Now, I am NOT a biblical scholar, and my point of view is decidedly skewed towards Protestantism. There are also others that may have made these observations before, though I’m hoping that perhaps I can maybe just put a slightly different view on some of this. I’m really not trying to “witness” to anyone…this is really just a discussion, and I’m not really sure I want to “debate” anything since I don’t consider myself intellectual enough to be an effective Christian apologist. I have to also state that I don’t pretend to even comprehend the depths of God…but for what it’s worth, I thought I would more fully expand on a thought I started in a reply here which has already generated a couple of questions.
This was followed by replies which stated:
First, God created man to be a COMPANION. He already had a whole host of created beings to do his bidding…man was created to be a different sort of creature. Unfortunately, there was a catch. You see, man was still a created being and therefore could not commune with God, and certainly could not be an inheritor in God’s kingdom. So, there is the dilemma…how to make man something higher than a created being, and a part of God’s “family” in the kingdom. The solution: “adopt” man. Make him an adoptive son. But how to go about that?
- First step, create an archangel that would lead a rebellion against God. (Note that this angel, and apparently all angels, have free will, otherwise they couldn’t rebel. The other 2/3 of angels that didn’t rebel simply didn’t because God is God.) This is a necessary key to having man become an adopted son. [Adoption is an important thing to understand here. Man, as a created creature, could not be a part of God’s family any more than a pot you create could be a part of yours. It was necessary to make man “adoptable.”]
- Second step, create man(kind), knowing that this rebellious archangel would step in, and corrupt God’s ultimate creation. The archangel (Lucifer, Satan, etc…) knew that if he could cause man to sin (disobey God), that man’s inherint communion with God as a created being would be cut off, and man would be eternally separated from God. This would cause man to be more susceptible to Lucifer’s designs, and would also condemn man to a mortal existence, with suffering, pain, and death.
- Third step, manipulate events so that God himself could come to earth in human form. This form, as we understand it, was Jesus, the Son of God, who also called himself the Son of Man. Jesus was not only the Son of God, he WAS God, as well. This is a mystery (the Apostle Paul called it such), and moreso for those of us in a Western culture. In the Eastern cultures of the time, it was understood that the firstborn son had ALL of the authority, power, etc. of the father…something we don’t fully equate in Western society. Also, the Son was NOT a created being. He was with God at the beginning, as was the Holy Spirit (the “triune being” and thus, Paul’s “mystery.”)
- Fourth step, have this Son become a mediator and a replacement for corrupted man. Since sin was inherited from the first man’s (Adam) actions (this was so because Adam was a created, eternal being…had he been mortal at the time it would not be so), and passed on to all mankind, it was necessary to make a way for that sin to be removed, and thus communion re-established with God. Christ, by acting as a “supreme sacrifice,” created a bridge from man to God.
- Fifth step, have Christ descend to Sheol (or Hades, Hell, etc.) and take control of death, hell, and the grave (eternal life) from Lucifer, thus establishing himself as the authority in those realms, as well as the earth.
- Sixth step, have Christ return as a resurrected being, PROVING his authority over death. Without a resurrection there is no salvation.
- Seventh step, when a person accepts that Christ was the sacrifice to replace him, then that person is reconciled to God and can then have a footing in the kingdom as an “adopted” child. Rejection of Christ works as a “sifting” mechanism, if you will…why would God want anyone to be an adopted son that couldn’t accept Christ and the plan as he laid it out?
(It is necessary to understand that, the final recourse of sin - even original sin brought by Adam - can only be death of both the physical and spiritual body; but since the spiritual body cannot die, it is condemned to a “symbolic” death of eternal damnation. It should also be understood that, before Christ, a way was made for individuals to keep themselves clean before God with sacrifices, obedience to particular laws, etc.)
This has been an INTENSE oversimplification…and there is a lot more to be said about grace, mercy, and God’s omnipotence/omniscience, but that will either come up later in this discussion, or be part of another discussion entirely.