ATONEMENT BETWEEN GOD & MAN
FOR LIFE EVERLASTING AND
IMMORTALITY SECURED BY THE ATONEMENT
The Earnest Expectations or Hopes of the Groaning Creation--Are
not Proofs--The Promises and the Outworking of Atonement, as
Proofs--A Distinction and a Difference--Is the Human Soul Immortal,
or has it a Hope of Becoming Immortal?--Are Angels Immortal?--
Is Satan Immortal?--The Life and Immortality Brought to Light
Through the Gospel--The Greek Words Rendered Immortal and Immortality
in the Scriptures--Wherein the Hope of the Church and the Hope
for the Saved World Differ.
a man die shall he live again? All the days of my appointed time
will I wait till my change come." Job 14:14
Savior Jesus Christ...hath abolished death and brought life [everlasting]
and immortality to light through the Gospel." 2 Tim. 1:10
is a longing hope within men that death does not end all existence.
There is an undefined hope that, somehow and somewhere, the life
now begun will have a continuation. In some this hope turns to
fear. Realizing their unworthiness of a future of pleasure, many
fear a future of woe; and the more they dread it for themselves
and others the more they believe in it.
undefined hope of a future life and its counterpart, fear, doubtless
had their origin in the Lord's condemnation of the serpent after
Adam's fall into sin and death, that eventually the seed of the
woman should bruise the serpent's head. This was no doubt understood
to mean that at
<PAGE 384> least a portion of the Adamic family
would finally triumph over Satan, and over sin and death, into
which he had inveigled them. No doubt God encouraged such a hope,
even though but vaguely, speaking to and through Noah, and through
Enoch who prophesied, "Behold the Lord cometh with ten thousand
of his saints." But the gospel (the good tidings)
of a salvation from death, to be offered to all mankind in God's
due time, seems to have been first clearly stated to Abraham.
The Apostle declares: "The gospel was preached before
to Abraham--saying, 'In thy seed shall all the families of the
earth be blessed.'" This at least was the basis of the Jewish
hope of a resurrection; for since many of the families of the
earth were dead and dying, the promised blessing of all implied
a future life. And when, centuries after, Israel was scattered
among the nations at the time of the Babylonian captivity, they
undoubtedly carried fragments of God's promises and their hopes
everywhere they went.
it is, that whether it came as a result of an admixture of Jewish
thought, or because hope is an element of man's nature, or both,
the whole world believes in a future life, and almost all believe
that it will be everlasting. This the Apostle designates, "The
earnest expectation of the creature"-- the groaning creation.
But such hopes are not proofs of the doctrine; and
the Old Testament promises, made to the Jews, are too vague to
constitute a groundwork for a clear faith, much less for a "dogmatic
theology," on this subject.
is not until we find, in the New Testament, the clear, positive
statements of our Lord, and afterwards the equally clear statements
of the apostles on this momentous subject of Everlasting Life
that we begin to exchange vague hopes for positive convictions.
In their words we not only have positive statements to the effect
that the possibilities of a future life have been provided for
all, but the philosophy of the fact and how it is to be attained
and maintained are set forth there as nowhere else.
have not noticed these points, and hence are
<PAGE 385> "weak in faith." Let
us see what this philosophy is, and be more assured than ever
that future life, everlasting life, is by our great wise Creator's
provision made a possibility for every member of the human family.
at the foundation of this New Testament assurance of Life Everlasting,
we find to our astonishment that it first of all admonishes us
that in and of ourselves we have nothing which would give us any
hope of everlasting life--that the life of our race was forfeited
by the disobedience of our father Adam; that although he was created
perfect and was adapted to live forever, his sin not only brought
to him the wages of sin--death--but that his children were born
in a dying condition, inheritors of the dying influences. God's
law, like himself, is perfect, and so was his creature (Adam)
before he sinned; for of God it is written, "His work is
perfect." And God through his law approves only that which
is perfect, and condemns to destruction everything imperfect.
Hence the race of Adam, "born in sin and shapen in iniquity,"
has no hope of everlasting life except upon the conditions held
out in the New Testament and called The Gospel--the good
tidings, that a way back from the fall, to perfection, to divine
favor and everlasting life, has been opened up through Christ
and for all of Adam's family who will avail themselves of it.
key-note of this hope of reconciliation to God, and thus to a
fresh hope of life everlasting, is found in the statements (1)
that "Christ died for our sins" and (2) that he "rose
again for our justification"; for "the man Christ Jesus
gave himself a ransom [a corresponding price] for all."
