Sunday, August 18, 2013
Darkness and Light
In the beginning God created.
God is eternal, self-existent, the cause of all else. All that exists apart from God Himself, exists only because God created. And this is a fundamental truth that we all need to know and understand. We exist by the will of God. All we are, all we have, all we ever hope to be, is or will be only because God created.
And here is the solution to a mystery that has troubled many. We know that God is light and truth, the source of all that is right and good. Scripture declares: “This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.” (1 John 1:5).
And yet we also find statements like the following in Scripture: “I form the light and create darkness, I make peace and create calamity; I, the LORD, do all these things” (Isaiah 45:7).
And here, if we look closely enough, we see a pre-figuring of the Cross, a pre-figuring of Jesus as our sin bearer. It is true that “God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.” All that God created was good, even very good. And we are told: "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning." (James 1:17)
All that is dark and evil in our world is the result of sin, the result of a perverted twisting by men and devils of the good things that God created. Yet there could have been no twisting and perverting of a good creation if God had never made that good creation. There would never have been sin if God had not created intelligent beings with the good gift of a free-will
And in view of the fact that if God had never created there could have never been any perversion of that creation then God takes upon Himself the responsibility for the existence of darkness and evil.
God could have existed in a splendid eternal isolation. God could have created a physical universe with no intelligent beings. God could have created beings that were little more than puppets. But God did not do any of those things. God is Love, and this love is not so much something He does as it is what He is. God is Love, and all that God creates will reflect that love. Love requires the existence of choice. Love requires the existence of a free-will. And so God created a universe populated with intelligent beings capable of freely of their own will loving Him, or not, as they so choose.
Time and again all through the Bible you come across instances where God takes upon Himself the responsibility for the evil that has come into this world. That God would do such a thing is a mystery that many people cannot comprehend, nevertheless it is so. Here is prefigured the ministry of Jesus as our sin bearer, for Jesus Himself is the God of the Old Testament. “And without controversy is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in the flesh.” (1 Timothy 3:16).
Jesus freely took our sins on himself. He freely took the blame, if you will, for our actions.
Jesus is the "lamb slain from the foundation of the world." (Revelation 13:8). The sacrificial system that was instituted after the fall of man pointed to Jesus as the One who would take the blame and bear the penalty for our sins. The word of God to Adam and Eve was that on the day they ate of the "tree of the knowledge of good and evil" they would die. That they did not die that day is because as soon as sin entered this world, Jesus (Almighty God) stepped forward to take the blame, to bear that sin.
However this does not translate into universal salvation as some would have it. Because all that exists, apart from God Himself, exists only because God created, God accepts the blame for darkness and evil on a broad generic level. However, because we are creatures of free-will, this does not automatically translate to personal salvation. Because we are creatures of free-will, we must of our own free-will accept Jesus into our lives as our personal sin-bearing savior. We must of our own free-will give ourselves to Him. Only then will Jesus also take the blame for our own personal sins.
In the Bible we don’t see God in His royal splendor on the throne of the universe, but God in his work clothes wading through the muck and mire of this world, working to save the lost. It is dirty work, but He is willing to do that dirty work even at the risk of being misrepresented and misunderstood by the very people He is trying to save. “Why Lord, Why?” is the question, and the accusation, that has been voiced by millions through the ages, and God allows His reputation to be stained as He accepts the blame and takes to Himself the sins of the world.
Isaiah 53:4 Surely He has borne our griefs And carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted. 5 But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed. 6 All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.