The Road Back to Peace in Paradise
1, 2. (a) What are some spontaneous reactions to God’s earthly creation that cause us to ask, Why? (b) Why are we so appreciative of such earthly creations?
WHY is it that you enjoy going into the garden of your home or into the city park? Why do you like to get out of the city and into the open country? Why do you have an appreciation of the beauties of the natural scenery? Why do you take such delight in gazing at the river majestically flowing along in peace through the valley? Why do you feel carried away with pleasure at seeing the gently sloping hillsides garmented with stately trees and shrubs and flowers? Why do you stand in awe at the higher elevations, the mountains, rearing themselves up into the azure skies and with gleaming clouds nestling near their summits or calmly floating by?
2 Why do you stop spellbound at the music of the bird singing its happy song in the treetop? Why do you feel a pleasant sense of excitement at seeing the wildlife of the forest or plain suddenly put in appearance, free in its native state and pursuing its instincts—the graceful deer bounding along, the kangaroo hopping about, the emu or cassowary bird speeding over the ground with great strides—or even a flock of sheep in the field? Why do all the glories about you, in sky, in earth and in stream, fill you with the delicious taste of being alive as an intelligent creature? It is because you were made to live in a paradise!
3. From whom have we received our appreciation for paradise?
3 No! You were never in paradise, but the first human couple, our first human father and mother, were in paradise to begin with. You got your appreciation of what a paradise is like from them. They got their appreciation of paradise from their Creator, whom they recognized as their God. He made them that way, because he himself has a perfect sense of beauty and of peaceful harmony. He made the earthly Paradise especially for them, for he is the greatest Gardener in existence, the greatest Park Keeper, the greatest Forester. He desired to delight them with their Paradise home, and so he put in them the godlike qualities by means of which they could enjoy paradise and never get tired of it. He made them in such a way that they could pass on the same awareness of paradise and joyful appreciation of it as they, the parents, had. We inherited this ennobling trait from them. Shall we, then, enjoy getting back to paradise, if that be the Creator’s will and arrangement? We most certainly shall!
4. With what qualities did Jehovah originally endow man, showing what as regards his human creation?
4 How good it was on the part of the heavenly Creator to start the human family off in a Paradise home! How like God to do such a thing! Just because we are human and are made of the dust of the ground, he did not degrade us. He dignified us, he gave us the greatest dignity on earth, by creating our first parents perfect human creatures, the most beautiful living creatures on earth, with godlike qualities because our first human parents were made in God’s image and likeness. He was not ashamed to call them his children, even though they were somewhat lower than angels of heaven. In perfect accord with their fine sensibilities and their healthy, perfect, handsome bodies, he put them in a home to match their capabilities, an earthly paradise that only Almighty God could design. In telling us what it was like, his written Word, the Holy Bible, calls it the “garden in Eden,” the name “Eden” meaning “Pleasure.”—Gen. 1:26-28; 2:7-14.
5. How do we know the Garden of Eden was not just a small park of beauty?
5 This Garden of Eden, this Paradise of Pleasure, was no small area, like a city park. Besides other kinds of vegetation, it had trees of all sorts, trees good to look at and trees bearing fruits for food. It was full of bird and animal life. But to give some indication of its size, there was a river that took its source in this paradise and that flowed forth with so much fresh water that it could break up into four headwaters, which in turn resulted in rivers. Fish abounded in those waters, although the great seas and oceans may have been far distant. There were doubtless hills and valleys in this select Paradise spot on earth, man’s first home.
6. Why is it that mankind was not born in Paradise?
6 Today, after almost six thousand years from that start of human life in Paradise, the earth is certainly no paradise, no peaceful Garden of Eden. What happened to that Paradise of the first human couple in southwestern Asia? Why were not all of us born in Paradise? It was because our first human parents, before they had any children, were driven out of the Garden of Eden. Then, over sixteen hundred years later, a deluge that covered all the earth destroyed the abandoned Garden. But the Euphrates River and the Tigris River, which once had their source in that Paradise, are still flowing, in undeniable testimony to the truthfulness of this matter. It is no myth of superstitious people. That first man’s name was Adam and means “From the Ground.” His wife’s name was Eve and means “Living,” because she came to be the mother of all other human creatures. All these, including us today, began to be born to them after they were driven out of the paradisaic Garden of Eden.
