The Bible says, "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth" (Genesis 1:1). At some
time after the initial creation, God created the angels who were assigned to various ranks. Some
angels had higher positions than others, but all were under one government in the universe, the
government of God.
At some time deep in the past before God recreated the earth for man's existence, one of the high
angels-called Lucifer, Satan, Dragon, Devil, Serpent-rebelled against the authority of God. Isaiah
records this rebellion, which was an attempt by a created being to exalt himself above the Creator.
"For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars
of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation... I will ascend above the heights of the
clouds; I will be like the most High" (Isaiah 14:13-14). Satan's claim was, "I will, I will, I will."
This exercise of his will against God's will was the rebellion in the kingdom of God.
For an unknown number of years until this point, beautiful harmony existed in the universe. Now
another government came into being, as Satan led a rebellion against this order of God and
created within the universe a sub-government with himself in control. His is a government of
death and darkness, against God's government of light and life.
The Book of Genesis declares, "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth, but the
earth became wasted and desolate; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of
God moved [brooded] over the face of the waters" (Genesis 1:1-2).
In Genesis 1, God began His recreative acts, creating the earth and adapting it for man. When
God had the earth ready, He "formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils
the breath of life; and man became a living soul" (Genesis 2:7).
When God created man and placed him upon the earth, He created him with his spirit uppermost.
Man was spirit, soul, and body. Basically a spiritual being, man was created in fellowship with
God within the government of light and life.
Had He so desired, God could have created robots. He could have created each one of us with a
built-in mechanism that would automatically respond to certain impulses from God. God could
project a particular impulse through the universe that would hit my brain, my arms would
automatically go up, and I'd say, "I love You! Praise Your name!" Then my hands would go
However, could God really get love from an automatic response like that? How much love do you
feel when you pull the string on a little toy doll that says, "I love you?" You know it's just an
automatic response from a recorded message. You can't get much love from a mechanical object.
You want a love from a freely-given response-and then the love is meaningful.
In order to have full fellowship with man and to receive real love from him, God created us as free
moral agents. This means that man can do just what he pleases. No one is forcing him into a
particular mold or response. Man is free to react and respond to God as he chooses.
God created man, placed him on the earth, and surrounded him with every benefit and gift that
would make for a happy, joyful life. God gave Adam a world full of pure water, clear skies, and
abundant food. There was nothing around that would harm him.
A current philosophy claims that man's problems are due to his environment. All we have to do is
improve a man's environment, and he can be changed from a slob into a prince. Improving the
environment won't work with a pig. Change a pig's environment and what will he do? He'll be
miserable until he gets back into the pigpen that he enjoys. Sociologically we can change a man's
environment, but what happens? He's miserable until he gets back into the environment that he's
By nature I'm a sinner. Change my environment by putting me around spiritual people and I'm
miserable. "How long is that preacher going to talk? It's uncomfortable in this place! Why did I
ever come here?" When the sinner gets around the moving of the Spirit, he becomes so unhappy.
He's in a beautiful environment, but what does it do for him? It makes him nervous, upset, and
Man's environment isn't his problem. Man's problem is his heart. That's where his sin lies. Man
doesn't need a change of environment. He needs a change of heart. This can only be accomplished
by the Spirit of God.
Man was placed in the Garden of Eden in a perfect environment. He didn't have to work. God
said, "There it is, Adam! It's all yours. Enjoy it! Have dominion over the fish of the sea, the fowls
of the air, the beasts of the fields, and every living thing. I've made you the ruler. Be fruitful,
multiply, and replenish the earth."
God also said, "Adam, in this garden there is a tree that you're not to touch. You're not to eat of
that tree. For in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die. The death process will set
in" (Genesis 2:17b).
We know that Adam messed up the whole thing, and God's curse came upon man and the earth.
"Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee... In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat
bread..." (Genesis 3: 18a-19a ). We know the result of man's failure in the Garden.
One day I was guiding a group of kids around Mt. Lemmon near Tucson. We had hiked up to the
mining shaft and explored it. As we were hiking back down, one of the kids screamed out. He had
brushed by an Ochoa cactus, commonly called the "jumping cactus," and it really clamped onto his
wrist. I took a couple of sticks, carefully got them under the thorns of the cactus, and flipped the
thing off his hand. As I was working to get the sticks underneath the thorns, this little kid was
doing his best not to cry. He moaned, "That darn guy Adam!" I said, "You've had some good
Bible teaching. You know where the thorns come from!"
Why did God put the forbidden tree in the Garden? Why didn't He just make a perfect
environment without a tree to tempt man?
Man and Woman
When God created man, He recognized that man by himself was incomplete. God said, "It's not
good that man should be alone" (Genesis 2:18a). God created the woman so that in her man
might find fulfillment. There is the beautiful completeness that comes in marriage and is ordained
by God One day, after he had rebelled against God and created the government of death and
darkness, Satan came to the woman who was in the Garden of God.
"...And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?
And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: but of
the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it,
neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die" (Genesis 3:13).
