The Creator’s Grand Design—Part 1

Man’s Monumental Failure

ASTRONAUTS hurtling through space at unbelievable speeds are awed as they look at the earth on which we humans live. While from their vantage point they can get an impressive view of this little planet, they cannot observe the activities of the countless millions of small creatures who live on its surface, creatures whom we call humans. Nor can we who remain on the earth’s surface comprehend fully the significance of what is taking place around us. There was a time when so-called civilized man thought he understood the meaning of life as well as the destiny of mankind, but today this sense of understanding has almost vanished from the earth.

Actually, what has happened to the world since the beginning of the century proves that the previously accepted view was incorrect. It was believed and proclaimed that man was making steady progress toward peace and security. It was believed, vaguely perhaps, that in some way God was directing this progress. Most of Europe was ruled by church-state governments, and in this country it was held that in some way God was directing the affairs of government.

The so-called civilized world consisted largely of the white race. It was known, of course, that in other parts of the earth, millions of black, brown, red, and yellow people existed. But very few ever thought of these as belonging to “our” world. They were people to be used and exploited. For the churches, they were people to be converted and, as was supposed, thereby saved from being tortured in hell-fire forever. True, slavery had been abolished in America, but the negroes even here were still looked upon generally as a second-class species of the race, designed by God to be menial servants of the whites.

It was supposed by the wisdom of this world that this status quo would continue. It was known, of course, that white nations were antagonistic to one another and that all of them maintained large armies and an abundant supply of whatever weapons of war were then available. Britain was proud to be the mistress of the sea, while others envied her in this position. However, it was argued that advancing knowledge and understanding would prevent the use of arms to settle disputes; so the world went on complacently unaware of the horrendous upheavals which were about to take place in human society.

The World Ended

In the year 1913, the old world of white supremacy and glory claimed to have reached its goal of goodwill among men, for that year was designated an international peace year. It was during 1913 that the Peace Palace at The Hague was dedicated. Throughout the world the rulers and diplomats were wined and dined in celebration of the glorious human attainment of peace. It did not seem to matter much to these that millions of people in Asia, Africa, and many other places were without food, clothing, and homes. Their own world had attained peace, and they were happy.

But their rejoicing was not destined to last very long, for in August of the next year, 1914, the First World War of history broke out with fury in Europe. This signaled the virtual end of the pre-1914 social order, and a collapse of the smugness with which the so-called civilized rulers of that era viewed their establishment and its future. The results of that holocaust were not immediately apparent; but looking back upon it from our vantage point, we can see the tremendous changes it triggered, not only in the framework of governments but in the viewpoints of the people, both civil and religious.

As a result of that war came the collapse of the powerful hereditary church-state governments of Europe. Communism was established in Russia. For a short time Germany became a republic, later to succumb to dictatorship. This was true also in Italy. The British Empire began to deteriorate and has now virtually vanished. All in all, the social order of Europe today is as different from the pre-1914 social order as day is different from night.

It was in 1917, shortly before the close of the First World War, that communism took over in Russia, bringing an end to that country’s age-old monarchy. While America and other nations did what they could to destroy this budding menace, they failed, and now essentially every major decision in world politics is made with a view to either hindering or helping communism. Not only have communist nations become a powerful factor in international affairs of the post-1914 world but their anti-God teachings have made millions of atheists, not alone in Russia and other communist countries but throughout the earth.

Changed Religious Outlook

In the world that was before 1914, the Catholic and Protestant churches were widely separated and, in many instances, antagonistic to each other. Each was striving to promote its own interests in the world around them, and all were energetically fostering missionary efforts in heathen lands. Today the differences between the denominations are being more and more set aside. The growth of materialism and atheism is threatening the very existence of religion, and the denominations feel they must either work together or else die together.

While efforts are still being made in some areas to continue foreign missions, the fact is that the larger of the non-Christian countries, such as China and India, are making it more and more difficult for missionaries even to live within their borders. Turmoil among the struggling new nations of Africa makes missionary work there most difficult and hazardous. In short, the churches now recognize that their pre-1914 objective of converting the world to their concepts of Christianity has proved to be a complete failure and has been abandoned as a major project of the denominational churches.

