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BILLIONS of people have read or heard what the Bible says about the beginning of the universe. The 3,500-year-old account starts with the well-known statement: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”

Many people, however, are unaware of the fact that Christendom’s leaders, including so-called creationists and fundamentalists, have spun the Bible account of creation into numerous tales that deviate from what the Bible really says. These interpretations fly in the face of scientific fact. Even though those tales are not found in the Bible, they have caused some people to dismiss the Bible account as mythical allegory.

The real Bible story of creation has gone largely unnoticed. This is a shame, for the Bible actually presents a very logical and credible explanation of the beginning of the universe. What is more, that explanation harmonizes with scientific discovery. Yes, you might be pleasantly surprised by the Bible’s untold story of creation!

THE UNCREATED CREATOR

Infinity

The Bible account of creation hinges on the fact that there is a Supreme Being, Almighty God, who created all things. Who is he, and what is his nature? The Bible reveals that he is quite different from the deities found in popular culture and mainstream religion. He is the Creator of all things, but most people know very little about him.

  • God is a person, an individual. He is not a vague force devoid of personality, floating aimlessly throughout the universe. He has thoughts, feelings, and goals.

  • God has infinite power and wisdom. This explains the complex design found everywhere in creation, especially in living things.

  • God created all physical matter. Hence, he cannot be made of physical elements that he himself has created. Rather, he is of a spiritual, or nonphysical, nature.

  • God’s existence is not limited by time. He has always existed and will always exist. Hence, no one created him.

  • God has a personal name, which is used thousands of times in the Bible. That name is Jehovah.

  • Jehovah God loves and cares for humans.

 HOW LONG DID GOD TAKE TO CREATE THE UNIVERSE?

Face of a clock

The Bible states that God created “the heavens and the earth.” This broad statement, however, makes no reference to the length of time involved in creating the universe or to the methods he used to shape it. What about the widespread creationist belief that God created the universe in six literal 24-hour days? This concept, widely rejected by scientists, is based on a gross misunderstanding of the Bible account. Consider what the Bible really says.

The Bible does not support fundamentalists and creationists who claim that the creative days were literal 24-hour days

  • The Bible does not support fundamentalists and creationists who claim that the creative days were literal 24-hour days.

  • The Bible frequently uses the term “day” to designate various periods of time. In some cases these periods are of an unspecified length. The account of creation found in the Bible book of Genesis is one example of this.

  • In the Bible account, each of the six creative days could have lasted for thousands of years.

  • God had already created the universe, including a lifeless planet Earth, by the time the first creative day began.

  • Evidently the six creative days were long periods during which Jehovah God prepared the earth for human habitation.

  • The Bible account of creation does not conflict with scientific conclusions about the age of the universe.

DID GOD USE EVOLUTION?

Theoretical process of evolution

Many who do not believe in the Bible embrace the theory that living things emerged from lifeless chemicals through unknown and mindless processes. Supposedly, at some point a bacteria-like, self-replicating organism arose, gradually branching out into all the species that exist today. This would imply that ultimately the mind-bogglingly complex human actually evolved from bacteria.

The theory of evolution is also embraced by many who claim to accept the Bible as the word of God. They believe that God produced the first burst of life on earth but then simply monitored, and perhaps steered, the process of evolution. That, however, is not what the Bible says.

The Bible account of creation does not conflict with the scientific observation that variations occur within a kind

  • According to the Bible, Jehovah God created all the basic kinds of plant and animal life, as well as a perfect man and woman who were capable of self-awareness, love, wisdom, and justice.

  • The kinds of animals and plants created by God have obviously undergone changes and have produced variations within the kinds. In many cases, the resulting life-forms are remarkably different from one another.

  • The Bible account of creation does not conflict with the scientific observation that variations occur within a kind.

 A CREATOR PERCEIVED IN CREATION

In the mid-1800’s, British biologist Alfred Russel Wallace agreed with Charles Darwin on the theory of evolution by natural selection. But even this renowned evolutionist is said to have stated: “For those who have eyes to see and minds accustomed to reflect, in the minutest cells, in the blood, in the whole earth, and throughout the stellar universe . . . , there is intelligent and conscious direction; in a word, there is Mind.”

