The Empires of the Bible from the Confusion of Tongues to the Babylonian Captivity



God has created all intelligences absolutely free. He made man, equally with other intelligences, to be moral. Freedom of choice is essential to morals. To have made an intelligence unable to chose would have been to make it incapable of freedom. Therefore, He made man, equally with other intelligences, free to choose; and He ever respects that of which He is the Author, the freedom of choice. 12 And when, in the exercise of this freedom of choice, an intelligence chooses that his existence, with its consequent faculties and powers, shall be spent strictly subject to the will and within the design of the Creator, and so, indeed, with the Creator and in the Creator, this is in the truest sense strictly and truly self-government EB x.3

And when the service, the worship, and the allegiance of each intelligence is to be rendered entirely upon his own free choice, this, on the part of God, the Supreme and true Governor, reveals the principle of Government with the consent of the governed. Thus the divine government as it relates to both the Governor and the governed, the Creator and the creature, is demonstrated as well as revealed to be government of perfect freedom. 13 EB xi.1

Now, in presence of these principles, how alone could sin ever enter? Consider: If from the beginning of created intelligence unto this hour, every created intelligence had love God with all his heart, all his soul, all his mind, all his strength, had freely chosen to exercise all his faculties and powers according to the will and within the purpose of God, there would have been unto this hour no sin, no evil, in the universe. And then if at this moment any intelligence were to choose to exercise his faculties and powers contrary to the will of God and outside the purpose of God—should choose not to love God with all his heart, soul, mind, and strength—that would be a new and strange thing in the universe: it would introduce something that was not there before: and that thing would be—sin. Thus the only possible way in which evil could ever enter the universe would be by some intelligence choosing to exercise the faculties and powers of his existence apart from God—contrary to the will of God and outside the purpose of God. EB xi.2

In this way evil did enter. Lucifer, the most exalted creature, “the anointed cherub that covereth,” who stood at such a height of perfection that it was his to set the seal to perfection itself, who was “full of wisdom and perfect in beauty,” and was perfect in his ways from the day that he was created 14—this exalted on did choose to exalt himself out of his place, did choose to exercise his faculties and powers contrary to the will of God and outside the design of God. And this was the origin of evil. And though evil had never yet been originated, any intelligence could originate it by making that choice. And though Lucifer did originate evil, and all the flood of it had followed, yet every one who now makes that choice to exercise his faculties and powers apart from God, does in that declare that even though evil had never yet been originated, he himself would now originate it; and that since it has been originated, he himself now puts positively upon it his stamp of approval. EB xi.3

These truths make manifest the transcendent and ultimate truth that there is no such thing as abstractly a principle of good, and a principle of evil; but that God is the only good, and choice of separation from God is the only evil. This truth Jesus expressed when the young man came to Him, saying, “Good Master, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?” and Jesus answered, “Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God.” 15 In God, the only good, lies inherently all conceivable good or goods; and in choice of separation from God lies inherently all conceivable evil or evils. In the original choice of Lucifer to exercise his existence, his faculties and powers, apart from God, there lay all the evil that has ever been or that can ever be. He thus became the very prince of evil; the author of all the evil that the universe can ever know. EB xii.1

This earth was formed to be inhabited. 16 When it had been created, God created man upon it, and appointed him to have, under God, “dominion” over the beast of the field and the fowl of the air and the fishes of the sea, and over every creeping thing that moves upon the earth. 17 EB xii.2