Table of Contents
Part II: Embodiment and Redemption
Two Men: Two Adams
The first Adam, as truly the first Man,
ONLY SINNED ONCE.
The last Adam, as truly the second Man, NEVER ONCE
Should you ask
how the First Adam, as truly the first Man, only sinned once,
then consider this fact. When Adam was created, he was created
in the image of God. When he sinned, he surrendered that image
and the specific nature that it signified. He literally sinned
into being a new kind of creature, a species quite different
from that which God had planned when He first said, "Let
us make man" and then defined his creation by the words
'in our image' (Genesis 1:26). The first man Adam, as truly representative
Man, committed only one sin because with that one sin he ceased
to be representative Man. All his other sins are of no significance
to us because they were not sins of Adam as Man judged by God's
definition of the word Man. Adam's first sin as truly
man was his only sin as truly man. Thereafter Adam sinned as
a creature who was not truly man any more.
That this creation of God did surrender
that image is borne out by two facts. First, because the sons
and daughters of Adam and therefore all the descendants of the
first man were no longer "made" in the image of God
in Adam's image.
It will be noted that Genesis 5:1 states very specifically that
God created man in His own image, but in Genesis 5:3 it
is stated equally specifically that Adam begat sons and daughters
in his image. And secondly, the New Testament indicates
that God's image now has to be re-constituted (2 Corinthians
It will also be noted that in Genesis
9:6 we are told that Adam WAS made, not that he IS made, in the
image of God. The Hebrew of the original here is very specific
and quite unambiguous. The past tense is used, not the present.
Man lost that image when Adam sinned and in losing it ceased
to be Man by God's definition. Yet, although man has indeed lost
the image, he has not lost the capacity for its re-creation;
for which reason the killing of a man is such a criminal offense,
for fallen man has remained redeemable. Fallen angels did not
remain redeemable: fallen man did.
But with the Incarnation of the
Lord Jesus Christ a Man was born once again into the world bearing
the express image of God (Hebrews 1:3); and He, unlike the First
Adam, never lost that image because He never once sinned. Thus,
Man as originally made in the image of God, still constituted
the perfect vehicle for the revelation of God by incarnation,
since by that Incarnation could be demonstrated God's love for
his creature even though that creature had lost His image.
We thus find a sequence of events
Man was created in God's image:
Man sinned and lost that image.
Man is now procreated in fallen man's image Genesis
God was made in man's original image: Hebrews
Man may be re-constituted in God's image: 2
want to address in this chapter a fact of history that evolution
cannot account for. First: fallen man with all his destructive
and suicidal propensities, and secondly, unfallen Man in all
his consummate magnificence. Both Adams are truly representatives
of human nature. How
have these opposites
come about? Do they really spring from a single root? What kind
of a root could give rise to two such extremes, man as seen in
ourselves and man as revealed in the person of Jesus Christ?
Does not this signify something quite unique about the origin
of that root?
On one occasion
C. S. Lewis quoted a famous couplet from Bobby Burns' poem Man
Was Made to Mourn.
Man's inhumanity to man
Makes countless thousands to mourn.
on these two lines was very perceptive. He said the truth is
that "it is not man's inhumanity to man that is the
problem." No! It is man's "humanity" that is the
problem. His awful behaviour is now "human behaviour."
This is his nature. This is what man now is.
The popular view that man is essentially
good dies hard. The concept of a steady improvement of human
nature by education received a severe shock when two world wars
showed that one of the most educated nations in the world could
behave on an unprecedented scale in barbaric ways that were far
worse than man had ever witnessed in terms of the numbers hurt
by them and the depth of degradation to which they were subjected
and indeed in some countries are still being subjected.
It was Rousseau who had held up
the noble savage and argued that here was a picture of unspoiled
human nature which only civilization had destroyed. He advocated
a return to such "native nobility"; and many have tried
it. Not one of these returns to nature has resolved the problem
of man's innate selfishness and the plague of a stricken conscience
that remains to trouble the community and the individual alike.