Almost two thousand years before Wallace, the Bible had already observed: “For [God’s] invisible qualities are clearly seen from the world’s creation onward, because they are perceived by the things made, even his eternal power and Godship.” (Romans 1:20) From time to time, you might want to take a moment to reflect on the marvelous complexities found in nature—from a single blade of grass to the countless heavenly bodies. By examining creation you can perceive the Creator.

‘But if there is a loving God who created all things,’ you may ask, ‘why would he permit suffering? Has he abandoned his earthly creation? What does the future hold?’ The Bible contains many other untold stories—truths that have been buried under human ideas and religious agendas and, therefore, hidden from most people. The publishers of this magazine, Jehovah’s Witnesses, would be happy to help you examine unadulterated Bible truth and learn more about the Creator and the future of his human creation.


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The Bible’s answer

Yes, for although the Bible is not a science textbook, it is accurate when it mentions matters of science. Consider some examples showing that science and the Bible agree and that the Bible contains scientific facts that differed greatly from the beliefs of many people living at the time it was written.

  • The universe had a beginning. (Genesis 1:1) In contrast, many ancient myths describe the universe, not as being created, but as being organized from existing chaos. The Babylonians believed that the gods that gave birth to the universe came from two oceans. Other legends say that the universe came from a giant egg.

  • The universe is governed day-to-day by rational natural laws, not by the whims of deities. (Job 38:33; Jeremiah 33:25) Myths from around the world teach that humans are helpless before the unpredictable and sometimes merciless acts of the gods.

  • The earth is suspended in empty space. (Job 26:7) Many ancient peoples believed that the world was a flat disk supported by a giant or an animal, such as a buffalo or a turtle.

  • Rivers and springs are fed by water that has evaporated from the oceans and other sources and then has fallen back to earth as rain, snow, or hail. (Job 36:27, 28; Ecclesiastes 1:7;Isaiah 55:10; Amos 9:6) The ancient Greeks thought that rivers were fed by underground ocean water, and this idea persisted into the 18th century.

  • The mountains rise and fall, and today’s mountains were once under the ocean. (Psalm 104:6, 8) In contrast, several myths say that the mountains were created in their current form by the gods.

  • Sanitary practices protect health. The Law given to the nation of Israel included regulations for washing after touching a dead body, quarantining those with infectious disease, and disposing of human waste safely. (Leviticus 11:28; 13:1-5; Deuteronomy 23:13) By contrast, one of the Egyptian remedies in use when these commands were given called for applying to an open wound a mixture that included human excrement.

Are there scientific errors in the Bible?

A reasonable examination of the Bible shows the answer to be no. Here are some common misconceptions about the scientific accuracy of the Bible:

Myth: The Bible says that the universe was created in six 24-hour days.

Fact: According to the Bible, God created the universe in the indefinite past. (Genesis 1:1) Also, the days of creation described in chapter 1 of Genesis were epochs whose length is not specified. In fact, the entire period during which earth and heaven were made is also called a “day.”—Genesis 2:4.

Myth: The Bible says that vegetation was created before the sun existed to support photosynthesis.—Genesis 1:11, 16.

Fact: The Bible shows that the sun, one of the stars that make up “the heavens,” was created before vegetation. (Genesis 1:1) Diffused light from the sun reached the earth’s surface during the first “day,” or epoch, of creation. As the atmosphere cleared, by the third “day” of creation, the light was strong enough to support photosynthesis. (Genesis 1:3-5, 12, 13) Only later did the sun become distinctly visible from the surface of the earth.—Genesis 1:16.

Myth: The Bible says that the sun revolves around the earth.

Fact: Ecclesiastes 1:5 says: “The sun rises, and the sun sets; then it hurries back to the place where it rises again.” However, this statement merely describes the apparent motion of the sun as viewed from the earth. Even today, a person can use the words “sunrise” and “sunset,” yet he knows that the earth revolves around the sun.

Myth: The Bible says that the earth is flat.

