MAN CREATED IN GOD'S IMAGE
--GENESIS 1:26-2:25.--JANUARY 13.--
"God created man in his own image,
in his own image created he him."
MANY of the blind devotees of Science, bent upon ignoring the power, and, if possible, the very existence of the divine Creator, attempt to account for all things by so-called laws of nature. They seize upon the great variety in nature and the evident relationship between some of its parts as evidence, proof, that they all sprang from one source. The definite objects of their attack are man and the Scriptural declaration that he was the special creation of God. Their particular desire is to disprove this Scriptural statement, and hence they construct a theory of Evolution as respects plant and animal life and fit this to man, claiming that he is the development of this natural process of evolution.
Some may say, "What difference does it make?-- let them account for the origin of man as they choose. It is admitted that he is not now a monkey--why quarrel or dispute on the subject? Let us leave all discussion and disputation and go forward to make the best we can of what we are." This has a wise sound, but it has not the wisdom that comes from above, which is first pure, then peaceable. (Jas. 3:17.) It is not pure at all, it is not wise at all; for it ignores God and his revelations on these subjects and looks solely to human wisdom, which means merely human guess-work supported by insufficient evidence. Its acceptance means, not merely a reliance upon human guess-work, but far worse than this--it means the rejection of the entire system of divine truth furnished to us in the Bible. It is in conflict with every proposition of the Bible from Genesis to Revelation respecting man's origin--so violently in conflict that if the one be true the other must be false.
Since many fail to see this conflict, and seem to think that the evolution theory of man's origin, that Adam had an ape for a grandfather, does not conflict with the teachings of Christianity and of the Bible in general, it is well that we take this opportunity for a fresh statement of the conflict, not only that our own minds may be more firmly established, but as opportunity may offer we may be able to assist others who are rapidly but unconsciously sinking into infidelity. This is our apology for a fresh rehearsal along these lines.
MAN A PERFECT CREATION
As for the lower animals we will not on their behalf quarrel with the deductions of evolutionists, although we do hold that the fixity of species today is not very favorable to their contention. If an evolutionary process did take place in the past we hold that it was so under divine supervision and guidance--that different species of plants and animals were brought to perfection, so that no further evolutionary processes in them are possible. On the other hand be it noted that the Scriptural account might be understood to rather favor the Evolution theory in respect to the lower creatures. For instance the statement, "God said, Let the earth bring forth the grass, the herb yielding seed and the fruit tree," etc.; and again, "God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life and the fowl"; and again, "God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle and creeping things and beasts." But when we come to the creation of man there is no suggestion that this was a bringing forth or a development. On the contrary, the account is most explicit that God formed man, and "God created man in his own image." This distinction in the statement implies that there was a difference between the ordinary development of plant life and the special creation of man to be the lord of earth, the representative of the Creator.
Whoever believes that Adam was developed from a monkey is in violent conflict with the faith once delivered to the saints, to the effect that man was specially created in the image of his Maker. Scientists agree that there is a wide difference between the so-called "man-ape" and even the lowest form of human being. Professor Rice points out that the highest man-ape known has a brain capacity of only 34 cubic inches, while the lowest of men has 68 cubic inches of brain capacity. In other words, the very lowest form of man has twice the brain capacity of the highest ape. He says, "No specimen of the stone age that has yet been discovered is inferior to the lowest of existing men." A reasonable inference from this statement would be that we have today lower specimens or forms of humanity than any of those discovered by science supposed to belong to the remote past.
"SCIENCE FALSELY SO CALLED"
Thus does "science falsely so-called" receive a rebuff at the hands of its own facts and in the mouths of its own teachers, while at the same time the Word of God, the Bible, receives corroboration. The Bible teaching is that man has deteriorated seriously from his original grand perfection as the image of God in the flesh. The Bible accounts for the degraded races of mankind by the fall of our first parents into disobedience and under divine condemnation to death. The Bible shows that this death-sentence affected our race not only physically but also morally and mentally, and that thus the mental, moral and physical deterioration that surrounds us in the world are more or less directly connected with original sin.--Rom. 5:12.
The Apostle Paul most particularly describes some of this extreme degradation which we witness today in heathendom, saying that God gave them over unto evil passions, and that as they did not care to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not fitting. "Because that when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise they became fools." (Rom. 1:20-30.) Thus we see that the Scriptural account hangs together and takes cognizance of every fact known to us, and maintains its position as fully as does science even on the outside.
