THE CREATION OF MAN
THE detailed account of the creation of man which now presents itself for our consideration is a subject of the deepest interest : for it forms the only possible basis of true doctrine in regard to the origin and nature of our race. We must, therefore, carefully examine it : but the labour will not be tedious, for the whole revelation is contained in the following brief record: " And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul " (Gen. ii. 7). We have thus three points to consider; the formation of the body, the infusion of the breath of life, and the result that man awoke to consciousness a living soul.
First, then, we are told that the Lord God formed man, that is, moulded his bodily shape as the potter does the clay. Indeed the meaning of the Hebrew verb is so decided that its present participle, used as a substantive, is the ordinary word for a potter. To this first act of God job refers when he says, " Remember, I beseech Thee, that Thou hast made me as the clay; and wilt Thou bring me into dust again ? " (job x. 9). For the material moulded was the dust of the ground which had just been moistened by a mist : and hence it is afterwards said, " Dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return
(Gen. iii. 19).
The word translated " ground " is adamah, which properly means red earth, and from which the name Adam seems to be derived. This corresponds to the natural colour of human skin, which is red on white, and in accordance with which Solomon's description of ideal beauty begins with the words, " My beloved is white and ruddy " (Cant. v. 10).
The spirit of man had nothing to do with the formation of its sheath. God first moulded the senseless frame, and then breathed into it " the breath of lives " ; for the original of the last word is in the plural. We have not however, previously noticed this, because it may be nothing more than the wellknown Hebrew plural of excellence: the word, which is the common term for life, is rarely found in the singular. But if we wish to give significance to the number, it may refer to the fact that the inbreathing of God produced a twofold life, sensual and spiritual, the distinct existence of each part of which we may often detect within ourselves by their antagonism.
This breath of lives became the spirit of man, the principle of life within him-for, as the Lord tells us, " it is the spirit that quickeneth" --and by the manner of its introduction we are taught that it was a direct emanation from the Creator. We must, of course, carefully avoid confusing it with the Spirit of God, from Whom the Scriptures plainly distinguish it, and Who is represented as bearing witness with our spirit (Rom. viii. 16). But, as we are told in the Book of Proverbs (Prov. xx. 27), it is the candle of the Lord, capable of being lighted by His Spirit, and given by Him as a means whereby man may search into the chambers of his heart and know himself.
Man was thus made up of only two independent elements, the corporeal and the spiritual: but when God placed the spirit within the casing of earth, the combination of these produced a third part, and man became a living soul.1 For direct communication between spirit and flesh is impossible: their intercourse can be carried on only by means of a medium, and the instant production of one was the result of their contact in Adam.
He became a living soul in the sense that spirit and body were completely merged in this third part ; so that in his unfallen state he knew nothing of those ceaseless strivings of spirit and flesh which are matters of daily experience to us. There was a perfect blending of his three natures into one, and the soul as the uniting medium became the cause of his individuality, of his existence as a distinct being. It was also to serve the spirit as a covering, and as a means of using the body ; nor does Tertullian seem to have erred when he affirmed that the flesh is the body of the soul, the soul that of the spirit.
1. Hence, possibly, the meaning of the plural in the expression " breath of lives." The inbreathing of God became the spirit, and at the same time, by its action upon the body, produced the soul. It was thus the cause both of the spiritual and sensual life.
But it is interesting to notice that, while the soul is the meeting-point of the elements of our being in this present life, the spirit will be the ruling power in our resurrection state. For the first man Adam was made a living soul, but the last Adam a quickening [life-giving] Spirit (I Cor. xv. 45) ; and that which is sown a psychic body is raised a spiritual body (I Cor. xv. 44).
Thus in the very beginning of Scripture we are warned against the popular phraseology of soul and body, which has long sustained an erroneous belief that man consists of but two parts. This idea has, indeed, taken such firm root among us that it has caused a deficiency in our language. For though we possess the nouns " spirit " and " soul "-which are, however, too commonly treated as synonyms-we have no adjective derived from the latter, and are thus unable to express connection with soul except by a paraphrase. Certainly an attempt is being made to Anglicize the Greek " psychic " ; but the unwonted form and sound of the word seem likely to prevent its adoption into ordinary language. Yet the need of such an adjective has almost concealed the doctrine of man's tripartite nature in our version of the Scriptures : and English readers are carried away from the sense by inadequate translations of a Greek word which signifies " pertaining to the soul," but is sometimes rendered " natural," sometimes "sensual " (I COR. ii. 14 ; James iii. 15 ; Jude 19).