Fact: The Bible uses the phrase “the ends of the earth” to mean “the most distant part of the earth”; this does not imply that the earth is flat or that it has an edge. (Acts 1:8; footnote) Likewise, the expression “the four corners of the earth” is a figure of speech referring to the entire surface of the earth; today a person might use the four points of the compass as a similar metaphor.—Isaiah 11:12; Luke 13:29.

Myth: The Bible says that the circumference of a circle is exactly three times its diameter, but the correct value is pi (π), or about 3.1416.

Fact: The measurements of “the Sea of cast metal” given at 1 Kings 7:23 and 2 Chronicles 4:2indicate that it had a diameter of 10 cubits and that “it took a measuring line 30 cubits long to encircle it.” These dimensions might have been merely the nearest round numbers. It is also possible that the circumference and diameter represented inner and outer measurements of the basin respectively.


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What is God’s purpose for mankind?

How has God been challenged?

What will life on earth be like in the future?

GOD’S purpose for the earth is really wonderful. Jehovah wants the earth to be filled with happy, healthy people. The Bible says that “God planted a garden in Eden” and that he “made to grow…every tree desirable to one’s sight and good for food.” After God created the first man and woman, Adam and Eve, He put them in that lovely home and told them: “Be fruitful and become many and fill the earth and subdue it.” (Genesis 1:28; 2:8, 915) So it was God’s purpose that humans have children, extend the boundaries of that garden home earth wide, and take care of the animals.

2 Do you think that Jehovah God’s purpose for people to live in an earthly paradise will ever be realized? “I have even spoken it,” God declares, “I shall also do it.” (Isaiah 46:9-11; 55:11) Yes, what God purposes he will surely do! He says that he “did not create [the earth] simply for nothing” but “formed it even to be inhabited.” (Isaiah 45:18) What kind of people did God want to live on the earth? And for how long did he want them to live here? The Bible answers: “The righteous themselves will possess the earth, and they will reside forever upon it.”Psalm 37:29; Revelation 21:3, 4.

3 Obviously, this has not happened yet. People now get sick and die; they even fight and kill one another. Something went wrong. Surely, however, God did not purpose that the earth should be as we see it today! What happened? Why has God’s purpose not been fulfilled? No history book written by man can tell us because the trouble started in heaven.

THE ORIGIN OF AN ENEMY

4 The first book of the Bible tells of an opposer of God who showed up in the garden of Eden. He is described as “the serpent,” but he was not a mere animal. The last book of the Bible identifies him as “the one called Devil and Satan, who is misleading the entire inhabited earth.” He is also called “the original serpent.” (Genesis 3:1; Revelation 12:9) This powerful angel, or invisible spirit creature, used a serpent to speak to Eve, even as a skilled person can make it seem that his voice is coming from a nearby doll or dummy. That spirit person had no doubt been present when God prepared the earth for humans.—Job 38:47.

5 Since all of Jehovah’s creations are perfect, however, who made this “Devil,” this “Satan”? Put simply, one of the powerful spirit sons of God turned himself into the Devil. How was this possible? Well, today a person who was once decent and honest may become a thief. How does that happen? The person may allow a wrong desire to develop in his heart. If he keeps thinking about it, that wrong desire may become very strong. Then if the opportunity presents itself, he may act upon the bad desire that he has been thinking about.—James 1:13-15.

6 This happened in the case of Satan the Devil. He apparently heard God tell Adam and Eve to have children and to fill the earth with their offspring. (Genesis 1:27, 28) ‘Why, all these humans could worship me rather than God!’ Satan evidently thought. So a wrong desire built up in his heart. Eventually, he took action to deceive Eve by telling her lies about God. (Genesis 3:1-5) He thus became a “Devil,” which means “Slanderer.” At the same time, he became “Satan,” which means “Opposer.”

