“You made him a little lower than angels, and you crowned him with glory and splendor.”—PS. 8:5, ftn.
SONG 123 Loyally Submitting to Theocratic Order
1. What questions may come to mind when we ponder all that Jehovah has created?
WHEN we ponder the vast universe that Jehovah has created, we may feel as did the psalmist David, who prayerfully asked: “When I see your heavens, the works of your fingers, the moon and the stars that you have prepared, what is mortal man that you keep him in mind, and a son of man that you take care of him?” (Ps. 8:3, 4) Like David, we may look at the small place we occupy in the universe and marvel that Jehovah keeps us in mind at all. Yet, as we shall see, Jehovah not only took notice of the first humans, Adam and Eve, but also made them part of his family.
2. What was Jehovah’s purpose for his first earthly children?
2 Adam and Eve were Jehovah’s first earthly children, and Jehovah was their loving heavenly Father. He expected this couple to be productive family members. God told them: “Be fruitful and become many, fill the earth and subdue it.” (Gen. 1:28) They were to have children and take good care of their earthly home. If they had obediently cooperated with Jehovah’s purpose for them, Adam and Eve and their offspring would have remained members of God’s family forever.
3. Why can we say that Adam and Eve were assigned an honorable place in Jehovah’s family?
3 Adam and Eve had an honorable place in Jehovah’s family. As recorded at Psalm 8:5 and footnote, David said this about Jehovah’s creation of man: “You made him a little lower than angels, and you crowned him with glory and splendor.” True, humans were not given the same power, intelligence, and abilities as the angels. (Ps. 103:20) Yet, mankind is only “a little lower” than those mighty spirit creatures. Imagine that! Jehovah truly gave our first parents a wonderful start.
4. What happened to Adam and Eve’s place in Jehovah’s family, and what will we discuss in this article?
4 Sadly, Adam and Eve lost their place in Jehovah’s family. This has had disastrous consequences for their descendants, as we will see later in this article. But Jehovah’s purpose has not changed. He wants obedient humans to be his children forever. First, let us discuss how Jehovah has honored us. Then, we will discuss what we can do now to show that we want to be part of God’s family. Finally, we will consider the blessings that Jehovah’s earthly children will enjoy forever.
HOW JEHOVAH HAS HONORED HUMANS
5. How can we honor God for making us in his image?
5 Jehovah honored us by making us in his image. (Gen. 1:26, 27) Because we are made in God’s image, we can develop and manifest many of his wonderful qualities, such as love, compassion, loyalty, and righteousness. (Ps. 86:15; 145:17) As we cultivate such qualities, we honor Jehovah and prove that we are grateful to him. (1 Pet. 1:14-16) When we behave in a way that pleases our heavenly Father, we are happy and satisfied. And by making us in his image, Jehovah gave us the ability to become the kind of people he wants in his family.
6. How did Jehovah honor humans when preparing the earth?
6 Jehovah prepared a special home for us. Long before he created the first man, Jehovah prepared the earth for humans. (Job 38:4-6; Jer. 10:12) Because he is thoughtful and generous, Jehovah provided an abundance of good things for us to enjoy. (Ps. 104:14, 15, 24) At times, he reflected on his creative work, and he “saw that it was good.” (Gen. 1:10, 12, 31) He honored humans by giving them “dominion over” all his marvelous works on earth. (Ps. 8:6) God’s purpose is that perfect humans have the joy of caring for these grand works forever. Do you regularly thank Jehovah for that wonderful promise?
7. How does Joshua 24:15 indicate that man has free will?
7 Jehovah has given us the gift of free will. We can choose which course we will take in life. (Read Joshua 24:15.) The ability to choose is called free will. Our loving God rejoices when we choose to serve him. (Ps. 84:11; Prov. 27:11) We can use our free will properly in many areas. Consider the example set by Jesus.
