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The Plain Truth – May 1978
The Plain Truth – May 1978
Today’s Youth Has Changed!

by Herbert W. Armstrong

But how — and why? Why should we be concerned? What will the adults and leaders of tomorrow be like? Here is the truth almost nobody knows!

Every decade sees a change in its youth. A decade ago we were alarmed by youth in revolt – campus riots, protest marches, resentment against the “Establishment,” the hippie movement, the advent of widespread use of drugs.

Much of the revolt is now gone. But what of today? What has this decade of the ’70s brought us?

Today teenage suicides are at an all-time HIGH! So are violent teenage crime, drug abuse, alcoholism, pregnancy and vandalism!

As Abraham Lincoln Saw It

More than a hundred years ago Abraham Lincoln made a speech about this situation. It’s as old as Cain and Abel, he said. He used the term “old fogy” to describe the teenager’s conception of his parents and adult society. “The first old fogies,” he said, “were Adam and Eve.”

All of us past 21 have lived through that stage of life. I remember that, from age 18 to 20, I felt very sorry for my father. As a little boy I was taught to call him “Papa,” and my mother “Mama.” But when I reached my teens, my father became “Dad.” I had to be like the other kids. Didn’t you? By 18 I knew so much more than my father that, as I said, I felt sorry for him.

When I was 20, Dad moved to the West Coast (I was born and reared in Iowa), and my mother and younger brothers and sister soon followed him. I didn’t see my father again for 12 years – until I was 32. And what a surprise it was to see him: He had “grown up” and learned so much in those 12 years that by then he knew more than I did!

But if the youth don’t yet understand the adult generation, neither do the adults – especially the psychologists, educators, and writers who write about the youth in books, magazines, and newspapers – understand our youth, or why they are as they are!

These adults are ignorant of the way God designed the human mind.

The Makeup of the Human Mind

Engraved in stone over one entrance to Ambassador Hall on the Ambassador College campus (the principal building in the Loma D. Armstrong Academic Center) are these words: “The Word of God is the foundation of knowledge.”

Years of diligent research and study of many sources have brought me proof that that statement is true. True and basic knowledge comes only by revelation. But today education and science reject revelation as even one possible source of knowledge. That is the reason for man’s troubles in this world today.

To come to know WHY the experts cannot understand the real reasons behind the behavior of our youth today – or any day in the past – you need to understand, first, just what the human mind is, and why and how it is so vastly superior in intellect to animal brain.

Despising and rejecting revelation as the only source of basic knowledge, this world’s educated do not understand the real difference between human mind and animal brain.

This source of basic knowledge reveals that the first humans were created with, and all since have been born with, a spirit that is in man. This spirit – not a “ghost,” but a spirit essence – is actually not the man, or any part of him – not an “immortal soul” – but something that is merely in each person.

It performs a most essential function.

For example, man’s composition is revealed in Genesis 2:7: “And the Eternal God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath [air] of life; and man [made of material dust] became a living soul.”

The original word for “soul” here is the Hebrew nephesh, meaning “an air-breathing creature.” A literal translation of Moses’ words in Genesis 1:20 might be: “And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving nephesh that hath life…” Thus God called whales, all fish, and birds that fly in the air nephesh. They are not immortal souls. In verses 21 and 24, Genesis 1, animal life is called nephesh – only the King James translators here rendered nephesh as the word “creature.”

Genesis 2:7 says that what was made out of the dust – MATTER – became a SOUL. Therefore a soul is physical and material, not spiritual and immortal.

I have written on this subject many times, but I shall here try to present it, very briefly, in a different way than before.

This passage in Genesis 2:7 has no reference to the spirit in man whatsoever. But the soul described there does, of course, include the physical brain.

However, elsewhere in the Bible we find that there is something non-physical that is IN man which performs the function of imparting intellect to the physical brain.

One man who earned his Ph.D. after doing brain research in at least three well-known universities came to the conclusion that what imparts intellect to the human brain is the presence of “a nonphysical component that is nonexistent in animal brain.” Needless to say, other scholars in brain research do not agree with him. But the human mind cannot be explained in any way that makes sense on the basis of the physical brain alone.