Adam and his race, which when he sinned was yet in him and shared
his sentence naturally, have been "redeemed [bought]
by the precious blood [death] of Christ." 1 Pet. 1:19
although the Lord's provision is abundant for all, it is
not applicable to any except on certain conditions; namely,
(1) that they accept Christ as their Redeemer; and (2) that they
strive to avoid sin and to thenceforth live in harmony with God
and righteousness. Hence we are told that "Eternal
<PAGE 386> Life is the gift of God through
Jesus Christ our Lord." (Rom. 6:23) The following Scriptural
statements are very clear on this subject:
that hath the Son hath life [a right or privilege or grant of
life as God's gift]; but he that hath not the Son shall not see
[perfect] life." John 3:36; 1 John 5:12
can obtain everlasting life except from Christ the Redeemer and
appointed Life-giver; and the truth which brings to us
the privilege of manifesting faith and obedience, and thus "laying
hold on eternal life," is called the "water of life"
and the "bread of life." John 4:14; 6:40,54
everlasting life will be granted only to those who, when they
learn of it and the terms upon which it will be granted as a gift,
seek for it, by living according to the spirit of holiness. They
shall reap it as a gift-reward. Rom. 6:23; Gal. 6:8
gain this everlasting life we must become the Lord's "sheep"
and follow the voice, the instructions, of the Shepherd. John
gift of everlasting life will not be forced upon any. On the contrary,
it must be desired and sought and laid hold upon by all who would
gain it. 1 Tim. 6:12,19
is thus a hope, rather than the real life, that God gives
us now: the hope that we may ultimately attain it, because God
has provided a way by which he can be just and yet be the justifier
of all truly believing in and accepting Christ.
God's grace our Lord Jesus not only bought us by the sacrifice
of his life for ours, but he became our great High Priest, and
as such he is now the "author [source] of eternal salvation
to all that obey him." (Heb. 5:9) "And this
is the promise which he hath promised us, even eternal
life." 1 John 2:25
this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life [now
by faith and hope, and by and by actually, 'when he who is our
life shall appear'], and this life is in his Son. He that hath
the Son hath life: and he that hath not the Son of God hath not
life." 1 John 5:11,12
everlasting life, made possible to Adam and all his race by our
Creator through our Redeemer, but intended for, and promised to,
only the faithful and obedient, and which at present is given
to these only as a hope, will be actually given
to the faithful in the "resurrection."
will be noticed that the explicit promises of God's Word differ
widely from the worldly philosophies on this subject. They claim
that man must have a future everlasting life because he hopes
for it, or in most cases fears it. But hopes and fears are
not reasonable grounds for belief on any subject. Neither is there
basis for the claim that there is something in man which
must live on and on forever--no such part of the human organism
is known, or can be proved or located.
the Scriptural view of the subject is open to no such objections:
it is thoroughly reasonable to consider our existence, soul, being,
as therein presented--as a "gift of God," and not an
inalienable possession of our own. Furthermore, it avoids a great
and serious difficulty to which the idea of the heathen philosophies
is open; for when the heathen philosopher states that man cannot
perish, that he must live forever, that eternal life is
not a gift of God, as the Bible declares, but a natural
quality possessed by every man, he claims too much. Such a philosophy
not only gives everlasting existence to those who would use it
well and to whom it would be a blessing, but to others also who
would not use it well and to whom it would be a curse. The Scriptural
teaching, on the contrary, as we have already shown, declares
that this great and inestimably precious gift (Life-Everlasting)
will be bestowed upon those only who believe and obey the Redeemer
and Life-giver. Others, to whom it would be an injury, not only
do not possess it now, but can never get it. "The wages of
sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus
Christ our Lord." (Rom. 6:23) The wicked (all who, after
coming to a clear knowledge of the truth, still wilfully disobey
it) shall be cut off from among God's people in the Second Death.
They "shall be as
<PAGE 388> though they had not been."
"They shall utterly perish." "Everlasting destruction"
shall be their doom--a destruction which will last forever, from
which there will be no recovery, no resurrection. They will suffer
the loss of everlasting life, and all of its privileges, joys
and blessings-- the loss of all that the faithful will
gain. Acts 3:23; Psa. 37:9,20; Job 10:19; 2
gift of life eternal is precious to all his people, and a firm
grasp of it by the hand of faith is quite essential to a well-balanced
and consistent life. Only those who have thus "laid hold
on eternal life," by an acceptance of Christ and consecration
to his service, are able to properly and profitably combat the
tempests of life now raging.
