An Interpretation of the English Bible

 

 

 

GENESIS

 

 

by B. H. CARROLL

Late President of Southwestern Baptist

Theological Seminary, Fort Worth, Texas

 

Edited by

J. B. Cranfill

 

BAKER BOOK HOUSE

Grand Rapids, Michigan

New and complete edition

 Copyright 1948, Broadman Press

Reprinted by Baker Book House

with permission of

Broadman Press

ISBN: 0-8010-2344-0

First Printing, September 1973

 

PHOTOLITHOPRINTED BY GUSHING - MALLOY, INC.

ANN ARBOR MICHIGAN, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

 

                                                                                                                                                                                               

CONTENTS

 

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Publisher’s Preface

General Forward

 

I                  Introduction to an "Interpretation of the English Bible"

II                 Introductory Studies – The Old Testament

III                Introductory Studies  – The Pentateuch 

IV               Creation  – Part One (1:1-25)

V                 Creation – Part Two (1:26-2:3)

VI               Man in Paradise (2:4-25)

VII              The Angels

VIII             The Fall of Man (Chapter 3)

IX               Sin

X                 Cain and Abel (Chapter 4)

XI               Chronology from Adam to Noah (Chapter 5)

XII              Enoch – His Translation (Chapter 5)

XIII             Causes of the Deluge (6:1-22)

XIV             Lessons of the Flood (Chapter 7)

XV              God's Covenant with Noah (Chapters 8-9)

XVI             Origin of Nations and Languages (10:1-11:9)

XVII           Distribution and Territories of the Nations (10:1-11:9)

XVIII          Generations of Shem and Terah (11:10-32)

XIX             The Call and Migration of Abraham (Chapters 12-13)

XX              The Covenants with Abraham (Part One) (12:1-3; 15:1-21; 17:1-14; 22:1-19)

XXI             The Covenants with Abraham (Part Two) (12:1-3; 15:1-21; 17:1-14; 22:1-19)

XXII           Abraham, Lot, and Melchizedek (Chapter 14)

XXIII          Abraham's Conversion (Part One) (Chapter 15)

XXIV          Abraham's Conversion (Part Two) (15:1-19:28)

XXV           The Life of Abraham (Concluded) (19:29-25:18)

XXVI          Isaac and Jacob (25:19-28:9)

XXVII         Jacob's Conversion and Life in Haran (28:10-31:55)

XXVIII       Jacob's Meeting with Esau (32:1-34:31)

XXIX          Jacob, Joseph, and Others (Chapters 35-41)

XXX           Joseph in Egypt (Chapters 42-45)

XXXI          Jacob and Family Migrate to Egypt (46:1-47:27)

XXXII         The Last Days of Jacob and Joseph (47:27-50)

 

 

 

 

PUBLISHER'S PREFACE

 

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At the time of its publication this set was acclaimed to constitute "the greatest commentary on the English Bible ever published" (Baptist and Reflector). It remains to this day a reliable guide to a thorough understanding of the Scriptures.

 

This is an excellent set for the preacher who aspires to be true to the Word and who wishes to enrich his preaching ministry. It is an invaluable aid for the teacher who seeks to guide his class to a deeper knowledge and appreciation of God's Revelation to us. It is an ideal set for any student of the Bible who desires to hear what God has to say to him.

 

This is more than a commentary. It is rightly called an interpretation.

 

An interpretation of the English Bible now makes its appearance in six bindings. All seventeen of the volumes of the prior printing are included.

 

The renowned author of this set was a Southern Baptist preacher educated at Baylor University. After a pastorate at the Baptist Church at Waco, Texas, he served in succession as Principal of the Bible Department and Dean and Professor of English Bible at Baylor University, and as President at South-western Baptist Theological Seminary.

 

An Interpretation of the English Bible remains a continuing contribution to Bible knowledge and consistent Christian living. Additional information concerning this valuable set is found in the General Foreword which follows.

