In The Beginning
From the very beginning, mankind did not embrace God’s will, but his own will, as he turned inwardly and exceedingly selfish. Mankind was created with the ability to do (to live) both good and evil, but because mankind rejected God as the only true authority and source of good, man’s good became based on selfishness instead of godly righteousness.
Without God’s spirit in one’s life, the true depth of our selfish human nature cannot be seen or fully acknowledged by anyone. God has to reveal it, as it is a “spiritual condition” of the mind that can only be corrected and changed by God’s spirit. That holy spirit can only work in the mind of a person who actually desires, chooses, and then yields to such a transformation.
“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked. Who can know it?” (Jer. 17:9) This knowledge is difficult for the human mind to accept as true, yet God clearly reveals that this is man’s nature. It is a matter of wisdom to come to believe and acknowledge such truth concerning our human mind and thinking.
The word “heart” in this verse is about the inner thinking, reasoning, and intent that originates in the very spirit of one’s mind. This verse goes on to say about this human mind, which is empowered by a spirit essence that is fully separate from God’s holy spirit, that it is “desperately wicked.” Those two words are translated into the King James Version from a single Hebrew word that simply means “sick,” or even better, “incurable.” The following verse more accurately translates this same word and reveals its clearer meaning by its very context: “Why is my pain perpetual, and my wound incurable, which refuses to be healed?” (Jer. 15:17)
To grasp the depth of the depravity of the human mind that of itself is “incurable,” is what makes other scriptures about healing so exciting and beautiful, because this is what God’s purpose is concerning the human mind – that it be healed. “I (the Eternal speaking) have seen his (man’s) ways, and will heal him. I will lead him also (of those who will choose to follow), and restore comforts unto him and his mourners (those who bemoan and grasp the burden of such a sick nature). I create the fruit of the lips. Peace, peace to him that is far off, and to him that is near, says the Eternal, and I will heal him” (Is. 57:18-19).
This healing process begins once the human mind (spirit in man) is begotten by God’s holy spirit, and then with the continual indwelling of the holy spirit the mind and thinking of an individual can begin to “change” – to be healed. “Do not be conformed to this world (living as all others do by selfishness), but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove (indeed prove and discern) what is that good, acceptable, and perfect will of God” (Rom. 12:3). It should also be stated that this word “transformation” is the Greek word “metamorphoó,” which literally means metamorphose. This is awesome change!
Herbert W. Armstrong simplified the clear reality of all life by stating that there are only two ways of life – one is “get” and the other is “give.” Only God’s way of life is the way of true “giving.” The way of mankind is the way of “get” – totally inward and selfish by nature. Only by receiving the indwelling of God’s holy spirit into one’s life can a person begin a life-long process of change and transformation in “thinking” in order to come into unity and continual practice of God’s true way of “give.”
We are now being given even deeper insight into how this process can be more fully captured, enhanced, and lived as we learn more clearly about taking greater control of life, rather than letting life control us. In reality, when a person allows a motivation of selfishness to continue to exist on any level, then they are not in true control of their life. They are not free from that bondage as long as that specific portion of selfish living is controlling them.
An Enhanced Transformation of the Mind
That which is going to be addressed in this post is about this enhanced process of transforming the mind. The Church has always been taught about this transformation of the mind, but because of the abundance of revelation that God is pouring out to His Church at this time, the process of transforming the mind has been greatly enhanced and accelerated. Only in recent time has this begun in the Church as each individual has been learning about false thinking and prejudices that has been in the minds of all people – passed down through generation after generation since creation.
God chose to reveal to His Church, after 6,000 years, that the curse upon women was to come to an end. He also chose this time now to reveal more of his plan concerning a verse in Genesis. Both of these topics (the curse being removed, and what God is revealing now) started in the beginning with Adam and Eve. They both have a direct effect – a direct relationship – to the process of transforming the mind, indeed making it an accelerated, enhanced process.
