|Topical Bible Study||January 1961|
The Creator Series—Lesson V
God’s Eternal Justice
THROUGHOUT all the ages of human experience, innocent men, women, and children have suffered. Is it just for God to permit an innocent infant to be afflicted with a painful disease, and ultimately to die? There are thousands of situations in which the question of God’s justice is raised. Assuming that God is all-powerful and therefore able to control human experience, why does he permit the innocent to suffer? In the absence of a satisfactory answer to this question, some might well question the existence of God.
The operation of God’s justice in his dealings with his human creatures can be understood only in the light of his plan as a whole. One would properly question the motives of a surgeon who cuts into a human body to remove a malignant growth, or a diseased organ, were it not known that the objective sought is the person’s health and well-being. The healthy unaffected organs of the body might well suffer as the malignancy is being removed, but those involved understand the reason, and are quite willing to have it so.
The principle of justice is well illustrated by the balanced apothecary’s scale. With the scale, the illustration is in equality of weight. In God’s relationship to man, it is in equality of dealings. The Creator is the source of life and its blessings, so he has the right to decide the terms upon which these blessings may be obtained and maintained. (Acts 17:24-28; Job 12:10) Adam was God’s creation. He owed his life to his Creator.
Adam also owed obedience to his Creator, and the Creator, in his wisdom, exacted the death penalty for disobedience, not because he was vindictive, but because it would result in the greatest good to Adam and to his progeny. (Gen. 3:17-19) Think of the havoc that would be wrought if the earth were to disobey the laws of gravitation by which it is kept in its proper orbit! So, if man were permitted to live in disobedience to divine law, there would be no end to the chaos and suffering that would result.
Man was justly condemned to death. The penalty was death, so if man was to be rescued from death the demands of divine justice against him must be satisfied. The Creator’s wisdom provided the way, which was through Christ, the Redeemer. Jesus became a substitute in death for Adam, and for the unborn race in his loins when he sinned. The Bible refers to this as a ransom, or corresponding price.—I Tim. 2:3-6
While God’s love is involved in this plan, it is his justice that opens the way for man’s release from sin and death. Meanwhile, the human race has continued to suffer, the innocent with the guilty. The just compensation for this will be in the blessed experiences of the enhanced joy which will be made available to all as they are restored to life. Then, as they look back upon the experiences through which they passed during the reign of sin and death, they will thank God for them, for thereby they will be led to a more profound appreciation of their loving Creator, whom they will have the opportunity of obeying and serving forever.—Isa. 35:10; 29:24; Rev. 21:4
Here are some of the questions answered in the foregoing short article on the topic, “God’s Eternal Justice.” Do you know the plan of God well enough to answer these questions?
Why has the suffering of the innocent caused some to question the existence of God?
How only can we understand the operation of God’s justice in his dealings with the human race?
Explain the principle of justice. How is it illustrated by the apothecary’s scale?
Explain the wisdom of the just penalty of death which resulted from Adam’s disobedience.
Explain how justice operates to provide the release of the human race from death.
What compensation will there be for the sufferings of the human race during the reign of sin and death?
“The Divine Plan of the Ages,” pages 149 to 159.
SUMMARY OF IMPORTANT THOUGHTS
A proper understanding of the operation of God’s justice is possible only in the light of the divine plan of redemption from death.
All life is dependent upon God, who justly demands the obedience of his intelligent creatures.
What now appears unjust in human experiences will be understood and appreciated in the age of restoration from death.