The Path of Divine Truth Leading to Liberation
1, 2. (a) What popular religious idea is repeated by many? (b) But what questions does this raise?
“ALL paths lead to God” is a popular idea of many. This would mean, of course, that all religions of mankind are acceptable to God. Agreeing with this thought, The Bhagavad Gita says: “Even those who are devotees of other gods, worship them with faith, they also sacrifice to Me alone, O Son of Kunti (Arjuna), though not according to the true law.”—9:23.
2 A reasoning person may wonder, ‘How many religious paths are there today? And have religious people always had such a great variety of religious faiths to choose from? For example, when there was only one man on earth, how many religious paths existed?’
3. How can the first religion be traced?
3 A person cannot escape the fact that religion has come down through history to us from our ancestors. And since religion is so inseparably linked with history, it logically follows that if we trace history back far enough it will lead us to the first human ancestor, and this, in turn, will bring us to the first religious path. Who, then, was that first man? And what was his religion?
ORIGIN OF FIRST MAN AND WOMAN
4. How does science agree with the Bible’s creation account of the composition of the human body?
4 According to Hindu writings the first man was Manu; according to the Bible his name was Adam. (Genesis 5:1) But is there a history of the first man that is authentic and believable, and in harmony with known facts? Discoveries by modern medical science provide supplementary confirmation of the answer to this question. Medical scientists say that our human body is composed of some 90 different chemical elements obtainable from the soil of the earth. Now, if there is an ancient history that specifically states that the first man was created from the soil of the earth, would you believe it? Why not read for yourself what the Bible says? At Genesis 2:7 it states: “And Jehovah God proceeded to form the man out of dust from the ground and to blow into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man came to be a living soul.”
5, 6. (a) When was the Bible account of creation written? (b) How do subsequent Hindu creation traditions accord with Bible history?
5 This ancient history of man’s origin is remarkable, inasmuch as the chronology by Hindu scholar S. Radhakrishnan, dating King Solomon of Jerusalem at 975 B.C., would put the prophet Moses back at the middle of the second millennium B.C. (Compare 1 Kings 6:1.) And Bharati Krishna, a Hindu swami, writes of the “Mosaic Law,” thereby acknowledging Moses as the compiler of Genesis, because it is the earliest portion of the ‘Law of Moses,’ or Pentateuch. To be exact, trustworthy chronology fixes 1513 B.C. as the date for the compilation of Genesis. Thus here we have a very ancient description of the origin of the first man, with which 20th-century medical scientists agree. A dependable history free from legendary variations and mythology!
6 This is of interest to a Hindu because the Rigveda, the compilation of which, according to very recent Hindu scholarship, is conjecturally assigned to the first half of the first millennium B.C., depicts the personified earth, Prithvi, as the mother of man. The earth, remembered over the centuries as the matrix for the first human organism, would subsequently be popularly regarded as “mother earth.” Compare Rigveda 1. 164. 33.
7, 8. (a) Is the Bible’s creation account of the first woman feasible? (b) How does a Rigveda tradition reflect the Bible record?
7 A Rigvedic account of Manu’s producing offspring seems to have its roots in the Bible. Early Hindu writings portray the first man as Manu, whose lack of a wife impelled him to beget progeny by means of one of his ribs (parsu). A late Rigveda hymn describes the personified rib, Parsu, as the daughter of the first man, Manu, by whom he fathers children—“a score of children at a birth”! (Rigveda 10. 86. 23) The first woman, as the divine product of the first man’s rib, could, in time, be traditionally viewed as his daughter.
8 A discerning person will see this tradition as a distant memory of the earlier historical record of the Bible at Genesis 2:21, 22, which reads: “Jehovah God had a deep sleep fall upon the man and, while he was sleeping, he took one of his ribs and then closed up the flesh over its place. And Jehovah God proceeded to build the rib that he had taken from the man into a woman and to bring her to the man.” This is the Bible’s perfectly feasible creation account of the first woman. Interestingly, doctors reveal that a rib that has been removed will grow again, replacing itself, as long as the periosteum (the membrane of connective tissue that covers the bone) is allowed to remain. Whether Jehovah God followed this procedure or not the Bible does not state. However, as man’s Creator, Jehovah God was certainly aware of this peculiar quality of the rib bones. The Bible’s account of the creation of the first woman, using a rib from the man, agrees with reason, and it is completely free from myth.
