God’s “Eternal Purpose” in His Anointed One Is Formed
1. What kind of life on earth is it God’s purpose for mankind to have?
HUMAN life on earth can be beautiful. The life of man’s Creator is beautiful. It is His will that the life of His human creation should also be beautiful. It is mankind that has made a wreck of its existence. Not all members of mankind have done so, however. In spite of mankind’s failure till now, the Creator’s benevolent purpose now is that men and women will yet have the opportunity to make life on earth beautiful for themselves.
2. (a) With what kind of living did mankind start off? (b) What shows whether God planned for man to take the course leading to death?
2 At the start mankind’s life was beautiful. It started off nearly six thousand years ago in an earthly Paradise. It was a pleasure to live there, which is why it was called the Garden of Eden, or Paradise of Pleasure. (Genesis 2:8, Douay Version Bible) Our first human parents, the first man and the first woman, were perfect, abounding in health and with the prospect of never dying. Being human, they were mortal, but before them lay the opportunity offered by their Creator of living in the Paradise of Pleasure for all time to come, eternally. Thus their heavenly Life-Giver could become their Eternal Father. He did not plan for them to die by taking the course that would lead to death. His desire was for them to live eternally as his everlasting children. More than three thousand years later He expressed his sincere feelings on the matter, when he said to his chosen people:
“‘Do I take any delight at all in the death of someone wicked,’ is the utterance of the Sovereign Lord Jehovah, ‘and not in that he should turn back from his ways and actually keep living?’”—Ezekiel 18:23.
3. Since God’s desire was for mankind to keep on living in Paradise, what question is forced on us today?
3 So the Creator had no desire that the innocent human couple in the Paradise of Pleasure should turn “wicked” and deserve to die. His desire was for them to keep living, yes, living on to see the whole earth properly filled with offspring just as perfect and happy as themselves, in peaceful, loving relationship with their Creator, their heavenly Father. Yet, today, all mankind are dying off, and our polluted earth is far from being a paradise. Why is this? Man’s Creator has had the explanation recorded in the Bible.
4. Why was it strange for a serpent to make itself observable to a human in Paradise?
4 The location is the Paradise of Pleasure, as chapter three of the Bible book of Genesis opens up. All lower forms of earthly creatures are in subjection to our first human parents, Adam and Eve. They do not fear any of these lower earthly creatures, not even snakes. Yes, there were snakes or serpents in the Paradise of Pleasure, and they were interesting to watch. Their limbless way of locomotion was marvelous, a manifestation of God’s diversified wisdom in designing. They are shy creatures, however. Genesis 3:1 makes a comment on this kind of reptile, saying: “Now the serpent [na·hhashʹ] proved to be the most cautious of all the wild beasts of the field that Jehovah God had made.” So rather than lying in wait to do harm to a human, it was inclined to withdraw itself from contact with humans. But now, strangely, it was plainly observable, whether on the ground or on a tree. Why?
5. Why was it strange that the serpent asked Eve a question, and why was it not God’s voice indirectly?
5 “So,” Genesis 3:1 goes on to say, “it began to say to the woman: ‘Is it really so that God said you must not eat from every tree of the garden?’” Well, now, how had the serpent heard such a thing? Or how did it understand such a thing? Also, how is it that it had never before spoken to the woman’s husband Adam? How is it that it could speak with human language at all? Never before had a serpent spoken to a human, and never has it done so since. Eve was not imagining that someone was speaking to her. She was not speaking to herself in her own mind, just thinking. The humanlike voice seemed to come from the mouth of the serpent. How could that be? The only other voice besides that of her husband Adam that Eve had heard in the garden was that of God, but directly, not through some subhuman animal creature. According to what the serpent, to all appearances, said, the voice was not that of God. The voice asked Eve about what God had said.
6. In what way was the inquirer that used the serpent to put the question acting, and why did Eve reply?
6 When Eve answered the question, she was speaking, not to that serpent, but to the invisible intelligence that was using the serpent like a ventriloquist. Was this invisible intelligent speaker friendly to God or otherwise? Certainly the method that the unseen speaker used in speaking to Eve was deceptive, leading her to think that it was the serpent that was doing the speaking. That inquiring speaker was hiding his identity behind a visible serpent and was thus acting deceitfully. However, Eve did not discern and appreciate that this serpent-using speaker was maliciously trying to deceive her. Unsuspectingly Eve made her reply.
