Posts Tagged ‘Creation’

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Answering our “unanswerable” questions

Thursday, January 1st, 2015

Near the beginning of this appendix I quoted two questions which I asked a gentleman via email. They are:

How do you know God is perfectly holy?

And:

How do you know God “cannot sin?”

Both these questions center around what is considered “proof” and having “proven” something. Seeing we are limited in our ability to investigate every aspect of the LORD God in all His infinity, we are tempted to say these questions will remain unanswered. However, we are not asking for absolute proof. Absolute proof is nearly impossible in all but the most controlled situations as there will always be some element which, if we are honest, has some measure of variability, some unknown. To accomplish complete control of all variables is impossible except in the most limited of circumstances as it requires knowing every piece of information that bears on a subject or action. If we are truthful with ourselves, we must admit that we do not have every single bit of information available for the vast majority of subjects or events which exist. Moreover, we are creatures of iniquity. Being so, we must first overcome our own inequality or negate its influence in some way.

Nevertheless, this situation is not impossible. There are methods which yield proof, even as there are ways to check certain tools and instruments against themselves. For instance, how could we be assured that a level used for checking the foundation of a house, or the setting up of a table is actually accurate? The method used is to check it against itself. By cleaning the surface we will test it on, and then carefully setting the level in place, we mark its position and note the bubble position. We then rotate the level 180 degrees carefully setting it in the exact spot that we had it initially. Now we check the bubble position. Does it have the same deviation it had in the first position? If so, then the level is accurate. If not, the level is not accurate and cannot yield proper readings.

Even so it is with this. Logic dictates that unequal things do not bring forth equal things. In like manner, beings and persons which are unequal in their ways do not create equal things and do not make laws which equally apply in all instances. Moreover, they are not interested in the balancing or the leveling out of unequal situations to make them equal. This principle alone is provides nearly all the evidence required for proof. Yet, it is not all that is available to us. Let us think back to all the previous explanation on righteousness and understand the logic of it all.

It is manifest that for anyone to be equal, they must be equal in all their ways and all their works. In this, we understand that the property or attribute of righteousness is absolute and cannot stand any taint or hint of iniquity. We find that any being that is not righteous will be inconsistent in its interaction with others and its behavior in things it elects to do of itself, independent of any interaction with others.

Moreover, in understanding righteousness, it is associated with truth and the concept of trueness. It is also associated in certain senses with the concepts of balance, straightness, and squareness. All of these speak to absolutes in which the thing measured either meets or does not meet an exacting condition.

Knowing this, we can examine certain events and happenings and make determinations, based on logic, as to what kind of creation we live in and whether it was created and is still upheld by a holy and righteous LORD and God.

Let us then observe the creation itself and examine the principles of equality and inequality. Let us examine what the LORD God testifies of man and determine whether the LORD God has told the truth about man.

The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge. There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard. Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun, Which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoiceth as a strong man to run a race. His going forth is from the end of the heaven, and his circuit unto the ends of it: and there is nothing hid from the heat thereof. The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether. (Psalm 19:1-9)

The statement “it doesn’t take a rocket scientist” is entirely applicable here. Some simple and common observations of the world we live in prove that it is an ordered and orderly creation that is self-correcting, and even correcting of man’s blunders and errors. It is of no small note that the processes of nature (as it were) seek equilibrium. Moreover, in all that we observe, everything is applied equally. There is not one physical law applicable to only one part of the universe, and not another. Rather, the entire universe seeks equilibrium, and there is equal application of the governing laws across the universe. We can see this stated in the laws of gravitation and motion as observed and stated by Newton and Euler:1

Newton’s law of universal gravitation states that any two bodies in the universe attract each other with a force that is directly proportional to the product of their masses and inversely proportional to the square of the distance between them.2

The laws of motion
First law: When viewed in an inertial reference frame, an object either remains at rest or continues to move at a constant velocity, unless acted upon by an external force.3
Second law:The vector sum of the forces F on an object is equal to the mass m of that object multiplied by the acceleration vector a of the object: F = ma.4
Third law: When one body exerts a force on a second body, the second body simultaneously exerts a force equal in magnitude and opposite in direction on the first body.5
Euler’s first law states that the linear momentum of a body, p (also denoted G) is equal to the product of the mass of the body m and the velocity of its center of mass vcm:6
Euler’s second law states that the rate of change of angular momentum L (also denoted H) about a point that is fixed in an inertial reference frame, or is the mass center of the body, is equal to the sum of the external moments of force (torques) M (also denoted τ or Γ) about that point:7

The mere fact these natural, physical laws exist, separate, distinct and above man’s intervention, demonstrates that the physical universe we live in did not come about by chance or randomness. We should understand that natural, physical laws are not changeable by normal, natural means,8 neither can they be touched or altered by man and his efforts. These laws are utterly dependable to render the observer able to accurately predict the outcome of any action or event governed by them. The description of natural, physical law from the Wikipedia site9 suffices here, as it is sufficiently and accurately cited:

physical law or scientific law “is a theoretical principle deduced from particular facts, applicable to a defined group or class of phenomena, and expressible by the statement that a particular phenomenon always occurs if certain conditions be present.”[1] Physical laws are typically conclusions based on repeated scientific experiments and observations over many years and which have become accepted universally within the scientific community. The production of a summary description of our environment in the form of such laws is a fundamental aim of science. These terms are not used the same way by all authors.

The distinction between natural law in the political-legal sense and law of nature or physical law in the scientific sense is a modern one, both concepts being equally derived from physis, the Greek word (translated into Latin as natura) for nature.10)

Description
Several general properties of physical laws have been identified (see Davies (1992) and Feynman (1965) as noted, although each of the characterizations are not necessarily original to them). Physical laws are:

  • True, at least within their regime of validity. By definition, there have never been repeatable contradicting observations.
  • Universal. They appear to apply everywhere in the universe. (Davies, 1992:82)
  • Simple. They are typically expressed in terms of a single mathematical equation. (Davies)
  • Absolute. Nothing in the universe appears to affect them. (Davies, 1992:82)
  • Stable. Unchanged since first discovered (although they may have been shown to be approximations of more accurate laws—see “Laws as approximations” below),
  • Omnipotent. Everything in the universe apparently must comply with them (according to observations). (Davies, 1992:83)
  • Generally conservative of quantity. (Feynman, 1965:59)
  • Often expressions of existing homogeneities (symmetries) of space and time. (Feynman)
  • Typically theoretically reversible in time (if non-quantum), although time itself is irreversible. (Feynman)

Physical laws are distinguished from scientific theories by their simplicity. Scientific theories are generally more complex than laws; they have many component parts, and are more likely to be changed as the body of available experimental data and analysis develops. This is because a physical law is a summary observation of strictly empirical matters, whereas a theory is a model that accounts for the observation, explains it, relates it to other observations, and makes testable predictions based upon it. Simply stated, while a law notes that something happens, a theory explains why and how something happens.

Of course we can compare the above description of what constitutes physical law with the following definition of “chance” from the online Merriam-Webster Dictionary and discern whether the two have anything in common at all:

Full Definition of CHANCE11
1a: something that happens unpredictably without discernible human intention or observable cause
b: the assumed impersonal purposeless determiner of unaccountable happenings: luck <an outcome decided by chance>
c: the fortuitous or incalculable element in existence: contingency
2: a situation favoring some purpose :  opportunity <needed a chance to relax>
3: a fielding opportunity in baseball
4a: the possibility of a particular outcome in an uncertain situation; also:  the degree of likelihood of such an outcome <a small chance of success>
b plural: the more likely indications <chances are he’s already gone>
5a: risk <not taking any chances>
b: a raffle ticket
— chance adjective
— by chance
: in the haphazard course of events <they met by chance>

Whether it is obvious that there exists no intersection between the physical laws and chance is largely dependent upon what any particular person is willing to observe and admit to. However, objectively, there is no intersection to be found. That men will engage in the most tortured of reasoning to avoid admitting to the existence of a God is beyond question. That men know the physical laws implicitly declare God exists is also obvious. A read through the article “Natural Laws Are Descriptions, not Rules” from the “LessWrong” blog (http://lesswrong.com/lw/ct3/natural_laws_are_descriptions_not_rules/) is sufficient to convince us that men will indeed torture their consciences to avoid any hint of the physical laws implying that God is real and does exist.

In returning to the example of the laws of motion and gravitation, and indeed all physical laws, we should be able to observe and logically conclude that the laws do not come about by the actions of a being that has iniquity. Rather, the creation of principles and laws that apply equally across the span of the universe (that is, everything we have yet observed of it – but all things being consistent thus far, there is little reason to believe we would encounter anything different), and the desire of every physical thing to seek equilibrium, speak directly to a righteous Creator. It is notable that however much man’s iniquity has corrupted this physical universe, the laws and principles which govern it are not corrupted. This speaks directly to the fact that the law is transcendent, rising above mere place, time, and circumstance. It also speaks to the fact that the spiritual is higher than the physical, with all things being governed by law.