9. Why is the Bible’s record of creation of direct interest to a Hindu?
9 Naturally, the Bible’s authentic creation record of mankind’s first parents would be passed on to succeeding generations of their children. In time, these memories of man’s first ancestors were embodied within the folklore of subsequently scattered communities of mankind. Thus these Rigvedic descriptions of Manu and Parsu have their source in the earlier Genesis record of the Bible. It is, therefore, not of mere academic interest for a sincere and discerning Hindu to examine the Bible’s trustworthy account of creation and its Creator; rather, it is of direct, practical concern to him.
TRACING THE FIRST RELIGION
10. (a) What does the Bible say about man’s first religion? (b) Why was it practical?
10 What, then, does this reliable history say about other origins? For example, what about the origin of religion, and the origin of evil and death? Read again for yourself at Genesis 2:15-17: “And Jehovah God proceeded to take the man and settle him in the garden of Eden to cultivate it and to take care of it. And Jehovah God also laid this command upon the man: ‘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.’” Since obedience to this command would demonstrate devotion to God, this account is actually describing the religion that was prescribed for the first man. So the first religion was to be a path of obedience to God. It recognized our Maker’s right to decide for man what was good and what was bad in a moral and spiritual sense. It was as simple as that! There were no temples or churches, no gurus, no missionaries or priests (purohitas), no idols, no rituals. It was a religion within man’s physical and mental grasp. There was no philosophy, no speculative theorizing, nothing beyond ordinary human ability to understand or perform. Man’s first religion was realistic and practical—a path of simple devotion to his Creator as he went about his daily occupation of intelligently caring for his needs and his garden home. Certainly this is not difficult to believe.
11. To what would man’s first religion lead him?
11 That realistic history says man’s first home was a paradise earth. And his first religion was to lead him, not to death, but to life! Man’s first religion was a path to lead him to eternal life in his perfect, physical human flesh—human life of true freedom from wrong desire and from sin, as well as liberty from the adverse effects of any such thing as the law of karman. God placed before man the choice of an eternally satisfying life in the flesh; that is the opposite of extinction, death. There was not even a suggestion of man ever being divested of his flesh for eventual moksha, or mukti. According to man’s first religion, death was not to be a liberation or release. Rather, it was a punishment. But please note, God did not want man to die and be deprived of his fleshly body and earthly Paradise. Then what went wrong?
WHY DEATH?—WHAT IS IT?
12, 13. (a) Why did our first human ancestor die? (b) Why could man choose his destiny?
12 Why did our first human ancestor die? It was because he misused his free will. God lovingly gave man freedom of choice. This can be seen from God’s revealed words at Genesis 2:17, which we have just read (in paragraph 10). Human perfection required that man have a free will. Man was therefore given freedom to choose. To eat the forbidden fruit, or not to eat it? That was the question. To disobey or to obey God? Man was left to choose his own destiny. This was in keeping with man’s intelligence and his capacity to love.
13 Yes, it is man’s capacity to love that proves he has a free will. If “love” is fated, or coerced, it is not love. It is necessary that love be optional—a true consent of the soul—and, consequently, man’s will to love had to be free in order that his love for God be true and real. So God invested man with a free moral will, that the very purpose of man’s first religion could be realized. Man, therefore, could have made an intelligent choice and demonstrated his love—out of gratitude to his heavenly Father. Love can be known only from the results it produces, and love for a self-sufficient God can be proved only by man’s obedience to Him. As the Bible says, at 1 John 5:3: “This is what the love of God means, that we observe his commandments; and yet his commandments are not burdensome.”
14. (a) What were the consequences of the first man’s disobedience? (b) How did this affect his offspring?