Distinction and a Difference
now, having examined the hope of immortality from the ordinary
understanding of that word (everlasting life), and having found
that everlasting life is God's provision for all those of Adam's
race who will accept it in "due time" under the terms
of the New Covenant, we are prepared to go a step further and
to note that everlasting life and immortality are not synonymous
terms, as people in general suppose. The word "immortal"
means more than power to live everlastingly; and, according to
the Scriptures, millions may ultimately enjoy everlasting life,
but only a very limited "little flock" will be made
is an element or quality of the divine nature, but not of human
or angelic or any other nature than the divine. And it is because
Christ and his "little flock," his "bride,"
are to be "partakers of the divine nature" that
they will be exceptions to all other creatures either in heaven
or on earth. 2 Pet. 1:4
the Human Soul Immortal, or Has It a Hope
of Becoming Immortal?
have seen that a human soul (sentient being) results
<PAGE 389> from a union of breath of life
(ruach--pneuma) with a human organism or body; exactly
the same as in the cases of lower animal souls (sentient beings)
except as man is endowed with a higher organism, a superior body
possessed of superior powers and qualities. Our present inquiry
then is, Are all animals immortal? And if this be answered negatively,
we must inquire, What does man possess above the lower animals
which gives hope for his immortality?
declaration as well as our own observations attest that man like
the lower animals is subject to death-- "As the one dieth
so dieth the other. Yea, they have all one [kind of] breath
[spirit of life--ruach]." (Eccl. 3:19) On every
hand the crape, the casket, the hearse, the cemetery, all testify
that man does die and hence that he is not immortal, for
the word "immortal" signifies death-proof, that which
cannot die. Whatever man's hope of immortality,
it is not a present possession and can at very most be a hope
in some divine provision, future.
probing this question further it will be profitable for us to
consider the meaning of the words "mortal" and "immortal,"
for a gross misunderstanding of the significance of these words
is very prevalent and often leads to confusion of thought.
word Immortal signifies not mortal--death-proof,
incorruptible, indestructible, imperishable. Any being whose existence
is dependent in any manner upon another, or upon conditions such
as food, light, air, etc., is not immortal. This quality originally
inhered in Jehovah God alone, as it is written--"The Father
hath life in himself" (John 5:26); i.e., his existence
is not a derived one, nor a sustained one. He is the King eternal,
immortal, invisible. (1 Tim. 1:17) These scriptures being
decisive authority on the subject, we may know beyond peradventure
that men, angels, archangels, or even the Son of God, before and
during the time he "was made flesh and dwelt among us"--were
not immortal--all were mortal.
the word "mortal" does not signify dying, but
merely die-able--possessing life dependent upon God for
its continuance. For instance, angels not being immortal are mortal
and could die, could be destroyed by God if they became rebels
against his wise, just and loving government. In him (in his providence)
they live and move and have their being. Indeed, of Satan, who
was such an angel of light, and who did become a rebel, it is
distinctly declared that in due time he will be destroyed. (Heb.
2:14) This not only proves that Satan is mortal, but
it proves that angelic nature is a mortal nature--one which
could be destroyed by its Creator. As for man, he is a "little
lower than the angels" (Psa. 8:5), and consequently mortal
also, as is abundantly attested by the fact that our race has
been dying for six thousand years and that even the saints in
Christ are exhorted to seek immortality. Rom. 2:7
common definition of mortal is dying, and of immortal everlasting--both
wrong. To demonstrate the falsity of these general definitions
let us propound a simple question--
Adam Created Mortal or Immortal?
the answer be--"Adam was created immortal," we
respond, How then was he threatened with, and afterward sentenced
to, death: and how could he die if he were death-proof? And why
did God in punishing him drive him out of the Garden of Eden away
from the life-sustaining grove or trees of life, lest he by
eating live forever? Gen. 3:22
the answer be that man was created mortal (according to
the erroneous common definition, dying) we inquire, How
could God sentence man to death after his disobedience if he were
already a dying creature and never had been otherwise?
And if Adam was created dying how could God declare that
his death came by his sin?
is unavoidable unless the true definitions of mortal and immortal
be clearly recognized as follows:
state or condition in which death is impossible-- a death-proof
state or condition in which death is possible--a condition of
liability to death, but not necessarily a dying condition unless
a death sentence has been incurred.
this standpoint we can see at a glance that Adam was created mortal--in
a condition in which death was a possibility or everlasting life
a possibility; according as he pleased or displeased his wise,
just, and loving Creator. Had he remained obedient he would have
continued living until now--and forever--and yet all the while
he would have been mortal, liable to death if disobedient.