“At this the woman said to the serpent: ‘Of the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat. But as for eating of the fruit of the tree that is in the middle of the garden, God has said, “You must not eat from it, no, you must not touch it that you do not die.”’”—Genesis 3:2, 3.
7. Where did Eve get her information on the tree in the middle of the garden?
7 By designating it as “the tree that is in the middle of the garden,” Eve meant the tree of the knowledge of good and bad. But how did Eve know about that tree? It must have been that Adam, as God’s prophet, told her. He is the one to whom God said when Adam was by himself, before Eve’s creation: “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 positively die.” (Genesis 2:16, 17) According to Eve, God also said not to touch the forbidden tree. So Eve was not ignorant of the penalty for violating God’s law. It was death.
8. What shows whether the unseen inquirer was merely asking for information?
8 If the unseen speaker behind the serpent had been asking for mere information, he would have dropped the conversation on being given the information. Whether, at this time, the serpent was at the middle of the garden where the forbidden tree was located, and whether the serpent was on the ground or up the tree, is not stated. At least, the talk was about that “tree that is in the middle of the garden.”
9, 10. How did the unseen speaker behind the serpent make a liar, a Devil, a Satan, of himself?
9 How could a mere serpent know or have authority to say what Eve now heard said? “At this the serpent said to the woman: ‘You positively will not die. For God knows that in the very day of your eating from it your eyes are bound to be opened and you are bound to be like God, knowing good and bad.’”—Genesis 3:4, 5.
10 Here the unseen speaker behind the visible serpent was making himself a liar, for he was contradicting Jehovah God. For blatantly declaring that God had wrong motives in forbidding Adam and Eve’s eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and bad, the unseen speaker was making himself a slanderer, a Devil, toward Jehovah God. He was not lovingly interested in eternal life for Eve, but was scheming to bring about her death. In fact, he was trying to remove the fear of death from her, not death at his hands, but death at the hands of Jehovah God for breaking his known command. The unseen speaker was setting himself in resistance to God and was in this manner making himself Satan, which means Resister. He was interested in getting someone else to resist God and put someone else on the side of Satan. We know who the real speaker of such a lie and slander was. It was no serpent!
11. How did Eve now not show loyalty to God and respect for her husband, and let herself be tempted?
11 Unhappily, Eve did not dispute this lying, slanderous statement. She did not lovingly and loyally come to the defense of her heavenly Father. She did not now recognize her husband Adam’s headship over her and go to him to ask him whether he approved of her acting selfishly on the matter or not. He could have exposed the deception. But Eve let herself be thoroughly deceived. She entertained the wrong idea presented to her by a liar, slanderer and resister of God her heavenly Father. She let the fear of the terrible penalty for disobedience vanish. She let selfish desire begin forming in her heart. She let herself be drawn out by this desire and enticed. God had said that it would be bad for her and Adam to eat the forbidden fruit, but she decided to establish for herself what was bad and what was good. She accordingly decided to prove her heavenly Father and God a liar. So now when Eve contemplated the tree, it became attractive-looking.
12. By eating the forbidden fruit, what did Eve become, inexcusably?
12 “Consequently the woman saw that the tree was good for food and that it was something to be longed for to the eyes, yes, the tree was desirable to look upon. So she began taking of its fruit and eating it.” (Genesis 3:6) In this way she became a transgressor against God, a sinner. The fact that she was thoroughly deceived did not excuse her. She lost her moral perfection.
13. By eating, what did Adam fail to do, with what effect on him?
13 Her husband was not there to prevent her independent action. When she next joined him, she had to use persuasion to get him to eat, because he was in no way deceived. He did not choose to prove the one speaking by means of the serpent a liar and to vindicate Jehovah God as One using His universal sovereignty in a righteous manner, a beneficial manner. What, then, happened when Adam joined Eve in transgression? Genesis 3:6, 7 tells us:
“Afterward she gave some also to her husband when with her and he began eating it. Then the eyes of both of them became opened and they began to realize that they were naked. Hence they sewed fig leaves together and made loin coverings for themselves.”