Yet, when we observe mankind, we find a vastly different testimony. In the following passages we find the LORD God’s testimony of man, and the condition He knows man to be in:

What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin; As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: Their feet are swift to shed blood: Destruction and misery are in their ways: And the way of peace have they not known: There is no fear of God before their eyes. Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. (Romans 3:9-19)

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings. (Jeremiah 17:9-10)

If we doubt the LORD’s testimony concerning us, all we have to do is read history honestly. Anyone taking an honest assessment of the history of man has no choice but to conclude that the race of man is every bit as wicked and evil as the LORD God states we (as the race of man), individually and collectively are. Were the LORD God in any way unrighteous, He would convey to us no different testimony than the Greco-Roman and Norse mythologies give us of their gods. He would turn the same blind eye those supposed gods did and engage in the same petty behavior as they. Instead, what we find of the LORD God is a setting forth of a lawful and righteous foundation for everything He does. Moreover, unlike those supposed gods who played favorites with men, the LORD God condemns the transgressions of those who serve Him just as He does those who refuse to serve Him. There is no difference with the LORD – were this not the case, He would be no different than the gods of mythology who behaved just like the men they supposedly ruled over. The fact that man created mythical gods of various types and their behavior is no better than the men who worship them, speaks volumes about the willingness of man to justify himself anyway he can, without regard to righteousness. Thus, what we are given in the reading of the Scriptures matches what we know of history – that the situation of mankind is exactly as the LORD God testifies.

The Scriptural Case Against Abortion – Table of Contents Appendix A: Righteousness – Table of Contents What We Can Conclude
  1. We should note here that Isaac Newton did not believe that Christ is God manifest in the flesh, and Euler believed as most Protestants believed. This is to say that it is certain Newton never knew the LORD, and Euler likely didn’t either. Mere belief in “God” is not sufficient for salvation. Believing the Scripture to be divinely inspired is helpful to the individual, but that alone will not justify one before the LORD, and indicates nothing about that individual’s relationship to Christ. What the recognition of the physical laws by these men does say is that the outworking of the righteousness of the LORD God is easy to identify and know. In short, it is obvious and cannot be missed.
  2. “Newton’s Law of Universal Gravitation.” wikipedia.org. Accessed December 5, 2014. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Newton%27s_law_of_universal_gravitation
  3. “Newton’s Laws of Motion.” wikipedia.org. Accessed December 5, 2014. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Newton%27s_laws_of_motion
  4. ibid
  5. ibid
  6. “Euler’s Laws of Motion.” wikipedia.org. Accessed December 5, 2014. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Euler%27s_laws_of_motion
  7. ibid
  8. This is the point of the miracles described in Scripture. The natural laws were suspended or held in abeyance for a brief time to demonstrate to man the power of the LORD God over the physical processes He created and set in motion. Primarily, this was done because man worshiped the physical creation and thought it all powerful. Nonetheless, however spectacular those miracles were, they were not then, nor are they now, a substitute for the spiritual instrument which is faith.
  9. Though some may argue with the use of the Wikipedia site for any reference, the charge is baseless as any reference work is only as good as the source material and the validity of the citations therein. Some articles on the Wikipedia site are absolute junk, being slanted politically and socially, and others are quite high quality with accurate, proper context quotations and citations. In short, there is no substitute for verifying the information.
  10. Some modern philosophers, e.g. Norman Swartz, use “physical law” to mean the laws of nature as they truly are and not as they are inferred by scientists. See Norman Swartz,The Concept of Physical Law (New York: Cambridge University Press), 1985. Second edition available online [1]. (http://www.sfu.ca/~swartz/physical-law/
  11. “Chance.” Merriam-Webster.com. Accessed December 3, 2014. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/chance.
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The Origin of Sin – briefly stated

Sunday, August 17th, 2014

While doing research on what various Christian denominations and groups believe about the origin of sin, I ran across the following article “Where Did Sin Come From?” which explored the question of the origin of sin. The summation of the article did not answer the question at all, but left the reader with the following questions:

To answer our question, ‘Where did sin come from?’, we make the following conclusions:

1. Although Lucifer spawned the first sin, he was not the creator of the concept of sin.
2. The concept of sin has always been known to the all-knowing God.
3. Sin exists because—either it is a created concept of God brought about by God’s decrees, or, it has always co-existed as the eternal antithesis of everything that God is.
4. Sin could only experientially exist because, although God cannot sin, He made creatures who could.

I could not bear it, and emailed the webmaster with the following question:

Who wrote this nonsense? Give me a name please.

And listed the questions above. I then finished with the following statement:

This evidences a complete and total lack of understanding. Whoever wrote this, missed the mark.

The gentleman who wrote it answered back, and was gracious (considering my initial contact email) and stated that I had contested, but gave no reasons for disagreement. Moreover, he would be glad to address my concerns.

Fair enough. After all, had he been less than gracious, I would have deserved it. I thanked him for being gracious, and sent the following reply:


Sin has a cause, and that is transgression, which is brought about because of iniquity:

And I will cleanse them from all their iniquity, whereby they have sinned against me; and I will pardon all their iniquities, whereby they have sinned, and whereby they have transgressed against me. (Jeremiah 33:8)

Iniquity leads to transgression, which immediately results in sin.

Iniquity is the property of being unequal in any of one’s ways:

Yet saith the house of Israel, The way of the Lord is not equal. O house of Israel, are not my ways equal? are not your ways unequal? Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, saith the Lord GOD. Repent, and turn yourselves from all your transgressions; so iniquity shall not be your ruin. Cast away from you all your transgressions, whereby ye have transgressed; and make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will ye die, O house of Israel?  (Ezekiel 18:29-31)

When the LORD states that the ways of the people of Israel are unequal, and He then calls them to turn so iniquity will not be their ruin, He is defining what iniquity is. To help in our understanding, we can use the analogy of a math equation (which is an equality):

In thinking about equations: If we introduce into it any element that makes it unequal, what are our chances of making it equal if we don’t realize what we did? What are our chances of actually realizing we introduced an inequality? Moreover, if our understanding is not accurate because we perceive the equation wrongly (unequally — that is, not as it actually is), what are our chances of self-correction?

When a mistake is made working an equation, generally the person does not realize they erred, else they stop immediately and correct the error. However, the divergence with righteousness and iniquity here is that once a thought exists, it cannot be unthought or taken back. Since it is that the LORD judges the thoughts of the heart, once Lucifer had that one thought of being more glorious that the LORD on the throne, he committed an iniquity. Due to the very nature of inequality, he could not go back, nor find his way back.Because of this iniquity, pride arose, and Satan viewed himself to be better than the LORD God in numerous ways. Hence, he rebelled.

Now to look at righteousness: Being righteous is being equal in all one’s ways (which only the LORD God is):

Before the LORD; for he cometh to judge the earth: with righteousness shall he judge the world, and the people with equity.  (Psalms 98:9)

Here, like in Ezekiel, the LORD defines another term. Only in this case, it is righteousness. Putting the two together: Righteousness is the property of being equal in ALL one’s ways, and iniquity is the property of being unequal in ANY of one’s ways. It is of necessity true that if righteousness requires for all ways to be equal, that being (or becoming) unequal in any of one’s ways, means that one has iniquity. Moreover, like the math equation, being unequal in one part, spreads to every other part — and it grows.

Once one cannot perceive correctly because of being unequal (iniquity), the determination of what is the right thing to do is clouded and misperceived. It is easy to see then how we can transgress the bounds if we have difficulty perceiving where the bounds are. As soon as we transgress, we have missed the mark (sinned).

Briefly, to answer the final points you put forth in the article:

To answer our question, ‘Where did sin come from?’, we make the following conclusions: [My answers are in square brackets — italics for the web]

1. Although Lucifer spawned the first sin, he was not the creator of the concept of sin. [There is no “concept of sin.” Sin is not a concept. Rather, is a direct result of transgression (which is exceeding the bounds – thus missing the mark), which is brought about because of iniquity. Satan exercised iniquity because he thought in his heart that he was better than the LORD sitting on the throne he was covering (the descriptions of both the LORD and Satan are in the Scriptures, and that difference is significant). The “problem” is that the LORD gave both angels and men freewill and the ability to judge, but they were not given omniscience. Hence, perception and understanding were limited. Satan lost sight of who created him and gave him all that he had. To man, Satan is beyond genius. But he lost sight of the fact that he was GIVEN that. Just like his beauty and musical ability, his intelligence was given him by the LORD God. However, once he lost sight of that, it was a mere thought of the heart to become unequal – which slipped him into iniquity. Now Satan can never return from that, but only gets more and more unequal over time.]

2. The concept of sin has always been known to the all-knowing God. [No, the fact that creatures with free-will and the ability to judge, yet not having omniscience would have the potential to slip into iniquity, was known to the LORD God. Nevertheless, He chose to create them that way, and would deal with the consequences. The LORD God already knew what those consequences were, but He desired to create beings that would love Him of their own volition. The very nature of free-will, combined with the ability to judge, creates a situation in which the potential for iniquity exists. However, for love to be genuine, the will must be free, and to actually choose freely, one must be able to judge independently – that is, of oneself, given the facts to make a determination.]

3. Sin exists because—either it is a created concept of God brought about by God’s decrees, or, it has always co-existed as the eternal antithesis of everything that God is. [This is a false choice. We are to choose between the LORD God being the ultimate author of sin, or the core of Taoism? This is expressly man’s view, which lacks understanding of iniquity and righteousness.]

4. Sin could only experientially exist because, although God cannot sin, He made creatures who could. [Here you are closest to being right, but answer no questions. You would have to explain what you mean by “He made creatures who could.” How, and in what way?]

You are getting the essence of the doctrine. This is by no means extensive in addressing the ramifications of iniquity. But, it should briefly explain where sin came from. Of course, if you are of Calvinist or Reformed persuasion, you will likely reject everything I say.