Nor would such a condition be one of uncertainty; for God with
whom he had to do is unchangeable: hence Adam would have had full
assurance of everlasting life so long as he continued loyal
and obedient to his Creator. And more than this could not reasonably
life condition previous to his disobedience was similar to that
now enjoyed by the holy angels: he had life in full measure--lasting
life--which he might have retained forever by remaining obedient
to God. But because he was not death-proof, because he
did not have "life in himself" but was dependent for
continuance upon conditions subject to his Creator's pleasure,
therefore God's threat that if he disobeyed he should die, meant
something. It meant the loss of the spark of life, "the breath
of life," without which the body would moulder into dust
and the living soul or sentient being would cease.
Had Adam been immortal, undieable, death-proof, God's sentence
would have been an empty threat. But because Adam was mortal,
die-able, liable to death except as sustained by his Creator's
provisions, therefore, as declared, he died "in the day"
of his disobedience. See 2 Pet. 3:8.
those who think that the Bible abounds with such expressions as
immortal soul, undying soul, never-dying soul, etc., we
can offer no better advice than that they take a Bible concordance
and look for these words and others of similar import. They will
find none; and thus the sincere truth-seekers will most quickly
convince themselves that Christian people in general have for
centuries, in thought at least, been adding to the Word
of God, much to their own confusion.
to the Scriptures the angels are enjoying life-everlasting but
are mortal: that is to say, the everlastingness of their
angelic existence is not because they are immortal or death-proof
and so could not be destroyed by their Creator; but because he
desires that they shall live so long as they will use their lives
in accord with his just and loving arrangement. This is easy of
demonstration; for was not Satan one of the holy angels before
he by pride and ambition sinned? And did he not thus become one
of the wicked (willingly, intentionally opposing God) of whom
it is written, "All the wicked will God destroy"--"who
shall be punished with everlasting destruction"? (Psa. 145:20;
2 Thess. 1:9) Note the explicit declaration respecting Satan's
destruction, applicable in principle to all who follow his evil
way and reject divine arrangements knowingly, intentionally. Heb.
the Scriptures do speak of the mortality of man, and indeed in
nearly all particulars confine themselves to man's relationship
to God, yet they no less positively teach in another way the mortality
of angels, by declaring that Christ "only hath immortality"
(1 Tim. 6:16)--the Father as always being excepted. (1 Cor.
15:27) And as we have already seen, our Lord Jesus received
immortality (which is an element or quality of "divine
nature," only) at his resurrection, and as a reward for his
faithful obedience to the Father's will to the extent of self-sacrifice--"unto
death, even the death of the cross--wherefore him hath God highly
<PAGE 393> exalted." Although
always superior to all others as "the only Begotten,"
this exaltation raised him, as the Apostle declares, far
above angels and principalities and powers and every name
that is named in heaven and in earth. Eph. 1:21
it appears clear, from God's own revelation on the subject, that
only himself and his Only Begotten Son possessed this quality
of immortality at the time the apostles wrote their epistles.
Indeed, had the Only Begotten been immortal sooner than
at the time of his exaltation he could not have been the Savior
of the world--because he could not have died; and
under divine arrangement to be our Redeemer he must die: the record
is, "Christ died for our sins" and was exalted to immortality
of a future everlasting life are held out vaguely in the Old Testament;
but immortality is not so much as mentioned. Indeed, the inspired
Apostle declares of our Lord Jesus, that he "abolished death
[broke its hold on man] and brought life and immortality
to light through the gospel." (2 Tim. 1:10) This shows
two things: (1) That life in perfection, lasting life,
is separate and distinct from immortality, indestructibility.
(2) It shows that neither of these great blessings had been disclosed
or made accessible previous to the gospel--the "great salvation
which began to be preached by our Lord." Heb. 2:3
what did our Lord's gospel bring to "light" respecting
these two great blessings--life and immortality?