Many studies of the Nazi concentration
camps have been made since World War II. The incredible cruelties
which were commonly inflicted
or authorized with sadistic pleasure by people who then went
home to enjoy fine art, classical music, and elevating literature,
only go to show how terribly human nature has been warped by
the Fall. Concentration camps and torture chambers are a human
invention. The rest of nature displays nothing that could
even be remotely viewed as the foundation of this.
The horror of those concentration
camps was so awful that normal civilized people who witnessed
them simply could not believe their own eyes. These were not
visitors who thus reacted, but themselves victims of the horror.
One doctor, seeing the lurid flames of a large fire some little
distance away, wondered what was being burned rubbish,
he supposed. (100)
A truck backed up and men with ordinary pitch forks were tossing
small bundles of garbage, one forkful at a time, into the flames.
It was night and their silhouettes stood out like demons feeding
the flames of hell.
Suddenly he realized what those
small bundles of garbage actually were. They were babies, and
he was certain that some of them were still alive they
were struggling on the tines of the fork. What happened to him,
as he watched? He merely turned off; it was all a dream. It was
simply relegated to fantasy. He knew it was true: he refused
to believe what he knew. . . . Human beings are not capable
of such actions. He would, he was sure, later find it was a dream.
Another scene. Women who became
pregnant were treated mercilessly. They were kicked in the stomach,
dragged by the hair or, worse, by one leg to the furnaces and
after more physical abuse cast alive into the furnace. (101) People who witnessed
this, too, simply did not believe. Yet later they knew it was
It seems that man alone of all
creatures seeks to hurt his victim, deliberately, eagerly, furiously,
viciously, with incredible cruelty and with maniacal
delight. Governments choose sadists to conduct their torture
sessions and supply them with the "latest" technological
100. Pres, Terrence, D., The Surivor,
Oxford University Press, 1976, p. 84.
101. Ibid., p.86f.
of them intended for
extreme physical abuse short of death. And the civilized nations
market many of these devices. They are violent or slow and excruciating.
They are applied to those parts of the human body which we consider
more private and which are most sensitive. They are the most
degrading devices in terms of the victim's reactions. But even
so, perhaps human excrement plays the most terrible part of all.
. . . Forced into the mouth, the nose, the ears, forced as drink
and food. . . . It is incredible.
All nations have been guilty,
the civilized as well as the uncivilized. If we do not believe
in demons it is only because we are so ignorant of what man can
do to man when inspired by hatred.
William Temple was absolutely right
when he said that the worst things that happen do not happen
because of a few people who are monstrously wicked but because
we all are what we all are. It is almost accidental that only
a relative few in any society do these things. In the same circumstances
the mildest of men can become worse than animals by far, for
animals do not tear each other's flesh for the mere pleasure
of hearing their screams.
We have found in the Nazi era an
easy target and a ready source of illustration but they are no
worse than we are in potential. Animals do not hate; only
man does. And human hatred is inspired by the devil.
George Steiner was right when he
said of those places of horror: "Art, intellectual pursuit,
the development of the natural sciences, and many branches of
scholarship, flourished in close spatial proximity to massacre
and the death camps." (102) It is a fact that these pursuits were being followed
with devotion and enjoyed in such close proximity to these horror
camps of pure bestiality: and they were fully aware of
Aesthetic feeling, moral indignation,
inventiveness, scientific competence, intelligent preparation
for action, even concern for others all these can be found
sitting side by side, as it were, with such places of horror.
102. Steiner, George, "In Bluebeard's
Castle A Season in Hell," The Listener (BBC,
London), 25 Mar., 1971, p.361.
inconsistent is man's
moral sense that an individual under oath will tell the most
blatant lies in order to prove that he is innocent, a man of
honour and integrity!
