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Humanity

Humanity

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Humanity

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The first chapter of the Holy Bible reveals that God created men and women in His image and likeness (Genesis 1:26-27 Genesis 1:26-27 26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth. 27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
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). The context of this fact is important to understand. Nearly 6,000 years ago, God prepared this world for human habitation during a single week, as explained in Genesis 1. In the several days prior to man’s creation, God made different forms of life, each of which was to reproduce “according to its kind” (Genesis 1:11-12 Genesis 1:11-12 11 And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, on the earth: and it was so. 12 And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
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; Genesis 1:21-25 Genesis 1:21-25 21 And God created great whales, and every living creature that moves, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good. 22 And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth. 23 And the evening and the morning were the fifth day. 24 And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so. 25 And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creeps on the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
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).

This principle rules out evolution as commonly understood—the idea that creatures evolved from one kind into another. (God designed the genetic code to allow limited changes within kinds, but not from one kind to another.)

After repeatedly stating that creatures were to reproduce according to their kind, God said He would make man in His own image and likeness (again, Genesis 1:26-27 Genesis 1:26-27 26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth. 27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
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). The clear implication is that man was created according to the “God kind,” so to speak, with God intending to reproduce Himself through human beings. In fact, Genesis 5:1-3 Genesis 5:1-3 1 This is the book of the generations of Adam. In the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made he him; 2 Male and female created he them; and blessed them, and called their name Adam, in the day when they were created. 3 And Adam lived an hundred and thirty years, and begat a son in his own likeness, and after his image; and called his name Seth:
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compares God having made Adam, the first man, in His own likeness to when “Adam begot a son in his own likeness, after his image, and named him Seth.”

Humanity was, therefore, created with a truly amazing potential. The future of humanity, as explained elsewhere in Scripture, is to be children in the family of God (1 John 3:1-2 1 John 3:1-2 1 Behold, what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knows us not, because it knew him not. 2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it does not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.
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; 2 Peter 1:4 2 Peter 1:4Whereby are given to us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these you might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
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; 2 Corinthians 6:18 2 Corinthians 6:18And will be a Father to you, and you shall be my sons and daughters, said the Lord Almighty.
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). Yet human beings, as physical flesh-and-blood creatures, have initially been formed on a much lower level than God.

As first created, the “likeness” to God in man is quite restricted—limited to such areas as general resemblance in form, feelings, thought, creative abilities and the capacity to govern—all in a rather inferior sense as compared to God. However, God intends for man to ultimately come to share His divine glory, power, intelligence, wisdom and righteous, loving character. 

The character of Almighty God is perfect. He is inherently good and cannot sin. This is also what God desires for His children. Yet even God, who is all-powerful, does not create perfect character in human beings by simply willing that result. The development of righteous character requires a conscious decision by a being with free will to conduct his or her life based on knowledge of what is morally right and wrong, choosing what is right and rejecting what is wrong.

Again, when initially created our first human parents, Adam and Eve, received a life of physical, fleshly existence of limited duration. “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being” (Genesis 2:7 Genesis 2:7And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.
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).

The Hebrew word nephesh, translated “being” in Genesis 2:7 Genesis 2:7And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.
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(or “soul” in the King James Version), is used in the first chapter of Genesis four times in connection with animals (Genesis 1:20-30 Genesis 1:20-30 20 And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that has life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven. 21 And God created great whales, and every living creature that moves, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good. 22 And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth. 23 And the evening and the morning were the fifth day. 24 And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so. 25 And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creeps on the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good. 26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth. 27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. 28 And God blessed them, and God said to them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth. 29 And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat. 30 And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creeps on the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so.
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) and is translated as “body” in the phrase “dead body” in Numbers 6:6 Numbers 6:6All the days that he separates himself to the LORD he shall come at no dead body.
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. The first man was later told, “In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for dust you are, and to dust you shall return” (Genesis 3:19 Genesis 3:19In the sweat of your face shall you eat bread, till you return to the ground; for out of it were you taken: for dust you are, and to dust shall you return.
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).