The human brain is slightly smaller than the brain of an elephant, a whale or a dolphin. It is slightly larger than a chimp brain. In physical quality it is only so slightly superior that the vast superiority in human intellectual output cannot remotely be accounted for.

The Spirit of Man

Most scientists and highly educated scholars not only reject biblical revelation as a source of knowledge, but they are utterly unable to comprehend spiritual knowledge or spiritual principles.

As we read in I Corinthians 2:9: “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man [his mind], the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” Naturally, knowledge can enter the human mind only through the five channels of sight, hearing, taste, smell and feel. Spiritual things, spiritual principles, spiritual knowledge cannot be seen or heard, tasted, smelled or felt. Only physical and material knowledge can enter through those five channels.

So the quotation above from I Corinthians simply says that spiritual things, or the things of God, cannot enter the mind through the five natural channels. The passage continues: “But God hath revealed them unto us by His SPIRIT: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him?” In other words, no man could have the knowledge possessed by humans – knowledge millions of times greater than that possessed by mere animal brain – except for the presence of the spirit of man which is in him. The spirit of man is here contrasted to the Spirit of God. Therefore, because it is spirit and not matter – though man is wholly matter – I term it the human spirit.

This spirit is not a ghost, or conscious being. It is spirit essence. This spirit that is in every human is the factor that imparts the power of intellect to the human physical brain.

I can explain at least part of the process by which the power of intellect is imparted to the brain by this spirit. This spirit is like a computer. In our Data Processing Center on the Ambassador College campus we have some giant computers. A group of employees programs information into these computers, which contain millions of pieces of information – for example, names and addresses, among other information.

One interesting little trick we showed visitors to the Center was to ask the computer to supply whatever information had been programmed into it under my name. The demonstrator typed my name on the keyboard – and out of millions of facts, names, and pieces of information, the computer instantly sorted out my name and spewed out the information: It said, “Herbert W. Armstrong, age 37, going on 36.” Of course it got a laugh.

A Nonphysical Component

This human spirit cannot see, hear, smell, taste or feel. The physical brain sees through the eyes, hears through the ears, etc. And the brain can receive through these five channels only what is material and physical. But what the brain sees or hears – what knowledge it receives – is instantly programmed into the human spirit. In other words, the spirit in each human memorizes, and it provides instant recall for the brain. The human spirit imparts the power of intellect to the physical brain in two ways: 1) It gives the brain instant recall of whatever the brain calls for in the knowledge stored in this memory – or this human computer; 2) it somehow supplies the brain whatever energy is needed to cause it to think – that is, to put these pieces of information stored in this spirit together in the process we call thinking or reasoning and drawing conclusions.

Animals see, hear, smell, etc. But what they see, hear, smell is not stored in such a “computer,” and there is no instant recall of knowledge stored there years ago, and no spirit to cause the physical brain to function in the process of thinking and reasoning, and acquiring knowledge.

Animals do not have this spirit, and are not capable of the functions of the human brain, which has the additional presence of a NONphysical component – this human spirit.

Why do we humans have this spirit? Because we were made in the image and likeness – form and shape – of God. And we were made to have a relationship with God. Animals were not so made. God is a spirit – is wholly composed of SPIRIT. Man is physical MATTER, but made to have a relationship with a spiritual God! That is why God the Creator made man the way He did!

Now we are ready for the last half of this same verse 11 in I Corinthians 2: “… even so the things of God [godly knowledge, spiritual knowledge and comprehension] knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.”

What tremendous meaning is here! Yet almost no one understands it! Just as an animal cannot have the knowledge or intellect of a man – nor could a man without this spirit which is in him – so, in like manner, no man can have spiritual comprehension, know the things of God, have spiritual knowledge, without also having another spirit – the HOLY SPIRIT OF GOD.

Pattern of Duality

How interesting that God does things in a manner of duality – in twos, or pairs. He created Adam, a man. But alone, this man was incomplete. He needed a woman to form the one unit of a family. Not many know it, but God is a family into which we may be born.

