The Divine Moral Government Mediatorial -- By: W. H. H. Marsh
BSac 44:176 (Oct 1887) p. 642
The Divine Moral Government Mediatorial
In the tenth book of Paradise Lost, Milton describes the change in the material world, that man’s physical environment might be readjusted to his moral condition and relations as a rebellious and guilty creature.
Had his first precept so to move, so to shine,
As might affect the earth with cold and heat
——His angels turn askance
The poles of earth twice ten degrees, and more,
From the sun’s axle;
they with labor pushed
Oblique the centric globe.
And much more to the same purpose, and in which the poetic conception is sublimely grand. But Milton did not design it to be merely a poetic fiction. As Green in his “History of the English People” has said of Paradise Lost. “The meagre outline of the Hebrew legend is lost in the splendor and music of Milton’s verse. The stern idealism of Geneva is clothed in the gorgeous robes of the Renaissance.” He reflects in his immortal epic the theological views of his time, and not less in his portrayal of the readjustment of man’s physical environment after the fall than in other things. Something not essentially different survives in the popular apprehension of the physical consequences of the sin of our first parents.
But Moses and Milton do not agree. We do not understand the Bible to teach that there was a readjustment of
BSac 44:176 (Oct 1887) p. 643
man’s physical surroundings because he sinned, and as part of the penalty of his sin. The purpose of this paper does not require us to enter upon the exegesis of Genesis 3:17–19; as our argument in evidence of the Mediatorial Character of the Divine Moral Government will be deduced from the scope of what the Bible teaches on the subject. That the Bible contemplates the existing condition of things in the physical world as having been predetermined by the anticipation of moral evil in the human race, there can be no doubt. Equally evident is it that the Bible assumes there are physical laws to which we are subjected, and conditions in our physical surroundings which exist because man’s character is what it is, and because his attitude toward the moral government of God is what it is. And, furthermore, there are in the Bible distinct prophetic predictions of a “new heavens and a new earth wherein dwelleth righteousness.” “Exactly what such predictions mean we may not be able to determine, but that they foreshadow a physical as well as a moral state in which “the redeemed of the Lord “shall be eternally exempt from those physical as well as moral c...
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