Evolution and The Fall





Two statements of the origin of life (and especially human life) on earth, and two only, are before the world to-day.  The Scripture says:- “The Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground,” not out of previously existing forms of life; nor can the dust of the ground mean animals, since all animals are named in the passage (verse 19) as themselves created, nearly simultaneously, out of the ground – “and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became” - for the first time, as the still lifeless body was breathed upon by God – “a living soul” (Gen. 2: 7).  IN THF IMAGE OF GOD created He” - not through the image of the beast evolved He – “them” (Gen. 1: 27); “and out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air” (Gen. 2: 19).


The alternative statement of the origin of life on the earth is that of Evolution, a theory now almost universally held.  It is conjectured that all life sprang, in remote ages, out of dead matter, without the hand of a Creator; the lower forms of life then gave birth, through countless ages, to the higher forms of life; until, by its own inherent evolving power, nature reached its crowning evolution, Man.*


[*Darwin himself says, concerning Evolution:- “Many of the views which have been advanced are highly speculative, and some no doubt will prove erroneous.”]


Now we are met on the threshold by an arresting and thought-provoking fact.  Evolution itself frankly confesses that it is false if the world is the age men have always supposed it, and which has in its favour all actual historic data.  Darwin demands 300,000,000 of years since the latter part of the Secondary Period, which thus involves a demand of no less than 1,800,000,000 years for the age of life upon earth.  If human life has existed for no more than the five or six thousand years of known history, the Evolutionist is the first to say that his theory is pure myth.


Now the traditional age of man on earth, together with the fauna and flora that accompany man - as distinct from the untold ages before the gigantic cataclysm that may be indicated by Gen. 1: 2 - is not discountenanced by science.  For if the Glacial Epoch corresponds either with the profound disorder into which the primaeval world had lapsed on the threshold of the creation of man, or with the Flood, we are brought within actual range of historic fact.  In the words of a professor of mathematics, Dr. H. W. Morris:- “At the present time the earth is, in winter, in that part of her orbit where she is nearest to the sun - nearer by about three millions of miles than in summer; and this greater proximity to the sun, in winter, renders this season now comparatively mild.  But it happens that in about every 10,000 years her winters, in the northern hemisphere, occur when she is in that part of her orbit where she is at her greatest distance from the sun; then, those winters are of extreme and arctic severity - in fact are prolonged one into the other, and become continuous and form a Glacial Period.”  That is, the Glacial Epoch occurred less than ten thousand years ago.  A French authority, M. Edmond Perrier, says: “It must be about ten thousand years since the glaciers were enclosed within their present limits.”  So also Geology reinforces Astronomy in bringing the age of human life on earth within the traditional limits.  Sir J. W. Dawson says:- “The elaborate and careful observations of Dr. Andrews on the raised beaches of Lake Michigan - observations of a much more precise character than any which, in so far as I know, have been made of such deposits in Europe - enable him to calculate the time which has elapsed since North America rose out of the waters of the Glacial Period as between 5,500 and 7,000 years.”  In the Post-Glacial Era,” Professor Dawson adds, “there was a re-elevation of the continents, and a restoration of a milder temperature.  No trace of human remains or implements belonging to a period earlier than this has been detected.  So Professor T. G. Bonney summarises the most recent estimates on the appearance of man thus:‑ “On this point there is still room for controversy, but it may suffice to say that, in Europe at any rate, it was probably some time - probably rather late - in the Glacial Period.”  So Cuvier had said long ago – “If there be any circumstance thoroughly established in Geology, it is that the crust of our earth has been subject to a great and sudden revolution, the epoch of which cannot be dated much further back than five or six thousand years ago.”