In Christ,

Paul W. Davis

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I Sing the Mighty Power of God

Friday, April 6th, 2012

Citation, lyrics and music are copied from The Cyber Hymnal and are public domain. Midi file is generated with Music Publisher 8, and is modified using Anvil Studio 2013, and is piano only. Lyrics may be modified for doctrinal accuracy. This version is not copyrighted. If you find it a blessing, please feel free to use it. — In Christ, Paul W. Davis

But the LORD is the true God, he is the living God, and an everlasting king: at his wrath the earth shall tremble, and the nations shall not be able to abide his indignation. Thus shall ye say unto them, The gods that have not made the heavens and the earth, even they shall perish from the earth, and from under these heavens. He hath made the earth by his power, he hath established the world by his wisdom, and hath stretched out the heavens by his discretion. When he uttereth his voice, there is a multitude of waters in the heavens, and he causeth the vapours to ascend from the ends of the earth; he maketh lightnings with rain, and bringeth forth the wind out of his treasures. (Jeremiah 10:10-13)

Words: Isaac Watts , Divine and Moral Songs for Children, 1715.
Music:Ellacombe,” H.W.K Hofkapelle, 1784. Harmonized by William H. Monk, 1868.
(midi) (mp3) I Sing the Mighty Power of GodPDF Icon
I sing the mighty power of God, that made the mountains rise,
That spread the flowing seas abroad, and built the lofty skies.
I sing the wisdom that ordained the sun to rule the day;
The moon shines full at God’s command, and all the stars obey.

I sing the goodness of the Lord, who filled the earth with food,
Who formed the creatures through the Word, and then pronounced them good.
Lord, how Thy wonders are displayed, where’er I turn my eye,
If I survey the ground I tread, or gaze upon the sky.

There’s not a plant or flower below, but makes Thy glories known,
And clouds arise, and tempests blow, by order from Thy throne;
While all that borrows life from Thee is ever in Thy care;
And everywhere that we can be, Thou, God art present there.

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VII. Of The Creation

Saturday, February 5th, 2011

I believe in the Genesis account of the creation of the physical universe; that it is to be accepted as factually and literally true: That all things which are, were created ex nihlo, or out of nothing, by the infinite knowledge and power of the LORD God. I reject any assertion that the account is allegorical or figurative as pertaining to the events of creation and their sequence. I reject as spurious both the “Gap” theory and “Day/Age” theory of the creation account. I hold that all of creation was not, and is not, a matter of evolution or evolutionary change of species, or development through interminable periods of time from lower to higher forms. I believe, as Scripture plainly expresses, that all animal and plant life was made directly, and God’s established law was, and is, that they should bring forth only “after their kind.” I believe that all of creation was formed fully functional, or “in-process,” as if it had always existed; that all life was created in a mature state. I hold, in accordance with the Biblical timeline, that the earth is approximately 6000 years old, and that the creation of the entire physical universe occurred in six, twenty-four hour days, and that on the seventh day the LORD rested.

I hold as true, that man was created directly by the LORD God, and in the similitude of God. That this likeness is found in five distinct aspects: That man is a tri-unity of parts: soul, spirit, and body; That man has the innate ability to judge; That man has free-will within the parameters of his given existence; That man is creative, being able to bring forth out of that which exists; That man has the moral imperatives of mercy, compassion, forgiveness, grace, and love. Accordingly, man is the pinnacle of the LORD’s creation. I believe that the LORD God, having bestowed upon man such attributes, holds every individual accountable for the conduct of his existence.

Scripture References

Isaiah 45:18; Genesis 1:1; Acts 4:24; Exodus 20:9-11; Colossians 1:16-17; Hebrews 11:3; John 1:3-4; Romans 1:20; Acts 17:23-26; Jeremiah 10:12; Proverbs 8:12-31; Nehemiah 9:6; Genesis 1:11-12; Genesis 1:24-25; Genesis 1:26-27; Genesis 2:7; Genesis 2:19-20) Genesis 2:21-23; Genesis 2:1-3; I Thessalonians 5:23; John 7:24; I Corinthians 6:1-3; Deuteronomy 30:19-20; Genesis 2:15-17; Proverb 1:29; Proverb 3:31; Deuteronomy 12:8; II Chronicles 26:14-15; Proverb 8:12; Ecclesiastes 7:29; Psalm 37:21; Proverb 14:21; Exodus 2:6; Matthew 18:35; Genesis 33:8; Genesis 33:10; Exodus 21:5; Leviticus 19:18; Leviticus 19:34; Ecclesiastics 12:13-14.

Scriptures

For thus saith the LORD that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the LORD; and there is none else. (Isaiah 45:18)

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. (Genesis 1:1)

And when they heard that, they lifted up their voice to God with one accord, and said, Lord, thou art God, which hast made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all that in them is:. . . (Acts 4:24)

Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it. (Exodus 20:9-11)

For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. (Colossians 1:16-17)

Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear. (Hebrews 11:3)

All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. (John 1:3-4)

For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:. . . (Romans 1:20)

For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you. God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things; And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation;. . . (Acts 17:23-26)

He hath made the earth by his power, he hath established the world by his wisdom, and hath stretched out the heavens by his discretion. (Jeremiah 10:12)

I wisdom dwell with prudence, and find out knowledge of witty inventions. The fear of the LORD is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate. Counsel is mine, and sound wisdom: I am understanding; I have strength. By me kings reign, and princes decree justice. By me princes rule, and nobles, even all the judges of the earth. I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me. Riches and honour are with me; yea, durable riches and righteousness. My fruit is better than gold, yea, than fine gold; and my revenue than choice silver. I lead in the way of righteousness, in the midst of the paths of judgment: That I may cause those that love me to inherit substance; and I will fill their treasures. The LORD possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old. I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was. When there were no depths, I was brought forth; when there were no fountains abounding with water. Before the mountains were settled, before the hills was I brought forth: While as yet he had not made the earth, nor the fields, nor the highest part of the dust of the world. When he prepared the heavens, I was there: when he set a compass upon the face of the depth: When he established the clouds above: when he strengthened the fountains of the deep: When he gave to the sea his decree, that the waters should not pass his commandment: when he appointed the foundations of the earth: Then I was by him, as one brought up with him: and I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him; Rejoicing in the habitable part of his earth; and my delights were with the sons of men. (Proverbs 8:12-31)

Thou, even thou, art LORD alone; thou hast made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth, and all things that are therein, the seas, and all that is therein, and thou preservest them all; and the host of heaven worshippeth thee. (Nehemiah 9:6)

And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so. And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good. (Genesis 1:11-12)

And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so. And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good. (Genesis 1:24-25)

And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. (Genesis 1:26-27)

And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. (Genesis 2:7)

And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof. And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him. (Genesis 2:19-20)

And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. (Genesis 2:21-23)

Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them.And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made. (Genesis 2:1-3)

And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. (I Thessalonians 5:23)

Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment. (John 7:24)

Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unjust, and not before the saints? Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters? Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life? (I Corinthians 6:1-3)

I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live: That thou mayest love the LORD thy God, and that thou mayest obey his voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto him: for he is thy life, and the length of thy days: that thou mayest dwell in the land which the LORD sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them. (Deuteronomy 30:19-20)

And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die. (Genesis 2:15-17)

For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the LORD: . . . (Proverb 1:29)

Envy thou not the oppressor, and choose none of his ways. (Proverb 3:31)

Ye shall not do after all the things that we do here this day, every man whatsoever is right in his own eyes. (Deuteronomy 12:8)

And he made in Jerusalem engines, invented by cunning men, to be on the towers and upon the bulwarks, to shoot arrows and great stones withal. And his name spreadfar abroad; for he was marvellously helped, till he was strong. (II Chronicles 26:14-15)

I wisdom dwell with prudence, and find out knowledge of witty inventions. (Proverb 8:12)

Lo, this only have I found, that God hath made man upright; but they have sought out many inventions. (Ecclesiastes 7:29)

The wicked borroweth, and payeth not again: but the righteous sheweth mercy, and giveth. (Psalm 37:21)

He that despiseth his neighbour sinneth: but he that hath mercy on the poor, happy is he. (Proverb 14:21)

And when she had opened it, she saw the child: and, behold, the babe wept. And she had compassion on him, and said, This is one of the Hebrews’ children. (Exodus 2:6)

So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses. (Matthew 18:35)

And he said, What meanest thou by all this drove which I met? And he said, These are to find grace in the sight of my lord. (Genesis 33:8)

And Jacob said, Nay, I pray thee, if now I have found grace in thy sight, then receive my present at my hand: for therefore I have seen thy face, as though I had seen the face of God, and thou wast pleased with me. (Genesis 33:10)

And if the servant shall plainly say, I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not go out free:. . . (Exodus 21:5)

Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD. (Leviticus 19:18)

But the stranger that dwelleth with you shall be unto you as one born among you, and thou shalt love him as thyself; for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God. (Leviticus 19:34)

Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil. (Ecclesiastics 12:13-14)

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The Fourth Horseman

Monday, December 14th, 2009

The following audio is from a recent Wednesday night service in which Article 5 of our Statement of Faith is being taught. The lesson concentrates on the fourth horseman in Revelation, Chapter 6, but touches on the other three horsemen and what they mean, as it is necessary to understanding the Fourth Horseman and the reason Death and Hell exist. I pray you find it profitable.


 

If the podcast player does not work, you want to use a different player then the embedded player, or you want to download the file, you can use the link below.

The Fourth Horseman

In Christ,

Paul W. Davis

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Adam and the Fall — Addendum – Part 1

Saturday, February 7th, 2009

NOTE: This is a continuation of the series “Adam and the Fall.” If you have not read those posts, please do so as it will yield a far better understanding of what this series deals with. The posts can be found here: Part 1, Part 2, Part3, Part 4, Part5, Part 6.