Such inconsistency is borne out
by the fact that many normal and enjoyable neighbours living
in the environs of these camps pretended not to know what went
on. Yet many of these same people changed the furniture of their
rooms to place the daily living quarters on upper floors so that
they had a better view. . . . When asked why, their only answer
was silence. We do not know ourselves; none of us really
It may be thought that only the
Germans, "they" from our point of view, ever acted
so atrociously. This is quite untrue. Dostoyevsky records an
incident from Russia that is just as monstrous: the scale is
smaller, but the phenomenon is the same. (103)
One day, a serf boy, a little child
of eight, threw a stone in play and hurt the paw of the local
general's favorite hound.
"Why is my favorite dog lame?"
he asked. He is told that the boy threw a stone that hurt its
"Take him," he ordered.
The child was seized from his mother and kept shut up all night.
Early next morning the general came out on horseback, with his
hounds, his dependents, dog-boys, and huntsmen, all mounted and
in full hunting dress. The servants, too, are summoned for their
edification, and before them all stood the mother of the child.
The child is brought out. It is
a gloomy, cold, foggy autumn day but capital for hunting.
The general orders the child to be undressed and the child is
stripped naked. He shivers in the cold, numb with terror, not
daring to cry.
"Make him run," commands
"Run! Run!," shout the
dog-boys. And the child runs.
"At him!" yells the general,
and he sets the whole pack of hounds on the child. The hounds
catch him and tear him to pieces before his mother's eyes. .
103. Dostoyevsky, F., Brother's Karamasov,
translated by Constance Garneit, New York, Modern Library,
no date, p.251.
even this is "they" the Russians, not us. Yet
is there really any difference between the pleasure they derived
from such utter brutality and the pleasure that the "professional"
cock-fighters get out of their cruel sport, sanctioned in America
in a number of States and fully protected by law? Is cruelty
to animals, for pleasure, really any less an exhibition of man's
innate fallenness? No animals do this to each other for mere
Such wickedness is everywhere in
our own society. It is not overt and therefore is not so offensive
to us, but it is there. The poor who abuse the welfare system,
the lazy who abuse the unemployment insurance; the people who
give "donations" that don't exist and receive an "official"
receipt which is submitted as an income tax deduction and then
share their tax savings with the non-profit organization that
issued the receipt all by prior arrangement.
The fact is that while some sin
is so awful because it is public, most sin is private and therefore
concealed or by many "overlooked". The fallenness of
man is deep and wide, it is universal, for "all have sinned".
It is only by accident that we personally may have escaped doing
these more horrid things, because we were never placed in the
position of being driven by hate or anger to do them or
if we were, we were not able to do them at the time of
our anger or hatred. Only kings can traditionally do what they
like, being a law unto themselves. David, Israel's best king,
and Ahab, Israel's worst king, both turned coveting into
murder. One coveted another man's wife and murdered her husband;
the other, another man's vineyard and murdered its owner (2 Samuel
11:127 and 1 Kings 21:116). This is what we are capable
of, the best and the worst of us alike given the power.
David utterly repented, Ahab was utterly indifferent. Nevertheless,
both behaved murderously because both were fallen men.
But why did
those who were still free and outside the Camps, whose relatives
and friends were being so dreadfully
mutilated, not continuously
protest? Ignorance of the truth, or fear of the consequences?
In some cases, yes. But not always. Sometimes they did know,
and they were not deterred by fear because they were abroad and
safe. Then why did they, or we, not protest? The answer
seems to be because they, and we, simply did not believe that
it was possible for human beings to be so inhuman. And as for
the people themselves, the victims, in prospect they too shared
some of this unbelief and went, as it were, "like sheep
to the slaughter," unprotesting until it was too late.
As Herbert Butterfield, the Oxford
historian, observed: "We create tragedy
after tragedy for ourselves by a lazy unexamined doctrine of
man which is current amongst us and which history does not support.
. . . Those who do not believe the doctrine of the Fall
can hardly deny that human history has always been history under
the terms and conditions of the Fall." (104)
We suffer from a unique form of
sickness which is not to be observed in nature apart from man.