7. (a) What is God’s unchangeable purpose for this earth? (b) How did the Lord Jesus Christ show his faith in God’s Word, giving us conviction of its truthfulness?
7 Who, though, had the right to drive Adam and Eve out of that Paradise? Who had the right to destroy that Paradise and keep us out of it? It was God, the Creator of it as well as of Adam and Eve. He has also the right to promise us to replant Paradise on earth. He has, in fact, given us this promise, and he had this promise written down in his inspired Word, The Holy Bible. When he first planted the paradisaic Garden of Eden in southwestern Asia, it was his unchangeable purpose to have that Paradise extended all over the earth, all over Asia, Europe, Africa, Australia, Antarctica, North and South America, and the islands of the seven seas. He has not changed his loving purpose in this regard. He was not defeated in his original purpose. He is no quitter. He still holds to his original purpose. In proof of that happy fact he has provided for the human family the road back to Paradise, to a Paradise as big as he at first purposed it to become, to an earth-wide Paradise of eternal peace. He will finally make this earth even more beautiful than it appeared from outer space to those astronauts when they were orbiting the moon in their man-made spacecraft. This is no religious myth. If it were a myth, then God, who is responsible for the writing of the Holy Bible, would be making a laughingstock of himself. In that case, the religious clergymen of Christendom and the modern-day scientists would be justified in laughing at Him and poking fun at his Bible. But a man who was greater than all these clergymen and scientists put together talked very seriously about our first human parents. In an argument, when he was questioned about the subject of marriage and divorce, he said: “Did you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and his mother and will stick to his wife, and the two will be one flesh’? So that they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has yoked together let no man put apart.” (Matt. 19:3-6) That man was Jesus Christ, and he was there quoting from the first and second chapters of the Holy Bible.—Gen. 1:27; 2:24.
8, 9. Why could Jesus speak with authority about man’s creation and man’s future?
8 Before he came down from heaven to earth to be born as a perfect man, it was this Jesus Christ to whom God in heaven said on the sixth day of creation: “Let us make man in our image, according to our likeness, and let them have in subjection the fish of the sea and the flying creatures of the heavens and the domestic animals and all the earth and every moving animal that is moving upon the earth.” (Gen. 1:26) Therefore, Jesus Christ could speak with authority about the creation of Adam and Eve and their Paradise home.
9 At this invitation of God, Jesus Christ in his prehuman existence had a hand with God in the creating of Adam and Eve and their Paradise. He was there in heaven and heard God bless Adam and Eve and say to them: “Be fruitful and become many and fill the earth and subdue it, and have in subjection the fish of the sea and the flying creatures of the heavens and every living creature that is moving upon the earth.” (Gen. 1:27, 28) Jesus Christ knew directly from this that God’s purpose was for all the earth to be subdued and cultivated to a Paradise state and to be filled with the children of Adam and Eve, all of them in God’s image and likeness and having all the fish, birds and domestic and wild animals in subjection, and not worshiping these lower creatures as gods and goddesses. What a lovely, glorious place this earth will be when Almighty God brings this purpose to full realization, for God has not changed his mind about this.
MAN’S CREATION AND FALL FROM PERFECTION
10. How does Genesis, chapter two, describe man’s creation?
10 The second chapter of the Holy Bible tells how God created Adam first, this to be followed shortly thereafter by the creation of his wife Eve, and then their marriage. What chapter two tells us we are now quoting from the Roman Catholic Douay Version of the Holy Bible, which says: “And the Lord God formed man of the slime of the earth, and breathed into his face the breath of life; and man became a living soul. And the Lord God had planted a paradise of pleasure from the beginning: wherein he placed man whom he had formed.”—Gen. 2:7, 8.
