Is God Responsible for World Distress?
“Woe for the earth and for the sea, because the Devil has come down to you, having great anger, knowing he has a short period of time.”—Rev. 12:12, NW.
1, 2. What threatens the life security today?
THE correct Scriptural answer to this question is of vital concern to all persons who hope to gain life anywhere in this universe. We must know what God wants and how we are to conform to his wishes.
2 Today insecurity and trouble threaten the life of the people world-wide. Governments are unstable, fearful and tottering. Wars, famines, disease and disaster are on the increase, and the best efforts of the world’s ablest statesmen do not serve to alleviate the situation.
3, 4. What questions bother the people now, and what aid do they get from world rulers?
3 Everywhere the questions are asked: Who is responsible for the mad irresistible surge toward a third world war? Who is responsible for the frenzied conscription of manpower and natural resources for war purposes all over the world? Who is responsible for the fear-inspiring war of nerves which no one claims to want, yet everyone is afflicted with? Who is responsible for the insane development of atomic energy and hydrogen power, poison gas, germs, death rays, and so forth, for the wholesale destruction of humankind? People are fearful and want to know the answers to these questions.
4 The democracies of the Western world disclaim all responsibility for existing conditions and point to the Soviet bloc as the transgressor. The Soviet bloc, on the other hand, claims it is innocent and tries to place all the blame upon the so-called ‘imperialistic nations’ of the West. And so it goes, leaving the man on the street in greater confusion than ever.
5. What answer do many church leaders have to offer the people who inquire of them regarding the cause of present-day unrest?
5 Many religious leaders in all lands say that God is responsible for world distress. They say he is bringing it upon people because of their lack of support and adherence to some particular religious cult. They contend that what the world needs is more religion, and that until people wake up to that fact and embrace some one of the 265 religions of Christendom they cannot hope to have God’s favor or blessing. In view of that claim, it seems well to review religion and its accomplishments to date.
6. What is communism’s position in regard to religion?
6 Godless communism is sweeping through the earth like a prairie fire. Efforts to suppress it at one point are offset by its breaking out more extensively and intensively somewhere else. Communistic leaders are convinced that they and they alone have the only solution for this world’s ills. They believe religion, as it is practiced in the Western Hemisphere particularly, is “the opium of the people”. Despite this claim, the Communists are probably the most religious group on earth today. They worship their state with a fanaticism unknown among any other people on earth. They venerate their human leaders, past and present, with a godlike adoration; and no Bible or holy book is accepted by any other nation with greater finality than the writings of Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin are accepted by the Communist.
7. Why are Communists so unalterably opposed to Christendom?
7 Yes, the Communists are very religious, despite their claims to the contrary. But theirs is not the pure, godly religion of the Bible. In view of this, why do they so vehemently oppose the religions of the Western world? The facts are that for hundreds of years religion dominated Russia. The czar was the head of the state and exercised great influence over the Greek Orthodox Church. Between the ruthless state and the avaricious church, the people were kept in ignorance, exploited and starved until, in sheer desperation during World War I, they turned and rent their oppressors, throwing overboard hypocritical religion and the czarist government. Poland and other predominantly Catholic countries were likewise ruled and dominated by a church-state religious combine, directed by the Roman Catholic Church, that similarly kept the people in ignorance and reduced them to serfdom. They, like the Russians, believing that God and the Bible supported such exploitation, revolted against the whole thing, and they too joined up with godless communism. Other countries, like Italy and France, where communism has made great headway, are those where church and state, corrupt religious leaders and ruthless politicians have bled the people to the point of desperation. Many of them, in their haste, have rejected God, Christ and the Holy Bible as well as the oppressive shackles of corruption with which they were bound, being unable to distinguish between the truth of the Bible, real Christianity as taught by Christ Jesus, the pure religion, and the corrupt and altogether devilish practices of these debased religionists and their allies.
