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The Twofold Purpose of the Ages
pp. 81 - 87
The epistle to the Romans not only deals with the evils of sin and death that affect all
mankind, but reveals that the whole creation has become involved, bringing problems
that are beyond the ability of man to solve:
"For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until
now. And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even
we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of
our body. For we are saved by hope" (Rom. 8: 22-24).
It is hardly possible for any sensitive or thinking person to contemplate the centuries o
sin, death, pain and perplexities that have characterized the history of man in general, and
the believer in particular, without at times asking the question "why?". True, the context
of Rom. 8: speaks of incomparable glory that will outweigh the sufferings and
difficulties, and links the pain with salvation by hope and final deliverance, and, by
subsequent reference to the `groanings' of the interceding Spirit gives us the assurance
that we are not left to face our sorrows and problems alone. But in spite of this, the
question remains, "why was it necessary that God's plan for creation should take the
course it has done?". We know from the teaching of Ephesians that the Body of Christ
was chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world with the object that it should
enjoy all spiritual blessings in heavenly places where Christ is now enthroned in glory.
Why then did we not at creation pass straight into heavenly places with spiritual bodies
fitted to experience this wealth of spiritual blessing, instead of coming into a world
marred by sin and death necessitating redemption by the shed blood of the Lord Jesus
Christ and also the stupendous miracle, namely that of resurrection, before the original
purpose of electing love could be realized? Even though we quote "Shall not the Judge
of all the world do right?", the problem still remains.
It is true to say that, with our present limitations, we shall never fully resolve this
perplexity. Nevertheless the Word of God does shed a certain amount of light on this and
we wish to search the Scriptures and obtain what help we can get from them. If the first
two chapters of the book of Job were hidden from us, as they were from Job and his three
well-meaning friends, we should be as baffled as they were in their attempt to find a
reason for Job's sufferings. Those opening chapters reveal the presence of a spiteful
spiritual enemy, Satan, and a challenge which the Almighty One accepted with one
important reservation (Job 1: 9-12).
We also possess the concluding chapter, which the three friends did not know until
after the event, where Job receives `double'. Again, we ask "why?. A gleam of light is
found on enquiring into the meaning of the word "Job". 100: H. Welch pointed out in his
study of Job that in an appendix found in the Septuagint (the Greek translation of the O.T.
which was used by the Lord Jesus, the apostles and the believers of this period) we have a