14 But our first ancestor wilfully followed the path of disobedience and thereby alienated himself from the God of the universe. Man was now on his own without God. As a consequence, he lost his human perfection, and death invaded the human realm as a punishment. The natural law of heredity enforced itself and the offspring of the first man were thus born tainted with sin, and thus in a condition alienated from God. Our first ancestor disregarded and disobeyed the first and simple requirement of his revealed religion, namely, obedience out of love for God. His offspring, as a consequence, lost what could have been their grand heritage. Hence, a sense of sin and guilt was passed on down to all mankind, including the writers of the Rigveda. Thus a hymn to the Vedic god, Varuna, says: “O Varuna, whatever the offence may be which we as men commit against the heavenly host, When through our want of thought we violate thy laws, punish us not, O God, for that iniquity.”—Rigveda 7. 89. 5. Compare Romans 5:12 in the Bible.
15, 16. (a) What is death? (b) So what popular ideas about death cannot be true?
15 The first man eventually died for his rebellion as God said he would. In sentencing our first common ancestor to death, God’s revealed communication states: “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.” (Genesis 3:19) This is God’s description of human death. Interestingly, this Bible verse appears to be the basis for a later Vedic description of the condition of the dead. The above quoted Rigveda hymn at verse one says: “Let me not yet, King Varuna, enter into the house of clay: Have mercy, spare me, Mighty Lord.” (Rigveda 7. 89. 1) A footnote in the Rigveda on this verse says: “The house of clay: the grave. Cf. Atharva-veda V. 30. 14.” Going to the grave and returning to the dust of the ground would certainly be entering a “house of clay” for a dead human corpse!
16 So death would take man back to where he came from—the dust of the earth. Death was not to be a door to some other existence. Death for man was to be the opposite of life, that is, nonexistence. Death was not to begin an indefinite bondage to samsara, or cycle of birth and rebirths. Death was to end life. Indeed, the Hindu concept of samsara and its associated teaching of transmigration of the soul is not found in the Rigveda, the earliest of all Hindu writings. The Hindu concept of transmigration was not introduced until the Upanisad writings were composed. And this, according to Hindu author S. N. Dasgupta, was sometime between the years 700 and 600 B.C. This was between 800 and 900 years after Genesis chapter two was written down by Moses.
17. Upon what is man’s future life dependent?
17 Any future life for man in God’s purpose would be dependent, not on an immortal soul, but on God’s memory of the dead individual. In agreement with this divine truth, Job, an ancient patriarch of whom God said, “There is no one like him in the earth,” expressed himself thus: “Man also has to lie down and does not get up. Until heaven is no more they will not wake up, nor will they be aroused from their sleep. O that in Sheol you would conceal me, that you would keep me secret until your anger turns back, that you would set a time limit for me and remember me! If an able-bodied man dies can he live again? All the days of my compulsory service I shall wait, until my relief comes. You will call, and I myself shall answer you. For the work of your hands you will have a yearning.” (Job 1:8; 14:12-15, written about 1500 B.C.) Man would have to wait in his death sleep until it was God’s due time to remember him. Thus the future life of mankind would be dependent on God’s unfailing memory—not on a deathless soul.
FUTURE HOPE REVEALED TO HUMAN ANCESTORS
18. Why was mankind not totally abandoned by God?
18 However, although the first man had abandoned God, did God abandon man? Mankind’s first historical records reveal that God tempered his justice with mercy. In justice God allowed mankind to suffer the due recompense for sin. But in mercy he made provision for their reconciliation to him, and gave them hope for restoration of earthly Paradise. The Bible’s factual history states: “For the creation was subjected to futility, not by its own will but through him that subjected it, on the basis of hope that the creation itself also will be set free from enslavement to corruption and have the glorious freedom of the children of God.” (Romans 8:20, 21) And is it not a fact that human history has been one long record of futility? Human history truly substantiates the truth of this Biblical statement. But how did God provide a basis for hope?