The biblical book of wisdom known as Ecclesiastes contains this exhortation: “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might; for there is no work or device or knowledge or wisdom in the grave where you are going” (Ecclesiastes 9:10 Ecclesiastes 9:10Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, where you go.
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; see also Ecclesiastes 9:5 Ecclesiastes 9:5For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten.
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). So there is no consciousness in death, which is compared elsewhere in Scripture to sleeping in total unawareness (see, for example, John 11:11-14 John 11:11-14 11 These things said he: and after that he said to them, Our friend Lazarus sleeps; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep. 12 Then said his disciples, Lord, if he sleep, he shall do well. 13 However, Jesus spoke of his death: but they thought that he had spoken of taking of rest in sleep. 14 Then said Jesus to them plainly, Lazarus is dead.
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; 1 Corinthians 11:30 1 Corinthians 11:30For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.
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; 1 Corinthians 15:51 1 Corinthians 15:51Behold, I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,
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; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-14 1 Thessalonians 4:13-14 13 But I would not have you to be ignorant, brothers, concerning them which are asleep, that you sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.
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).

Human beings are mortal, subject to corruption and decay. They do not possess immortality in the form of an “immortal soul.” Rather, they start out without eternal life. A biblical prayer declares: “What profit is there in my blood, when I go down to the pit? Will the dust praise You? Will it declare Your truth?” (Psalms 30:9 Psalms 30:9What profit is there in my blood, when I go down to the pit? Shall the dust praise you? shall it declare your truth?
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). Another states, “For in death there is no remembrance of You; in the grave who will give You thanks?” (Psalms 6:5 Psalms 6:5For in death there is no remembrance of you: in the grave who shall give you thanks?
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). 

Human beings do have a spiritual component to their initial makeup—the human spirit (Job 32:8 Job 32:8But there is a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty gives them understanding.
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; Zechariah 12:1 Zechariah 12:1The burden of the word of the LORD for Israel, said the LORD, which stretches forth the heavens, and lays the foundation of the earth, and forms the spirit of man within him.
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). It is this spirit that imparts intellect to the physical human brain, thereby giving the human mind abilities far beyond other physical creatures: “For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him?” (1 Corinthians 2:11 1 Corinthians 2:11For what man knows the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knows no man, but the Spirit of God.
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).

Unconscious of itself apart from the body, this spirit returns to God at death (Ecclesiastes 12:7 Ecclesiastes 12:7Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return to God who gave it.
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). In the future resurrection, God will place the spirits of those who have died into new bodies, returning them to conscious intelligence with their personalities and memories intact.

As initially formed, human beings are incomplete creations. God wants to share with them His very nature and enable them to become His literal spiritual children. This is only possible by His Holy Spirit joining with each person’s human spirit (Romans 8:16 Romans 8:16The Spirit itself bears witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
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). This gives higher, godly understanding and imparts God’s character of love (1 Corinthians 2:10-16 1 Corinthians 2:10-16 10 But God has revealed them to us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. 11 For what man knows the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knows no man, but the Spirit of God. 12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. 13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teaches, but which the Holy Ghost teaches; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. 14 But the natural man receives not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness to him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. 15 But he that is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. 16 For who has known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.
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; Romans 5:5 Romans 5:5And hope makes not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given to us.
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). It is through the Holy Spirit that God will transform us into beings who will, when resurrected or changed at Christ’s return, live with Him forever (Romans 8:11 Romans 8:11But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwells in you.
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).

God desires to give to every human being the gift of eternal life as a member of His family. Eternal life is not something a person can earn. However, God will not grant this precious gift to anyone who does not yield to Him and His law (1 Corinthians 6:9-10 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 9 Know you not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, 10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortionists, shall inherit the kingdom of God.
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).

In the Bible, eternal life in the family of God is called salvation, for those given immortality in that family will never again be subject to death. God reveals to us, through the divinely inspired Scriptures, that salvation is not automatically granted to every human being. He will bestow this blessing on only those who have proven their willingness to obey Him (Revelation 21:7-8 Revelation 21:7-8 7 He that overcomes shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. 8 But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and fornicators, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.
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).

God was not obligated to elevate human beings to eternal life with Him in the spirit realm, but we know that God is love (1 John 4:8 1 John 4:8He that loves not knows not God; for God is love.
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). Therefore, out of unselfish, outgoing concern, He has devised a plan whereby we can be given salvation, the greatest possible blessing a loving Creator can bestow (Luke 12:32 Luke 12:32Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.
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).