11, 12. Before creating Eve, what did God have Adam do, and what command did he give Adam?
11 But before God created the woman Eve, he had Adam name the flying creatures and the land animals, and he also put a command upon Adam not to eat from a certain tree, namely, the tree of the knowledge of good and bad. We read:
12 “And the Lord God took man, and put him into the paradise of pleasure, to dress it, and to keep it. And he commanded him, saying: Of every tree of paradise thou shalt eat: but of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat. For in what day soever thou shalt eat of it, thou shalt die the death.”—Gen. 2:15-17, Dy.
13. (a) Because mankind dies, what becomes immediately evident regarding Adam’s obedience? (b) What did Jesus say about obedience in small things?
13 There the Lord God set before our first human father the choice between everlasting life in the paradise of pleasure and everlasting death. At once we can suspect that in course of time Adam ate from the forbidden fruit and was sentenced to death by the One whose law he broke. Otherwise, why is it that all of us who are Adam’s descendants are dying? That is right. But whatever induced Adam to break this law in spite of the penalty of death? It was but a small thing that God commanded him not to do, but, because of its being such a small thing, it tested the perfection of Adam’s obedience. It required only a small beginning in badness to destroy Adam’s Godlike perfection and to make a bad man out of him. Jesus Christ, who kept his own perfection in spite of great temptation and test, said: “He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in that which is greater: and he that is unjust in that which is little is unjust also in that which is greater.” (Luke 16:10, Dy) From the small sin committed by the perfect man Adam, all the injustice of mankind today has developed. So why did Adam sin? The Bible tells us.
14. What was Eve’s reply to the inquiry about the forbidden tree, and who made the inquiry?
14 After God created the woman Eve and presented her to Adam as his wife, Adam told her about God’s command against eating from the tree of knowledge of good and bad and the death penalty for disobediently eating from it. Later, when Eve was asked about that forbidden tree, she said to the inquirer: “Of the fruit of the trees that are in paradise we do eat: but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of paradise, God hath commanded us that we should not eat; and that we should not touch it, lest perhaps we die.” (Gen. 3:2, 3, Dy) Who, now, was this one that was inquiring about this forbidden tree? To all appearances it was a snake, a serpent. But snakes do not talk man’s language. Hence, the voice must have come from some invisible person, who was using this snake as a ventriloquist uses a dummy. So Eve did not suspect that the inquirer was really an unseen spirit person that was determined to mislead her into breaking God’s command and thus sinning. So later Eve said in explanation: “The serpent deceived me, and I did eat.”—Gen. 3:13, Dy.
15. How did the serpent in speaking to Eve slander God, and so why is the title “Devil” appropriate to that unseen spirit creature who first spoke to Eve?
15 Here was where the first lie was spoken, for the invisible one speaking to Eve now contradicted God’s word of warning. He made himself a liar, but he tried to make out that God had lied to Adam and was the liar. We read: “And the serpent said to the woman: No, you shall not die the death. For God doth know that in what day soever you shall eat thereof, your eyes shall be opened: and you shall be as Gods, knowing good and evil.” (Gen. 3:1-5, Dy) All of us today know that this was a lie, for all of us are dying and we inherited death. God was not the liar, but the operator of the serpent was the liar. Who was he personally? Jesus Christ said that he was “the devil” and added: “He was a murderer from the beginning: and he stood not in the truth, because truth is not in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father thereof.” (John 8:44, Dy) How fitting it was for Jesus Christ to call that one a devil, for “Devil” means “Slanderer,” and that one had slandered God. He murderously misled Eve into the way of death.
16. (a) What thoughts now began to run through Eve’s mind? (b) What did she do and then persuade her husband to do?
