Universal Law Reveals Purpose in Life
1. How do people often view law?
PEOPLE, both young and old, often incline to look upon any control of their lives as undesirable. But does resentment or resistance to any regulation of our actions really lead to happiness? Or, instead, can our enjoyment of personal freedom actually be enhanced by our submitting to certain regulations, and working in willing harmony with them—particularly those established by our Creator?
2. What laws can we not evade, and yet how are these beneficial?
2 The benefits of laws to our enjoyment of life can be seen in certain guiding or binding forces in the universe, often called “laws.” One of these is the law of gravity. Such laws governing physical things are inescapable. We cannot ignore them or cancel them out. We cannot violate them with impunity. The penalty for violating such laws is usually executed immediately, as when, for example, someone jumps from a tall building.
3. How is it to our benefit that the physical laws are stable, reliable?
3 The physical laws are also constant, stable. If we could not predict how they would act from day to day, we could get very little work done. If we could not count on the sun’s rising every day or rely on the seasons following one another in a certain order, we could tend to lose our sanity. Without constancy in the natural laws, living would be extremely difficult.
4. Give an example of a substance that is governed by strict laws, and show how this is for our benefit.
4 Take, for example, some substances with which we are familiar in everyday life. Consider oxygen, a gas that we must breathe in order to live. In its normal state it is indispensable to human and animal life. But three atoms of oxygen combine to make ozone, which is poisonous. However, it requires special conditions to produce ozone in the atmosphere. It does not happen accidentally, or just at any time in any place. The action of atoms of oxygen, as of all substances, is governed by strict laws preventing such accidental changes. Therefore we are not in fear of every breath we take, worried that our oxygen may have turned into ozone.
5. What does the existence of the physical laws reveal to us about the Creator?
5 Where there is enforced law, there must be order. A law is not a passing chance occurrence, but refers to that which is continuous, steady. And when we see that this stability exists in the laws governing physical things, we know that there is a purpose in them. It helps us to realize that the Creator has a purpose in everything. God would also have to uphold and be personally involved in sustaining those laws. He could not be one who is “far off,” or who is not actually concerned with his universe.—Acts 17:27.
6. (a) Explain how scientists actually have faith in the physical laws governing the universe. (b) In what greater thing should their knowledge of the reliability of these laws bring faith?
6 The universal laws merit full confidence. When the astronauts traveled to the moon, they relied on the laws governing gravitation and on the precise speed and timing of earth and moon in their orbits. They knew that these laws would operate dependably and with exactness. The very slightest deviation would mean that the astronauts would be whirled out into space forever. They depended also on the principles of radio transmission and a host of other laws. They had confidence—actually faith—in the sureness of these laws. Really, they staked their lives on that faith. Their success is an outstanding testimony to universal law. Does not the fact that the heavenly bodies continue to move orderly and on time, without confusion or collision, imply that their Lawmaker is purposefully maintaining them?—Isaiah 40:26.
PURPOSE MANIFEST IN THE LAW OF PROCREATION
7. Can a person see invisible qualities by observing the physical laws? (Romans 1:20)
7 Goodness and wisdom are evident in the physical laws and in the way that they work out in living things. Goodness can come only from intelligent purpose. A very impressive example of this is seen in God’s law of procreation. How is this?
8, 9. (a) How is goodness evident in God’s law of procreation? (b) In what promise of God should this fact give us faith?
8 Adam and Eve came on the earthly scene about 6,000 years ago, according to Bible history. They broke God’s law—sinned, and passed on genetic defects to their children. These defects multiplied in succeeding generations. Each generation has added to these imperfections, multitudes doing everything imaginable that has damaged their bodies. Many have become drunkards, drug addicts and full of disease through immorality. Bad thinking, hatred and murder have also had their damaging effects.
9 Yet, although no one is perfect, the great majority of babies born today are in a comparatively sound condition. They have two eyes, two arms, two legs, possess all their faculties and can live what we call “normal” lives. In view of all the adverse forces operating for millenniums in the human race, this is little short of miraculous—an evidence of the Creator’s love and care for humankind, as well as the fine quality and sturdiness of his work. Since he was so careful to arrange for the continuance of the human race even though they brought bad conditions upon themselves, should we not believe him when he promises to give everlasting life, with perfect conditions?