There was the first Adam, and then the second Adam – Jesus Christ. There are in the Bible the two Testaments – the Old and the New. To form a new human being through the process of reproduction, the principle of duality enters again: A female egg cell, or ovum, must be entered by and joined with a male sperm cell. The two make one.

What the Human Spirit Lacks

Now understand this wonderful knowledge. The spirit in man is not complete by itself; it was made to NEED another spirit – the Holy Spirit of God. They join to make ONE begotten child of God, just as the male sperm cell and the female egg cell – the two cells – join to make one begotten human – begotten, but not yet developed or ready to be born as one human being.

In the incident of the “forbidden fruit” in the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve were freely offered this second and most needed Spirit. Of the two symbolic trees, the tree of life was a symbol of God’s Holy Spirit. To have taken the fruit of that tree would have been to receive God’s Holy Spirit, which would join with their human spirits, impregnating them as begotten (not yet born) children of God.

But our first parents took to themselves, and FOR the human family which sprang from them, the knowledge of what is good and what is evil, thus rejecting the government of God based on His spiritual law. That law is a WAY OF LIFE – the way of good, the way of love, outgoing, not self-centered.

They cut themselves and the human family which was reproduced from them off from God. Since that was man’s choice, God gave him his choice, and sentenced the human family to 6,000 years of being cut off from contact with Him. Man would thus have to go on living with the one spirit alone and would be capable of knowing only that which is physical and material – with a mind that could not comprehend spiritual knowledge or the things of God!

So, to finish the awesome revelation of truth in I Corinthians 2: “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned” (verse 14).

But if the things of God are “foolishness” to the highly educated natural man, listen to how his vast fund of misknowledge appears to God. God says, “For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God” (I Cor. 3:19).

He did, however, reserve to Himself the decision to intervene in this God-rejecting world in certain instances where it served His purpose. Apparently He intervened and imparted certain knowledge through personal contact to Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob (Israel), Joseph, Moses, and the prophets of Israel. God intervened in forming the nations of Israel and Judah. He intervened in sending Christ with the announcement of the good news of the coming Kingdom of God. The government of the Kingdom of God will be established at the seven-thousandth year and will rule all nations for 1,000 years with WORLD PEACE, happiness, and spiritual salvation offered to all. God also intervened in raising up His Church, in the Bible called “the little flock,” persecuted by the churches of this world. (And Satan is called “the god of this world,” though he has DECEIVED all nations until none, it seems, realizes that fact.)

I will come later to an explanation of the change that will take place in the world’s youth at the beginning of that seventh thousand years. Right now I’m concerned with today’s youth. But what I first wanted to make clear is the state of the human mind. And today’s youth, as a whole (save for the few converted who have God’s Spirit as well), have only that one human spirit.

Let me add here, however, that we are within a FEW YEARS of the END of the 6,000-year sentence cutting humanity as a whole off from God. This is the very living generation that shall live through the ending of this unhappy and evil world, and the beginning of the happy, peaceful world tomorrow. We are the living generation that shall live to see that happy day!

There Really Is a Devil

I know it is not fashionable in today’s knowledge (which is FOOLISHNESS to God) to say that there exists a devil named Satan.

Very, very few people today (theologians especially) really understand the Bible. It is like a jigsaw puzzle. It does not start with Genesis 1, verse 1, and carry its revealed truth through its pages in straight time sequence. In fact Genesis 1:1 does not record the real earliest beginning at all. John 1:1 in the New Testament does. Biblical revelation is found “here a little, there a little.” This is explained in Isaiah 28:9-10: “Whom shall he [God] teach knowledge? And whom shall he make to understand doctrine? … For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little.” This passage goes on to explain that this was done for a world that cut itself off from God, “that they might go, and fall backward.” But for those willing to believe what God says, who have His Holy Spirit and who really hunger and thirst for understanding, God will reveal His truth to them by helping them put the “jigsaw puzzle” together properly – and then the wonderful, beautiful, glorious picture will come clear in the only explanation of things that makes sense!

