Brother Beebe: - Having been requested by a brother in Missouri to give him my views on the TWO SEED System, as also on a part of the ninth chapter of Romans, I have concluded to send my answer through the Signs of the Times, if you will publish them.
Dear Brother: You say that some believe that when God created Adam and blessed him, &c., there were none but the elect stood and died in him, and that after the transgression, God multiplied the woman's conception, and this brought forth the people of God's curse. Now can any rational man believe that, with the exception of Mary in the case of the birth of Jesus, any woman from Eve down ever conceived and brought forth children without the immediate agency of man as the cause of such conception? If there was any increase of posterity intended, the multiplication must have been in the man, as all are the seed of the man. Thus, in the case of Cain, who was accursed of God, it is expressly said: "And Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the Lord." Cain and all the non-elect must be creatures of God, for God hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on the face of the earth. For we are also His offspring, Acts 17:26-29. But God rested on the seventh day from all He had created and made, the heavens and the earth being finished and all the host of them Gen.2: 1, 2. The non-elect, therefore, in common with all that proceeded from Adam, must have been created in Him in the six days creation, and have stood in Him, when "God saw everything that He had made, and behold it was very good." And thus Paul ascribes the origin of the sin and death of all men to the same source, namely: "By one man sin entered into the world and death by sin" Rom.5:12. Thus the origin of sin in the world, not in the elect, is ascribed alone to Adam, leaving the woman out of the question. Consequently, if all were involved in Adam's transgression, all must have been represented by him, and therefore, have been created in him. Let us take a faith's view of this subject.
You, I presume, will admit that faith in receiving and resting upon the teachings of God leads the mind to the knowledge of truth. If so, I will ask you, my brother, to point to a single instance of one who gives evidence of being a subject of grace, ascribing his salvation to his possessing any better or distinct nature from his neighbor who is without faith; that is, that he was originally created in Adam, and pronounced good, and therefore, is a subject of grace, whilst his neighbor was the production of God's curse? On the contrary, does not each subject of grace believe and feel that his nature is as vile, as depraved and as justly under the curse of God's law, as that of any around him, and that it is nothing but God's sovereign and distinguishing grace that has made him to differ from others in having hope of salvation? And that this grace reigned not through Adam, but through Christ? That it is because God will have mercy on whom He will have mercy independent of all distinctions in nature that he has hope. If then God's teachings does not lead our faith into error, our experience establishes the fact that we are not saved because we are any better in nature than others, or of a different production from them, and that all boasting in the creature is excluded. The above could not be the experience of God's teachings, if we are made to differ from others in being subjects of mercy because we were created in Adam and they were not.
Let us now come to a faith's view of the Scriptures, and a faith's view is necessary in order to know the Scriptures. That there are two distinct seeds brought to view in the Scriptures, both in the type of the Old Testament and in the substance of the New, is manifest to all who spiritually know them. Elder Parker's idea, if I understand him, was that the one seed was that which was created in Adam, and is the elect; the other seed is the multiplied conception of the woman, and is the seed of the devil. You express the idea differently, but to the same amount. God, according to this idea, instead of choosing some of Adam's posterity or seed and leaving the rest, appointed the whole of His creation in Adam to salvation, and the rest of mankind are an after production for the display of God's wrath. This certainly does not correspond with the scriptural idea of election. There is no choice in it. Christ said to His disciples: "I have chosen you out of the world" John 15:19. Again, it is said: "Thou was slain and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred and tongue, and people, and nation" Rev.5 :9. The people created in Adam must be, and ever remain, one kindred according to Elder Parker's view, however much they may be mingled with others, and the distinct seed produced by multiplying the woman's conception must be another kindred. If then those around the throne were redeemed out of every kindred, they must have been redeemed then out of both of these kindreds. This will not accord with the idea that the whole of one was appointed to salvation, and the whole of the other to the curse of God. Whatever is implied in the declaration, "I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception," it is evident that if it meant that God would produce a distinct seed from those created in Adam, these must be as directly God's production as the other; for God says expressly, "I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception." So the devil could have no more claim to this class than to those created in Adam. God, therefore, according to this system, must have determined to produce this class from the woman expressly for the devil, or for making them the subjects of His curse. But certainly this idea cannot agree with that revelation which God has made of Himself as a God of justice and of love, and is one which I cannot receive without direct proof from the Scriptures. I think I am willing to go as far as others in acknowledging the absolute sovereignty of God as consisting with His holy, self-existing and independent Being; but when this sovereignty is extended to God's denying Himself or any of His holy attributes, which would be the case by making Him the author of sin or the direct cause of any of His creatures being accursed, I cannot admit of its correctness. God's predestinating sin to come into the world, or the human family being made sinners by Adam's voluntary transgression, and His predestinating to leave part of Adam's posterity to go on in sin, and thereby entail upon themselves the curse of the law, whilst He predestinated others to salvation by Christ Jesus, are very different from the idea that sin directly emanated from God, that pure fountain of love, or that He produced a class of beings for the express purpose of showing upon them the power of His wrath.