“Ok. This is what I believe and think you meant in the commentary’s above. Correct me if I’m wrong. In a nut shell, Pre-Fall man(Adam) had the ability to sin and the ability not to sin. I believe Adam’s righteousness was the equivalent to a “born again” Christian’s righteousness, a reborn believer has the ability to sin and the ability not to sin. Pre-Fall man and the Reborn man had the same abilities and desires. As far as what Adam knew, what he didn’t know, what he understood, what he didn’t understand is debatable, and one that I wish not to participate in.” 1

There is a misconception that exists concerning Adam and the righteousness he possessed with respect to the born-again child of God and the righteousness that child has imputed unto them. As was made plain earlier, Adam was righteous, but only within the confines of his existence. By and large, it is not understood that Adam was righteous only in the context of his creation. Instead, what is assigned to Adam is precisely what the comment quoted above states:

“I believe Adam’s righteousness was the equivalent to a “born again” Christian’s righteousness, a reborn believer has the ability to sin and the ability not to sin.”2

This simplistic view does not take into account, nor does it incorporate an understanding, of what happens to someone when they are born-again. This failure to understand or incorporate the extent of, and change in the nature of a person when they are born again, brings about many false teachings that could be easily resolved if the totality of the change in the nature of the individual were correctly understood. This change in nature is so radical a departure from what the believer once was, it is described in this way:

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. (II Corinthians 5:17)

And again:

But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature. (Galatians 6:14-15)

This becoming a “new creature” is reinforced in the Old Testament, in the book of Jeremiah:

Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil. (Jeremiah 13:23)

Just as it is impossible for the leopard to change its spots, or a man to change the color of his skin, it is equally impossible for someone who has the nature of Adam to do good or become righteous in the sight of God. The reason for this is the corruption of the natural man — the man that is in Adam. As we are expressly told in Scripture, this natural man cannot please God as it is the nature of the flesh only that exists in the natural man, the one who is in Adam:

For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. (Romans 8:5-8)

Moreover, no matter how hard any man tries of his own ability, the attempted effecting of righteousness, and righteous acts only brings greater condemnation as we cannot possibly see the real end of our works and will invariably select a course of action that falls far short of matching the righteousness of God. There are numerous reasons for this, which will be dealt with later, but suffice to state at this point, that once a transgression has been committed, it must be paid for, and no subsequent finite act, however righteous, is going to be sufficient to pay for the transgression that has occurred. Hence, whatsoever is done must be of God as man is incapable of effecting any sort of infinite payment that is required of God for transgression of His law.

Here then we arrive at the event called the “new birth.” It is an event that man cannot effect and cannot duplicate. It is solely and expressly a work of God. This event is of such magnitude of change that, were we to physically see it, we would never believe it possible, except that we could not deny that it obviously occurred. In Romans, Chapter 6, it is described thus:

Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin. (Romans 6:3-7)

What is described above is nothing less than what would be if we saw someone die, and then immediately come to life, but they were entirely different when they came back to life than what they were before they died. When it states “Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed . . .” it is stating nothing less than the fact that when someone believes the gospel, who and what they are — their very nature that caused them to behave and think in a certain way, ceased to exist. This is further described in Galatians:

I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20)

Here, quite plainly, the apostle Paul states “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me:” which is to say that who the apostle Paul was, died when he came to personally know the Lord Jesus Christ through faith, when he believed in the Lord Jesus Christ for his salvation. Now, the Holy Ghost, by the apostle Paul insures this is very clear, so that we understand fully — who he was before, has departed — ceased to exist, died. This is the “old man” spoken of in the passage from Romans 6 above:

Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, . . . (Romans 6:6a)

Here then is a change that is beyond reformation, or “turning over a new leaf.” This change is better described as transformation or translation, both if which are terms the Scripture uses to describe the change that occurs at salvation:

Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins: . . . (Colossians 1:12-14)

Which translation was pictured in the taking of Enoch:

By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God. (Hebrews 11:5)

Above, when it declares that “Enoch was translated that he should not see death;” it is the perfect picture of what the Lord Jesus Christ described in John, Chapter 8:

Verily, verily, I say unto you, If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death. Then said the Jews unto him, Now we know that thou hast a devil. Abraham is dead, and the prophets; and thou sayest, If a man keep my saying, he shall never taste of death. Art thou greater than our father Abraham, which is dead? and the prophets are dead: whom makest thou thyself? (John 8:51-53)

And again:

Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life. Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live. (John 5:24-25)

And yet again:

Jesus saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again. Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day. Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this? (John 11:23-26)

All of which are confirmation of that which is stated in Revelation, Chapter 20:

And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years. (Revelation 20:4-6)

Thus we see in Enoch’s translation a picture of the fact that a born-again child of God cannot die — ever. In addition, we should note that Enoch ceased to interact with this world, and ceased to partake of troubles of this flesh. This also is a picture of what occurs at salvation. It, like the picture of death Enoch portrayed (Enoch escaped it) also applies to the soul.3 The problem that arises here is that problem highlighted by Aaron’s comment quoted above:

“I believe Adam’s righteousness was the equivalent to a “born again” Christian’s righteousness, a reborn believer has the ability to sin and the ability not to sin. Pre-Fall man and the Reborn man had the same abilities and desires.”4

The problem here is that Adam could, and did die. However, the Lord Jesus Christ is express that the born-again believer cannot die. This is not “will not” die, which would leave open the possibility of death based upon some as yet unforseen change or event. Rather, this is “can not” die, which eliminates all possibility of death and dying. Thus, to understand this, we need to establish a perspective, and view everything from that perspective, not allowing any other perspective to cloud our vision. Once we have established that perspective and understand it, then we can examine all other perspectives in light of that one perspective, which would eliminate considerable confusion.

Quite obviously the perspective we are going to view all this from is the perspective of the Lord Jesus Christ, who is God manifest in the flesh. There are several reasons for this, but the plainest and simplest is that His perspective is correct, He being the Creator of the “box” we live in and the Author of salvation. Hence, it is His perspective that is automatically correct, with all other perspectives taking a “back seat” to be considered only in light of the perspective of the LORD God.

In establishing this perspective, let us turn to a passage from the Old Testament in which the prophet Samuel was rebuked for having a wrong perspective and reminded of the perspective of the LORD:

And it came to pass, when they were come, that he looked on Eliab, and said, Surely the LORD’S anointed is before him. But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart. (I Samuel 16:6-7)

When the LORD tells Samuel that He “seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.” He does not speak here of the physical heart of a man. Rather, the LORD speaks of the soul, which is the part of man that He judges and holds accountable:

Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die. (Ezekiel 18:4)

Therefore, our perspective, if it is to be correct, must focus upon the soul and all things that pertain to the soul. Additionally, we must understand that when the LORD God makes the soul the single element of the individual to be judged, He is quite plainly stating that the flesh, and what happens in the flesh are secondary.5 We can confirm this by the following:

When Jesus knew in himself that his disciples murmured at it, he said unto them, Doth this offend you? What and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before? It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life. (John 6:61-63)

And again:

Do not ye yet understand, that whatsoever entereth in at the mouth goeth into the belly, and is cast out into the draught? But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man. (Matthew 15:17-20)

And when he was entered into the house from the people, his disciples asked him concerning the parable. And he saith unto them, Are ye so without understanding also? Do ye not perceive, that whatsoever thing from without entereth into the man, it cannot defile him; Because it entereth not into his heart, but into the belly, and goeth out into the draught, purging all meats? And he said, That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: 23All these evil things come from within, and defile the man. (Mark 7:17-23)

Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. (Proverbs 4:23)

The reason Proverbs tells us that the “issues of life” all stem from the heart, (which is the soul), is because the condition of our heart is what we are judged on. Moreover, in telling us that, the LORD God is also stating that a certain perspective we have is never correct — that is, we look at the flesh of a person first, and then say that person ‘has a soul,’ when in reality, it is entirely the other way around. What we should automatically say is ‘there is a soul’ understanding that people are souls, not ‘they have a soul.’ However, the reason we have that wrong perspective is because we are overwhelmed by the flesh, even to the point of not perceiving our soul at all.

Thus, we must change our perspective if we are to understand what the LORD God means when He speaks of life and death in relation to salvation, so that we also are not totally confused and mistaken about the condition of a person, even as the disciples were before the Lord Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead:

These things said he: and after that he saith unto them, Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep. Then said his disciples, Lord, if he sleep, he shall do well. Howbeit Jesus spake of his death: but they thought that he had spoken of taking of rest in sleep. Then said Jesus unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead. (John 11:11-14)

To be continued . . .

  1. http://reproachofmen.org/blog/?p=382#comments
  2. Ibid
  3. There are quite a number of things that could be discussed at this point. However, to remain with the subject at hand, we shall have to forgo them for the moment.
  4. Ibid
  5. This is not to say the things that happen in the flesh are not important, but only to say they are secondary.
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Adam and the Fall – Part 6

Sunday, December 14th, 2008

It is the fact that Adam continued to function after partaking of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil that creates the greatest problem in the minds of most people. After all, the LORD stated that Adam would die “in the day” he ate the fruit, and yet, Adam and Eve seem to function well enough to know how to make aprons to cover their nakedness. Yet, there is the problem of Adam now not wanting to face his Creator:

And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden. (Genesis 3:8)

Moreover, when the LORD calls to Adam, the response and exchange that follows indicates something is terribly amiss:

And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.
And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat? And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat. And the LORD God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.
And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.
Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.
And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return. (Genesis 3:9-19)

Clearly, things have radically changed. Where before life was quite simple and easy, now life becomes complicated and hard. Moreover, instead of the fellowship that existed before, now the LORD God rebukes Adam and pronounces judgements and consequences for what has been done. In this we do see the single pronouncement that Adam will die when the LORD states “till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return,” but that lies in the future, and it is not this day, which is what the LORD declared when He placed Adam in the Garden.

