The Ransom For All (m-blogger)
This study is being moved to:
Part One – The Guarantee
(1) As we have presented in other scriptural studies, Jehovah’s obvious design for mankind is to restore the human race to the perfection and glory lost in Eden. The strongest, and most conclusive evidence, on this subject is clearly seen when the extent and nature of the ransom are fully appreciated. The restoration foretold by the apostles and prophets must follow the ransom as the just and logical sequence. According to God’s arrangement in providing a ransom, all mankind must be delivered from the original penalty, “the bondage of corruption,” (Romans 8:21) death. If this is not true, then the ransom would be meaningless.
(2) Paul’s reasoning on the subject is most clear and emphatic. He says (Romans 14:9): “For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord [ruler, controller] of both the dead and the living.” This lets us know that the object of our Lord’s death and resurrection was not merely to bless, rule over and restore the living of mankind, but to give him authority over, or full control of, the dead and the living. The benefits of his ransom are thus assured as much to the one as to the other.* He “gave himself a ransom [offsetting or corresponding price] for all.” (1 Timothy 2:4-6) As has been shown in other publications (see especially: The Restoration of All Things and Mankind’s Course to the Day of Judgment), the ransom provided through Jesus is to bless all the families of the earth. It will bring to each individual of the human race a full, complete opportunity to live forever. To claim that Jesus gave a “ransom for all” and yet to claim that only a mere handful will ever receive any benefit from it, is absurd. Such would imply that either God accepted the ransom-price and then unjustly refused to grant the release of the redeemed, or else that Jehovah, after redeeming all through his Son, was either unable or unwilling to carry out the original benevolent design. The unchangeableness of the divine purpose, no less than the perfection of the divine justice and love, repels and contradicts such a thought. (Isaiah 55:11; 45:9-11; Hebrews 6:17; James 1:17; 1 John 4:8; Deuteronomy 32:4) Thus we are assured that the original and benevolent plan, of which the “ransom for all” was the means of execution, will be fully carried out in God’s “due time.” (1 Timothy 2:6) It will bring to faithful believers the blessing of release from Adamic condemnation and an opportunity to return to the rights and liberties of sons of God, as enjoyed before sin and the curse. — Romans 5:18; 8:21; Psalm 8:5-8; Revelation 22:2.
We may properly recognize an additional and a still broader meaning of the apostle’s words, namely, that the entire human family was included in the expression “the dead.” From God’s standpoint,the entire race, under sentence of death, is treated as though already dead. (Matthew 8:22) Therefore, the expression “the living” would apply beyond the human family to some whose lives had not been forfeited — the angels.
The Ransom Guarantees a Day of Judgment for All
(3) Let the actual benefits and results of the ransom be clearly seen. Once understood, all objections to its being universal in application will be vanquished. The “ransom for all” given by “the man, the Anointed Jesus,” does not guarantee to any man that he will live for all eternity. It does guarantee that all will be reckoned alive in God’s sight, be accounted as possessing “life,” and be given a day of judgment. (1 Corinthians 15:22; Acts 17:31) This is the salvation of grace — this deliverance from death inherited from our first human father, Adam. As Adam possessed everlasting life, it was conditional. All he had to do was to continue in obedience to his Maker. He lost everlasting (‘olam – Strong’s number 5769) life after he disobeyed — when he was cast out of the Garden of Eden. — Genesis 3:23,24.
(4) Let us state again for emphasis: The “ransom for all” guarantees that all will be “made alive” — possess life — just as Adam possessed in the beginning. (1 Corinthians 15:22; Acts 17:31) But, just as Adam’s everlasting life was conditional, so will everlasting life for the restored man in the age to come be conditional, for we read that “it will occur that every soul who will not hear that prophet will be completely destroyed from among the people.” (Acts 3:23) Given as a gift, everlasting life will not be forced into a never-ending existence upon any, nor will it be a reward given as a result of works. Once received, however, any completely willful disobedience will still bring death. Adam was given everlasting life. Therefore he did not “gain” life itself by works. Adam’s life was a gift from God even as we regain that life as a gift through His Son. “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal (aionios — Strong’s Greek number 155) life through Christ Jesus.” (Romans 6:23) All Adam had to do was to continue in obedience. Adam could have passed all tests and proven himself incorruptible. He did not. He disobeyed and suffered the consequences: death and all that goes with it. When Jesus came to earth, he underwent the same tests as Adam, even more severely. Yet in all he continued to obey his Father. (2 Timothy 1:10) The first trial of man, which resulted in the loss of blessings at first conferred, is really turned into a blessing of experience to the loyal-hearted, due to the ransom that God has provided. But the fact that men are ransomed from the first penalty does not guarantee that they may not, when individually tried for loyalty, fail to render the obedience without which none will be allowed to live everlastingly. (Isaiah 26:10; Hebrews 5:9) Many, because of present experience with sin and its bitter penalty, will be fully forewarned. When, by means of the ransom, he is granted another, an individual trial, under the eye and control of him who so loved him as to give his life for him, and who does not prefer that any should perish, but that all would turn to God and live, we may be sure that only the willfully disobedient will receive the penalty of the second trial. That penalty will be the second death, from which there will be no ransom, no release, because there would be no purpose served for another ransom or a further trial. All will have fully seen and tasted both good and evil. All will have witnessed and experienced the goodness and love of God. All will have had a full, fair, individual trial for life, under most favorable conditions. More could not be asked, and more will not be given. That trial will decide forever who will be righteous and incorruptible under a thousand trials; and it will detect also who would be unjust, corrupt and filthy still, under a thousand trials. — Revelation 20:13-15; Matthew 25:31-46.
