Was Adam's Fall a mistake? Or expected?

God's Salvage Plan or Master Plan?

James F. McBride: Jesus Christ, the Messiah, is predicted in the Bible to return. Why is God so interested in this small planet?

The sun sinks below the horizon at noon and the moon rises red as blood. A violent unprecedented earthquake rocks the planet. The planet shudders and reels. Millions worldwide forsake their homes and cower in caves and underground shelter. Brilliant white light illuminates the dark sky. And millions scream out in stark terror.

The predicted alien invasion? Has reality at last overtaken fiction? In fact, it's the Biblical depiction of the return of Jesus the Messiah. Not a "gentle Jesus meek and mild" but a King of kings intent on claiming his rightful authority.

Many Christians have high expectations that Jesus of Nazareth will return to this planet from heaven. Multitudes of lurid scenarios - like this one! - clog the bookshelves and grab the imagination. But what is the reality? Why must Jesus return?

Predicted Return

It has been calculated that the return of Messiah is predicted over 1500 times in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments - once every 25 verses on average in the New! So it's not a concept plucked from a rare obscure text. You can be as sure of it as that you are alive today. Of course, the vast majority will indeed consider the idea as total fiction. Who believes the Bible in these enlightened days? But if you harbor the slightest suspicion that the Scriptures may truly have something to say to 21st century man - then take heed.

Be clear, though, that the coming of Messiah, while certain, is nowhere predicted for a specific calendar date. No one knows when the momentous event will happen. However, the Bible outlines a framework of events which warns the watchful of the immanence of his return. In essence, the time is near. [See Time of the Signs for a catalogue of the predicted scenario.]

Plan of the Ages

Believe the Bible and you can have no doubt Jesus will set foot once again on Earth. But why would he, why should God, be interested in this small planet? There's a conviction - though probably it's more of a nervous hope - that `we are not alone'. That what has 'evolved' here must be replicated time and again throughout the vastness of a thousand universes. So - why here?

Mankind's existence is no mere chance evolution from an amoeba- like creature wafted in from space. The Creator God set us here as `Step One' of an incredible plan to populate the universe. Over millions, perhaps billions, of years earth was shaped, and stocked with life-sustaining resources. In God's time, man, perfect for God's purpose, was created by divine fiat as the pinnacle of a material creation. Not an unthinking automaton but an intelligent freethinking being made in the image and likeness of his Creator.

Design Fault?

But there was, seemingly, a design fault! Before long the faculty of choice was exercised contrary to the Maker's `instruction manual'. Adam and Eve lacked spiritual backbone. Mankind toppled from that lofty pinnacle of sinless perfection. The first man Adam, in Bible terms, sinned. No more did he have direct and unhindered access to his Creator and the opportunity to eat of the `Tree of Life' which guaranteed an eternity. "You will die" God had warned (Gen. 2:17).

Had God really made a mistake?

Created flesh and blood from the red earth - however perfect - Adam was merely the clay model for the kind of being God planned him to become. Had he remained sinless and had he developed the spiritual backbone, which is "Christ in us" (Col. 1:27), he would at some point be transformed from his flesh - which "cannot inherit the Kingdom of God" (I Corinthians 15:50) - and given a spirit body that would see no death.

But he and his wife did exercise their God-given right to choose - either life, or death. They chose the path of disobedience - and their physical bodies became subject to decay and death. But that's not end of the story!

Plan `B' - The Real Plan

Understandably and wisely God had already determined the course of events should the inevitable occur and Adam fail. He had a Master Plan, worked out "before the foundation of the world" (I Peter 1:20). God's overwhelming love for His creation could not simply survey the wreckage and pass by on the other side. Yet to achieve His plan for man to live forever a path to reconciliation was necessary. Adam's sin blocked obvious access to unending life. He had cut himself off from his Creator by choosing to follow the whispered instruction of Satan, a powerful being who had sought to dethrone God (Isa. 14, Ezek. 28).

Death had entered the human world. And since `life is in the blood' (Lev. 17:11, Heb. 9:22) it's only through blood being shed that the cause of death could be removed. Plan B, then, required the death of a totally innocent - sinless - representative man whose life was valued more than all human life together. As the apostle John wrote, Jesus was "the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world" (Revelation 13:8). Peter again: "... [you were ransomed] with the precious blood of [Jesus] Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot" (1 Peter 18-20).

Sacrificial Model

In Old Testament times, as a constant reminder of the horror of sin and the need for a Redeemer, God appointed a system of sacrifices - the deaths of utterly sinless and innocent fowl and animals. Adam's son Abel offered such a sacrifice at an appointed time (Genesis 1:4). Indeed all nations offered - and most eventually perverted - such sacrifices. Abraham, among the godly faithful, sacrificed a lamb as a substitute for `his only son' Isaac (Gen. 22). God later instructed the enslaved Israelites to offer a sacrifice (Exodus 3:18) as part of a feast observance (Exodus 5:1-3) - later known as Passover and Unleavened Bread.

Redeemed

God - who always acts with perfect timing - related this blood sacrifice to the redemption from slavery in Egypt of the descendants of Israel, His own people. Each family sacrificed a lamb and sprinkled the blood around the entrance to their homes as a sign of their obedience to Him. Wherever He saw the blood, God protected them from the deadly plague that swept through Egypt in judgment.

Again, in due time, some fifteen hundred years later, God sent the promised representative man - His only Son, Jesus - whose blood was shed in sacrifice. All the sacrifices - sin-offering, burnt offerings, peace-offerings looked forward to him. The apostle Paul calls him `Christ our passover' (1 Cor. 5:7). He was `the Word become flesh' (John 1:14) - God with us as a man. As such Jesus purchased eternal life for us `with his own blood' (Revelation 5:9). Only by `coming under the blood' by committing our life to Him can each of us be part of the glorious `Plan B'. [See How Repentance is Produced and Coming To Baptism]

Full Circle

All who are thus redeemed - freely, by God's gracious favor - are given the very mind of God, His holy Spirit. Until death, God works in them, and they work with God, to become truly His children - sons and daughters of the Almighty - by shaping their life in His image as vividly portrayed for us in the life of Jesus. And when Jesus their Redeemer returns they will be transformed by resurrection from the dead into spirit - to live for ever in a perfect body.

God's plan was not frustrated, either by satanic wiles or by human depravity! These two thousand years, culminating in the resurrection at the return of Jesus, are `Step Two' of the divine Master Plan. When the skies split with the return of the divine King of kings, Step Three will begin. But that's another story.


To comment on this article or request more information, please contact James McBride by e-mail at the comment form below.

For PDF or mailed copy, see CGOM. Excerpt from New Horizons Volume 4 Issue 3, May/June 2000. Edited by James McBride of the Churches of God, United Kingdom.


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