But, for the enormous periods requisite for such enormous changes as it postulates, Evolution has to face a new problem and one (for it) of portentous gravity.  For some geologists, compelled by facts that have accumulated for nearly a century, are now doubting whether fossil remains can be graded in a life-succession at all, or were not once simultaneously alive.  In the present condition of our knowledge,” says Professor Huxley, “one verdict, ‘not proven and not provable’ - must be recorded against all grand hypotheses of the palaeontologist respecting the general succession of life on the globe.”  For since (1) any kind of fossil may occur next to the Archean or earth’s primitive bedrock; since (2) the geological strata, super-imposed one on another, can occur in any order, with yet no trace of cataclysm between the layers; and since (3) fossil man is found mixed in with animal fossils of remote ages, and must so have been co-existent:- it seems to follow that “the fossil world is a unit, and simply represents the ruins of an older state of our present world; and whatever geological changes they indicate, must have taken place since Man was on the earth, for there is no possible line of scientific reasoning to convince us that any single type of fossil is older than the human race.”*  So Professor Huxley says: “Even absolute identity of organic contents is no proof of the synchrony of deposits, while absolute diversity is no proof of difference of date.  The different parts of one and the same stratum, having a similar composition throughout, containing the same organic remains, and having similar beds above and below it, may yet differ to any conceivable extent in age.”   That is, Evolution’s main original foundation - a life-succession revealed by fossils from the dawn of time - trembles in the balances, and with it Evolution must collapse.  GEOLOGY,” says Darwin, “ASSUREDLY DOES NOT REVEAL ANY SUCH FINELY GRADED ORGANIC CHAIN; AND THIS, PERHAPS, IS THE MOST OBVIOUS AND GRAVEST OBJECTION WHICH CAN BE URGED AGAINST MY THEORY.”


[* Prof. G. MeGready Price’s Fundamentals of Geology, p. 246, a startling work of great value.  See also, especially for Mendelism, his Q.E.D. or New Light on the Doctrine of Creation.  I need not point out how, if established, the contemporaneousness of all fossil life (which would make the preceding paragraph on the Glacial Epoch altogether unnecessary) revolutionises the whole problem from top to bottom, and would bring us back (by geology alone) face to face with the Adamic creation and the Flood.]


But, apart from the antiquity of man, there are three facts, facts which none will deny, that are fatal to Evolution; and the first is that transmutation of species has never occurred in the whole realm of nature; no example has ever been discovered of the change of one species into another.  In all the fossil deposits of the rocks, where long epochs are recorded in stone, not a single example of transmutation of species has ever been found, nor a single fact leading to the conclusion that such an evolved species has ever existed.  The intermingling of species invariably produces hybrids, which are as invariably sterile.  Thousands of species have lived alongside man for thousands - Evolutionists say for thousands of millions - of years; yet, in untold millions of births, that which, if Evolution is true, must have occurred at least many thousands of times, has never been known to occur once.  Though backed by all the powers and opportunities of deliberate selection, no florist has ever modified a rose into anything but a rose, no dog-fancier has produced from dogs a breed that was not a dog; much less has “natural selection,” working without intelligence and at hazard, left the slightest trace of an evolved species. God’s lovely plasticity in plant and animal, designed to adapt them to, changing conditions and climes, has bounds as sharp and final as the ocean itself. “THERE ARE TWO OR THREE MILLION SPECIES ON EARTH,” says Darwin; “BUT IT MUST BE SAID TO-DAY THAT, IN SPITE OF ALL THE EFFORTS OF TRAINED OBSERVORS, NOT ONE CHANGE OF A SPECIES INTO ANOTHER IS ON RECORD.”


The second fact fatal to Evolution is that transmutation of species is impossible.  So radically distinct are the groups of the living, that transfusion of blood is fatal to life.  Among all races of men, blood-transfusion is practicable; but so varied are the size and shape of the blood corpuscles of different species, and of the blood-vessels through which the corpuscles pass - differences that are constant and permanent - that to transfuse the blood of an animal into a man, or of a man into an animal, is followed by certain death.  THE GREAT BREAK,” says Darwin, “IN THE ORGANIC CHAIN BETWEEN MAN AND HIS NEAREST ALLIES CANNOT BE BRIDGED OVER BY ANY EXTINCI OR LIVING SPECIES.”