16 Eve let the lie lodge in her head. She began to disbelieve God her Creator and Father. The forbidden tree now began to look like something desirable instead of something to be shunned, like the plague of death. Desire for the fruit of the forbidden tree now rose in her heart. She did not let God be found true, but let her growing desire overpower her and move her to eat the forbidden fruit. She had broken God’s law and sinned in the first human sin. But she did not at once drop dead, seemingly proving the serpent operated by the Devil to be right, for the moment. Afterward when her husband Adam came and found her still alive, she persuaded him to accept some of the forbidden fruit at her hand. He knew the full penalty for doing so, death, but he selfishly chose to die with her at God’s hand rather than live in Paradise without her. Immediately they lost their peace of heart and mind. Their consciences bothered them. They had lost their perfect innocence they looked unclean to themselves. They also lost their peace with God. They fled and hid themselves at the very sound of God’s invisible approach.—Gen. 3:6-10.
17. How was the Devil proved to be a liar, and what actually did happen to Adam and Eve?
17 In answer to inquiry by God, Eve and Adam confessed to their willful sin. They had no basis for asking for His forgiveness and they did not ask for it, for that would have meant for God to set aside his own law. Contrary to what the Devil had said by means of the serpent, God justly stuck to his law and sentenced Adam and Eve to death. He did not sentence them to everlasting life in a place of fiery torment; he sentenced them to what his law had stated—death. This meant that they must return to the place from which Adam had been taken, to the dust of the ground, thus to a state of nonexistence. A person’s assignment to nonexistence is not a reward for personal merit, as is taught in the religious doctrine of Nirvana. It is a punishment for willful disobedience to God’s law, willful sin. The Christian apostle Paul wrote: “The wages of sin is death. But the grace of God, life everlasting in Christ Jesus our Lord.”—Rom. 6:23, Dy.
18. By their course of action what had Adam and Eve determined to do, and therefore what action did God now take?
18 How did God carry out the sentence? By eating from the forbidden tree of the knowledge of good and bad, Adam and Eve had decided to be like gods in determining for themselves what was good and what was bad. Hence God’s record, at Genesis 3:22-24 (Dy), says: “And he said: Behold Adam is become as one of us, knowing good and evil: now, therefore, lest perhaps he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever. And the Lord God sent him out of the paradise of pleasure, to till the earth from which he was taken. And he cast out Adam; and placed before the paradise of pleasure Cherubims, and a flaming sword, turning every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.” The Bible record indicates that Adam’s wife Eve was cast out with him. Adam’s sin affected his bodily perfection so little that, outside the paradise of pleasure, he lived to be nine hundred and thirty years old, this allowing him to become father to many sons and daughters. (Gen. 5:1-5) By remaining obedient inside the Paradise, Adam could have lived forever and could have become father to all his sons and daughters in human perfection.
19. How was the road back to Paradise at that time barred to the first human couple and their offspring, and what eventually happened to that Paradise of Eden?
19 That was the road out of Paradise and out of its peace with God, peace of man with woman and peace of man with the animals, birds and fish. The way back was barred by the presence of those guardian cherubs, superhuman creatures of God, and by the flaming blade of a sword that turned in all directions. For sixteen hundred and fifty-six years man was unable to get back to Paradise and its tree of life, not even godly men like Abel, Enoch and Noah being admitted back. Then came the globe-encircling deluge of Noah’s day and wiped out the Paradise. (Heb. 11:1-7; Gen. 6:5 to 8:22) It has not been discovered since.
20. (a) Has our earth since the Flood been converted into a paradise, and what now threatens this globe? (b) Why cannot man make this earth a paradise?
20 Since that Deluge of more than forty-three centuries ago mankind has been unable to convert this entire earth into a paradise, even though mankind has increased to more than three thousand four hundred million persons and we are going through what is called a “population explosion.” Another world war, this one with nuclear weapons, chemical and biological weapons and radiological weapons threatens to make this earth an uninhabited planet, left to grow wild and uncultivated, polluted from end to end. The facts speak for themselves: man cannot in his present state transform this planet earth into a paradise to compare with the original Garden of Eden or Paradise of Pleasure. Why not? Because man is not at peace with God, the Creator of Paradise. Man can no longer lay claim at all to perfection of body and mind, or to perfect innocence, or to perfect morality. He is just what the Holy Bible calls him, sinful. For that reason man is under God’s condemnation and is subject to death.