The Removal of the Curse: The Beginning of an Enhanced Transformation
Within the Church over the past few years, God has begun to reveal the rightful place of women in the family, society, and in the Church. God is beginning to reverse this curse that has plagued the world for nearly 6,000 years. This requires a complete “change” in thinking regarding such matters. True “change” that is genuine and lasting is one that can only come about on a spiritual plane as a result of repentance and transformation of the mind itself. The Church is now simply scratching the surface, as it is only in the beginning stages of making this specific transformation regarding a right mindset toward women. There is more “work” that must be done in this area, much more!
Much of God’s “good news” (gospel) to this world is that this same transformation will begin to spread throughout the earth during the Millennium – from its very beginning. It can only spread throughout the world as the Church itself grows and spreads to encompass this earth because such a transformation in thinking is spiritual and requires God’s spirit to dwell in the mind of each member. As God’s spirit begins to dwell in most all of humanity, that which God intended mankind to “live” in family and society will begin to be experienced throughout the world.
In the time that is now ahead of us, women will begin to think right about men and themselves. Likewise, men will begin to think right toward themselves and toward women. Family will begin to be what God first created it to be, as His spirit begins to “reign” within those families.
This change in human thinking itself will create a massive measure of dynamic peace and fulfillment in life that is right now difficult to grasp. The reason is because such “thinking” has never fully existed, except in the life of one person – Jesus Christ. Over the past few years, it has only started to exist within the Church in small ways (in actual numbers) and to a much smaller degree than what it will finally become (percentage-wise within the Church), as the process for this particular transformation of the mind has only just begun. This rapidly escalating change that will begin to spread around the world will bring change not only to the “family unit,” but it will result in great changes throughout society in entertainment, music, clothing styles, business, advertising, and so much more.
An Enhanced Transformation Continued
Toward the end of Herbert W. Armstrong’s life, God began to reveal to him a much deeper meaning about the two trees in the Garden of Eden. Mr. Armstrong’s excitement was electrifying, as he was being blessed to continually add to this understanding on a spiritual plane because God was pouring out more and more spiritual meaning that was contained in this story of the first two parents on earth.
Now, at this very moment in time, there is additional revelation and spiritual understanding that God is pouring out upon His Church regarding deeper meaning concerning His purpose for what is stated in another verse in Genesis. All this is actually tied into, and building upon meaning associated with those two trees. That is coupled together in context with what is stated in Genesis 2:15.
“The Eternal God took the man, and put him into the Garden of Eden to dress it and keep it.” That which was stated earlier about what God is now revealing, which is what will be addressed in this series, is about this verse in Genesis. This instruction, from the beginning, was rejected by mankind, and it is only now being once again addressed by God so that this too can begin to be “changed” within the Church and then “lived” by mankind in the Millennium.
It was also stated earlier, “That which is going to be addressed in this post is about this enhanced process of transforming the mind.” So this “enhanced process” of transforming the mind is about how God has chosen this time now to begin to reveal what His intended purpose was from the very beginning, and that is now being revealed to the Church. The direct relationship to this process is about how this is what God began to do in the revelation of the curse upon women being removed and the Church now beginning to live differently. This same process is now beginning to take place with what God is revealing concerning what it means to “dress it and keep it,” and how this was God’s intended purpose from the beginning.
God has chosen this time now to be the time to begin to far more fully reverse this self-destructive course of mankind, beginning first within the Church. This will become a heightened deliverance from captivity into a far stronger ability to begin experiencing an escalation in truer freedom – a beginning for greater deliverance from “selfishness and get” to the way of “give.”
What we are living through now is the beginning of a transition in time as these things are now being revealed to the Church – for the Church to begin learning, embracing, and living more fully. Then, as the Millennium is established and God’s one true Church begins to spread throughout the entire world, so will the “living and experiencing” of His true ways and purpose, given from the very beginning, become firmly established.
A few years ago, we partially touched upon a greater significance contained in this verse that has only the simplest of application on a physical plane. Yet, as we will learn, it has an awesome significance on a spiritual plane, which powerfully affects our physical lives. This is true far, far more than what anyone could “see” when it was first mentioned. At the time when it was first mentioned, it was only seen in a very basic manner, so much so that it carried “little significance,” compared to other matters in life that were being taught. Yet when this post is complete, all will hopefully see that this carries incredible importance for great transformation in thinking that will yield much greater change, beginning within the Church itself.