8. What is one way in which Jesus used his ability to choose?
8 Following the example of Jesus, we can choose to put the interests of others ahead of our own. Once when Jesus and his apostles were very tired, they traveled to a quiet place where they hoped to get some rest. However, that was not to be. A crowd found them, and they were eager to be taught by Jesus. But Jesus did not become irritated. Instead, he felt pity for the people. So, what did Jesus do? “He started to teach them many things.” (Mark 6:30-34) When we imitate Jesus by sacrificing our time and energy to help others, we bring glory to our heavenly Father. (Matt. 5:14-16) We also show Jehovah that we want to be part of his family.
9. What should parents keep in mind?
9 Jehovah has given humans the ability to have children, as well as the responsibility to teach them to love and to serve him. If you are a parent, do you appreciate this special gift? Although the angels are highly blessed by Jehovah, they have not been granted this privilege. With that in mind, those who are raising children should treasure their opportunity to do so. Parents have been given a trust, a sacred duty to raise their children in “the discipline and admonition of Jehovah.” (Eph. 6:4; Deut. 6:5-7; Ps. 127:3) In order to help parents, God’s organization provides many Bible-based tools, such as publications, videos, music, and online resources. Clearly, both our heavenly Father and his Son cherish our young ones. (Luke 18:15-17) When parents rely on Jehovah and do their very best to care for their precious children, Jehovah is pleased. And such parents give their children the prospect of becoming part of Jehovah’s family forever!
10-11. What has Jehovah made possible for us by means of the ransom?
10 Jehovah gave his most precious Son so that we can once again become members of His family. As we mentioned in paragraph 4, Adam and Eve lost their place in Jehovah’s family, and they lost a place for their children. (Rom. 5:12) Adam and Eve deliberately disobeyed God, so they deserved to be disinherited by him. But what of their offspring? Jehovah lovingly made a provision for deserving ones among them to be adopted into his family. He did this by means of the sacrifice of his only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ. (John 3:16; Rom. 5:19) As a result of Jesus’ sacrifice, 144,000 integrity-keeping humans are adopted as God’s sons.—Rom. 8:15-17; Rev. 14:1.
11 Additionally, untold millions of other faithful ones are obediently doing God’s will. They have the prospect of full membership in God’s family after the final test at the end of the Millennium. (Ps. 25:14; Rom. 8:20, 21) With that prospect in mind, even now they address Jehovah, their Creator, as “Father.” (Matt. 6:9) Resurrected ones too will be given the opportunity to learn what Jehovah expects of them. Those who respond well to his direction will eventually also become members of his family.
12. What question will we now answer?
12 As we have seen, Jehovah has taken the initiative to honor humans in many ways. He has already adopted anointed ones as his sons, and he has granted those of the “great crowd” the prospect of full sonship in the new world. (Rev. 7:9) What can we do now to show Jehovah that we want to be part of his family forever?
SHOW JEHOVAH THAT YOU WANT TO BE PART OF HIS FAMILY
13. What can we do to become a part of God’s family? (Mark 12:30)
13 Show your love for Jehovah by serving him with your whole heart. (Read Mark 12:30.) Of all the things that we have been kindly given by God, perhaps one of the greatest gifts is the ability to worship him. We show Jehovah that we love him by ‘observing his commandments.’ (1 John 5:3) Speaking for his Father, Jesus commanded us to make disciples, baptizing them. (Matt. 28:19) He also commanded us to love one another. (John 13:35) Jehovah will make obedient ones a part of his worldwide family of worshippers.—Ps. 15:1, 2.
14 Show love for others. Love is Jehovah’s foremost quality. (1 John 4:8) Jehovah showed love for us before we ever knew him. (1 John 4:9, 10) We imitate him when we show love for others. (Eph. 5:1) One of the best ways we can show love for people is by helping them learn about Jehovah while there is still time. (Read Matthew 9:36-38.) In doing so, we give them an opportunity to become prospective members of God’s family. After a person gets baptized, we must continue to love and respect him. (1 John 4:20, 21) What does this involve? For one thing, we give him the benefit of the doubt whenever possible. For example, we would not impute bad or selfish motives to him. Instead, we would show honor for our brother, considering him to be superior to us.—Read Romans 12:10; Phil. 2:3.
