The Conditionalist Faith of Our Fathers, vol. 1


II. Glorious Gospel Provisions Begin at Gates of Eden

The proclamation of the gospel of salvation, with its revelation of substitutionary atonement and pardon, and promise of restored life, and assurance of immortality, brought the light of hope again to man. God does not annul His laws nor abrogate His commands. Neither does He work contrary to them. But He does contravene the havoc wrought by sin through introducing a new provision of love-born grace. He thus transforms and restores, and through His grace He brings a blessing out of disaster. That was the Edenic covenant of life and salvation made that fateful day. Hope sprang anew. CFF1 59.2


This new dispensation of grace and mercy provided the second chance for man. It extended Adam’s earthly life, made provision for regaining his lost innocency, and gave assurance of ultimate immortality for man. It enabled Adam to become the father of the human race. But the fact that the life of the sinner was temporarily extended does not set aside the possibility of punishment for subsequent sins. They must be met. The “wages of sin” still continue to be “death” (Romans 6:23). Grace does not nullify the law and will of God. CFF1 60.1


Man’s redemption revolves around the third (as it may be called) of these three epochal trees of Eden—the tree of life, established for sustaining man’s life throughout eternity; the testing tree of the knowledge of good and evil, used by Satan to accomplish man’s ruin; and now the tree of Calvary (1 Peter 2:24; Acts 5:30; Acts 10:39)—as the cross was significantly called—planted as it were at the very gates of Eden for man’s redemption and the restoration of his forfeited life, to assure access again in the earth made new to the withdrawn tree of life (Revelation 2:7; Revelation 22:2). CFF1 60.2

So it was that man’s original sin became the starting point for all the subsequent disclosures of God’s unfathomable love and grace. And as by sin the man Adam lost his potential, or provisional, immortality, so by the Man Christ Jesus full provision has been made for its restoration. Thus the dismal doom of the death sentence upon Adam was changed to a glorious assurance of life—conditioned on the acceptance of the gospel provisions set forth. But the plan of redemption and restored immortality meant the traversing of the path of Gethsemane and Golgotha, with the shadows of the tomb to follow, for the Divine Substitute and Saviour of men. That was the price to be paid for the rescue of man from the doom of death. CFF1 60.3


So it was that instead of letting the law of transgression, with its dire death penalty, take its wonted course, the Lord God Himself (Jehovah the Creator—Genesis 2:4) invoked the provision of probation, devised in the love, mercy, and wisdom of God before ever the earth came into being. Through this plan the second person of the Godhead would become man, take man’s place, receive his penalty, and die in his stead (John 1:29). Thus the principle of substitution and vicarious atonement through the death of another was instituted, that man might be forgiven and restored—for “without shedding of blood is no remission” (Hebrews 9:22). CFF1 61.1

In the mind and covenant and provision of God, Christ the “Lamb of God” was “slain from the foundation of the world” (Revelation 13:8), thus providing lost and estranged man with his second chance, not after death but during his earthly lifetime. Christ’s death met every requirement of law and justice, blended with grace and mercy, 1 and so offered pardon, restoration, and life to lost man. CFF1 61.2