7 By using lies and trickery, Satan the Devil caused Adam and Eve to disobey God. (Genesis 2:17; 3:6) As a result, they eventually died, as God had said they would if they disobeyed. (Genesis 3:17-19) Since Adam became imperfect when he sinned, all his offspring inherited sin from him. (Romans 5:12) The situation might be illustrated with a pan used for baking bread. If the pan has a dent in it, what happens to each loaf of bread made in the pan? Each loaf has a dent, or an imperfection, in it. Similarly, each human has inherited a “dent” of imperfection from Adam. That is why all humans grow old and die.—Romans 3:23.

8 When Satan led Adam and Eve into sinning against God, he was really leading a rebellion. He was challenging Jehovah’s way of ruling. In effect, Satan was saying: ‘God is a bad ruler. He tells lies and holds back good things from his subjects. Humans do not need to have God ruling over them. They can decide for themselves what is good and what is bad. And they will be better off under my rulership.’ How would God handle such an insulting challenge? Some think that God should simply have put the rebels to death. But would that have answered Satan’s challenge? Would it have proved that God’s way of ruling is right?

9 Jehovah’s perfect sense of justice would not allow him to put the rebels to death right away. He decided that time was needed to answer Satan’s challenge in a satisfying way and to prove that the Devil is a liar. So God determined that he would permit humans to rule themselves for some time under Satan’s influence. Why Jehovah did that and why he has allowed so much time to pass before settling these issues will be discussed in Chapter 11 of this book. Now, though, it is good to think about this: Were Adam and Eve right to believe Satan, who had never done anything good for them? Was it right for them to believe that Jehovah, who had given them everything they had, is a cruel liar? What would you have done?

10 It is good to think about these questions because each of us faces similar issues today. Yes, you have the opportunity to support Jehovah’s side in answer to Satan’s challenge. You can accept Jehovah as your Ruler and help to show that Satan is a liar. (Psalm 73:28; Proverbs 27:11) Sadly, only a few among the billions of people in this world make such a choice. This raises an important question, Does the Bible really teach that Satan rules this world?

WHO RULES THIS WORLD?

How could Satan have offered Jesus all the kingdoms of the world if he did not own them?

Jesus rejecting Satan's temptation of world domination

11 Jesus never doubted that Satan is the ruler of this world. In some miraculous way, Satan once showed Jesus “all the kingdoms of the world and their glory.” Satan then promised Jesus: “All these things I will give you if you fall down and do an act of worship to me.” (Matthew 4:8, 9; Luke 4:5, 6) Think about this. Would that offer have been a temptation to Jesus if Satan was not the ruler of these kingdoms? Jesus did not deny that all these worldly governments were Satan’s. Surely, Jesus would have done that if Satan was not the power behind them.

12 Of course, Jehovah is the Almighty God, the Creator of the marvelous universe. (Revelation 4:11) Yet, nowhere does the Bible say that either Jehovah God or Jesus Christ is ruler of this world. In fact, Jesus specifically referred to Satan as “the ruler of this world.” (John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11) The Bible even refers to Satan the Devil as “the god of this system of things.” (2 Corinthians 4:3, 4) Regarding this opposer, or Satan, the Christian apostle John wrote: “The whole world is lying in the power of the wicked one.”—1 John 5:19.

HOW SATAN’S WORLD WILL BE REMOVED

13 With each passing year, the world is becoming more and more dangerous. It is overrun with warring armies, dishonest politicians, hypocritical religious leaders, and hardened criminals. The world as a whole is beyond reform. The Bible reveals that the time is near when God will eliminate the wicked world during his war of Armageddon. This will make way for a righteous new world.—Revelation 16:14-16.

14 Jehovah God selected Jesus Christ to be Ruler of His heavenly Kingdom, or government. Long ago, the Bible foretold: “Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called…Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end.” (Isaiah 9:6, 7, King James Version) Regarding this government, Jesus taught his followers to pray: “Let your kingdom come. Let your will take place, as in heaven, also upon earth.” (Matthew 6:10) As we will see later in this book, God’s Kingdom will soon remove all the governments of this world, and it itself will replace all of them. (Daniel 2:44) Then God’s Kingdom will usher in an earthly paradise.

A NEW WORLD IS AT HAND!

