Man as a Responsible Being

MEMORY VERSE: “Every one of us shall give account of himself to God.” —Romans 14:12

THERE were both negative and positive aspects to God’s requirements as he expressed them to our first parents—they were forbidden to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and they were to be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth, and subdue it. God prepared a special garden home for Adam in Eden, and this presumably was to serve as a pattern for the world-wide subduing of the earth. In the thousands of years since then a few relatively small sections of the earth have been subdued, but to a large extent the globe is still a wilderness.

There are large food-producing areas on the earth today, and this is good. But the idea of subduing the earth has, as it were, gone into reverse, in that now fallen man is doing more to pollute the earth than he is doing to subdue it. Indeed, fears are being expressed from many sources that unless this misuse of the earth’s natural resources is brought under control, and quickly, the human race might well destroy itself.

Man was to fill the earth with his offspring, and today the process of doing this is speeding ahead so rapidly that many fear the earth will soon become overpopulated. This population explosion presents an interesting sidelight on God’s command to fill the earth. Few have realized that this command was limited to filling the earth, and the fact that it is so close to accomplishment denotes that far-reaching change is facing the human race; namely, a ceasing of the reproduction of the human species.

We do not know how this will be brought about. Man himself is trying to do something about it, but as usual his efforts will fail. When Adam was created he was without a suitable helpmate, and the fact that God explains this point in detail, and how Eve was provided, reminds us that he will be able to create the conditions, when the time comes, which will bring human propagation to an end.

Man was given dominion over all the lower animals. Apparently the great mastodons and other prehistoric animals had become extinct by the time man was created. Man was not given dominion over other men, although throughout the centuries much blood has been shed in attempts to establish control over nations of men. This has been one of the most common causes of war, and still is.

ACTS 17:30, 31

The “ignorance” referred to by Paul in this segment of the lesson was manifested in the worship of a multiplicity of gods, as was the custom of the Athenians to whom Paul was speaking. In the beginning God gave a clear understanding of his will to our first parents, which they doubtless to some extent passed on to their children. But Paul wrote, “When they know God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.” (Rom. 1:21) It was this darkness that led to the creating and worshiping of false gods, and to the building of idols.

The Revised Standard Version states that God overlooked this ignorance “because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.” (vs. 31) The thousand-year judgment day will be one of enlightenment, and the final determination as to who is worthy of everlasting life will be based upon their reaction to a full understanding of God’s will.

ROMANS 14:10-12

This passage emphasizes that the Creator is the final Arbiter of human behavior and its rewards and punishments. However, it does not go into detail as to the work of judgment. Other passages teach that the present age, and the present lifetime of the individual, are God’s judgment day for the footstep followers of Jesus. Those who prove worthy in this trial or judgment day will share with Jesus in the work of judging the world during the Millennial Age. Paul wrote: “Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world?” (I Cor. 6:2) Thus all, in one age or another, will be judged.


What commands did God give to our first parents?

When will the world be judged by Christ?

When is the judgment day of the true church?

Dawn Bible Students Association
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