It shows that by divine grace our Lord purchased the whole world
of Adam's posterity and thus secured for each and every member
of the race an opportunity to return from death
to life--in other words it declares coming "times
of restitution of all things which God hath spoken by the
mouth of all the holy prophets since the world began." Restitution
in its highest and ultimate sense will be the bringing of the
restored ones not only out of the tomb, but out of the various
degrees of death (represented in sickness and imperfection)
<PAGE 394> up to life--lasting life
as Adam enjoyed it before his disobedience. The gospel of Christ
assures us that a full opportunity to attain this life
blessing shall be granted to all under the reasonable terms of
the New Covenant--"in due time." 1 Tim. 2:6
The "light" of Christ's gospel shows a special provision
in the divine plan for a special calling, testing and preparing
of a small number of his creatures to more than a moral and rational
likeness to himself--an invitation so to conform themselves to
the Father's will and so to prove their loyal obedience to him,
that he might make of them, "new creatures,"
"the express image of his person," and "partakers
of the divine nature"--a prominent constituent element of
which is immortality. This our Lord Jesus broached, brought
to light, in his gospel of God's grace.
amazement we inquire--To whom of God's holy ones--angels, cherubim
or seraphim--is so high a call extended? The reply of the gospel
of Christ is that it is not extended to the angels at all, but
to the Son of Man and his "bride" to be chosen from
among those whom he redeemed with his own precious blood.
him, who, for the joy set before him, endured the cross, despising
the shame, and is now in consequence set down at the right hand
(place of favor) of the throne of God. He was rich, but for our
sakes he became poor. Inasmuch as the man and race to be redeemed
were human, it was needful that he become human so as to give
the ransom or corresponding price. He therefore humbled himself
and took the bondman's form; and after he found himself in fashion
as a man, he humbled himself even unto death-- even unto the most
ignominious form of death--the death of the cross. "Wherefore,
God hath highly exalted him [to the promised divine nature, at
his resurrection], and given him a name that is above every name
[Jehovah's name excepted-- 1 Cor. 15:27]." Heb. 12:3,2;
2 Cor. 8:9; Phil. 2:8,9
is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches,
and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing."
opulence of divine favor might well have stopped with the exaltation
of this great and worthy One: but no; God, the Father, has arranged
that Christ Jesus, as the Captain, shall lead a company of Sons
of God to "glory, honor and immortality" (Heb. 2:10;
Rom. 2:7), each of whom, however, must be a spiritual "copy"
or likeness of the "First Begotten." As a grand lesson
of the divine sovereignty, and as a sublime contradiction to all
evolution theories, God elected to call to this place of honor
(as "the bride, the Lamb's wife and joint-heir"-- Rev.
21:2,9; Rom. 8:17), not angels and cherubs, but some from
among the sinners redeemed by the precious blood of the Lamb.
God elected the number to be thus exalted (Rev.
7:4), and predestinated what must be their characteristics
if they would make their calling and election sure to a place
in that company to be so highly honored; and all the rest is left
to Christ, who worketh now as the Father worked hitherto. John
Gospel age, from Pentecost to the setting up of the Kingdom at
the second advent, is the time for the selection of this elect
Bride of Christ class, variously termed "the Church,"
"the body of Christ," the "royal priesthood,"
the "seed of Abraham" (Gal. 3:29), etc.; and the
continued permission of evil is for the purpose of developing
these "members of the body of Christ" and to furnish
them the opportunity of sacrificing their little and redeemed
all, in the service of him who bought them with his precious
blood; and thus of developing in their hearts his spiritual likeness,
that when, at the end of the age, they are presented by their
Lord and Redeemer before the Father, God may see in them "the
image of his Son." Col. 1:22; Rom. 8:29
the reward of "glory, honor and immortality," and all
the features of the divine nature, were not conferred upon the
"First Begotten" until he had finished his course by
<PAGE 396> completing his sacrifice and obedience
in death, so with the Church, his "bride"--counted as
one and treated collectively. Our Lord, the First Born and Captain,
"entered into his glory" at his resurrection: he there
became partaker of the divine nature fully, by being "born
from the dead," "born of the Spirit": he there
was highly exalted to the throne and highest favor ("right
hand" of God); and so he has promised that his Church, his
"bride," shall in resurrection be changed, by divine
power, from human nature to the glory, honor and immortality of
the divine nature. Heb. 13:20; 2 Pet. 1:4
so it is written respecting "the resurrection"
of the Church: "It is sown in corruption; it is raised in
incorruption [immortality]: it is sown in dishonor; it is raised
in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: it is
sown a natural [animal] body; it is raised a spiritual body."
1 Cor. 15:42-44,49
conditions imposed upon all who would make their calling and election
sure to this favored position are exacting, though nevertheless
"a reasonable service"; and in offset the faithful are
promised the "glory, honor and immortality" of
"the divine nature"--that thus they shall share the
Redeemer's high exaltation "far above angels," if they
share his ignominy by walking in his footsteps, following his
example in this present time while evil is permitted to triumph.
well the fact that every promise or suggestion of hope of immortality
in the Lord's Word is to this special elect Church. This is the
inherent life referred to by our Lord, saying--"As the Father
hath life in himself [a life not requiring sustenance--immortality]
so hath he given unto the Son that he should have life in himself
[immortality]" and that he should give it unto whomsoever
he would--his bride, his Church--"members of his body."