There are, however, one or two passages in which a reference to the threefold composition of our being could not be obscured. Such is the very remarkable verse in the Epistle to the Hebrews: " For the Word of God is living, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart " (Heb. iv. 12). Here Paul plainly speaks of the immaterial part of man as consisting of two separable elements, soul and spirit ; while he describes the material portion as made up of joints and marrow, organs of motion and sensation. Hence he claims for the Word of God the power of separating, and, as it were, taking to pieces the whole being of man, spiritual, psychic, and corporeal, even as the priest flayed and divided limb from limb the animal for the burnt offering, in order to lay bare every part, and discover if there were any hidden spot or blemish.
Another obvious passage is the well-known intercession of Paul for the Thessalonians: " And I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ " (I Thess. v. 23).
Now the body we may term the sense-consciousness, the soul the self-consciousness, and the spirit the God-consciousness. For the body gives us the use of the five senses; the soul comprises the intellect which aids us in the present state of existence, and the emotions which proceed from the senses; while the spirit is our noblest part, which came directly from God, and by which alone we are able to apprehend and worship Him.
This last, as we remarked above, can only act upon the body through the medium of the soul: and we have a good illustration of the fact in the words of Mary: " My soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour " (Luke i. 46, 47). Here the change in tense shows that the spirit first conceived joy in God, and then, communicating with the soul, roused it to give expression to the feeling by means of the bodily organs.
But the spirit of the unconverted is steeped in a deathlike slumber, save when it is roused to a momentary sense of responsibility by that Spirit of the Lord Who convinces even the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment. Such men are unable to hold intercourse with God: the soul, manifested sometimes in intellectuality, sometimes in sensuality, often in both, reigns over them with undisputed sway. This is what Jude wishes to set forth in his nineteenth verse, which should be rendered, " These be they who separate, men governed by soul, not having spirit."1 And even in the case of the converted the powers of the spirit are at present in great part suppressed, their place being supplied, though most inadequately, by the faculties of soul and body.
1. . Scarcely, "the Spirit." The preceding makes the contrast between the human soul and spirit so obvious and natural that, if Jude had meant the Holy Spirit, he would surely have guarded his meaning by prefixing the article to . However, it does not seem necessary to press the sense further than to understand that, in the men described, the God-consciousness is stifled by sensuousness. Even in their case the spirit may still be a potentiality, though as regards present influence it is as good as dead.
How inadequately which of us does not feel ? For when at length we awake from the dream of this world ; when our eyes are opened to a contemplation of realities, and a startling conviction of the ever decaying and quickly passing nature of all that is visible flashes upon our mind, from that moment we are possessed by one absorbing desire, that of attaining to life eternal. But to this end what guidance can we expect from the bodily senses, whose ceaseless march is ever to the grave ? Nay, even the soul, however intelligent, however diligent in its search, cannot by any pains find out the path of wisdom. Often indeed it essays to do so : but how absolutely untrustworthy its conclusions are we may see in the difficulty of discovering even two men of the highest order of intellect with an identity of opinion. Reason is but an uncertain and deceitful instrument at the best, and the blinding pride of man makes matters still worse. For when one has set his heart upon an idea-which is, perhaps, nothing but the creation of his own fancy, as unsubstantial as the castle of a dream-his powers are thenceforth used for the single purpose of making the picture of his imagination stand out as vividly and as like reality as possible.
And thus we may easily see that intellect is not merely fallible, but the most dangerous of all gifts, unless it be guided by the Spirit of God. For it can call evil good, and good evil: it can put darkness for light, and light for darkness ; bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter. Nay, the wave of its magic wand can fill not only this life, but even the region beyond the river of death, with sunny landscapes and fair scenes, to all of which it is able to give the semblance of firm reality, until the fatal moment which separates spirit and body, when in an instant the brilliant vista is blotted out for ever by the fiery darkness of the lost.