19. What is the foundation promise of all human hopes?
19 Going back to our original history, God revealed hope for mankind in these words at Genesis 3:15: “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.” This is the foundation promise upon which the hopes of all mankind rest. It is, in fact, the promise from our great Ancestor for the whole human race!
20. (a) What four characters are involved in the Bible’s first prophecy? (b) How will this promise from your great Ancestor be fulfilled?
20 This first sacred prophecy in all human history revolves around four principal characters, namely, (1) the enemy, under the figure of a serpent, (2) the enemy’s seed, (3) the woman, and (4) her seed. Because these characters are described in symbols, the Bible refers to the identity of the ‘seed of the woman’ as a “sacred secret.” (Compare Colossians 1:26.) However, the one to whom the prophecy is addressed is obviously the first great Enemy of, and Rebel against, God’s sovereignty, and his “seed” are his supporters. The “woman” is a symbol of God’s universal organization, which maintains wifelike loyalty and submission to God’s sovereignty. (Compare Isaiah 54:1, 5; Galatians 4:26; Revelation 12:1.) The ‘seed of the woman,’ therefore, would be brought forth from God’s universal organization of creatures as the Son of God, to crush the great Rebel, vindicate God’s sovereignty, and be the grand Liberator of all mankind who support God’s rulership. This, the promise from your great Ancestor, is, therefore, a declaration of war by God against the forces of evil, and a forecast of the ultimate result, namely, the triumph of divine sovereignty and good.
21, 22. (a) How has this Bible promise been preserved in Hindu tradition? (b) What does this Hindu picture represent?
21 It is a remarkable fact that the memory of this foundation promise of the Bible has been kept alive during thousands of years of Hindu religious development. Since this divine promise of the bruising of the ‘serpent’s head’ by the ‘seed of the woman,’ recorded in the Bible, was revealed to mankind’s first human parents, then it is to be anticipated that some trace of this promise would be found among the nations. And such is the case.
22 Today modern Hindus venerate a picture of a goddess called Santhana-Lakshmi. The mother and child symbolism calls for an earlier “woman” and her “seed,” while the sword and shield, wielded by the mother for protection, indicate beforehand a certain “enmity,” evidently, from an enemy. The primary meaning of this picture of Lakshmi has possibly been lost sight of through the passage of thousands of years, but undoubtedly it represents the original hopes of mankind as given earlier in the Bible to man’s first earthly parents. And, perhaps without realizing it, Hindus incorporate the memory of the Bible’s first promise in this picture of Lakshmi.
23, 24. (a) How only can this picture be logically explained? (b) What hopes does Genesis 3:15 hold forth to all humankind?
23 When comparing this Hindu picture with the Bible’s first prophecy, it is appropriate to ask, ‘Which came first, the Hindu picture or the Bible scripture?’ The answer, historically, must be: the Scripture. The prophecy itself was uttered in the early lifetime of man’s first earthly forefather, after which the true significance of the prophecy was kept hidden from succeeding generations until God’s due time. (Colossians 1:26) On the other hand, the ‘mother-goddess–child’ concept portrayed in religious writings and pictures, logically, could not have been conceived prior to the first man, and his receiving this first prophecy!
24 Without the Bible, other explanations of this Hindu picture could only amount to superficial speculations. Preferential explanations would not be truly satisfying to a reasoning mind. Therefore, the future hopes of Hindus as depicted in this modern picture of Lakshmi find their origins in the history preserved alone in the Bible. Thus, the Bible’s prophecy of the ‘seed of the woman’ at Genesis 3:15 offers hopes to sincere Hindus for the final triumph of God’s sovereignty, and the ultimate elimination of all rebellion and wickedness from the universe, including our earth. And the true ‘seed of the woman’ is a Liberator whom God himself has appointed. The reason no human has succeeded in settling this vital issue so far is that it needs to be done in God’s way and at his due time.
25. How can we trace the true fulfillment of Genesis 3:15?
25 To find the true fulfillment of this divine promise to restore universal order, we need to continue our search of human history. So we trace the historic development of mankind’s first community—our common human ancestors. The very first couple created by God had children, and gradually the human family multiplied. In their alienation from God, murder, adultery and depraved human standards of conduct reared their ugly heads.—Genesis 5:3-5; 4:8, 23.