(5) It would be useless to grant another trial for life under the exact same conditions. Though the circumstances of the tried ones will be different, more favorable, the terms or conditions of their individual trial for life will be the same as in the Adamic trial. The law of God will remain the same — it does not change. It will still say: “The soul that is sinning, it must die.” (Ezekiel 18:4) The condition of man will be no more favorable, as far as surroundings are concerned, than the conditions and surroundings in Eden. The great difference will be the increased knowledge. The experience with evil, contrasted with the experience with good, which will accrue to each during the trial of the coming age, will be a wonderful advantage for mankind. Thus, results of the second trial will differ widely from the results of the first. This is the purpose for which divine Wisdom and Love provided the “ransom for all,” and thus guaranteed to all the blessing of a new trial. No more favorable trial, no more favorable law, no more favorable conditions or circumstance, can in any way be conceived of as reasons for another ransom or a further trial for any beyond the Millennial Age.
(6) The ransom given does not excuse sin in any. It does not propose to count sinners as saints, and force a never-ending life upon them. It does release the sinner from the first condemnation and its results, both direct and indirect, and justifies him to life — counts him as alive. (Romans 3:23,24; 5:18,21) As such he is reckoned as having everlasting life even as Adam had. However, for everlasting life to be made incorruptible, each is given an individual trial, in which trial his own obedience or willful disobedience will decide if he will receive the “crown of life,” or, for the world in general, “inherit the kingdom prepared from the founding of the world” (James 1:12; Matthew 25:34) — the kingdom offered to the first man, Adam. — Genesis 1:28; Psalm 8:4-9.
(7) Nor should it be assumed, as so many seem disposed to assume, that all those who live in a state of civilization, and see or possess a Bible, have thus a full opportunity or trial for life. It must be remembered that the fall has not injured all of Adam’s offspring alike. Some have come into the world so weak and depraved that they are very easily blinded by the god of this world, Satan, and led captive by the engulfing and surrounding sin. (Revelation 12:9; 2 Thessalonians 2:9,10) All are under this influence, so that, even when they would do good, evil is present and more powerful through surroundings, etc. Most often the good that they would like to do is almost impossible, while the evil that they would not like to do is almost unavoidable. — Romans 7:14-20.
(8) It is only a very small number who in the present time truly and experimentally learn of the liberty in the Anointing, who accept the terms of his ransom, and who put themselves under his control for future guidance. These few, (called the church — called-out ones), are being tried now beforehand for the special purpose of being instruments of God in blessing the world. Now they witness to the world. (Matthew 24:14; Luke 24:47) In the age to come (Hebrews 5:7) the world will be judged; the saints of this age will then be ruling, blessing, and judging all those of the world. Those who make up this group of called-out ones are the only ones who enjoy to any extent the benefits of the ransom, for they are being given opportunity now to prove themselves worthy or unworthy of the positions being offered to them in the Kingdom. These called-out ones are reckoned (or counted) by Jehovah as (and they receive by faith) all the blessings of the Kingdom that will be provided for the world during the age to come. (Romans 4:5; 2 Corinthians 1:22; Hebrews 6:5) These, though not now perfect, not restored to Adam’s condition actually, are tested in a way that compensates for the difference. Through faith in Jesus they are reckoned perfect, and hence are restored to perfection and to divine favor, as though no longer sinners, having received the firstfruits of the spirit as a token. (Romans 8:23; 2 Corinthians 1:22) Their imperfections and unavoidable weaknesses, being offset by the ransom, are not imputed to them. (Romans 4:7,8) Therefore the Church’s trial, because of her reckoned standing in Christ, is as fair as that which the world will have in its time of trial. The world will all be brought to a full knowledge of the truth, and each, as he accepts its provisions and conditions, will be treated no longer as a sinner, but as a son, for whom all the blessings of restoration are intended.