John 5:26; Eph. 3:6
Greek words are translated immortality:
Athanasia, which Strong defines as "deathlessness."
<PAGE 397> word is found in the following
mortal must put on immortality [athanasia--deathlessness]"--
referring to the first resurrection shared in only by the Church.
1 Cor. 15:53
this mortal shall have put on immortality [athanasia--
deathlessness]"--referring to the same first resurrection
of the Church. 1 Cor. 15:54
only hath immortality [athanasia--deathlessness]"--
referring to our Lord Jesus and excepting the Father from comparison,
as always. 1 Tim. 6:16
Aphtharsia and aphthartos (from the same root) are
rendered immortality twice and immortal once, but
would more properly be rendered incorruption and incorruptible,
and are generally so rendered by lexicographers. All the occurrences
of these words in the Bible follow:
those who seek for glory, honor and immortality [aphtharsia--
incorruption]." Rom. 2:7
is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption [aphtharsia]."
1 Cor. 15:42
and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God; neither doth corruption
inherit incorruption [aphtharsia]." 1 Cor.
corruptible must put on incorruption [aphtharsia]."
1 Cor. 15:53
this corruptible shall have put on incorruption [aphtharsia]."
1 Cor. 15:54
be with all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity
[aphtharsia--incorruptly]." Eph. 6:24
Christ who hath brought life and immortality [aphtharsia--incorruption]
to light through the gospel." 2 Tim. 1:10
doctrine showing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity [aphtharsia--incorruption]."
glory of the uncorruptible [aphthartos--incorruptible]
God." Rom. 1:23
do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible
[aphthartos]." 1 Cor. 9:25
dead [Church] shall be raised incorruptible [aphthartos]."
1 Cor. 15:52
King eternal, immortal [aphthartos--incorruptible],
the only wise God." 1 Tim. 1:17
inheritance incorruptible [aphthartos], undefiled,
and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you." 1
born again, not of corruptible seed but of incorruptible
[aphthartos]." 1 Pet. 1:23
which is not corruptible [aphthartos] even the ornament
of a meek and quiet spirit." 1 Pet. 3:4
thought in this word is--that which cannot corrupt, cannot decay,
cannot lose value: aphtharsia is thus in many respects
the equivalent of athanasia or deathlessness when
applied to sentient beings; for that which having life is death-proof,
may truly be styled incorruptible.
Hope for Everlasting Life
boldest and ablest scientists and evolutionists have attempted
to show that man's life was not a gift from the Creator. Theoretically
they have brought man and all the lower animals up, by evolution
process, from a microscopic germ; yea, from protoplasm, which
Prof. Huxley called "the physical basis of life"; and
they fain would in some way ignore the Creator and Life-giver
entirely: but, as a matter of fact, they have been unable to suggest
any way that even protoplasm could get life from inert matter.
To this extent, therefore, they are obliged to recognize a first
great cause of life. But the reverent Bible student should not
have the slightest difficulty in accepting the statement of the
Scriptures that God himself alone is the First Great Cause, the
fountain of life, from whom has proceeded all life on every plane;
as says the Apostle, All things are of the Father, and
all things are by the Son, and we by him. (1 Cor. 8:6)
The Christian not only finds the evidences of a Creator
<PAGE 399> in the book of Nature, but he finds
in the Bible the express and particular revelation of that Creator,
and of that creation. He accepts as a fact the statement that
God created our first parents, and bestowed life upon them, and
provided for their propagation of a race of sentient beings, souls,
of their own kind, just as he provided for a similar process in
the brute creation.
back to Eden we see Adam and Eve in their perfection, possessed
of moral and intellectual powers, in the likeness of their Creator,
and therefore far superior to their subjects, the brute creation--souls
of a higher order, the result of a higher and finer organism;
and we inquire, What was the purpose of God respecting man in
his creation? We see that so far as the brute creation is concerned,
the Lord's evident design was that they should live a few years
and then die, giving place to others of the species; and that
thus they should minister as servants to the pleasure and convenience
of man, their master, who in his perfection was a gracious master.
But how about man? Was man born to die like the beasts? We have
just seen that he had no undying quality bestowed upon him, but
we find abundant testimony of God's provision for the everlasting
life of all who attain to approved conditions: that provision
consisted not in the bestowment of immortal powers and qualities,
but in the good will and purpose of his Creator, under which alone
he "lives, moves and has his being."
a shallow thinker will argue that man is immortal, indestructible,
because science has determined that "matter is indestructible."