The third fact fatal to Evolution is that no approach to the human has ever been discovered.  As far back as extant species, living or dead, carry us, man is as human, with a brain every whit as powerful, as he is to-day;* no remains exist anywhere of transitional, semi-human apes.  Geologists claim enormous ages, running back into a hundred million years, for the human remains discovered; yet all transition forms between the man and the ape are totally absent.  Why?  There could have been no such creature, else some bones of him must have been found.  Haeckel says: “WE, AS YET, KNOW OF NO FOSSIL REMAINS OF THE HYPOTHETICAL PRIMEVAL MAN.”  If our ancestors were animal, and evolution is a law of nature, among the many races of men, the four species of anthropoid apes, and the innuinerable tribes of monkeys, all living together, there must have been, and there must be half human, half-animal races.  Yet no such super-ape exists anywhere on the globe, nor has left his trace in the depths of the primaeval rocks.  There is not,” says Sir Alfred Russel Wallace, “as often assumed, one ‘missing link’ to be discovered, but at least a score of such links, adequately to fill the gap between man and apes.”  The fauna and flora in Egypt, as found in mummies, are practically identical with that of to-day; and “IF THIS CAN BE PROVED,” says Huxley, “NO FORM OF THE HYPO-THESIS OF EVOLUTION IS TENABLE.”  In the words of Philip Mauro:‑“In not one of the countless billions of organisms has there ever been seen the slightest tendency to advance, or to depart from its type: on the contrary, there is found in every living creature the most stubborn and unconquerable determination not to evolve.”


[*On fossil remains and disinterred skulls it is well to remember the warning of Huxley:‑ “The fossil remains of man hitherto discovered do not seem to me to take us appreciably nearer to that lower pithecoid form, by the modification of which he has probably become what he is.”  Professor Ray Lankester repeats the caution.  It must be carefully borne in mind that we have not at present facts which justify more than preliminary guesses, as to the relation in time of the Java skull, the Piltdown skull, the Broken Hill skull, and the Heidelburg jaw to one another and to the little group of European skulls and skeletons.”]


Moreover, (though this has not yet reached the general public) a law has been discovered in biology which disposes of the whole problem.  Evolution rests on the transmission of acquired characters, without which, says Haeckel, “it would be better to accept a mysterious creation of all the species as described in the Mosaic account.”  Mendelism (as it is called) has proved that no characters are acquired that are not latent in the ancestry.  In the words of Professor G. M. Price: “If we cross tall yellow peas with dwarf green peas, the first hybrid generation will be all tall yellows, both tallness and yellowness being dominant.  But in the second hybrid generation, out of every sixteen plants, we have nine tall yellows, one dwarf green with three dwarf yellows, and three tall greens, the last two kinds being wholly new forms.  Although these new forms will breed true indefinitely when kept in pure lines, yet they are nevertheless cross-fertile with the original forms, and thus the circle can be completed back again at any time.  Innumerable repetitions of similar experiments have proved that these principles hold good throughout the whole world of plants and animals; in other words, we see that the principles of heredity, as now understood, have brought us back to that great truth that each form of plant or animal was designed by the Creator to reproduce only ‘after its kind.’” Thus, while there is remarkable elasticity, it is only elasticity, and the variation is within unalterable law and inside unbridgeable gulfs: new species created by acquired characters, and infertile with the old, are unknown and impossible.  Negatively, Buxley had already made the admission.  There is nipositive evidence at present,” he says, “that a group of animals has, by variation and selective breeding, given rise to another group, which was in the least degree infertile with the first.”  Mendelism has now revealed, by the invariable and mathematical rules of descent, that it is impossible.  But this is fatal to Evolution.  EITHER,” says Herbert Spencer, “THERE HAS BEEN INHERITANCE OF ACQUIRED CHARACTERS, OR THERE HAS BEEN NO EVOLUTION.”