(9) One difference between the experiences of the world under trial and the experiences of the Church during her trial will be that the obedient of the world will begin at once to receive the blessings of restoration by a gradual removal of their weaknesses — their inclinations to sin. For many members of the Church, however, having proven themselves to be of incorruptible worthiness in this present evil age, go down into death and get their perfection instantaneously in the first resurrection. (Revelation 20:6) We believe, however, that most members of the Church will need further work in the age to come. (1 Corinthians 5:5) Another difference between the trial of the Church in this age and the trial of the world in the age to come is in the more favorable surroundings of the next age compared to this, in that then society, government, etc., will be favorable to righteousness, rewarding faith and obedience, and punishing sin; whereas now, under the prince of this world, the Church’s trial is under circumstances unfavorable to righteousness, faith, etc. But the trial of the members of the Church, we have seen, is to be compensated for in their rewards of positions of honor in the ruling house of Jehovah.
(10) Nevertheless, regarding the original sin of man (Romans 5:12), once Adam had sinned, his death was sure, though it was reached by nine hundred and thirty years of dying. Since he was himself dying, all his children were born in the same dying condition and without right to life. Like their parents, they all undergo the process of dying. The entire process of dying leading to death was stated in the sentence of death: “Dying, you will die.” (Genesis 2:7) However, it is death that is the ultimate penalty. The suffering is only incidental to it, and the penalty falls on many with but little or no suffering. Note that when Adam forfeited life, he forfeited it forever. Not one of his posterity has been able to expiate his guilt or to regain the lost inheritance. All the race are either dead or dying. And if they could not expiate their guilt before death, they certainly could not do it when dead — when not in existence. (Psalm 49:7) The penalty of sin, death (Romans 5:23), did not contain within that penalty the privilege and right thereafter of returning to life. In the penalty pronounced there was no intimation of release. (Genesis 2:17) The restoration, therefore, is an act of free grace or favor on God’s part. (Romans 5:16,17; 6:23) And when the penalty had been incurred, even while it was being pronounced, the free favor of God was intimated, which when realized, will fully declare his love. — Genesis 3:15.
(11) Had it not been for the gleam of hope, afforded by the statement that seed of the woman would bruise the serpent’s head, the race would have been in utter despair. This promise suggested that God had some plan for their benefit. When God swore to Abraham that in his seed all the families of the earth would be blessed, it implied resurrection or restoration of all; for many were then dead, and others have since died, unblessed. (Genesis 22:16-18) Nevertheless, the promise is still sure. All will be blessed when the times of restoration or refreshing comes. (Acts 3:19) Moreover, since blessings indicate favor, and since God’s favor was withdrawn and his curse came instead because of sin, the promise of a future blessing implied the removal of the curse (Revelation 22:3), and consequently a return to his favor. It also implied either that God would relent, change his decree and clear the guilty race, or else that he had some plan by which the human race could be redeemed, by having man’s penalty paid by another.
(12) God did not leave Abraham in doubt about which was his plan. He showed, by various typical sacrifices, which all who approached him had to bring, that he could not and did not relent, nor excuse the sin. Such would have actually proven God to be unreliable. The only way to blot out the sin and abolish its penalty would be by a sufficiency of sacrifice to meet that penalty. This was shown to Abraham in a very significant type: Abraham’s son, in whom the promised blessing centered, had first to be sacrificed before he could bless. Abraham received him from the dead in a figure. (Hebrews 11:19) In that figure Isaac typified the true seed, Christ Jesus, who died to redeem men, so that the redeemed might all receive the promised blessing. Had Abraham thought that Jehovah would excuse and clear the guilty, he would have felt that God was changeable, and therefore could not have had full confidence in the promise made to him. He might have reasoned: “If God has changed his mind once, will he change it again? If he relents concerning the curse of death, how do we know that he will not relent concerning the promised favor and blessing?” However, God leaves us in no such uncertainty. He gives us ample assurance of both his justice and his unchangeableness. He could not clear the guilty, although he loved them so much that “he did not spare his own Son, but delivered him up [to death] for us all.” — Romans 8:32.
(13) As the entire race was condemned by means of Adam, and lost life through him, so when Jesus “gave himself a ransom for all” his death involved the possibility of an unborn race in his loins. A full satisfaction, or corresponding price, for all men was thus put into the hands of Justice — to be applied “in due time.” (1 Timothy 2:5,6) Jesus thus bought all and has full authority to restore all.