This sickness does two things: it makes us capable of truly incredible
wickedness totally foreign to the animal world; and it puts blinkers
on us which make us believe we are suffering from no such disease.
This disease is universal in man,
and we all grow up to display it unfailingly. If one asks, "How
soon is the delightful illusion of childhood innocence lost,"
one can only say that man sins just as soon as he can! Thousands
of years of increasingly complex civilization have not really
changed the picture. We are still as sick as our first ancestors
were Cain was a murderer. All we have done is to arm our
wickedness with superior weapons of destruction. The disease
lives on in the earth because man himself is the disease.
acting in defiance of society is bad enough. But there is probably
nothing so wicked as a crowd acting in unison under the dictates
of their lower
104. Butterfield, Herbert, Christianity
and History, London, Bell, 1950, p.46.
nature. A culture may
be so disrupted that a whole society goes bad. Authority is everywhere
undermined to such an extent that lawlessness, destruction, violence,
rape, murder, theft, and cruelty know no effective curbs and
chaos results. This may happen in any social grouping such as
a crowd. When a crowd throws off all recognition of established
authority its mood changes rapidly from bad to worse, no longer
constrained towards any good, but self-reinforced and self-reinforcing
towards wickedness. Human behaviour becomes "liberated"
and equated with sin. People are swept by the compulsive
mood of the crowd, and individuals find themselves suddenly free
to express the very worst side of their nature often to
their own genuine amazement in retrospect.
The roar of unified voices bent
on evil is terrifying. There is something demonic about it. Crowds
become vicious in ways totally foreign to the behaviour of the
individuals who make up the crowd. Men in groups will become
vicious murderers and violent in the extreme, even the gentlest
of them. And history shows, sadly, that in times of great violence
(as in the French Revolution) women are equally capable of cruelty.
Even in watching violent sports, this unexpected side of woman's
nature may be suddenly revealed. Afterwards, the individual may
sort himself or herself out and ask in amazement, "What
got into me?" Nothing got in. It is not what gets in at
all but what comes out that reveals the truth of human nature,
even as Christ said it would (Matthew 15:18,19).
dominion and government over the world has been a disaster. We
do indeed seem to be very near to the end of the human experiment.
Only a divine intervention can salvage what is left. The whole
of human society is close to moral bankruptcy and technologically
the resources of the world (air, water, minerals) are either
almost exhausted or so hopelessly contaminated as to be no longer
able to support life. Even outer space has become a junkyard.
What has happened is that man has become the arch-destroyer
of his own appointed kingdom, turning a Garden of Eden which
was filled to overflowing with everything good into a wilderness
filled with the debris of our own folly and greed.
Some have even gone so far as to
say that every desert area in the world is due to man's abuse
of the land, and they base their arguments, as W. C. Lowdermilk
has done, on the fact that most deserts are dotted with the remains
of cities now buried under drifting sand. (105) Other deserts are being attributed to a spin-off
of man's unwise use of water resources which once formed part
of a smoothly working ecology. In one area, Sir Samuel Hall refers
to a desert of over 40,000 acres in Africa which began with water
running off a barn roof that was just allowed to carve a small
channel which grew and grew because the farmer was too lazy to
do anything about it. One native observer remarked, "Just
one damn trickle forty years ago. . . and now a third of the
country gone." (106)
Oliver Pearson says that man's
impact on the environment has become so great that it is "probably
greater than that of all other mammals combined. For many years
man has been drawing on the earth's capital to support his high
living; most other animals live frugally within the earth's income."
Andrew Ivy recently pointed out
that "soil erosion and depletion caused the transformation
of garden spots into deserts in Greece, Syria, Northern Italy,
Mesopotamia, and the Uplands of China. We hear of dust storms
in the Volga Valley, in South Africa, Australia, and the United
States, the breadbaskets of the world." (108) He might have added Canada to this.
