January 1, 2006 – January 7, 2006
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.” John 1:1–3.
Study Help: Patriarchs and Prophets, 44–51.
“God is the foundation of everything. All true science is in harmony with His works; all true education leads to obedience to His government. . . .
“No finite mind can fully comprehend the existence, the power, the wisdom, or the works of the Infinite One. . . . The mightiest intellects of earth cannot comprehend God. Men may be ever searching, ever learning, and still there is an infinity beyond.
“Yet the works of creation testify of God’s power and greatness. ‘The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament showeth His handiwork.’ Psalm 19:1. Those who take the written word as their counselor will find in science an aid to understand God. ‘The invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead.’ Romans 1:20.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 115, 116.
1 To whom does the earth belong? Whose also are we? Psalm 24:1.
note: “Who is it that owns our world? Who are the real owners of houses and lands? Is it not God? He has an abundance in our world which He has placed in the hands of men . . . .” Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 197.
“The fields nigh and afar off belong to God; for the world is His.” Ibid., 218.
“The Majesty of heaven yielded up his high command, his glory with the Father, and even his own life, to save us. And now what will we do for him? God forbid that his professed children should live for themselves! There is work to be done for the Master, by our means and by our influence. God’s claim underlies every other. The first and best of everything rightfully belongs to him. When Christ shall come in the clouds of heaven, he will have no use for the money which he has intrusted to us. It is in this life that he requires all our talents to be put out to the exchangers.” Review and Herald, February 9, 1886.
2 On what basis does God claim the earth and its inhabitants? Psalm 24:2.
note: “Upon all created things is seen the impress of the Deity. Nature testifies of God. The susceptible mind, brought in contact with the miracle and mystery of the universe, cannot but recognize the working of infinite power. Not by its own inherent energy does the earth produce its bounties, and year by year continue its motion around the sun. An unseen hand guides the planets in their circuit of the heavens. A mysterious life pervades all nature—a life that sustains the unnumbered worlds throughout immensity, that lives in the insect atom which floats in the summer breeze, that wings the flight of the swallow and feeds the young ravens which cry, that brings the bud to blossom and the flower to fruit.
“The same power that upholds nature, is working also in man. The same great laws that guide alike the star and the atom control human life. The laws that govern the heart’s action, regulating the flow of the current of life to the body, are the laws of the mighty Intelligence that has the jurisdiction of the soul. From Him all life proceeds. Only in harmony with Him can be found its true sphere of action. For all the objects of His creation the condition is the same—a life sustained by receiving the life of God, a life exercised in harmony with the Creator’s will. To transgress His law, physical, mental, or moral, is to place one’s self out of harmony with the universe, to introduce discord, anarchy, ruin.” Education, 99.
3 By what means was the earth created? Psalm 33:6, 9.
note: “The theory that God did not create matter when He brought the world into existence is without foundation. In the formation of our world, God was not indebted to pre-existing matter. On the contrary, all things, material or spiritual, stood up before the Lord Jehovah at His voice and were created for His own purpose. The heavens and all the host of them, the earth and all things therein, are not only the work of His hand; they came into existence by the breath of His mouth.” Testimonies, vol. 8, 258, 259.
4 By virtue of His creative power, how fully does God claim ownership of all? Psalm 50:10–12. What claim does He make upon the hidden treasures of the earth? Haggai 2:8.
note: “God has stamped his image upon every work of his hand. In every object in nature, we see evidences of his mighty power. The fields of waving grain bow their heads in acknowledgment of the God who gives to man his bread in due season. The trees, bending beneath their weight of precious fruit, bear unmistakable evidence of the love of a beneficent Creator. Every tree and shrub declares the work of infinite power. Upon every blade of grass God’s name is written. The opening buds and blooming flowers, with their varied tints, outvying even the glory of Solomon, show forth the skill of the divine Artist. The cattle upon a thousand hills, all with their distinctive characteristics, express the wonders of their Maker, and declare that he is God indeed.” The Youth’s Instructor, December 24, 1896.
“Every good thing of earth was placed here by the bountiful hand of God as an expression of His love to man. . . . The gold and the silver are the Lord’s, and He could rain them from heaven if He chose.” Testimonies, vol. 9, 255.
5 How does David beautifully acknowledge the ownership of God? 1 Chronicles 29:11–14.
note: “All that man receives of God’s bounty still belongs to God. Whatever God has bestowed in the valuable and beautiful things of earth is placed in the hands of men to test them—to sound the depths of their love for Him and their appreciation of His favors. Whether it be the treasures of wealth or of intellect, they are to be laid, a willing offering, at the feet of Jesus; the giver saying, meanwhile, with David, ‘All things come of Thee, and of Thine own have we given Thee.’ [1 Chronicles 29:14.]” Patriarchs and Prophets, 753.