Clearly, there is need to search the Scriptures to understand what the LORD meant when He told Adam he would die. Since the common conception of death is that someone ceases to exist in this world, and that is not what happened to Adam and Eve, it is imperative that we resolve this so that we may know how the LORD God views us and all mankind.

Due to our limitations in understanding, we must go from what we can see and understand, to what we cannot see, and have no understanding of. In the Scripture we are able to do that as we have several instances where someone’s death is described and the events that occurred are detailed concerning what happened, and in what sequence. One of the first descriptions we have is the death of Rachel, the wife of Jacob.

And they journeyed from Bethel; and there was but a little way to come to Ephrath: and Rachel travailed, and she had hard labour. And it came to pass, when she was in hard labour, that the midwife said unto her, Fear not; thou shalt have this son also. And it came to pass, as her soul was in departing, (for she died) that she called his name Benoni: but his father called him Benjamin. (Genesis 35:16-18)

Here we see that Rachel, Jacob’s wife, died and ceased to exist in this physical world. However, in that description of her death, we are clearly told that her soul departed her body, and that was the signal event of her death. We have this confirmed by another passage of Scripture as well:

And she said unto Elijah, What have I to do with thee, O thou man of God? art thou come unto me to call my sin to remembrance, and to slay my son? And he said unto her, Give me thy son. And he took him out of her bosom, and carried him up into a loft, where he abode, and laid him upon his own bed. And he cried unto the LORD, and said, O LORD my God, hast thou also brought evil upon the widow with whom I sojourn, by slaying her son? And he stretched himself upon the child three times, and cried unto the LORD, and said, O LORD my God, I pray thee, let this child’s soul come into him again. And the LORD heard the voice of Elijah; and the soul of the child came into him again, and he revived. And Elijah took the child, and brought him down out of the chamber into the house, and delivered him unto his mother: and Elijah said, See, thy son liveth. (I Kings 17:18-23)

Again we have it confirmed that physical death is not the cessation of functioning of the soul, but a cessation of function of the body due to the soul departing the body. This then, renders the soul incapable of operating in the physical world, and thus, is separated from the physical world as it has no body in which it can operate to interact with the physical.

The fact that strictly spiritual creatures do not have flesh and cannot operate in the physical without some sort of physical vessel to utilize is confirmed by the Lord Jesus Christ after His resurrection:

And as they thus spake, Jesus himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. But they were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit. And he said unto them, Why are ye troubled? and why do thoughts arise in your hearts? Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have. (Luke 24:36-39)

Here we also see a separation exists in the interaction of the physical and the spiritual. Were the Lord Jesus Christ strictly a spiritual person after His resurrection, it would have been impossible for the disciples to touch Him. Thus a separation exists between the physical and the spiritual. This separation is a sharp and distinct separation that cannot be bridged, as the Lord Jesus Christ explained to Nicodemus:

Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. (John 3:5-6)

Since we now know that it is the soul that animates the body, and the body is simply a vessel the soul dwells in and utilizes until it’s time is full and it departs, thus causing the body to cease to function and all interaction with the physical world is cutoff, we can see that physical death is simply a separation of a soul from its ability to interact with the physical world.

Thus, we can also see a parallel with the death the LORD spoke of in the Garden, in which the death spoken of is a spiritual death. If we understand that Adam did indeed die that day, we can understand that since Adam continued to operate in the physical world, his death must have been spiritual.

What then is spiritual death?

Since we know that physical death is simply the soul ceasing to interact with, or being separated from interaction with the physical world by departing the body, we can also see that spiritual death must also involve a separation. Here, Adam’s behavior is telling:

And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself. (Genesis 3:9-10)

Where before Adam was not afraid of his Creator, now he is afraid of the LORD God and hides himself from the presence of the LORD. Now there exists a situation where Adam cannot bear the presence of his Creator, and he has become alien to the LORD who made him. This situation is mirrored in Isaiah, Chapter 59:

Behold, the LORD’S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear. (Isaiah 59:1-2)

It is not that Adam’s soul has ceased to function, but that it no longer has any fellowship with the LORD God. We know that the soul of a person who never submits to the gospel doesn’t cease to function, for the rich man in the parable of Luke, Chapter 16, whose soul was in hell, was fully cognizant of what was going on:

And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. (Luke 16:22-25)

What we then find in Scripture is that death, as the LORD God defines death, is not a cessation of function of the soul, and neither is the soul incapable of understanding what is going on. Rather, it is that the soul has no fellowship with the LORD God, and thus no meaningful interaction with the Creator, the source of all life. In John, Chapter 14, a statement by the Lord Jesus Christ’s is recorded that sheds considerable light on this:

Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. (John 14:6)

And again in John, Chapter 5:

Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life. Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live. (John 5:24-25)

Here the construction of the statement is quite clear: that there are functioning individuals walking around which are dead, as they are separated from the LORD God by their sins and iniquities. However, if they will hear the gospel and believe, they will pass from death to life, and cannot die ever again.

Thus, to the LORD God, death is being separated from Him, and He not knowing you, as the LORD cannot fellowship with those who countervail His judgements, call Him a liar continually, and are unrepentant in their hearts. They are strange and alien to Him, even as Adam became strange to the LORD.

So then we see that death ensued that very moment Adam partook of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, became aware of the law, judged his condition, and judged that the LORD God had inadequately clothed him, and determined a course of action that revealed the condition of his heart and soul. In so doing, Adam separated himself from God and made himself strange to the LORD God, setting himself as a judge over the actions of the LORD, and finding them wanting.

By this, Adam became the enemy of God and dead to God, and the fall is complete. Man can now never escape the law and its consequences save through the Lord Jesus Christ, and His shed blood on the cross.

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Adam and the Fall – Part 5

Saturday, December 13th, 2008

We have now come to the situation that Adam was warned about: that if he ate of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, he would surely die that day. The question that now arises in the minds of many is:

How is he dead? After all, Adam did not immediately cease to function; how then can Adam be dead?

In the above questions and the attempts of many to answer them, we find that Calvin’s commentary is not really any different than most when it comes to their understanding of the death the LORD God plainly stated would occur immediately upon partaking of the tree. Thus, we may use it for an example of what is commonly held to have taken place:

“But it is asked, what kind of death God means in this place? It appears to me, that the definition of this death is to be sought from its opposite; we must, I say, remember from what kind of life man fell. He was, in every respect, happy; his life, therefore, had alike respect to his body and his soul, since in his soul a right judgment and a proper government of the affections prevailed, there also life reigned; in his body there was no defect, wherefore he was wholly free from death. His earthly life truly would have been temporal; yet he would have passed into heaven without death, and without injury. Death, therefore, is now a terror to us; first, because there is a kind of annihilation, as it respects the body; then, because the soul feels the curse of God. We must also see what is the cause of death, namely alienation from God. Thence it follows, that under the name of death is comprehended all those miseries in which Adam involved himself by his defection; for as soon as he revolted from God, the fountain of life, he was cast down from his former state, in order that he might perceive the life of man without God to be wretched and lost, and therefore differing nothing from death. Hence the condition of man after his sin is not improperly called both the privation of life, and death. The miseries and evils both of soul and body, with which man is beset so long as he is on earth, are a kind of entrance into death, till death itself entirely absorbs him; for the Scripture everywhere calls those dead who, being oppressed by the tyranny of sin and Satan, breath nothing but their own destruction. Wherefore the question is superfluous, how it was that God threatened death to Adam on the day in which he should touch the fruit, when he long deferred the punishment? For then was Adam consigned to death, and death began its reign in him, until supervening grace should bring a remedy.”1

Here Calvin, like so many others, does not go to Scripture and allow Scripture to interpret the meaning of death, but states “It appears to me, that the definition of this death is to be sought from its opposite; we must, I say, remember from what kind of life man fell.” thus not allowing the LORD to explain what He means from His word, but in the end, plainly denying the express statement of the LORD that Adam would die that day:

And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die. (Genesis 2:16-17)

Now we know that it is manifestly impossible for God to lie, as the Scriptures are plain that God cannot lie:

. . .In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began; . . . (Titus 1:2)

And again:

Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath: That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us: . . .(Hebrews 6:17-18)

So when we again look at the warning Adam was given, we must consider that a literal truth was spoken, and we are not seeing what we need to see when we do not view Adam as being dead. It is clear that the term “in the day” was used with direct reference to eating the fruit and death occurring. Again, because the plain references are to literal, 24 hour days to this point, we are not free to think that the LORD meant that Adam would die at some point in the future, or that death had begun its working in Adam, but expressly meant that Adam died that day, and immediately upon eating of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. So it is that we find a clear difference between what we know and perceive, and what the LORD God plainly stated. To reconcile this, we must understand what death is from the LORD God’s point of view since He declared Adam would die that day, and understands perfectly how Adam did die.

Moreover, to do this, we must understand the parts of man and what the LORD God looks at to judge man and hold him accountable. In pursuing that end, we must again examine Genesis, Chapter 2, where we see that man was formed of the dust of the ground, which is the physical part of man, and the LORD breathed into man the breath of life so that man became a living soul:

And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. (Genesis 2:7)

At this point, we must quickly clarify the error of a particular belief that some have. As was pointed out before, we see a distinction from the animals due to the fact that the animals were not created with a soul, and man was. However, there exists considerable confusion among some over how animals are made, and whether they have a soul. Although the Scripture never speaks of any animal having a soul, it does indicate that there is a spiritual aspect to animals, even as there is to all things.