Satan replied, "Oh, you surely won't die! Don't you realize that God is afraid that you might eat of
that tree. He knows that when you do, you'll be as smart as He is. He's trying to protect Himself!
You'll be amazed at how good the fruit of that tree is! Why don't you give it a try? It'll blow your
mind" (Genesis 3:4-5).
Two questions: First, why did God put the tree there? Second, why did God leave Satan free?
The Bible says that ultimately a mighty angel will come from heaven, take a chain, bind Satan, and
cast him into the abyss for a thousand years. After that Satan will be loosed for a little while and
then he'll be cast into Gehenna, where he'll be out of commission forever (Revelation 20).
Since God will ultimately put Satan out of commission, since God has the power to bind Satan
and bottle him up, why did God leave Satan loose in the beginning? Why didn't He bottle up Satan
from the start, so we wouldn't have all these problems and troubles?
How beautiful it would be if there was no Devil! The world and the flesh could be very beautiful if
Satan wasn't perverting it. The world is God's beautiful creation. "God saw that it was good"
(Genesis 1:25c). But Satan came along and twisted, turned, and perverted it. We see our fallen
world and fallen flesh today. Why did God allow Satan such freedom?
The Test of Love
Why did God place the tree there? What did God want from man?
God wanted our love and fellowship. How could God know that we really loved Him and wanted
to obey Him, if an alternative wasn't given? If there was no possible way to disobey or rebel
against God, how could He know that we truly did love Him? How could God know how much
we loved Him unless there was someone to exploit the alternative?
I could tell my son, "Stay in the backyard while I go to town. I need your help as soon as I get
back, and I don't want to go looking for you." Then I take a big chain and bind him to the
eucalyptus tree in the backyard. When I get home, my son is there, faithfully chained to the
eucalyptus tree. I say, "Good boy!" I've got an obedient son, who did exactly what I told him to
My neighbor says, "You're only kidding yourself, Chuck. You should have heard all his screaming
and cursing while you were gone. Your son was trying to break those chains!"
On the other hand, I could say, "Son, I'm going downtown now. Stay in the backyard so you'll be
here when I get back." As I leave for town, I tell my neighbor, "Keep an eye on my boy, will you?
I'm curious to see what he does when his dad's not around."
So I go and do my business, and my son's in the backyard. The gate is open. He's free. The kid
from up the street comes over and says, "Hey, let's go to the school and shoot some baskets."
"No. My dad told me to stay in the backyard. I've got to wait for him. I'd like to go, but I can't."
"We can be back before your dad returns," the kid says. "We can watch for him, and as soon as
we see him, we can beat him over and jump the fence. He'll never know you were gone. Come on,
"No, my dad told me to stay here."
"Aw, you're chicken!"
"No, I'm not. My dad told me to stay here, and I'm going to stay here!"
So I get home and ask my neighbor, "How did it go?" He says, "You've got a good boy! Not only
did he stay in the backyard, but the kid from up the street came over and did his best to talk him
into leaving. Your son wouldn't follow his advice. He stayed right here the whole time. You can
be proud of that boy!" I would be very proud. My son had every opportunity to go. Even the kid
up the street tried to coax him, but my son remained obedient.
God has allowed man to be free. "You're free to enjoy the whole thing, Adam!" Satan comes
along to exploit it. Imagine the joy God would have received if Eve had said, "Beat it, Satan! I
wouldn't think of eating that. I'm going to obey God!" God would have surrounded Adam and
Eve with His great love and showered it on them. Unfortunately, Eve believed the lie of the Devil.
She was deceived, she ate, and all of a sudden her eyes were opened. She said, "Wow! Adam,
give this a try!"
But Adam wasn't deceived. He knew exactly what he was doing, and he decided to join his wife.
So he ate, and his eyes were opened. All of a sudden Adam and Eve realized right and wrong, the
knowledge of good and evil. Up to this point all they had known was good, obedience, and the
love of God. But they had obeyed the suggestion of Satan, and now they knew disobedience, evil,
By taking of the forbidden tree, Adam and Eve acted in a double manner. They disobeyed God,
but by the same act they obeyed Satan. They transferred their allegiance from God to Satan, from
this government of God to this sub-government of death and darkness ruled by Satan.
There was no way to scramble back. God had said, "For in the day that thou eatest thereof thou
shalt surely die" (Genesis 2:17b). God's Word had to be fulfilled. God was bound to put them to
death for their sin. He allowed the death processes to set in upon man, the breakdown within the
cell structure known as the aging process. Man now lives under the government of death and
darkness. He's alienated from God and finds himself with no way back.
Hope in the Darkness
God could have obliterated His entire experiment when Adam disobeyed, but He didn't give up on
man. God would show His supreme love to man and bring him forgiveness. God would take upon
Himself a body of flesh, live among men, take the guilt and responsibility of man's disobedience
upon Himself, and die for it. Man's sin would be punished.
