We feel a pleasure when we are enabled to help the mind of any brother or sister, on any subject of divine revelation on which they may be laboring in searching after the truth as it is in Jesus, but we have not the vanity to believe that we are able to meet and put to silence all the cavils and vain speculations which may be presented against what we honestly understand to be the plain and obvious testimony of the Scriptures of truth. We do not mean, however, to denounce as speculative what may be presented in opposition to our views, nor those as cavilers who object to what we firmly believe to be the testimony of the word, for brethren may honestly and conscientiously differ with us. We feel a consciousness that we are, at least, as liable to err as our brethren are. But when a plain, emphatic declaration of the Scriptures is found recorded on any subject, it ought to settle the point with us, and when any arise and contradict such plain declarations of the word, we can but regard them as cavilers.
The question proposed by brother Sears, and on which we have before given our views, was whether Adam, in his first estate, was a spiritual man or not? We, considering this matter settled by the express declaration of an inspired apostle, have given his declaration in reply. “And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterwards that which is spiritual. The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven. As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy, and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly.” - 1 Cor. xv. 45-48. In copying this passage we have italicized the supplied words, that its full and proper force may be seen, in its bearing on the subject. To our mind, if there were no other Scripture testimony in point to be found, this passage would be amply sufficient to prove beyond all successful contradiction that Adam was not in his first estate a spiritual man. The text expressly declares that he was not: and this should be with us an end of all controversy. The ancient record of the origin of man, is thus given, “This is the book of the generations of Adam. In the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made he him; male and female created he them; and blessed them, and called their name Adam, in the day when they were created.” - Gen. v. 1, 2. We can go back no farther in the history of man than the day of his creation. The state he occupied “in the day when they were created,” most undoubted presented Adam in his first estate, for he existed in no estate prior to that day. Had the Lord deferred to give him a name until the next day, we might have been involved in some doubt whether the name given was indicative of the state he was in on the day of creation, as he might have changed; for we are not informed how long it was after his creation before he fell. But the name was given him before he fell, or could have changed. And the name Adam signifies earthy man, or red earth. This is in perfect harmony with what we have quoted from 1 Cor. xv. 45-48. He was not spiritual, but natural. He was not a quickening spirit, but a living soul. He was not heavenly, but of the earth earthy. This matter is settled, so that no man without controverting what God has said, can say that Adam was a spiritual man. God called his name earthy, and Paul, by inspiration of the Holy Ghost, says, he was not spiritual. But, on presenting this direct and incontrovertible testimony, it is demanded that we must show what Adam lost by the fall, &c. This demand is altogether gratuitous, for it does not follow because that we set to our seal that God is true in what he has said to us of the first estate of Adam, that we are thereby bound to obviate any other question whatever, or to meet the cavils of those who dispute what God has said. A “thus saith the Lord,” is valid testimony with all who fear the Lord and tremble at his word.
