THE FIRST MAN (1)Vol. 25: The Christadelphian : Volume 25. 2001, c1888. The Christadelphian, volume 25. (electronic ed.). Logos Library System . Christadelphian Magazine & Publishing Association: Birmingham
That there was a first man, from whom the whole race of mankind extant upon the face of the earth have been derived, is among the earliest things revealed in the Scriptures, as it is also among the things subsequently confirmed by the whole tenor of Bible history. To begin with, take the situation at the period that the six days’ work was commenced, and we have before us a dark waste of waters, that everywhere overspread the solid earth; and which at this point was as manifestly “void” of human life as it was of the creature existences that in due course were developed in earth, air, and sea, preliminary to the introduction of man upon the scene. Then, before the earth was fit habitation for either man or animals, it had to be clothed with verdure and planted with trees, and nature’s productions of every imaginable kind (1:11, 12, 2:5).
Then, again, until Adam was created it is expressly said that “there was not a man to till the ground” (2:5 ). Then the fact that Adam was formed directly from the dust of the ground shows that he was an original creation, and the first of his kind, as Paul afterwards calls him in the words “the first man Adam was made a living soul” ( 1 Cor. 15:45 ). Observe! the first man “ made , ’ not the first man whom God took into covenant-relation. This last idea is at variance with all the essentials of the account. That this creation referred to the one particular man, afterwards called Adam, and not to “mankind” in the general sense claimed by some, admits of no question, for, says the writing, “the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed:” yes, “the man” that is definite enough for anything. Putting Genesis and Corinthians together, we get the simple fact that “God formed the first man Adam out of the dust of the ground.”
To say that Adam was not the only man then existing on the face of the earth is to introduce confusion into a matter that left alone is simplicity itself; more than that, it is to introduce an element that is entirely excluded by all the facts of the case. To ask the question, “Where did Cain get his wife from?” is of no avail against such an all-excluding account. It might just as well be asked where did Lamech get his two wives from? or, on the other side, where did Seth (the father of Enos) get his wife from ( 5:6 ), and those by whom he was immediately succeeded? The answer is before us, in such statements as the following: “Adam begat sons and daughters;” “Seth begat sons and daughters;” “Enos begat sons and daughters;” “Cainan begat sons and daughters;” “Mahalaleel begat sons and daughters;” “Jared begat sons and daughters;” “Enoch begat sons and daughters;” “Methuselah begat sons and daughters;” “Lamech begat sons and daughters.”
To suggest that in the first instance wives were obtained from another race, altogether outside Adam and his descendants, is to seek to account for the posterity of Cain and Seth on principles that take the bottom out of the whole record, and that give the human race a start inconsistent with the unity of the race, on which the work of Christ on behalf of both Jew and Gentile is based; and which will at last include results “out of every kindred, tongue, people, and nation” ( Rev. 5:9 ). Paul establishes the matter beyond all controversy in his address to the Gentile Athenians ( Acts 17 .) in saying so expressly that “God who made the world hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth” and determined both “the times and bounds of their habitation.” Added to this, he quotes and applies the words of Aratus, a Greek poet, that “we are also his offspring.” Forasmuch, then, says he, that it is an admitted thing with the Gentiles that we are the offspring of God, we ought not, says he, to regard the Godhead as like unto gold and silver. Jew and Gentile then are equally the offspring of “Adam, who was the son of God” ( Luke 3:38 ).
To say that the Gentiles whom we see every day in the street are the members of a race derived altogether outside of Adam, is to make void the entire genealogy of revelation, and to make of none effect the most express testimony to the contrary; and indeed to overthrow completely the doctrine that “by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin;” and that “through the offence of one many be dead;” that “death reigned by one ; ” that “by the offence of one judgment came upon all;” and that “by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners.” Then, overthrowing this fact with regard to the first Adam, it logically disestablishes the parallel that Paul institutes between him and the “last Adam” as the “one man by whom grace hath abounded to many;” the one by whom they shall reign in life; the one righteousness by which comes justification of life, and the “obedience of one by which many are made righteous” ( Rom. 5 .) They are both cases of “many’ in “one,” and therefore equally cases, illustrating the federal principle upon which God has dealt with the human race; first with regard to sin and death (many being made sinners by the transgression of one); and second, with respect to righteousness and life (many being made righteous by the obedience of one). Had there been two Adams in the beginning (or two parents of mankind), then there must needs have been two Christs, else one race must have been left out of account altogether with respect to the redemptory institution. This, however, is wholly impossible in every particular, for as the phrase “in Adam” covers all who die, so the phrase “in Christ” covers all who like him shall be made “alive for evermore.”
The doctrine that Adam was only the “first man” of a covenant, and not literally the first man of the whole race, with which the earth is peopled, is a mistaken interpretation that requires the application of the same kind of unwarrantable treatment to the whole line of route from Adam to Moses, and from Moses to Christ. This is only natural to a wrong start. As illustrating this, it is claimed that the death pronounced against Adam was the “second death”! and that the historic comparison that Paul institutes between Adam and Christ, in the words “as in Adam all die,” is referable to the resurrection; and further, that men only get into Adam by being baptised into Christ. This is certainly the climax of absurdity if ever there was one. It is the case of a simple matter treated in a way that obscures its true features, and gives us the elements of chaos and confusion, in the place of light, and “sound speech”; and this is increased by remarks to the effect that they are not all of Adam’s race that we see in the street; thus giving the thing at once a past, present, and future bearing upon the work of the truth; and so stumbling the judgment and embarrassing and limiting the operations of faith and duty, at every step of the way; with equally crippling results upon the house within, and the world without.
