What Has God Done?
If you want to get to know someone well, it is helpful if you learn what he has accomplished and the challenges he has overcome. Similarly, if you want to know God well, you need to learn what he has done. As you do, you may be surprised to discover how much of what he did in the past benefits us now and involves our future.
GOD CREATED ALL THINGS FOR OUR GOOD
Jehovah God is the Grand Creator, and his “invisible qualities are clearly seen from the world’s creation onward, because they are perceived by the things made.” (Romans 1:20) “He is the Maker of the earth by his power, the One who established the productive land by his wisdom and who stretched out the heavens by his understanding.” (Jeremiah 10:12) The wonders of creation also reveal God’s interest in us.
Consider how Jehovah enriched our life by creating humans “in his image.” (Genesis 1:27) That means he made it possible for us to reflect in a small way his incomparable qualities. He endowed us with spiritual capacity, or the ability to understand his views and values. As we endeavor to live by these, we enjoy greater happiness and meaning in life. More than that, he gave us the potential for building a relationship with him.
The earth testifies to how God feels about us. In the words of the apostle Paul, God “did not leave himself without witness in that he did good, giving [us] rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, satisfying [us] with food and filling [our] hearts with gladness.” (Acts 14:17) God supplied more than the mere necessities for our survival. He provided abundantly in quantity and variety so we could enjoy life. All of this is but a glimmer of what he intended for us.
Jehovah created the earth so that humans could live forever on it. The Bible states: “The earth he has given to the sons of men,” and he “did not create it simply for nothing, but formed it to be inhabited.” (Psalm 115:16; Isaiah 45:18) Inhabited by whom and for how long? “The righteous will possess the earth, and they will live forever on it.”—Psalm 37:29.
Accordingly, Jehovah created the first man and woman, Adam and Eve, and settled them in an earthly paradise “to cultivate it and to take care of it.” (Genesis 2:8, 15) God gave them an exciting twofold assignment: “Be fruitful and become many, fill the earth and subdue it.” (Genesis 1:28) Thus Adam and Eve had before them the hope of enjoying unending life on earth. Sadly, they chose to disobey God and for that reason lost the prospect of being among “the righteous” who “will possess the earth.” However, as we will see, their actions have not changed Jehovah’s purpose for us or the earth. First, though, let us consider something else God has done.
GOD PROVIDED HIS WRITTEN WORD
The Bible is also known as God’s Word. Why did Jehovah provide the Bible for us? Primarily so that we can learn about him. (Proverbs 2:1-5) True, the Bible does not answer every question we might have about God—no book ever could. (Ecclesiastes 3:11) Yet everything that the Bible does contain helps us to know God. We see who he is by how he deals with people. We observe the sort of individuals he likes and dislikes. (Psalm 15:1-5) We learn his views on worship, morality, and material things. And the Bible gives us the most intimate portrait of Jehovah’s personality through the words and actions of his Son, Jesus Christ.—John 14:9.
Another reason Jehovah provided his Word, the Bible, is so that we can know how to live a happy, purposeful life. Through the Bible, Jehovah tells us how to have a happy family, how to be content, and how to cope with anxiety. And as explained later in this magazine, the Bible contains the answers to life’s big questions, such as: Why is there so much suffering? What will the future hold? It also explains what God has done to see that his original purpose is fulfilled.
The Bible is truly a remarkable book—a divine achievement—in many other ways. It was written over a period of 1,600 years by some 40 men, yet it retains a central theme because God is its real Author. (2 Timothy 3:16) Unlike other ancient works, it has been accurately preserved down through the ages, as verified by thousands of ancient Bible manuscripts. What is more, the Bible has prevailed over efforts made to keep it from being translated, distributed, and read. Today it is the most widely distributed and translated book. The Bible’s existence is proof that “the word of our God endures forever.”—Isaiah 40:8.
GOD GUARANTEED HIS PURPOSE
Yet another of God’s achievements is the special provision he made to guarantee his purpose for us. As mentioned earlier, God intended that humans live forever on earth. However, when Adam chose to disobey God and thereby sinned, he lost the opportunity for everlasting life not only for himself but also for his future children. “Through one man sin entered into the world and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because they had all sinned.” (Romans 5:12) Man’s disobedience thus challenged God’s purpose. How did Jehovah react?
Jehovah’s actions were consistent with his character. He justly held Adam and Eve accountable for their actions, but he lovingly made provisions for their future offspring. In his wisdom Jehovah determined how to deal with the challenge, and he immediately announced a solution. (Genesis 3:15) The way out from sin and death would be provided through God’s Son, Jesus Christ. What did that involve?
To redeem humans from the effects of Adam’s rebellion, Jehovah sent Jesus to the earth to teach people the way to life and to “give his life as a ransom in exchange for many.”a (Matthew 20:28; John 14:6) Jesus could provide the ransom because he was a perfect man like Adam. But unlike Adam, Jesus maintained perfect obedience, even to the point of death. Since Jesus did not deserve to die, Jehovah resurrected him back to heavenly life. Jesus could now do what Adam failed to do—pass on to obedient humans the prospect of everlasting life. “For just as through the disobedience of the one man many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one person many will be made righteous.” (Romans 5:19) Through Jesus’ ransom sacrifice, God will fulfill his promise to have mankind live forever on earth.
We learn much about Jehovah from the way he dealt with the challenges posed by Adam’s disobedience. We see that nothing can prevent Jehovah from finishing what he started; his word will meet with “sure success.” (Isaiah 55:11) We also appreciate the magnitude of Jehovah’s love for us. “By this the love of God was revealed in our case, that God sent his only-begotten Son into the world so that we might gain life through him. The love is in this respect, not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a propitiatory sacrifice for our sins.”—1 John 4:9, 10.
God “did not even spare his own Son but handed him over for us all,” so we are assured that God will “kindly give us all other things” that he has promised. (Romans 8:32) What has God promised that he will do for us? Read on.
WHAT HAS GOD DONE? Jehovah created humans to live forever on the earth. He provided the Bible so that we could learn about him. Through Jesus Christ, Jehovah provided the ransom, thus ensuring that his purpose will be realized
a For more details about the ransom, see chapter 5 of the book What Can the Bible Teach Us? published by Jehovah’s Witnesses and available online at www.jw.org.