Religious influence is on the wane throughout Europe and the Americas. Shortly after the Second World War, as an outgrowth of fears for the future, there was an upsurge of church attendance in America; this has continued to a degree among the fundamentalists. While there are millions of upright people in the world today, the moral standards of the masses are at a low ebb. This is evidenced by the rapid and steady increase of petty and major crimes.

World War II

With all the devastation and horror of World War I, the rulers of the world failed to learn that war is no solution to national and international problems. Nor did they learn that being prepared for war does not prevent war. So, in a little over twenty years from the close of the “war to end wars,” the nations of Europe were at one another’s throats again. Call it aggression on the part of some if we will, but the end result is the same. Soon, as in the previous struggle, the whole world became involved.

Through the irony of circumstances, the most powerful capitalistic nations of earth were fighting side-by-side with the communist nations. The one great objective then was to destroy Nazism, Fascism, and the Japanese aggressors. Meanwhile new and more deadly instruments of destruction came into use, the climax of which, at that time, was the atomic bomb. The dropping of these on two Japanese cities blasted the world into “peace.” When the smoke of battle had cleared and agreements had been made, Germany was divided, and Berlin, located in East Germany, was much partitioned; and this situation has continued through the years to be a festering threat to lasting world peace, that unhappy and jittery peace into which the nations had been hurled by atomic destruction.

The Second World War left most of the nations of earth in a state of near bankruptcy. There would have been a total collapse of the European economy but for the fact that the United States began pouring in millions of American dollars. This was done under what was called the Marshall Plan, named after the then United States Secretary of State who recommended it in 1947. Later, the designation Marshall Plan was dropped, and it is now called Foreign Aid. To begin with, these American dollars were intended to help build up the peacetime economy of foreign countries; now the funds are also provided for helping nations on “our side” to be prepared for war.

Nor has the United States neglected being prepared for war. This nation of isolation in the pre-1914 world now has the earth ringed with military bases of one sort or another. It is said that this nation has manufactured a stockpile of nuclear weapons sufficient to destroy the entire population of earth twenty-five times. Russia has a similar stockpile, almost as large. It is these that the rulers are now depending upon to keep the peace.

The Second World War, like the first, did not solve any of the world’s problems. Instead, it stirred up more problems, so that today there is not a spot on earth where there is genuine peace and prosperity. Look where we will, there is discontent, agitation, strife, and in many instances, bloodshed. And there seems to be nothing that can be done about it. The United Nations, another outgrowth of war, is helping where it can in the fields of education, medicine, etc., but it is quite incapable of solving the main problems which arise among its members.

Good Efforts

We are not attempting to give the impression that in the post-1914 world everything is wrong, or evil. It is good that the church-state governments of Europe are no longer ruling the people in that old Roman world. It is good that circumstances have developed which have curtailed the preaching of Dark Age superstitions in non-Christian nations. Indeed, there is much in the world today that is preferable to conditions prior to 1914. The coming alive of human conscience as seen in the civil rights movement is commendable and good. It is just that human efforts along all good lines, even endeavors to establish lasting peace, seem to engender so much more strife, and many times these efforts fail so miserably that thinking people cannot help asking why this is so.

There is a fomentation in the world today—all over the world—that is frightening, unless we can find the reason for it. Perhaps that reason is to be found, in part, in the inequalities which everywhere exist. Take a look within India and there see the teeming millions of the starving, living in squalor which many farmers in America would consider too horrible even for their livestock. Look at the substandard living to which the majority in many countries are subjected. And there is a large minority even in America that is no better off. Seventy-five percent of earth’s population is ill clad and underfed.

And then there is the prejudice between the races and nations. As an outgrowth of the last war, the Jewish people were granted possession of part of their ancient homeland. This was good. But because of prejudice between Jews and Arabs, Israel must remain armed to the teeth for protection and live constantly under the threat of being forced into the sea and destroyed. How will this distressing problem be solved?

