Freedoms First Used and Abused
“For the creation was made subject to frailty, (not voluntarily, but by Him who placed it
under); in hope that even the creation itself will be emancipated from the slavery of corruption, into the freedom of the glory of the children of God” (Romans 8:20, 21 Diaglott).
As humanity becomes more acquainted with the physical laws governing the universe, each person learns to depend on the precision of each law. Without the perfect balance of physical laws, scientific advances would be impossible. Celestial observation and space travel would be unpredictable. However, order and beauty are clearly observed in creation and whenever scientific studies are conducted.
This harmony did not result from random laws simply falling into place. They were intelligently designed and established by Jehovah, the genius behind everything we observe. Even when creation is explored on a cellular level and the complex events that sustain life are studied, the honest heart can only marvel at the craftsmanship of the Great Designer.
The Psalmist said it best. “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge. There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard. Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun” (Psalms 19:1-4).
The brilliance shown in creation reveals more than supreme intelligence. The Psalmist said the heavens declare something of Jehovah’s glory. The word “glory” is not often used to describe an individual, but becomes necessary when contemplating Jehovah. An engineer may appreciate the structural design of a star or a planet or even a flower. An artist can be inspired by the beauty of a sunrise or sunset. A writer may appreciate a scene that expresses a sentiment without the use of words. For example, a rugged, snow-capped mountain may silently speak the word “grandeur” or “majestic.” This is the concept expressed by David when he wrote, “There is no speech nor language where their voice is not heard.” The glory of Jehovah is conveyed in so many natural ways. But being silently spoken, we must be specially attuned to hear them. As we contemplate the creation of life, the word glory takes on an even deeper meaning.
Looking back to the time of creation, the son of God comes into focus. His life began as the first creation of God. The Apostle Paul described him as “the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist” (Colossians 1:15-17).
Our knowledge of Jesus is primarily through studying his human experience. His pre-human experience is much more difficult to comprehend. He was created in the image of God and was used to carry out all the other works of creation. Our finite minds can merely surmise what this may have required. The process began with the design concepts from the mind of God. Even the tiniest detail was important. We cannot know if the Logos inherently had the knowledge and skill required to perform his work or if he learned them over time.
What we do know is that he was qualified for his monumental role in creation. The Logos is described as “the master craftsman” at God’s side (Proverbs 8:30 New King James). What an honor and privilege this was. The bonds between Father and Son, designer and craftsman, were forged as they worked together to bring life and beauty out of nothing. Words are simply inadequate to describe the glory of their beings and what they have shared with all the living. This was the freedom given to the Logos as the first son of God. He was Jehovah’s daily delight and a son who also rejoiced in his Father (Proverbs 8:30).
Being a son of God was not limited to the Logos. Angels are also termed sons of God (Job 1:6). A son is one who receives life, while a father is the life-giver. This relationship carries with it many benefits. God uses these spiritual sons in various ways. In Psalms 91:11 they are given watch over God’s people. On other occasions they were used to convey God’s message to individuals (for example, see Genesis 18 and Daniel 9:20-23). Angels were also privileged to proclaim the birth of Jesus to a field of shepherds (Luke 2:9-14).
In a vision given to the prophet Ezekiel, angels, described as “living creatures,” are seen bearing the crystal platform on which God is seated. They run to and fro as the spirit of God moves them. This visual illustration describes how God uses angels to carry out His will (Ezekiel 1:4-28). These sons are needed and very useful to God.
But this is not a one-sided relationship. Being sons of God brings them many blessings as well. There is a special joy that accompanies their work. Job 38:6, 7 reveals that upon the creation of earth “the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy.” When observing, and possibly assisting in creation, they felt great joy. Knowing that new life would someday inhabit this beautiful planet brought them such excitement that they sang together. The Logos, as the archangel of God, shared this exuberance as expressed in Proverbs 8:31. There he is described as “rejoicing in the habitable part of his earth,” and his “delights were with the sons of men.” It was life and beauty that brought them such joy. Just as the heavens declare God’s glory, the forming of life on earth was another declaration of His grandeur.
The physical elements of creation are certainly a wonder. But life is the ultimate gift. To observe new life is a privilege every parent shares, and there is little to compare to the joy it brings. The angels rejoiced in the creation of humanity, a new form of beauty and grace. Jesus gave an insight into their love for people when he said, “there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth” (Luke 15:10). So, the angelic sons of God have the privilege of assisting in their assigned tasks, sharing the messages of God, and rejoicing when a sinner comes with a repentant heart. Their devotion to God must be an unspeakable joy.
“For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honor” (Psalms 8:5). The creation of Adam began a new feature of God’s plan. Being made a little lower than the angels suggests a lesser capacity and possibly even lesser intelligence. Man’s experience would be different than the angels, who can behold the face of the Father (Matthew 18:10). Adam was limited to speaking with God (Genesis 3:8). There was a natural separation between God, who is a spirit being, and man, who is “earthy.” The scriptures reveal that no man could see God’s face and live (Exodus 33:20). But man was still privileged to interact with God and was given much freedom in his new domain. He was put in a paradise garden that provided for all his needs (Genesis 2:8-16).
Like all other created life, Adam could do as he pleased in his beautiful home. He tended the garden and set about naming all the animals. The garden was his dominion. But some may say that freedom had a downside. With freedom came the ability to make wrong choices. This may have been a new concept for the angels, who, up to this point, had always done the will of God.
