God—The Generous Householder
1, 2. Considering our fine dwelling place, the earth, what would be our normal reaction, as “guests” on this planet?
SUPPOSE that you are traveling, looking for a suitable place to spend a vacation. After going a considerable distance in an isolated region, you come across a beautiful garden. You see a house and approach it to ask about accommodations. To your surprise a sign on the door reads: ‘Welcome. Make yourself at home’! On entering the house, you find that it has everything desirable for comfortable living—water, heating, lights, plus a well-stocked pantry with a sign, ‘Help yourself.’ What would your reaction be? Would you say, ‘This is unbelievable! What a kind, generous person the owner of this house must be!’?
2 Really, this illustration fits man’s position in relationship to the Maker of the earth, God. Consider how the Creator, like a generous householder, has provided for those who have come to inhabit this planetary “home,” the earth:
3, 4. How is our fine “home” equipped for light, heat and power?
3 A fine home has a light, usually in the ceiling, and a soft night-light so that its inhabitants are not in utter darkness all night. The earth has the sun for its primary light source, and the soft light of the moon to ‘dominate the night.’—Genesis 1:14-18.
4 A house has a power source for heating, operating appliances, and so forth. Earth has the sun. Not only does the sun bathe earth with energy that can be harnessed by man and by plant life, but its action over the centuries has provided an enormous supply of fuel, particularly fossil fuels such as coal and oil. These are stored, just as in a well-provisioned home, in earth’s “cellar” for use when needed.
5. What other things for our comfort and delight are stored in the “cellar” of our “house“? (Job 28:1-6)
5 In this “cellar” the Creator also kindly placed a rich store of metals, and he gave man the ability to find ways of extracting these from the ores. For the special delight of men and, particularly, of women, He also placed in this “cellar” precious jewels that add to the joy of living, as well as chemicals that are essential to life.
6. (a) How does the “plumbing system” of our planetary “home” give evidence of a Creator who cares for us? (b) Compare God’s hills and mountains with man-made heaps of rock and dirt. (Psalm 104:10, 11)
6 A house also needs a good plumbing system. The “plumbing system” of our earthly “house” is a marvel. If man could build a mountain by amassing a great pile of rocks and dirt, would people living on it be able to get clear, cold, refreshing water out of springs on its slopes? We have seen huge man-made heaps in the vicinity of mines, and they are only unsightly blots upon the landscape. Consider, then, the marvelous engineering principles involved in the intricate system of channels and underground pressures by which the earth, even in the high mountains, has a water supply. And where there is little or no rain, such as in the Sahara Desert, there are places where it is necessary to dig only a relatively few feet to find water.
7. How has the Creator provided a self-repairing “carpet” for our “home“? (Genesis 1:11, 12)
7 As in many fine homes where the floors are covered for beauty and comfort, the Creator also “carpeted” the earth with vegetation, flowers and forests. And with only a little landscaping, how quickly a desolate place can be made into a park! Places marred by man’s activities soon are covered with a grass “carpet.” Polluted streams, if the source of the pollution is stopped, soon cleanse themselves.
8. What foresight and care were shown by our generous “Householder” in stocking the “pantry” of our “home”?
8 Just as a good home has a well-stocked pantry, in earth’s “pantry” there is every form of food, in the fields and orchards, and in the oceans. Ponder over the wisdom that was needed to arrange, in advance, for vegetation in the sea and on land, for grains, and for fruit and nut trees to produce regularly, bountifully, for thousands and thousands of years, so that animals, insects, sea life and finally human life could all continue in existence. The supply never runs out. And earth can produce plentifully to feed yet many more, until God declares it to be ‘filled’ to a comfortable limit.—Genesis 1:28.
9 Surely none of us had anything to do with making this fine “house.” The Bible tells us that to God “the heavens belong, but the earth he has given to the sons of men.” (Psalm 115:16) The way our home, the earth, is equipped with everything needed for the enjoyment of life shows thoughtful preparation. And it is given to us free! What more convincing evidence could we want as testimony to the existence of a Maker who is not only powerful and wise but also kind and generous? He has, in effect, said to all, ‘Help yourself,’ letting “his sun rise upon wicked people and good and [making] it rain upon righteous people and unrighteous.” (Matthew 5:45) Really, if it were not for man’s mismanagement and misuse of the earth’s potential and resources, people in all lands could find real pleasure in living on this beautiful planet.
10. In view of the foregoing discussion, what can be said of the theory that the earth came to be as a result of blind forces?
10 The fact that the earth, with little attention from man, has supplied his every need for centuries, calls into serious question the theory that it came into existence as a result of blind forces. If a person accepted that theory, how could he explain earth’s potential to provide for all its population, animal and human, millennium after millennium? Moreover, purpose and design are evident here. Blind forces are not capable of either purpose or preconceived design.—Jeremiah 10:12.