ORIGIN OF AVATARAS
26-30. (a) How does the Bible throw light on the Hindu doctrine of avataras? (b) Why may it be said that some Hindu traditions have their roots in the Bible’s true record?
26 And now an unusual event in history occurred—an event that is alluded to in Hindu folklore. The Bible’s authentic history states: “Now it came about that when men started to grow in numbers on the surface of the ground and daughters were born to them, then the sons of the true God began to notice the daughters of men, that they were good-looking; and they went taking wives for themselves, namely, all whom they chose. After that Jehovah said: ‘My spirit shall not act toward man indefinitely in that he is also flesh. Accordingly his days shall amount to a hundred and twenty years.’
27 “The Nephilim proved to be in the earth in those days, and also after that, when the sons of the true God continued to have relations with the daughters of men and they bore sons to them, they were the mighty ones who were of old, the men of fame.
28 “Consequently Jehovah saw that the badness of man was abundant in the earth and every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only bad all the time.”—Genesis 6:1-5.
29 This means that intelligent spirit sons of God in the invisible realm nurtured unnatural desires toward attractive human females and so these “angels . . . did not keep their original position but forsook their own proper dwelling place.” (Jude 6) These angelic sons of God became avataras on earth, or human incarnations. They cohabited with attractive fleshly women and produced hybrid offspring possessing superhuman strength. The Sanskrit word avatara means “descent,” especially of a god coming down from heaven to earth. Here, Bible history tells us the actual events that later came to be reflected in the Hindu doctrine of avataras.
30 This true Bible account also sheds light on the theology of Hindu writings known as the Puranas. The Puranas record the accounts of gods and giants and their mighty works, their love affairs, and their wars and miracles. The Puranas depict a class of deities called Gandharvas who possess a strong earthy odour. Gandharvas are also associated with marriage, and they are said to love women and to be thinking always of them. Their mistresses are the Apsarases, who, in Hindu writings, are portrayed as seductive and promiscuous, and lacking maternal feelings. The Apsarases also possess an earthy scent, which is regarded with favour. Then another group of demigods in Hindu theology are the Ganas, and according to one Hindu authority the Ganas are said to be hybrid figures. These accounts accord well with the Bible’s true record of the disobedient spirit sons of God. Those angels had their love affairs; they could also perform great signs and wonders. And mighty works could be effected by their giant hybrid offspring. Those disobedient angels and giants lived on earth for at least 120 years. That was enough time for them to make a record of many famous works, as the Bible notes. So these events have been passed down with varying degrees of accuracy in the religious legends of several ancient peoples.
31, 32. Why did God bring the great deluge?
31 Nonetheless, these events promoted the cause of evil, which, in turn, prompted God to bring the great deluge, or Jalapralaya. True history reports: “The earth came to be ruined in the sight of the true God and the earth became filled with violence. So God saw the earth and, look! it was ruined, because all flesh had ruined its way on the earth. After that God said to Noah: . . . ‘And as for me, here I am bringing the deluge of waters upon the earth to bring to ruin all flesh in which the force of life is active from under the heavens. Everything that is in the earth will expire.’”—Genesis 6:11-17
32 “So all flesh that was moving upon the earth expired, among the flying creatures and among the domestic animals and among the wild beasts and among all the swarms that were swarming upon the earth, and all mankind.”—Genesis 7:21.
33. How and when did the present yuga begin?
33 The earth was now cleansed as a result of that flood or deluge. God had demonstrated his love for righteousness, and, because he provided for the survival of some, mankind got off to a fresh start. Our present yuga, or age, began. However, knowledge of these pre-Flood histories evidently lingered in the memories of the Flood survivors and came to form the basis for beliefs and ideas about gods and religions held by many people today.
WHO CREATED THE DEMONS?
