A plan of action, presupposes a goal toward which everything contributes either by way of direct purpose, incidental assistance, or the overruling and directing of evil antagonism. That such a purpose is an integral part of the Scriptures is evident to all who have studied its teaching with any approach to understanding. To most of our readers, it is the goal of the ages, the purpose, which gives a life pulse to the most formal and ceremonial parts of Scripture, even as it crowns the most glorious of the triumphs of redeeming love. The goal of the ages is expressed in one statement made by the Apostle Paul: "That God may be all in all" (1 Cor. 15:28).
If we turn our thought to the witness of the heavens and observe the silent obedience of sun, moon and star, or if we consider the testimony of the creation around us, and observe the unbroken obedience-that is ever and always going on in the world of chemistry or biology, we can say that here in this irrational unmoral creation, God is and always has been "All in all". Never in the experience of human observation has the sun refused to rise and set, never has the ocean grown weary of its tidal regularity, never has the power of gravitation, or the law of chemical combination been transgressed. This fact is fully recognized in the Scriptures.
"Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for Thou hast created all things, and for Thy pleasure they are and were created" (Rev. 4:11).
"And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing and honour, and glory, and power be unto Him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever" (Rev. 5:13).
If the words "every creature" are construed as inclusive of mankind, then the rest of the book of Revelation, with its revolt, blasphemy, wickedness and wrath is inexplicable, but if they refer to creation apart from men and angels, all is harmony.
The reader will call to mind many a passage where sun and star, or the humbler creatures of earth are revealed as entirely subservient to the Divine Will. God has always been "all in all" as Creator. Without this perfect alignment creation would vanish and the whole fabric turns to chaos. He upholds all things and by Him all things consist. That, therefore, cannot be a future goal which has always been in existence from the beginning. When we look again at 1Cor. 15:28, we find that it is in a context that speaks of rule, authority, power, enmity, resurrection, immortality, sin, law, death and victory. These terms do not belong to science, they are out of place when dealing with creation as such, they are entirely related to man, his nature, his fall, his redemption and his final oneness with God. The goal of the ages expressed in the words "That God may be all in all" therefore looks to the one great exception in the earth-to man, the moral, reasonable creature, who can and did, by the very fact that he was moral and not mechanical, come under the category of "ought" and in connection with whom even God uses the contingent "IF". God Who is already "all" in creation, will one day be "all" within the moral realm, but whereas in the realm of irresponsible creation "He spake, and it was done", the question never arose as to wether fire and hail, snow and vapours, or stormy wind, would or would not fulfill His Word the creation, constitution and the probation of the first man, a responsible creature, as recorded in Genesis 1-3 reveals an entirely different proposition. Here the Lord does not "speak" and find it done. In the material world, He had but to say "Light be", and "Light was", but in the moral and the spiritual world, no such instantaneous command or response was, or is, possible. In the very nature of the moral world, compulsory obedience, compelled love, coerced sanctity or commanded affection are impossible. Where probation has no place in the obedience of creation to the laws of its being, time and experience are essential factors in the work of grace in the moral sphere. It may have been necessary that the fitting of the earth for man should occupy six days, followed by one day's rest, in order that it foreshadow the course of the ages, but the reader of the Scripture is made abundantly alive to the fact, that God was under no more physical necessity to occupy six days in the work, than He Who fainteth not nor is weary was under any necessity to have the seventh day set apart for rest. With regard to man, and the purpose of his creation, time, probation, testing, experience, suffering, faith, hope, reward punishment, all have their place, and it is therefore of the very nature of the subject that it should involve patient waiting, great giving, unbounded love, and grace beyond dreams, before the "all" which characterized God's pre-eminence in nature should find its echo in the moral world.
(The article on this page was taken from Vol. 43 of the Berean Expositor. It is the first of a series of 13.)