Laura Thompson observed, "Man
is not only a major factor in the web of life; he is the only
agent whereby a conservation program for a local area may
be actively implemented." (109) He alone is responsible for the upset; he alone can
correct it. The trouble is man is literally too
105. Lowdermilk, W. C., "Man-Made Deserts"
in Pacific Affair, VIII, Institute of Pacific Relations,
106. Hall, Sir Samuel, Smithsonian Report for 1938, p.309.
107. Pearson, Oliver, "Metabolism and Bioenergetics",
Scientific Monthly, Feb., 1948, p.133.
108. Ivy, Andrew, "Medical Research: Operation Humanity,"
Scientific Monthly, Feb., 1949, p.120.
109. Thompson, Laura, "The Basic Conservation Problem,"
Scientific Monthly, Feb., 1949, p.130.
wicked to engage himself
in any corrective process which requires any significant personal
sacrifice. A. J. Carlson, with grave humor, wrote, "In the
face of this can we claim the name Homo Sapiens,"
the wise one? The one creature who is pleased to call himself
such must seem pretty foolish to all other creatures, if they
are able to judge him.
Man is not merely a disturber of
nature because of ignorance. He is deliberately destructive because
of some strange preference for destructiveness even in
childhood. Something is wrong with his nature. The beastliness
of man is not of the beast. It was Alfred Lord Tennyson who in
his poem In Memoriam (published ten years before Darwin's
Origin of Species), coined the famous phrase "nature
red in tooth and claw." In recent years a substantial number
of books have been written which show clearly that nature is
not red in tooth and claw, that animals are not aggressive
towards each other in the sense that man is towards his own kind,
that there is no vindictiveness or vandalism * in animal
society, but that as Prince Petr Kropotkin, after years
of active research in the wild, put it nature is characterized
by a spirit of "mutual aid!" It is clear that the wickedness
of man is not because there is something animal in his nature
but because his nature is fallen.
When famous men like Professor
George Gaylord Simpson (111) and Will Durant (112) persist in their defense of human evolution by arguing
that the evidence shows that "man has risen not fallen,"
they are talking unbelievable nonsense. History screams a negative.
110. Carlson, A. J. "The Science of Biology
and the Future of Man," Scientific Monthly, 1947,
* Some would argue that foxes are vandals when they kill hens
indiscriminately, and so likewise when wolves kill sheep. The
answer to this probably lies in the fact that the domestication
of hens and sheep has destroyed their natural behaviour pattern
under attack so that the predator has his natural instincts confused.
Foxes do not do to wild fowl what they do to hens; nor wolves
to wild sheep or goats what they do to domestic ones. The behaviour
of the predator and the behaviour of the prey were balanced in
nature, and man has upset the balance. If man had domesticated
both predators as completely as he has domesticated both prey,
perhaps this disruption would not be exhibited.
111. Simpson, G. G., Biology and Man, New York, Harcourt,
Brace, & World, 1969, p.148.
112. Durant, Will and Ariel, The Lessons of History, New
York, Simon & Schuster, 1968, p.38.
cannot account for fallen man, it cannot account for unfallen
Man either. But where are we to observe unfallen Man that
we can speak so confidently of what evolution cannot thus do?
We find unfallen Man in the person of Jesus Christ.
Here was true Man, with a magnificent
beauty of bodily form that made even those hired to arrest Him
fall back when He stepped forward to identify himself (John 18:6),
and an unutterable beauty of personality that was flawless though
under constant provocation by his enemies.
Lord Acton, in a letter to Bishop
Mandell Creighton in 1887, wrote, "Power corrupts, and absolute
power corrupts absolutely." If you wish to prove the corruption
of human nature, give a man power over his fellowmen and the
means to exercise it. The more the power, the more certain will
be the display of corruption. But here was One who, although
He had been given all power in heaven and earth and who although
He could do whatsoever He wished consonant with the purity of
his nature, nevertheless remained throughout a life of continuous
challenge utterly uncorrupted.
The evidence of his power is everywhere
to be found in the Gospels, but in no sense do they appear to
the reader as examples of what we would view today as showmanship.
