EXPOSED AS AN ERROR
Here is an extract from a work by Jane Leade, written in 1697, entitled “The Everlasting Gospel Message.” According to her writings, Jane first understood God’s Ultimate Triumph over sin in 1693, and in her last writings before she died in 1704 she frequently addressed this subject. Those who have sought to bring Jane’s writings to us in more readable form (i.e. Larry Hodges and Colleen Drounette) have done a good job on a text that contained strange language forms. Even so, something of the author’s unique style remains. Here then is the text, before any comment is made.
“But here is one main objection that appears to be very solidly grounded. That is, that the root of sin was from everlasting, as is God Himself. Now as to this matter, we deny that God gave being to anything out of Himself wherein the root of sin was found. For Lucifer was created out of pure eternal nature with his whole hierarchy being of the same fashion as those angels that have not left their first habitation. But only these awakened and increased in that source from which an aspiring ambition arose to become as gods, or at least, independent of God.
And though there was no law according to that which God had given to Adam (by which law sin and disobedience was known), yet there was a law in eternal nature which consisted in keeping all in harmony and government. The darkness in God did not jar against His Light, neither did the anger jar against the Love. (Admit, there was anger in God.)
“All concurred together to illustrate the immense love and goodness. Nothing of this evil could be said to be everlastingly generated from God into the angelical principle from whence they were brought forth as out of the womb of the eternal morning. But they, leaving this meek, soft and gentle nature, awakened in themselves a monstrous shape.
“And how came this to pass? By trying and proving the strength of their Fire-Spirit; to find how far they could extend it as to the sovereignty of power, whereby they would have equalized themselves to their Creator. Instead, finding themselves to miss their mark and to be disappointed, they awakened in themselves envy. Therefore they sought revenge upon the simple innocency of Adam. But here they lost their hold also and had to yield to Him who challenged the right to all eternal spirits.
“Therefore, though God has permitted that this dark prince must reign for limited periods of time and have his kingdom in this world, yet it shall be for no longer than various wonders are required for manifestation. These wonders shall all serve to set forth the fathomless depths of the Love-Angelical Principle with their wonders. Then Lucifer shall be enthroned again in high pomp, through humility and purity. For he did but leave his habitation (Jude v.6), though not so as never to return to it again. God reserved his restoration for an astonishing wonder beyond all that could ever be conceived.
“Nay, these that were chief in scorning, disdaining and blaspheming against Love, shall be the subjects by which Love shall be proved to have such an endless depth that no created beings could ever have hoped or believed for. Therefore, let it not be reckoned impossible for God to unclothe that strange and monstrous figure by which they had made themselves devils. Do not say it is too hard for Him to make bare and naked His own pure angelical essence in them (as it was first generated).”
There is some good solid meat in her statement, and it bears closer study. She declares that God is NOT the Author of evil, as some erroneously assert these days. She also declares that God is able to reach the worst offenders and bring them to repentance. But the only fault lies in the supposed end product of God’s restorative work, where she maintains that Satan will be re-instated to his original position. This cannot be. Jesus spoke about “many of the first will be last, and the last first.” William Barclay spoke about there being an eternal penalty, a scar that would always remain. This is the case for all the most wicked of God’s created beings. Logic demands this, otherwise there would be no purpose in our brief sojourn in the shadow-lands, if everyone is destined to end up where first he began.
We are not absolutely sure, but have our suspicion that this portion of Jane Leade’s writing has been the springboard for what is now called “The Law of Circularity”, advocated by Preston Eby and others under his tutelage. It is, we believe, a sadly mistaken emphasis, which admits (truly) that God will ultimately reach ALL the lost, bringing them to repentance and new life in Christ, but then requires that all shall be fully re-instated in that pristine condition and order in which they were created. It is not surprising therefore to learn that the advocates of this teaching deny the existence of free will, by which man is able to respond either positively or negatively to God’s gracious call.
It is our considered opinion that this makes nonsense of the clear teaching of Universal Reconciliation. Some may never have heard of Jane Leade, or the “Law of Circularity”, but both are being canvassed widely these days, and it is only right and proper to assess such matters, and make a stand. This is certainly a defect in Universalist teaching.