, for he has no powers of thought through which he could connect the boulders in the United States with their parent ledges in Canada, or the scratched stones on the plains of Russia with the Scandinavian mountains from whose ledges they were wrenched by the moving ice. Such inferences are entirely beyond canine capacity...
CAPACITY FOR RELIGION
“In nothing does this superiority of the human mind appear more striking than in its capacity to gain religious ideas through literature. There are, indeed, wonderful exhibitions of learned pigs, which, by some process, can be taught to select a few letters on blocks so as to spell out some simple words. But no animal can be taught to talk intelligibly. To this statement the parrot even is not an exception, since its words are merely a repetition of sounds unintelligible even to himself. Much less can an animal be taught to read or to listen intelligently to an oration or a sermon.
“On the other hand, the Bible, which is a book of the most varied literature, containing the highest flights of poetry and eloquence ever written, and presenting the sublimes” conceptions of God and the future life that have ever been entertained, has been translated into almost every language under heaven, and has found in those languages the appropriate figures of speech through which effectively to present its ideas...
“It is thus, when viewed from the highest intellectual point of view, that man’s uniqueness in the animal creation is best seen. Intellectually, he stands by himself. The scientific name for the genus to which man belongs is ‘homo,’ but the species is ‘homo sapiens,’ that is, a human frame with human wisdom attached...
“Alfred Russell Wallace, who independently discovered the principle of natural selection, and published it at the same time with Darwin, instanced various physical peculiarities in man which could not have originated by natural selection alone, but which irresistibly pointed to the agency of a superior directing power.
CLOTHES AND TOOLS
“Among these he cites the absence in man of any natural protective covering. Man alone of all animals wears clothes. He weaves the fibers of plants into a blanket or deprives other animals of their skins, and uses them to throw over his own naked back as a shelter from the inclemency of the weather. The birds have feathers, sheep have a fleece, and other animals have fur admirably adapted for their protection. Man alone is without such protection, except as he obtains it by the use of his own intelligence. Until we pause to think of it, we scarcely realize how much intelligence is involved in man’s efforts to secure clothing. Even in so simple a matter as that of securing the skin of another animal for a robe, he is compelled as a preliminary to be the inventor of tools. No animal was ever yet skinned without the use of some sort of a knife.
“This brings us to another good definition of man, as a tool‑using animal. The nearest approach to the use of tools by animals is found in the elephant and the monkey. An elephant has been known to seize a brush with his trunk and by thus lengthening it enabling himself to brush objects off from otherwise inaccessible portions of his body. A monkey has been known to use a stick in prying open a door. But no animal has ever been known to fashion a tool: whereas there is no tribe of men so low in intelligence that it does not fashion most curious and complicated tools.
“The canoes of the lowest races are most ingeniously formed, and most perfectly adapted to their needs. The chipped flint implement involves the cherishing of a farsighted design and the exercise of great skill in carving it out. The ingenious methods by which savage nations secure fire at will, by friction, would do credit to civilized man; while the use of the bow and sling and of the boomerang shows inventive capacity of a very high order with which the animal creation has nothing to compare.
CAPACITY FOR MUSIC
“Wallace furthermore adduces the human voice as a development far in excess of anything that can be produced by natural selection. Monkeys have no music in their souls and no capacity for music in their vocal organs; whereas even the lowest races of man have both. The “folk‑songs” are the great source to which our leading musical composers go for their themes. The late Theodore F. Seward, in commenting upon the Negro plantation songs which he transcribed, says that in their harmony and progression they all conform to the scientific rules of musical composition. However much of advantage this musical capacity may be to fully developed man, we cannot conceive of its having been any advantage to an animal in the low stage of development in which we find the ape. The musical voice that attracts the ape has only the faintest resemblance to that which is attractive to either man or woman.
“Again, the size of the human brain is out of all proportion to the mental needs of the highest animal creation below man, and without man’s intelligence would be an encumbrance rather than a help. The two, therefore, must have sprung into existence simultaneously in order to have presented an advantage which natural selection could seize hold of and preserve and develop.
“It is difficult to see how it could have been an advantage to an ape to have the thumb of his hind limb turn into a big toe which can no longer be used for grasping things, but is useful only as he walks in an upright position. It is difficult to see what advantage could come to an ape in having his forelimbs shortened, as they would have to be if they were transformed into the arms of a man. It is difficult also to see how it should have been of any advantage to an ape to experience those changes in the adjustment of the hip bone and of the neck which would prevent his walking at all on all fours, and limit him to walking on two legs and in an upright position.
“In all these respects the difficulty in our understanding the origin of man from natural selection is increased if we are compelled to suppose that it was a very gradual process, and that these changes leading on to the perfection of the human organization began in an imperceptible, or almost imperceptible, degree; for such incipient changes could have been of no advantage. To be of advantage they must have been considerable, and the mental and physical changes must have been correlated in accordance with some law of pre‑established harmony.
