Studies in the Scriptures
Zion's Watch Tower
DIVINE JUSTICE IN THE DELUGE
"The Flood came, and took them all away."
Heretofore we considered the physical causes which led up to the Deluge, and found them every way reasonable and in full harmony with history and geology.
Today we consider the Deluge from a different standpoint.
We will attempt to show from the Bible why God permitted the Deluge at all, and that He was fully justified in the arrangement which blotted out the human family, except eight persons—righteous Noah and his family.—
To begin with, we should remember that God’s Covenant with Adam, granting everlasting life, was based upon the fact that he was perfect (an image of his Creator), and on condition that he would maintain this image and likeness by continued obedience to his Maker.
When Satan obsessed the serpent and guided it to eat the very fruit of which our first parents were forbidden to eat, he produced thereby a temptation.
Mother Eve saw that so far from the serpent’s being poisoned by that fruit, it was the wisest of animals. She reasoned that humanity was so far superior to the brute that the increased wisdom would make her husband and herself like gods. She thirsted for knowledge and power.
Only the Divine command seemed to stand between her and the highest ideals. She partook of the fruit and recommended it to Adam—who was not so deceived, but who knew that death would surely follow disobedience.
Nevertheless he disobeyed, thinking that he would rather perish with his wife than spend eternity without her.
The disobedience led to expulsion from Eden and the beginning of the gradual execution of the sentence, "Dying, thou shalt die." Adam died within the thousand-year Day in which he ate "of the tree"—nine hundred thirty years old. His race inherited his dying conditions and tendencies. Thus all humanity are under the Divine curse, or sentence of death, and have been going down to the tomb, Hades, for six thousand years. Whatever, therefore, may cut short human life is no injustice to humanity, because whatever life is enjoyed is just so much more than it has title to. Hence the Deluge was merely a quick means of executing against the race the death sentence already expressed sixteen centuries before.
THE DELUGE A DELIVERANCE
When the Bible account of the cause of the Deluge is properly comprehended, we see that it was indeed a blessing in disguise. The human family had gotten into slavery, and would shortly have been wiped out by a new race which most peculiarly had intruded upon humanity. The Bible tells us that this new race consisted exclusively of males, propagated through the human female. We read,
The fallen race of Adam was unable to cope with the superior mental and physical strength of the intruders.
Robbed of their wives and daughters, and compelled to do the drudgery of their new masters, their lives were a burden. Not only so, but the new race was vicious, brutal, violent, as well as immoral. The Bible account declares, "The earth was filled with violence." The general moral corruption went so far that we read, "Every imagination of the thoughts of man’s heart was only evil continually." What a terrible arraignment!
What a mercy in the sight of all intelligent beings that such a terribly immoral, strifeful, and enslaved condition should be brought completely to an end! This description is found graphically recorded in
WHENCE THE RACE OF GIANTS?
In the past we have not studied the Bible with sufficient care, and therefore have not appreciated properly its wonderful, harmonious story. The origin of the invading race of giants is clearly told. Satan, a glorious angelic being of a high order, named Lucifer, the Morning Star, deflected to sin, because of ambition. He had said in his heart long before, "I will be as the Most High"—an independent sovereign. (
.) Satan thought that he saw his opportunity to establish a separate empire in the earth. He thought that if he could become master of the first pair, all of their children would be his subjects. Knowing of his own undying nature, and that man was created for everlasting existence, he counted not on
as the Divine penalty for sin.
When Satan perceived his human subjects growing gradually weaker under the curse, a new plan was formulated.
To the angels who were given permission to help and to instruct humanity, a temptation was presented.
They possessed the power of materialization, and could appear as human, to help and instruct humanity. The Satanic suggestion was that they could help humanity best by begetting a new race, using the human females as mothers for that race, to which they would impart their own virility. Although this was recognized as being contrary to Divine Law, it was perceived that Satan had not been punished for his deflection. The inference was that God was unable to punish Satan for this rebellion.
Thus by refraining from punishing Satan, God left open the door by which all the holy angels were exposed to temptations to disobedience and disloyalty.
Thus we may know that all the angels of Heaven in harmony with God are loyal to the core; for they withstood temptation—permitted for the very purpose of their testing. That this testing continued for centuries we know from the context, because the children of the illicit union were not babes, but men—giants—and renowned
at a time when manhood was rarely reached earlier than one century. The simple record of Genesis is, "The sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose....
When the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children unto them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown."
In due time these bestial giants filled the earth with violence, oppressing and enslaving Adam’s posterity. As for themselves, they had no right to existence, since they were born contrary to the Divine will, or Law. Nor can we suppose that in any sense of the word they would be included in the redemptive work of Jesus, who died only for Adam and his posterity. "As all in Adam die, even so all in Christ shall be made alive, every man in his own order"—the Church in the First Resurrection. —
HOPE FOR THE ANTEDILUVIANS
There is the same hope for the antediluvians as for all the remainder of the human family—the hope of the resurrection of the dead. This means not merely a hope of being awakened from the sleep of death, but a resurrection hope, a hope of Restitution, a hope of return, if they will, to the full measure of human perfection, the image of God in the flesh. This hope, as we have seen on previous occasions, rests first of all on God’s gracious promise that all the families of the earth shall be blessed in Abraham’s Seed. Secondly, it rests in the Bible assurance that Jesus is the Head, and the Church the members of that Spiritual Seed of Abraham, which soon, as the Elect of God, will be completed and glorified.
In the Messianic Kingdom this great "Seed" will accomplish the blessings foreordained. St. Paul emphasized this, saying, "If ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s Seed, and heirs according to the promise" made to Abraham: "In thy Seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed."—
DIVINE PATIENCE MANIFESTED
As we review the situation, we are amazed at the exhibition given us of Divine patience. We are reminded of St. Peter’s words that God is not willing that any should perish. How easily He could have blotted out of existence our first parents and have created another pair!