The woman has a seed brought to view in the Scriptures distinct from Adam's seed; but this seed which should bruise the serpent's head, is very different from the seed of the serpent; for this seed was no other than Christ Jesus. The woman has no other seed spoken of in the Scriptures distinct from Adam's, and Adam was created with his seed in him, like everything else. It is true the devil has a seed spoken of. Christ said to the Jews: "Ye are of your father, the devil." And Cain is said by John to be of that wicked one. But the Scriptures nowhere represent the devil and his seed as contrasted with Adam and His seed. The devil and his seed are uniformly contrasted with Christ and His people. Thus the devil or Satan and his interest is called anti-christ. So Paul draws the contrast between Christ and His ministers and Satan and his ministers. See II Cor. 11:13-15. Thus also John in his First Epistle, 3:8-12, contrasts the children of God with the children of the devil. So in the parable of the wheat and tares, as explained by our Lord, it is not God that sowed the good seed, but the Son of man; the good seed is not the creation of God in Adam as such, but the children of the kingdom, and the tares are the children of the wicked one, not God's multiplication of the woman's conception; the field is the world. Consider the wheat and the tares as the two religious interests set up in the world, the kingdom of heaven or of Christ, and the kingdom of anti-christ or of the devil, and all harmonizes in the parable, and in the history of the world.
Thus it is as religionists, and not in their natural existence, that the one class are of the kingdom of heaven, and the other belong to the anti-christian interest. Hence, in reference to the kingdom of heaven, it is not as the seed of Adam that they can enter it, but they must be born again or they cannot see it. So of Cain and Abel, it was not because of Abel's natural birth that his offering was accepted, but because he offered in faith, thus showing that he had been born again, see Heb. 11:4; and Cain's anger against Abel was wholly because Abel's offering was accepted and his own rejected. So that it was altogether as a religionist that Cain was of that wicked one, and manifested his spirit in slaying his brother. This, I think, taking the whole verse in connection, John 8:44, is the sense in which the devil is said to be a murderer from the beginning; the beginning of his religion being a murderous one. I think, my brother, if you will carefully examine these several portions of Scripture on which Elder Parker so much relied to support his two-seed theory, you will find that they afford no direct testimony to support the idea of two natural seeds. It seems strange that Baptists, like Protestants, whilst they profess to take the Scriptures as the rule of their faith, should reject and in so many ways attempt to hide from view the revealed truth of Christ's headship of a spiritual seed, as Adam was the head of a natural seed. Many, indeed, instead of receiving the Scriptures as God has given them as the rule of their faith, attempt to make their belief rule the Scriptures, and therefore wrest them to suit their notions. The plan of making Adam by creation, the head only of the elect, and the making the devil by tempting Eve, the head of the existence of the non-elect, is only one among the many devices to set aside the actual headship of Christ to the elect as a spiritual people. Another device which formerly prevailed extensively, and which is being revived by certain professed Old School Baptists, is that of Adam's being created a spiritual person, and dying a spiritual death, &c. This, in effect, makes him a double head. The head of spiritual life, in that what the Scriptures calls regeneration, is only a restoring to men the life they lost in Adam, and hence regeneration is only a quickening. And the head of the natural life of the human family, by transgression is the source of their depravity. But by examining Rom.5: 12-21, we shall see the two headships of Christ and Adam distinctly marked, Adam as the natural head of the whole human family, through whom flowed to them sin and death, and Christ as the head of the spiritual family, through whom flowed to them life and righteousness. Take, for instance, the 18th verse, "Therefore, as by the offense of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one, the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life." By the offense of one - one what? Certainly one man, Adam. Even so by the righteousness of one - one what? Correspondingly one man, Christ Jesus. See verse 15. It is manifest that if the non-elect are men, condemnation came on them through Adam's offense, and not through the woman or the serpent; because by the offense of one, judgment came upon all men unto condemnation. Hence, all men must have been in Adam, and thereby become partakers in his transgression and condemnation.
