Table of Contents
Part IV: The Development of Personality:
The Old and the New
The Body of the First Adam and
of the Last Adam
The Summation of Man in the First
BETWEEN the old nature and the new within the individual, is
re-enacted on a larger scale in the conflict between the body
of the first Adam and the Body of the Last Adam.
We know what the Body of Christ
is: what is the body of the First Adam? One of the philosophical
problems which particularly interested the earlier psychologists
was how a number of powers of sense (hearing, seeing, etc.) could
be unified into a single consciousness. Of course the problem
was stated in much more sophisticated terms. As a matter of fact,
the situation is far more complex than was ever believed. It
is no longer a case of five or six senses being integrated, it
is a question of the integration of every living cell in the
body. For each cell appears to have an autonomy entirely its
own. George A. Dorsey put it this way: (53)
Protoplasm is known only by
the body it keeps: but whether one cell is the entire body or
only one in a body of billions of cells, every cell has certain
properties or functions. It is self-supporting: it has its own
definite wall, or is so cohesive that its outer surface serves
the purpose. It must get rid of waste. It moves. Its movements
may be of the flowing kind or "amoeboid" -- part or
parts of it flow out in processes, like the movements of the
ameba. Or, it may be covered in whole or in part by fine cilia
which set up whipping movements.
It is excitable or irritable; when
touched it moves. It responds to certain stimuli. It has conductivity:
a stimulus on one side may lead to movement on the opposite side.
It can coordinate its movements, as it does in the harmonious
actions of the cilia or the pseudopodia in amoeboid movements.
It grows, or has the power of reproduction.
This then is the cell,
in every sense of the term a living thing; and while it has no
self-consciousness, it does have consciousness to the extent
53. Dorsey, G. A., Why We Behave Like Hunan
Beings, Blue Ribbon Books, New York 1925, pp.77, 78.
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that it is excitable
and irritable. Moreover, these cells seem to "know what
they are about." Paul W. Weiss of the Rockefeller Institute
for Medical Research expressed the matter as follows:
At the moment of its creation
or very soon after, each of the millions of cells that make up
a living organism seems to know its destiny. It knows whether
it will become part of an eye or a leg or a chicken feather.
It knows also how to find and group itself in the proper arrangement
with other like cells to make up the living fabric of eyes, legs,
feathers, skin, and so forth.
Cells dissociated from the chicken
and separated from their original site, and from each other --
days before feather germs had appeared, got together and made
Experiments imply that a random
assortment of skin cells that never had been part of a feather
can, as a group, set up conditions -- a "field" --
which will then cause members of the group to move and grow in
concert and in accordance with a typical pattern of organo-genesis.
Some years ago
a film was shown to us in the University of Toronto in which
the process of photosynthesis has been captured by the camera,
and slowed up and greatly magnified so that it could be watched.
It seems unlikely that anyone who saw that film will ever forget
the way in which the little green cells (plastids) shoved and
elbowed their way along the pathways appointed, like early shoppers
racing to an opening sale and jostling one another out of the
way as they went. Having picked up their wares they could afford
to make a more leisurely return journey. It would, of course,
be quite wrong to attribute such feelings to these cells, but
the description certainly fits the appearance.
Sir Charles Sherrington had occasion
to watch this kind of thing, and he describes it in another connection
in the following words: (55)
We seem to watch battalions
of specific catalysts, lined up, each waiting stop-watch in hand,
for its moment to play the part assigned to it, a step in one
or another great thousand-linked chain process. . . .
The total system is organized.
. . In this great company along with stop-watches, run
dials telling how confreres and substrates are getting on, so
that at zero time each takes its turn. Let that catastrophe befall
which is death, and these catalysts become a disorderly mob.
. . .
In one of the
papers published by the Edward W. Hazen Foundation, Edward McCrady,
writing on the general topic of teaching biology in college,
neatly sums up this phenomenon of life, in which the many become
the one: (56)
54. Weiss, Paul W., "Cracking Life's
Code," Scientific News Letter, May 5, 1956, p.275.