     

                                               

A GENERAL FOREWORD

 

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An Interpretation of the English Bible, by Dr. B.H. Carroll, first came from the press of Fleming H. Revell Company in 1913. Revell's copyright was bought by Broadman Press in 1942. These volumes were edited by Dr. J. B. Cranfill, assisted by Dr. J. W. Crowder. In the meantime, it became apparent that the "Interpretation" was not complete: four volumes were yet needed to include the whole Bible. Dr. J. W. Crowder had in his possession the material of these volumes and at our request edited the following: IV, Poetical Books of the Bible; VI, Divided Kingdom; VII, Prophets of Assyrian Period; VIII, Prophets of Chaldean Period. For the first time, therefore, we are able to present the new and complete Interpretation of the English Bible, in seventeen volumes.

 

Of course, no one would be presumptuous enough to attempt to edit the body of Dr. Carroll's work; these volumes are valuable because of the undisputed position of the author in the minds and hearts of our Baptist people. We are leaving the long paragraphs as written; we are not disturbing references incorporating scientific statements which are now out of date, nor have we made any effort to eliminate repetitions or to bring the bibliography up-to-date.

 

As is known by readers of the earlier editions, this work is an interpretation rather than a commentary in the popular acceptance of the latter term.  In such interpretation, the author indulges in paraphrasing the biblical text, in inserting now and then a sermon on a vital subject, and in sharing with his readers bits of humor which he has picked up along the way. After each chapter a lengthy list of pertinent questions is appended.

 

The reader finds Dr. Carroll's knowledge of the Bible positively amazing, and rejoices in his strict adherence to the objective with which he started: "We set out not to study human creeds, but the Bible, and we agreed to let the Bible interpret itself and mean what it wants to mean."

 

                                                                                  – John L. Hill

     

 

I

 

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INTRODUCTION TO AN INTERPRETATION OF THE ENGLISH BIBLE

 

My theme is a thrilling one – THE ENGLISH BIBLE. The most natural construction of this topic calls for a history of the Bible in English from the earliest crude version in this tongue to the latest version, and for a summing up of the value of these versions in their traceable effect on our language and literature, on individual character, on the family, the unit of society, on business and commerce, on national policy, legislation and life, and on world evangelization, civilization and unity.


A less natural construction allows the more timely discussion of the value of a thorough study of the whole Bible in English by English-speaking people.


In expressing a preference for this less natural construction of the demands of the topic, I do not seek to disparage the interesting character and importance of the discussion as delimited by the first construction. No event in any nation's history can be more momentous and far-reaching than the giving to them of the Word of God in their mother tongue and allowing it to be an open book at every fireside, with no page or promise or precept darkened by the proscriptive shadow of priest or state. The book is for the people themselves. It is God's message to man and is addressed in all its sublime simplicity to the individual heart and conscience, obligating the personal responsibility of private judgment.


You recall the notable fact at Babel, showing that division of the race into nations arose from a prior confusion of tongues and not different languages from a prior division into nations. A common speech is the greatest factor of unity.


And you will observe also in that other Bible story that Pentecost, by its gift of many tongues to one set of men, reversed the disintegration of Babel, prepared the way for breaking down the middle walls of partition which separated peoples, and rejoiced the hearts of the representatives of every nation under heaven, who thereby were enabled to hear the Word of God each in the tongue wherein he was born. And you also recall the apostolic declaration that whoever speaks in an unknown tongue to another even though he speak the words of life is unto his hearer as a barbarian. Even a thing without life, a bugle, a harp, or flute, if it give no distinction in its sounds conveys no message to the hearer. And when I consider what the English version of the Bible has wrought, I could not overestimate the greatness of the topic under this construction. (See 1 Cor. 14:7f.)


On the contrary, I desire to commend as one of the most charming and instructive classics of our language, "The History of the English Bible," by Doctor Pattison, of the Rochester Theological Seminary. Every preacher, every Sunday school teacher, every English-speaking Christian, yea, every student of our language, would do good to himself by adding to his library this valuable contribution to our literature. Yet, very weighty are the reasons which constrain me to adopt the line of discussion suggested by the less natural construction of the topic.


The Bible in English is valueless unless we study it. Mighty as has been the influence of this version, that influence has been measured by the study of the Book. If all the English speaking people had made this version a vade mecum, a lamp to their feet and the oracle of their counsel, the millennium would be here now. We have the Book, but do we study it? Do we study it all? Who of use ver devoted himself to a four years' consecutive course of earnest and prayerful study of the English Bible, covering all its parts from Genesis to Revelation, allowing the Book to mean what it wants to mean, and to be, by comparison of all its parts, its own interpreter?