Nor is Evolution to-day, even among men of science, secure of its once undisputed throne.  Professor William Bateson, M.A., F.R.S., President of the British Association in 1914, in his presidential address said: “We have come to the conviction that the principle of Natural Selection cannot have been the chief factor in delimiting the species of animals and plants.  We are even more sceptical as to the validity of that appeal to changes in the conditions of life as direct causes of modification upon which latterly at all events Darwin laid much emphasis.  We go to Darwin for his incomparable collection of facts; BUT TO US HE SPEAKS NO MORE WITH PHILOSOPHICAL AUTHORITY. We read his scheme of Evolution as we would those of Lueretius or of Lamarck.  Every theory of Evolution must be such as to accord with the facts of physics and chemistry, a primary necessity to which our predecessors paid small heed.  Modern research lends not the smallest encouragement or sanction to the view that gradual evolution occurs by the transformation of masses of individuals, though that fancy has fixed itself on popular imagination.”  MOST MODERN INVESTIGATORS OF SCIENCE,” says Haeckel, “HAVE COME TO THE CONCLUSION THAT THE DOCTRINE OF EVOLUTION, AND PARTICULARLY DARWINISM IS AN ERROR, AND CANNOT BE MAINTAINED.”


Historically, as Well as philosophically, is a purely pagan conception; and its acceptance by the mass of Christian leaders is only one more proof of the appalling bankruptcy of leadership in the modern Church.  It was the Roman atheist philosopher and poet, Lucretius, to whom primitive atoms were the seeds of all things, who gave birth to Evolution; and it is exceedingly remarkable that one of the earliest Spiritualists, Hudson Tuttle, almost at the same time as Darwin, in his “Arcana of Nature” in 1859 stated Evolution as a revelation from the spirit world. Professor Huxley frankly acknowledges the pagan parentage. “THE MODERN DOCTRINE OF EVOLUTION,” he says, “IS BUT AN EXPRESSION AND COMPLETION OF THOSE PHYSICAL THEORIES WHICH OPENED THE HISTORY OF SPECULATION.”  It has been countered once for all by the Holy Ghost:  The worlds have been framed by the word of God, so that what is seen HATH NOT BEEN MADE out of things which do appear” (Heb. 11: 3).  Sir C. Lyell, himself the teacher of Darwin, says: “In the year 1806 the French Institute enumerated no fewer than eighty geological theories which were hostile to the Scriptures; but not one of these theories is held to‑day.”  Evolution also is one of the astounding illusions of the modern world. “I cannot truly characterize it,” says Dr. St. George Mivart, F. R.S., “except by an epithet which I employ with great reluctance.  I weigh my words, and have present to my mind the many distinguished naturalists who have accepted the notion, and yet I cannot call it anything but a puerile hypothesis.”


There remains a wonderful and decisive fact.  The Evolutionist has not a single example of what he assumes the change of one species into another; on the contrary, we have, in recorded history, the very thing Genesis asserts - specific creation.  He took the five loaves” - the vegetable creation – “and the two fishes- the animal – “and looking up to heaven, he blessed, and brake, and gave” (Matt. 14: 19); five loaves and two fishes, multiplied by a direct act of creation, not by a process of evolution, into loaves and fishes sufficient to feed five thousand; a specific creation, on the spot, producing a perfected product, even to a loaf ready for human consumption.  The Evolutionist is here impaled on a hopeless dilemma.  If he denies that the incident ever occurred, he comes out boldly as an enemy of God and His Gospel; if he acknowledges the truth of the Gospel narrative, then he admits that specific creation has occurred within recorded history, and so acknowledges that to take one of those fishes from the hand of Christ, and argue its descent from countless earlier forms of life, would be absurd.  The dilemma is decisive and inexorable.  So “all things were made by Him, and without Him was not anything made that hath been made” (John 1: 3).