In some strange way we expect them, for they are completely in
keeping with everything else He was and did. Probably never before
or since has a nation been so nearly rid of human sickness by
the power of one man to command the source of it whether
the source was sin or demonic.
When we observe closely how He
dealt with his challengers we can only stand back in amazement
at his calm wisdom. One day the scribes and Pharisees, hoping
to trap Him into making a statement publicly with which they
could accuse Him of treason, asked Him whether it was proper
to pay tribute to Caesar or not (Mark 12:13,14). If
He replied, "No,
it is not proper," the people would have cheered Him but
his statement would have at once been reported to the authorities.
If He had replied, "Yes, it is proper," the people
would have turned against Him immediately, and the scribes and
Pharisees would again have been the winners.
What did He do? He asked them to
show Him a coin. The question arises why did He not have a coin
of his own, since his little group had a treasurer. Perhaps He
had a purpose in not appealling to the treasurer, who was Judas
Iscariot. But the fact is that there were at least two kinds
of coinage circulating in Palestine. The Romans allowed the Jews
to mint coins of their own because they did not want to use the
Emperor's coinage in their temple services hence the existence
of money changers right in the temple precincts.
However, the scribes and Pharisees,
bowing to their authority, preferred to use Roman coins for all
commercial intercourse: and so the Lord turned to them and said,
"Show Me a coin." It seems highly unlikely that they
were aware of what He was doing, but when they showed Him one
of their Roman coins, He held it up for everyone to see
plainly and said, "Whose image and whose superscription
does it bear?" To their shame the scribes and Pharisees
had to say, "Caesar's." And they were trapped themselves,
for by their very possession of these coins they were really
strengthening the hold of the Romans on Palestine. Then He said,
"Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to
God the things that are God's." In other words, if you are
going to use Caesar's coins, you must serve Caesar.
On this occasion several other
challenging questions were presented to Him and He answered them
all with equal ease and effectiveness. So much so, in fact, that
some of the scribes themselves admitted defeat, saying, "Master,
you have well said" (Luke 20:39), and after that they dared
not ask Him any more questions.
Perhaps no one incident in the
Lord's life displays his
and gentleness than upon the occasion of his dealing with the
woman taken in adultery. The story is given in John 8:111.
This is a passage which many scholars today believe may not have
belonged to John's Gospel in the original, because some of their
favourite manuscripts from ancient times have omitted it. It
should be noted, however, that the omission may have resulted
from the fears of some copyists that in the story the Lord was
really condoning adultery, and so they quietly deleted it. To
my mind, the Lord was not condoning adultery but He was judging
one who was no greater a sinner than the man with whom she was
caught "in the act" (verse 4) who had not, be it noted,
been brought to judgment with her. One wonders why. . . Perhaps
the woman was more sinned against than sinning.
The law required that an adulteress
be stoned, so the Pharisees brought this woman and flung her
down in front of the Lord while all the people stood around.
They brought the charge against the woman, pointed to what the
law said must be done, and then posed their question, "But
what do you say?" Notice the "But"!
If the Lord should say, "She must be set free"
as an act of mercy, the Pharisees could repudiate Him publicly
for disregarding the Law of Moses. If He had said, "She
must be stoned," it could only seem to the crowd around
that He was merciless righteous perhaps, but merciless.
So Jesus stooped down and wrote
something with his finger in the dust which collected in the
broad expanse of Solomon's Porch where these events evidently
took place. He seemed to be ignoring them. Not unnaturally they
were annoyed and persisted in asking the same question.
Jesus straightened up just long
enough to say, "He that is without sin among you, let him
first cast a stone at her."
It is rather widely agreed that
the chief accuser had the responsibility of casting the first
stone. This is a tribute in a sense to Jewish wisdom, for many
who make accusations would not have the courage to do so
or perhaps the gall
if they knew they were
personally responsible for initiating the actual punishment itself.