15 The Bible assures us: “There are new heavens and a new earth that we are awaiting according to [God’s] promise, and in these righteousness is to dwell.” (2 Peter 3:13; Isaiah 65:17) Sometimes when the Bible speaks of “the earth,” it means the people who live on the earth. (Genesis 11:1) So the righteous “new earth” is a society of people who receive God’s approval.

16 Jesus promised that in the coming new world, those approved by God would receive the gift of “everlasting life.” (Mark 10:30) Please open your Bible to John 3:16 and 17:3, and read what Jesus said we must do to receive everlasting life. Now consider from the Bible the blessings that will be enjoyed by those who qualify for that wonderful gift from God in the coming earthly Paradise.

17Wickedness, warfare, crime, and violence will be gone. “The wicked one will be no more…But the meek ones themselves will possess the earth.” (Psalm 37:10, 11) Peace will exist because ‘God will make wars cease to the ends of the earth.’ (Psalm 46:9; Isaiah 2:4) Then “the righteous one will sprout, and the abundance of peace until the moon is no more”—and that means forever!—Psalm 72:7.

18Jehovah’s worshipers will live in security. As long as the Israelites in Bible times obeyed God, they lived in security. (Leviticus 25:18, 19) How wonderful it will be to enjoy similar security in Paradise!—Isaiah 32:18; Micah 4:4.

19Food shortages will not exist. “There will come to be plenty of grain on the earth,” sang the psalmist. “On the top of the mountains there will be an overflow.” (Psalm 72:16) Jehovah God will bless his righteous ones, and “the earth itself will certainly give its produce.”—Psalm 67:6.

People from various ethnic backgrounds enjoying Paradise together

20The whole earth will become a paradise. Lovely new homes and gardens will occupy land that had once been ruined by sinful humans. (Isaiah 65:21-24; Revelation 11:18) As time passes, parts of the earth already subdued will expand until the whole globe is as beautiful and productive as the garden of Eden. And God will never fail to ‘open his hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing.’—Psalm 145:16.

21There will be peace between humans and animals. Wild and domestic animals will feed together. Even a little child will have nothing to fear from animals that are now dangerous.—Isaiah 11:6-9; 65:25.

22Sickness will vanish. As Ruler of God’s heavenly Kingdom, Jesus will do healing on a far grander scale than when he was on earth. (Matthew 9:35; Mark 1:40-42; John 5:5-9) Then “no resident will say: ‘I am sick.’”—Isaiah 33:24; 35:5, 6.

23Dead loved ones will be restored to life with the prospect of never dying. All those sleeping in death who are in God’s memory will be brought back to life. In fact, “there is going to be a resurrection of both the righteous and the unrighteous.”—Acts 24:15; John 5:28, 29.

24 What a marvelous future awaits those who choose to learn about our Grand Creator, Jehovah God, and to serve him! It was to the coming Paradise on earth that Jesus pointed when he promised the evildoer who died alongside him: “You will be with me in Paradise.” (Luke 23:43) It is vital that we learn more about Jesus Christ, through whom all these blessings will be made possible.

WHAT THE BIBLE TEACHES


Study Questions

1. What is God’s purpose for the earth?

2. (a) How do we know that God’s purpose for the earth will be fulfilled? (b) What does the Bible say about humans living forever?

3. What sad conditions now exist on earth, and what questions does this raise?

4, 5. (a) Who actually spoke to Eve by means of a serpent? (b) How might a formerly decent, honest person become a thief?

6. How did a powerful spirit son of God become Satan the Devil?

7. (a) Why did Adam and Eve die? (b) Why do all of Adam’s offspring grow old and die?

8, 9. (a) What challenge did Satan evidently make? (b) Why did God not destroy the rebels immediately?

10. How can you support Jehovah’s side in answer to Satan’s challenge?

11, 12. (a) How does a temptation of Jesus reveal that Satan is the ruler of this world? (b) What else proves that Satan is the ruler of this world?

13. Why is there a need for a new world?

14. Whom has God selected to be Ruler of His Kingdom, and how was this foretold?

15. What is the “new earth”?

16. What is a priceless gift from God to those whom he approves, and what must we do to receive it?

17, 18. How can we be sure that there will be peace and security everywhere on earth?