Alas, how many souls have been lost through building on an empty conjecture!  Mr. Andrew Carnegie says: “When I, along with three or four of my boon companions, was in this stage of doubt about theology, including the supernatural element, and indeed the whole scheme of salvation through vicarious atonement and all the fabric built upon it, I came fortunately upon Darwin’s and Spencer’s works, ‘The Data of Ethics,’ ‘First Principles,’ ‘Social Statics,’ ‘The Descent of Man.’  Reaching the pages which explain how man has absorbed such mental foods as were favourable to him, retaining what was salutary, rejecting what was deleterious, I remember that light came as in a flood and all was clear.  Not only had I got rid of theology and the supernatural, but I had found the truth in evolution. ‘All is well since all grows better’ became my motto, my true source of comfort.  Man was not created with an instinct for his own degradation, but from the lower he had risen to the higher forms. Nor is there any conceivable end to his march to perfection.  His face is turned to the light; he stands in the sun and looks upward. Humanity is an organism, inherently rejecting all that is deleterious, that is wrong, and absorbing after trial what is beneficial, what is right.”


But the Great War burst upon Mr. Carnegie as the bankruptcy of Evolution.  The last broken passage in his diary, following on a hopeful entry made in 1912, runs thus: “As I read this to-day (1914) what a change!  The world convulsed by war as never before!  Men slaying each other like wild beasts!”  In a touching preface to his memoirs his wife says: “Until then he had lived the life of a man in middle life - and a young one at that - golfing, fishing, swimming each day, sometimes doing all three in one day.  Optimist as he always was and tried to be, even in the face of the failure of his hopes, the world disaster was too much.  His heart was broken.  It is the tragedy of a disillusioned world. Out of sinful humanity nothing can evolve but sinful humanity: only by faith in the Son of God can all souls, all nations, all the world be made over again into the image of God.


Now we turn from the physical creation to the spiritual significance of the Fal1.  Profoundly connected are Evolution and the dynamic overthrow of all revelation.  For two books of the Bible, and perhaps two supremely, have been the objects of Satan’s bitterest attacks - Genesis and Revelation; the book that betrays his origin, and the book that discloses his destiny.  But there must be a profounder reason for the assault than mere pride or pique.  The germ of all things is in Genesis, and the clue to all mysteries is in Revelation; therefore to destroy these two books, revelation’s source and goal, is the destruction of the Book.  In the beginning God” - are the splendid portals through which we pass from eternity into time; “Even so come, Lord Jesus” - are the massive gateways by which we pass back from time into eternity: beyond these Pillars of Hercules, backward, the human mind cannot travel; and through the Gates of Pearl, forward, we catch only broken gleams of the immeasurable glory.  To overthrow Genesis and Revelation is to destroy - at least as far as revelation is concerned - the origin and ultimate of all things.


Now the moral centre of Genesis is the Fall; and apparently it is the extraordinary simplicity of the drama, though concealing as it does a fathomless profundity, which stumbles modern thought.  There was no garden in Mesopotamia at a particular date,” says Bishop Gore, “with a particular man and woman, and a serpent and certain wonderful trees.”*  To imagine Eden a setting too small and cramped, a drama too incredibly simple, to be charged with the destiny of a world is the fallacy of measuring the virulence of a cholera germ by its bulk.  Man was put by God under the simplest conceivable law, and in the simplest conceivable conditions; therefore, endowed as he was with a nature in itself innocent and good, if he sinned, he sinned against the clearest light, and against the sharpest knowledge.  He fell in Paradise.  The simple pulling of a trigger can make a man a murderer for all eternity.  For sin is a principle, a seed, a germ, a contagion; no sooner is a sin born, however minute, than it becomes the mother of a million sins; there is no point about sin more dreadful than its infinite capacity for reproducing itself, its abominable and boundless fertility.  So the Holy Ghost says:‑ “Through one man” - the fountain of human blood; the sample man, because no man can deny that he too would have acted exactly as Adam did – “sin entered into the world, and death through sin”; entered, for both sin and death are for ever aliens in the universe of God; “and so death passed unto all men” – travelled (Alford) like a submarine torpedo – “for that all sinned” (ROM. 5: 12) in Eden.  When God made Adam, He made all men; for the race is no aggregate of isolated and independent units, but an entity of organic and dependent generations; and, since God made of ‘one blood’ all the nations of men, sin introduced anywhere is sin introduced everywhere.  The fall of Adam was the fall of souls at this moment not yet born; and the fact of their sinning, when born, will for ever prove the truth of the doctrine.