 

THE ORIGIN OF THE IDEA


The idea of the work in this form originated in this way: First, a statement in a great introductory oration by Dr. Boyce at Greenville, South Carolina, that the Baptist ministry consists of two kinds – an educated ministry, and a ministry of educated men – meaning by "an educated ministry" people in the ministry who had received a college or university education; and meaning by "a ministry of educated men," men trained for the ministerial work, whether holding college or university degrees, being thoroughly disciplined in the truth of the Bible. The history of the denomination shows that the greatest achievements of the past in Baptist history have been by men who were educated in the Bible) but not college men. To further explain this idea, I quote from Dr. Broadus' History of Preaching: "Let us bear in mind that the early progress of Christianity, that great and wonderful progress to which we still appeal as one of the proofs of its divine origin, was due mainly to the labours of obscure men, who have left no sermons, and not even a name to history, but whose work remains plain before the all-seeing eye, and whose reward is sure. Hail, ye unknown, forgotten brethren] we celebrate the names of your leaders, but will not forget that you fought the battles, and gained the victories. The Christian world feels your impress, though it has lost your names. And we likewise, if we cannot live in men's memories, will rejoice at the thought that if we work for God our work shall live, and we too shall live in our work.


“And not only are these early labourers now unknown, but most of them were in their own day little cared for by the great and the learned. Most of them were uneducated. Throughout the first two or three centuries it continued to be true that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, were called to be Christian ministers or Christians at all. It was mainly the foolish things, weak things, base things, that God chose. And what power they had through the story of the cross, illuminated by earnest Christian living! . . . And such preachers have abounded from that day to this, in every period, country and persuasion in which Christianity was making any real and rapid progress."


The thought is strongly reinforced in that great book, now much neglected by our people, Wayland's Principles and Practices of the Baptists. What a pity we cannot get our people to carefully read over again what he has to say upon this very subject!


The sentiments thus set forth by these three great men of our history I unhesitatingly accept. These are followed by an additional thought, to wit: That there ought to be some place higher in character and extent of its work than Bible institutes and Sunday schools, for preachers and laymen to meet together to study the Word of God thoroughly.

 

THE SCOPE OF THE COURSE, AND THE TIME REQUIRED


The course requires that four consecutive years shall be devoted to the study of the Bible itself, and not of things about the Bible, and must be arranged to cover in the best method possible within the time limits the whole Bible – every chapter and verse of every book from Genesis to Revelation. One hour each of four days in every school week must be devoted to teaching and recitation, and twice as many to study.


While it is in every way desirable that each student shall complete the entire course, yet our method of study will possess this advantage – that a failure to complete the course does not destroy the value of a partial course. Every lesson even, apart from all others, will be profitable; and this profit will be greatly enhanced if you prepare the lessons covering only one book.

 

LITERARY QUALIFICATIONS OF THE STUDENTS


The higher one's scholastic attainments, the wider the range of his general information, the more perfect the discipline of his mind, the more systematic his habits of application, the better is he prepared to take this course, and the more profit will he likely derive from it. But if these high qualifications were made conditions of entrance into this course, the main object in view would be frustrated. The one prerequisite, therefore, is ability to read and write in English, accompanied with a little common sense.


The course itself will quicken and develop his capacities and enlarge his acquirements. A course thus restricted, and with this minimum of antecedent qualifications necessarily assumes or takes for granted many things to which a modern theological seminary devotes much special and critical inquiry. These, for the time being, are left to subsequent opportunity, which indeed in some cases may never come.


The study of the things thus deferred, even if by necessity deferred forever, is not disparaged. But it is claimed that the study of the Bible itself – what it says and what it means to the common mind – is a primal, elemental, vital, and fundamental requirement, binding on every Christian conscience, and intensely obligatory upon the mind and heart of every preacher.

 

TEXTBOOKS AND OTHER HELPS

 

The only textbook absolutely requisite is the English Bible. The Common, or King James Version, can be made to serve, but the Canterbury Revision, or the American Standard Version, is much preferred. On the first book of the Bible Conant's translation of Genesis, with its critical notes, is very helpful.


Editions of both Testaments can be had with the King James Version and Canterbury Revision in parallel columns. The Jewish translation of the Old Testament, by Isaac Leeser will be helpful; and the improved edition of the American Bible Union Version of the New Testament.