8. Who must bear a major portion of responsibility for communism?
8 Then viewing all of these facts dispassionately, we ask, Is God responsible for communism and all of its evils? The answer must be emphatically No! Communism was begotten, nurtured and brought to maturity by Satan the Devil through the instrumentality of corrupt religion and ruthless politics. Whether they like it or not, the great religions of the world, particularly those professing to be Christian, are responsible for communism. It is their offspring—this most devilish, Christless and God-dishonoring religion of them all. Yes, their own offspring, which is now rising up to destroy them.
9. What is communism’s plan for the salvation of mankind?
9 What is the system of salvation that communism is trying to impose upon the whole earth and enslave people to? It is the strange, insane delusion that a godless, Christless, materialistic social order, which wholly ignores the Creator of our planet and the laws he established to govern his creatures, can bring peace, security and salvation to the people. Like wild, unrestrained beasts they impose their ideas and wild dreams upon the people behind the Iron Curtain. And the other nations and peoples of the earth have to contend with this.
10, 11. What effect have such teachings and schemes had on the peoples of the nations now and in the past?
10 Hitler was obsessed with a similar madness. He was convinced that the Germans were a superrace, destined to rule and enslave all other peoples of the earth. Mussolini likewise had such idea. This is a type of madness that is destroying the entire human race. It has drenched the earth with the blood of millions of soldier boys in two world wars; it has brought death and indescribable anguish to countless thousands of innocent and helpless women and children. And on it goes in its insane drive toward a third world war, sacrificing other millions on the insatiable altar of selfishness.
11 If the position is maintained that communism is responsible for these frightful conditions, then corrupt religion, which gave birth to communism, stands condemned as mankind’s greatest enemy. No one can rightly charge God with these conditions. God has had no part in her maneuverings and sinful compromises with politics.
12-15. Are the peoples of the Western Hemisphere free from the influences of corrupt religion? What shows whether?
12 Are we of the Western Hemisphere free of corrupt religion and thus the agent of salvation for mankind? According to our newspapers and magazines, our radio commentators and our Senate investigating committees, we in the United States are controlled by organized crime, corrupt politicians and powerful lobbyists, partly by gangsters within the United States and partly by gangsters in Italy and other parts of the world. These gangsters make and break politicians at will, corrupt our legislature and our judicial departments; and at some points even invade the executive department of the government itself. They control or exercise a dominating influence in practically every avenue of industry, commerce and labor. They traffic in drugs to a point where they are making drug addicts of untold thousands of the nation’s teen-age children, besides the many adults. They drive many of them to commit murder and robbery, and others to prostitution, in order to obtain the supply of drugs necessary to appease the mad cravings such drugs create.
13 When these inhuman gangsters kill off one another in order to protect or perpetuate their devilish traffic, investigation reveals that they too were nurtured under the influences of corrupt religion, which religion joins in glamorizing their trade. Five priests are reported to have participated recently in the funeral of one such executed gangster.
14 No, we are not free from corrupt religion. Our forefathers fled European shores to get away from it and to have freedom to worship God according to the dictates of their own conscience. But today false religion’s crime-stained hands overshadow our land, corrupting our institutions and our children. Corrupt religion has caught up with us here in the United States and in every other so-called “democracy” of the earth.
15 Yes, what we have viewed is our democracy in operation. We may eulogize our Bill of Rights and praise our Constitution, but it is the democracy that people see being carried out in everyday life by which they judge the democratic form of government. Because people in Europe, Asia and Africa see such corrupt dealings in the democratic form of government, they are afraid of it. And who can blame them? This is the thing they think we are trying to superimpose upon the nations of the world.
16. Why is this frank appraisal of world conditions made?
16 The foregoing factual description of world conditions and their immediate causes is presented dispassionately and truthfully in order to make a proper appraisal of the conditions and ascertain who is responsible for world distress. There is nothing in the evidence so far to indicate in any way that Jehovah God was and is now responsible for world distress.