34. What happened to those avataras?
34 When the Jalapralaya swept the ungodly humans into a watery grave, the rebellious angels unclothed themselves of their fleshly bodies and returned to the spirit realm, not to rejoin God in his cause for righteous rulership, but to join forces with the Prince of demons who is God’s chief adversary. It was this first demon who had persuaded the first man and woman to rebel against God’s sovereignty in the very beginning, and he was the one addressed in the great prophecy at Genesis 3:15. This first demon had brought about human rebellion by deception and by imparting wrong ideas about life and death. How so?
35. How did the first demon persuade our first human ancestors to rebel against God?
35 Let us check together again the record at Genesis 3:1-5: “Now the serpent proved to be the most cautious of all the wild beasts of the field that Jehovah God had made. So it began to say to the woman: ‘Is it really so that God said you must not eat from every tree of the garden?’ 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.”’ 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.’”
36. What did Satan maintain, and how is he misleading the entire inhabited earth?
36 By contradicting God, this first Devil, through his serpent mouthpiece, made himself to be a liar and the father of the lie. (John 8:44) This opposition to God caused him to be called Satan, because Satan means “opposer,” or “resister.” Satan maintained that continued life for mankind was not dependent on obedience to God. Therefore, Satan foisted upon mankind certain misconceptions about life and death. In fact, the Bible says that Satan is misleading the entire inhabited earth. (Revelation 12:9) It is on the basis of these misconceptions that most of mankind today have gotten their notions about life and death. Of course, over the thousands of years those notions have been moulded into popular beliefs and attitudes toward life, death and religion.
37. How could a perfect angel become a devil?
37 But how, you may ask, could a perfect angel become a demon or a devil? In the same way as the first perfect human rebelled against God. By misuse of free will! How does a good-living man become a criminal? It is by means of thieving that a man makes himself a thief. Likewise, a perfect free moral agent, whether human or spirit, can misuse his free will and degenerate into a rebel against God. It was the same with those perfect angelic sons of God in the pre-Flood age. They used their free will to forsake their original dwelling place. But now they were compelled by the Deluge, or Jalapralaya, to resume their spirit existence, although not in God’s favour.
HOW ARYANS CAME TO INDIA
38, 39. Within this present yuga, when did the first opportunity come for the demons to exert their evil influence on mankind?
38 So in the cleansed post-Flood earth these demons, under the leadership of Satan, set out to exert their evil influence on mankind, and oppose the progress of God’s declared purpose of bringing the human race back within His rulership, or sovereignty. (Genesis 3:15) Their first opportunity within this present yuga was at a time when all mankind yet spoke one language. You can read the history for yourself at Genesis 11:1-9:
39 “Now all the earth continued to be of one language and of one set of words. And it came about that in their journeying eastward they eventually discovered a valley plain in the land of Shinar, and they took up dwelling there. And they began to say, each one to the other: ‘Come on! Let us make bricks and bake them with a burning process.’ So brick served as stone for them, but bitumen served as mortar for them. They now said: ‘Come on! Let us build ourselves a city and also a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a celebrated name for ourselves, for fear we may be scattered over all the surface of the earth.’
40. How did Almighty God frustrate their rebellious plans?
40 “And Jehovah proceeded to go down to see the city and the tower that the sons of men had built. After that Jehovah said: ‘Look! They are one people and there is one language for them all, and this is what they start to do. Why, now there is nothing that they may have in mind to do that will be unattainable for them. Come now! Let us go down and there confuse their language that they may not listen to one another’s language.’ Accordingly Jehovah scattered them from there over all the surface of the earth, and they gradually left off building the city. That is why its name was called Babel, because there Jehovah had confused the language of all the earth, and Jehovah had scattered them from there over all the surface of the earth.”
41. (a) Thus what historical origins does the Bible reveal? (b) Why does this merit our continued interest in the Bible?