Drawn to Selfishness
In the beginning, God placed Adam and Eve in an environment that was filled with abundance. Everything that was needed to sustain, enhance, and enrich human life was available in that Garden of Eden. Not only was every physical necessity for human life made easily obtainable, but mankind’s spiritual needs were also made accessible. God Himself was in their midst, and there was access to the tree of life, access to spiritual knowledge, truth, understanding, and necessary spiritual strength from God.
However, we know the story of how the first two parents did not choose to partake “only” of the tree of life, but they also chose to partake of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Physically motivated human nature was drawn to selfishness rather than to God’s only true ways of “give.”
From the moment in time that Adam and Eve chose to partake of the forbidden tree, they became their own judge of what was good and what was evil, rather than accepting God as the only true source of such knowledge. There is awesomely great understanding that can be learned from this account. It is about that which “originates” from the human heart – from the very mind of man that reveals the true purpose and intent that is motivated only by selfishness.
So man’s good, on the surface, may often seem to agree with what God says is good, but the source of such decisions (judgments) is what is vastly different. God tells mankind not to murder. On the surface, because so much of mankind believes the same thing, it might appear that mankind is in agreement with God, but he is not! The true difference and even the actual opposition toward God in this lies in the “source” (the means) for formulating the belief that mankind should not murder.
Human reasoning, of itself, is selfish. That which may “appear” to be in agreement with God, as with the example where most people in the world agree that murder is wrong, has nothing to do with God. Certainly, the choice of society that reflects that people are largely in agreement with one another that murder is wrong, does agree with what God states in His law about the subject. However, man’s choice in believing such a thing – making such a judgment (decision) – isn’t at all based on any actual reasoning that God commands it. It is just a selfish decision based on easy to understand self-preservation.
Even traditional Christianity does not understand this deception in human reasoning. Those who claim that this law of God is good and who also believe they are making such decisions because they are in agreement with God do not believe in obedience to all of God’s laws, just the ones that suit them, that suit their selfishness.
There is a giant difference with being in agreement with some things that God has stated and then that of actually being in agreement with God due to one actually believing that God alone is right in all things. Only when God calls an individual and then gives the “spiritual” help to “see” that only He is true and right in all things can a person then begin making choices not based on selfishness, but on agreement with God as the source of one’s judgment (decisions).
Once called and begotten of God’s spirit then one has entered an agreement, a covenant, with God to resist selfishness and yield to a “personal responsibility” of agreement – of obedience to His word. When a person fails to resist selfishness and they do not take personal responsibility, then one is to quickly repent of their selfish choice and seek to again live in agreement with God – to walk only in His ways.
During this “Year of Dedication,” we are to seek a heightened dedication to accept and more fully exercise personal responsibility to “dress and keep” what God has placed before us.
Beginning With the Physical
The human mind cannot see what is spirit or spiritual except by the help of God’s spirit. Even with such help, the human mind still works first and foremost on a physical plane. So even in this, God gives spiritual insight and learning through the use of the physical world around us. The examples of this are seemingly endless. It would be good to just mention a very few.
God gives us the physical analogy of yeast working in bread to help us grasp spiritual matters like the leavening of sin, pride that puffs up, and then unleavened bread as being free of sin, and instead filled with sincerity, truth, and righteousness. Examples of wind and water are likened to God’s spirit. Incense is likened to the prayers of God’s people. Aspects of a physical temple and the service within that temple leads to better understanding of a spiritual temple and many aspects of work and service in it. The types and analogies of so much that is physical helps to clarify, magnify, and even beautify that which is spiritual.
Concerning the previous reference in this post, about how previously we had only slightly touched upon some of the meaning of Genesis 2:15, some simple, physical examples had been used to touch upon part of what was meant by God’s instruction to “dress and keep it.” One reference was in the simple example of the upkeep and grooming of one’s own yard. How do we take care of what God has given us? How do we care for, enhance, and/or build upon what God gives to us, which is under our own personal control? What are those things that actually come under what should be seen as our own “personal responsibility” in life?
[Pt. 2 will follow.]