In Scripture, we do see that man is a living soul, and that man has a spirit. Moreover, for us, distinguishing between the two is an exceedingly difficult task, bordering on the impossible. We are also told that there is a spirit in everything and all living things have a spirit that is part of them. We see in Scripture that this extends even to inanimate objects, that they also have a spiritual aspect. This is evident from the following passages of Scripture:

And when he was come nigh, even now at the descent of the mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen; Saying, Blessed be the King that cometh in the name of the Lord: peace in heaven, and glory in the highest. And some of the Pharisees from among the multitude said unto him, Master, rebuke thy disciples. And he answered and said unto them, I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out. (Luke 37-40)

For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. (Romans 8:22)

God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high; Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they. (Hebrews 1:1-4)

Thus, everything in all creation is upheld by spiritual power, and everything has a spiritual component to it. This does not say, and neither is it supported in Scripture, that God is in everything. Rather, it is to say that the LORD God constructed everything with a spirit in it and everything is bound together by a spiritual power. The LORD God is able to communicate with all His creation, and all His creation and the creatures in it acknowledge Him, as can be seen by the following passages in addition to those previously cited:

And Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the inhabitants of Gilead, said unto Ahab, As the LORD God of Israel liveth, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to my word. And the word of the LORD came unto him, saying, Get thee hence, and turn thee eastward, and hide thyself by the brook Cherith, that is before Jordan. And it shall be, that thou shalt drink of the brook; and I have commanded the ravens to feed thee there. (I Kings 17:1-4)

And God’s anger was kindled because he went: and the angel of the LORD stood in the way for an adversary against him. Now he was riding upon his ass, and his two servants were with him. And the ass saw the angel of the LORD standing in the way, and his sword drawn in his hand: and the ass turned aside out of the way, and went into the field: and Balaam smote the ass, to turn her into the way. (Numbers 22:22-23)

And the LORD opened the mouth of the ass, and she said unto Balaam, What have I done unto thee, that thou hast smitten me these three times? And Balaam said unto the ass, Because thou hast mocked me: I would there were a sword in mine hand, for now would I kill thee. And the ass said unto Balaam, Am not I thine ass, upon which thou hast ridden ever since I was thine unto this day? was I ever wont to do so unto thee? And he said, Nay. Then the LORD opened the eyes of Balaam, and he saw the angel of the LORD standing in the way, and his sword drawn in his hand: and he bowed down his head, and fell flat on his face. (Numbers 22:28-31)

Here now it is evident that the animals perceived the spiritual far quicker than man, especially in the case of Balaam. This does not mean that animals are more spiritual than man, it is only to say that Balaam’s obstinance and rebellion prevented him from perceiving the presence of the angel. In short, man is spiritually blind through and because of sin, whereas animals, which are not capable of sin, more readily perceived spiritual events.

In returning to man and man’s construction (or how we are made), we must understand that there is a distinct difference between the spirit and a soul. Though there are times in Scripture that the word “spirit” refers to the soul, it is only done due to the fact that the soul is strictly spiritual in makeup, and has no physical component. Therefore, it should not surprise us that the soul is sometimes referred to as a spirit. What we must be certain of is the context in which the word is used, and whether the characteristics described are applicable to God and man. Thus, for our proper understanding, we must perceive the differences between the two spiritual parts of man, the soul and spirit, how they interact, and their characteristics. For the purposes of knowing how death occurred that day, our understanding need not be exhaustive, only sufficient to establish what part of man died, and how that death was manifested, for it is undeniable that some part of man died as the LORD clearly stated that Adam would die that day.

In the following verse, it is clearly laid out that man is a tri-unity of parts: spirit, soul, and body, and for man to live in this physical world, all parts must function together.

And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. (I Thessalonians 5:23)

Now all that is required is to distinguish the function of each of the parts and how the LORD created them to function. We know, and it is clearly evident that the body only functions in this physical world, and when it ceases to function, it returns to the dust from whence it was. What is not so clear is the function of the soul and spirit, and how they relate to one another. To begin with, the Scripture has much to say about the soul and spirit, and we are told that the soul (and the heart which is the seat of the soul) is the part of man the LORD holds accountable:

Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die. (Ezekiel 18:4)

But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart. (I Samuel 16:7)

Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith. (Habakkuk 2:4)

But when his heart was lifted up, and his mind hardened in pride, he was deposed from his kingly throne, and they took his glory from him: . . . (Daniel 5:20)

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings. (Jeremiah 17:9-10)

We are also told that it is the soul that is self-aware, that it thinks and feels:

I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. (Psalms 139:14)

Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God. (Psalm 43:5)

And it came to pass, when he had made an end of speaking unto Saul, that the soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul. (1 Samuel 18:1)

By the above passages, we see that it is the soul that makes us who we are, that gives us our personality, our individuality and identity, and that we are judged by the condition of our soul. When we become close to someone, it is our soul that is drawn to their soul (or should be), which is why a purely physical relationship is considered shallow and unfulfilling. Our knowledge of God and good and evil are instinctual to our soul. We also have in our soul an awareness of self, of our existence, and an instinctive knowledge that when our body ceases to function, we will continue to exist.

So what then is the spirit? The following passages of Scripture are but a few of many that describe it, and its function:

The spirit of man is the candle of the LORD, searching all the inward parts of the belly. (Proverbs 20:27)

With my soul have I desired thee in the night; yea, with my spirit within me will I seek thee early: for when thy judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness. (Isaiah 26:9)

And they did not receive him, because his face was as though he would go to Jerusalem. And when his disciples James and John saw this, they said, Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elias did? But he turned, and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. For the Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them. And they went to another village. (Luke 9:53-56)

What we are shown by this is that the spirit is the means by which we are communicated with, and communicate with, the spiritual world. It is our spiritual means of communication, and without a spirit, we would have no way of interacting with the spiritual world, even as our body could not perceive and communicate in the physical world without eyes, ears, nose, and the ability to taste, touch and feel. In the spiritual, our spirit accomplishes all the functions that the various sensory organs do for our body.

What we further see, is that our spirit allows us to be affected by things spiritual as James and John were, even though they were saved men with the Holy Ghost indwelling them. Hence, things perceived in the spirit, and being affected spiritually, does not necessarily have anything to do with the condition of the soul. It is also evident that our spirit remains active whether or not we are “dead in trespasses and sins,” for even the animals have a spirit that is active as previously cited passages show.

Therefore, when the LORD God instructed Adam that he would die “in the day” he partook of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and we see that Adam’s body continued to function, living in the world, and we also see from Scripture that the spirit never ceases to be active, we can only conclude that it was the soul of Adam that died. Thus we are left with the final question:

What is meant by “death” in relation to the soul?

Knowing all that has gone before, we then must see how the LORD defines death, since the Scripture is quite plain that the soul never ceases to exist.

To be continued . . .


  1. John Calvin, Commentaries on the First Book of Moses, CCEL text edition
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Adam and the Fall – Part 4

Thursday, December 11th, 2008

And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed. (Genesis 2:23-25)

Surely your turning of things upside down shall be esteemed as the potter’s clay: for shall the work say of him that made it, He made me not? or shall the thing framed say of him that framed it, He had no understanding? (Isaiah 29:16)

Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? (Romans 9:20)

And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons. (Genesis 3:7)

If now thou hast understanding, hear this: hearken to the voice of my words. Shall even he that hateth right govern? and wilt thou condemn him that is most just? Is it fit to say to a king, Thou art wicked? and to princes, Ye are ungodly? How much less to him that accepteth not the persons of princes, nor regardeth the rich more than the poor? for they all are the work of his hands. (Job 34:16-19)

Knowledge. It’s supposed to be a wonderful thing. But there is some knowledge that we simply don’t need, like that of chemical weapons, biological weapons, getting hit in the head, overdosing on heroin, etc., etc. In short, knowledge, simply for the sake of knowledge is not a good thing in and of itself. Moreover, the knowledge we receive has to be accurate to the reality that truly exists. Some knowledge would simply be better left unknown.

So it is with the knowledge of good and evil. Due to the very nature of knowing what constitutes or makes something good, and what constitutes or makes something evil, and because Adam was created the way he was created, he cannot help but judge everything he observes, and thus determine whether it is good or evil. But before continuing, we must fully understand that Adam was indeed created with the ability to judge, and did so, as this also is critical to our understanding of how the knowledge of good and evil is instantly destructive to us. We know that Adam was created with the ability to judge by the first recorded task the LORD gave Adam:

And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof. And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him. (Genesis 2:19-20)

Here we see that Adam is fully able to distinguish the different characteristics of the animals, and judge the name most fitting for that animal, and where it fits into the environment they live in. Now, this does not tell us the extent or capacity of Adam’s ability to judge, saving we are expressly told that he does not know good and evil. However, we can see that immediately upon partaking of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, he immediately judges certain things that are of a different quality than simply naming animals.

Thus, though we are not told of the extent, we still see plainly that man was created with the inherent ability to judge, even as his Creator judges, but not to the same level of authority or power. Within Adam’s limited existence, the judgement he possesses is commensurate with his ability to discern. Adam cannot see into the future, and has no mechanism by which he can determine the outworking or end of thoughts and events. Adam is also confined by the limits of his physical perception, and cannot accurately determine if an action performed at one place, can never or may never affect events at another place with any certainty. Or, if it does affect events, to what extent the effect is felt at the other, or any other place. We, living today, ought to be very familiar with these limitations. However, this limitation becomes immeasurably more severe when we consider the ramifications within the realm of the spiritual.

