Is God a designer or a dictator?
Genesis 1:1 In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth & 26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
Genesis 2: 9 And out of the ground the LORD God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
Ok, so here we find the account of God, the creator, from the creation of Adam and Eve, were they immortal?
1st Timothy 6:16 states Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen. So Paul is saying only God is immortal.
What did God design to keep Adam and Eve alive?
Genesis 2:9 states God placed “The tree of life” in the midst of the Garden.
However, also in the midst of the garden was the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, the question I’ve had for my entire life is “Why did God place that terrible tree next to the tree of life?” The only answer that I can come up with is that God is love, and a God of love produces free will. Without that choice of free will, we would have all been created as if robots.
In Genesis 3, we find the story of the fall but let’s focus on verse 4, But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die.” Here the father of lies begins the lie that I believe is the center point of all the discussions on Penal Subtitutionary discussions. Why?
In the belief system of Dualism, Evil and Good must go on forever, striking some kind of balance, but God says, evil is corrupting the universe, and 4000 years later sent his Son, to heal the universe.
You see satan, would like us to believe that God’s laws are arbitrary, and there is no link between sin and death. Satan says; “If God could just get a hold of his wrath/anger, calm down a little bit and stop hurting people who for no particular reason are in pain and suffering except for disobeying a “dictator god” that calms down and returns to loving his creation once he’s delivered a fatal blow.” Can you see any problems with this? Can you see the father of lies pointing the finger?
Let’s search what one of the founders of the SDA church writes on the topic. Ellen G White in SDA BIBLE COMMENTARY VOL. 1, Page 1086 wrote;
(Revelation 22:2, 14). Obedience Is Condition of Eating of Tree—Transgression of God’s requirements excluded Adam from the Garden of Eden. A flaming sword was placed around the tree of life, lest man should put forth his hand and partake of it, immortalizing sin. Obedience to all the commandments of God was the condition of eating of the tree of life. Adam fell by disobedience, forfeiting by sin all right to use either the life-giving fruit of the tree in the midst of the Garden, or its leaves, which are for the healing of the nations.
If we take the Penal view (God requires a penalty payment to forgive) we may view that obedience is arbitrary and that God cast Adam and Eve out from the Garden for no other reason than that his creation was disobedient. (In my opinion, this is what the devil wants us to believe)
If we take the point of view that God is creator/designer, and that His law is non-arbitrary, in fact he created us and he knows what is best for us, and that we can only continue living forever based upon his design, how created beings can survive, then we can see His law being something similar to a car instruction manual, follow the manual the car will continue to operate, violate the instructions in the manual the car will be destroyed.
Ellen G White states that God had no choice but to remove Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden unless sin be immortalized, or in other words, God’s creation would be totally destroyed.
So how do we gain access again to the tree of life? (Let’s continue with Bible commentary Page 1086)
Obedience through Jesus Christ gives to man perfection of character and a right to that tree of life. The conditions of again partaking of the fruit of the tree are plainly stated in the testimony of Jesus Christ to John: “Blessed are they that do His commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and many enter in through the gates into the city” (Manuscript 72, 1901).
Notice Ellen G white writes about the “Tree of Life” its leaves, which are for the healing of the nations.
Let’s read Isaiah 53:4&5;
New International Version
Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.
I have read dozens of commentaries on verse 4;
a) Those that came to dissect this verses with pre-conceived judgement that God had to lovingly give up or even kill Jesus as a Penalty Payment
b) Others that read the text into what it really say’s…we considered him punished or as God’s word translation puts it He certainly has taken upon himself our suffering and carried our sorrows, but we thought that God had wounded him, beat him, and punished him.
Let’s look at verse 5;
a) Those that came to dissect this verse with pre-conceived judgement that God had to lovingly give up or even kill Jesus as a Penalty Payment say see; reconciliation with our Father was required as a penalty payment.
b) Others that read the text into what it really say’s…we were to be “Healed” (Spiritually) (Ps 41:4; Jer 8:22). NOT “Pardoned”