And even in the case of those who have been born again, who have received power to become sons of God , the intellectual faculty is still so incompetent that, though they possess truth in the Divine revelation, they are nevertheless, as Paul tells us, only able for the present to know and understand it in part. But when hereafter the spirit, our real life, shall be released and restored to its throne, we shall immediately become conscious of powers which we can now neither apprehend nor even imagine ; we shall no longer people darkness with the phantoms of reason's dim and ever-changing dreams, but find ourselves in a world where there is no night, and endowed with a piercing and unerring vision which God shall give to all His redeemed. In the place of the uncertain and deceptive logic of the soul, we shall be gifted with that instinctive perception of truth which is the prerogative of untainted spirits.
Thus, then, the Lord created man in His own image; and we can picture the joy with which Adam awoke to consciousness in the midst of the beautiful world prepared for his habitation and possession. But fair as earth then was, the inexhaustible kindness of his Creator would still further ravish his heart by arranging for his abode a scene of pre-eminent beauty and super-abounding delights. Eastward in Eden the Lord God planted a garden, and enriched it with every tree which is pleasant to the sight and good for food, including among them the tree of life and that of the knowledge of good and evil. He then took the man whom He had made, and put him into this Paradise to dress, and, as our version reads, to keep it. But the Hebrew of the latter verb also suggests the idea of watching over or guarding, and seems to point to an enemy and possible assailant.
And now commenced the first age or dispensation of our world, man's first trial to determine whether when in possession of innocence he is able to retain it. Earth by the work of the Six Days was filled with unmingled blessings, all that it contained was very good; supreme dominion was given to Adam, and he was a pure and sinless being. Moreover, there was but one commandment; and, therefore, sin was circumscribed, and but one transgression possible. Of all the numerous trees of the garden man might freely eat, even the tree of life was open to him : but he was commanded to do homage to the great God Who had given him all things, to pay a tithe in acknowledgment of the exhaustless bounty bestowed upon him, by abstaining from one tree, that of the knowledge of good and evil. Of this he was not to eat, or he would prove himself a rebel, and lose his kingdom and his life.
In regard to the hostile denizens of the air he seems to have received no distinct warning, but only that which was implied in the injunction to dress and watch over the garden. And he needed nothing more: for knowing well the single prohibition of his God, he could at once detect a foe in any being who should tempt him to disobey it.
There is no mention of this covenant with Adam in the first chapter of Genesis : for there we have merely a record of creation and restoration, while in the supplementary account we are concerned with the moral responsibility of man. And hence a change in the appellation of God, Who when regarded only as the Creator and Ruler is called Elohim or the Mighty One, but Who takes the title of Jehovah-usually translated " the Lord " [LORD] in our version-as soon as He appears in covenant relation with man. At its first introduction the name Jehovah is joined with Elohim, to obviate all doubt as to the identity of the Being designated by both words.
Now it is evident that, while either of these names will suit some passages, there must, nevertheless, be many cases in which the one would be appropriate and the other not. Of this the sacred writers are always mindful, and we shall presently meet with other instances of their careful discrimination. It thus appears that the very fact adduced by rationalists as a proof that the Scriptures are a clumsy compilation of diverse and incongruous documents, which they call Elohistic and Jehovistic-that this very fact beautifully exhibits the unity and consistency of the whole volume.
Yet another and crowning joy was in store for Adam. His benign Creator, knowing that it was not good for him to be alone, determined to bestow upon him a companion and partner of his joy. But first He brought to him the beasts of the field and the fowls of the air, to see what he would call them: that is, to see if he would claim any of them as bone of his bones and flesh of his flesh. Adam gave names to all, but to none that of woman ; a result which had, of course, been anticipated by God. Indeed it seems not improbable that He made the trial to stimulate in His creature a desire which He intended to gratify.
And if the first man was able on the very day of his creation to give names-founded, doubtless, on their peculiarities to beasts and fowls, it is evident that language was a gift bestowed upon him by God at the time when the breath of lives was breathed into his nostrils. Christians, therefore, cannot countenance the speculations of modern philosophers in regard to the gradual development of speech.