When God created Adam and Eve, He gave them access to the tree of life, symbolic of eternal life (Genesis 2:9 Genesis 2:9And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the middle of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
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; Genesis 3:22 Genesis 3:22And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever:
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). And He commanded them not to eat the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, which was symbolic of choosing, apart from God, to determine right and wrong for oneself.

But they disobeyed God’s command, which constitutes sin or lawlessness (1 John 3:4 1 John 3:4Whoever commits sin transgresses also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.
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). And sin leads to death (Genesis 2:17 Genesis 2:17But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you shall not eat of it: for in the day that you eat thereof you shall surely die.
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; Ezekiel 18:4 Ezekiel 18:4Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sins, it shall die.
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; Ezekiel 18:20 Ezekiel 18:20The soul that sins, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be on him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be on him.
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; Romans 6:23 Romans 6:23For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
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). Every sin damages the character of the one who commits it. To commit sin harms both the individual sinner and society in general. (See the chapter titled God’s Law and Sin .)

Adam and Eve, like all human beings, were given freedom of choice, and under the influence of Satan they violated God’s explicit command (Genesis 3:1-6 Genesis 3:1-6 1 Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, Yes, has God said, You shall not eat of every tree of the garden? 2 And the woman said to the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: 3 But of the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, You shall not eat of it, neither shall you touch it, lest you die. 4 And the serpent said to the woman, You shall not surely die: 5 For God does know that in the day you eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and you shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. 6 And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also to her husband with her; and he did eat.
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). (See the chapter titled Satan the Devil .) The first human beings thus began to live in a manner contrary to the will of their loving Creator, placing themselves under the penalty of death, about which God had warned them in advance. No human being except Jesus Christ, the Son of God, has lived a sinless life (Ecclesiastes 7:20 Ecclesiastes 7:20For there is not a just man on earth, that does good, and sins not.
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; Romans 3:23 Romans 3:23For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
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; Hebrews 4:15 Hebrews 4:15For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.
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).

In spite of human sinfulness, God’s ultimate plan for humankind has not been thwarted. In His omniscient wisdom and mercy, God has provided a means by which human beings can be reconciled to Him (John 3:16-17 John 3:16-17 16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
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). People can still develop the godly character that is a prerequisite to receiving God’s most precious gift of eternal life as His children (1 Corinthians 15:22 1 Corinthians 15:22For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.
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; Galatians 2:20 Galatians 2:20I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
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). But apart from the deliverance God has provided, death reigns over all humanity because all have sinned (Romans 5:12 Romans 5:12Why, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed on all men, for that all have sinned:
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).

God desires harmonious relationships—both between human beings and Himself and among human beings, between individuals and groups. Again, God is in the process of establishing His great family, which the physical human family is to portray. We also see this in the sacred institution of marriage. In creating Adam, God said it was not good for him to be alone (Genesis 2:18 Genesis 2:18And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.
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). Man needed companionship. So God made woman and established marriage (Genesis 2:21-25 Genesis 2:21-25 21 And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; 22 And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her to the man. 23 And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. 24 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall join to his wife: and they shall be one flesh. 25 And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.
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)—a covenant partnership between a man and a woman and with God (Matthew 19:4-6 Matthew 19:4-6 4 And he answered and said to them, Have you not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, 5 And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall join to his wife: and they two shall be one flesh? 6 Why they are no more two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder.
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; Malachi 2:14 Malachi 2:14Yet you say, Why? Because the LORD has been witness between you and the wife of your youth, against whom you have dealt treacherously: yet is she your companion, and the wife of your covenant.
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).

The marriage relationship was intended to model the relationship that Jesus Christ would eventually have with the Church of God (Ephesians 5:22-23 Ephesians 5:22-23 22 Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the savior of the body.
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). And God also stated that husband and wife are made “one” to produce godly offspring (Malachi 2:15 Malachi 2:15And did not he make one? Yet had he the residue of the spirit. And why one? That he might seek a godly seed. Therefore take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously against the wife of his youth.
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). Marriage is a very serious commitment, safeguarded in the law of God. 

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