[* The Fall of Man, p. 7.]


Upon this organic fall of all in the one God builds the whole structure of redemption; for He takes this very principle of solidarity, which was our ruin, and makes that solidarity the organ of the world’s salvation.  “For as through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners” - sinners by a representative act, sinners by a fouled nature inherited, sinners ourselves by active choice‑ - “EVEN so” - God taking the solidarity which ruined as the solidarity which shall redeem – “through the obedience of the One shall the many be made righteous.”  The helpless fall of the race into death through the act of a lonely man is countered by a helpless salvation for the entire race wrought by a Man as lonely and unique.  That is, God incarnate in human flesh, the Second Man, is so organically one with the race as a race - so the Son of man, not a son of man - that His righteousness is (potentially) imputed to all as actually and as really as is Adam’s sin.*  The first Adam was the federal head of the race; the last Adam. is equally the federal head of the race: the first Adam, the law-breaker, is replaced by the last Adam, the law‑fulfiller: the first man acted for all mankind, and plunged the world into ruin; the Second Man acted for all mankind, and lifted the world into (potential) salvation: Adam was the author of death to all; Christ is the author of life for all. Thus the doctrine of the Fall lies at the root of all redemption.  Death,” says Canon Barnes, “did not come into the world through human sin: there was no first man made in the image of God”**  It is manifest that if there be no first Adam, there could be no last. But the Holy Ghost says:- “So then as through one trespass” - for however often Adam sinned afterwards, we fell only by the one act that introduced sin itself – “the judgment came unto all men to condemnation; EVEN SO” - God turning solidarity, the organ of condemnation, into solidarity, the organ of grace – “through one righteousness the free gift came unto all men to justification of life.”  If the first limb of the parallel is a myth, disaster and ruin overwhelm the second limb: on the other hand, if the Second Head of the race really died for all, it could only be because in the First Head all had died.  As Adam ruined us through sin foreign to us, without our fault; so Christ has saved us with a righteousness foreign to us, without our merit: and the Holy Spirit thus rests our entire redemption on the historical, actual, personal fall of the first man countered by the historical, actual, personal death and resurrection of the Second.


[*But potentially only: for, unlike infants and all born imbecile, we have also sinned of our own free choice; and a choice of sin can only be countered by a choice of salvation.  He who has willed to sin must will to be saved.


