Some claim to believe in the "times of restitution" mentioned by the Apostle in Acts 3:17-19, who think of it as relating to the physical earth. They get the wrong idea from the Lord's words to Adam when he cast him out of Eden, "Cursed is the ground for thy sake." They somehow infer that the entire earth was like the Garden of Eden up to that time, and that there God caused a blight to come upon it because of sin. This is all wrong. It represents God as doing a great and useless work, as if he had not foreseen the fall of man and had been surprised by that sudden turn of events. It was because the entire earth was in a very imperfect [condemnable or cursed] state that God specially prepared or planted a garden or perfect spot eastward in Eden,* as a suitable place for the trial of the perfect man he was about to create, and as an illustration of what the whole earth shall be at the close of the Millennium, when the worthy of mankind shall have been tested and brought back to perfection. Thus seen, the earth, at the time God created Adam, lacked 7000 years of preparation, to make it all ready for man.
God's foreknowledge of Adam's course, while it was not allowed to influence Adam, did influence God's own conduct with reference to Adam. Seeing how man, inexperienced in the use of his great liberty, would soon disobey his law and come under its penalty, death, God arranged the entire plan of redemption and salvation with respect to this foreknowledge. He therefore introduced man upon the earth 7000 years before the earth would be properly ready for him, gave him a fair trial in the prepared "garden," and since, has let him have his experiences with sin and death in connection with the earth, and as a convict, to labor upon what God designs shall be the everlasting home of the obedient.
Others who advocate an evolution doctrine use the word restitution with reference to man, and seem not to observe the inconsistency of such language in connection with other features of their theory. They believe that Adam was called man, not because he was really a man, but because he was the start or beginning of what would become a man. This evolution theory declares by one of its advocates that "If Adam fell at all, he fell upward."
For those who hold and teach such views to say that they believe in restitution is truly ludicrous. If Adam was not a perfect man, if he fell upward, and if his race to-day is more nearly perfect than he was, then the last thing to be hoped for, and the very thing above all to be if possible avoided, would be a time of restitution.
The fall from divine favor by the wilful sin of disobedience, the sentence of death, the ransom once for all, the only hope of salvation, the 6000 years of groaning and dying and hoping and longing on the part of mankind, the coming of the one who redeemed all with his own precious blood [life] to restore all things which God hath promised by the mouth of all the holy prophets since the world began—this is the Bible testimony. Do you believe it? Do you believe the testimony of the prophets, of the Lord, and of the apostles? Search and see; for this is the story of paradise lost, redeemed and restored, which they all declare.