Phaeton, The Lost Planet: Chapter Six, by J. Timothy Unruh
One of the great mysteries of life is the issue of human suffering. Why does God allow "innocent" people to suffer? Why are there wars? Why is there starvation? Why is there disease, terrible storms, human violence, animal violence, etc., and on and on and on. As it was pointed out at the very beginning of this book there is an innate sense in every one of us that none of this is really "normal," and that there is a profound cause behind this condition of the world, other people, and, of course, even our own selves. For, in reality, most of the battles of which we are daily engaged involve our own nature. The prophet Jeremiah wrote: "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?," -Jeremiah 17:9 Paul the apostle wrote: "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God," (Romans 3:23). The Bible not only reveals the true nature and cause of this agony of the human condition but also sheds light on how it was brought about, first through angelic agency, then through human agency, namely our first parents, Adam and Eve. The problem of "pain," be it bodily, emotional, or spiritual, is such a difficult question for man in general, let alone Christians themselves in particular, that if there were any "weapons" of consequence against the Christian faith in the arsenal of the atheist this issue would be it. All true science and history, if rightly understood, support the fact of God. The evidence is so strong that, as the Bible says: "The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God" (Psalm 14:1). Most atheists, therefore, without any objective evidence on which to base their faith in "no God," must resort finally to philosophical objections; This problem of suffering is the greatest of these. How can God permit such things if He is so good? The Bible clearly indicates the origin of human suffering as residing in sin. Sin is the transgression of man against the unity of God's Holy, just, and good moral legislation (Romans 7:12).
The doctrine about the mystery lying in the origin and history of sin and its specific malignity, does not preclude the profound view accepted by many theologians, of which is presented in this chapter. Theology, of course, is that edifice of finite human understanding constructed of the raw materials mined out of the sacred quarry of Divine revelation, the Bible. Regenerate man is called to diligently search the Scriptures to "see if these things be so" (Acts 17:11).
Almost all of what we know about the ultimate origin of sin, even before Eden, is found within two somewhat obscure but significant passages of Scripture, namely Ezekiel 28, and Isaiah 14. Our speculations are thus based primarily upon these two portions of Scripture, and a few others of lesser extent which allude to this subject. According to a rather commonly propounded view, the angels before their fall had received a revelation of the future incarnation of the Son of God. This theory has its finest foundation in the supposition, otherwise not generally held, that the incarnate Word, who according to the Apostle Paul is the head of all principalities and powers and the first-born among all creatures, was from the very beginning predestined in God's plan for the universe to be the head and king of the angels, and as such was to have been the source of supernatural grace and glory for them, too. Later, in treating of the mystery of the incarnation, the speculative merits of this hypothesis will be discussed.
Presently, the plausibility of this view may be assumed. Then the consequence would necessarily follow that the angels had to adore as their God the Son of man thus presented to them in human form. Moreover in the bearer of human nature, in a man, they were obliged to acknowledge and revere the source of the grace and glory intended for them, just as those among them who remained loyal had later, according to the Apostle, to adore the first-born upon His entrance into the world.
Of course, this was a great humiliation for the angels. Elevated as they were by nature high above man, they had nevertheless to behold him so markedly preferred to them that human nature was raised above their own in dignity. They had to acknowledge that in spite of their sublime natural perfections they had no claim to the divine sonship, and that they could be members of God's household only as strangers who had been received with gracious condescension. Besides, they had to rest content that the only-begotten of God, who willed to communicate His divine dignity to them as the first-born of all creatures, did not take up His abode among them, but erected the throne of His grace in human nature which was so far beneath theirs, and would speed forth the rays of His divine glory to them from that lower stratum. More, they had to thank God for having united Himself so intimately to mankind, for having located the sun of grace there, and for having singled it out as the central point of the universe.
Can the sin of the angels be more naturally explained, and the malice of their insurrection more profoundly represented, than in this hypothesis? if an angel, especially the most brilliant of them all, Lucifer, became absorbed in the contemplation of his glorious nature, and conceived the idea that God preferred human nature to this lofty nature, and even made him dependent on a man for his own highest and noblest prerogative, must he not have held himself scorned by God, must not his natural exaltation have turned to grievously wounded pride, must he not have been wroth that God had passed his nature by, must he not have burned with envy of the favored human race, and above all must he not have been consumed with ungovernable hatred against the Son of man, to whom he had to pay homage, whom he was bid to adore? We need not assert, as some theologians do, that Lucifer in his pride went so far as to claim the hypostatic union for himself. Such a supposition is contrary to all likelihood; he would have had to give up his own personality, whereas pride is wholly immersed in one's own conceit. if, as Scripture indicates, Lucifer craved in his insane rashness to be like the Most High and to set up an empire of his own against Him, the simplest explanation is to be found in his resentment at the thought that any created nature, and especially human nature, should be exalted above him and that he should be made subject to it. Wrath at the exaltation of human nature, and at the fancied slight to his own, seems to have been the original form of his pride, which also included envy of men who had been preferred to himself and of their head, the Son of man, and rebellion against God who had contrived this arrangement so hateful to him.
This theory so proposed by the theologians, who place the angel's sin of envy of man, can be accounted for only on this hypothesis. For at his creation man otherwise had received no attribute or privilege capable of arousing the angel's envy other than possibly his unique power to reproduce which is merely an attribute man shares with yet lower creatures. Whether in the order of nature or in the order of grace; nothing could have provoked such fierce resentment except the fact that a member of the human race had been appointed for elevation to the dignity of hypostatic union with the Son of God, and hence to headship and kingship over the angels. This view, although not worked out in detail, can well be regarded as lending positive support to the theory advanced.