55. Sherrington, Sir Charles, Man on His Nature, Cambridge
University Press, 1940, p.78.
56. McCrady, E., Religious Perspectives in College Teaching:
in Biology, Hazen Foundation, New Haven, no date, pp.19,
instance, certainly have a stream of consciousness which I, as
a whole, experience; and yet I include within myself millions
of white blood cells which give impressive evidence of experiencing
their own individual streams of consciousness of which I'm not
directly aware. It is both entertaining and instructive to watch
living leukocytes crawling about within transparent tissues of
the living tadpole's tail. They give every indication of choosing
their paths, experiencing uncertainty, making decisions, changing
their minds, feeling contacts, etc., that we observe in larger
individuals. . . .
So I feel compelled to accept the
conclusion that I am a community of individuals who have somehow
become integrated into a higher order of individuality endowed
with a higher order of mind which somehow coordinates and harmonizes
the activities of the lesser individuals within me.
is that purely naturalistic evolutionary concepts, at least as
currently formulated, are not sufficient to account for this
fact. But this process does not stop here. There is a collective
consciousness; Jung refers to it as the collective unconscious,
but the idea is the same. The individual consciousness within
any given species seem also to be summed up as an overall consciousness.
It is conceivable that in any such species, if the number of
individual consciousnesses is too small, the "greater self"
becomes sickly and dies. In nature, there is a minimum number
of animals required to keep the species alive and when they are
reduced below this number, special steps must be taken to preserve
the species from extinction.
Man is a species, Homo sapiens.
As such he, too, appears to have a giant self. Eric Sauer, speaking
of this fact, observed: (57)
The sum total of all natural
men forms an enormous racially articulated organism, and each
individual, through his mere birth, is inescapably a member thereof.
He is "in Adam" (1 Corinthians 15:22).
Humanity is not simply a numerical
total of many distinct individual persons, but one single colossal
"body" which according to its origin and nature in
a myriad, manifold and differentiated branches, sets forth its
first father Adam.
The race is
not a series of whole Adams, but the fragments of a single Adam.
Together we thus constitute the body of Adam, an entity as real
and as articulate as the Body of Christ. There is, however, this
fundamental difference -- the body of Adam is sinful. This explains
a number of things. As Kenneth Walker pointed out, "Tolstoy
was very puzzled by the fact . . . that men in masses are able
to commit crimes of which they could never be guilty when acting
as individuals." (58) Were it not for the existence of the Body of Christ,
57. Sauer, Erich, Dawn of World Redemption,
Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, 1953, p.57.
58. Tolstoy, quoted by Walker, ref.33, p.158.
diseased body would soon
manifest itself for what it is, without restraint. Here
we have the basis of our Lord's statement, "Ye are the salt
of the earth" (Matthew 5:13).
As we look at ourselves and one
another, and are reminded of our apparent powerlessness much
of the time, we wonder how this can possibly be true, that we
should be the salt of the earth. But because the organisms which
are here in view, the body of Adam and the Body of Christ, are
so much more than merely the sum of the parts, the significance
of the individual's contribution for good or ill cannot be measured
by the "size" of the individual.
The essential evil of the body
of Adam is not demonstrated by the exceptional behaviour of a
few notorious criminals like Hitler and Nero. Whether this basic
nature reveals itself excessively or not, is largely a matter
of accident. Israel's most godly king and Israel's most wicked
king were not essentially different when circumstances permitted
the natural man to express itself completely. Because they were
kings, David and Ahab could to a large extent do what they wished.
And when they were unrestrained, they both began by coveting,
went on to stealing, and ended up by murdering.
(59) William Temple put it: (60)
The worst things that happen
do not happen because a few people are monstrously wicked, but
because most people are like us. When we grasp this, we begin
to realize that our need is not merely for moving quietly on
in the way we are going: our need is for radical change, to find
a power that is going to turn us into something else.
are aware of Thomas Hobbes' philosophical view of the human race
as a monstrous and unruly thing which could not survive unless
some surrender was made of the autonomy of the cells to the central
directing authority. He called this Beast "Leviathan."