In the study of the Gospels, Broadus' Harmony will be the textbook. After that, Clarke's Harmony of the Acts will be the textbook, compared with Goodwin's Harmony of the Life of Paul. The student will need a concordance, Cruden's or Young's, and access to Smith's Bible Dictionary, either abridged or unabridged, and to the Schaff-Herzog Encyclopaedia of Religious Knowledge, and to some analysis of the Bible, West's or Hitchcock's. This last to aid in comparing scripture with scripture. We are now ready for a statement of the principle.

 

THINGS ASSUMED


That very critical study of the things deferred calls for a wider range of learning and a higher grade of scholarship than the commonalty of men, or even the average preacher, now has or ever will have. By necessity, therefore, this needed but special work must fall upon a comparatively small class, and this class itself in turn be measurably dependent upon the greater scholarship and information of a very few highly qualified experts.


It is assumed that the teacher himself has necessary general information, and either possesses adequate scholarship or is sufficiently acquainted with its best results to safely guide his class; and while avoiding technical phraseology and nomenclature, can point out and expound what the Bible itself says in the principal passages which have been made the occasion of minute, far-reaching, and destructive criticism.


For example: (a) the alleged discrepancies in matter and style between the first chapter of Genesis and the second chapter; (b) between Exodus 6:3, and certain passages in Genesis; (c) between Jeremiah 7:22, and similar passages from other prophets on the one hand, and the historical statement of Exodus, Leviticus, and Deuteronomy on the other hand. It is assumed that the providence of God, overruling all human agencies and earthly circumstances, has preserved for the race all that is needed of the revelations his goodness bestowed at sundry times and through divers instrumentalities, and has assured reliability in the records embodying them, and their correlated matter. And that this Providence has also overruled in the combination of the several books necessary to a complete canon.


That this library of many books embodied now in one book and called by us the Holy Bible, not only contains, but is the Word of God and is both so necessary and complete in every part that it may not be subject to addition or subtraction, and that, being inspired of God throughout, it must remain to the end of the world as the sufficient, supreme, and infallible standard by which all human creed and conduct should be regulated in time, and by which they shall be judged at the last day.


That our present Hebrew and Greek texts being in essential substance transcripts of the original manuscripts in these tongues, are sufficiently accurate for all practical purposes; no doctrine, or precept, or promise, or hope being lost or affected by transcription.


That our English versions do with substantial fidelity and accuracy translate the Hebrew and Greek texts, and where difficulties arise, helps, brief but sufficient for the purposes of this course, are accessible to the English student.


That this book, as we now have it, both as a whole and in all its parts, is profitable for teaching what we ought to know and believe, and for conviction and correction of all wrongdoing, and for instruction in all right doing, in order that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped unto every good work.


It is assumed that in our Baptist literary schools, or in other accessible schools or theological seminaries, abundant provision is made in behalf of those needing it or desiring it, for both the needed scholarships and its employment in pursuing the studies about the Bible only briefly considered in this course, whether relating to textual or historical criticism, or to any other department of study prescribed in modern universities or theological seminaries.


It is assumed that this course in the English Bible will not only not be in opposition to, or a substitute for, higher scholarship and more critical studies, but will promote them by tending powerfully and continually to increase the number of recruits seeking to add to knowledge strictly biblical all other helpful knowledge relative to it, and that too from a class who, without the awakening and inspiration of this course, would certainly never seek higher attainments, and more certainly never pursue special and critical studies. All observation and experience justify the expectation that when the mental horizon has been widened, aspiration kindled and the love of God's word by study of the Bible in the mother tongue, it will be difficult for the student to stop at the terminus of an elemental and fundamental course.


But the hope may be reasonably cherished that one grounded in this elemental course will be safeguarded in many directions while pursuing other courses, and will at least have attained to familiarity with all the Book itself. And, sad to say, this safeguarding and attainment many never possess who actually become or affect to become experts in the things about the Bible.