Wrong views of things are crotchets (or crooked things), that become more and more hurtful, according to the frequency with which they are advanced; for crooked things have a tendency to become hobbeys; and in that case, to get upon the table at every turn, with the result, at last, of being “ridden to death,” at the expense of the ample and edifying variety of subjects which the threepart readings of the scriptures always afford, Sunday and week-day alike. Crotchet airing is destructive of all true well-being in spiritual things; it takes all the flesh off the bones, and gives us instead a mere skeleton: it is even worse than this, since, in most cases, it gives us a mere wart, or other morbid excrescence, to dwell upon. If a man speak not as the oracles of God, he imparts the conditions of his own dark-minded apprehensions of things to the matter he is seeking to enforce upon the attention of the others. This is inevitable. On the other hand, where a man speaks according to the law and the testimony, the light that floods the scene is the Spirit’s own light, passing, as it were, through the mental lens of the speaker, without real detriment to its essential meaning.
Turning back again to the beginning of things, we find that in course of time the Sethite “sons of God” ( 4:26 ), and the Camite “daughters of men” began to intermarry, with the results before us at the crisis of the deluge ( 6:1–7 ), in which the whole of Cain’s descendants manifestly perished; the only human souls that survived being the “eight souls saved by water” ( 1 Pet. 3:20 ), consisting of Noah and his wife, and his three sons and their wives. From these the world received, as it were, a new start, with no more possibility of any outside themselves than in the watery chaos that preceded creation’s dawn. Upon this point the inspired record is very express, for we read that “all flesh died that moved upon the earth, both of fowl, cattle, beast, and creeping thing, and every man .” Then repeating the “all,” it goes on to say that “all in whose nostrils was the breath of life, of all that was in the dry land died;” and that every living substance was destroyed which was upon the face of the ground; both man, cattle, creeping things, and the fowl of heaven; repeating it again, that “they were destroyed from the earth;” and that as the result of this, “Noah only remained alive, and they that were with him in the ark” ( Gen. 7:21–23 ).
This again leaves no room for any other race on the earth, than such as have descended from Noah and his three sons, and, speaking in general terms, the well-known progenitors of the people inhabiting Europe (Japhet), Asia (Shem), and Africa (Ham), and of course America, which, excepting the small percentage of its probably Hamite aboriginals, is for the most part made up of settlers from Europe. Added to this, the languages of the various nations are all manifestly but the variations of the “one language,” at first common to all mankind ( Gen. 11:1 ); but eventually diversified in connection with the postdiluvian building of Babel ( Gen. 11:7–9 ), as at this day. Then, the genealogies of the scriptures all confirm the fact that universal man had a common origin in one parent: take first the antediluvian genealogies; then the postdiluvian; then such as were subsequently incorporated with the history of Israel (1 Chronicles to wit, which begins with Adam); then the New Testament genealogies, which in one case begin with Abraham; and in the other run backwards up to Adam again.
Then, take the case of Israel, a nation of whom it was said, “The people shall dwell alone, and not be reckoned among the nations” ( Num. 23:9 ). This was God’s nation in particular, “the nation” whom be constituted a kingdom for himself; all outside of this were spoken of as “the nations,” “the Gentiles,” “the heathen,” or “the Goyim , ” as they are called in the Hebrew language (the word rendered by these different terms). A Gentile therefore was simply a non-Israelite, one who was not born in the channel of Jacob’s descendants. A Jew outwardly was a mere Jewish descendant of Jacob after the flesh, a Jew wholly in bondage to the Mosaic law; a Jew inwardly, was a son of Abraham in faith and disposition, a child of the freedom that belongs to the New Covenant, and “an Israelite in whom there is no guile.” Such also were the Gentiles that were grafted on to the Israelitish olive tree, by the faith of the Gospel preached to Abraham and the forty-second generation of his descendants ( Gal. 3:8 ; Rom. 11 .); for having put on Christ, they become joint-partakers of the relation which Christ sustained to Abraham, and so became Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
Outside of Christ, all is Adam and Moses, sin and the law of sin and death. A Jewish believer on Jesus comes constitutionally out of Moses and the Old Covenant, into Christ and the New Covenant: baptised into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, he requires now to be baptized into Christ. Similarly a Gentile believer of the Gospel comes, constitutionally speaking, out of Adam into Christ. This is symbolised at the outstart by the baptismal burial, which as one new-born from the dead, introduces him to the privileges of sonship in the house, of which the resurrected Son of God is the head, and not the dead and buried first Adam. In all this Adam was but “the figure of him that was to come” ( Rom. 5:14 ), who is “Lord of all” he surveys, in both a higher and more permanent sense than anything present in the actualities of the typical Adam. Nevertheless the parallel and contrastive resemblances are many; here’s another, “For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead;” “for,” says Paul (illustrating what he means by the two men), “as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive” ( 1 Cor. 15:21–22 ). This is only another way of saying what he says in Romans, viz., that sin and death entered the world by one man; and that in the outworking of this, “death hath passed upon all men;’ therefore in Adam all die, for all men, naturally speaking, are but the offspring of a man with the sentence of death in him. In Christ all this has been reversed; for, says Jesus, “because I live, ye shall live also.” But the facts and logic of this are all sent flying to the four winds by the doctrine which plants men “in Adam” (for the first time) as the result of their being baptised into Christ.
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