On the title page of the edition of 1651, there is a picture
of a giant man rising high above the earth with a crown on its
head. At first glance, it looks as though the body is covered
with scales, but a more careful view reveals that the body is
composed of people. Seeing that the human body operates successfully
only when controlled by a single central authority, Hobbes argued
that mankind must submit for its own good to the same kind of
central authority. The following extract from his "Leviathan"
makes his point clear and has implications to which we wish to
draw attention: (61)
This is more than consent, or
concern; it is a real unity of all men, in
59. David's story: 2 Samuel 11:1-27; Ahab's:
1 Kings 21 :1-29.
60. Baker, E. A., editor, The Teachings of William Temple,
James Clarke, London, no daye, p.62.
61. Hobbes, Thomas, Leviathan, Blackwell, Oxford, no date,
one and the same person, made by covenant
of every man with every man, in such manner, as if every man
should say to every man, "I authorize and give up my right
of governing myself to this man, or to this assembly of men,
on this condition, that thou give up thy right to him and authorize
all his actions in like manner."
This done, the multitude so united
in one person, is called a commonwealth. This is the generation
of that great Leviathan, or rather to speak more reverently,
of that mortal god, to which we owe, under the immortal God,
our peace and defense. For by this authority, given him by every
particular man in the Commonwealth, he hath the use of so much
power and strength conferred upon him that by terror thereof
he is enabled to form the wills of them all. . .
And in him consisteth the essence
of the Commonwealth; which to define it, is one person,
of whose acts and great multitude by mutual covenance one with
another, have made themselves every one the author. . . .
In this remarkable
passage, Hobbes has clearly seen how many individuals can be
so united into a giant self as to be thenceforth personally responsible
every one for the things undertaken by the whole organism. In
this sense, every member of the body of Adam is responsible for
the wickedness of man wherever it expresses itself. It is not
enough for man to say, "If I had been so-and-so, I would
not have done it." Wickedness is a disease of the body of
Adam which affects every cell. It is not because some of the
cells have escaped this infection that they are apparently healthy,
nor is it because some of the cells are fundamentally more diseased
that in them wickedness comes to a head. Tempting though it is
to make such assumptions, one only has to remember David and
Ahab. It is largely a matter of accident and of opportunity.
No part of this body of Adam has escaped the disease. This is
what it means when it says, "Wherefore, as by one man sin
entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed
upon all men, for that all have sinned" (Romans 5:12).
John Taylor summed it up:
The Summation of Man in the Last
Man is a single organism in
which we are all involved. Fallen humanity is "the body
of sin" of which Adam is the head, an organism that is still
growing and branching, working out through history the innate
disobedience which leads on to self-destruction.
While the body
of the First Adam grows toward the time of its final complete
corruption, another Body is coming into being of which the Head
is the Last Adam, and whose destiny is the stature of a perfect
man. This, too, is therefore a giant self.
62. Taylor, John, Man in the Midst,
Highway Press, London, 1955, p.64.
Adam was created, he was true man. When he fell, he no longer
represented the image of God and therefore no longer represented
"man." For God had said, "Let us make man after
our image." This is man by definition. The last Adam, being
the "express image of God" (Hebrews 1:3), once more
restored true manhood to the world's view. Jesus Christ came
to reveal God to man. But He also came to reveal man to man.
And this, in two quite distinct ways: First, by what He was,
He revealed what is God's definition of "manhood."
Secondly, by contrast, human nature was provoked in the crucifixion
into declaring what its constitution really is. We are still
deceived into imagining that if we were faced with a perfect
gentleman, we would recognize and applaud his worth at once.
We forget that the perfect gentleman has already appeared, and
He was crucified. In his famous poem, "When Jesus Came to
Birmingham," Studdart Kennedy with keen insight shows that
man would do the same today with possibly one or two refinements.
Those, then, who are still in Adam,
are not looked upon in Scripture as "men," and therefore
aggregates of them are not looked upon as "people."