If we remember, it is the spiritual that existed before the physical, and is greater and more powerful than the physical. If we also remember, sin is first and foremost, spiritual and begins in the heart and soul of the individual long before it is ever manifested physically:

Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart. (Matthew 5:27-28)

And again:

And Jesus said, Are ye also yet without understanding? Do not ye yet understand, that whatsoever entereth in at the mouth goeth into the belly, and is cast out into the draught? But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man. (Matthew 15:16-20)

And so it is that Adam’s ability to comprehend what might be spiritually, is also severely limited, as he has no means by which he can determine the effect of the thoughts of his heart upon the entirety of the spiritual world. Thus, Adam’s ability to make moral judgements concerning the things he perceives, observes and considers, was rightly and properly withheld as it would bring about a situation where Adam would judge something, and not seeing all the ramifications of it, would judge it to be one way and to have one outcome, and in reality it actually is a different way and a considerably different outcome will result. What the end of this situation is, is what the Scripture calls iniquity (which is the cause of sin), as the judgement made would “miss the mark” and be unequal to the reality that exists.

For us to truly understand what “iniquity” and “sin” are, and why they are so egregious and destructive, we must examine righteousness, sin, and iniquity and how they are defined. In Scripture, iniquity and sin are clearly defined, and in so doing, righteousness is defined as well. The clearest passages that define iniquity and sin, and thus righteousness, are found in the Old Testament, in Ezekiel:

Yet saith the house of Israel, The way of the Lord is not equal. O house of Israel, are not my ways equal? are not your ways unequal?
Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, saith the Lord GOD. Repent, and turn yourselves from all your transgressions; so iniquity shall not be your ruin. (Ezekiel 18:29-30)

Yet the children of thy people say, The way of the Lord is not equal: but as for them, their way is not equal. When the righteous turneth from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, he shall even die thereby. But if the wicked turn from his wickedness, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall live thereby. Yet ye say, The way of the Lord is not equal. O ye house of Israel, I will judge you every one after his ways. (Ezekiel 33:17-20)

In both the above passages, it is very clear by the use of the phrases “my ways equal” and “your ways unequal” and then the LORD God stating “turn yourselves from all your transgressions; so iniquity . . .” and again stating “When the righteous turneth from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity,” the LORD is clearly setting righteousness in direct opposition to iniquity, and saying that “iniquity” is being “not equal” in one’s doings. Therefore sin, which is a result of iniquity, is the result of being unequal in one’s way of being. This is to say that if the very way we think is unequal, that when we do not treat everything equally, we are in sin, and are not righteous. This is confirmed in the New Testament in James, Chapter 2:

If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well: But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors. (James 2:8-9)

Beyond this, it is inherent in being equal or righteous, that one must, to be equal, see all things that are, as they are, not as we think or want them to be. Moreover, one must be able to see infinitely to know that all things that can be seen, are seen, and perceived accurately or as they are.

To simplify somewhat, it is like examining a sheet of copier, or printer paper, letter size. For us, we specify that it is 8.5 x 11.0 inches, and is .012 inch thick, an weighs “X” amount. However, all that is described by us, is approximate, and not actual. In fact, we cannot actually know exactly how wide, long and thick the sheet of paper is. Nor can we know exactly how much it weighs.

Why?

Because we do not have instruments that can measure the absolute size and weight of the sheet of paper. We are strictly limited by our capabilities and will never know exactly the physical aspects of the sheet of paper, we can only approximate. This makes us inherently unrighteous when we attempt to describe a single sheet of letter size printer or copier paper.

Now, as briefly touched on concerning Adam, once he has received the knowledge of good and evil, the problem goes further when making an attempt to determine the outcome of some physical action, or decision. To be righteous he must insure that all consequences of any action he decides upon and executes must fit perfectly in the creation in which the LORD God placed him. Any and all outcomes, no matter how remote, no matter how seemingly insignificant, must match perfectly with the ordained order of the LORD’s creation. Otherwise, Adam is unrighteous and not equal in his dealings and thus in iniquity, and as a result, sin.

Hence, looking at righteousness in this way demonstrates to us just how incapable Adam was of being righteous once he obtained the knowledge of good and evil. Moreover, it illustrates his (and our) inability to truly understand the extent of the LORD God’s righteousness, which is intrinsic to His being.

Perhaps then, a description of the LORD God’s righteousness can be understood by the following illustration:

It is as if there existed an infinitely large mathematical equation that extended in every dimension, both physical and spiritual, with an equal sign right in the midst. In all that would be done in this infinite, multi-dimensional equation, it is never not an equation. Meaning it is never, not even for the slightest of an instant, unequal as it is worked. Moreover, in every thought and action that occurs in this equation and the outworking or ramifications thereof, everything balances perfectly and remains equal at all times, from infinity to infinity in every and all possible dimensions.

Now then, if we begin to grasp that concept, we begin to understand how that in all that is done, the LORD God is ever and always righteous in all that He does, from infinity to infinity, and how incapable Adam was of being righteous should he gain the knowledge of good and evil. Thus, it is plain that in withholding the knowledge of good and evil, the LORD God was preserving Adam from making judgements against, and contrary to his Creator, and thus placing himself in opposition to the LORD God, the very one who made him.

Now then, let us return to the verses above, and what they declare:

And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed. (Genesis 2:23-25)

Surely your turning of things upside down shall be esteemed as the potter’s clay: for shall the work say of him that made it, He made me not? or shall the thing framed say of him that framed it, He had no understanding? (Isaiah 29:16)

Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? (Romans 9:20)

And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons. (Genesis 3:7)

If now thou hast understanding, hear this: hearken to the voice of my words. Shall even he that hateth right govern? and wilt thou condemn him that is most just? Is it fit to say to a king, Thou art wicked? and to princes, Ye are ungodly? How much less to him that accepteth not the persons of princes, nor regardeth the rich more than the poor? for they all are the work of his hands. (Job 34:16-19)

In light of all that is spoken of before, it is now plain that Adam judged the actions of his Creator and deemed them lacking. When Adam received the knowledge of good and evil, as the Scripture shows, he went from being naked and unashamed, to instantly judging that he was naked, and should not be so, for he was ashamed of his state of undress. By this action, Adam has brought a judgement contrary to the order the LORD God set up when he did not cloth Adam immediately after his creation. This then, is the visible manifestation of the judgement that has occurred in Adam’s heart concerning how he should have been adorned when he was made. The reality of Adam’s judgement is to call God wicked for not clothing him when He made him, and thus giving Adam cause for shame. Moreover, now Adam also knows plainly that he should not have partaken of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and also knows that he has set himself against the LORD God. As a result of this, Adam’s reaction upon the appearance of the LORD God in the garden can be well understood by us today:

And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden. (Genesis 3:8)

To be continued . . .

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Adam and the Fall – Part 3

Tuesday, December 9th, 2008

NOTE: This is a reposting of Part 3 of Adam and the Fall due to significant revision and extension of the original article. I do apologize for its length. — Paul

And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me. Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures, . . .(Luke 24:44-45)

Even as the disciples could not understand the Old Testament Scriptures because they were blinded by the hardness of their hearts, Adam, not by any hardness of his heart, but through ignorance, simply cannot understand that choosing to partake of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil is evil. What is meant in the passage from Luke, Chapter 24 is that the disciples could not grasp the significance of passages of Old Testament Scripture, and that those passages pertained to Christ. In the same way, to Adam, who does not know and cannot conceive good and evil, what is put before him is simply a choice of one thing over another. Though we see that Adam cannot be held guilty due to his innocence, he is indeed guilty by virtue of the fact he was given an express command. However, he does not, as we would, recognize that rejecting the command is an act of rebellion. He simply cannot understand anything good or evil about the command and his transgression of it. It is impossible for Adam to understand how failing to keep the command is wrong. This is a state of pure innocence. It is very much like the innocence of a child, which is described to us in Deuteronomy, Chapter 1:

Moreover your little ones, which ye said should be a prey, and your children, which in that day had no knowledge between good and evil, they shall go in thither, and unto them will I give it, and they shall possess it. (Deuteronomy 1:39)

Now, unlike little children and like the disciples, Adam’s state is one of being intelligent yet undiscerning of what it means to be disobedient. He cannot comprehend that disobeying the commandment is an act of evil, any more than he can discern that both he and the creation he inhabits are “very good.” In the same way, but looking from the other side, we have almost as much difficulty comprehending Adam’s state of existence as he does comprehending that good and evil exist. The difference is that he can’t, and if we honestly try, we can. After all, all we have to do is raise a child, and we gain firsthand knowledge of what it is like to deal with someone who cannot comprehend that what they are about to do, or what they just did is wrong.