17. What does this time call for?
17 Well, is that the end of the road? Are these frightful conditions to be with us always? Where do we go from here? It will not do to take the position that some do and say, ‘I give up, I quit, we cannot do anything about these conditions.’ Certainly we cannot turn to alcohol, as some do, or to one of the many kinds of dope to deaden our senses and drown our fears. Nor can we, as some of the younger generation do, throw up our hands, saying, “The future holds nothing worth while for us; so let’s live for today, since tomorrow we may be dead.” No, rather, this is a time for clear, calm, sober thinking and action.
TO THE BOOK OF ANSWERS!
18. Is the cause of present world distress discernible, and, if so, how?
18 For every effect there must be a cause; and there is a cause for the present world unrest and distress even though world leaders do not seem to be able to ascertain what it is and uproot it. The cause can be discerned and the pathway to security, peace and life uncovered, if we look for them in the proper place. That place is the Bible, the Word of the true and living God, the Creator of this planet earth and the human creatures upon it. Despite the vacillating and compromising attitude of the so-called “Christian” world leaders, we have no apology to offer for our position in this respect. The Bible alone contains the true answer.
19, 20. How should we approach the Bible in order to get its correct answer to our question?
19 Let us turn to it now, not with prejudice or with skepticism, but with an honest and sincere desire to find out what it has to offer in answering our question, “Is God responsible for world distress?” We want to find out if what is said therein is old-fashioned and inappropriate for our modern age, as claimed by some clergymen, or whether it contains logical, practical truth.
20 At Isaiah 1:18 (AS) we are invited thus: “Come now, and let us reason together, saith Jehovah.” Our God is not a tyrant, but is a just, wise and loving God, who appeals to our reason. His mind or will for mankind is expressed in his Word, the Bible.
21. What vision of Jehovah’s relationship with his creatures of past times does the Bible reveal?
21 Accepting his invitation now, we open up that wonderful Book, and we find that it pulls back the curtain and gives us a glimpse of Jehovah and the marvelous relationship that has existed between him and all his intelligent creation from the time this planet earth was created up to and including the present time. At Job 38:4, 6, 7 (AS) we read: “Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? Declare, if thou hast understanding.” “Who laid the corner-stone thereof, when the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?” At that time not one discordant note was to be found anywhere in Jehovah’s universal realm. Only joyful acclamation hailed this, the creation of earth, as another of Jehovah’s majestic purposes. All acknowledged Jehovah’s supremacy and rightful lordship. Peace, unity and oneness of purpose were the heritage of all. One religion, the pure worship of Jehovah, was accepted by all.
22. After this planet underwent the development described in Genesis, chapter 1, what happened?
22 After the planet had undergone the development processes described in the six creative days, mentioned in Genesis the first chapter, man was created. He was made in the image of God, as expressed at Genesis 1:27, and was made a member of that glorious family of God.
23, 24. Describe some of the wonderful things Jehovah did for man whom he created.
23 Here was something new in God’s great creation, a creature, an intelligent, earthly creature in his own image, with procreative powers to reproduce his own kind. This creature Jehovah provided with a perfect companion and a beautiful home in a paradise which provided for all their physical needs. These were all man’s; his as long as he acknowledged the fatherhood of God and obeyed his laws. He was provided with a wonderful self-perpetuating body, in that it had the ability to rebuild or repair itself as rapidly as it wore out. But to do that the mind and body of man must function in accordance with the divine laws of Jehovah God. By being obedient to his Creator, it would then be possible for him to live on in perfection forever.
24 He gave man the marvelous faculties of seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling and feeling. When these were exercised in conjunction with his intelligence or ability to reason, they enabled him to enjoy fellowship with his Creator and with the other earthly creatures over which he was appointed to have dominion. Moreover, Jehovah gave him the power of understanding, so man might appreciate and operate according to His own great principles of justice, wisdom, love and power. Indeed it was rightly said that man, in possessing all these qualities, became the earthly image of his Creator. Yet man was a free moral agent. While he could understand and appreciate these marvelous principles, he was not so made that he could function only according to their operation. No! Using his will and freedom of choice, he could either accept or reject them as he saw fit.