 

GENERAL RULES


The Bible is its own interpreter. That is, we arrive at the meaning of any passage by a comparison of scripture with scripture. Revelation is a unit, or system of truth. The parts must be interpreted to agree with each other, and with the trend of the whole system. A difficult or doubtful passage, here or there, must not be set aside but must conform to what is clearly taught in many unambiguous scriptures. As the Bible was given us for practical purposes, bearing upon character, conduct and destiny, our study of it, to be profitable, must be in a line with these purposes. The very heart of every lesson, therefore, will be its doctrine on these points, and this doctrine must be so received by faith and assimilated by obedience as to become experimental knowledge. "Whosoever willeth to do the will of God shall know of the doctrine whether it be of God."


Continual confirmation and increased assurance that we are rightly interpreting the Divine Word can come to only those who can say: "Then shall we know if we follow on to know the Lord," in the same experimental way which brings its own blessings with every forward step. "But he that looketh into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and so continueth, being not a hearer that forgetteth but a doer that worketh, this man shall be blessed in his doing." As this book is the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, reverent and prayerful appeal to him for its right understanding and application is continually necessary.

 

FURTHER DEVELOPMENT OF THE IDEA


The idea of a course of study in the English Bible which would comprehend the entire book is not of recent origin. Even before my conversion, when the book was considered merely from the standpoint of literature, it seemed to me the best and richest of the classics, and utterly apart from any thought of its alleged inspiration, to deserve a place in the curriculum of a liberal education far beyond that assigned Greek and Roman classics, or to the other acknowledged masterpieces of our own tongue. That at least our textbooks should include selections from its history, moral code, jurisprudence, worship, poetry, orations, essays, and parables, sufficiently full in extent to convey a fair understanding of the scope and variety of this matchless library of literature: selections something like in extent and variety those given in Professor Wilkinson's Foreign Classics in English.


From any literary viewpoint I could see no good reason far excluding from our schools a study of this book, while giving so much attention to the myths, fables, legends, idolatries, philosophies, and skeptical speculations selected from ancient heathen and more modern foreign classics. In moral purity and sublimity of thought, grandeur of matter and loftiness of design, they all fall below the excluded Hebrew literature.


But soon after my conversion, and in the light of it, my reflections began to take, and continued to take with cumulative power, a wider and intenser form. In this Book alone I found the origin and destiny of all created things and beings – here alone the nature of man, and his relations to God, the universe and fellow man, out of which arise all of his obligations and aspirations, and in conformity to which lie his usefulness and happiness. This Book alone discloses man's chief good and chief end.


I saw it as the only living oracle, replying instantly and freely in simple, unambiguous language to every interrogatory propounded by life's problems and perplexities. In its presence the double-tongued oracles of the heathen became dumb, their dubious utterances died into echoless silence and their idolatries and superstitions were relegated to the moles and bats.


From this reflection there was an unconscious transition to the natural inquiry: Are the people ignorant of the matter of this Book? And if informed somewhat, how extensive and systematic is their knowledge? Investigation brought an appalling answer to this inquiry: Very few were found to be students of the Book. Fragmentarily, here and there, and from many sources, something of its matter had been picked up by most men. Much of this in corrupt form.


The inquiry passed from the pew to the pulpit, and here the disclosure was more startling. These men by office and profession were the teachers of the Book. Surely these preachers have studied earnestly, prayerfully, profoundly, and systematically all of the messages they are appointed to teach I And if they have not as yet, in some fashion, gone over the whole ground, surely they are habitually and diligently prosecuting such a study! If every one of the sacred writings is inspired of God, and is profitable for teaching what men ought to know and believe, and for conviction and correction of all wrongdoing, and instruction in all right doing to the end that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped unto every good work, surely a teacher of the Book will neglect no part of it, and will hasten to acquaint himself with it I


But the amazing truth must be acknowledged that few preachers, learned or unlearned, actually study the Bible itself, their supreme textbook, as a complete and well-ordered system of divine truth. It does not square with the facts in the case to limit this ignorance of the Bible to uneducated country preachers. Some of them study the Bible itself more, and are better acquainted with it, than many educated preachers. Too many of the latter class confine their studies to the framework and background of the divine painting, to the human outskirts and spurs of the mountain of revelation, to the temporary and perishing scaffolding of the temple of truth. The scholastic spirit drives out the Holy Spirit; the study of the myriad vagaries of subtle and ever-shifting philosophies, and of the protean shapes of speculative hypotheses and hairsplitting criticisms on text or history, becomes their theological task. And to this task, what are the labors of Hercules? Even searing with a hot iron does not stop the growth of new heads on this Hydra.


