Perpetual Sin And Omnipotent Goodness -- By: L. P. Hickok

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 013:49 (Jan 1856)
Article: Perpetual Sin And Omnipotent Goodness
Author: L. P. Hickok


Perpetual Sin And Omnipotent Goodness1

L. P. Hickok

How can perpetual sin consist with omnipotent goodness? The apparently inherent contradiction of the two terms of this question, is the Conflict of Ages; the attained harmonious unity of the two will be the Problem Solved.

Merely as a speculation, there is here opened a wide field for profound thinking and ingenious theorizing, which might have secured for itself an unfailing intellectual interest. But the interest in this question has been much more quickened and perpetuated, because it involves considerations which take hold on the most controlling susceptibilities of the hu-

man mind, and deal with its deepest convictions and profoundest emotions. If we admit the being of God, we must recognize our subjection to him and our dependence upon him. How perplexing, then, if his very creation and providence intimate that he is destitute of benevolence, or wanting in equity! Or, should we admit the integrity of the Divine character, how perplexing still, if he seem to us to be so bound in the necessities of nature, that he cannot preclude nor control sin and suffering! What distress, if forced to the conclusion that our Sovereign has no power to shut the object of his deepest abhorrence from his realm; or that, having the power, he yet has not the heart to deliver his creatures from their deadliest enemy! Must the fact of sin logically force us to atheism, by directly concluding against either omnipotence or benevolence? Or, if we retain our faith in God, must we be logically shut up to accept the doctrine of universal restoration, against the plain testimony of Scripture? If we reluctate all such conclusions, must we then be obliged eternally to witness sin arid misery, and be able to find no principle by which we can defend the honor of God’s sovereignty, or the goodness of his government, in the permission of sin, to our own satisfaction or the conviction of others?

We shall not silence such perplexed and anxious inquiries by saying, “Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in thy sight;” for the very inquiry involves the determination whether there be for us a “Father,’’ and that what seems “good in his sight,” is at all worthy of him and kind to his children. Nor can we meet the captious and cavilling objections which here originate, by saying, “Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? “Such a reply assumes the admission of a wise and holy God; but the rebuke can have no force against that mind which takes the very existence of sin and misery as an argument against the existence of any sovereignty which is wise and righteous. Neither a desponding nor...

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