By naming the animal kingdom Adam took possession of his dominion before the appearance of the woman ; so that she shared his lordship over creation, not in her own right, but as being bone of his bones and flesh of his flesh. And herein we may discern an evident type of the second Adam and His bride. For the Church, though all things are hers, will possess them through no merit or right of her own, but only as the bride of Him Who is the Heir of all things (I Cor. iii. 21-23).
In the history of the creation of woman we should observe the close connection between male and female, and the responsibilities of mutual love which it involves; the protection due on the one side, the subjection on the other. Each particular is so suggestive of the great mystery of Christ and His Church that it will be well to notice some of the points of comparison.
First, then, the Lord began His final work by casting Adam into a deep sleep. And so did the second Adam lie three days in the sleep of death before the creation of His bride could be commenced.
While the first Adam slept, God opened his side and took out the rib wherewith He made the woman. So while the second Adam slept in death upon the cross, a soldier pierced His side, so that there came forth blood and water; and by means of that blood, without the shedding of which there could never have been remission of sins, the Church is now in process of formation. Thou " didst purchase unto God by Thy blood men of every tribe, and tongue, and people, and nation " (Rev. v. 9), is the cry of the elders when the time has at length come to sing the new song.
After the rib had been withdrawn God closed up the flesh instead thereof. No second rib was to be taken : only one woman was made for Adam, though many were afterwards born of him. So also will it be with the second Adam: He, too, will have but one heavenly bride, the Church of the First-born, they that are His at His coming, or rather, " presence." This body will be completed during His presence in the air, or first heaven, and His marriage will take place just before the terrible destruction which is to precede the Millennial reign, as may be seen by the order of events given in the nineteenth and twentieth chapters of the Apocalypse. Multitudes will be afterwards saved by Him : kings' daughters will be among His honourable women ; but upon His right hand will stand the queen in gold of Ophir (Psalm xlv. 9).
We next read: " The rib which the Lord God had taken from man made He a woman." But the last words are by no means an adequate rendering of the original, which should be translated " builded He into a woman." And there is a remarkable coincidence in the use of such a term, and the frequent application of the words " build " and " edify " to the Church in the New Testament.
When God had made the woman He brought her unto Adam. So is God now bringing the elect in spirit to the heavenly Bridegroom, and no man can come unto Christ except the Father draw him (John vi. 44). And so will He presently bring the completed bride in person to the second Adam, and at length answer that prayer: " Father, I will that they also, whom Thou hast given Me, be with Me where I am; that they may behold My glory, which Thou hast given Me " (John xvii. 24).
Upon receiving his wife Adam exclaimed: " This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh." So the second Adam tells us that He is the vine and we are the branches (John xv. 5) ; while His apostle still more plainly affirms: "For we are members of His body, [of His flesh, and of His bones] " (Eph. v. 30)1
1. [The best authorities omit the words in brackets.]
Adam then proceeds, " She shall be called woman, because she was taken out of man." Ish is the Hebrew for man, isha for woman. She partook of Adam's nature, therefore she should be called after his name. And at His coming Christ, having changed the bodies of His waiting people into the likeness of His glorious body and made them partakers of His nature, will then fulfil His promise to the overcomer: "I will write upon him My new name " (Rev. iii. 12).
Lastly; the words, " Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh," are, in their application to the woman, paralleled by the Lord's saying, " He that loveth father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me " (Matt. X. 37). And yet again by the exhortation to the mystic bride:" Hearken, O daughter, and consider, and incline thine ear; forget also thine own people and thy father's house ; so shall the King greatly desire thy beauty: for He is thy Lord; and worship thou Him " (Psalm xlv. 10, 11). These words have far greater force if we remember that those who are saved by Christ but do not belong to the Church of the first-born will probably inhabit the earth from which they sprang, and not be called away from their ancient dwelling into the heavenly places.
We may thus see how evidently the history of Adam and Eve foreshadows wondrous things to come, and sets forth the mystery of marriage in its reference to Christ and His Church.
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