We saw in the former part of this treatise, that as soon as Adam sinned God promised a Redeemer, “the seed of the woman,” who would bruise the serpent’s head (Gen. 3. 15), but we learn from the Scriptures something even more wonderful.
Redemption was no after-thought with God. In the eternal counsels of the Godhead, Redemption was designed to infinitely surpass Creation in the manifestation of the wisdom, love and glory of God. The stability of the old creation was made dependent upon the First Adam’s obedience. His allegiance to his Creator would determine its history and the destiny of the human race.
Alas! revelation and human history record man’s revolt against God. Adam disobeyed (Rom. 5. 19), and we read that the effect of his disobedience upon his posterity was threefold:
(i) “Sin entered into the world,” and “many became sinners.”
“A depraved nature is the sad heirloom of succeeding generations.” “It is now not logic but bias in some form that controls man as we now find him in this world.”
(ii) “Death by sin, and so death passed upon all.”
(iii) “Judgment was by one to condemnation.”
“Upon all men to condemnation” (Rom. 5. 12-21).
Therefore the Adamic order, although at the beginning perfect and pleasant in the sight of God, yet was removable if man failed to fulfil his responsibilities, and rule over the dominion entrusted to him, according to the will of God. Let men, who will, spend their time and powers in seeking to trace their ancestry from supposititious ape-like men, we for our part accept the Bible which treats of the Adamic race – its creation, its fall, its history and destiny. God is seen outside and above Nature. He is not part of His creation, therefore we read of the removing by the voice of His word of those things that are shaken, as of things that have been made, that those things which are not shaken may remain (Heb. 12. 25-29).
The sentence and ruin under which the whole race has lain from the beginning of man’s history, were not intended to be final, for God had His plan of mercy already in His mind. There was no power of self-recovery in man, and if he had been left to himself his condition and doom would have been eternal. God, however, did not intend to leave man to himself, nor did He intend to leave the usurper in possession of man’s forfeited dominion and lost inheritance (Gen. 3. 15; Matt. 4. 8-10; John 12. 31, 32).
There has been on man’s part culpable ignorance of the character and ways of God which is inexcusable (Rom. 1. 18-23), for throughout human history God has not left Himself without witness (Acts 14. 15-17). He has revealed Himself in Creation, in the Holy Scriptures, in His Moral Government of the World, and finally in God manifest in the flesh, His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. These are facts which cannot be refuted. We are under no obligation to prove these things to cavillers at this advanced stage of the world’s history, and in view of the abundant evidence available to all sincere seekers after Truth.
Human history is, from the Godward aspect, the working out of the Divine Plan of Redemption, which was purposed and planned before the foundation of the world. It is timeless and entirely of God, and is therefore outside and apart from all human thought and effort. This Divine Redemption must not be thought of as restoration to the original state of innocence possessed by unfallen Adam. Much more is contemplated in the eternal counsels of the Godhead (Eph. 3. 8-12; Col. 1. 25-29; Titus 1. 1-3; 1 Pet. 1. 18-21).
From these and other scriptures we learn, that although enacted in the “time state,” Redemption is related to eternal counsels, “the purpose of the ages” (Eph. 3. 11, see Greek), in which this present age of Grace is included. Hence the earth and the human race have been preserved from total destruction, under the shield of the Redemptive promise of a Kinsman-Redeemer, the Goel, Who pledged Himself to come into Manhood and fulfil all the will of God. Redemption is far-reaching in its effects and surpasses man’s limited view of the Cross (Heb. 10. 5-10).
There is, what has been happily termed “a philosophy of the dispensations” which, we suggest, accounts for the frequent use of the Greek word aionios in the New Testament. No other word in that language appears to combine the ideas of Time-events and human responsibility, being related to God’s eternal counsels and to eternal consequences, even as the same word is applied to the results of Christ’s redemptive work, and to the spiritual blessings bestowed on all who believe in Him. Divine Revelation unfolds the mystery that Time is brought into relation with the Eternal; that the finite is embraced in the Infinite, or in other words the greater includes the less. The Apostle Paul, when making known the true God to the Athenians, spoke of Him as the One in Whom “we live, and move, and have our being” (Acts 17. 28). “In Him” connotes the finite within the infinite, yet not identical.
The word eternal (aionios), applied to the Lord’s Person, to His Redemptive-offering of Himself on the Cross and to the results that issue from that Sacrificial Death, reveals the character and completeness of the Redemption that is in Christ Jesus (Rom. 3. 24). He is that eternal life which was with the Father and has been manifested in His incarnation (1 John 1. 2). He became the Author of eternal salvation (Heb. 5. 9). He obtained eternal redemption. Not “for us.” A wider thought is here in view (Heb. 9. 12, R.V.). The promised inheritance is eternal (Heb. 9. 15). The gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord (Rom. 6. 23).
(To be continued.)