41 This, then, is the earliest historical account of the origin of all Indo-European languages, including Sanskrit, Prakrit, Pali, and also the Dravidian tongues. This divine intervention at Babel precipitated the famed ancient migrations that took Aryan tribes into India and Europe by way of central Asia. Modern science seems to lend support to these historical origins of present-day nations and languages. For instance, Sir Henry Rawlinson, Oriental language scholar, observed: “If we were to be guided by the mere intersection of linguistic paths, and independently of all reference to the Scriptural record, we should still be led to fix on the plains of Shinar, as the focus from which the various lines had radiated.” Indisputably, the Bible presents a historical beginning that led to the formation of your nation and your language, and thus the Bible merits your continued interest and attention.
42. (a) What human developments followed God’s intervention at Babel? (b) Why have many come to believe that “all paths lead to God”? (c) Is the possession of a moral code proof of a direct revelation from God?
42 The Tower of Babel episode was another human rejection of the divine will, and God’s intervention resulted in human defeat and subsequent migrations of language groups to the ends of the earth. So, dependable history states: “These were the families of the sons of Noah according to their family descents, by their nations, and from these the nations were spread about in the earth after the deluge.” (Genesis 10:32) Mankind, in their alienation from divine sovereignty, set up their own kingships and priesthoods, resulting in a multiplication of religions with their prescribed beliefs, practices, rituals and speculations, influenced, of course, by ideas brought from Babel. However, a God-given conscience implanted in our first, created parents no doubt influenced the world’s religions in producing similar codes of morals, causing many to believe that “all paths lead to God.” The Bible throws light on this, explaining: “Whenever people of the nations that do not have law do by nature the things of the law, these people, although not having law, are a law to themselves. They are the very ones who demonstrate the matter of the law to be written in their hearts, while their conscience is bearing witness with them and, between their own thoughts, they are being accused or even excused.” (Romans 2:14, 15) But the possession of a moral code is not in itself proof of having received a divine revelation. Communism, an atheistic ideology, possesses a code of morals similar to that of some religions. Yes, there is much more to divine revelation than a mere moral code, as the following information will show.
PREPARATION FOR HUMAN RECONCILIATION TO GOD
43. How has God shown all through history that he has not forgotten mankind?
43 Nevertheless, although mankind had abandoned the divine will, God still maintained the human race in existence. Hence the Bible assures us: “In the past generations he 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.
44. (a) How did God purpose to reconcile the human race to himself? (b) Why were the descendants of Abraham selected by God to produce the liberating ‘seed of promise’?
44 But keeping in mind mankind’s wilful waywardness, we ask, How would they be voluntarily brought back into a reconciled state with God? God lovingly arranged to draw from the human family a small community to be his instrument through which all races could benefit themselves. The Creator chose to use the descendants of Abraham, an ancient patriarch, who, despite his own sinful inheritance, displayed unflinching allegiance to the revealed will of God. When Abraham demonstrated his willingness even to sacrifice his own son Isaac, should that be God’s will, “Jehovah’s angel proceeded to call to Abraham . . . out of the heavens and to say: ‘“By myself I do swear,” is the utterance of Jehovah, “that by reason of the fact that you have done this thing and you have not withheld your son, your only one, I shall surely bless you and I shall surely multiply your seed like the stars of the heavens and like the grains of sand that are on the seashore; and your seed will take possession of the gate of his enemies. And by means of your seed all nations of the earth will certainly bless themselves due to the fact that you have listened to my voice.”’”—Genesis 22:15-18.
45. (a) Why were the Jews not better than the rest of humanity? (b) What does such frankness suggest regarding the Bible?
45 Consequently the liberating ‘seed of promise’ of Genesis 3:15 would be produced by the descendants of Abraham and could thereby be identified. However, the descendants of Abraham—the Jews—were not selected because they were better than other races of humanity. Their national mediator with God, Moses, pointed this out, saying, as recorded at Deuteronomy 9:6: “You must know that it is not for your righteousness that Jehovah your God is giving you this good land to take possession of it; for you are a stiff-necked people.” (Such frankness in speech bespeaks an unbiased, trustworthy history of the facts!) But why select the Jewish nation to be the divine instrument?
46. (a) Illustrate why we need not resent God’s selection. (b) What was God’s purpose in temporarily dealing with Israel?