THE ROAD BACK UNDER PREPARATION
21, 22. Did the disobedience of Adam and Eve forever thwart God’s purpose to have this earth a paradise, and how do we know?
21 Is the case therefore hopeless? Is any road back to peace in Paradise impossible? By man’s own efforts, Yes! But by God, No! On the very first day of creation, when God said, “Let light come to be,” he had in mind for this earth to become a global paradise. At the end of the sixth creative day He let the newly created Adam and Eve know that this was his purpose and he assigned to them their part in the fulfillment of this divine purpose. (Gen. 1:3, 28) The sinning on the part of Eve and Adam halted the expansion of the paradise to earth’s limits. But Almighty God is not One to be defeated in his loving purpose by the Devil, the operator of the serpent. Before he drove the sinful Adam and Eve out of the Garden of Eden, God let both of them and the Devil know that He was sticking to His purpose and indicated that He would restore mankind to Paradise. How did God indicate this? By what he said to the Devil. We read, according to the American Standard Version of the Bible:
22 “And Jehovah God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, cursed art thou above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: and I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed: he shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.”—Gen. 3:14, 15.
23. (a) Who are the symbolic serpent and the symbolic woman mentioned in Genesis 3:14, 15? (b) What would the bruising of the serpent’s head eventually mean for mankind?
23 That cursing of the serpent was really God’s cursing of the Devil, the operator of the serpent. The serpent became a symbol of the Devil. (Rev. 12:9; 20:2) If the symbol, the literal serpent, was degraded, the Devil too must be degraded. God’s calling the Devil “the original serpent” indicated that degradation. Accordingly, the serpent’s seed or offspring became a symbol of the Devil’s seed or offspring. The woman’s seed or offspring became a symbol of the seed or offspring of God’s symbolic “woman,” namely, his holy, faithful heavenly organization of spirit creatures. The bruising of the serpent’s head by the woman’s seed meant the bruising of the Devil’s head, a wound that spelled death and destruction for him. But there was to be not only this punishing of the Devil, “the original serpent,” but also an undoing of his wicked work. This had to include the restoration of mankind to an earthly paradise.
24. What blessing was due to the seed of God’s “woman” for fighting the “serpent” and its seed, and where can we find identification of the seed of God’s “woman”?
24 The getting bruised in the heel was not to be for nothing. For his being bruised the woman’s seed was to be rewarded, for it came from fighting on the side of Jehovah God in the warfare that results from the enmity that God put between the serpent and the woman and between the serpent’s seed and the woman’s seed. His being bruised was to be rewarded with the honor and glory of carrying out Jehovah’s will and bruising the great Serpent’s head, destroying this chief opposer of God. We are getting very close to the time when the seed of God’s “woman” will win eternal glory by bruising the great Serpent’s head. All mankind that lives will then be indebted to this glorious Seed for this act of liberating them from this chief enemy of theirs, the Devil. But do we know who this seed of God’s “woman” is? History identifies him for us, and that indisputable history is found in the pages of the Book that also tells us about the coming replanting of Paradise for mankind, namely, the Holy Bible. Let us swiftly trace the clues of identification.
25, 26. Trace the line of history starting with Shem that will lead us to the seed of God’s “woman.”