(14) “As by the offence of one, judgment came upon all men to condemnation, even so by the righteousness of one, the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. For as by one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one the many will be made righteous.” (Romans 5:18,19) The proposition is a plain one: As many as shared death because of Adam’s sin will have life privileges restored to them by our Lord Jesus, who died for them and sacrificially became Adam’s substitute before the broken law, and thus “gave himself a ransom for all.” He died, “the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God.” (1 Peter 3:18) It should never be overlooked, however, that all of God’s provisions for our race recognize the human will as a factor remaining in the divine favors so abundantly provided. Some have overlooked this feature in examining the text just quoted — Romans 5:18,19. The apostle’s statement, however, is that, as the sentence of condemnation extended to all the offspring condemned in Adam, even so, through the obedience of our Lord Jesus the Anointed to the Father’s plan, by the sacrifice of himself on our behalf, a free gift is given to all — a gift of forgiveness, which will constitute justification or basis for everlasting life. Nevertheless, like the Church of this age, we understand that this is only given in a reckoned sense for the purpose of trial. This is what is guaranteed to every man by the death and resurrection of Jesus. (Acts 17:31) So having this eternal life restored to them does not mean that they will have an eternity of never-ending life forced upon them. Like Adam, a period of trial will be given them, in which they will be permitted to show whether they will use these favors for obedience or disobedience, whether they will walk after the flesh or after the spirit, whether they will put on incorruption or prove themselves incorrugible, whether they will put on athanasia, deathlessness, or continue their affections of the flesh which leads to death. (Isaiah 26:9,10; Romans 8:1,6,7; 1 Corinthians 15:52) Those who then walk by the spirit through faith will receive the kingdom prepared for mankind from the founding of the world — the kingdom Adam lost through disobedience. — Matthew 25:34; Psalm 8:4-8; Hebrews 2:6-8.
Part Two – Is the Ransom Practical?
(15) Though the ransom-price has been given by the Redeemer only a few so far have been declared righteous — justified — “through faith in his blood.” Since Christ is the propitiation (satisfaction) for the sins of the whole world, all men will on this account be absolved and released from the penalty of Adam’s sin by him — and through which they might continue to live forever — under the New Covenant. — Romans 3:25, 1 John 2:2; Ezekiel 16:60-63; Jeremiah 31:31-34.
(16) The completeness of the ransom is the strongest possible argument for the restoration of all mankind who will accept it on the proffered terms. (Revelation 22:17) The personal attributes of Jehovah for justice and honor stands pledged to it; every promise that he has made implies it; and every typical sacrifice pointed to the great and sufficient sacrifice — “the Lamb of God, who takes away the SIN OF THE WORLD.” He is “the propitiation [satisfaction] for our sins [the Church’s], and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” (John 1:29; 1 John 2:2) Since death is the penalty or wages of sin, when the sin is canceled the wages must in due time cease. Any other view would be both unreasonable and unjust. The fact that no recovery from the Adamic loss is yet accomplished, though nearly two thousand years have elapsed since our Lord died, is no more an argument against restoration than is the fact that several thousand years elapsed before his death a proof that God had planned the redemption before the foundation of the world. Both the two thousand years since and the several thousand years before the death of Christ were appointed times for other parts of the work, preparatory to “the times of restoration of all things.”
(17) Let no one hastily suppose that there is in this view anything in conflict with the teaching of the Scriptures that faith toward God and repentance from sin are indispensable to everlasting salvation. This feature will be treated more at length in a later issue, but we now suggest that only the few have ever had a sufficiency of light to produce full faith and repentance. Some have been blinded in part, and some completely, by the god of this world, and they must be recovered from blindness as well as from death, that they, each for himself, may have a full chance to prove, by obedience or disobedience, the worthiness or unworthiness of life everlasting. Then those who prove themselves unworthy of life will die again — the second death — from which there will be no redemption, and consequently no resurrection. The death that comes due to Adam’s sin, and all the imperfections that follow in its wake, will be removed because of the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. However, the death that comes because of individual, willful apostasy is final. This sin has no forgiveness, and its penalty, the second death, will be everlasting — not everlasting dying, but everlasting death — a death unbroken by a resurrection.
(18) The conceptual outworking of the plan of redemption will be treated in another series. Here we merely establish the fact that the redemption through Christ Jesus is to be as extensive in its blessed results and opportunities as was the sin of Adam in its blight and ruin — that all who were condemned and who suffered due to the one may as surely, “in due time,” be set free from all those ills on the account of the other. However, none can appreciate this Scriptural argument who do not admit the Scriptural statement that death — extinction of being — is the wages of sin. Those who think of death as life in torment not only disregard the meaning of the words death and life, which are opposites, but involve themselves in two absurdities. It is absurd to suppose that God would perpetuate Adam’s existence without end in torment for any kind of sin that he could commit. Then, again, if our Lord Jesus redeemed mankind, died in our stead, became our ransom, went into death that we might be set free from it, is it not evident that the death that he suffered for the unjust was of the same kind as that to which all mankind were condemned? Is he, then, suffering eternal torture for our sins? If not, then so surely as he died for our sins, the punishment for our sins was death, and not life in any sense or condition.