How easily He could have hindered Satan from presenting the temptation! How easily He could have warned the angels against a course of disobedience and, if necessary, have shown them His Power at any time!
These incidents illustrate to us a general principle of Divine Character and dealings. God wishes not to have the heavens and the earth populated with evil beings.
Creating angels and men in His own image and likeness, on different planes, He desires them to maintain their own station, and in loving loyalty to learn to trust His Wisdom, Justice, Love and Power. Moreover, He does not wish to have any children or servants in all His domain obedient merely because of fear, merely because of ignorance. Jesus’ words give us the key to the Heavenly Father’s Character in this respect. He says that God seeketh such to worship Him as worship Him in spirit and in truth.—
God had indeed a glorious Dominion before sin entered the world. And He could, of course, have hindered any spread of the disloyal ambition of Satan by destroying him, or He could have coerced him into obedience as a slave. But such He desires not. God most evidently has the very highest ideals in respect to His Government and all His subjects. All His work is perfect, and He will not allow it to get away from the perfection in which He created His intelligent creatures. Every variation from that perfection, therefore, must be the result of disobedience; and the unalterable Law is that the disobedient shall perish. Whoever does not learn to love righteousness and hate iniquity will be counted unworthy of life everlasting, will be cut off from among the people.
MAN’S EXPERIENCE A LESSON
We may say, then, that God not only foreknew that the conditions under which man was created would result in temptation, in sin; but without causing the temptation, and without giving any excuse for the disloyalty, He determined to permit it. Some suppose that the permission is to be everlasting, but the Scriptures assure us to the contrary. The reign of Sin and Death He purposed to permit for six thousand years. Then by bringing in the Messianic Kingdom, He purposes to abolish sin and death, lifting to human perfection the willing and obedient and destroying in the Second Death all the unwilling and disobedient.
The sending of His Son was a part of God’s Plan.
He put the death penalty upon humanity, knowing at the time that it would require the death of an obedient Sacrifice for human redemption, and purposing in advance that He would provide such a Redeemer as would willingly, gladly, become man’s Surety, man’s Ransom-price. Thus the permission of evil has resulted in the manifestation of God’s Love in a manner that otherwise would hardly have been revealed. The infliction of the death sentence for so long has, likewise, demonstrated the persistence of Divine Justice and its penalty.
The recovery of the dead by a resurrection will demonstrate, as nothing else could, the Power of God. And when the entire Plan of God shall have been outworked, and shall have been made known to angels and men, as a whole it will demonstrate the Wisdom of God as it never could have been known, had He not adopted the plan He did of temporarily permitting a reign of Sin and Death.
"MANY SONS TO GLORY"
Another thing made possible by the permission of sin has been the special call of an Elect Church during this Gospel Age. The Bible declares that the Elect Church are begotten of the Spirit throughout this Age, and must
be born of the Spirit in the Resurrection. "Flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God." The need of a Redeemer opened the way for the Logos to leave the Heavenly nature and become a man. This opened the way for Jesus to demonstrate His love and loyalty by obedience unto death, "even unto the death of the cross." (
.) And this great sacrifice and the obedience constituted not only the Ransom-price for Adam and his race, but also the basis on which the Heavenly Father highly exalted His Son far above angels, principalities and powers, to His own right hand—to the Divine nature.—
Similarly the exaltation of the Church to be the Bride of Christ, His Joint-heir in the Kingdom, and partaker with Him of the Divine nature, was made possible by the permission of sin. The Heavenly Father could justly permit members of the fallen race, of the same disposition as Jesus, and justified and sanctified through Him, to sacrificially lay down their lives as members of the Body of Christ, and by thus suffering with Him to be accounted worthy also of reigning with Him in glory, honor and immortality in His Kingdom.—
"HALLELUJAH! WHAT A SAVIOR!"
"What a God! Infinite in Wisdom, Justice, Love and Power!" Surely, to know Him is life eternal!
Is it any wonder, in view of this work that God has outlined for His Son and the Church, that He should consider it necessary to give us lessons and tests in faith, in loyalty, in obedience! Is it any wonder, in view of the work which He has for us to do for mankind, that the Redeemer Himself was given experiences in suffering, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in the things of God in relation to humanity?
The better we understand the Bible, the more clearly we see that the redemption which God has provided
through Jesus’ sacrifice is to be world-wide in its effect.
The race was not condemned individually, but as a whole in one man, Father Adam, on account of sin. Similarly, the race has been redeemed as a whole by the "Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a Ransom for all."—
The fact that God did not deal with any of the human family except the Hebrews for four thousand years does not mean that He loved the Hebrews only, nor that the Hebrews only will ultimately receive the Divine blessing and a share in the redemptive work. It means that during that time God dealt with the Hebrews in a special way to select from amongst them some especially loyal characters to be sharers in His future work, when He would deal with the world in general.
The fact that all this work—of selecting one class of servants from Hebrews, and another class from all mankind during the Gospel Age—has required a long time—six thousand years—is no argument against God’s purpose to bless all Adam’s children ultimately. The fact that a long time has been consumed in getting ready the instruments of Divine Mercy shows, on the contrary, the greatness and the thoroughness of the Divine Plan in respect to the race as a whole.
Let us avail ourselves of our glorious opportunities for Bible study and for growth in knowledge, grace and love. Let us walk worthy of the light, and rejoice in Him who bought us with His own precious blood!
The wrath of God is love’s severity In curing sin—the zeal of righteousness In overcoming wrong—the remedy Of justice for the world’s redress.
The wrath of God is punishment for sin, In measure unto all transgression due, Discriminating well and just between Presumptuous sins and sins of lighter hue.