Thus, there is a parallel that exists between the child reaching the age where they perceive the fact that the law of God exists, and Adam partaking of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. This “awareness” of the child is explained by the apostle Paul in Romans, Chapter 7:

What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet. But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence. For without the law sin was dead. For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died. (Romans 7:7-9)

The parallels do not match completely, as Adam’s state cannot ever be duplicated again. However, it is close enough that we can see what is meant by the statements “I had not known sin, but by the law” and “For without the law sin was dead.” We may also add the following, as it to confirms the picture presented by the child that becomes cognizant of the law of God, and due to his sin nature, promptly rebels:

The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. (I Corinthians 15:56)

Hence, immediately after the entrance of the law, sin revives in the heart of the child, deceives the child, the child rebels against the law and is promptly cut off from God. Nonetheless, we are also instructed in the passage from Romans, Chapter 7 cited above, that the apostle Paul was “alive without the law once:” meaning that as a child that could not distinguish between good and evil (yet the sin nature lay dormant in his heart) he lived, and had yet to run afoul of the law no matter what he did, as he was not capable of distinguishing between good and evil. Thus, we have confirmation of what Moses stated in the passage quoted above:

“ . . .and your children, which in that day had no knowledge between good and evil,. . .” (Deuteronomy 1:39b)

Here then is the parallel between Adam and the little child prior to the fall, and a parallel between what happened to Adam when he fell and death ensued, and the child that reaches the age of cognizance of the law of God and death ensues. In both cases, the parties are innocent, innocence is destroyed, and death comes about as direct result of the loss of innocence. Thus, we should have the ability to understand that Adam, as intelligent as he obviously was, could not make a moral judgement about the rightness or wrongness of his action, or of the actions of anyone or anything else. In this regard Adam is like a child (I should say here that to the LORD God, we are all like little children.), but in sheer intelligence, Adam has immense capability. He is, like the disciples, held back from understanding, yet is fully capable of understanding. The problem is not with Adam’s intellect, but lies in the fact that the knowledge of what constitutes good and evil itself will kill him.

This calls to mind the time when I spoke with a couple of Mormon missionaries. During the discussion, one of them held up The Book of Mormon and declared “But we have more knowledge!” as a way of supporting their reliance on The Book of Mormon in addition to the Bible. Instantly, (and it was instant) my mind was brought to the fall of man and the very fact that it was the appeal to knowledge, and subsequent “wisdom” that snared Eve, then Adam — and killed them, resulting in misery for us all. Of course, the reply which I gave them was, “Yeah, Adam and Eve got more knowledge, and it killed them.” The point here is that more knowledge is not necessarily a good thing. If we cannot handle the knowledge we receive, then it is ultimately detrimental, and likely to be fatal to us. Even so, the ability to distinguish between good and evil (which is the ability to make moral judgments) destroys us. Unfortunately, we can no more divest ourselves of that knowledge than any of us could jump to the planet Saturn. The “why” of this is critical, and requires examination as well.

It is notable that the tree was expressly named the “tree of the knowledge of good and evil,” and not the tree of “good and evil.” I have previously pointed out that there are those who fail to make this distinction. This failure flaws their understanding of what happened, and the why of it. The LORD God had, as He does in everything, a very significant point to the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. It is up to us to inquire of it and seek the LORD for an answer to why this is so.

With the creation of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and the subsequent instruction that the fruit of it should not be eaten lest death ensue, the LORD places a barrier to a portion of knowledge He determined is destructive to man. Moreover, by telling Adam that “death” would be the direct, immediate result, even if death is not explained, the whole tenor of the command and warning would cause one to shy away from violating it. The clear perception is that death and dying is not a good result, and irrevocable. Hence, there is a knowledge here that will change things permanently and not in a desirable way. Thus Adam weighed in the balance whether the supposed gain of knowledge was worth the consequent price to be paid. Since we all live the result, we know both the decision and the result of it, neither of which were and are good.

That stated, this tree of the knowledge of good and evil is like a latch, that once tripped, cannot be reset, and we cannot return to the former state of innocence. Why? The answer lies in the very nature of righteousness and in the creation of Adam. The Scripture is plain that Adam was created in righteousness, and had his own righteousness, although finite, by virtue of his creation. Moreover, since Adam cannot differentiate between good and evil, he cannot effect a moral judgment. This makes Adam dwell in a state of innocency where, no matter what he does, it cannot be wrong. He has no ability to determine whether his own actions are good or evil, which is to say, right and wrong. The principle of that is given to us in Romans, Chapter 4:

For if they which are of the law be heirs, faith is made void, and the promise made of none effect: Because the law worketh wrath: for where no law is, there is no transgression. (Romans 4:14-15)

Here the principle is plainly stated, that if there is no law, there can be no transgression. In short, it is impossible to transgress that which does not exist. However, Adam has a law, and only one law:

And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die. (Genesis 2:16-17)

The law is plain: don’t eat of the fruit of one specific tree. Now, if it happened to be that all the command encompassed was simply ‘don’t eat the fruit of this tree,’ without the fruit thereof imparting knowledge, we would find a somewhat difficult situation in that Adam, having partaken, yet having no knowledge imparted to him, would still be uncomprehending of what he did wrong. Moreover, since he blundered in his innocency and naivete, and remained so, how was he to be dealt with? Righteously and within the law there is nothing specified and not really a way to deal with this situation. To outright destroy Adam is to treat Adam as we are commanded to treat animals that transgress:

If an ox gore a man or a woman, that they die: then the ox shall be surely stoned, and his flesh shall not be eaten; but the owner of the ox shall be quit. (Exodus 21:28)

Thus we would find an immediate end to the race of man. Moreover, Adam was not formed as the animals were formed, but was made in the image of God and is a living soul. Scripture clearly testifies that animals were not formed in the image of God, and do not have a soul. Hence, this is not a tenable option in light of righteousness and the law, as the Scripture also demonstrates:

Keep thee far from a false matter; and the innocent and righteous slay thou not: for I will not justify the wicked. (Exodus 23:7)

Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven. (Matthew 18:10)

“ . . .and your children, which in that day had no knowledge between good and evil,. . .” (Deuteronomy 1:39b)

It is not simply that they are children that causes the Father to look upon the little ones among us, but that they are innocent, and live in innocency until they become cognizant of the law. This is a point of law that the LORD God cannot transgress, as it would violate His own nature. Even though Adam would have unrighteously eaten of the fruit, had he remained in innocency, the law of God and God’s righteousness would have placed Adam in an irresolvable, irreconcilable situation. Therefore, we must look for the resolution of this through righteousness.

If we then look to righteousness, we can see that righteousness is an absolute quality where one is either righteous wholly and completely, or one is not righteous at all:

For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. (James 2:10)

But then, without the impartation of knowledge that would bring Adam out of his state of innocency, he would be guilty without understanding why, and would exist in a place that the law does not address, and indeed cannot address. However, if we look at the effect of Adam’s action, but not his intention, we can also see that Adam judged the command of God and found it to be lacking, but with no understanding that this was the actual effect of what he did. In accordance with the testimony of Scripture, we find that the knowledge of good and evil is the cognizant ability to make judgements and determine whether something is either good or evil under the law. Thus, once Adam partook of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, knowledge of the law was imparted and he became as a god, with the ability to knowingly judge. Since Adam had broken the law, the impartation of the knowledge of the law seals him to always knowing the law, and he cannot escape the fact that everything he sees he will automatically judge as to whether it is good or evil, right or wrong. Instantly, upon partaking of the fruit, we are told:

. . .the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked;. . . (Genesis 3:7a)

Therefore, we do plainly see that the partaking of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil imparts a certain knowledge, a certain ability, which is the ability to make moral judgments on an instinctual level. Moreover, it is an event that cannot be undone. This is why, though they knew not before that they were naked, they instantly recognized the moral aspects and implications to their nakedness, and knew instantly they should be clothed. Worse yet, having judged the command of the LORD God, and, in their eyes found it wanting, yet without understanding, they now go further and seeing themselves, knowingly judge that the LORD God should have clothed them. By this, without fully realizing it, Adam brought judgment against the LORD God and set himself at variance with the LORD.

With the above, we should now be able to understand the function of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Quite plainly we see that the instruction to not partake of it, was not simply a prohibition for the sake of giving Adam a law to see if he would obey. Rather, there is a larger issue here, one of being able to determine what constitutes righteousness, and conversely wickedness. By the knowledge given in the fruit of this tree, man will be able to knowingly determine whether a thought, type of behavior, action, etc. is ultimately beneficial or detrimental, and why. If man is able to resist the temptation to misuse such knowledge, and operate in perfect harmony with his Creator, then all is well. If not, man “unbalances the equation” in that he is no longer operating according to his design. However, since man was given an express command, the mere fact of partaking, means that man would no longer be operating in harmony with his Creator, thus unbalanced in his thoughts, actions, and behavior and in sin.

Thus, there is a further representation given by the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. This representation then is a physical manifestation of a realm of spiritual knowledge, that, had Adam entered into solely in the spiritual (in the thoughts of his heart only) we could never tell the difference, saving that Adam suddenly found it necessary to be clothed. Moreover, if it were only in the spiritual that this occurred, then Eve would not have been, and could not have been guilty, and would have been unrighteously subject to death and destruction. Why? It is plain from both Scripture and from our own experience that a person’s thoughts are strictly that person’s private thoughts, and are not shared unless and until they are revealed by that individual. Hence, had Adam, who is the head of the race, and to whom was given dominion, transgressed in his heart, and been brought to the knowledge of good and evil, he would have brought death upon all in his dominion. However, Eve, who had not transgressed, and who has a soul and is made in the image of God, would have also been subject to death as well, and thus been unjustly condemned. Moreover, had Eve only transgressed in her heart, then Adam, who had not partaken, would have not fallen, and no death would have entered into Adam’s dominion, yet sin would be found in the realm of Adam’s existence, confined to Eve. Here we find a situation where sinless Adam could have known sinful Eve, resulting in a situation where the children would have had an irresolvable conflict in their nature.

Hence, by making a physical manifestation (the tree of the knowledge of good and evil) of a spiritual realm of knowledge (knowing good and evil), and commanding man to not partake of it, the LORD insures that if transgression occurs, that the race of man is brought wholly and completely into transgression and the transition is visible to all. Moreover, that if it occurred, the event would be undeniable to all involved, and to all who would come to have knowledge of the event in the future.

To be continued . . .

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