14. What led Adam and Eve to condemn themselves before God did, and how did they act at his approach?
14 They had now become “like God, knowing good and bad,” in that they no longer accepted the standards of good and bad as set by Jehovah God but they had become judges for themselves as to what was good and what was bad. In spite of this, their consciences began to bother them. They felt exposed, needing a covering. Their bodily nakedness was no longer a clean, innocent state in their eyes, in which to appear before Jehovah God. So they began tailoring and covered over their private parts that God had given them for the honorable purpose of reproduction of their kind. Thus under the condemning testimony of their own consciences, they condemned themselves, even before the Sovereign Lord Jehovah did. Hence, we read:
“Later they heard the voice of Jehovah God walking in the garden about the breezy part of the day, and the man and his wife went into hiding from the face of Jehovah God in between the trees of the garden. And Jehovah God kept calling to the man and saying to him: ‘Where are you?’ Finally he said: ‘Your voice I heard in the garden, but I was afraid because I was naked and so I hid myself.’ At that he said: ‘Who told you that you were naked? From the tree from which I commanded you not to eat have you eaten?’”—Genesis 3:8-11.
15. (a) What shows that there was no repentance on the part of Adam and Eve? (b) What did God then say to the serpent?
15 Let us notice, now, that there is no expression of repentance on the part of Adam and Eve, but, rather, an effort to excuse themselves: Someone else was to blame. “And the man went on to say: ‘The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit from the tree and so I ate.’ With that Jehovah God said to the woman: ‘What is this you have done?’ To this the woman replied: ‘The serpent—it deceived me and so I ate.’” (Genesis 3:12, 13) However, excuses did not absolve these willful transgressors. But what about the serpent?
“And Jehovah God proceeded to say to the serpent: ‘Because you have done this thing, you are the cursed one out of all the domestic animals and out of all the wild beasts of the field. Upon your belly you will go and dust is what you will eat all the days of your life. And I shall put enmity between you and the woman and between your seed and her seed. He will bruise you in the head and you will bruise him in the heel.’”—Genesis 3:14, 15, NW; Leeser; Zunz.
16, 17. (a) To whom did God’s words to the serpent really apply? (b) To what did a first-century writer liken this abasement?
16 This was not a curse upon the whole serpent family. Seemingly God’s words were addressed to that one literal serpent, but He knew that it had only been victimized to serve as an instrument of a superhuman, invisible spirit person, one who had hitherto been an obedient heavenly son of God. This one had also let himself be drawn out and enticed by a desire of a selfish kind. It was a desire for sovereignty over mankind, independent of Jehovah’s universal sovereignty. This desire he had let take root in his heart and had cultivated it, till it became fertile and produced transgression, rebellion against the Sovereign Lord Jehovah. This spirit transgressor then made himself a liar, slanderer or Devil and a resister or Satan, right there at the Paradise of Pleasure.
17 As suggested by the abasement that was pronounced upon that victimized serpent, God abased this newly risen Liar, Devil, Satan. One first-century Bible commentator likens this abasement to a ‘throwing of Satan into Tartarus,’ a disapproved state of spiritual darkness with no enlightenment from God.—2 Peter 2:4.
GOD’S ANOINTED ONE FORETOLD
18. What new thing was here announced, with what features about it?
18 Here Jehovah God formed a new purpose, and he announced it. The lying Satan the Devil had risen up, and it now became God’s purpose to raise up an Anointed One, a Ma·shiʹahh (Messiah) according to Adam’s language. (Daniel 9:25) God spoke of this Anointed One, this Messiah, as the “seed” of “the woman.” God would put enmity between this Anointed One and Satan the Devil, now symbolized by the serpent. This enmity would also extend itself to being between the Anointed One and the “seed” of the Great Serpent.
19. (a) In what conflict was this “enmity” to result? (b) Why would the Anointed One of Jehovah’s purpose have to be heavenly?