25 We do not get this information from worldly, secular historians. Secular history generally overlooks, misses and leaves out the historical facts that really count. It is to the Bible that we go to learn that Noah’s son Shem was specially singled out when Noah blessed Shem and said: “Blessed be Jehovah, Shem’s God, and let Canaan become a slave to him. Let God grant ample space to Japheth, and let him reside in the tents of Shem.” (Gen. 9:24-27) By now passing down nine generations after Shem we come to Shem’s descendant Abram (or Abraham) in the land of Mesopotamia. Shem’s God, Jehovah, revealed himself to Abraham and said: “Go your way out of your country and from your relatives and from the house of your father to the country that I shall show you; and I shall make a great nation out of you and I shall bless you and I will make your name great; and prove yourself a blessing. And I will bless those who bless you, and him that calls down evil upon you I shall curse, and all the families of the ground will certainly bless themselves by means of you.” (Gen. 12:1-3) Abraham obeyed God and won his blessing.
26 Abraham proved himself to be a blessing to all the families of the ground, not by means of his first son Ishmael, but by means of his second son Isaac. When Abraham showed himself obedient to Jehovah God even to the point of sacrificing his beloved son Isaac at God’s command, God said to Abraham at the altar of sacrifice: “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.” (Gen. 22:15-18) God’s promise here indicated that the seed of his “woman” was to become associated with the seed of Abraham for the blessing of all the nations of the earth.
27, 28. (a) Through whom did this line of descent to the Seed continue after Isaac? (b) What does the Bible record then show with regard to the blessing of the twelve sons of Israel?
27 Jehovah God repeated his promise of blessing to Abraham’s son Isaac. But Isaac had twin sons, Esau and Jacob. God chose the second son, Jacob, and repeated his promise of blessing to him. He also changed Jacob’s name to Israel. The Israelites of today are descendants from Jacob or Israel, and yet, today, all nations of the earth are far from wanting to bless themselves by means of these fleshly descendants of Jacob or Israel. Why is this? Bible history makes plain to us the reason. By following its record we note that Jacob had twelve sons, who were to become the patriarchal heads of the twelve tribes of Israel, a family nation. Through which of these twelve sons in particular would the seed of God’s “woman” come for the bruising of the great Serpent’s head and for the blessing of all the nations of the earth without any partiality? Jacob on his deathbed down in Egypt indicated who it would be. When giving his prophetic blessings to all twelve sons, he said to his fourth son, Judah:
28 “As for you, Judah, your brothers will laud you. . . . A lion cub Judah is. . . . The scepter will not turn aside from Judah, neither the commander’s staff from between his feet, until Shiloh comes; and to him the obedience of the people will belong.”
29. What facts do we now have on this seed of God’s “woman”?
29 Those words, preserved for us in Genesis 49:8-10, made it certain that the Bruiser of the great Serpent and the Blesser of all the obedient people had to be a Judean or Jew. He was to wield the royal scepter, and the staff of the rightful commander was to rest between his feet or against his lap. He was to be the One to whom the name or title “Shiloh” belongs, this title meaning “The One to Whom It Belongs.” As the Ruler appointed by Jehovah God he would have the right to the obedience of all the people who are seeking the blessing by the Seed of Abraham.
30. How do we know that David and Solomon, descendants of Judah, did not qualify as that seed of God’s “woman”?
30 Six hundred and forty-one years later, or in 1070 B.C.E., a descendant of the patriarch Judah did become king of a nation, namely, David the son of Jesse of the town of Bethlehem. As king in Jerusalem, he commanded the obedience of all twelve tribes of Israel. He finished conquering all the land that God had promised to give Abraham in the Middle East, and the peoples in those conquered areas had to be obedient to King David. But neither David nor his son and heir to the throne, Solomon, commanded the obedience of the peoples all around our earthly globe. World rulership, however, was to come to one of David’s royal descendants to whom God would give an everlasting kingdom. God indicated this to King David by the covenant promise that God made with him. (2 Sam. 7:4-17) Under the peaceful rule of David’s son Solomon much of the land of Israel was brought to a condition closely like that of Paradise.—1 Ki. 4:20-25.
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Man’s Creator started the human family off in a peaceful paradise home
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Adam and Eve’s disobedience was the road out of paradise and out of its peace with God