“The mystery of the origin of man has not been in the least degree diminished by the Darwinian hypothesis, or by any light which evolutionary theories have thrown upon it. It is acknowledged by all that geologically, he is the most recent of the species which have been added to the population of the earth; while mentally; he towers so far above the lower animals that he is for that very reason, if for no other, classified by himself. The mystery is how he came into possession of this high degree of mental power with a bodily frame and a physiological constitution so completely adapted to its exercise. Those who say that it was exhaled in some way from the lower orders of intellectual beings, will encounter philosophical difficulties tenfold greater than do those who accept the simple statement of the Bible, that his soul is the Divine inbreathing – the very image of God.”
* * *
“Deep in unfathomable mines
Of never-failing skill,
He treasures up his bright designs,
And works his sovereign will.
“His purposes will ripen fast,
Unfolding every hour.
The bud may have a bitter taste,
But sweet will be the flower.
“Blind unbelief is sure to err,
And scan his work in vain.
God is his own interpreter
And he will make it plain.”
Pastor Russell – “Studies In the Scriptures,” Volume 6, Study One
The Chosen Seed of Abraham
The key of the situation is given us in the Bible, and nowhere else. The relationship of Jewish people and the Promised land and the Bible, rightly understood, constitute proof that there is a God: that he has a great and wonderful Plan or method by which he is dealing with mankind; that his plan is connected with the Jewish nation, and that the Bible is the record of that Plan.
However it is a mistake to suppose that the Bible was written for mankind in general or intended to be understood by everyone. Its own testimony is contrary to this. Divine purposes are intended to be concealed from the majority of mankind and to be understood only by those who come into heart harmony with the Divine intention, and who from this standpoint “search the Scriptures.” It should not surprise us, therefore, that our Jewish friends have not comprehended clearly the Scriptures, which they so reverently and painstakingly preserved from Moses until Christ. And we may truthfully say the same lack of understanding very generally prevails, amongst Christians.
Is not the fact that comparatively few of the Lord’s people have been privileged to comprehend the length, breadth, height and depth of the Divine Plan, fully in agreement with the Scriptural declaration that such knowledge has been intended throughout the Age only for a very small minority? The hindrances, which have blinded so many, are the creeds, traditions and Talmud. “The secret of the Lord is with them that fear (reverence) him (and His Word) and he will show them his covenant.” —Psa. 25:14.
The Scriptures seem to indicate, however, that the time is at hand when “The mystery of God shall be finished,” and when the understanding of the Divine Plan may be comprehended by increasing numbers, and amongst these the reverential Jews. Indeed, the Jew will be before long specially attracted by the outlines of the Divine Plan set forth in the prophecies of his own Scriptures. They explain the experiences of Israel while still in God’s favor, and the experiences of the past twenty centuries of their disfavor, and show how both of these will work together eventually for the blessing of Israel and through Israel for the blessing of the Gentiles.
The Divine Promise to Abraham’s Seed
As the very foundation of Israel’s every hope, the mainspring of that people’s courage, the motive power of their energy, their perseverance and their pride, has been the Divine promise made to Abraham, their illustrious ancestor, “the friend of God.” To Abraham, after certain tests of character – obedience, loyalty, and faith – God made a Promise, which constitutes the hope, both of Israel and the Gentiles. It reads, “In thy Seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed.” (Gen. 22:18) Abraham’s son Isaac was indicated by the Lord to be the channel through which this blessing should proceed. Later on, Isaac’s son, Jacob, was indicated as a further channel. At Jacob’s death the Divine blessing passed, by Divine direction, not to a single one of his posterity, but to them all as a whole nation.
Jacob’s name was changed to Israel, which signifies a prince influential with God – in Divine favor. This name Israel indicative of so much of honor and Divine favor, was subsequently applied to the whole nation of Jacob'’ descendants, who became know as Israelites, or Children of Israel. It was understood by that nation that they were the seed, the posterity mentioned in the promise made to Abraham – in whom “all the families of the earth should be blessed.” They correctly understood that this would signify a great exaltation for their little nation. They had full confidence in that great Promise, because the Lord had secured it to them in a most remarkable manner – he made oath to it. Since he could swear by none greater than himself, he said, “By myself have I sworn, saith the Lord, because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son; therefore, I will greatly bless thee and I will exceedingly multiply thy Seed as the stars of heaven, and as the stars upon the seashore…. and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.” – Gen. 23:16-18. See page 65 of the Overland Monthly
the burden of Egypt
By Chris Josephson
The chapter begins with “The burden of Egypt.” Indeed, a deep concern and burden it is to the whole world, and to Israel, especially, who is monitoring closely the events, Egypt is the broken reed (Isaiah 36:6) of the “peace” in Middle East. The unrest is spreading to other nations around Israel, leaving that tiny nation more vulnerable than ever. What will happen in 2011?