The Bible reveals what almost nobody knows: Before the creation of man, this earth was inhabited by angels. God set over them His government. On an earthly throne, with the whole earth his jurisdiction, God placed the superarchangel, the cherub Lucifer. This Lucifer was of the highest rank of being it is possible for God to create – actually only God is superior in power. Lucifer led his angels – apparently a third of all created angels – into rebellion against the government of God.

God’s government is based on the way of life I call “GIVE” – or the better biblical term, “LOVE.” It is outgoing love toward God – a return of His love which He gives to us with His Holy Spirit. It is giving to God obedience, reverence, utter trust and worship. It is outgoing concern for the welfare of one’s fellowman – the way of giving, serving, cooperating, helping, sharing.

But Lucifer turned to the way I call “GET.” He turned to vanity, lust and greed, to jealousy and envy, to competition and strife, to violence and war, to rebellion against God and God’s way of life.

The government of God was no longer in effect on earth. Lucifer’s name was changed to Satan, meaning “adversary,” “enemy.” The angels became demons – their minds perverted, warped, twisted, as is Satan’s. Nevertheless, all angels are SPIRIT beings, composed of spirit, and therefore immortal. Satan appeared before the first woman, Eve, to deceive her. He has deceived all humanity ever since (Rev. 12:9), except those few throughout the ages God has called.

Prince of the Power of the Air

Jesus Christ overcame Satan; He obeyed completely and proved He would never deviate from God’s laws and God’s way of life, as Lucifer did.

However, Jesus Christ did not come 1,900 years ago to then take over the rulership of the earth or to engage in a “soul-saving crusade” to save the world spiritually. God had sentenced humanity to 6,000 years of being cut off from Him. God up until now has called only a FEW, for special purposes. Christ came as a Messenger sent from God. The message – His gospel – was to announce the coming Kingdom of God, which is the family of God ruling in the government of God.

So, this mighty and powerful, tricky, deceptive and subtle Satan has continued to rule the earth up until now.

You read of him in the book of Job; you read much of him in the New Testament. In Ephesians 2:2 he is called the “prince of the power of the AIR.” I could not have understood that until I began broadcasting over the air. When I was a young man, there were no radio stations transmitting sound through the air. Television did not get started really reaching the public until after World War II.

When God wanted to have King Cyrus of Persia issue a proclamation for certain Jews to go back to Jerusalem to build the second temple, He did not communicate with this gentile king as He did with His own prophets, or as with Moses, face to face. It is recorded in Ezra 1:1 that God stirred up the spirit in Cyrus, thus communicating with him through his human spirit. That is the method by which Satan deceives the whole world.

Our youth of today were not born with what we call “human nature.” Human nature is described as vanity, lust and greed, jealousy and envy, competition, an attitude of strife, war, violence, and rebellion against authority. This is precisely what Satan turned to, and turned his angels to. And just as God communicated through the air to King Cyrus, through Cyrus’ human spirit, so Satan, the prince of the power of the air, broadcasts. And every human spirit is tuned to Satan’s wavelength!

He does NOT broadcast in sounds – your ears do not hear it – nor in pictures, as in television. He does not broadcast in words. He subtly broadcasts in ATTITUDES, moods, impulses.

Heredity and Environment

Our youth of today were born as the lovely, sweet little infants their parents thought them to be – with none of this “human nature.” Their parents did have this so-called human nature, but they acquired it from Satan’s broadcasting, and acquired characteristics are NOT transmitted by heredity. Besides, these attitudes we call human nature are really spiritual in nature – not physical or material.

But, as the baby grows into a little child and his mind begins to develop, his human spirit begins to receive Satan’s messages of the “get” way of life. And by the time he is a teenager, growing toward adulthood, he may have received a great deal of this satanic attitude.

Humans become what they do because of two factors – heredity and environment. Some inherit a better mind than others. By environment, I mean ALL external influences: teaching from parents, schools, and other people, especially peers, from books and entertainments – and, of course, from these impulses and attitudes that Satan keeps subtly injecting into one’s mind in a manner he does not realize.