On what those brethren, referred to by brother Sears, predicate their doctrine that the first Adam was spiritual, we do not know, consequently we are not prepared to estimate their argument, but from the questions by brother Sears, and from positions which have been taken by some with whom we have had some knowledge, we presume they claim that Adam was a spiritual man, because it is said, “In the likeness of God, made he him,” from which they infer that God being a Spirit, it was in that respect man was created in the likeness of God. But such a supposition cannot be entertained without violence to the divine testimony, and to all our conceptions of God. Even if it were established that Adam was a spiritual man, his history, his mutability and his fall, would prove that as a spirit he was not like that Spirit which is infinite, eternal, immutable, omniscient and omnipresent; therefore, it is very evident that it was not in that sense he was created in the image and likeness of God. But we are told in what this likeness consisted. Paul says, speaking of Adam, “Who is the figure of him that was to come.” - Rom. v. 14. A figure is an image or likeness, and an image or likeness is a figure; and hence the apostle shows wherein the likeness is preceptable. The first Adam, though earthly and natural, is the figure of the Lord from heaven, the second Adam, and this likeness is explained to us, first, in that “Male and female created he them.” So when God was pleased to inform us that he had made man in his likeness, he told us also wherein this likeness consisted; for in the formation of man of the dust of the earth, he was the embodiment of his bride which was to be developed and made manifest, and who should be called woman, because she was taken out of man. (Gen. ii. 24.) Thus presenting in a figure, the bride, the Lamb’s wife, which should afterwards be revealed as coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. (Rev. xxi. 2.) In his creation all his progeny, all the human family, was created in him, and all the spiritual seed of Christ were also created in that Adam which is the Lord from heaven. (Eph. ii. 10.) The name Adam was given to man as he embraced his bride, and all his posterity; so that God called their name Adam, in the day when they were created. So, also, the whole of the spiritual family are named in Jesus Christ. (Eph. iii. 15.) “For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.” - Eph. v. 30-32. We may trace many particulars where Adam is the figure of him that was to come, but in no particular is the figurative analogy more strongly marked, or more largely defined and elucidated by inspired writers, than in the progenitive headship of Adam, setting forth the important doctrine that Christ is the Head, Fountain and Source, of all spiritual’ life to his seed. This was one of Paul’s sublimest themes, and one on which he seemed to dwell with great delight; showing that as all the natural family of mankind lived in the natural or earthly Adam before they were made manifest by natural generations, so all the spiritual and eternal life of the children of God was given them in Christ before the world began, and is made manifest in them at the proper time, by regeneration. But while the apostle dwells so clearly on this subject, he is careful to inform us that the figure is not the thing prefigured, the shadow is not the substance. Adam, the figure, was not spiritual, but Christ the antitype, is spiritual. As the natural creation is used as a figure of the new or spiritual creation, so the natural, earthly Adam, was and is the figure of the spiritual Adam. How any candid and intelligent christian can read the apostle’s explanation of this subject and still fail to discover the difference between the two distinct heads, of the two distinct bodies, is hard for us to imagine.
Paul says that the first, or natural Adam, was made a living soul. From this expression some have inferred that he was made a spiritual being. But in that sense all men possess living souls; but all men are not spiritual, in the sense in which Paul says, “There is a spiritual body, and there is a natural body.” Adam’s soul was a natural soul, and totally destitute of that principle of immortality which our Redeemer denominates “eternal life,” which is born immediately of God, when we are regenerated. The Bible informs us that our Lord Jesus Christ, who is the second Adam, the Lord from heaven, is the only and blessed Potentate, who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light, and we can only be partakers of that immortality by being partakers of Christ himself. He is the way and the truth and the life, hence said Paul, “For me to live is Christ.” When Christ, who is your life, shall appear, we shall appear with him in glory. “I am crucified with Christ; nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me.” Therefore, we see that all the life, soul or spirit that Adam possessed, did not constitute him a spiritual man, in that sense in which we are made spiritual by vital union with that Adam which is the Lord from heaven.
But still the question is raised by the advocates of the doctrine that Adam was a spiritual man, What, say they, did Adam lose by the fall? We are not prepared to say what Adam lost, any farther than what the Scriptures inform us; and that is about as much as we wish to say on the subject. He lost his sinless innocence, by transgression; lost his primitive liberty, and residence in the garden of Eden. He was driven out of Paradise, fell under the sentence of death, and plunged himself and all the posterity which he embodied in guilt and condemnation, from which neither he nor any of his sons or daughters have ever been able to extricate themselves. But he did not cease to be the figure of him that was to come, for in following his bride into the transgression, with a full understanding of the consequence of doing so, was one important incident in which he was a figure. For Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression. By his fall or transgression he lost his life, for in the day he ate of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, death passed on him and on all his posterity, but if he lost any spirituality, we have not been informed of it.
Middletown, N. Y.
August 1, 1856.
Elder Gilbert Beebe
Editorials Volume 3
Pages 358 - 363