A New Nation
To accomplish His plan of hope, God needed a race of people through which His Son would be
born. One day God spoke to a man in Babylon and said, "Abraham, I want you to leave this land
of your fathers and go to a land that I will show you. I'll make you the father of a great nation,
and out of your seed the Messiah, the Savior of the world, will come."
God guided this nation by sending it prophets who revealed God's plan more and more fully. They
told where the Messiah would be born, the circumstances that would surround His birth, the
miracles that would be accomplished, and the things He would do. In fact, the prophets foretold
the very day that the Messiah would come to the nation.
Through the prophets God prepared this nation to look for their promised Savior. "When the
fullness of the time was come" (Galatians 4:4), in God's perfect timing in the city of Bethlehem,
there was born to a virgin a son. By instruction from the angel, the son was called Jehovah-Shuah,
"God is salvation," for He was to save His people from their sins.
God became "flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only
begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth" (1 John 1:1).
"Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made himself of
no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and
being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the
death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him..." (Philippians 2: 6-9a).
So Jesus, Jehovah-Shuah, came as God promised. The prophet had declared, "All we like sheep
have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him [Jesus
Christ] the iniquity of us all"(Isaiah 53-6).
The Open Door
Man exercised his own free choice in turning his life over to Satan and leaving the government of
God. When Jesus Christ took the guilt of man's sin and died in his place, He opened the door so
man could now leave this government of darkness and death and come back into God's
government of light and life.
Even as man exercised his free choice to leave God's government for this other government, so
must man exercise his power of free choice to come out of this government and return to God's
government. By the tree of knowledge of good and evil man went from God's government to
Satan's government. By another tree, the Cross of Christ, man can escape from Satan's control
and return to God's government.
Again, it's a matter of free choice. God won't force you to obey him or to serve Him at this point.
A day will come when "...every knee shall bow... and that every tongue shall confess that Jesus
Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father" (Philippians 2:10-11) For the present time, God is
giving man the opportunity to exercise his free choice. If he wants to come into the fellowship
with God, the way is now made open.
This government of Satan is like a circle. You may say, "I'm a very honest person. I believe in
doing the best that I can and in living morally." Great! You're so good that you're at the top of the
circle. Doesn't that make you feel good? But friend, you're still in that circle! As long as you're in
that circle, you're in no better shape than those at the bottom who are crawling around in the mud.
Purpose of Life
God is giving everyone the opportunity to come into fellowship with Him. This is the purpose of
life. Man feels frustrated and empty until he comes again into fellowship with God.
I have an awareness that life should be higher and finer than what I have yet found it to be. I'm
reaching out for something. Then I try this, but no, that's not it. So I try something else. And I'm
on another desperate trip. I'm looking for something to satisfy my inner thirst to take away this
frustration, and give me a sense of "Wow! This is what life is all about!"
But as long as I'm in the circle of death and darkness, there is no way that I can find the full
meaning of life.
Why? Because in the beginning God created me for fellowship with Him. There will always be a
void in my life until God comes in and fills it. God created me for His purposes, and I'll never be
satisfied living for my own purposes.
Through Jesus Christ I can come back into fellowship with God. All I have to do is exercise my
free choice and say, "Jesus, I take you as my Lord and Savior." The moment I do, I come through
Jesus Christ into glorious fellowship with God, the King of light and life. Once again I can return
to the beautiful sense of fulfillment, purpose, and meaning of life, because I'm walking in
fellowship with God. This is what God created me for.
Very soon Jesus Christ will come back to this earth and set up God's kingdom. Satan will be
bound and cast into the abyss. For 1,000 years there will be a beautiful experience on the earth, as
it is restored to its Eden-like glory and Christ reigns and rules over it. For a short season Satan
will be released, but finally he'll be cast into Gehenna, the lake of fire burning with brimstone
(Revelation 20:10). Satan will be forever out of the way, and there'll be only one government in
the universe, God's government of light and life.
Everything within the universe will be in harmony and fellowship with God. God started out "in
the beginning" with one government. It's going to end one day again with one government, all in
obedience and subjection to God. The question is, "Where will you be at that time?" The answer
lies with you.
If you choose the government of death and darkness, of rebellion against God's authority and
Word, then that's where you'll be. The Bible says that Satan and all who follow him will be cast
into the lake burning with "everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels" (Matthew 25:
41b; Revelation 20: 10,15). The lake of fire wasn't prepared for man. It was prepared for a
rebellious Satan. However, those who have chosen Satan's government and revel with him will be
thrown into that place of outer darkness.
You have a free choice. God won't force you to love Him, serve Him, or come into His kingdom.
That would be violating the whole principle of free choice. God wouldn't know whether you really
did love Him. The only way God can know that you want to serve Him and love Him is by your
voluntarily accepting Jesus Christ and choosing to come into His fellowship.
You're the one who decides your destiny. You can never blame God for what will happen to you
or to any man. God has given us all a free choice. If you so desire, you can know His fellowship
and His life. God has opened the way for you to have eternal life, but it's up to you to make your
choice. What will it be?