So on the other hand, the elect must be considered as men in their relation to Christ, distinct from their manhood derived from Adam, and in the sense in which Christ is distinctly the second man, that is, a spiritual man, or universal justification unto life must be considered as passed upon all the human family; for if there be but one class of men, or men only as they flow from Adam, the all men in the latter clause of the text must correspond with the all men in the former part, for in both parts the declaration is full and absolute without any reserve. But do the Scriptures in other portions sustain the idea of this distinct manhood of Christ other than in His being made flesh, and of the elect in Him? They evidently do. First. In reference to Christ, it is said, I Cor. 15:47, "The first man is of the earth, earthy; the second man is the Lord from heaven." The declarations in the following verses show that each of these men or heads has his distinct seed bearing his distinct image, the one an earthy, the other a heavenly seed. "As is the earthy, such are they also, that are earthy; as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly." It is also evident from the Scriptures that the believer has been the subject of a second birth, as distinct from the first as spirit is distinct from flesh. Being the subject of two births, he, of course, has two existences, he is two men; the old man hich is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and the new man which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness Eph.4:22-24.
If we turn to Rom.9, to which you referred me, we find the two seeds of Abraham brought to view. Paul says, "Neither because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children, but in Isaac shall thy seed be called; that is, they which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God, but the children of the promise are counted for the seed" Terse 7,8. Thus the one seed is they which are born after the flesh, the other seed is supernatural; it was God's promise that produced the birth. For this is the word of promise, at this time will I come and Sarah shall have a son" Verse 9. The birth of Ishmael was the natural result of Abraham's fleshly intercourse with the bond woman, but the natural fleshly powers of both Abraham and Sarah were dead at the time the promise was made concerning Isaac, see Rom.4: 19,20, so that it was not by nature but y faith that Abraham had power to communicate seed, as it was through faith Sarah received strength to conceive. See Heb. 11:11. Paul expressly declares that these two births were an allegory of the two covenants, or the mothers were an allegory of the two covenants under which the earthly and heavenly Jerusalems exist; consequently, the two births were figurative of the children of the two covenants, under which the national and spiritual Israel exist. Now, my brother, these figurative persons were both Abraham's sons, so the two Israels are both called his seed. The one is Christ, and they that are Christ's, see Gal.3: 10-29, not the creation in Adam. The other was his natural seed, for Isaac was his son born of his body, though it was through faith he received strength to beget him, and as the natural seed of Abraham, through Isaac and Jacob they inherited the land of Canaan, and were subject to the covenant of circumcision. It was the seed of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, not as the seed of their wives, that national Israel inherited the land of Canaan. Now, if you receive the idea of an extra production as a people of God's curse, distinct from His creation in Adam, how will you account for any of this seed of the devil being blended in the persons of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob? seeing they were persons of God's special choice and blessing, especially in Isaac who was altogether a child of faith. And if, as natural men, they existed only as the creation of God in Adam, how could they possibly transmit any other than the seed of Adam to their posterity? I think you must see that Elder Parker's system of two seeds cannot be carried out in this case, and that although the Jews were peculiarly a people of God's curse, yet that being the seed of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, they must have been a part of God's creation in Adam. But when we view the one seed of Abraham natural, and the other being Christ and Christ's people, as spiritual, we find the whole New Testament supporting the idea of two such seeds. Those who have faith find in the idea of this spiritual seed existing in connection with the creation of God in Adam, a harmony with the declaration, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness;" and of Adam's being the figure of Him that was to come, and that the seed of the woman should bruise the serpent's head.
If we pass to the case of Esau and Jacob, verses 10-13, and inquire into the reason why the elder should serve the younger, we find nothing said of their being originally of two distinct productions as of one's being God's creation in Adam, and the other of an extra production; but on the contrary, we find it asserted expressly that it was, that God's purpose according to election might stand. We have already noticed that there could be no election where God created one class of people expressly for salvation, and produced the other expressly for His curse. But every connecting expression goes to point out the sovereignty of God in personal, individual election in this case. 1. It ascribes the choice as being between the children. 2. That it was not from any personal distinction, they being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil. So that there was no respect of persons with God in this case, but simply that God will have mercy on whom He will have mercy. And this is the doctrine of election, as held by Old School Baptists, and as we believe fully taught in the Scriptures, namely, that God is not influenced in His choice of persons to salvation by any consideration whatever arising from a difference in the subjects of this choice from others, or from anything else, save His own sovereign purpose.