If such revelation of the incarnation of the Word furnished the impetus to rebellion against God for Lucifer and his angels, who preferred to subject themselves to one of their own kind in a war against God rather than submit to a man, even though He were really God, then sin takes on a new, more terrible and appalling character of malice than we have heretofore found. Since this pride and this hatred toward God were occasioned by opposition to the most sublime mystery of divine love, we have here a doubly unfathomable hell of venomous malice. The will of the rebel does not merely aim at wrenching itself free from God's dominion; it strives formally and primarily to slay, to destroy the Son of God in his mortal, human nature, in the conviction that only thus can redress be gained for the affront at which it recoils. The most monstrous and the blackest of all crimes, and at the same time the most inconceivable of all, deicide, resulted inevitably from the angel's rebellion, and accounts for the frightful malignity manifested in its purpose.
This appalling "mystery of iniquity" considered in its origin becomes, in turn, a beacon which serves to throw light on the entire subsequent course of sin. It permits us to peer into the depths of hate with which the devil pursues man. Satan persecutes man not only because man is destined to succeed to the glory which he himself has lost, but much more because man is a member of the body of God's Son. He persecutes mankind on account of its head and federal representative, and in turn persecutes the latter because He has joined himself to men as their head. He does not rest or halt until he has likewise destroyed the human race, until he has set up his reign, the reign of death on Earth, until he has treacherously enticed men to pay homage to him instead of to the Lord's Anointed, to adore him, to bring him offerings, offerings of death, of ignominy, and deepest degradation. More fiercely still does he persecute the human race in the person of those who, after Christ's incarnation, join his colors, and who seek to destroy the empire of hell in themselves and in others; and since it was a woman, a mere human being, who as mother of the God-man was to become, in a very real sense, "Queen of the Angels," hell's hate had to turn especially against this woman, as well as against her entire progeny.
Do not the awful atrocities of heathendom, particularly the human sacrifices, and the cult of fool vice in its most unnatural forms, as also the systematic attack against Christianity with all the weapons of falsehood and calumny, thus find their fullest explanation? The passions of men would never, at least on such an enormous scale, lead them to rage so ferociously against themselves, and to attack the most exalted ornament of their race; they can be brought to such a pass only by the craftiness and deceit of him who envies them. But in giving heed to his promptings they can, and actually do, arrive at such extremities that once the incarnation of the Son of God is laid before them, and the command to adore Him as their God, their King, and the source of their happiness is issued to them, they too break into fury, rise up against their heavenly King with superhuman malice, vaunt themselves above Him, and seek to destroy Him together with His kingdom. Thus in their day the Jews joined in with the devil's schemes for the murder of God and allowed themselves to be used as the devil's tools. Through the centuries since, hell's agents have been continuing their venomous subversion in desperation as the incarnate Christ is now beyond their clutches, they hound His mystical body with diabolical frenzy.
The scandal which the mystery of the God-man is to the fallen angels and the men who follow them results in their refusal to accept God's truth with the love and reverence due to His Word, and in their rejection of faith in the proper sense of voluntary" belief. But unbelief that repudiates belief for the sole reason that its object arouses resentment, does not diminish culpability; it increases culpability, it lays bare the full range of the malice involved in persecuting the good that is proposed for belief. Unbelief can partially excuse only where some uncertainty creeps in. Since the revelation of this mystery does not force itself upon men with the same clarity as it does upon the angels, especially when men are deluded by the powers of hell, men's guilt and malice never come up to the guilt and malice of the angels. Yet men can share in the malice of the devils to a high degree; in point of fact, modern unbelief is largely a demonic unbelief.
At any rate, the conclusion cannot be escaped that the mystery of iniquity has in the course of time taken shape as formal hatred and conflict against the mystery of the Incarnation, and hence that the abyss of its malice can be grasped only in terms of this mystery. Since the malice which it occasioned is essentially more heinous than any other, and we cannot readily suppose that the prince of darkness in establishing his kingdom would neglect to lay its foundations on the bedrock of evil, what is more natural than the assumption that from the very outset he would have wished to set up his kingdom in direct opposition to the kingdom of the Son of God made man?
In whatever way we propose this whole theory about the origin and history of sin it is offered only for what it is worth, as a serious theological opinion that is not strictly deducible from the data of revelation, but that has a strong intrinsic probability. In whatever manner sin first became manifest among the host of heaven, we know for certain from Biblical revelation that from that realm the mystery of iniquity descended from the angels to men, and through it that mystery has been transmitted to the whole of the human race with disastrous consequences. Throughout history Satan and his "new world order" have been trying to keep men from seeing Christ and coming into union with Him and establishing the Kingdom of God on Earth.
|Throughout Scripture there is an implicit association between angels and the stars. Space age photographic reconnaissance has revealed that the solar system's planets have sustained vast devastation caused by the "clash of the titans," likely related to angelic insurrection and the Biblical "war in heaven."|
Copyright © 1995, 1996. All Rights Reserved. Published by RUHE COMPANY, P.O. Box 1034, Rocklin, California 95677-1034. No portion of this book may be reproduced in any form whatsoever without written permission from the publisher. Internet edition, January 17, .1997
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