So far, study has been mainly given to the constitution of God’s
government as it was formed and operated under conditions where no sin existed.
It was a perfectly idealistic situation which worked faultlessly to the
unmarred happiness of every creature in the universe.
Condensed into summary form the character of God as revealed in that
constitution is as follows:
The laws of that kingdom are the transcript of God’s character.
Inasmuch as God is a Saviour, His laws are also designed to be a protector
and deliverer from the perils contained in the existence of power.
The character of the law and of God being one, the righteousness of
God is purely and entirely a voluntary, spontaneous obedience which is in no
way forced either by Himself or by circumstances.
This is the only kind of obedience He will accept from His creatures—a
service which springs from an intelligent conviction of His goodness,
impartial justice, and love. Therefore, He created them to be like Himself
both in outward resemblance and in character so that they would be able to
appreciate the wonderful nature of His law and the constitution of His
Because He could accept only this kind of service, God could not
introduce any form of compulsion such as the threat of punishment, for this
would stimulate within His children the disposition to obey because they were
afraid not to. No kingdom can be truly happy when the subjects obey from fear
no matter how slight that fear may be.
God gave every one of His created beings the full liberty to either give or
withhold obedience, together with the opportunity to do so either way. In doing
so, He demonstrated His perfect justice by clearly outlining to them the
dangers inherent in the mighty powers given for their blessing and service,
the protective qualities in the law, and the sure effects of disregarding
that law. Having done that He left them free to go whichever way they should
Under these conditions of government, so different from those
practised by sinful man, there can be no place for the raining of punishments
and destructions upon those who do not see things God’s way. That system was
fully operational until certain beings exercised their God-given choice to go
another way. During that time there was certainly no need to punish or
destroy anyone for nobody had ever disobeyed the divine principles. Death and
destruction were completely unknown.
This means that during all that period. The perfect system of
government never came under any real test or challenge. Therefore, if there
any weaknesses in the system, there was nothing to develop
them to where they would be clearly visible.
But with the advent
of the rebellion of the covering cherub, Lucifer, who made himself to be the
devil and Satan, such a challenge was raised against the constitution. Before
us, in the Word of God and in the annals of human history, is the record of
the testing of that constitution so far as that test has gone. The final
pressure is yet to be brought upon it in the earth’s closing days.
It is God’s
affirmation that every principle of His government is eternally perfect,
requires no adjustment or modification, and is equally applicable in
situations of sinfulness as well as sinlessness. He presents His law as the
only standard or righteousness for the dwellers in the purity of heaven and
for those who must dwell in the midst of a sin-cursed people.
If God is wholly
correct in His assertions—and certainly the publishers of this book believe
that He is—then He cannot introduce any actions to deal with the sin problem,
different from what He did before it appeared. Therefore, as surely as He
gave His creatures full liberty to withhold obedience before they fell, must
He still give them the same liberty thereafter. The granting of that liberty
places God where He can neither punish nor destroy those who exercise it.
Before the fall,
motivated by a heart of wondrous love, God made all things to perfection and
gave them freely and fully to His children. Then, to save them from the awful
possibilities involved in power out of control, He expressed His love further
by giving them a law to save them from suffering and death. Thus, before the
fall, God fulfilled the role of a Saviour. If His claims in regard to His
kingdom and its rulership are correct, then after the fall He must still
occupy the role of a Saviour.
Before the fall,
the law which among other things lays down the maxim, “Thou shalt not kill,”
was the direct expression of His character. Accordingly it was not in Him to
kill. Since the fall, that law still declares, “Thou shalt not kill,” and continues
to be the expression of His character. This being so, it is still not in His
nature to kill, and for this reason He still cannot do it.
It is God’s
declaration that He changes not, that He is “the same yesterday, and today,
and forever,” that He is the “uncorruptible God,” that with Him there “is no
variableness, neither shadow of turning.” Malachi 3:6; Hebrews 13:8; Romans
1:23; James 1:17. Link this great
truth with the principle that what we do is the result of what we are. Before
the fall, God, in faithfully acting out His character, destroyed no one.
Therefore, if after the fall, He did resort to destroying, His character must
have changed in order to make this possible. But God has truthfully declared
that He has not changed.
God’s testimonies, are the devil’s charges. While fully admitting that before
the rebellion, no destroying ever appeared in God’s ac-
tivities, Satan claims that the appearance of the sin problem has
imposed upon God the necessity of dealing with this by liquidating those who
will not serve Him.
accuses, the principles of God’s government are not perfect. This is proved,
he assures all, because the Lord had to change His ways to do during the
crisis what He had never done before. If Satan could verify these
accusations, that which would make them so serious was the fact that God, Who
bears witness that He knows all things, even the end from the beginning, has
stated that His principles were so perfect that no matter what circumstances
might arise, they would never require changing. If, on the other hand, the
Lord had admitted that His system of government would only operate
successfully with the full cooperation of every subject, requiring the
introduction of death to defectors from it, then Satan would have had no case
to argue. In fact, he would not have been there to argue, for as a defector
he would have been eliminated immediately.
Satan is as
desperately anxious to win our allegiance today as he was in the Garden of
Eden. Before us, then, is the task of deciding who is correct in this great
controversy. Some have been taught to almost blindly have faith in God, but
this is not sufficient. Our faith must be intelligent, for it to be
effective. The area in which it must be truly intelligent is in this very
field of the principles of the constitution of God’s government. Let the
seriousness of the message of this statement be fully realized by all. “In
order to endure the trial before them, they must understand the will of God
as revealed in His word; they can honor Him only as they have a right
conception of His character, government, and purposes, and act in accordance
with them.” The Great Controversy,
The nature of God’s
constitution as it was formed and operated before the entrance of iniquity,
has been clearly laid out in the Word of God. It is not difficult to
understand what and how it was.
The task before us
now is the much more difficult one of searching out the operation of those
principles during the period when it was under the fearful test imposed by
Satan and wicked men. This is the area which this study now enters. It is a
field in which men have already formed their ideas of the behavior and character
of God. Men under the tutelage of Satan, by his interpretations of the Bible,
have gained a very definite picture of God. Such a picture can only be
correct if the devil is correct in his assertions that God has had to resort
to acts of destruction in order to solve the sin problem.
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