(19) Yet, strange to say, finding that the theory of eternal torture is inconsistent with the statements that “Jehovah has laid upon him the iniquity of us all,” and that Christ “died for our sins,” (Isaiah 53:6; 1 Corinthians 15:3) and since one or the other must be dropped as inconsistent, some are so wedded to the idea of eternal torture, and so prize it as a sweet morsel, that they hold to it despite the Scriptures, and deliberately deny that Jesus paid the world’s ransom-price, though this truth is taught on every leaf of the Bible.
Is a Restoration of All Practicable?
(20) Some have supposed that if the billions of the dead were resurrected, there would not be room for them on the earth; and that if there should be room for them, the earth would not be capable of sustaining so large a population. It is even claimed by some that the earth is one vast graveyard, and that if all the dead were awakened they would trample one upon another for lack of space.
(21) This is an important point. How strange it would be if we should find that while the Bible declares a resurrection for all people, yet by actual measurement, they could not find a footing on the earth! Now let us see: figure it out and you will find this an unfounded fear. You will find that there is an abundance of space for the “restoration of all,” as “God has spoken by the mouth of his holy prophets.”
(22) The Masoretic text, upon which the popular King James Version of the Bible is based, suggests that we are about 6,000 years away from the creation of the first man, Adam. Let us assume that there are now six billion people on the earth. Now we know that there has never been this many people in any given generation of the past ages. In 1885 there were approximately 1,400,000,000 on earth, about 20% as compared with the population of earth in 2015. Our race began with one pair. However, let us make a very liberal estimate and suppose that there were as many at the beginning as there were in 1885 (1,400,000,000 or one billion, four million); and, further, that there never were fewer than that number at any time, though actually the flood reduced the population to eight persons. Again, let us be liberal, and estimate three generations to a century, or thirty-three years to a generation, though, according to Genesis 5, there were but eleven generations from Adam to the flood, a period given in the Masoretic text as one thousand six hundred and fifty-six years, or about one hundred and fifty years to each generation. Now let us see: six thousand years are sixty centuries; three generations to each century would give us one hundred and eighty generations since Adam; and 1.4 billion to a generation would give 252,000,000,000 (252 billion) as the total number of our race from creation to the present time, according to this liberal estimate, which is actually several times the actual number.
(23) Where will we find room enough for this great multitude? Let us measure the land, and see. The State of Texas, USA, contains two hundred and thirty-seven thousand square miles (237,000 sq. mi.). There are twenty-seven million eight hundred and seventy-eight thousand four hundred square feet in a mile, and therefore, six trillion six hundred and seven billion one hundred and eighty million hundred thousand (6,607,180,800,000) square feet in Texas. Allowing ten square feet as the surface covered by each dead body, we find that Texas, as a cemetery, would at this rate hold six hundred and sixty billion seven hundred and eighteen million and eighty thousand (660,718,080,000) bodies, or nearly three times as many as our exaggerated estimate of the numbers of our race who have lived on the earth.
(24) A person standing occupies about one and two-thirds square feet of space. At this rate the 2015 population of the earth (7,000,000,000) could stand on an area much less than that of the city of Jacksonville, (Florida, USA) or of Oklahoma City. And the country of Ireland (area, thirty-two thousand square miles) would furnish standing room for more than twice the number of people who have ever lived on earth, even at our exaggerated estimate.
(25) There is not much difficulty, then, in settling this objection. And when we call to mind the prophecy of Isaiah (35:1-6), that the earth will yield her increase; that in the wilderness waters will break forth, and streams in the desert, we see that Jehovah shows that he has foreseen all the necessities of his plan, and will make ample provision for the needs of his creatures in what will seem a very natural way.
Part Three – Ransom Vs. Evolution of Man
Restoration Versus Evolution
(26) Some may object that the testimony of the Scriptures concerning human restoration to a former state is out of harmony with the teachings of science and philosophy, which, with apparent reason, point us to the “superior” intelligence of modern man, and claim this as conclusive evidence that primeval man must have been, in comparison, very lacking in intelligence, which they claim is the result of development. From this standpoint, a restoration to a former state would be far from desirable, and the very reverse of a blessing.
(27) At first glance such reasoning appears plausible, and many seem inclined to accept it as truth without careful examination, saying, as some have: “If Adam fell, at all his fall he actually progresssed upward, and thus, the more and faster we fall from his original state the better for us and for all concerned.”