I now come to that portion of Romans, chapter 9th, to which you more particularly refer, namely: verse 21-24. Paul asks, in reply to those who would cavil at the sovereignty of God in election as he had set it forth, "Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump, to make one vessel unto honor, and another unto dishonor?" No doubt some have inferred, because man was originally made of the dust of the earth, that Paul meant by this figure to convey the idea that God created some part of the human family for happiness, and some for misery. But the apostle is not treating in the connection of the original creation of man; this figure, therefore, which he uses in defending his position, was not designed to apply to creation. Paul was treating of God's dealings with men as they exist, in having mercy on whom He would, and whom He would He hardened. To this the figure applies. The potter does not make the clay, he finds it ready made, and after softening and preparing it for his use, puts it on his wheel and shapes it into whatever vessel he chooses. Open to the view of God from the beginning were all His works, and all events on to the end. He saw man as the production of His hands, and saw him fallen by transgression; and thus fallen, dead in trespasses and sins, He saw him as fit material from which to form a vessel of mercy or a vessel of wrath. As vessels of wrath, God need but to leave, as far as He sees fit, men to act out their depravity, and to choose their own course of open sin, or of depending on their own works and ways for acceptance with God, and they are fitted for destruction. This you know by experience, if you are what I hope you are, a subject of grace. Men, also, by transgression, became fit material for vessels of mercy or of honor. For, without being sinners, men would not be objects of mercy; and without being just such ruined, helpless sinners, as they are in themselves, fitted to destruction, they would not be objects on which God could display the riches of His grace and mercy.
Here then was present in eternity, to the view of God, the whole lump of clay out of which to make both the vessels to honor and to dishonor. And if a potter has power over clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honor and another to dishonor, has not God the right and power, when all had alike sinned and come short of the glory of God, and therefore justly deserving His wrath, to choose within Himself whom He would make the objects of His mercy, and to decide whom He would leave to their own destruction? Verse 22 reads thus: "What if God willing to show His wrath, and to make His power known, endured with much long suffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction." What if God willing, that is, designing and determining to show His wrath, His opposition to sin in finally punishing the transgressors, and make His power known, that is, to vindicate His law, and to bring the transgressors to judgment in His own time; endured with much long suffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction. In the vessels of wrath is evidently meant those left out of the election of grace, and therefore left to meet the demands of the law in their own persons. If the question is still farther asked, how are these vessels fitted to destruction? In addition to what I have said already on this subject, I will refer to the testimony of Scripture on the point. We are told, in Rom. 5:19, that "By one man's disobedience many were made sinners;" and in verse 18, that, "By the offence of one, judgment came upon all men unto condemnation." In Eccl.7:29, we read, "That God hath made man upright, but they have sought out many inventions." In Rom. 1:28-32, it is written, "And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind," &c. In Rom.2:5, Paul speaks of man thus: "But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God." Now from these testimonies we learn that God made man upright; man universally, of course; and that by one man's disobedience many were made sinners. Now there is no room left here to bring in an extra production from the woman in order to find a people fitted to destruction, nor for a supposition such as some have entertained, that the election of God was that which made the rest of mankind vessels of wrath. It was "by one man that sin entered into the world, and death by sin" Rom. 5:12.
Verse 23: "And that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy which He had afore prepared unto glory." We are told, Prov.25:2, "It is the glory of God to conceal a thing." Surely God's purpose of mercy was concealed from the view of Israel and the nations of the earth, whilst He permitted the Gentiles to go on in their ignorance, folly and vile idolatry, whilst He was long suffering toward them and did not suddenly cut them off. But behold the riches of His grace in all this, in that, through His long suffering, He in His own good time has brought forth from them a seed to serve Him, an innumerable multitude of vessels of mercy. From the Gentile nations being so universally left, and that for ages, to their ignorance and idolatry, we must suppose that if any people came into existence as the seed of the devil, they were universally that people, seeing that from age to age they were left to worship devils or idols; yet from one of the expressly accursed nations of God, the Canaanites the harlot Rahab was taken; and out of Moab, another cursed nation, Ruth was taken, to be mothers through whom the Messiah was to proceed from Judah. Thus, blending in the man Jesus the blood of both of these accursed nations. In view of God's overruling the unbelief both of the Gentiles and the Jews to the making manifest the vessels of His mercy, well might Paul exclaim, "O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and the knowledge of God; how unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out" Rom.11:33.
Not only is the riches of God's glory thus displayed in making those nations and individuals who were the objects of God's wrath, the progenitors of a people who should be the objects of His mercy, but also in the riches of His mercy on those vessels of mercy, in that His mercy toward them was made to override, not only their individual sins, but also the provoking sins of all their ancestry, so that that ancestry was so spared as to secure their descent from Adam and Noah down to their own birth, and after their birth in sparing them until they were called by God's grace. How divinely glorious is that mercy which can and does cover over all our sins without having found either in us or in our ancestry one redeeming quality to induce the exercise of that mercy towards us. I understand this to be the apostle's meaning, that whilst He was willing, or purposed to show His wrath and make His power known on the vessels of wrath, endured them with much long suffering, that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy.
