Table of Contents
Part IX: The Unique Relationship Between
the First Adam and the Last Adam
Exploring Further Inferences
AS STATED in the Introduction,
it was our purpose in this chapter to deal with a few thoughts related
to chapters 1 and 2 which it did not seem appropriate to introduce at
the time. In many ways they are still not appropriate and one has considerable
hesitation in any addition to what has been said. It is rather like an
anti-climax. The thoughts which follow may or may not contribute to the
rest of the Paper. A lot depends upon the attitude of the reader. It is
hoped that those who are not sympathetic to them will quickly dismiss
them, leaving only chapters 1 and 2; but those who are will find them
stimulating. They are set forth under separate subtitles, since in a way
they can be considered independently.
The Concept of Species as Applied
to the "Body" of Adam and of Christ
Anyone who has
studied the problem of defining a species in biology will know
how difficult it is. While a neat little phrase such as "an
interbreeding community" may serve very nicely in certain
circumstances, it obviously cannot be applied either to plants
which have the power of self-fertilization or to asexual animals
such as the paramecia. One also runs into difficulties in the
presence of two populations which can be artificially induced
to interbreed, but do not do so in nature: for example, the gibbon,
chimpanzee, and orangutan. (15)
Although it has never been suggested
as far as I know, one might allow the behaviour of the animals
themselves to decide the
15. Schultz, Adolph H., "Man and the
Catarrhine Primates," in Coldspring Harbor Symposia on
Quantitative Biology, 15, 1950, p.49.
1 of 7
matter. This could not
apply to plants, but what I have in mind is that one animal does
somehow recognize another animal which would make an appropriate
mate for it. To take a most obvious example, dogs do not "fall
in love" with cats. Nor do horses with cows. How do they
know where not "to fall in love"? Instinct,
of course . . . But what does this tell us, really?
It may well be that body odour
is the identifying means, in which case there is not really much
mystery to it. However, I think there may still be some psychological
factor (psychology is applied to animals as well as to humans),
which, operating under the guise of instinct, informs any animal
that it is in the presence of its own species. I don't think
it has ever been tried, but if one were to surgically intervene
to remove a dog's sense of smell, it seems highly probable that
the animal would still recognize its own species, in spite of
its enormous diversity of appearance -- thanks to man. The only
cost to the animal mutilated in this way might be a failure to
recognize the proper time to mate.
Now, there is a small group of
people who believe that consciousness in the universe progresses
from a very, very low level through an ascending scale which
reaches ultimately to God Himself. They use the term "consciousness,"
as will be observed below, in a very broad sense. The idea is
appealing to many minds and goes something like this: Atoms have
"consciousness," which takes the form of some kind
of recognition of other atoms of like kind that attracts them
into pure aggregates. Aggregates of atoms as molecules have a
larger "consciousness," which enables them to form
complex patterns. Inanimate objects, next in the scale, have
some kind of awareness which allows them, for example, to respond
to the environment by reaching the same level of thermal agitation,
i.e., temperature. Living things, like flowers, take us one step
further since they are able to show their awareness by quite
pronounced movement, plant tropisms. (16) Animals, of course, have consciousness of their environment,
but perhaps also a larger consciousness, or one should say a
more refined consciousness, which enables them to recognize their
When we come to man, we have a
new dimension, for man has self-consciousness. According to these
philosophers, he also has in a very small number of notable individuals
(Buddha, for example) a still higher kind of consciousness (they
refer to it as Cosmic Consciousness), which makes him aware not
merely of himself or his
16. Tropisms: For a useful article see Victor
A. Greulach, "Plant Movements," Scientific American,
February, 1955, p.100.
society, but in some
mystical way of the whole human race. The Christian may go one
step further with a consciousness of God, not merely that God
exists, but that He is present. Is there a still further stage?
Yes, for according to these philosophers, the consciousness which
God has is total, encompassing not merely Himself and
the universe as a whole, but every other consciousness, past
This, of course, is just man's
imagination at work trying to create in a slightly different
form what Arthur Lovejoy (17) refers to as "the great chain of being"
and what other men have tried to construct in Nature, for example,
a single thread of continuity from the atom to the universe,
from the smallest particle to the largest aggregate. Both Nature
and man "abhor a vacuum." There is some peculiar satisfaction
in believing that such "chains," without missing links,
To many people such a concept has
an inherent interest in itself. But the point of it in the context
of this Paper is to suggest that the two Bodies of which we have
spoken are in the psychological sense different species, because
each Body has a form of self-consciousness of its own, which
allows it to recognize a psychological or spiritual kinship with
other members of its "self," but not with members of
the other. These "species" are also distinguished unqualifyingly
by their different levels of consciousness, the one species being
in the proper sense conscious of God, the other "not having
cared to retain Him in their mind" (Romans 1:28). As distinct
species, there is an unbridgeable psychological gap between them,
so that although they may constantly keep company one with another,
as the giraffe and zebra may do for mutual protection and because
they are gregarious, both realize at certain critical points
that they do not really belong together. However much we may
depart from the Lord and fall back into the ways of the world,
there is something about us which sets us apart. We shall never
be accepted altogether as one of them. This is not a conscious
rejection any more than it is between animals of different species,
but it is basic. And largely because it is unconscious, it can
never be altogether broken down. A Christian by the very fact
of having been born again becomes a member of this new species.
