May 22, 2011

If God did not purpose that sin should enter the world - Jonas C. Sikes (1900)

It has been suggested by some, that if we could prove that the first transgression was predestinated, then the predestination of all things could be established. So to this end I shall first direct my attention. In the first place, I would ask, did not God know that if He made Adam as He did and placed him where he would be subjected to the evil influence of the Serpent, that he would transgress? If not, where is the perfection of His wisdom? If He did, why did He make him and place him thus? Was it because He was not able to make a perfect man; one that would not yield to temptation? one that could not be corrupted? If so, where is the perfection of His power? If He did not have the power then, and has never, nor will never increase in power, will He ever be able to take a poor, fallen wretch and make a perfect and incorruptible man out of him? I suppose, however, that all who claim to be Old School or Primitive Baptists will admit that He had both the wisdom and the power to have had it different, if He had willed it different, but this would be an admission that He did not will it different, which would be to say that He willed it to come to pass as it did. These are self-evident facts. If God willed it to be different from the way it came to pass, is it not remarkably strange that He arranged things so that He knew that it would not work out as He intended it, when He could only have thought how He would have it to be, and said, "Let it be so," and it would have been so? It is a self-evident fact that needs no argument to prove it, that either the introduction of sin into the world was according to God's purpose, or else the whole covenant plan of redemption, the advent of Christ into the world, all of His righteous life, all His suffering and death, His resurrection and ascension are not the result of God's free and independent purpose, for it was to redeem man from the consequences of this act and its outgrowth that all the above took place. Hence, if the transgression was not a part of God's eternal purpose, then it follows that the covenant of redemption owes its existence (not to the free and independent purpose of God outside of an extraneous influence, but) to the act of a man by which it was made necessary and a way opened up for it to enter. So in order of thought it would stand thus: First, God determined to make a man. Second, He saw that man would transgress. Third, He devised a plan of redemption. This order cuts God's purpose in two, and sets them thus: First, God's free and independent purpose was to create man. Second, God's knowledge of man's independent act in transgression; and Third, God's necessitated purpose to redeem man was influenced by what He foresaw. If we follow this stream to its logical end, where will it empty? If God had rather sin had not entered the world, then it follows that there has never been a single act, or creature, or thing, in this universe that has been as God originally would rather have had it; because every act, creature, or thing, has been in some way affected by sin, which (according to that view) had rather had never existed. Even the earth, with which every living thing has to do, was cursed because of transgression, which God would rather have had different. Not even one act of the holy Son of God was as God would rather have had it, for His acts were to redeem sinners, when God had rather there had been no sinners to redeem. Nor throughout all eternity can anything be as it would have pleased God to have had it, for it will be one eternal song and shouts from the redeemed sinners praising Him for their redemption, when God had rather that man had never sinned. If this were so, then there would have been no redemption from sin and no shouting of praises by redeemed sinners. I shall trace this stream no farther at present, for I see from its course that it empties into the broad ocean of infidelity. But all of the above is true and much more that might be said, if God did not purpose that sin should enter the world.

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