**Manchester Guardian, Sept. 7, 1920.]


Inconceivably solemn and weighted with latter-day doom is the main consequence of a denial of the Fall, which one approaches with a shudder.  Though we abandon belief,” says Canon Barnes, “that the Fall was an historical event, the fact of sin remains.”*  Now if sin is a fact, and a fact not chargeable to man, it must be chargeable to God: whether through creation or evolution is immaterial - if man did not fall, the sin that is in him must have been in him in his origin, at his creation - that is, God must have created him sinful: if sin is not man’s choice, it is God’s responsibility.  The dilemma is inexorable. This is precisely the goal at which the Spirit saith expressly (1 Tim. 4: 1-3) we shall arrive in the last days.  Once again looms on the horizon a blundering or else a malignant Demiurge, who, handling forces he could not control, bungled against his will into a sinful creation; or else, himself an evil being, made matter itself evil; a creator or evolver who either could not or would not control that which he had himself created or evolved.  Gnosticism was born in an attempt to solve the problem of evil, and exactly at that spot it will be born afresh.**  It is inexpressibly startling to hear this sentence from the chief living protagonist of a denial of the Fall:‑“Those of us who hold that He [Christ] was God Incarnate before His Death, and God Discarnate afterwards.”***  Whether it be Docetic Gnosticism, which regarded the Lord’s humanity as phantasmal, or Ebionite Gnosticism, which asserted that the Divine Being finally abandoned Jesus upon the cross all Gnosticism insisted, and will insist again, that the Son of God is now discarnate ****: hence the terrible words of the great anti-Gnostic Apostle,- “they that confess not that Jesus Christ cometh [R.V.] IN THE FLESH; this is the deceiver and the antichrist” (2 John 7).  The giant theosophies of the East are once again laying their octopus arms about the Church of Christ, in an embrace of death.  If a megaphone huge enough to reach the churches of God throughout the globe were handed to me with the permission to speak through it three sentences, and three sentences only, one sentence would be this:- Gnosticism is the precipice over which the Church on earth will meet her doom.  In the words of Dr. P. T. Forsyth:- “The reproduction to-day of second century Gnosticism is exceedingly close, and often startling.  It was then that the Church had the first and greatest fight for its life.  If Gnosis had prevailed, the Church and the Gospel would have gone under.  It is equally to-day a question of life and death.  The whole of the Christian Gospel is involved, the whole future of religion indeed.  Let there be no mistake.”*****


[*Record, Sept. 16, 1920.   ** The Evolutionist Le Conte says :‑ “If Evolution be true, and especially if man be indeed a product of Evolution, then what we call evil is not a unique phenomenon confined to man, and the result of an accident [the Fall], but must be a great fact pervading all nature, and part of its very constitution.”  Exactly so the Gnostic Celsus, the first man to compose a written attack on the Christian Faith, says:- “In this world evil is a necessary thing.  It has no origin and will have no end.  Matter is the source from which what we call evil is ever springing up afresh.”  *** Canon Barnes’ Spiritualism and the Christian Faith, P. 27.  **** See Dean Mansel’s Gnostic Heresies, p. 111..***** British Congregationalist, Jan. 24, 1907.]


So all the glory gathers at last about one lonely Brow.  The first man Adam became” - after the corpse was moulded, and when his nostrils were inbreathed of God – “a living soul‑ neither mortal nor immortal, but simply alive, and alive at the will of God; “the last Adam became” – when the inherent Divine power to give life had been liberated by a work finished through an atoning cross and an empty tomb – “A LIFE GIVING SPIRIT” (1 Cor. 15: 45), a regenerator, the Lord and Giver of life.  Christ is the Last Adam, for there are only two Heads of the race, and to all eternity there will be no fresh Adam, and therefore no fresh fall; but He is the Second Man, for though millions intervened between Adam and Himself, He was a man of a new kind, the introducer of a fresh family, the creator of a new type of humanity.  Both Heads of the race have a vast following; for to Adam belonged the power of generation, and to Christ belongs the power of regeneration; and made one as we are with the First Man by ordinary birth, so we are made one with the Second Man by the second birth.  As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthyAdam’s countless unregenerate breed; “and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly - all in whom, after a divine birth, the image of Adam is fading and melting into the image of Christ.


And for both types of men the Incarnation has emptied every tomb.  For since by man came death” - since: because of the right balance of things; since death was a human product -“ by MAN came also the resurrection of the dead” or more exactly, the resurrection of dead men (Ellicott): not by a man, in each case, though that is true - but – “by man”: death and resurrection are both human products.  Taken as a race, and not as individuals, death passed on all men for the act of Adam: so also, taken as a race, and not as individuals, resurrection passes upon all men for the act of Christ.  When God breathed into man’s nostrils the breath of life, man became a living soul - that is, simply alive; but when He brought up Christ from the grave, the act made all men ultimately imperishable.  This puts enormous dignity upon humanity.  Conceivably, God by some kind of external machinery could have saved men, while so humanity was left degraded and despicable: far more wonderful truth, He has, so to speak, saved humanity from within - it is not a salvation for man merely, but it is a salvation by man; so lifting manhood on to the very Throne of Heaven.  Humanity is the common platform on which the first Adam and the Last stand together; the one dissolving humanity into dust and death; the other re-knitting humanity into spirit, soul, and body restored for ever.   There is not a grave which is not a human product; and there will never be an emptied grave which is not equally a human product: a Man has glorified God as no other being in the universe has; a man filled all graves, and another Man, by the same solidarity with the race, destroys all graves for ever.