A teacher in the public schools must stand a critical examination on his textbook before receiving a certificate of efficiency. How many preachers could stand such an examination on the Bible? Let any preacher with sufficient honesty and courage to face the disclosure, make a candid examination of his own ministry in any given period of years on three points: id


Say in five years, what amount of habitual, systematic study have I devoted to the Bible itself, and over how much of the whole ground of revelation have I passed in this time? Is not the most of my study merely to get a sermon for my next appointment?


Judging fairly from the aggregate of all the texts from which I have preached in five years, how much of the Bible itself have the people learned from me in that time?


Has my practice conformed to the example of the prophets and apostles and of our Lord, the Great Teacher?


While standing in amazement before this ignorance of the Bible, in both pew and pulpit, another question smote me like lightning leaping out of the bosom of a cloud: Is there in all the world a school where all this Word of God is taught in the mother tongue of the people?


To the most diligent investigation the answer came like the note of a funeral dirge: There is not one in the world! More than twenty-five years ago, before a great audience, I propounded this question: What would be the power of a man who with only Cruden's Concordance as a help, devotes three entire years to the reverent and prayerful study of the English Bible? Let this application be as rigid as a course in mathematics. Let him put aside for the time being all that he cannot understand from a comparison of scripture with scripture; then construct by his own analysis an orderly body of divinity.


Would not this man be a theologian? Would he not have an inexhaustible store of Bible sermons? Would he not, other things being equal, tower among the preachers like Saul, head and shoulders above his fellows?


Would he not be an original thinker? Would he not know how to handle the Bible? Would he not be approved unto God as a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, able to rightly divide the word of truth, giving to each hearer his portion in due season?


The world is waiting for that man, ready to receive and honor him when he arrives. We have in all history only one near approximation to this supposititious man, Charles Haddon Spurgeon, who, by common consent, is acknowledged to be the greatest preacher since apostolic times. I have seen 2,500 of his published sermons. They we as plump as a partridge, and as full of meat as an egg. Now from several complete sets of these sermons you may construct:


(a) A fairly good commentary on the whole Bible by arranging all of one set according to the books from which the texts are taken.


(b) Then by topical arrangement of another set you may obtain a complete body of systematic theology.


(c) From another set you may construct a system of practical theology, or of homiletics, or of some other department, until you virtually cover the whole ground of theological equipment in its practical phases, and as adapted to the exigencies of everyday life.


These sermons show that he reverently and prayerfully studied the whole Bible, honestly regarding it as inspired of God from Genesis to Revelation, and by simple childlike faith accepting all of it as the word of God. With what result? More fruit ripened on that tree than on any other that has blossomed since the apostles died.


The world heard, and accepted, and honored the man; orphans were sheltered, clothed, fed, and educated; aged widows found asylums in the clouded sunset of life; thousands upon thousands in many lands were converted to God; colporteurs pushed out their wagons laden with wholesome books; schools and churches sprang up as by magic; preachers and teachers kindled their torches at his fire, and diffused in worldwide waves the light of the spiritual conflagration.


These reflections, substantially in the order stated, led me to seek light on a school model in the book itself. Here is what I found:


The school of the prophets established by Samuel, and further developed by Elijah and Elisha. These men were not priests. They had no part in the ritual of the Temple service. They were teachers of God's Word. They constituted the only breakwater against the incoming floods of empty formalism and of multitudinous idolatries. They were the axes with which God hewed off the excrescences of national life, and his trumpets of judgment against social, religious and political corruption. They were the forerunners of a faithful ministry of a later day.


I found the school established by our Lord Jesus Christ. One day he looked out on multitudes of the people and was moved with compassion. He saw them scattered and helpless as sheep without a shepherd. He saw them wandering, groping, stumbling, and falling a prey to every ravenous beast. He turned to his disciples with an exhortation to prayer: "Pray ye to the Lord of the harvest that he send more labourers into the harvest." Then he called to him twelve men as his first class. They were neither from the ranks of the great, the learned, nor of the rich. They were poor men, ignorant Galilean fishermen. He kept them with him for instruction for three years. His Sermon on the Mount was his first great lesson. Then from a boat he taught them in matchless similitudes which later he expounded more privately. The lessons were followed by the question: "Have ye understood all these things?" and with the declaration: "Every scribe instructed in the kingdom of heaven is a householder who brings out of his treasure things new and old."