11. What factors indicate that the earthly creation is not a mere experiment—a temporary thing or toy in the Creator’s hands? (Isaiah 45:18)
11 The excellence of our earthly home certainly is convincing evidence that it was created, yes, more than this, that it was created for a definite purpose and is not just an experiment or a toy in the hands of some superior being. It is also designed to exist forever. “[The earth] will not be made to totter to time indefinite, or forever,” says the inspired psalmist.—Psalm 104:5.
12, 13. What pronouncement of God shows that no improvement on the earthly creation was needed?
12 What the Bible says about the preparation of the earth as a home for man is in full harmony with this conclusion as to God’s purpose for it. We learn that, as God completed the primary steps in the formation and preparation of the earth, he pronounced his creation “good.” At the complete end of the work he declared it to be “very good.” (Genesis 1:4, 10, 12, 18, 21, 25, 31) This divine pronouncement means that the work was perfect and fully adequate for its purpose—having an excellence beyond the power of imperfect man to comprehend.—Psalm 145:3-5, 16.
13 The earthly creation being declared “very good” also means that God does not need to intervene periodically to ensure that the earth will produce the necessary things for mankind. No, thousands upon thousands of years ago he spent much time in preparing and equipping this planet to fulfill its assigned role into the indefinite future. That fact magnifies the wisdom of the Creator. In what way?
14, 15. How was extraordinary foresight shown by God at the time the earth was created?
14 Well, think what insight, yes, foresight, it took on God’s part to arrange for the earth to continue supporting life indefinitely. Before man came upon the scene, full provision was made for animal life, an ample supply of food being available in the form of vegetation. Then, the first human pair were told to “become many and fill the earth.” (Genesis 1:28) This meant that the population of the human race would grow into the billions. Still the earth would continue to sustain plant, animal and human life. And it has done so despite the fact that millions of acres of land lie uncultivated and men have done much to ruin still other areas. Regarding the grand way in which God has provided, the appreciative psalmist wrote:
15 “[Jehovah] is making green grass sprout for the beasts, and vegetation for the service of mankind, to cause food to go forth from the earth, and wine that makes the heart of mortal man rejoice, to make the face shine with oil, and bread that sustains the very heart of mortal man. How many your works are, O Jehovah! All of them in wisdom you have made. The earth is full of your productions.”—Psalm 104:14, 15, 24.
16. Need we fear that earth will at some time fail to produce food sufficient for all? (Psalm 65:9)
16 How great is the ability of the earth to produce food? The director of the United Nations Office of Inter-Agency Affairs and Coordination said that, if earth’s agricultural potential were maximized, it could feed at least 38 billion people (ten times earth’s present population). This would, of course, require better international cooperation than now exists.
GOD WILL EXPEL “GUESTS” WHO MISUSE HIS “HOUSE”
17. Does anyone have reason to charge God with favoring only certain ones, such as his worshipers, with material abundance? (Psalm 36:7, 8)
17 Humankind in general has no room for complaint, but, rather, should appreciate the bounties of earth. Neither can they charge that God has been partial. Even those who do not worship him have benefited from his generosity. The apostle Paul told a group of people in Lystra, in Asia Minor, worshipers of Zeus and Hermes (Mercury): “In the past generations [God] permitted all the nations to go on in their ways, although, indeed, he did not leave himself without witness in that he did good, giving you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, filling your hearts to the full with food and good cheer.”—Acts 14:16, 17.
18. (a) Have humans in general thanked or credited God for his goodness to all? (b) Who is to blame for the fact that there has been an inequality in the distribution of the good things God has provided?
18 But humans have been, generally, unthankful “guests” of the Creator. They have to a great extent been disrespectful and wasteful of earth’s fine provisions. Greed has caused hoarding of land and food. Such greedy persons have shown little care for their fellow “guests” on earth. As a result, many people have been deprived of the necessary things. Greed has been the basis for cruel, devastating wars.—Compare James 4:1, 2.
19, 20. (a) Can man hope to set matters straight in the earth for the good of all? (b) What is it reasonable that God, as a sensible householder, should do?
19 With such a situation, there is a question as to whether our earthly “house” can ever be set in order. From a human standpoint it is impossible. As King Solomon said: “That which is made crooked cannot be made straight, and that which is wanting cannot possibly be counted.” (Ecclesiastes 1:15) But God, as a good householder, is interested in his “house” and the “guests” in it. Would not a sensible householder throw out those who damaged the property, and clean up his house for the benefit of guests who will appreciate it? Should we not expect God to do the same?—Revelation 11:18.
20 How will the Creator clean up the earth, misused for centuries? Does he purpose to keep it clean? Is it possible for earth to become a permanent paradise-like ‘garden home’ for man?
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As a well-provisioned home bespeaks a wise and generous householder . . .
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. . . so, too, the productive earth reveals intelligent design by a generous Creator