The Apostle now re-states the amazing truth so that it may not be missed.  For as in Adam all die” - the total race condemned to death in the fountain of their blood – “SO ALSO” - with an identical universality – “shall all be made alive - in an exact antithesis to the death; that is, restored in physical resurrection. The truth here skirts dangerous precipices; but it is all the more precious and vital for that - a lamp shining in a dark place.  The ‘resurrection’ here is not spiritual resurrection, for our Lord never rose out of spiritual death: He rose out of the grave, and it is out of the grave that He lifts the whole of humanity.  Adam dug a grave for every one of us: for every one of us Christ will burst that grave.* And this is because He has become so organically one with the race, so really human, that He has become identified with our common fate.  As little as the sun could move from its place without disintegrating, or reintegrating, the whole solar system; so little could the Eternal Christ descend from heaven to become man without affecting as profoundly our entire humanity: so organically is He one with the human, so fathomless a fact is the Incarnation, so effectual is it in counterworking the entrance of death, that all humanity sprang like one man from the grave - however the fact may be delayed - when the Syrian stone was rolled away.  The Power that revives all, stood self-revived: being a self-resurrection, it stands alone as a monument of the inherent power of life: in words as astounding as ever fell even from the lips of the Son of God – “I AM RESURRECTION, and life (John 11: 25); a Resurrection which, entering humanity, bursts every grave.  For “by man came the resurrection of the dead”: it is not by the regenerating Deity, but by the resurrecting Humanity, that all mankind, by physical revitalising, is made immortal: eternal Heaven and eternal Hell lie beyond each emptied grave, but every grave will be emptied.  O DEATH, I WILL BE THY PLAGUES; O GRAVE, I WILL BE THY DESTRUCTION” (Hosea 13: 14).


[* So far from general resurrection proving Universalism, it is one of the most appalling disproofs to be found in the whole range of revelation; for it is the resurrection of the body, made inevitable by the Incarnation, which renders the human personality immortal in Gehenna.  Death itself is to be destroyed for the whole race, and with it all possibility of cessation of existence.]


So the Apostle now summarises all resurrections that will ever be: “the whole resurrection of the human race is represented as one prolonged fact, of which the resurrection of Christ is the first beginning” (Dean Stanley). “But” - lest any should think that resurrection is simultaneous – “each” - of all the vast hordes of mankind – “in his own order” - in his own band or class (Ellicott): “Christ the, firstfruits” - Christ is, to all humanity, what the first ripe ear, gathered by the hand, is to the whole harvest; and the sun which ripened the first lonely ear has warmth and life to quicken the vastest wheatfield; “then they that are Christ’s at His coming” - in His Parousia; a Parousia which lasts at least three and a half years, and during which different batches of saints are reaped; for some escape the Tribulation by rapture (Revelation 7: 9), while, years after, martyrs under Antichrist are seen standing on the Crystal Sea (Revelation 15: 2): “then cometh the end” - of resurrection, when the Millennial Kingdom over, all the graves of the wicked are destroyed before the Great White Throne. “The last enemy that shall be, destroyed” - for all mankind – “is DEATH.”  Marvel not at this: for the hour cometh, in which all that are in the graves shall hear His voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil” - for our Lord’s Voice ultimately empties all graves - “unto the resurrection of judgment” (John 5: 28).  So we stand at last upon the Crystal Sea; and as those who are overwhelmed by incomprehensible grace and unintelligible love, we cry with Paul:‑ “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out!” (Rom. 11: 33).