19 The enmity foretold was to result in a battle that would have painful effects, but it would end with victory for the “seed” of “the woman.” Like a snake that strikes at the heel of the leg (Genesis 49:17), the Great Serpent, Satan the Devil, would cause a heel wound to the woman’s “seed.” This heel wound would not prove fatal. It would be healed, to enable the woman’s “seed” to bruise the Great Serpent in the head fatally. Thus the Great Serpent would perish, and his “seed” with him. A vital thing to be noted about this conflict is this: For the woman’s “seed” to bruise and crush the head of the Great Serpent, Satan the Devil, the woman’s “seed” would have to be a heavenly spirit person, not a mere human son of a woman on earth. Why so? Because the Great Serpent is a superhuman spirit person, a rebellious heavenly son of God. A mere human “seed” of an earthly woman would not be powerful enough to destroy the invisible Satan the Devil in the spirit realm. So the Anointed One of Jehovah’s purpose must be a heavenly Messiah.
20. Who, then, is the “woman” of Genesis 3:15?
20 Well, then, how about the “woman” whose “seed” the Anointed One or Messiah is? She, too, must be heavenly. Just as the serpent that was sentenced to being crushed in the head was not that literal serpent that had been used to deceive Eve, so the “woman” of Jehovah’s prophecy in Genesis 3:15 was not a literal woman on earth. Eve was a personal transgressor against God’s law and was an enticer of her husband Adam into transgression. So she herself was not worthy of being the personal mother of the promised “seed.” The “woman” of God’s prophecy must be a symbolic woman. It is just as when Jehovah God speaks of his chosen people as being his wife, his woman, saying to them: “Return, O backsliding children, saith the Lord; for I am become your husband.” (Jeremiah 3:14; 31:31, Leeser [Jer 31:32, NW]) In a like manner God’s heavenly organization of holy angels is as a wife to Jehovah God, and she is the heavenly mother of the “seed.” She is “the woman.” It is between this “woman” and the Serpent that God puts enmity.
ORIGINAL PURPOSE NOT TO BE A FAILURE
21. Was God’s original purpose concerning the earth now to fail because of the arising of transgression?
21 What, though, about God’s purpose concerning the earth as stated to Adam and Eve at the close of the sixth creative “day”? Was it now to fail because of the transgression by Eve and Adam, meriting their being put to death? This original purpose was to have all the surface of the earth a Paradise, peopled by the descendants of the first, the original, man and woman on earth, Adam and Eve. Failure is a thing that could not happen with God’s stated purpose. No Satan the Devil is able to cause God’s purpose to fail and disgrace him. That God’s original purpose was still to go forward to triumphant fulfillment is indicated in what was now said to the woman Eve by Jehovah God the Supreme Judge.
22. (a) Peopling of the earth by whom was to go ahead? (b) Was it reasonable to believe that bruising of the Serpent’s head would result in benefit to mankind?
22 “To the woman he said: ‘I shall greatly increase the pain of your pregnancy; in birth pangs you will bring forth children, and your craving will be for your husband, and he will dominate you.’” (Genesis 3:16) This signified that the producing of further inhabitants of the earth from this original human pair was to be permitted. It has continued till now, and today there is worrisome talk about a “population explosion.” Since the Great Serpent, Satan the Devil, had induced the bringing of death upon all the descendants of the first human couple, evidently the bruising of the “head” of this Great Serpent was to result in benefit to those descendants who had been hurt by his transgression. Exactly how? That was something for Jehovah God to make plain in due course. This would work toward the success of His original purpose.
23-25. (a) When was the sentence of death pronounced upon Adam for his transgression? (b) In what way, then, was it that Adam died in the day that he ate the forbidden fruit, and what about his offspring?
23 Now, finally, came the turn of the man, the third one in the order of transgression. God had told him that in the day in which he ate of the forbidden fruit he would positively die. (Genesis 2:17) For his wife Eve to bring forth children in birth pangs, it would require Adam to live on as her husband and father her children. So how was what God had warned him of carried out?
24 Genesis 3:17-19 makes clear how: “And to Adam he said: ‘Because you listened to your wife’s voice and took to eating from the tree concerning which I gave you this command, “You must not eat from it,” cursed is the ground on your account. In pain you will eat its produce all the days of your life. And thorns and thistles it will grow for you, and you must eat the vegetation of the field. In the sweat of your face you will eat bread until you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken. For dust you are and to dust you will return.’” With those judicial words, Jehovah God pronounced the sentence of death upon the transgressor, and this within the same day in which Adam had transgressed.