I will proceed to notice the import of the declaration, "Which He had afore prepared unto glory." Paul does not say afore prepared to mercy; for, as before showed, transgression alone fitted them to be objects of mercy. It is true the preparation was afore made for their being recipients of mercy, consistently with justice, by having life given them in Christ, being created in Him, and therefore chosen in Him before the foundation of the world, whereby Christ was one with them as they were one with Adam; and therefore as the law could inflict its penalty on them in consequence of Adam's transgression, so the law could take hold of Him when He came within its power, by being made of a woman and made under the law; and did demand of Him the suffering of the penalty due for their sins. His Godhead gave that divine value to the offering of Himself as the spotless Lamb of God; that by that one offering He forever perfected them that are sanctified, and became their redemption from under the law. Persons having eyes to see must, on looking at the subject, see the necessity of just such a Mediator as the Scriptures reveal and we contend for. If there had not been a life oneness of Christ and His people, so that their transgressions could be accounted His, as Adam's transgression was accounted ours by virtue of such oneness, the law could never in justice have inflicted its penalty on Him for those sins. If He had not been made flesh, or made under the law, the law could not have inflicted the penalty on Him; and if He had not, in His same one person, been God Almighty, He could not have borne that penalty so as to have exhausted it, and triumphed over death and the whole curse. Let others ridicule this idea of a Mediator, as they can bring no real argument against it, but we rejoice in such a Mediator as could bring honor to the law, and perfect redemption to His people.
But this preparation for the elect's being recipients of mercy did not of itself prepare them for glory; for neither in any higher sphere than he originally occupied before he transgressed or was charged with transgression. And Adam and his family were originally created of the earth earthy, and therefore could occupy no higher sphere than that for which they were created; that is, as the subjects of that creation. Hence the redemption by Christ only cleared away those legal barriers which stood in the way of the elect being made manifest as sons of God and heirs of glory. Hence the force of the truth, "Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." It is as absolutely necessary that we should be partakers of the spiritual or heavenly nature, or life, of the second or heavenly man or head, in order to our enjoying the heavenly inheritance, as it was that we should be partakers of the rational and earthly life of the natural man in order to our occupying the station of men on the earth. No separate creation in Adam could, therefore, have prepared any for glory, for that which is born of the flesh is flesh.
The term afore shows that this preparation was before the manifestation either of the vessels of wrath or of mercy, and therefore before Adam's dust was fashioned into man. And it must have been in Christ, the spiritual man as head. It must have been by their being created and chosen in Him before the foundation of the world, and being predestinated to the adoption as children by Him. As Christ, in being set up as the Head and life of His people, was brought forth as the Son of God, they were in that life brought forth as sons in Him, and therefore afore prepared unto glory, or as heirs of glory. Wherefore it is written, "If children, then heirs; heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ." Being thus afore prepared, they are in time made manifest as heirs of glory, or personally prepared unto glory, by a second birth, being born of the Spirit, or as the seed of Christ, the spiritual man I Cor. 15:45-47.
Thus, my brother, I think I have showed clearly that the two seeds spoken of in the Scriptures, are the seeds of the two men or heads, Adam and Christ, and that like their two heads, the one is fleshly, the other spiritual; the one earthy, the other heavenly. I think every (I do not mean professor, nor every professed Old School Baptist) child of grace has the evidence of the existence of those two distinct seeds in himself. He is conscious of a living principle in him, that is heavenly in all its aspirations and desires, that finds its delight in communion with God, and would cast the world behind its back; and when its influence is felt in the exercise of faith, the reproaches, wants and afflictions of the world sink into insignificance in comparison with the enjoyment of the presence of God and the glory had in view. At other times, and that more frequently, his whole mind seems absorbed in the world and its concerns; not only his fleshly feelings, but his reason and judgment tell him it is right and proper to attend to the world and its concerns and are as earnestly engaged in arranging his worldly business, with discretion, as they were while in a state of nature; so that he has the evidence of its being the same rational soul it ever was, and therefore that in its nature it is not changed. But when faith, as before noticed, is in exercising and presenting spiritual things to view, the soul with all its faculties enters into the love of the truth, and into the enjoyment of the hopes and consolations of the gospel. Here, then, is decisive evidence that the soul, though unchanged in its nature, is prepared under the enlightening and quickening influence of the new or spiritual man to enter into the enjoyment of heaven whenever it shall be released from its relation to this world, by laying aside this fleshly tabernacle.
I will here leave the subject with you, hoping you may search the Scriptures for yourself, and be established in the truth as you find it there revealed, without being influenced by the teachings of men for or against it.