46 Because they were the seed of Abraham through his faithful son Isaac and grandson Jacob. Besides this, the Liberator of mankind had to be born as a human into the world of mankind, not as an avatara, not as a god-man, but as a pure, fleshly human, a natural descendant of Abraham. No matter which nation God had selected even because of faithful forefathers, other nations might resentfully feel excluded. However, anyone who has confidence in the righteousness of God’s choice will not feel that way at all. As an illustration, when a large audience attends a stage drama, they do not feel excluded because they are not acting on the stage. Similarly when the Divine Being selected a small portion of humanity to become a living demonstration to teach the world God’s principles and dealings, he did not overlook the rest of humanity. Israelite history teaches all mankind what happens when God’s wise, righteous laws are either obeyed or disobeyed. While thus dealing exclusively with Israel temporarily, God was working out his long-term purpose to bless peoples of all the nations at a later time.—Genesis 22:18.
SO WHAT IS YOUR FUTURE?
47. (a) Why should our research give us confidence in the Bible? (b) What future does the Bible promise to you, and with what assurance?
47 We have traced the true origin of life, sin, death and religion. We have seen how the Bible’s trustworthy history is attested to by modern science, yes, and logically by Hindu tradition. We have seen how the path of divine truth was deviated from, and then came the grand promise of true liberation from sin and death. This leads one to have confidence in what the Bible says about the future. You can be assured God is arranging for you a most happy and prosperous future. We have learned that God’s original purpose for mankind was for us to live in an earthly paradise in human perfection. Sacred Scripture points to a restoration of that glorious paradise on this very earth. The God of true Bible history says, as recorded at Isaiah 55:11: “So my word that goes forth from my mouth will prove to be. It will not return to me without results, but it will certainly do that in which I have delighted, and it will have certain success in that for which I have sent it.”
48. For how long will the righteous reside upon the earth, and under what conditions?
48 Therefore your own personal future hopes and prospects can be to live in an earthly Paradise restored. God has arranged for your humanity to be purged of all sin and imperfection, so that you can be uplifted to human perfection in the flesh. The Bible says at Psalm 37:29: “The righteous themselves will possess the earth, and they will reside forever upon it.” Also at Isaiah 33:24 we read: “And no resident will say: ‘I am sick.’ The people that are dwelling in the land will be those pardoned for their error.”
49. (a) Who is the God who is arranging these marvellous gifts? (b) What kind of God is Jehovah?
49 But who is the God whose purpose it is to give you these humanly impossible gifts? As we have already seen, his name is Jehovah. Its meaning is in keeping with God’s wondrous personality. The meaning of Jehovah is “He Causes to Become,” which means that God is the Fulfiller (of his promises or stated purposes). Only the true and living God could rightly and authentically bear such a name. Of Jehovah, the Bible says: “Know that Jehovah is God. It is he that has made us, and not we ourselves. We are his people and the sheep of his pasturage. For Jehovah is good; his loving-kindness is to time indefinite, and his faithfulness to generation after generation.”—Psalm 100:3, 5.
50. Why is Jehovah not a partial God?
50 It is because Jehovah is good and has loving-kindness that He has made possible for you and your family such a glorious future. As one discerning person once said: “For a certainty I perceive that God is not partial, but in every nation the man that fears him and works righteousness is acceptable to him.”—Acts 10:34, 35.
51. How can you obtain answers to further questions on these important subjects?
51 But when can you enjoy these good promises? How will paradise be restored earth wide? Will you be alive when it comes? For the answers we urge you to make a personal examination and study of the Holy Bible. Also please contact Jehovah’s Witnesses in your area, or write to the publishers. A free discussion of these vital matters can be arranged for your complete satisfaction.
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Confusion of languages causes migrations
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The first man created from dust
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The first woman was created from a human rib
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Endless human life obviates eventual moksha
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Freedom of choice: To disobey or to obey God?
[Picture on page 13]
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Seed of promise to bruise serpent’s head
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Hybrid giants gain legendary fame
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