(28) Thus philosophy, even in the pulpit, would make the Word of Jehovah void, and if possible convince us that the apostles were fools when they declared that death and every trouble came by the first mans disobedience, and that these could be removed and man restored to divine favor and life only by means of a ransom. (Romans 5:10,12,17-19,21; 8:19-22; Acts 3:19-21; Revelation 21:3-5) But let us not hastily conclude that this philosophy is impregnable. If we should discard the doctrines of the apostles about the origin of sin and death, and of restoration to an original perfection, we should, in honesty, reject their testimony entirely and on every subject, as uninspired and consequently without special weight or authority. Let us, then, in the light of facts, briefly examine this growingly popular view and see how deep is its philosophy.
(29) The fact that at first glance a theory may appear reasonable should not lead us hastily to accept it, and to attempt to twist the Bible into harmony with it. In a thousand ways we have proved the Bible, and know beyond any doubt that it contains a superhuman wisdom that makes its statements unerring. We should remember, too, that while scientific research is to be commended, and its suggestions considered, yet its conclusions are hardly infallible. And what wonder that it has proven its own theories false a thousand times, when we remember that the true scientist is merely a student attempting against almost insurmountable difficulties, to learn from the great Book of Nature the history and destiny of man and his home.
(30) We would not, then, either oppose or hinder scientific investigation; but in hearing suggestions from students of the Book of Nature, let us carefully compare their deductions that have so often proved in part or wholly erroneous, with the Book of Divine Revelation, and prove or disprove the teachings of scientists by “the law and the testimony. If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” (Isaiah 8:20) An accurate knowledge of both books will prove them to be harmonious. However, until we have such knowledge, God’s Revelation must take precedence, and must be the standard among the children of Jehovah, by which the supposed findings of fallible fellow men must be judged.
(31) While holding to this principle, let us see whether there is not another reasonable solution of the increased knowledge, skill and power of man than the theory of “evolution” — that though originally developed from a very low order of being, man has now reached an age of superior intelligence. Perhaps after all we may find that the inventions and conveniences, the general education and wider diffusion and increase of knowledge, are not attributable to great brain capacity, but to more favorable circumstances for brain usage. That the brain capacity today is greater than in earlier millenniums, we deny; while we freely admit that, owing to advantageous circumstances, the use of what brain capacity humans have today is more general than at any former period, and therefore makes a much larger showing. In the study of painting and sculpture, do not the students of the modern age of superior intelligence go back to the great masters of the past? Do they not by so doing acknowledge a brain power and originality of design and also a skill of technique worthy of imitation? Does not the present age of superior intelligence draw largely upon the original designs of past ages for its architecture? Do not the orators and logicians of the “superior age of intelligence” study and copy the methods and syllogisms of Plato, Aristotle, Demosthenes and others of the past? Might not many public speakers of today well covet the tongue of a Demosthenes or an Apollos, and much more the clear reasoning power of the apostle Paul?
(32) To go still further back: while we might refer to the rhetorical powers of several prophets, and to the sublime poetic paintings interspersed throughout the Psalms, we refer these “superior age of intelligence” philosophers to the wisdom and logic, no less than to the fine moral sensibilities, of Job and his comforters. And what may we say of Moses, “learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians”? The laws given through him have been the foundation for the laws of all civilized nations, and are still recognized as the embodiment of marvelous wisdom.
(33) The exhuming of ancient buried cities reveals a knowledge of the arts and sciences in ages past that is surprising some of the philosophers of this so-called “age of superior intelligence.” The ancient methods of embalming the dead, of tempering copper, of making elastic glass and Damascus steel, are among the achievements of the remote past that the brain of the present age, with all its advantages, is unable either to comprehend or to duplicate.
(34) Going back to about Abrahams time, we find the Great Pyramid of Egypt — an object of wonder and amazement to the most learned scientists of today. Its construction is in exact accord with the most advanced attainments of this “age of superior intelligence” in the sciences of Mathematics and Astronomy. It teaches, positively, truths that can today be only approximated by using modern instruments. So striking and clear are its teachings that some foremost astronomers of the world have unhesitatingly pronounced it to be of divine origin. And even if our “age of modern intelligence” evolutionists were to admit that it is of divine arrangement, and that its wisdom is superhuman, they must still admit that it is human construction. The fact that in that remote day any set of men had the mental capacity to work out such a divine arrangement as very few men today could do with a model before them, and with all the modern scientific appliances available, proves that our “age of superior intelligence” develops more self-conceit than circumstances and facts warrant.
(35) If then, we have proven that the mental capacity of today is not greater than that of past ages, but probably less, how do we account for the increase in knowledge, modern inventions, etc.? We trust we can give a reasonable explanation in harmony with the scriptures. The inventions and discoveries that are now proving so valuable, and that are considered proof that this is the “age of superior intelligence,” are really very modern — all having come within the past 200 years or so, and among the most important are those in the last century. Youths of today often forget that the wonderful modern inventions, the television, the radio, the airplanes, the computers, etc., are peculiar to this century. Only 150 years ago there were many businesspeople and lawmakers who were unable to read or write. If then, these are evidences of increased intelligence, the “age of superior intelligence” must be only beginning, and the logical deduction is that another century will witness every form of miracle as an everyday occurrence; and at the same ratio of increase, where would it eventuate?