But, as already pointed out, matter is not man,
nor is the soul, or being, matter. The body is matter, but to
be the body of a man matter must have a special peculiar organization,
and then spirit of life must be added before it becomes man or
soul. No one will argue that an organism is indestructible,
and hence any one of reasoning ability can see that the being
or soul based upon and dependent on organism can be destroyed.
Besides, this absurd reasoning or rather failure to reason would
be forced by
<PAGE 400> analogy to claim that all insects
and creeping things have immortality, are indestructible. There
is an immense difference between destroying inert matter and destroying
declared to our father Adam, according to the record, that his
life was secure, and would be continuous so long as he continued
an obedient son of God; that only disobedience would expose him
(the being, the soul) to death. The same Scriptures tell us of
the disobedience of our first parents, and of the divine pronouncement
of the sentence of death, as the penalty for sin. And we should
notice carefully the language of our Lord, in respect to this
sentence. God did not address his language to the senseless body,
before it had been vitalized; neither did God address himself
to the breath or spirit of life, which is an unintelligent vitalizing
power merely. He addressed Adam, the soul, the intelligent
or sentient being, after he had been fully created. And
we all agree that this was the reasonable and only proper course--that
the soul or being alone should be addressed. Now mark the Lord's
words: "In the day that thou eatest thereof, thou
shalt surely die."
Adam transgressed the divine law and came under the sentence thereof,
that his soul should die, the Lord might have executed his penalty
in an instantaneous death; but instead he merely withdrew his
special provision for his continuance of life, and thus let Adam
die gradually. The conditions of life are explained to us as having
been a special grove of life-giving trees, by the eating of which
man's life would have continued, making good daily its wastes,
and suffering no decay. As soon as man became a transgressor,
he was restrained from access to these trees of life, or orchard
of life, and thus, like the lower animals of his dominion, became
subject to death. In man's case, however, death is said to be
a "curse," because it came as a result of the
violation of the divine regulations, and incidentally, through
the curse upon earth's king, a curse rests upon his dominion and
upon all his subjects, the lower animals; for
<PAGE 401> the king having lost his perfection,
the entire dominion fell into disorder.
the children of Adam could not obtain from him, as their progenitor,
rights or privileges or physical perfections, which he had forfeited
and was losing; hence, as the Scriptures show, the entire race
of Adam fell with him under the curse--into death, and hence,
as creatures in the image of God, possessed of powers of intelligence
appreciative of everlasting life, we look up to God to see whether
or not infinite wisdom, infinite love, infinite justice and infinite
power can unitedly produce a plan of salvation for man, under
which God can be just, and yet be the justifier of him that believeth
in Jesus. Rom. 3:26
is the hope a vain one. God's provision, through Christ, as revealed
in the Scriptures, is for a resurrection of the dead, a restitution
of man to his former estate. True, there are limitations and conditions,
and not all shall return to the divine favor, but an opportunity
to return shall be granted to all, with the strong probability,
we believe, that a majority of Adam's posterity shall, when they
know the truth, gratefully accept of God's grace through Christ,
and conform their lives to the law of the New Covenant, through
faith in the Redeemer.
is not, however, for us or anyone to answer the query which our
Lord refused to answer, viz., "Are there few that be saved?"
(Luke 13:23) The most we are privileged to do is to point
out that "a ransom for all" has been given by
our Lord and the promise that in "due time" all shall
come to a knowledge of this great truth and to opportunity to
attain everlasting life from him, the great Light who shall yet
"lighten every man that cometh into the world." (1 Tim.
2:4-6; John 1:9) We should and do repeat during this age
to all who have "ears to hear" the Master's words: "Strive
to enter in at the straight gate: for many shall seek to enter
in and shall not be able, when once the Master of the house has
risen up and shut the door." (Luke 13:24,25) In other
words the call, the only call of this Gospel age, is to the narrow
<PAGE 402> way of self-sacrifice: and no distraction
of interest should slack our running for the great prize of immortality
now offered. When the number of the "elect" is filled
full and the great tribulation of the end of this age gives notice
that the Church is completed and glorified, there will be many
to take a different view of the worldly trifles which now hinder
their fulfilment of their consecration pledges.