It is important to notice that it is a re-creation rather than
a changed life that establishes this discontinuity, for not infrequently
the behaviour of the old species is more "Christian"
than that of the new. So behaviour in itself, though it may have
an influence, is not the deciding factor.
17. Lovejoy, Arthur O., The Great Chain
of Being, Harvard Unicersity Press, 1942.
if one accepts the view that unfallen Adam preceded fallen Adam,
then in terms of chronological order it is fallen man
who is a new species, a point worth pondering. In so far
as the rest of Nature is concerned, it is not unfallen, but
fallen man, who is alien and "out of joint,"
the great disturber as Wood Jones calls him. (18) Indeed, Jones holds that it is a most odd situation
that evolution has cast up as its climax a creature who seems
to be about to bring the whole process to a disastrous end. Would
it not be simpler to suppose that evolution did not produce
the species "fallen man" at all?
Was Adam a Male-Female Being?
The next question
is, Was Adam a male-female being? We have carefully chosen to
introduce the topic in this way, because, although we might have
used the word "bisexual," there is a tendency to assume
that the reference is only to physical characteristics. Whereas
what we have in mind is something much more complete, including
as it does a union of male and female personality as well.
It should be said perhaps that
secular and biblical tradition in antiquity supported this view.
Plato, for example, had this to say: (19)
of old was not the same as now. It was then one man-woman, whose
form and name were common both to male and female. Then said
Jupiter, "I will divide them into two parts."
This is rather
a remarkable statement, and one wonders whether Plato was idly
philosophizing or had been influenced by some stream rooted in
the Hebrew tradition. At any rate, the Hebrews themselves maintained
a somewhat similar idea, believing that Adam contained within
himself, before Eve was separated out of him, both the male and
the female principles. (20) They supposed that the first human being was hermaphroditic
and that the formation of Eve was accomplished by a divine surgery
which separated the two principles and housed them in two beings,
who thereafter were only made truly whole again when joined by
God in marriage.
It is now recognized that these
principles, maleness and femaleness, are never completely distinguished
in any one of us. It is also known that whatever the so-called
chromosomal sex (i.e., the possession of an X or Y chromosome)
of the individual, the decisive steps towards dimorphism of sexual
character and gender-identity occur later in the development
of the fetus and are not predetermined by
18. Jones, F. Wood, Trends of Life, Arnold,
London, 1953, p.18.
19. Plato, Symposium (On Love), chap.14.
20. See on this, for example: A. Cohen, The Sonano Chumash,
Soncino Press, London, 1964, xi and p.7; Jacob Newman, Commentary
by Nahmanides, Brill, Leiden, 1960, xx and note 144.
the X or Y chromosome,
but only pre-disposed by them. Research shows, in fact,
that the male can develop very easily into a female, that the
acquisition of maleness proceeds only after a struggle against
a tendency towards the development of female character. All this
occurs during prenatal development. A genuine form of bisexuality
is actually a perfectly conceivable condition for a human being,
and indeed occurs in a very small number of individuals.
What If Adam Had Not Died?
If we assume that Adam was bisexual
when he was first created and before Eve was formed out of him,
then a true Second Adam must in some sense have reflected the
qualities of both sexes, not merely as they are assigned by society
and determine the role that shall be played by each, but as they
in fact hinge upon and are mediated by two different hormonal
systems. Knowing as we do that the new Christian character which
emerges from the experience of regeneration is the result of
the indwelling presence of the Lord Jesus Christ who seeks to
live through and express Himself in the redeemed
soul, it is clear that one and the same Saviour can be the source
of this new character for both the saved man and the saved woman,
expressing His own Person, entirely appropriately, in terms of
temperament and disposition in male and female alike.
This is really the subject
of another Doorway Paper (Part
III in this volume), and we shall not explore the matter at any length
here, but one or two thoughts might be in order, since the question naturally
arises in connection with chapter 1.