25. What rule of action did Jehovah provide for man?
25 Jehovah expressed his will or law which was to govern man. Obedience to it would mean life; disobedience, death and the loss of all the blessing of living. Genesis 2:15-17 (AS) reads: “And Jehovah God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. And Jehovah God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.”
26. What good counsel did Jehovah provide for mankind, and what provision was made to assist him in following Jehovah’s law?
26 Jehovah exhorted his human creatures to love one another, to be patient, tolerant and helpful. He denounced injustice, hypocrisy, and all evil deeds of one to another. In addition, he provided these newly created members of his family with an overseer or covering cherub. It was his duty to see that the divine law and requirements of Jehovah were properly respected and, undoubtedly, to instruct and enlighten this human pair on the marvels and wonders of the great family of God, of which they were members, they being the visible earthly part.
27. Was there anything in the operations of Jehovah up to man’s creation to indicate cruel or unjust action?
27 All of this creative work covered many, many centuries. But throughout it all there is not a thing anywhere to indicate that Jehovah was unjust, unloving or unwise. Nowhere was he responsible for bringing distress upon his creatures. God is love, and justice is the foundation of his throne. Wisdom is the essence of his every action, and his almighty power is always exercised in full accord with his wisdom, love and justice.
SOURCE OF WORLD DISTRESS
28, 29. What does the Bible have to say regarding the source of rebellion and world distress?
28 Where then did world distress come from? On this that great book, the Bible, is clear and straightforward. In no way does it try to becloud the issue, for it tells us that the covering cherub, who was placed in Eden as overseer to Adam and Eve, became a rebel. He revolted against Jehovah and his righteous system of things and he drew our parents, Adam and Eve, into the rebellion with him. In Ezekiel 28:12-18 (AS), under the figure the ‘prince of Tyre’, we are given a frank description of the revolt and Jehovah’s judgment against this leader of it.
29 “Thus saith the Lord Jehovah: . . . Thou wast in Eden, the garden of God; . . . Thou wast the anointed cherub that covereth: and I set thee, so that thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; . . . Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till unrighteousness was found in thee. By the abundance of thy traffic they filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned: therefore have I cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God; . . . Thy heart was lifted up because of thy beauty; thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness: . . . By the multitude of thine iniquities, in the unrighteousness of thy traffic, thou hast profaned thy sanctuaries; therefore have I brought forth a fire from the midst of thee; it hath devoured thee, and I have turned thee to ashes upon the earth in the sight of all them that behold thee.”
30. How did the covering cherub set out to deceive man?
30 Thus in clear, forceful and understandable phrase Jehovah tells us of the beginning of rebellion in the universe. The first step in the rebel’s plan was to turn aside from the service and devotion of God these newly created human creatures of earth. Under the title of ‘the serpent’ he set out on his deceptive mission. To Eve he accused Jehovah of trying to keep her and Adam in ignorance for a selfish purpose. He contended that Jehovah was actually out to exploit them. Genesis 3:4, 5 (AS) reads: “And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: for God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as God, knowing good and evil.” Other scriptures indicate that he challenged Jehovah’s supremacy, such as Job 1:8-12 and Job 2:2-6, where the record shows he contended that Jehovah could not place upon this earth human creatures who would be faithful to Him under a real test.
31. What did Satan inaugurate by the course he advocated for Adam and Eve?
31 In all this Satan the Devil was inaugurating a new religion. Here was the beginning of corrupt religion, which professed that security, salvation, peace and happiness were obtainable only by defying God and exalting and worshiping oneself. Because of his joining in this rebellion, man was rejected and cast out of God’s holy family. He lost his beautiful home and his perfect faculties; and his senses and sinful body became so degenerated he finally died, as Jehovah decreed he would.
Put on the complete suit of armor from God that you may be able to stand firm against the machinations of the Devil; because we have a fight . . . against the wicked spirit forces in the heavenly places.—Eph. 6:11, 12, NW.