6 Who are associated with God as the agent in creation? Colossians 1:12–17. How fully did Christ enter into the work of creation with the Father? John 1:1–3.
note: “In the beginning, God was revealed in all the works of creation. It was Christ that spread the heavens, and laid the foundations of the earth. It was His hand that hung the worlds in space, and fashioned the flowers of the field. ‘His strength setteth fast the mountains.’ ‘The sea is His, and He made it.’ Psalms 65:6; 95:5. It was He that filled the earth with beauty, and the air with song. And upon all things in earth, and air, and sky, He wrote the message of the Father’s love.” The Desire of Ages, 20.
“The Sovereign of the universe was not alone in His work of beneficence. He had an associate—a co-worker who could appreciate His purposes, and could share His joy in giving happiness to created beings. [John 1:1, 2 quoted.] Christ, the Word, the only begotten of God, was one with the eternal Father—one in nature, in character, in purpose—the only being that could enter into all the counsels and purposes of God.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 34.
7 What material witness is given to the power and majesty of God by His creation? Psalm 19:1–3.
note: “The beauty that clothes the earth is token of God’s love. We may behold it in the everlasting hills, in the lofty trees, in the opening buds and the delicate flowers. All speak to us of God. The Sabbath, ever pointing to Him who made them all, bids men open the great book of nature and trace therein the wisdom, the power, and the love of the Creator.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 48.
8 When man was created, over what did God give him dominion? Genesis 1:28; Psalm 8:6–8.
note: “After the earth with its teeming animal and vegetable life had been called into existence, man, the crowning work of the Creator, and the one for whom the beautiful earth had been fitted up, was brought upon the stage of action. To him was given dominion over all that his eye could behold. . . .
“He was placed, as God’s representative, over the lower orders of being. They cannot understand or acknowledge the sovereignty of God, yet they were made capable of loving and serving man.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 44, 45.
9 What specific work did God give into the hands of Adam? Genesis 2:15.
note: “To the dwellers in Eden was committed the care of the garden . . . . Their occupation was not wearisome, but pleasant and invigorating. God appointed labor as a blessing to man, to occupy his mind, to strengthen his body, and to develop his faculties. In mental and physical activity Adam found one of the highest pleasures of his holy existence. And when, as a result of his disobedience, he was driven from his beautiful home, and forced to struggle with a stubborn soil to gain his daily bread, that very labor, although widely different from his pleasant occupation in the garden, was a safeguard against temptation and a source of happiness.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 50.
10 What limitation was placed upon man’s control of the possessions entrusted to him? Genesis 2:16, 17.
note: “In the midst of the garden, near the tree of life, stood the tree of knowledge of good and evil. This tree was especially designed of God to be the pledge of their obedience, faith, and love to Him. Of this tree the Lord commanded our first parents not to eat, neither to touch it, lest they die. He told them that they might freely eat of all the trees in the garden except one, but if they ate of that tree they should surely die.” The Story of Redemption, 24.
“God had made them [Adam and Eve] the recipients of rich blessings; but should they disregard His will, He who spared not the angels that sinned, could not spare them; transgression would forfeit His gifts and bring upon them misery and ruin.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 53.
11 As the earth is the Lord’s, what, then, is man’s relationship to Him? Luke 19:12, 13. As a servant, or steward, of God, what is required of every man? 1 Corinthians 4:2; Luke 12:48, last half.
note: “God calls us servants, which implies that we are employed by Him to do a certain work and bear certain responsibilities. He has lent us capital for investment. It is not our property, and we displease God if we hoard up our Lord’s goods or spend them as we please. We are responsible for the use or abuse of that which God has thus lent us. If this capital which the Lord has placed in our hands lies dormant, or we bury it in the earth, even if it is only one talent, we shall be called to an account by the Master. He requires, not ours, but His own with usury.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 668.
“Every Christian is a steward of God, entrusted with His goods. Remember the words: ‘Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.’ 1 Corinthians 4:2. Let us be sure that we are not robbing God in any jots or tittles, for much is involved in this question.
“All things belong to God. Men may ignore His claims. While He bountifully bestows His blessings upon them, they may use His gifts for their own selfish gratification; but they will be called to give an account for their stewardship.
“A steward identifies himself with his master. He accepts the responsibilities of a steward, and he must act in his master’s stead, doing as his master would do were he presiding. His master’s interests become his. The position of a steward is one of dignity because his master trusts him. If in any wise he acts selfishly and turns the advantages gained by trading with his lord’s goods to his own advantage, he has perverted the trust reposed in him.” Ibid., vol. 9, 246.
12 In view of all that God has entrusted to mankind, what ought we to do? What should we constantly consider? 1 Samuel 12:24.
note: “It is God that speaks. He who understands the thoughts afar off, and places the right estimate upon men, says, ‘I know him.’ There will be . . . no betraying of the truth for selfish purposes. He will keep the law, and deal justly and righteously; for he knows that he must answer to God for his conduct. And he will not only fear the Lord himself, but he will cultivate religion in his home. He will instruct his family in righteousness; the law of his God will be the rule in his household. Would that this testimony could be borne of all who in this day have the knowledge of the way of the Lord, and profess to walk in it.” The Signs of the Times, April 22, 1886.