(36) However, let us take a closer look: Are all people inventors? How very few there are whose inventions are really useful and practical, compared with the number who appreciate and use an invention when put into their hand! Nor do we speak disparagingly of that very useful and highly-esteemed class of public servants when we say that the smaller number of them are persons of great mental power. Some inventors are so intellectually sluggish that all wonder how they ever stumbled upon the discoveries they made. The great principles (electricity, steam power, etc.) that many men in may years work out, apply and improve upon, time and again, were generally discovered apparently by the merest accident, without the exercise of great mental power, and comparatively unsought.
(37) From a human standpoint we can account for modern inventions in this manner: The invention of moveable type, in 1447 CE, may be considered the starting point. With the printing press came records of the thoughts and discoveries of thinkers and observers, that, without this invention, would never have been known to their successors. With the production of books came a more general education and, finally, common schools. Schools and colleges do not increase human capacity, but they do make mental exercise more general, and therefore help to develop the capacity already possessed. As knowledge becomes more general and books more common, the generations possessing these have a decided advantage over previous generations; not only in that there are now a thousand thinkers to one formerly, to sharpen and stimulate each other with suggestions, but also in that each of the later generations has, through books, the combined experience of the past besides its own. Education and the laudable ambition that accompanies it, enterprise, and a desire to achieve distinction and a competency, aided by the record and descriptions of inventions in the daily news, have stimulated and brightened mans perceptive powers, and put each upon the alert to discover or to invent, if possible, something for the good and convenience of society. Hence we suggest that modern invention, looked at from a purely human standpoint, teaches, not an increase of mental capacity, but a sharpened perception of natural causes.
(38) Now we come to the Scriptures to see what they teach on the subject. While we believe, as suggested above, that invention and the increase of knowledge, etc., among men are the results of natural causes, yet we believe that these natural causes were all planned and ordered by Jehovah God long ago, and that in due time they have come to pass — by his overruling providence, so that he “works all things after the counsel of his own will.” (Ephesians 1:11) According to the plan revealed in his Word, Jehovah purposed to permit sin and misery to misrule and oppress the world for a certain predetermined time, and then over a period of 1,000 years to restore all things, and to extirpate evil — destroying it and its consequences by Jesus (Jesus) Christ, whom he had foreordained to do this work. Hence, as this period of evil comes to a close, Jehovah has permitted circumstances to favor discoveries, in the study of both his Book of Revelation and his Book of Nature, and also in the preparation of mechanical and chemical appliances useful in the blessing and uplifting of mankind during the Millennial age, now about to be introduced. That this was Jehovah’s plan is clearly shown by the prophetic statement: “O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end; [then] many will run to and fro, and KNOWLEDGE [not capacity] will be increased,” “and none of the wicked will understand” the true knowledge of God. “And there will be a time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation, even to that same time.” — Daniel 12:1,4,10; see also 2 Timothy 3:7.
(39) To some it may appear strange that God did not so arrange that the present inventions and blessings should sooner have come to man to alleviate the curse. It should be remembered, however, that Jehovah’s plan has been to give mankind a full appreciation of the curse, so that when the blessing comes upon all they may forever have decided upon the unprofitableness of sin. Furthermore, God foresaw and has foretold what the world does not yet realize, namely, that his choicest blessings would lead to and produce greater evils if bestowed upon those whose hearts are not in accord with the righteous laws of the universe. Ultimately it will be seen that Gods present permission of increased blessings is a practical lesson on this subject, which may serve as an example of this principle to all eternity — to angels and also to restored men. How this can be, we merely suggest:
(40) First: While mankind is in the present fallen or depraved condition, without stringent laws and penalties and a government strong enough to enforce them, the selfish propensities will hold some sway over all. With the unequal individual capacities of men considered, it cannot happen otherwise than that the result of the invention of laborsaving machinery must, after the flurry and stimulus occasioned by the manufacture of machinery, make the rich richer, and the poor poorer. The manifest tendency is toward monopoly and self-aggrandizement, which places the advantage directly in the hands of those whose capacity and natural advantages are already the most favorable.