The flight steward on my plane who accompanies me on my trips is a young man who formerly taught in one of our Imperial schools (grade and high schools formerly run on the Ambassador College grounds). He said to me the other day: “We could always tell which of our children came from homes where their parents spent a good deal of time with them, and which from homes of parental neglect.”

Parental teaching, love, and training can very greatly counteract Satan’s broadcast influence. Other factors of environmental influence may help counteract it also.

One Spirit, and Cut Off From God

Now consider WHY today’s teenagers are like they are. Some are “good” by this world’s standards, some are bad, and some are very bad.

Having only the human spirit creates loneliness and a craving for something that will satisfy. This void can only be filled by God’s Holy Spirit – which, as we read in Romans 8, “beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God” (verse 16). So today’s youth (and adults as well) seek to satisfy that “soul hunger” – in physical pleasures and interests.

Not only are most children shamefully neglected by their parents today, but they have no contact with God.

I think these things explain the splendid U.S. News & World Report article on “America’s Youth” with the subhead, “Angry, Bored, or Just Confused?”

Yes, I think they are all of those things, and I think I have here explained why.

But the good news is that the 6,000 years is just about over; Christ, who conquered Satan and qualified to restore the government of God once again to earth, is very soon coming.

Satan’s broadcasting, by the way, can be resisted. He has no power of duress. He can put the thought or temptation or the attitude there, but we humans, if only taught so, can RESIST it with the power of the Holy Spirit, and there is much teaching in the New Testament that we should, can, and must resist it.

I am proclaiming around the world the good news that Christ is very soon coming; Satan will be put away, and the ENVIRONMENT of teens will be entirely changed. The lesson has been written in 6,000 years of humanity rejecting God.

The Conclusion

We are right now emerging rapidly into the final supreme WORLD CRISIS that will end this present evil world and bring on the supernatural intervention of the Almighty Creator God to prevent humanity from using its now existing weapons of mass destruction to erase all life from earth. This age will climax in the coming of Jesus Christ as King of kings and Lord of lords, setting up the Kingdom of God that shall rule and bring PEACE to all nations.

Meanwhile today’s youth, fast growing toward adulthood, will not improve, but conditions will worsen (II Tim. 3:1-4). Few people know – but Satan knows – that he now has but a short time (Rev. 12:12) and this stirs him to great wrath (same verse). He will surcharge the air over the earth with his “get” attitude with greater intensity than ever.

But, as I said, Satan has no power of duress. He can do no more than God allows. Those parents who read this article can devote more time to their growing children. Teach them the way of give – of LOVE. With proper teaching and help, at least they can improve, overcome, turn to more profitable interests, and RESIST these impulses to evil with which Satan is surcharging the air with increasing power and wrath!

But very soon now, the supreme crisis will come. God will shake the whole world with frightening signs in the heavens; Christ will come and Satan will be put away (Rev. 20:1-3), and the saints whom Christ has called and prepared will rule under Christ in love and with power over all the earth for the next thousand years.

And what of the world’s youth, then?

They will be totally freed from being on the receiving end of Satan’s broadcast. They will live in an environment where truth and love and peace are being taught everywhere. The whole world will be relieved of this unseen, unrealized evil pressure from this evil prince of the power of the air. Instead God’s law of love and peace will go out to all the world from Jerusalem. The Holy Spirit of God will flow out from Jerusalem, even as Satan’s broadcasts of evil attitudes go out over the earth today. Listen to the SURE word of God: “And it shall be in that day, that living waters [the Holy Spirit] shall go out from Jerusalem… And the Lord shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one Lord, and his name one” (Zech. 14:8-9).

It will be a NEW and totally different world. Our youth, then, shall be filled with ambition to live the “give” way, and will be preparing themselves for great accomplishments and spreading joy and happiness all over the earth.

We could have a veritable Utopia here on earth.

We shall have – and all this will come in our very present living generation. THAT is your SURE HOPE! The living Christ has committed to me His great commission – to announce, proclaim, and spread this good news over all the earth.