MORAL LAWS—VITAL TO PURPOSEFUL LIVING
10. What other laws must we consider to get a full understanding of God and his purpose?
10 To his intelligent creatures God has given another set of regulations—the moral laws. These reflect God’s purpose to an even greater degree. In fact, a purpose is often expressly stated in connection with God’s moral laws. (For examples read Deuteronomy 5:16, 33; Matthew 19:17; Psalm 19:7-11; 1 Timothy 4:8.)
11. Are the moral laws any more changeable or escapable than the physical laws?
11 The moral laws are as stable and as certain in their outworking as are the laws governing inanimate or unintelligent things. One who breaks the moral laws cannot ‘get away with it.’ These regulations are just as sure of being carried out as is the law of gravity, though the retribution for breaking them is not always so sudden.
12. What does the Bible say as to the moral laws of God being sure of enforcement?
12 The Bible expresses the principle with regard to moral laws in this way: “God is not one to be mocked. For whatever a man is sowing, this he will also reap; because he who is sowing with a view to his flesh will reap corruption from his flesh, but he who is sowing with a view to the spirit will reap everlasting life from the spirit.”—Galatians 6:7, 8.
13, 14. Explain what the apostle Paul meant when he spoke of ‘sowing to the flesh’ and ‘sowing to the spirit.’
13 By “flesh” the apostle meant the desires of the imperfect fleshly body. (Ephesians 2:3) By “spirit” he meant the spirit or active force of God that serves to guide His servants in a wholesome way. Paul illustrates the operation of these forces at Galatians 5:19-23:
14 “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, and they are fornication, uncleanness, loose conduct, idolatry, practice of spiritism, enmities, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, contentions, divisions, sects, envies, drunken bouts, revelries, and things like these. . . . On the other hand, the fruitage of the spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faith, mildness, self-control. Against such things there is no law.”
RECOMPENSE FOR ‘SOWING TO THE FLESH’
15, 16. How does the apostle Paul show the results to mankind in general for violating God’s moral laws?
15 As testimony to the truth that God’s moral laws cannot be ignored, the apostle Paul calls attention to what mankind has done. He comments that men had full opportunity, from observing God’s creative works, to seek to learn more about him and to serve him. But, in the main, they rejected him and served gods of their own making. Paul continues:
16 “Therefore God, in keeping with the desires of their hearts, gave them up to uncleanness, that their bodies might be dishonored among them . . . That is why God gave them up to disgraceful sexual appetites, for both their females changed the natural use of themselves into one contrary to nature; and likewise even the males left the natural use of the female and became violently inflamed in their lust toward one another, males with males, working what is obscene and receiving in themselves the full recompense, which was due for their error.”—Romans 1:24-27.
17, 18. Besides physical diseases, what other troubles have mankind brought upon themselves by violating God’s laws?
17 This “recompense” consisted in many diseases, particularly venereal diseases. But also, such turning away from what is right resulted in mental difficulties and every sort of badness. Giving more details of the “recompense,” Paul goes on to say:
18 “And just as they did not approve of holding God in accurate knowledge, God gave them up to a disapproved mental state, to do the things not fitting, filled as they were with all unrighteousness, wickedness, covetousness, badness, being full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malicious disposition, being whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, insolent, haughty, self-assuming, inventors of injurious things, disobedient to parents, without understanding, false to agreements, having no natural affection, merciless.”—Romans 1:28-31.
19, 20. What are some conditions in the earth today that give evidence that this present wicked system of things is near its end?
19 Such ‘sowing to the flesh’ has been a major cause of mankind’s sad history. But in our time we see the works of the flesh causing greater distress than ever before, on a worldwide scale. Racial and nationalistic hatreds, hypocrisy, immorality, dishonesty, drug abuse, crime, vandalism and terrorism have brought about great fear and unhappiness in the earth. According to the Bible, such widespread, flagrant flouting of God’s moral laws is evidence that this system of things is in its last days. We read:
20 “Know this, that in the last days critical times hard to deal with will be here. For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, self-assuming, haughty, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, disloyal, having no natural affection, not open to any agreement, slanderers, without self-control, fierce, without love of goodness, betrayers, headstrong, puffed up with pride, lovers of pleasures rather than lovers of God, having a form of godly devotion but proving false to its power; and from these turn away.”—2 Timothy 3:1-5.