With the fall of Lucifer and the temptation he put before Adam and Eve, freedom appeared to have negative consequences. The God-given right to choose allowed sin to enter both the spiritual and human realm. God could have created beings as robots, programmed to follow instructions without the freedom to choose their own way. That certainly would have established a safe and harmonious environment. However, such life would not be on the highest moral level, nor could it provide the greatest happiness and sense of fulfillment. A being programmed to always do right could never understand the sense of joy that comes with free choice and using it wisely. Creation could never attain the level of perfection that was the desire of God’s heart.
The consequences of sin began with the ambition of Lucifer to ascend above the stars of God (Isaiah 14:12-14). His desire and subsequent action to be exalted was followed by the fall of humanity, which was to form his new dominion. The prophet Isaiah describes human sin as a rebellion against Jehovah, saying, “he [Jesus] was wounded for our transgressions [Strong’s H6588, revolt or rebellion]” (Isaiah 53:5). As man followed the insurrection of Lucifer, his relationship with God was broken. As Satan manipulated his new domain, we sometimes wonder if he comprehended what he had lost. He was once the “morning star” who sang with the Logos and the other angels. He once shared the beauty of God’s home, undoubtedly a place of peace and joy, filled with beauty and love. There is no evidence he has ever regretted his actions or even the consequences. But he did lose much, and in the end, will lose life itself (Revelation 20:10).
Mankind has also paid a high price for Adam’s disobedience. The loss of communion with God left man without the moral influence that could guide his life. Suddenly, the restraints of obedience were gone, and the race rapidly descended far from the righteousness inherent in Jehovah and its associated blessings.
A new phase of God’s plan was taking shape. The creation of life was a tremendous work. But the act of creation could not fulfill the potential of what an abundant life could be (John 10:10, 2 Corinthians 8:7). It was God’s desire that all intelligent life choose obedience, not from fear of punishment, but because obedience was the road to true happiness, peace, and prosperity.
Freedom of choice was given to every angelic and human creature. Like Lucifer before them, the angels could either continue to obey or to rebel. Most chose obedience, but some did not. Little information is revealed about the true desires of those who left the courts of heaven. The scriptural testimony simply says, “the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they
chose” (Genesis 6:2). Jude 1:6 elaborates on this decision, saying “the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.”
For those that chose to leave their heavenly home the consequences have been severe. The Apostle Peter explains. “God spared not the angels that sinned but cast them down to hell [Strong’s G5020, Tartaroo], and delivered them into chains [pits, ASV] of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment” (2 Peter 2:4).
It is difficult to fully comprehend their present condition. Being cast down describes the shameful loss of God’s favor and their eviction from heaven. Being bound with chains of darkness suggests the removal of their ability to materialize into human form. What a dramatic change this must have been. Access to God, who dwells in unapproachable light (1 Timothy 6:16) was now unavailable to them, as they were condemned to a life of darkness.
Jesus said, “The light of the body is the eye: therefore, when thine eye is single, thy whole body also is full of light; but when thine eye is evil, thy body also is full of darkness” (Luke 11:34). Jesus meant that when someone is single-minded to do good their life is blessed. But when the desire of the heart is towards evil, the results are destructive. The fallen angels allowed selfish desires into their hearts and did not maintain a single-minded vision of doing good. As a result, they have suffered the consequences of misusing their freedom.
The Power of True Freedom
In Jehovah’s original designs, freewill was an important provision. But freewill alone was inadequate. All living beings, both angelic and human, must learn to use freewill, to bless others and to do what is right and good. In that way, they become true copies or sons of a God who constrains His free will to be a blessing to all His creation. Those willing to use their freedom wisely will, by the grace of God, attain the highest standard of life. It will truly be godly living. Thus far, it has been a difficult road, but in the end, one well worth the effort.
Even Jesus had to experience the test of obedience. To obey God in the perfect environment of heaven undoubtedly was not difficult for him. The apostle reveals that he “learned obedience by the things which he suffered” (Hebrews 5:8). This cannot mean he did not previously know how to obey. Paul is simply saying that when obedience remains resolute, even when challenged by temptation, it becomes stronger and more resilient. His obedience, under the severest tests, helped him become a merciful high priest who understands the challenges of obedience. Jesus demonstrated the type of obedience that will be required by all intelligent beings before they are granted everlasting life.
That is why the Church is tested and there is a little season for the world — to establish the same type of obedience that Jesus showed and God requires from His creation.
Paul continues in the following verse, saying Jesus was “made perfect.” By obeying the principles of God while enduring temptations, he became, not more perfect, but more like God. Through his human experience he fully understands the difficulty of remaining true to God in all situations. He has become the perfect pattern for all intelligent beings. Yes, the living are endowed with freedom, but must now learn to use it wisely, remaining forever in harmony with standards God sets for Himself.
Unlike Satan, the fallen angels will have an opportunity to repent (see 1 Corinthians 6:3). For those that do, the consequences of disobedience will become a lasting memory. What a blessed hope is available for these spirit beings, hope of being restored to God’s favor and once again used to serve His righteous cause.
When the angels and mankind correctly exercise freedom, God’s plan, as we know it, will have accomplished His designs for life. The emancipation from sin will finally see all the living enjoy the blessings of godly freedom. Then creation will have fulfilled God’s desires for them.