This is stated simply and clearly in 1 Peter 2:10. True "people"
are those who bear the image of God. This image has to be re-created,
and it guarantees membership in a new species of man -- the Communion
of Saints, the Body of Christ. O. Hallesby put it this way: (63)
If I had to tell you in one
short sentence why I became a Christian, I think that in order
to be as simple and as clear as possible, I should say that I
did it to become a man.
As we have already
pointed out, the total potentiality of personality which has
now been fragmented into the world's two billion individuals
by the process of natural generation was once latent in Adam.
Consequently individualistic though each man is, he is a little
Adam. But all these multitudes of people have sprung not from
a perfect, but from a fallen racial head.
In the Last Adam, a new race is
being created by supernatural generation, and in a very real
sense each saint -- let it be said with reverence -- is a little
Christ. Individualistic though we are, we derive our new nature
from the Last Adam as other men derive theirs from the First.
So we actually partake of the divine nature in Him who was God
made man (2 Peter 1:3, 4), for God was indeed once perfectly
expressed in terms of human personality and now seeks to express
Himself in us as He did in the Lord Jesus Christ.
63. Hallesby, O., Why I Am a Christian,
Intervarsity Press, London, 1953, p.44.
one of those rare moments of sudden clarity, the following words
were penned by the author a few years ago:
Why is it that Christ is the
contemporary of every age and has no nationality? Why does He
belong to all races? How is it possible that such diverse peoples
as the Chinese and the French, for example, can or have seen
in Him the ideal man? One may collect pictures from all parts
of the world, inspired by an attempt to visualize whet Jesus
Christ was like, in which each culture sees Him as one of its
own sons, indeed -- its son par excellence.
It seems fairly certain that such
figures as are universally known among men, whose place of origin
is also known, will always remain nationally identifiable. Moses,
Plato, Confucius, Gandhi, Dostoevsky Napoleon, Hannibal, Ghengis
Khan, Lincoln, Churchill -- each remains "great" in
the estimation of the world, but each is a national figure.
Jesus Christ is the one figure
still officially unrecognized by His own nation, yet claimed
by all nations. In Him is male and female, black brown, yellow
and white, ancient and modern, old and young -- the whole Race
-- truly the sum total of all human personality potential, uniquely
the Son of man.
Is it any wonder
that His Body should be completed by the gathering together of
redeemed individuals from every tribe and nation under heaven,
each of whom individually and all of whom together reflect His
Person, as the children of Adam individually and as a race, together
reflect his person?
Perhaps at any moment, were it
possible to add us all together, we should find that the Lord
Jesus was still wholly present in the world. In this sense, we
each provide a small channel for Him, and all together form the
vehicle, the Body, of which He is the Head and by which He still
dwells with men.
All the infinite variety of human
personality which has found expression through the centuries
in individual people who have all come out of Adam's "loins"
must have been potentially resident in Adam at the first, just
as Levi is said to have "paid tithes" in Abraham (Hebrews
7:9). So in the Second Adam, this vast potential re-appears and
finds expression in His life. When He now enters any human heart,
He is reincarnate. But no one of us could display His character
in its total range, so He distributes Himself, as it were, to
each individual believer, and through that individual He displays
to the world just that measure of His total person as perfect
man, which is altogether appropriate to the soul thus
indwelt. I suppose that if men had never fallen, each one of
us, individually, would have lived in this way as a natural outgrowth
of our constitution as a child of God, though always with the
limitations of human as opposed to Divine nature. What would
have developed would have been part of the whole potential in
each of us, perfect,
flawless, and beautiful,
a reflection of the "likeness" which God appointed.
But it would always be only a fragment of the whole that was
somehow "wrapped up" in Adam. But, now, the new life,
instead of being a natural outgrowth of that which we receive
from Adam, is a supernatural outgrowth of a new constitution
as a child of God indwelt by the Lord Jesus as the Second Adam.
Copyright © 1988 Evelyn White. All rights
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