Let's begin by looking at God and sin from the perspective of light and darkness. Jesus says, "I am the light of the world." John 8:12 Satan and everything evil is equated with darkness. "...but this is your hour, and the power of darkness." Luke 22:53
What happens when a light is introduced to darkness? Can the darkness argue with the light and push it away or keep it from shining? Or, is the darkness completely powerless over the light and simply disappears. Light is all-powerful and darkness has no power to resist it at all, it simply flees, vanishes when light appears. Darkness can't exist in the presence of light. One could say that darkness is vaporized, destroyed by light. Can darkness ever become light? Can darkness create light? Can darkness destroy darkness? Have you ever been in a totally dark room, or deep in a cave and the lights were turned off. When you were there, did you ever see the darkness destroy itself and create light? Even just a small flash now and then? Can darkness do anything to get rid of itself so there would be light when it is gone? Never, darkness can't destroy itself and become light in doing so, only light can destroy darkness. And darkness is instantly destroyed by light. Darkness is powerless to stop its destruction by light. In the presents of light it ceases to exist. Light is a consuming fire to darkness in all its forms. This law is one of the most constant laws that exists. It has never changed and it will never change. Darkness is destroyed by the presence of light -- period.
Sin and God have the same relationship as light and darkness. Sin can't exist in the presence of God. The instant God reveals himself, sin is vaporized. It has no choice, there is no argument. It simply ceases to exist, just as darkness ceases to exist in the presence of light. "To sin, wherever found, "our God is a consuming fire."
So, you may be saying, "Why do we see so much sin in this world? Where is God? Isn't He everywhere?" "Yes, God is everywhere." "So, why does sin exist?", you ask. "Shouldn't it be consumed the instant it comes into existence?" "Yes, but God shields himself from sin, the sinner. If God didn't put a shield between Himself and sin, sin would instantly vaporize the moment it came into existence." Let me explain. First, what is sin? "Sin is the transgression of the law."
Before God created the first intelligent being He, (God the Father, God the Son (Jesus), and the Holy Spirit) understood, that the instant they created an intelligent being with the power of choice, they would create someone who could choose to rebel against them (sin). Remember God is all-knowing. They knew that it was only a matter of time and one of these beings would sin. It was inevitable. An intelligent being will have questions about everything around him and with his power of choice he will choose to question everything around him, even those in authority. When you start to question authority and indulge in any kind of negative feelings about that authority, you have sinned. So the Godhead talked over the foreseen problem and came to an agreement. They agreed that the instant one of the new beings sinned, Jesus would step in and shield the sinner from God's Glory. Jesus would take responsibility for the sin and at some future date, die, in place of the sinner if the sinner repented of his sin. Once the sinner was made aware of his sin and given ample opportunity to repent of his sin, Jesus would cover for the sin "indefinitely"*. But, if the sinner refused to repent and align himself with God, he would have to die for his sin.
Why on earth did God decide to allow sin? Didn't He know what the result would be? He is all-knowing, isn't He? He knew exactly what would happen! In fact, He even knew who would start it all, what would happen in heaven and here on earth because of it. He knew the minutest details of the whole thing such as, that you would be born, exactly what you would do, and how you would respond to Him. He even knew that you would be reading what is written here and what your response would be. He knew it all from the foundation of time. So why did He do it?
First, let's look at a little scenario of what would have happened if he hadn't made a plan that would allow sin to exist for a time. God creates some angels and for a time everything is fine. But then one of them, Lucifer, begins to question Jesus' place in the scheme of things, which led to sin. Poof, there's a flash and a column of ashes falls to the earth. He is instantly vaporized exactly where he stood when the sinful thought took place. Remember, God is present everywhere and His Glory vaporizes sin the instant it comes into existence. So Lucifer is gone and all that remains is a pile of ashes. The angels that are in the area gasp in amazement. What happened? Where did he go? At first no one knows because they are totally unaware of sin or what it is. Then the questions begin. They go to God or Jesus and ask, "What happened to Lucifer?" God says, "Well, he sinned." "What is sin?", they ask. "Well, you see, I am God and this is my Son. He is God too, and this is the Holy Spirit. He is also one of Us. We created you and you are not to question anything we say or do. You are not to think that we are unfair or unreasonable. Doing this is sin. See, it is impossible for Us to do anything wrong or ask you to do anything wrong. We are Love and only Love and if you question that or anything we ask of you, well, that is sin. Also, you need to know that Sin cannot exist in our presence. It will be consumed the instant it comes into existence. By the way, Lucifer made that mistake and that is why he is now only a pile of ashes. Since only an intelligent being with the power of choice can sin, the individual who sins will be consumed the instant they sin. Sin can't be separated from them, because it is an integral part of them. Understood?" Within seconds flashes and columns of ash begin to fall to the earth all around. In a very short time all that is left of the angels are piles of ashes on the ground. "Well," says Jesus, "that was a failure! Shall We create a new batch and see how long they last?" What would you think of a God like that? Oh, sorry, you wouldn't have long to think about it.