19. Why do we know that food will be abundant in God’s new world?

20. Why can we be sure that the whole earth will become a paradise?

21. What shows that peace will exist between humans and animals?

22. What will happen to sickness?

23. Why will the resurrection bring joy to our hearts?

24. How do you feel about living in Paradise on earth?


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Does God really care about you?

What is God like? Does he have a name?

Is it possible to get close to God?

HAVE you ever noticed the way children ask questions? Many start asking as soon as they learn to speak. With wide, eager eyes, they look up at you and ask such things as: Why is the sky blue? What are the stars made of? Who taught the birds to sing? You may try hard to answer, but it is not always easy. Even your best answer may lead to yet another question: Why?

2 Children are not the only ones who ask questions. As we grow up, we keep asking. We do this in order to find our way, to learn of dangers that we need to avoid, or to satisfy our curiosity. But many people seem to stop asking questions, especially the most important ones. At least, they stop searching for the answers.

A child asking a question

3 Think about the question on the cover of this book, the questions raised in the preface, or those at the beginning of this chapter. These are some of the most important questions you can ask. Yet, many people have given up trying to find the answers. Why? Does the Bible have the answers? Some feel that its answers are too hard to understand. Others worry that asking questions could lead to shame or embarrassment. And some decide that such questions are best left to religious leaders and teachers. What about you?

4 Very likely you are interested in getting answers to life’s big questions. No doubt you sometimes wonder: ‘What is the purpose of life? Is this life all there is? What is God really like?’ It is good to ask such questions, and it is important that you do not give up until you find satisfying, reliable answers. The famous teacher Jesus Christ said: “Keep on asking, and it will be given you; keep on seeking, and you will find; keep on knocking, and it will be opened to you.”—Matthew 7:7.

5 If you “keep on seeking” for answers to the important questions, you will find that the search can be very rewarding. (Proverbs 2:1-5) Despite what other people may have told you, there are answers, and you can find them—in the Bible. The answers are not too hard to understand. Better yet, they bring hope and joy. And they can help you to live a satisfying life right now. To begin, let us consider a question that has troubled many people.

IS GOD UNCARING AND HARDHEARTED?

6 Many people think that the answer to that question is yes. ‘If God cared,’ they reason, ‘would not the world be a very different place?’ We look around and see a world full of war, hatred, and misery. And as individuals, we get sick, we suffer, we lose loved ones in death. Thus, many say, ‘If God cared about us and our problems, would he not prevent such things from happening?’

7 Worse yet, religious teachers sometimes lead people to think that God is hardhearted. How so? When tragedy strikes, they say that it is God’s will. In effect, such teachers blame God for the bad things that happen. Is that the truth about God? What does the Bible really teach? James 1:13 answers: “When under trial, let no one say: ‘I am being tried by God.’ For with evil things God cannot be tried nor does he himself try anyone.” So God is never the source of the wickedness you see in the world around you. (Job 34:10-12) Granted, he does allow bad things to happen. But there is a big difference between allowing something to happen and causing it.

8 For example, think about a wise and loving father with a grown son who is still living at home with his parents. When the son becomes rebellious and decides to leave home, his father does not stop him. The son pursues a bad way of life and gets into trouble. Is the father the cause of his son’s problems? No. (Luke 15:11-13) Similarly, God has not stopped humans when they have chosen to pursue a bad course, but he is not the cause of the problems that have resulted. Surely, then, it would be unfair to blame God for all the troubles of mankind.

9 God has good reasons for allowing mankind to follow a bad course. As our wise and powerful Creator, he does not have to explain his reasons to us. Out of love, however, God does this. You will learn more about these reasons in Chapter 11. But rest assured that God is not responsible for the problems we face. On the contrary, he gives us the only hope for a solution!—Isaiah 33:2.