21. What fulfillment do we see today of the apostle’s words at 2 Timothy 3:5?
21 The latter part of the apostle’s statement shows that it should be no cause for surprise to see the most reprehensible form of hypocrisy today—persons claiming to be servants of God, but proving false to their claim. Though they have a form of godly devotion, it is hollow. They do not believe that godliness will bring the real riches—spirituality, life and peace. Really, it is not the kind of gain that they want. Their “form of godly devotion” is a false front so that they may give a “holy” appearance to a selfish, immoral course of life. As God’s Word says: “They publicly declare they know God, but they disown him by their works, because they are detestable and disobedient and not approved for good work of any sort.”—Titus 1:16.
22. Who were the men that gave Jesus the greatest trouble when he was on earth, and why did he warn the people not to follow their practices?
22 Jesus Christ had trouble with such men among the religious leaders of the Jews. He said to them: “You hypocrites, Isaiah aptly prophesied about you, when he said, ‘This people honors me with their lips, yet their heart is far removed from me. It is in vain that they keep worshiping me, because they teach commands of men as doctrines.‘” (Matthew 15:7-9) He warned the people to take care not to practice their righteousness in front of men merely in order to be observed by them. He said that the hypocrites performed their acts of “mercy” in the synagogues and in the streets, ‘that they might be glorified by men.’—Matthew 6:1, 2.
23. Do we have any counterpart of those religious men in our time, when judgment is near?
23 Speaking of the day when he would act as judge of mankind, Jesus said: “Many will say to me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and expel demons in your name, and perform many powerful works in your name?’ And yet then I will confess to them: I never knew you! Get away from me, you workers of lawlessness.”—Matthew 7:22, 23.
24. (a) Will there be a time when God’s laws will no longer be violated? (b) What people will receive adverse judgment and who will receive mercy?
24 From Jesus’ words we see that Jehovah the Universal Lawmaker is going to see that his laws are carried out. He also purposes to bring all intelligent creation into full harmony with his moral laws, so that there will no longer be violations. This will require an adverse judgment for persistent, irreformable lawbreakers. (1 Peter 4:17, 18) It will also call for a merciful consideration of others who have violated moral laws. (Psalm 103:8-10) Who would these be? Persons who have sinned through ignorance, imperfections and weaknesses. There is also a worldly spirit that, much like a mob spirit, motivates people to violate laws of honesty and morality. (Ephesians 2:1-3) Persons who have been swept up with such spirit may later regret this and be shown mercy by God.—Luke 19:8-10; Acts 7:57-60; 1 Corinthians 15:9.”
25, 26. Why is it reasonable and timely to get back into harmony with the Creator?
25 Can we confidently count on such just, yet merciful, treatment? Yes, because the whole structure of God’s law, both physical and moral, is actually for the final purpose of benefiting, not condemning, mankind.
26 Is it not time, therefore, for the honesthearted people of earth to look to the Universal Lawgiver, to get back into harmony with him? Obedience to his laws is not burdensome but brings freedom—the very reverse of what we see today.—1 John 5:3; 2 Corinthians 3:17.
27. What can a person who loves life and peace do to have peace and favor from God?
27 Accordingly, anyone loving life in peace and security should take these things seriously to heart and make immediate adjustments in his life. He should bring it as fully as possible into harmony with God’s laws. Jehovah admonished the nation of Israel: “Come, now, you people, and let us set matters straight between us . . . Though the sins of you people should prove to be as scarlet, they will be made white just like snow.”—Isaiah 1:18.
28. What important questions now merit our consideration?
28 Someone may ask: ‘But can I set matters straight with God? Would Jehovah God care for me and deal with me as an individual? Perhaps I am too bad for him to listen to me.’ Whether God is interested in you is the subject for our investigation in the following chapter.
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Astronauts traveling to the moon showed faith in laws governing speed, gravity and the orbits of the earth and the moon
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Despite thousands of years of human imperfection, God’s laws still cause most babies to be normal at birth