Who Is Responsible for the War?
For nearly four years this terrible world war has been raging. The question is frequently asked: Who is responsible for the war? Some say that it is entirely the work of man. Others tell us that, inasmuch as God is all-powerful and does not bring it to an end, He is therefore responsible for it. In considering the question, t here are two important facts to be taken into account – the omnipotence of God and the free agency of man – concerning which a great deal of misapprehension exists in the world.
By the light of modern revelation, which the world rejects, we learn that the great God who controls the universe was once a man, subject to temptation and death, even as we are to-day. He lived He conquered. First, He learned that great lesson so essential to progress – self-conquest – then he learned to guide and control others. From one stage to another he passed until finally He became a God possessed of infinite knowledge and power, for be it known that it is knowledge that elevates to the rank of Godhood.
Now God has reached the heights. He has obtained knowledge, He understands the laws by which worlds are made and controlled; He understands how to people those worlds, how to make them fruitful and pleasant for man to dwell upon. By reason of His superior knowledge, He became the Father of our spirits, and for a long time we lived with Him in heaven. Then He made this world and sent our first parents, Adam and Eve, to be the father and mother of the race. When he placed them here He made known to them His will. He said to them in substance: “Now, you see that tree in the middle of this garden; I do not want you to touch the fruit on it. It is not good for you, and should you eat it, it would cause you suffering and death.”
Then Satan came along. Satan, you know, once lived in heaven with God. Shakespeare tells us he was ambitious and his ambition caused his expulsion from heaven. Milton, the blind poet, tells the same story. The Bible corroborates it and modern revelation gives added light and tell us that the reason of the quarrel and ultimate war in heaven was Satan’s endeavor to deprive the spirit of man of free agency.
Being cast out of heaven, Satan became the enemy of God and sought to frustrate all His plans. So he made his way to the Garden of Eden, and, by making himself agreeable to Eve, finally persuaded her to partake of the fruit of the tree the Lord had said was not good for her. Adam also partook of the fruit and the result was that sorrow pain and death entered the world. Now the question arises, Who was responsible?
Here you have three persons:
God – who by reason of His superior power or knowledge knew what would result from a certain line of action.
Satan – who possessed greater knowledge than man.
Man – with the power to choose his own line of action.
God said “Don’t”; the devil said “Do”; and man exercised his free agency. Was God to blame for the pain and sorrow which followed? He showed man the two ways, one right, the other wrong. From all that has been revealed, He appears to have said in substance: “Now, I am going to leave you free to choose; you have your free agency. For me to compel you to follow a certain course would be to make of you a slave, and that I will never do; you have my promise. I will tell you the way to go, but you are free to choose your own path; but, if you choose the path I forbid you will suffer; and if I do not avert the wrongdoing, because of your free agency, I may not avert the evil consequences, for the earth is to be run on natural principles.”
So man took his own course and the path he chose brought sin and sorrow into the world. Every time the law of God is broken punishment inevitably follows. It must be so.
So with this terrible war. It is not the will of the Lord, it is not a calamity of His devising. He did not plan it. He did not order it; and though He has it in His power, as God of the universe, to crush the world and all it contains in a moment; though He could step forth and say to the war-stricken nations, “Peace! this shall not continue,” yet to do so would be to destroy man’s free agency and make of him a mere slave. Before we left the realms above, God promised us that we should have our free agency to the end; nay, more– we fought for it, and by that promise and that victory gained in heaven our God is bound. If He stepped in now and ended this war, by His superior power, He would have to go back on His word. Therefore man by his own selfishness and evil living is responsible for the condition of the world to-day, and man, by repentance and right living, will have to make atonement.
Then where does God come in, it may be asked, and of what avail is His wisdom and power? Well, He has given us this promise, “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee”; and again, “Draw nigh to God and He will draw nigh to you. “This terrible war is making people think as they never thought before. In the hour of trial people turn to their God, and God draws near to them in accordance with His promise and they come to a better understanding of Him. Pride and wrong melt from their hearts and they become humble and like unto little children. Satan loses his hold upon them and they turn from him to their God. So it will be in this dreadful war. Men are growing weary of the carnage and bloodshed, they are beginning to seek their God. He is waiting oh, so anxiously, and the moment they turn their faces to Him He stretches out His hands to ward them and fills their souls with peace, and this is how hatred and war will at length be banished from the earth.
Men’s souls will begin to cry for peace, and so great will be this desire, it will become a great, mighty, conquering prayer that will crush out the hatred and the battle lust, and the sound of guns will be heard no more, nor the moans of the wounded and the dying. Peace will come like a beautiful angel and fold its mantle over the gory battlefields and man will look back on the terrible carnage and bitter sorrow and marvel that he was so blind as not to see that he himself was responsible for it all.