INTERNAL SCRIPTURAL PROOFS
It is when the Lord's people look at matters from the inside--from the standpoint of a divine revelation respecting man's fall and redemption and recovery-- that he perceives the strength of the Bible's position and the weakness and untenableness of the Evolution theory. According to that theory, if man were evolved from a monkey, and if the first man were very little better than a monkey, he would have been in no condition mentally or physically or morally to be put on trial for eternal life or eternal death. Moreover, if the race has been gradually rising during the past six thousand years, has been losing its monkey weaknesses and failings and attaining more and more to manhood, where would be the original sin? Why would there be the curse, the divine displeasure and condemnation, and where would be the room or necessity or propriety in the plan of human redemption from sin? According to this theory the race has been going grandly onward, evolving itself according to the law of nature, and may hope surely to attain to some still higher position or condition than it now enjoys.
The Bible takes the very reverse position, and declares that man was in God's image at the beginning, that the first man was in a proper condition to be tried [R3922 : page 14] by the divine law, that he was tried, that he failed and was condemned to death, and that none of his children since have been in proper condition mentally or physically to be tried as he was--that they all first need to be redeemed and restored before they could be fit for a testing as respects eternal life. Note the consistency of the Scriptures in every detail, that the disobedient Adam was condemned and punished, and that various apologies and excuses were made by his children-- that they were unlike him, but were "born in sin and shapen in iniquity," and are "prone to sin as the sparks to fly upward," and that they need a Redeemer through the merit of whose sacrifice they may be reconciled to God, and under whose superintending care they may be brought back through restitutionary processes to all that was lost in Adam and redeemed by Jesus.
How appropriate, too, that this coming Millennial age for man's restoration to what was lost should be called "times of restitution," the inference of which most signally confirms the Scriptural record that man was originally "very good," the image of his Creator. The Scriptures do not claim that the first Adam had perfection of knowledge, but merely perfection of capacity, that it was the Creator's design that he should gain the knowledge by experience, and that while gaining it he should trust to the wisdom, love, justice and power of his Creator and be guided and instructed thereby. It was his failure to thus rely upon the Creator that got him into difficulty and disobedience and the penalty therefor, death.
Professor Thomas Dwight, of Harvard Medical School, in a recent address (1906) is reported to have said that he did not think it impossible that plants might develop into animals, although he did not think it likely; "but when it is said that man had an ape for his grandfather we are talking nonsense,--if indeed we are talking by the principles of sane reason." He added that it is not proved that man came from the lower animals. As a scientific secret, he added, the leaders of science are at a pause on this subject. Professor LeConte remarks, "The earliest known man, the river-drift man, though in a low state of civilization, was as thoroughly human as any of us." Recent discoveries in Egypt and Babylonia show conclusively that the people of long ago were no more monkeys than the people of today. They had a civilization which in many respects corresponded to our own, and yet these ancients, according to the Bible account, were members of the fallen race who had experienced two thousand years of degrading influence without any counteracting influence from God for their uplift--without anything that would correspond to the stimulating influences that have come to those of our day through the Law and the prophets of the past, and through the instructions of Christ and the apostles of the present age.
We prefer to read verse 26of our lesson thus, "And God said, Let us make man in our image, that after our likeness he may have dominion over the fish of the sea," etc. In other words, man was not only made morally and intellectually to resemble his Creator, so that he would be able to think on higher planes than would be possible to the lower animals, but he was also endowed with authority to control the lower creatures --to be the god of earth as Jehovah is the God of the universe. This agrees well with the statement of Psalm 8:5-8, in which it is declared that God created man but a little lower than the angels, so far as his intelligence and capacity were concerned, and that thus he was "crowned with glory and honor" and given dominion over the lower creatures. Be it noted also, that we not only have the original proposition of God to create man thus in his own image but the after declaration, "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him, male and female created he them." This statement that God's work was fully accomplished in Adam, thoroughly contradicts the suggestion of some that God merely began a creation which he purposed should eventually attain to perfection in his image. "Let God be true though it make every man a liar."--Rom. 3:4.
The creation of mother Eve is a further testimony in contradiction to the Evolution theory, for had Adam been merely a higher type of monkey no doubt he would have found companionship amongst the monkeys; but the Scriptural account is that he was so far superior to all other creatures that he had no companionship amongst them. They were his servants, under his control, but none of them suitable to be a helpmate for him; hence the declaration of the particular formation of Eve as a part of Adam, to be his companion and joint-heir with him in the blessings of the Lord.
The story of creation is rehearsed throughout the Scriptures, in the New Testament as well as in the Old. As the latter tells of the perfection of Adam, so the former tells that Jesus in the flesh gave himself to be the ransom, the corresponding price for the first man. And this very statement of correspondence implies not that our Lord was an inferior man corresponding to a first inferior man, but, quite the contrary, that he was a superior man, corresponding to the first superior man, by whose disobedience life was lost for himself and the race. The fact then that our Lord is the Redeemer, the corresponding price for father Adam, establishes well the conclusion to those who are logical and who accept without question the Word of God, that the first man was perfect.