25 Judicially, from God’s standpoint, Adam died that very day, and his transgressing wife Eve did also. Cut off from them both was the opportunity and prospect of living forever in happiness in the Paradise of Pleasure. He was now dead in his own transgression. He could henceforth pass on to his offspring by Eve only a dying existence and condemnation, due to inherited human imperfection. All his offspring would have to say, as the psalmist David said thousands of years later: “Look! With error I was brought forth with birth pains, and in sin my mother conceived me.” (Psalm 51:5) To all sinful mankind God can say, as he did to his chosen people: “Your own father, the first one, has sinned.” (Isaiah 43:27) All mankind died in Adam on the day that the Supreme Judge pronounced sentence upon him for his sin. After Adam got his sentence, physical death was inescapable for him.
26. Even when a “day” is viewed as a thousand years, how did Adam die on the day of his transgression, and what did he cease to be?
26 Quite appropriately, the “book of Adam’s history” tells us: “He became father to sons and daughters. So all the days of Adam that he lived amounted to nine hundred and thirty years and he died.” (Genesis 5:1-5) He lived seventy years less than a thousand years. None of his offspring have lived a full thousand years, the oldest one, Methuselah, living only nine hundred and sixty-nine years. (Genesis 5:27) Even from God’s viewing a thousand years as one day, Adam died within the first thousand-year “day” of mankind’s existence. Where did he go at his physical death? Not even his “soul” (nephʹesh) had been taken from heaven, and he did not “return” there. He did return to the dust of the ground, because, as God said, from there Adam had been taken. He then ceased to be a “living soul.” (Genesis 2:7) He ceased to exist. When his wife Eve died a physical death, she, too, ceased to be a “living soul.” There was no soul to live on forever and ever according to the Babylonian religious mythology.
LOSS OF PARADISE
27. To what part of the earth did the cursing of the ground apply, and what did Adam’s working cursed ground mean for him and Eve?
27 The wording of God’s sentence upon Adam, especially the words about the “cursed . . . ground,” meant that Adam was to lose Paradise. He did. Paradise was not cursed because of the transgression of Eve and Adam; it continued to be a place of life, still having within it the “tree of life.” Genesis 3:20-24 informs us:
“After this Adam called his wife’s name Eve, because she had to become the mother of everyone living. And Jehovah God proceeded to make long garments of skin for Adam and for his wife and to clothe them. And Jehovah God went on to say: ‘Here the man has become like one of us in knowing good and bad, and now in order that he may not put his hand out and actually take fruit also from the tree of life and eat and live to time indefinite,—’ With that Jehovah God put him out of the garden of Eden to cultivate the ground from which he had been taken. And so he drove the man out and posted at the east of the garden of Eden the cherubs and the flaming blade of a sword that was turning itself continually to guard the way to the tree of life.”
28. Why was life to time indefinite no longer possible for Adam?
28 Having the power of death, Jehovah God put the man out of reach of the tree of life, in order to enforce the death penalty upon Adam. Adam’s wife went along with her husband in order to become mother to his children. Whether God drove out the snake that had been used to tempt Eve, the record does not indicate. Life to time indefinite was no longer possible for Adam and Eve.
29. (a) How did God now put “enmity” between the “woman” and the “serpent”? (b) What effect did God’s announced purpose have upon his original purpose for the earth, and why may we now rejoice?
29 There is no record that, outside the garden of Eden, Eve brought up her sons to hate snakes. But God’s heavenly organization of holy angels, the true “woman” meant in God’s prophecy of Genesis 3:15, immediately began to hate the Great Serpent, Satan the Devil. Love for Jehovah God as her heavenly husband prompted the womanlike organization to do so. God indeed placed enmity between His “woman” and the Great Serpent. When she was to bring forth the “seed” that would bruise the head of the Great Serpent lay within the purpose of Jehovah God. He had now formed his purpose in his Anointed One, his Messiah, and had made that fact known to heaven and earth, now almost six thousand years ago. That was ages of time ago. This added purpose reinforced God’s original purpose regarding a Paradise earth and made certain its fulfillment. The unchangeable God still sticks to that announced purpose in his Anointed One, His Messiah. We can greatly rejoice that it is now triumphing for man’s good.