Clearly the result of this simple
invitation set them all thinking deeply, reconsidering their
position. They started to leave one by one, as unobtrusively
as possible, from the oldest of them down to the youngest, until
they had all gone. And then Jesus straightened up and seeing
that none were left, said to the woman, "Where are your
accusers? Has no man condemned you?" And she replied, "No
Whatever we may think about the
Lord's personal judgment, there is no doubt that she was, before
the law, without any accusers, and could not legally be condemned.
It would seem that the circumstances of her being taken were
rather special, and perhaps Jesus knew what those circumstances
were. At any rate He said to her, "Neither do I condemnyou:
go and sin no more."
The story has a ring of truth about
it, and it once more displays the extraordinary skill and wisdom
of this Man. A wiser than Solomon was here.
In all his relationships with friend
or foe, He preserved the perfection of his own manhood. This
perfection was also reflected in his relationships with his mother.
He knew how to respond to her claims when she sought them appropriately
(Luke 2:51); to resist them when they were sought inappropriately
(Luke 8:20, 21); and to recognize them when they were appropriate
but unsought (John 19:27).
Such a figure as appears before
us in the Gospels is truly uninventable. The literary creation
of a character so perfect as this would require even greater
faith than simply to believe the record as it stands. He is altogether
and absolutely unlike ourselves, and the fact is scarcely denied
even by his worst enemies throughout history.
When He was brought to trial by
those who could not endure the white light of his purity, all
kinds of people were presented as witnesses against Him but their
witness was uniformly contradictory until it became clear to
everyone that these
witnesses were false. But there were many whose witness to his
total innocence was almost involuntary, sometimes taking only
the form of silence. John 8:46 records that the Lord once asked
his accusers, "Which of you convicts me of sin?" And
quite frankly not one of them could think of a word to say.
When Jesus had been arrested and
brought before Pilate, Pilate's wife warned her husband, saying,
"Have nothing to do with that just man" (Matthew 27:19).
Pilate himself three times officially declared that he could
find no fault in Him (John l8:38; 19:4, 6). On the third occasion
he tried to be even more emphatic and exclaimed, "I am innocent
of the blood of this just person" (Matthew. 27:24).
Even Judas Iscariot who had betrayed
Him, went back to the chief priests and elders and offered to
return the money he had received for his betrayal saying, "I
have sinned in that I have betrayed innocent blood" (Matthew
One of the crucified men sharing
some of his physical torture, rebuked his fellow in crime for
speaking abusively to the Lord who was crucified between them,
saying, "Do you not fear God, seeing you are in the same
condemnation? And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward
of our deeds: but this man hash done nothing amiss." How
did he know this? He knew because everyone knew.
The Roman centurion in charge of
the crucifixion detail of troops, after observing the behaviour
of the Lord on the cross for a while, and no doubt having been
responsible for many such events, said when Jesus died, "Certainly
this was a righteous man: truly this was the Son of God"
(Matthew 27:54 and Luke 23:47).
Paul, the intellectual among the
apostles, said, "He knew no sin" (2 Corinthians
5:21); Peter, the activist, said, "He did no sin"(1
Peter 2:22); and John, who loved Him most tenderly, said, "In
Him was no sin" (l John 3:5).
Never was there such a testimony to the
total innocence of a man. So overwhelming was this witness that
in the end the Jewish authorities themselves admitted they had
a mistake. They assembled
to discuss the situation after the crucifixion and said among
themselves, "Command that the sepulchre be made sure until
the third day, lest his disciples come by night and steal him
away and say unto the people, He is risen from the dead: and
so the last error shall be worse than the first." (Matthew
The Lord Jesus
came to reveal God to man, and He came to reveal man to God.
But He also came to reveal Man to man, and this He did in two
distinctively different ways. In the first place, He showed what
true Man could be, and should be. He came a light to light every
man that is born into the world (John 1:9). He came as a standard
of reference, a plumb line, as Amos (7:7,8) says.