In their unfallen condition, the
state of Adam and Eve at first was one of innocence, rather than
virtue. Both such states are indicative of purity, but the first
is a negative form that results from the absence of any temptation.
Virtue, on the other hand, is evidence of positive victory in
the presence of it. A child is innocent rather than virtuous.
The Lord was virtuous rather than innocent, for He was often
tempted (Luke 4:13 and 22:28). There is no question which of
these two conditions is the higher order of morality. However,
if an immortal Adam and Eve had continued resisting all temptations
and growing in virtue from day to day, would this process have
simply gone on endlessly? Where would it end?
I think we may reasonably assume
that a point would have been reached when both of them would
have achieved that measure of spiritual maturity and virtue to
fit them for a further transformation. This would have signalled
the time of their removal from the physical order of things,
which hitherto had been their "school," to be
transferred into a different
level of being. Yet even here their bodies would nonetheless
have had a significant part -- as the Lord's body did in the
resurrection appearances -- in identifying them as essentially
the same people, Adam and Eve. The Lord's glorified body, however,
had passed through death, whereas we are assuming that Adam and
Eve could have achieved this state without doing so. Is such
an assumption justified?
The answer to this question lies
in the significance of the Transfiguration. For at the moment
of the Transfiguration it is evident that the Lord could have
proceeded directly into heaven to join His Father in glory. It
may also be significant that this was one of the occasions upon
which God expressly declared that He was well pleased, a statement
which in Scripture is also explicitly applied to one other individual,
Enoch, who had walked with God and passed into glory without
seeing death. To this extent, then, both Enoch and the Lord had
so completed their education as men that their virtue was fulfilled
and God was satisfied.
If Adam and Eve had reached this
position, they too presumably would have passed into a higher
order of life by transformation and without dying (1 Corinthians
15:51). And had their children similarly reached such virtuous
perfection, they too in due time would have followed their parents.
Thus the population of the world need never have gotten out of
hand, even though its human inhabitants had continued as immortals.
Each would have passed on by transformation in due time. The
physical order of things would have served only as that means
whereby, in each individual, innocence became virtue. Life here
would have been a school -- a School for Immortals.
But must we conclude, therefore,
that the present order of things is a second best? Mascall, whose
viewpoint is quite different from our own, has, however, put
the matter interestingly in the following form: (21)
Three distinct questions are
in fact involved here, though they are very rarely distinguished.
There is first the question of whether man has any value as created
and unfallen; second, the question as to whether man has any
value as fallen and unredeemed; and third, the question whether
man has any value when he has been redeemed by God.
The answer to
the first of these questions is really beyond our power to answer,
though the question is worth asking nonetheless. It is worth
asking because it was the Fall of man which provided the occasion
for God to demonstrate His great love for man by the
21. Mascall, E. L., The Importance of Being
Human, Columbia University Press, New York, 1958, p.85.
sacrifice of His only
begotten Son, and we have to ask whether He could have done this
in any other way -- or perhaps we should say, in any other way
as convincingly. Is there, in fact, any other evidence of the
love of God toward us? There may be plenty of evidence of His
goodness and power (Romans 1:20), but where else shall we see
any demonstration of His love? Many people are persuaded that
mankind can arrive at this conclusion philosophically. The fact
is, however, that no other religion or philosophy of which we
have any knowledge ever succeeded in arriving at the conclusion
that God is love, or even that God is loving. In fact, this must
also be said of the Jewish people themselves, for, as Canon Pilcher
of Wycliffe College once said to me, "The climax of the
Old Testament revelation is to be found in the message of the
prophets who proclaimed that God is 'good' (Jeremiah 33: 11;
Lamentations 3:25; Nahum 1:7), but never that God is love."
Copyright © 1988 Evelyn White. All rights
Previous Chapter *
End of Vol. 5 * Back
Whatever we may like to believe
about man's search after God, we must conclude that the ultimate
demonstration of His love, stated most succinctly in John 3:16,
is revealed most assuredly at Calvary and predicated solely on
man's need as a fallen creature.
As far as the second question is
concerned, the answer would surely seem to be in the negative.
Yet, who can tell? Have we any way, really, of knowing what the
value of a soul that dies unredeemed is? After all, God loved
the world, a world of fallen and unredeemed humanity. Can anything
be worthless that God has once loved?
With respect to Mascall's third
question, it seems that we must answer in the affirmative, for
did He not say (Luke 12:6,7), "Are not five sparrows sold
for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God?
But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not,
therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows"? Fallen
man redeemed is of great value, evidently, perhaps not because
of what he is intrinsically, but because he has been bought at
such a great cost.