If the events described in Isaiah 19 are in sequence, as it seems they are, the situation in Egypt will grow worse as Egyptian turns against Egyptian (Shi’ites versus Sunnis?) and broth[hood?] against brother (verse 2), and Egypt’s spirit fails because no one has the answer. The frustration then brings on a religious spirit that turns to divination cults of the ancient culture of Egypt, but this “wisdom” goes haywire (Vs. 3,11 & 12). Perhaps a fierce ruler will arise that may be worse than the “cruel lord” they seek to overthrow (V 4). Drought and devastation overcomes any hope of a good economy (Vs. 6’10,15). There will be great fear as there is not righteous strong leader (V 16).
But the good news of this chapter is that finally Egypt will recognize the strength of Judah because of the “counsel of the Lord of hosts which HE has determined” (Vs. 16 & 17), and the final verses describe the peace highway that will connect Egypt and Assyria running through Israel that is a blessing in the midst.
As I see it, this is not the final Kingdom of peace that, according to Isaiah 61:11, will come gradually ‘as a garden,’ It seems there will be a time of world peace, but revelation knowledge will not yet be complete, for people will be walking in their own religion, “but we will walk in the name of the LORD our God for ever and ever.” (Micah 4:5) Do read the context which indicates the “Law from Zion and the Word of the Lord from Jerusalem” does not happen like waving a magic wand but a going forth of God’s love-laws-for-living to the nations that will result in beating swords into plowshares, etc. A revolution takes some time to accomplish, and first there has to come knowledge of why it’s the way to go. The key is in Isaiah 19:12, “…and let them know what the LORD of Hosts has purposed.”
Personal blessing from heaven in 2011 on you and yours.
Letters of General Interest
Dated January 22, 2011 – Received February 17,2011
Dear Marjorie, and All the Brethren:
May you all have a Blessed New Year in your service for the Lord! Hope you had a good holiday there in Florida, and 2011 has had a good start in all ways.
Thank you for your lovely card, and greetings. Sorry to be so late with these wishes. It seems I am super slow these days.
Hope you are all well, and have an illness free winter! Sadly we are not getting our winter this year. It stayed dry and hot from May to December. November set records for being so dry when we should have gotten our “early rains.” Even after a good storm after the big Mt. Carmel fire, the rest of December was sunny and warm. So each day we are praying for more rain, but most days are sunny like today. If we do not have big rains soon, our drought conditions will only get worse. So pray for soon and abundant rains for Israel!
The sunny weather has been nice for the many tourists that came to Israel in 2010 setting records. So I have also kept busy all year with bed & Breakfast guests from many countries. I still enjoy being able to share the Bible and God’s working in Israel with them.
Well, 2011 does not look like such a stable year in our area of the world. The present government situation in Lebanon is like a ticking bomb, and no one knows when it goes off or how much damage it will cause! So all are on alert and we take day by day! It is good to know God has all in His plans and purposes!
Please pray for my living situation as I may have to make a change before the summer as the new owners of my house wish to sell it! I know all is in the Lord’s best plan for me.
Thank you for all your work through the year, and may the Lord bless you in your services for Him and the brethren daily!
Have a good 2011! Shalom and Love, Hava Bausch
February 17, 2011
Dear Sister Marjorie:
Loving greetings through our beloved Redeemer. Hoping that this finds you and yours in good health. All here are doing well.
Your articles No 641 and 642 “Retrospect and Prospect” puts in focus this time of trouble as told in prophecy. This is a special time as we see the world unraveling around us. We can have greater faith in the Heavenly Father’s plan as we see these prophecies being fulfilled in our time.
The recent turn of events in Egypt gives us some insight into how Islam will be brought down from within, as well as corrupt worldly and spiritual powers. The revolution in Egypt was started by a young man on the internet. He was arrested and ill-treated, charged with conspiracy to overthrow the government. The government shut down the internet.
On the TV show 60 Minutes, the young man thanked the government for shutting down the internet, because the people went to the streets and formed the revolt to find out what was going on. Mat 10:26— “Fear them not Therefore: for there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; nor hid, that shall not be known.”
Isa 19—“The burden of Egypt” gives us insight on the events that must soon come to pass with the nation of Israel being the center of the controversy. We see Egypt as representing the world of mankind.
You are aware of the symbolic meanings of Isa. 19 as well as current worldly events. Bro. Chris Josephson sent our Sister Judy Smith an email, espousing a literal view of Isa. 19.
I am enclosing a copy of that email for your consideration.
Isa. 19 takes us through the troubled time, and then at its conclusion, we rejoice when we read of the restoration of the world of mankind, when the entire world will know of God’s plan of salvation and live in harmony
Acts 3:19-23 In that day ‘the presence of the Lord,’ all who will listen to that prophet will have eternal life.
In the news today Libya has a revolt of its own because of its autocratic government. These revolts cannot be stopped in the long term.
I am curious to know of if there was a favorable response from the JWs to the tract ‘Will Adam be saved.’ As mentioned in your letter Feb. 1st 2010.
Our thought and prayers go out to you and all there as you continue the work of proclaiming the good news of the Gospel.
May the Lord bless you and yours through this new Year.
Your brother in His name,
Marvin T. Belden