10 Furthermore, God is holy. (Isaiah 6:3) This means that he is pure and clean. There is no trace of badness in him. So we can trust him completely. That is more than we can say for humans, who sometimes become corrupt. Even the most honest human in authority often does not have the power to undo the damage that bad people do. But God is all-powerful. He can and will undo all the effects that wickedness has had on mankind. When God acts, he will do so in a way that will end evil forever!—Psalm 37:9-11.

HOW DOES GOD FEEL ABOUT INJUSTICES WE FACE?

11 In the meantime, how does God feel about what is going on in the world and in your life? Well, the Bible teaches that God is “a lover of justice.” (Psalm 37:28) So he cares deeply about what is right and what is wrong. He hates all kinds of injustice. The Bible says that God “felt hurt at his heart” when badness filled the world in times past. (Genesis 6:5, 6) God has not changed. (Malachi 3:6) He still hates to see the suffering that is taking place worldwide. And God hates to see people suffer. “He cares for you,” the Bible says.—1 Peter 5:7.

12 How can we be sure that God hates to see suffering? Here is further proof. The Bible teaches that man was made in the image of God. (Genesis 1:26) We thus have good qualities because God has good qualities. For example, does it bother you to see innocent people suffer? If you care about such injustices, be assured that God feels even more strongly about them.

13 One of the best things about humans is our ability to love. That also reflects God. The Bible teaches that “God is love.” (1 John 4:8) We love because God loves. Would love move you to end the suffering and the injustice you see in the world? If you had the power to do that, would you do it? Of course you would! You can be just as sure that God will end suffering and injustice. The promises mentioned in the preface of this book are not mere dreams or idle hopes. God’s promises are sure to come true! In order to put faith in such promises, though, you need to know more about the God who has made them.

GOD WANTS YOU TO KNOW WHO HE IS

14 If you want someone to get to know you, what might you do? Would you not tell the person your name? Does God have a name? Many religions answer that his name is “God” or “Lord,” but those are not personal names. They are titles, just as “king” and “president” are titles. The Bible teaches that God has many titles. “God” and “Lord” are among them. However, the Bible also teaches that God has a personal name: Jehovah. Psalm 83:18 says: “You, whose name is Jehovah, you alone are the Most High over all the earth.” If your Bible translation does not contain that name, you may want to consult the Appendix of this book to learn why that is so. The truth is that God’s name appears thousands of times in ancient Bible manuscripts. So Jehovah wants you to know his name and to use it. In a sense, he is using the Bible to introduce himself to you.

A woman introducing herself
When you want someone to get to know you, do you not mention your name? God reveals his name to us in the Bible

15 God gave himself a name that is full of meaning. His name, Jehovah, means that God can fulfill any promise he makes and can carry out any purpose he has in mind.* God’s name is unique, one of a kind. It belongs only to him. In a number of ways, Jehovah is unique. How is that so?

16 We saw that Psalm 83:18 said of Jehovah: “You alone are the Most High.” Similarly, Jehovah alone is referred to as “the Almighty.” Revelation 15:3 says: “Great and wonderful are your works, Jehovah God, the Almighty. Righteous and true are your ways, King of eternity.” The title “the Almighty” teaches us that Jehovah is the most powerful being there is. His power is unmatched; it is supreme. And the title “King of eternity” reminds us that Jehovah is unique in another sense. He alone has always existed. Psalm 90:2 says: “Even from time indefinite to time indefinite [or, forever] you are God.” That thought inspires awe, does it not?

17 Jehovah is also unique in that he alone is the Creator. Revelation 4:11 reads: “You are worthy, Jehovah, even our God, to receive the glory and the honor and the power, because you created all things, and because of your will they existed and were created.” Everything that you can think of—from the invisible spirit creatures in heaven to the stars that fill the night sky to the fruit that grows on the trees to the fish that swim in the oceans and rivers—all of it exists because Jehovah is the Creator!

CAN YOU BE CLOSE TO JEHOVAH?

18 Reading about Jehovah’s awe-inspiring qualities makes some people feel a little uneasy. They fear that God is too high for them, that they could never get close to him or even matter to such a lofty God. But is this idea correct? The Bible teaches just the opposite. It says of Jehovah: “In fact, he is not far off from each one of us.” (Acts 17:27) The Bible even urges us: “Draw close to God, and he will draw close to you.”—James 4:8.

