Seed of the Woman
That seed is Christ.
Except a seed . . . die, it abideth alone.
and now. . . .
lest he live forever. . . .
God drove the man from the Garden
Was there once such a
Garden where man lived and might never have died, a substantive
basis for all those Shangri-Las where people scarcely ever grew
old � only, in this Garden, they would never have grown old
Is it conceivable that man could
have lived on and on endlessly, for hundreds of years, even for
thousands of years perhaps, indeed, even for ever? Is not death
inevitable as the appropriate and expected end for every thing
that lives � not only for animals but for man as well? Is
not dying automatically part and parcel of the price of living?
Is not every living thing destined to die?
the Life Sciences has been modifying our opinion on these matters
quite fundamentally. It is now clear that innumerable living
things actually never do die. They simply divide into two and
go merrily on their way, multiplying indefinitely but leaving
no dead behind � barring accidents. Such forms of life actually
far outnumber those that are mortal! It is quite true
that they are tiny organisms and might not be thought to have
any kind of "real life" experience: but this is not
so. Small though they are, those who have investigated them have
concluded that in their own way they experience many of the reactions
which we attribute to higher organisms with intelligence, e.g.,
dogs*. Life is by no means wedded to death. Although all living
* This statement was made by H. S. Jennings,
one of the first to observe the actions of amoeba for hours on
end. He reported his observations in fascinating detail in Behaviour
of the Lower Organisms, Columbia University Biological Series
X, Columbia University Press, 1915, xvi & 366 pages.
2 of 5
things are clearly capable
of being killed in one way or another, remarkably few classes
of organisms are actually subject to 'natural' death.
It should be realized that animals
experience death for many reasons. They are subject to predators,
to accident, to disease, to starvation, to dehydration, even
to the very effects of their bulk which (if they grow large enough)
can immobilize them and reduce their chances of getting food
or defending themselves. So they die. But the important point
is that they do not die for inherent reasons. Thus for
billions of living, growing creatures, death is not the 'expected
end' and almost certainly never was. Living tissue that is functionally
immortal is not a poet's dream but a biological reality. Granted
the fact of the creation of life, it is mortality, not
immortality, that needs accounting for.
To many people unacquainted with
the literature of modern research in this area, this is a new
thought. To the biologist, it is not. Immortality � and I
am speaking of physical, not spiritual, immortality �
is commonplace among living things whether plant or animal, and
the Bible assures us that man, although he is a far more complex
organism, was a candidate for this kind of immortality. Placed
in a special environment, in a real honest-to-goodness garden,
planted with real honest-to-goodness trees bearing real honest-to-goodness
edible fruits and edible leaves, he was so constituted that he
could have lived for ever. He was provided with the means of
either maintaining this immortal constitution or destroying it.
For man as created, mortality was only a contingent possibility:
it was by no means inevitable. When man disobeyed and ate the
forbidden fruit he did not merely shorten his life: he
introduced death into it as something entirely foreign to
its original design.
The more we examine the evidence
in the light of what we know, the more certain we can be that
biblical commentators of former times (both Jewish and Christian)
were perfectly correct in their understanding of the constitution
of the first parents of the human race. Adam and Eve and their
descendants (you and I) might very well have still been enjoying
physical immortality if certain tragic circumstances had not
intervened to change everything. Scripture has been telling us
about this potential physical immortality for thousands of years:
and now science is just beginning to acknowledge not only that
such a concept is valid, but that it might yet be again true
in the future.
Now the fact that the great majority
of living things never do die naturally but for the most part
come to an end by accident, indicates two rather obvious but
very important circumstances regarding the nature of life in
First: they CAN die, for otherwise
they could not be killed. But, secondly, they do not need
to die, for they can actually go on living
indefinitely. We thus
have an important distinction to note regarding the meaning of
the term physical immortality as applied to any organism
including Adam and Eve as created.
In the light of modern research,
physical immortality means that a living creature will not
die unless it is killed. It does not mean that it cannot
be put to death but only that death is not an inherent condition
of its life. Death overtakes it, happens to it. By avoiding
accident successfully, it is quite capable of living on for ever.
And this, I believe, was precisely
the position of man when he was first created. Adam need never
have died: but he did die in due course because he introduced
a poison into his body through the agency of the forbidden fruit
with fatal consequences to himself and to the bodies of all his
descendants (including you and me), besides perverting his spirit
with equally fatal consequences for his relationship with God.
He might, even after his disastrous disobedience, have partaken
of the healing leaves of the Tree of Life and recovered
his physical well-being . . . though not his spiritual well-being.
And physical immortality in such a state would have been condemnation
to everlasting defeat and disappointment from which there could
be virtually no escape except by some kind of suicide. It is
almost certain that it was for this reason, God drove the man
out of the Garden and excluded him rigidly from the Tree of Life.
From this graphic record of the
events that transpired in Eden, events that seem almost childishly
naive, arose a situation for mankind which called forth the working
out of a plan of redemption made possible only because the laws
of nature had been designed to accommodate it. Though divine
intervention marks every step of the Plan, at no point was the
natural order violated. The natural order was merely put by the
Creator to a higher service. And we now have many new insights
into the physiological whys and wherefores of the steps by which
man's redemption was to be made possible.
Why Eve was taken out of Adam and
not made a separate creation: why death was both a penalty and
a remedy, and how this penalty was made the basis of the
remedy: why the virgin conception was essential to the vicarious
death of the Redeemer and how that death was physiologically
unique: and finally, why his resurrected body had not seen
corruption though entombed under conditions of burial very similar
to those of Lazarus: � all these were part and parcel of
the Plan of Redemption. Such, then, is the subject matter of
this volume which is a study of some of the biological factors
in the plan of redemption which are seldom treated as a connected
chain of events.
Is it all fantasy?
I think not. I believe it is sober history. This is a new approach
to the study of the Articles of the old Faith which in the light
of modern research proves itself to be indeed a Faith needing
in fact, is the meeting place of Science and Theology. To the
theologian, much of science seems highly speculative. To the
scientist, theology often seems speculative to the point of being
irrelevant to the facts. In each branch of inquiry, a problem
has been created because of ignorance of the data, method, motivation,
and philosophy of the other. Theology is based on the strictest
form of logic applied to revelation. The scientist applies his
logic just as rigidly, but to the data of experiment and observation.
Neither side always respects these pre-requisites, and many contradictory
conclusions result through misinterpretation of the meaning of
But it seems time now to attempt
some kind of joining � and as in all such "weddings",
there will continue to be quarrels. But the marriage could have
tremendous possibilities. Such weddings have been tried in recent
years by groups of people, and proved disappointing failures.
Perhaps a one-man effort to form such a union might have a better
chance of success. This volume has at least a certain inner harmony
which may help towards achieving a more fruitful partnership.
An established fact is as sacred
as a revealed truth.
Copyright © 1988 Evelyn White. All rights
Previous Chapter Next