COMPLETELY OUT OF HARMONY
Thus in the spiritual fact of his nature, man by the fall has become unlike God, in that his intelligence operates wholly within the material realm, whereas the Divine wisdom is spiritual, and therefore explanatory of all material facts; his emotion acts from wrong principle of self-love, whereas the Divine love forever operates upon the principle of love for others; his will asserts itself upon the basis of the passion for mastery, whereas the Divine will insists upon obedience, through determination to serve the highest interests of others.
What bearing has this then upon the physical fact in human nature? This question may be briefly answered by declaring that the body has become the prison house of the spirit. It deadens the spirit's consciousness, silences its voice, and practically treats it as non-existent. Man provides for physical food, and neglects the sustenance of the spirit. He builds and furnishes a house for his body, while he pays no attention to the ultimate homelessness of his spirit. He takes great care as to the air in which his physical life exists, but provides no atmosphere for the invigoration of his spirit. Wherever this is so, the body itself becomes vulgarized. Man's physical nature can never realize its highest possibilities of beauty, by divorcing it from that which is spiritual.
The sense of spiritual beauty lost, man seeks only the attractiveness of the flesh, and thereby ministers to its own decay and vulgarization. Illustrations from the methods of fashionable women might be quoted, were it not a subject too nauseous. The highest perfection of beauty can only be realized where there is recognition of the supremacy of the spiritual, and the body consequently becomes, not the prison house of the spirit, but its temple. (Rom. 12:1) It follows therefore that the image of God lost in the spiritual, cannot be expressed in the physical.
In this threefold consideration it has been seen that man is out of harmony with God as to motive, method, and manifestation of life. Character being at variance, conduct is antagonistic. Fallen man is a lie. Man was made the shadow of God, for the manifestation of God. Having departed from the true line of light, being separated from the forces of life, instead of shadowing God forth, he has cast the shadow of his depraved personality back upon God, and therefore instead of revealing, hides. (Gen 3:10).
All this serves to demonstrate the fact that there is now no further use for man in the economy of God, no reason for his continuity. There can be no reflection upon the infinite wisdom and justice of God, if so terrible a failure were cast out hopelessly from His presence. The very reason for the existence of humanity is rendered impossible of realization. Broken lenses can but reveal broken lights. The ruined camera can but distort images, and man who was created an instrument for the forth-shadowing of God, is now incapable of doing his work, in that it is impossible for a ruined instrument to reveal, its very ruin consisting in its unfitness for the work of revelation.
There can be no reconstruction within the realm of destruction. If ever this ruined instrument is to be reconstructed, it must be by a process from without. Now let the question solemnly be asked at this point. Is there any reason why man should be redeemed, why the wreckage should be restored, why the instrument should be renewed? If it be declared that the reason is that God still needs an instrument of illumination, it may be fairly averred that He can create a new instrument, abandoning the one that has been a failure. The plain fact which must be faced is this, that there is no reason in the realm of righteousness, or of justice merely, why there should be any redemption provided for lost man. And yet there is a reason, so powerful, so conclusive, and inclusive, that it may be reverently, and yet unhesitatingly affirmed that God is bound to find a way of redemption, and answer the call of a ruined race. That reason lies within the nature of God. It is that He is Love. Because He is Love, He must; and the "must" has in it nothing of the declaration of human claim, but it is the affirmation of faith, based upon profound conviction. The reason of redemption lies in the heart of God.
This is not a statement calculated to create satisfaction in the mind of man with himself. It is hardly a popular doctrine. It cuts from underneath the feet all ground for human boasting. God is not bound to do anything for man. Man has forfeited his whole claim upon God by sin. There is absolutely no reason why the distorted and ruined image should be redeemed or reconstructed. And yet there is a reason and that so powerful, that there can be no escape from it.
"He saw me ruined in the fall,
Yet loved me notwithstanding all."
If God had been other than Love, man must have remained endlessly in the realm of ruin. But the very ruin of man included within it man's spoiling, and man's sorrow, creating a great cry which appealed to the Infinite Love of the Infinite Heart. The call of man in his ruin Love heard, and Love answered, in the gift of Christ, Who is Himself, to traverse the path of pain and suffering, to the final and absolute limit, that out of all this, man might be lifted into the realm where it will be possible to fulfill the initial purpose of his creation, and thus satisfy the purpose of God, which is the purpose of Love.