"Astronomers looked 8,000 light-years into the cosmos with the Hubble Space Telescope, and it seemed that the eye of God was staring back"—National Geographic, April 1997
Scientific advancements like the Hubble Space Telescope have enabled us to peer beyond the threshold of the earth into the secrets of boundless space. Yet how do we puny humans fit into the limitless gulf of the universe? Where does the Bible come into all this? Does our purpose here on earth have anything to do with the infinite cosmos?
Do we have a rendezvous with infinity? Is our ultimate destiny so mind-expanding that the human intellect can hardly grasp its grandeur? What is our purpose on earth? What is our future?
The late American author Norman Cousins once asked: "How did the conditions that make life possible originate? How did they come together in vital confluence?" To many, educated in the Judeo-Christian ethic, the real answer resides in the early chapters of Genesis.
But as Mr. Cousins also observed: "The primary question is not, 'Where did life come from?' but 'What can human life become?' . . . [Remember,] we belong to an unfinished species" (Human Options, emphasis added). When you really come to understand it, we were created to need something we did not have within us when we were born.
What is our ultimate purpose—our role in this vast cosmos?
"For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God" (Romans 8:19).
"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new" (2 Corinthians 5:17).
Clearly the purpose of life is linked to creation. It did not end with the physical creation of Genesis chapter one. The present emphasis is on the spiritual creation God is bringing to pass in the lives of converted human beings (compare Galatians 6:15).
Was the mystery of life always known?
". . . According to the revelation of the mystery kept secret since the world began but now has been made manifest, and by the prophetic Scriptures has been made known to all nations . . ." (Romans 16:25-26).
The quest of the apostle Paul was "to make all [people] see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God who created all things through Jesus Christ" (Ephesians 3:9).
Even today only those the Bible terms the "firstfruits"—those people God is calling to salvation now, in this age—truly understand that mystery (compare John 6:44, 65). It is the mission of the Church of God to proclaim, clarify and make known that mystery.
This is not the only day of salvation. Most people are unaware of God's great plan and are not being given the opportunity for salvation at this time. Our free booklet God's Holy Day Plan: The Promise of Hope for All Humanity gives you the full background to understanding this essential biblical theme.
Does our future role involve a family relationship?
"I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty" (2 Corinthians 6:18).
Paul told the Christians in Galatia, "For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus" (Galatians 3:26). God is in the process of creating, molding and shaping His future family. This family will be wholly composed of spirit beings—destined to be in the Kingdom of God as His children, given eternal life by their Father.
Is it possible for us, as physical human beings, to be full and complete family members of the Kingdom of God—now at this present time—in this age of man?
"Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption" (1 Corinthians 15:50).
To gain the immortality that God and Jesus Christ already possess, our very composition has to be changed. As Paul puts it, "As we have borne the image of the man of dust [Adam], we shall also bear the image of the heavenly Man [Jesus Christ]" (1 Corinthians 15:49; compare Philippians 3:20-21; 1 Timothy 6:16).
Exactly when will this majestic and wonderful change take place?
"For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ's at His coming" (1 Corinthians 15:21-23).
This marvelous change takes place at the time of the resurrection for those who have died in Christ, along with true Christians who will still be alive at His coming. The time frame for these astounding events is the second coming of Jesus Christ (compare 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17).
A word of explanation: This resurrection is called both "the first resurrection" (Revelation 20:4-6) and "a better resurrection" (Hebrews 11:35). God's plan includes more than one resurrection. Our booklet What Happens After Death? explains the important distinctions.
But has God mercifully provided Christians a present guarantee of this astounding promise?
"But if the Spirit of Him [the Father] who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit [that] dwells in you" (Romans 8:11).
Receiving God's Spirit constitutes the promise or down payment that we will receive our full reward—being raised to eternal life as the children of God. Provided we continue to be faithful, this Spirit is our guarantee of eternal life in the Kingdom of God (2 Corinthians 1:22; 2 Corinthians 5:5). Those who receive the Holy Spirit now in this present age of man will join God's everlasting family at the time of the first resurrection (compare Romans 8:18-19; Ephesians 1:13-14).
What is God planning with regard to His family?
"For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren" (Romans 8:29).
"In bringing many sons to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the author of their salvation perfect through suffering. Both the one who makes men holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers" (Hebrews 2:10-11, New International Version).
God is planning a large family with many children. The apostle Paul wrote of "the whole family" of God (Ephesians 3:15), but always with a view to its flesh-and-blood members eventually attaining immortality and everlasting life in that great family kingdom (compare 2 Peter 1:4).
To obtain a much greater knowledge of the grandeur of this marvelous biblical truth, please write for our free booklet Why Were You Born? It will help you understand the astounding future God has set before you.