"AND GOD BLESSED THEM"
The divine blessing is withheld from that which is imperfect. The entire theory of Scripture being that "all his work is perfect," and that any imperfection or blemish implies sin, degradation from the original divine concept. The fact that God blessed Adam in his original condition, and that the Scriptures teach that since the fall there is a curse or condemnation upon all the members of the race, is but another way of telling us that we all are imperfect and that father Adam was originally perfect. Another thought connected with this blessing is the declaration, "Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion," etc. According to this original condition it evidently would have been possible for our first parents to have had their home in Eden and to have gradually carried on the work of subjugation and rectification of the as yet unfinished earth, had they continued under divine favor. It was their disobedience that led to their expulsion from the Garden of Eden and compelled them to rely upon the sweat of face for their daily bread, struggling therefor amongst the thorns and thistles, and hindered from approaching the life-sustaining fruits of the trees of Eden by the cherubim with flaming sword which barred the way.
Thus, had disobedience, sin, not entered the world, the intimation is that there would have been no death in the human family, but that a perfect race would have been developed, all of them in the image and likeness of God. We have here then strong condemnation of the thought of some that it is sinful to marry and to bring forth children. On the contrary, the Lord expresses this as a part of the blessing upon the first pair, "Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth." It was a part of the curse that woman's conceptions and incidental sorrows were increased--leading, nevertheless, to the rapid filling of the earth so that our estimate of 20,000,000,000 of Adam's children who have been born and died would constitute quite a fair filling of the earth in its perfection, when the great Redeemer shall bid them all come forth from the tomb.
While thus contradicting those who speak against marriage and the begetting of children, our position should not be misunderstood; hence we add that the [R3922 : page 15] Lord's words in this connection were to the natural man and woman and not to the Church--New Creatures in Christ Jesus. It is for each one of the Church to consider his consecration of life to the Lord and his service, his cause, and to remember the example of our Lord Jesus who, by the power of his consecrated will, became a eunuch for the Kingdom of heaven's sake. (Matt. 19:12.) The Apostle lays down certain lines and furnishes certain advice which we merely refer to and endorse (see I Cor. 7, and DAWN, Vol. VI., Chap. 12).
Had our first parents remained loyal to God and hence free from the curse and more and more possessors of the spirit of a sound mind we may be sure that, under the Lord's blessing, their development of a family would have been profitable not only to the family but also to themselves. Even under present fallen conditions, where the spirit of a sound mind rules, children may to a large extent become precious blessings instead of being nuisances to themselves, their parents and their neighborhood. The parent who does his duty by his children, instructing them, controlling them, guiding them in harmony with the precepts of the Lord's Word, will not only greatly advantage his offspring but additionally will bring to himself a rich blessing of experience, because while attempting to be the guide and instructor of his children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, he will continually find he is teaching himself valuable lessons that will be helpful in his own character-development and tend to bring him increasingly to the character-likeness of the Lord.
Man's original power over the animal creation is evidently considerably lost through his own fall. Professor Charles Darwin points out that brutes trust man until they learn to know him from his bad conduct, and that the more civilized peoples can raise the brute creation to a higher condition than savages have ever done. When the times of restitution have brought mankind back again to all that was lost in Adam, and redeemed him and his race through the precious blood of Jesus, we have the assurance in Scripture that nothing shall hurt or destroy throughout the Lord's holy Kingdom, but that peace and blessing shall reign throughout the earth.
"MAN'S FALL OVERRULED FOR GOOD"
The wisdom of God is able to take hold of the affairs of his creatures and to so transform and reshape them as to bring blessings even out of some of our calamities and curses. Thus in man's case, while God did not cause the disobedience but merely permitted it, he has overruled the matter so as to make of man an exhibit that would be profitable not only to himself [R3923 : page 15] and posterity but also to the angels. The lessons taught show us divine justice in connection with the condemnation and destruction that have come upon our race--the redemptive work accomplished through Jesus shows us as nothing else could have shown the love and compassion and mercy of God toward those to whom he was under no obligation. The entire plan, when it is consummated, will show the wisdom of God in having permitted the evil, because he saw how he could overrule its dire results and make them profitable both to angels and to men. The power of God will be manifested through the fall and especially in the resurrection of the dead--the most wonderful exhibit of divine power anywhere referred to. Furthermore we must not lose sight of the fact that the Lord has so utilized the fall of man as to provide, in connection with the redemption from it, that the little flock might become New Creatures in Christ Jesus, partakers of the divine nature, joint-heirs with him as his Bride in the glorious Kingdom to come and the everlasting glory and service of the Father.
As for other features of this lesson, including the blessing of the seventh day, we refer our readers to DAWN STUDIES, Vol. VI., page 46.