The Bible teaches that Jehovah is the loving Creator of the universe

God's creations

19 How can you draw close to God? To begin with, continue doing what you are doing now—learning about God. Jesus said: “This means everlasting life, their taking in knowledge of you, the only true God, and of the one whom you sent forth, Jesus Christ.” (John 17:3) Yes, the Bible teaches that learning about Jehovah and Jesus leads to “everlasting life”! As already noted, “God is love.” (1 John 4:16) Jehovah also has many other beautiful and appealing qualities. For example, the Bible says that Jehovah is “a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abundant in loving-kindness and truth.” (Exodus 34:6) He is “good and ready to forgive.” (Psalm 86:5) God is patient. (2 Peter 3:9) He is loyal. (Revelation 15:4) As you read more in the Bible, you will see how Jehovah has shown that he has these and many other appealing qualities.

20 True, you cannot see God because he is an invisible spirit. (John 1:18; 4:24; 1 Timothy 1:17) By learning about him through the pages of the Bible, however, you can come to know him as a person. As the psalmist said, you can “behold the pleasantness of Jehovah.” (Psalm 27:4; Romans 1:20) The more you learn about Jehovah, the more real he will become to you and the more reason you will have to love him and feel close to him.

A father and his son
The love that a good father feels for his children reflects the greater love that our heavenly Father feels for us

21 You will come to understand why the Bible teaches us to think of Jehovah as our Father. (Matthew 6:9) Not only does our life come from him but he wants the best life possible for us—just as any loving father would want for his children. (Psalm 36:9) The Bible also teaches that humans can become Jehovah’s friends. (James 2:23) Imagine—you can become a friend of the Creator of the universe!

22 As you learn more from the Bible, you may find that some well-meaning people will urge you to stop such studies. They may worry that you will change your beliefs. But do not let anyone stop you from forming the best friendship you can ever have.

23 Of course, there will be things that you do not understand at first. It can be a little humbling to ask for help, but do not hold back because of embarrassment. Jesus said that it is good to be humble, like a little child. (Matthew 18:2-4) And children, as we know, ask a lot of questions. God wants you to find the answers. The Bible praises some who were eager to learn about God. They checked carefully in the Scriptures to make sure that what they were learning was the truth.—Acts 17:11.

24 The best way to learn about Jehovah is to examine the Bible. It is different from any other book. In what way? The next chapter will consider that subject.

WHAT THE BIBLE TEACHES


*  There is more information on the meaning and the pronunciation of God’s name in the Appendix.


Study Questions

1, 2. Why is it often good to ask questions?

3. Why do many stop trying to find answers to the questions that matter most?

4, 5. What are some of the most important questions we can ask in life, and why should we seek the answers?

6. Why do many people think that God is uncaring when it comes to human suffering?

7. (a) How have religious teachers led many to think that God is hardhearted? (b) What does the Bible really teach about the trials we may suffer?

8, 9. (a) How might you illustrate the difference between allowing wickedness to exist and causing it? (b) Why would it be unfair for us to find fault with God’s decision to allow mankind to pursue a wayward course?

10. Why can we trust that God will undo all the effects of wickedness?

11. (a) How does God feel about injustice? (b) How does God feel about your suffering?

12, 13. (a) Why do we have good qualities such as love, and how does love affect our view of the world? (b) Why can you be sure that God will really do something about world problems?

14. What is God’s name, and why should we use it?

15. What does the name Jehovah mean?

16, 17. What may we learn about Jehovah from the following titles: (a) “the Almighty”? (b) “King of eternity”? (c) “Creator”?

18. Why do some people feel that they could never get close to God, but what does the Bible teach?

19. (a) How can we begin to draw close to God, and with what benefit? (b) What qualities of God are most appealing to you?

20-22. (a) Does our inability to see God prevent us from getting close to him? Explain. (b) What may some well-meaning people urge you to do, but what should you do?

23, 24. (a) Why should you continue to ask questions about what you are learning? (b) What is the subject of the next chapter?