If we want to know what we ought
to be, here is our image restored. If, on the other hand,
we want to know what we are capable of, given opportunity
whether man is essentially good, whether man loves truth,
whether man really wants righteousness and purity and unselfishness
and absolute integrity of person then here again we have
the answer. The only perfect Man who ever lived was condemned
to crucifixion, and He was condemned not for some crime or evil
deed or even falsehood, but for simply telling the truth about
Himself, namely, that He was God and man both (Matthew
It has been universally admitted
by advocates of man's evolutionary origin that he is nonetheless
"the crown" of creation. It is a strange thing that
the most wonderful representative of this creation was by man
himself crowned not with gold but with thorns. Is not
this man's judgment of himself? How has such an anomaly
A native from the Yana tribe once
located in California who came to be known as Ishi (his own word
for man) and who was the last lone survivor of his people,
was shown a Passion Play film. He was deeply moved by
the story of the crucifixion and remarked that Jesus Christ must
have been a very "bad man" to suffer such a fate. (113)
113. Kroeber, Theodora, Ishi in Two Worlds,
Berkeley, University of California Press, 1971, p.225.
The truth is precisely the opposite. In the first
place, had He been a bad man, God would not and could not have
laid upon Him our sins: He would never have been acceptable
to God as the sacrificial Lamb. In the second place, He would,
on the contrary, have been acceptable to the world. But the
world rejected Him and crucified Him not because He was a bad
man but because He was a perfect Man! So it was only his
perfection that made Him an acceptable sacrifice from God's point
of view and an unacceptable person from the world's point of
view. His very goodness, not his badness, was the reason He was
condemned to death by us men. We were all involved in that
Thus in reality the trial of
Jesus Christ was not the trial of Jesus Christ at all, but the
trial of fallen man. It was not He who was on trial, but man.
And the outcome was not his condemnation but ours.
If it is not possible to build a bridge between animals
and fallen man, what bridge shall be built between fallen man
and the Lord Jesus Christ? If both are truly human, which they
certainly are, how do we make a bridge between such purity and
such utter wickedness? Is such a bridge possible?
The answer is, Yes! And to build
this bridge we go back to the First Adam as created, and
from there to the same First Adam as fallen. The Fall is the
arch of this bridge. In that one act the First Adam (who is truly
represented by the Last Adam) became also the fallen "Adam"
who is represented by the human race as exhibited in the whole
of human history. The potential, locked up in the newly created
being called the First Adam was capable of giving rise to man
as we see him displayed in the tragedy of history, and to the
glory of God as seen in the face of Christ Jesus. What a creature
this was who carried the potential for both the corruption of
our nature and the perfection of His! Evolution is quite incapable
of accounting for Him.
Both men called Adam were immortals. Both men called
Adam came into the world by a miracle: the one by creation, the
other by virgin birth. Both men died but neither need have
done so, ever. Evolution cannot account for either of them.
However, the Lord's people are
not being shown why it is so damaging to the Christian
Faith to allow the evolution of man's body. The truth
is that to do so is to divorce the Incarnation from its redemptive
purpose and to reduce the life and death of Jesus Christ
to one of tragedy rather than triumph. His virgin birth and his
bodily resurrection become meaningless, since there is no rational
necessity for either of them.
The suicidal wickedness of fallen
man and the sacrificial splendour of Jesus Christ can only be
accounted for by assuming a strictly historical basis for the
appearance on earth of the First and the Last Adam precisely
as they are set forth in the Bible. Neither their origins nor
their deaths can be accounted for in ordinary biological terms,
for neither were "natural."
May I conclude this chapter
by saying that it was one of the most difficult to write in the
whole book. It was completely rewritten so many times that I
despaired of ever getting it written at all, and at one point
decided to omit it altogether. But it had to be done. Why, then,
was it so difficult?
Because the immensity of fallen
man's wickedness is beyond comprehension and because the beauty
of unfallen Man's character is beyond description. That's why.
Who can possibly be sufficient for either task.
Copyright © 1988 Evelyn White. All rights
Previous Chapter Next