"The fire of God is the outshining of his love, then in the "never-ending" sense, this fire is truly eternal. And only the righteous can survive in God's "continual burnings". I have found no evidence in the Scriptures that this eternal fire ever "goes out". Instead I sing with gusto the old chorus, "I've got a home in glory land that outshines the sun.""
Even though I am stuck here on the planet where Satan ended up, I am glad that God didn't destroy sin the instant it came into existence. I am very grateful that He loved the beings that He created enough that He came up with a plan that would allow us to discover what sin was and make an educated decision as to whether we would stay involved in it or repent and have nothing more to do with it.
As we have already learned, sin cannot exist in the presence of God just like darkness can't exist in the presence of light. The individual who sins cannot remove it from himself. Someone in authority or in control is the only one who can remove it. The one who allowed it to begin in the first place is the only one who can take responsibility for it, as though he were guilty of it himself. A created being could not do this because he would not be in this position of authority. In place of the sinner, the person in authority must die for the sin because the wages of sin is death. Remember, sin cannot exist outside of an intelligent being. So, the individual who has the sin, either by commission or by accepting it as though he had committed it, must die eternally. Only God has the authority to take the sin from the sinner. Jesus, being one in authority, chose to do this.
There's also another reason why God (Jesus) could be the only one who could die in our place. Let's look at two scenarios which illustrate this.
One day I am driving down a road and for some reason I lose control of my car and crash through someone's yard, ripping up the hedge and hitting their house, damaging it and breaking the picture window. I'm charged with careless driving, fined and required to pay for the damages. There is only one problem. I am broke and can't pay for the fine or the damages. In our system of law, what I have done is called a civil offense. When someone commits a civil crime, the judge doesn't care who pays the fine or covers the damages, as long as it gets done. It so happens that a good friend of mine steps forward and offers to pay my fine and cover the cost of the damages for me.
Now, on another occasion, I become angry with someone, go after him and kill him. Now this becomes a criminal offense and I am charged with murder. I go to court and am charged and condemned to die. This time no one else is allowed to take the penalty for me since the damages can't be "fixed" and no amount of money will bring back the life I took. An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, and a life for a life is what the law demands. No one else can die in my place, or restore the damage I've done. But, wait. God is the creator of life! He (Jesus) makes our criminal offense a civil offense and offers to take the penalty for us so we can be free. Christ can act as my substitute because he can restore the life I've taken. But only Jesus could take my punishment and die for me because only He can restore life.
Jesus offered to take our sins upon himself, as if he had committed them, and die so we wouldn't have to. But, in order for Jesus to be free from the sins of repentant sinners, that he took upon Himself, and be allowed to exist in God's presence and not die eternally, there had to be someone else to take them, a 'scapegoat', someone else who would ultimately have to bear them and die eternally for them. The incredible thing about this is that Jesus would have done this, died eternally, even if no one else had been found to take the sin. In other words, if all sinners had asked for forgiveness, Jesus would have been willing to die for their sins, for all eternity. Somebody had to! Does God love us? I don't think we can begin to comprehend His love for us.
God cannot allow sin to go on forever. sooner or later it has to be cleaned up. This is where Lucifer (Satan, the Devil) comes into the picture. He happens to be the first one to have sinned and also decided that he would not repent of his sin. He was given ample opportunity to do so, but refused. The Godhead plead with him but he would not relent. If Lucifer had repented Jesus would have taken his sin and eventually died for them and then transferred them to another unrepentant sinner who would have taken up the leadership of the rebellious. Or Jesus would have had to die for these sins Himself, eternally. But, Satan decided that he wanted that leadership role himself.
Lucifer, the one who committed the first sin and refused to repent, became the 'scapegoat'. After God has judged every intelligent being and removed all the sin that Jesus took from repentant sinners, He places them on Lucifer. The unrepentant sinners keep the sins that they have committed. After everyone agrees that God has been completely fair, just, and loving in all His ways, they all acknowledge that He has given each of them ample time to decide whose side they will take. They also acknowledge that He has loved them with a love that passes all understanding but in spite of all this, they have turned away from that love and refused to acknowledge Him as their leader. The shield that has been kept between the sinner and God for so long is removed and the glory of God flashes forth from Him and consumes those who would not give up their sins. There is nothing left but piles of ashes on the ground.
The beings who are left are completely convinced that God is totally just in all His ways, a truly Loving God who has nothing but their good at heart and they will never question Him again. The universe will then go on through the ceaseless ages of eternity and sin will never raise its ugly head again. The saved will live in a perfect environment with endless youthful vigor, exploring and enjoying the bounties on the worlds of an endless universe.
* Jesus covers only sins that are repented of. It takes only one sin unrepented of to remove the covering from all of them. "Again, When a righteous man doth turn from his righteousness, and commit iniquity, and I lay a stumblingblock before him, he shall die: he shall die in his sin, and his righteousness which he hath done shall not be remembered."
2 Timothy 2:15