15. To whom should we show mercy and kindness?
15 Show mercy and kindness to all people. If we want to be among those who can rightly call Jehovah their Father forever, we must apply God’s Word in our lives. For instance, Jesus taught that we should show mercy and kindness to all people, even our enemies. (Luke 6:32-36) We may find that at times this is difficult for us to do. If so, we must learn to think and act like Jesus. When we do our best to obey Jehovah and imitate Jesus, we show our heavenly Father that we want to be part of his family forever.
16. How can we protect the reputation of Jehovah’s family?
16 Protect the reputation of Jehovah’s family. In a literal family, it is not uncommon for a little boy to copy his older brother. If the older sibling applies Bible principles in his life, he will serve as a good example for his younger brother. If the older one turns to doing what is wrong, the younger brother may follow his bad example. It is similar in Jehovah’s family. If a once faithful Christian later adopts apostate thinking or chooses an immoral or a corrupt way of life, others may be tempted to join him in doing what is bad. Those who do so harm the reputation of Jehovah’s family of worshippers. (1 Thess. 4:3-8) We must avoid following bad examples and not allow anything to pull us away from our loving heavenly Father.
17. What kind of thinking should we avoid, and why?
17 Trust in Jehovah instead of in material things. Jehovah promises that he will provide us with food, clothing, and shelter if we seek his Kingdom first and live by his righteous standards. (Ps. 55:22; Matt. 6:33) With that in mind, we avoid thinking that the material things this world offers will bring us security and lasting happiness. We know that the only way we can gain real peace of mind is by doing Jehovah’s will. (Phil. 4:6, 7) Even if we can afford to buy many things, we must consider whether we really have the time or the energy to use and care for such things. Might we become too attached to our possessions? We must remember that God expects us to be productive members of his family. That means we should not allow ourselves to be distracted. We certainly do not want to be like the young man who turned down the opportunity to serve Jehovah as well as the potential to be adopted as one of his sons—all because he was attached to a few earthly possessions!—Mark 10:17-22.
WHAT JEHOVAH’S CHILDREN WILL ENJOY FOREVER
18. What great honor and what blessings will obedient humans enjoy forever?
18 Obedient humans will enjoy the greatest honor of all—the privilege of loving and worshipping Jehovah forever! Those with an earthly hope will also have the joy of caring for this beautiful planet that Jehovah so perfectly designed to be their home. Soon the earth and all life on it will be renewed under Kingdom rule. Jesus will undo the conditions that resulted when Adam and Eve decided to leave God’s family. Jehovah will resurrect millions and give them the opportunity for everlasting life in perfect health on an earth transformed into a paradise. (Luke 23:42, 43) As the earthly part of Jehovah’s family of worshippers grows to perfection, each one will reflect the “glory and splendor” that David wrote about.—Ps. 8:5.
19. What should we keep in mind?
19 If you belong to the “great crowd,” you have a wonderful prospect. God loves you; he wants you to be a member of his family. So do all you can to please him. Live each day with God’s promises in your mind and heart. Appreciate your privilege of worshipping our dear heavenly Father, and cherish the prospect of praising him forever!
SONG 107 The Divine Pattern of Love
In order for a family to function well, each member must know what is expected of him and must cooperate with other family members. The father lovingly takes the lead, the mother supports him, and the children obediently work along with their parents. It is similar with Jehovah’s family. Our God has a purpose for us, and if we cooperate with that purpose, we will belong to Jehovah’s family of worshippers forever.
PICTURE DESCRIPTION: Being made in God’s image enables a couple to show love and compassion to each other and to their sons. The couple love Jehovah. The gift of having children gives them the opportunity to raise their sons to love and serve Jehovah. The parents use a video to explain to them why Jehovah provided Jesus as a ransom. They also teach them that in the Paradise to come, we will care for the earth and the animals forever.