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The Cross Justifies the Existence of All Life
by Paul E. Penno

The subject of temporary, universal, justification of life for all men is one of the big ideas which God invites us to wrap our minds around. From the perspective of God’s government which is under an all-out assault from Satan in an ideological warfare of ideas to annihilate it, we want to set this truth in its true perspective.

When God commanded Adam not to eat of “the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, . . . for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die (Gen. 2:17), it is true that Adam died spiritually; but more profoundly, God told the truth and He had reference to literal, physical, eternal death. Adam sinned and “the wages of sin is death” (Rom. 6:23). Adam should have been struck dead for his personal choice of rebellion against God, but he wasn’t. Why?

The reason is that in the long ago before the creation of the world, God the Father and God the Son made a promise; or covenant to one another, as they were planning the creation of free-will agents to live in an environment of God’s love on the earth. The Son pledged Himself as Surety for man should he choose to sin. Since the first man, Adam, was the head of the new race of intelligent beings; should he sin, Satan, the adversary of God, would demand that sinning Adam receive his just reward by instant death. However, there was a mitigating factor, in that, Lucifer sinned, while having the fullest knowledge of the character of God; whereas Adam sinned, not having been exposed to all the cosmic pre-history existing between Lucifer and God. There was a degree of innocence wherein he had been sheltered. Thus God was fully within His rights to give man a second probationary opportunity to learn the nature of the two competing governments of the universe and make an informed choice for life or death.

God’s ways are always just and true. He must legitimize sinning man’s survival of eternal death. He did this on the basis of the everlasting covenant between the Father and the Son. God justified the existence of fallen man by means of the last Adam, Jesus Christ. Furthermore, Christ had a legitimate claim on humanity in that He was their Creator. In addition, He is the vast resource of life from which all derive their breath and existence. Hence, God’s government justified the existence of sinful man on the pledged Lamb’s death for sin from the foundation of the world. “Ye were . . . redeemed . . . with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world.” 1 Peter 1:18-20.1

No society or government can exist without the rule of law and a court system to adjudicate and administer the law. God’s government is no exception. It is not by sheer despotic force that God maintains sinful man’s existence in the eyes of sentient cosmic beings, angels, and demonic principalities and powers. It is some form of democracy which acclaims and perceives that He is acting upon the rule of law and yet dealing mercifully with the erring giving them a second probation because of their representative Head.

1 “As soon as there was sin, there was a Saviour. Christ knew what He would have to suffer, yet He became man's substitute. As soon as Adam sinned, the Son of God presented himself as surety for the human race, with just as much power to avert the doom pronounced upon the guilty as when He died upon the cross of Calvary.” Ellen G. White, “Lessons from the Christ-life,” The Review and Herald (March 12, 1901), par. 4.
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