Population Explosion

One of the paradoxes of our chaotic times is highlighted by the expression, population explosion. The reason this is paradoxical is that medical science, particularly since 1914, and more especially since the close of the last war, has developed ways and means of prolonging human life so that the human lifespan has greatly increased. And now experts in the field declare that the birthrate must be greatly diminished, else in a remarkably short time the earth will become over-populated.

It is not our desire to argue with the statisticians. We are merely calling attention to the fact that here is a problem which did not exist in the pre-1914 world. None of the oldsters who lived in that period will recall that a population explosion was then feared. Yet today, although not of immediate concern to many people, this is, nevertheless a situation which even in the next generation could very well be a baffling one. It is a problem, therefore which in the long-range planning of world economists must be taken into consideration. Will human selfishness prevent a successful solution of this problem, even as it is preventing a solution of all the various and immediate problems of our day?

Advancing Knowledge

In the pre-1914 world, the railway train was the fastest means of mass travel. Traveling by air was just beginning. Sixty miles an hour was considered extremely fast. It was in that era that the expression “going like sixty” came into use to describe exceedingly rapid motion. But in the new world of today, this has changed. Going like sixty, today, would be comparatively slow! The speedup of air, sea, and land travel in the post-1914 world reflects but part of the incredible advances which are being made in the field of science and invention.

But this is not helping to solve the problems of the world, for scientific knowledge does not remove selfishness from the human heart; and in many instances it leads to a pride of attainment which spurns the need of God. The claim by many is that the universe came into existence by chance and that now man is learning to conquer the elements which produced him and the universe. These forget that they are unable even to solve the problems of human relationships which their own folly and selfishness have produced.

The greatest basic problem of all now facing the human race is the fact that more than 150,000 are dying every twenty-four hours. Sickness and death have posed a problem for man ever since he has been on earth. Medical scientists are now doing the best they can to conquer the major killing diseases, and this is good; but no one expects that these scientists will be able to conquer death. Morticians will continue to be much needed in this world of woe. Those who believe in God, and in the Bible as his inspired Word, know that in his grand design for his human creatures, death will ultimately be destroyed.—Rev. 21:4

As a matter of fact, our claim is that the only satisfactory explanation of the present chaotic, suffering, fear-filled, and dying world is to be found in the Bible. But so many ask, Who is the God of the Bible, and where can we find him? A Russian cosmonaut, returning from a flight through space, said that he saw nothing of God out there. But is that the place and the way to find God? Obviously, if we are to find satisfaction in the message of the Bible, we must believe that God exists and is the rewarder of those who diligently seek him

To be assured that the plan of God as revealed in the Bible will actually solve the many problems of human limitation and selfishness, it is necessary to believe that miracles will be performed in order to carry out that plan. But this should not be difficult for those who believe the miracles of the Bible, miracles which were wrought by the power of the great Creator whose design for his human creatures is outlined in the Bible.

One of the characteristics of the professed Christian world today is lack of faith in the miracles recorded in the Bible. The religious philosophers of our time explain away these miracles. They call them merely allegories, interesting stories, designed, not to relate facts, but to illustrate lessons. Those who hold such views concerning these miracles are not prepared to accept the Bible’s promises that reveal the manner in which God’s plan will provide for the human race that peace, happiness, and life for which all have longed throughout the ages. It is only as we comprehend the beautiful harmony of the Bible in its revealment of the Creator’s grand design that we can see the full importance and necessity of all the miracles for which that design calls, and can have faith that God will make good all his wonderful promises. Our next portion of “The Creator’s Grand Design,” in the March issue of this magazine, will begin an examination of the details of the divine plan, a plan which reveals the Creator’s infinite wisdom, unbounding love, and exact justice, and unlimited power.

A knowledge of these four cardinal attributes of the Creator’s character reveals his glory, a glory which the Bible declares is yet to fill the earth, and a glory which all flesh shall see. (Isa. 40:5) Again we read, “The earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.” (Isa. 11:9) So, while today all human plans are failing, we rejoice to realize that God has a plan for peace and life here on earth which will not fail, and that mankind in general will eventually love and serve him.

Click here to go to Part 2
Dawn Bible Students Association
|  Home Page  |  Table of Contents  |