I had a minor revelation from today’s Watchtower study. This point was completely tangential to the study itself, but it opened up for me a whole new line of reasoning that I had never considered before. It started with the first sentence of paragraph 4:
“It was Jehovah’s purpose that the descendents of Adam and Eve fill the earth.” (w12 9/15 p. 18 par. 4)
From time to time in the field ministry we have all been called upon to explain why God has permitted suffering. Often in those circumstances, I have used a line of reasoning that goes like this: “Jehovah God could have destroyed Adam and Eve on the spot and started fresh by creating a new pair of perfect humans. However, that would not have answered the challenge that Satan raised.”
When I read paragraph 4 of this week’s study, I suddenly realized that what I have been saying all this time was not true. Jehovah could not have destroyed the first human pair until they had first produced children. His purpose wasn’t merely to fill the earth with perfect humans, but to fill it with perfect humans who were also descendents of the first human couple.
“…so my word that goes forth from my mouth will prove to be. It will not return to me without results…” (Isa. 55:11)
Satan, crafty devil that he is, waited for Jehovah to make his pronouncement at Ge. 1:28 before tempting Eve. Perhaps he reasoned that if he could just win over Adam and Eve, he could thwart God, frustrating his purpose. After all, some corrupted line of reasoning must have induced him into thinking he could come off the winner in this scheme. Whatever the case, it does appear that Jehovah’s unalterable purpose as it related to Adam and Eve would never have allowed him to put the pair away before they had first produced offspring; otherwise, his words would not have been fulfilled—an impossibility.
The devil could not have foreseen how Jehovah would resolve this problem. Even millennia later Jehovah’s perfect Angels were still trying to work it out. (1 Peter 1:12) Of course, given his knowledge of God he could simply have believed that Jehovah God would find a way. However, that would be an act of faith, and at that point in time, faith was something he was lacking.
Anyway, getting this understanding allowed me to finally put something to rest. For many years I have wondered why Jehovah God brought about a flood. The Bible explains that it was done because of the wickedness of man at the time. Fair enough, but men have been wicked throughout human history and have committed many atrocities. Jehovah doesn’t strike them down every time they get out of line. In fact, he has only done so on three occasions: 1) flood of Noah’s day; 2) Sodom and Gomorrah; 3) the elimination of the Canaanites.
However, the flood of Noah’s day stands out from the other two in that it was a worldwide destruction. Doing the math, it is very likely that after 1,600 years of human existence—with childbearing women living for centuries—the earth had been filled with millions, or possibly, billions of people. There are cave drawings in North America that appear to predate the flood. Of course, we really can’t say for sure because a global flood would pretty much wipe out all evidence of any civilization that predated it. Whatever the case, one has to ask why bring a worldwide destruction before Armageddon? Isn’t that what Armageddon is for? Why do it twice? What was achieved?
One might even claim that Jehovah was stacking the deck in his favor by eliminating all of the devil’s followers and leaving only eight faithful ones of his own to start over. Of course we know that cannot be true because Jehovah is the God of justice, and he doesn’t need ‘do-overs’. Up until now, I have been able to explain it away using the line of reasoning of a court case. While the judge must be impartial, there are still rules of conduct in the courtroom that he can enforce without compromising his impartiality. If the plaintiff or defendant misbehave and disrupt the decorum of the courtroom, he can be censured, restrained, and even evicted. The wicked conduct of the people of Noah’s day, it could be reasoned, were actually disrupting the proceedings of the millennia-long court case that is our lives.
However, I now see that there is another factor. Overriding any challenge the devil may have raised regarding the rightness of Jehovah’s rule, is the imperative that Jehovah’s word must be fulfilled. He will not allow anything to keep his purpose from reaching its completion. At the time of the flood, there were only eight individuals who are still loyal to God out of a world of millions, possibly billions. Jehovah’s purpose of populating the earth with the descendents of Adam and Eve was in jeopardy and that could never be; so he was well within his rights to act as he did.
The devil is free to make his case, but he is going outside the boundaries established by God if he tries to thwart Jehovah’s divine purpose.
Anyway, that’s my thought for the day for what it’s worth.