(41) Secondly: If it were possible to legislate to divide the present wealth and its daily increase evenly among all classes, which is not possible, still, without human perfection or a supernatural government to regulate human affairs, the results would be even more injurious than the present condition. If the advantages of laborsaving machinery and all modern appliances were evenly divided, the result would, before long, be a great decrease of hours of labor and a great increase of leisure. Idleness is a most injurious thing to fallen beings. Had it not been for the necessity of labor and sweat of face, the deterioration of our race would have been much more rapid than it has been. It is said the idleness is the mother of vice. Mental and physical deterioration along with further disintegration of righteous principles are sure to follow. Therefore the wisdom and goodness of God in withholding these blessings until it was due time for their introduction as a preparation for the Millennial reign of blessing. Under the control of the supernatural government of the Kingdom of Jehovah, not only will all blessings be equitably divided among men, but the leisure will be so ordered and directed by the same supernatural government that its results will produce virtue and tend upward toward perfection, in mental, physical and righteous works. The present multiplication of inventions and other blessings of increasing knowledge is allowed in this “day of preparation” to come about in so natural a way that men flatter themselves that it is because this is the “age of superior intelligence”; but it will be permitted in great measure to work out in a manner very much to the disappointment, no doubt, of these wise philosophers. It is the very increase of these blessings that is already beginning to bring upon the world the time of trouble, which will be such as never has been since there was a nation.
(42) The prophet Daniel, as quoted earlier, links together the increase of knowledge and the time of trouble. The knowledge causes the trouble, because of the depravity of the human race. The increase of knowledge has not only given the world wonderful laborsaving machinery and conveniences, but it has also led to an increase in medical skill by which thousands of lives are prolonged. It has so enlightened mankind that human butchery, war, is becoming less popular. Thus other thousands are spared to multiply still further the race, which is increasing more rapidly today, perhaps, than at any other period of history. Hence, while mankind is multiplying rapidly, the necessity for his labor is decreasing correspondingly. Now are “superior intelligence” philosophers have a problem before them to provide for the employment and sustenance of this large and rapidly increasing class whose services, for the most part supplanted by technology, can be dispensed with, but whose necessities and wants know no bounds. The solution to this problem, these philosophers must ultimately admit, is beyond their mental capabilities.
(43) Selfishness continues to control the wealthy, who hold the power and advantage, and will blind them to common sense and also to justice. At the same time a similar selfishness, combined with the instinct of self-preservation and an increased knowledge of their rights, nerves some and inflames others of the poorer classes. The result of these blessings will, for a time, prove terrible — a time of trouble, truly, such as has never been since there was a nation — and this, because man in a depraved condition cannot properly use these blessings unguided and uncontrolled. Not until the Millennial reign will have rewritten the law of Jehovah in the restored human heart will men be able to use full liberty without injury or danger.
(44) The day of trouble will end in due time, when he who spoke to the raging Sea of Galilee will similarly, with authority, command the raging sea of human passion, saying: “Peace! Be still!” When the Prince of Peace will “stand up” in authority, a great calm will be the result. While the raging continues until all the wicked are destroyed, those who call upon the name of Jehovah will see their desired haven, and be glad. Then, under the rulership of Jesus and his co-workers, the world will begin to be brought back from the realms of destruction. Then “the glory of Jehovah will be revealed, and all flesh will see it together,” and the “sea will be converted” to Jesus. (Isaiah 60:5) By this means “all the families of the earth will be blessed.”
(45) Then men will see that what they attributed to evolution or natural development and smartness of the “age of superior intelligence” was, instead, the flashings of Jehovah’s lightnings (Psalm 77:18) in the “day of his preparation” for the blessing of mankind. (Nahum 2:3) However, now only those who are truly dedicated can see, and only the wise in heavenly wisdom can understand this. (Daniel 12:10) “The secret of Jehovah is with them who reverence him, and he will show them his covenant.” (Psalm 25:14) Thanks be to Jehovah, that while general knowledge has been increased, he has also arranged that his children need “not be unfruitful in the knowledge of Jehovah” and in the appreciation of his plans. (2 Peter 1:8) And by this appreciation of his Word and plans we are enabled to discern and to withstand the vain philosophies and foolish traditions of men that contradict the Word of Jehovah. — Colossians 2:8.
(46) The Bible account of mans creation is that God created him perfect and upright, an earthly image of himself; that man sought out various inventions and defiled himself (Genesis 1:27; Romans 5:12; Ecclesiastes 7:29); that all being sinners, the race was unable to help itself, and none could by any means redeem his brother or give to God a ransom for him (Psalm 49:7,15); that Jehovah in compassion and love had made provision for this; that accordingly, the Son of God became a man, and gave mans ransom-price; that, as a reward for this sacrifice, and in order for the great work of atonement to be completed, he was highly exalted, even to a plane above the angels; and that in due time he will bring to pass a restoration of the race to the original perfection and to every blessing then possessed. These things are clearly taught in the Scriptures, from beginning to end, and are in direct opposition to the evolution theory. Such “babblings of science, falsely so called,” are in violent and irreconcilable conflict with the Word of God. – 1 Timothy 6:20.
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