plan of salvation for the general race of Adam is to extend to
each member of it, during the Millennium, the offer of
eternal life upon the terms of the New Covenant sealed
for all with the precious blood of the Lamb. But there is no suggestion
anywhere that immortality, the Divine Nature, will ever be offered
or granted to any except the "elect" Church of the Gospel
age--the "little flock," "the Bride, the Lamb's
wife." For the others of Adam's race the offer will be "restitution"
(Acts 3:19-21) to life and health and perfection of human
nature--the same that Adam possessed as the earthly image of God
before his fall from grace into sin and death. And when at the
close of the Millennial age all the obedient of mankind shall
have attained all that was lost in Adam and redeemed by Christ--then
all, armed with complete knowledge and experience, and hence fully
able to stand the test, will be tested severely (as was Adam),
but individually (Rev. 20:7-10), and only those found in fullest
heart-sympathy, as well as in outward harmony, with God and his
righteous arrangements, will be permitted to go beyond the Millennium
into the everlasting future or "world [age] without end."
All others will be destroyed in the Second Death--"destroyed
from among the people." Acts 3:23
although there shall be no more death, neither sighing nor crying,
it will not be because the victors of the Millennial age will
be crowned with immortality, but because, having learned to judge
between right and wrong and their effects, they shall have formed
characters in full accord with God and righteousness; and because
they will have stood tests which will demonstrate that they would
not wish to sin if the way were opened and no penalties attached.
<PAGE 403> They will not have life in themselves,
but will still be dependent upon God's provision of food, etc.,
for the sustenance of life. Compare Rev. 21:4,6,8; 7:16;
the curse brought the death of mankind, so the removal of the
curse means the removal of all legal objections to man's return
to all the original blessings bestowed upon him in Eden. But man,
now degraded and imperfect mentally, morally and physically, is
not fit, as Adam was, to enjoy the perfections of an Eden or Paradise
condition; hence the divine purpose is that in the "restitution
times," during the Millennial age, mankind, whose sins have
been atoned for by the death of the Lord Jesus, may be brought
back by him, the Life-Giver and Deliverer, from the bondage of
sin and death, to all the fulness of the perfection of the original
likeness of God. Not only so, but the divine plan we find is that
man's experience with sin shall constitute a lesson which will
have an everlasting influence upon some, giving them to know,
by personal experience, something of the "exceeding sinfulness
of sin," and of its sure reward or penalty, death: so that
when, during the Millennial age, these shall be brought to a knowledge
of righteousness, truth, goodness, love, and all the graces and
qualities of divine character, the willing and obedient shall
know and appreciate the privilege of eternal life in a way that
Father Adam never would have known it, and never could have appreciated
this end the dying has been a gradual process with the
race in general, and to the same end the resurrection is to be
a gradual process: inch by inch, as it were, mankind will be raised
up, up, up out of the mire of sin, out of the terrible pit of
degradation and death, to the grand height of perfection and life
from which he fell in the person of father Adam. The only exception
to this general program for the world, as presented to us in the
Scriptures, being the few brought into harmony with God in advance,
the seed of Abraham, natural and spiritual. Gal. 3:29; Heb.
in this, the Scriptural light, the subject of immortality shines
resplendently. It leaves the way clear for the general
<PAGE 404> "gift of God, eternal life,"
to be extended to all whom the Redeemer shall find willing to
accept it upon the only terms upon which it could be a blessing;
and it leaves the unworthy subject to the just penalty always
enunciated by the great judge of all, viz.:
wages of sin is death." Rom. 6:23
soul that sinneth it shall die." Ezek. 18:4,20
that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of
God [the curse, death] abideth on him." John 3:36
we find, on this subject as on others, that the philosophy of
the Word of God is deeper as well as clearer, and more rational
by far, than the heathen systems and theories. Praise God for
his Word of Truth and for hearts disposed to accept it as the
revelation of the wisdom and power of God!
does doubt cry out, How could God in resurrection reproduce the
millions of earth completely so that each will know himself and
profit by the memory of present life experiences? We answer that
in the phonograph cylinder even man is able to preserve his own
words and reproduce them; much more is our Creator able to reproduce
for the entire race such brain organisms as will perfectly reproduce
every sentiment, thought and experience. David seems to refer
to the power of God in a manner that might be applicable either
prophetically to the resurrection or reflectively to the first
birth. He says:
will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. My
substance [organism] was not hid from thee when I was made in
secret, curiously wrought in the lower parts of the earth. Thine
eyes did see my substance being yet imperfect; and in thy book
all my members were written which in continuance [gradually] were
fashioned when as yet there was none of them." Psa. 139:14-16
ATONEMENT BETWEEN GOD & MAN