He continued his instructions to the night of his betrayal, opening and expounding all the things concerning himself written in the Law and the Prophets and the Psalms, and yet later enduring them with the spiritual power to shake the world.


I found the example of the Holy Spirit in recruiting new students: "For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble are called: but God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; and base things of the world which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not to bring to naught things that are: that no flesh should glory in his presence."


I found that when he called a great and learned man, Saul of Tarsus, this man relied not on his earthly wisdom and learning, but himself said: "And I, brethren, when I came unto you, came not with excellency of speech or wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching were not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: that your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God."


From these Bible examples I turned to history and found four significant facts established by its univocal testimony:


The great majority of the preachers in every age had but little learning except what they gathered from the Bible.


That the great majority of the people in every age had to content themselves with the ministry of this unlearned class.


That schools were established at great expense to highly equip the comparatively small but much-needed class of preachers who became mighty in learning. I rejoice at this wise provision, while deploring the sometime perversion of it.


I found no provision for the great majority to be helped in Bible study.


From history I turned to Baptist polity and found, as I have already shown, that Baptist polity and history are in accord with these statements, viz.: that the ministry should not be restricted to the learned and socially great, but should include as many of every class as God himself shall call.


Then I narrowed the vision to Texas and saw:


About three thousand Baptist preachers.


That about fifty of these annually go abroad to theological seminaries in other states.


That provision is made in Texas schools to advance the literary education of several hundred more.


That neither in literary schools here, nor in theological seminaries abroad, is there provision for a course of study in the English Bible itself, anyway nearly approaching the course outlined in this chapter. No one who has ever taken what. is called the English course in a theological seminary will claim any such thing. If he does, he will be contradicted by his classmates. I doubt that any theological seminary would admit such a course into its curriculum. It may be they are wise in this. I am not controverting but merely slating a fact. I am merely tracing the origin and development of the idea concerning the course here and now announced, and suggesting the reasons which led to its adoption in the present form.


I saw ever before me two multitudes: the multitude of unlearned preachers; and the far greater multitude who can never have any other ministry. I confess my heart goes out to them. My natural instincts incline me to an aristocracy. But Jesus Christ made me a democrat. I use the term in its etymological, not political sense. I have longed for years to see a school for the study of the English Bible.


I cannot shut out of my mind the three thousand preachers of Texas, while rejoicing that fifty can go abroad to attend theological seminaries.


It is respectfully submitted that help toward a literary education in a college, and help toward a theological education in a seminary, both of which are advocated and commended, do not exhaust the meaning of ministerial education. There is a need not yet supplied for a greater number than can profit by either of these provisions.


For the establishment of this course, we deem conclusive the following REASONS:


There is no school of the kind on earth.


It follows the example set by our Lord himself, and accords with the Holy Spirit's choice of men to preach the gospel.


It accords with settled Baptist polity.


It is needed for both the learned and the unlearned.


Not being restricted to preachers, it will aid in the training of Sunday school teachers of both sexes.


It encourages the study of God's Word by the pew, which must, under divine law, judge the soundness in doctrine of the preacher himself.


Not more than one in a thousand will study the whole Bible, or any part of it systematically, apart from the requirements of a regular course.


Shall we not with joy and enthusiasm labor together to make this work a crowning glory to our seminary?


Upon the enterprise let us invoke the favor of men and the blessings of God.


 QUESTIONS


1. What history of the English Bible is commended?


2. What is the proposed course in the English Bible, and the time required for completing it?


3. Why will it be valuable to take even a small part of this course?


4. What minimum literary qualifications required?


5. What textbooks required?


6. Helps suggested?


7. Considering the restricted scope of the course, and the minimum literary qualifications, what things are necessarily assumed? State briefly and substantially.


8. State briefly and substantially the general rules governing the course.


9. Why does the Bible, from a literary standpoint, deserve a larger place in a course of study looking to a liberal education?


10. Why from the standpoint of its inspiration?


11. Are the people generally well informed as to Bible teaching?


12. Do preachers generally study it systematically?


13. Is there a school in the world where the whole Bible is taught?


14. What may be constructed from several sets of Spurgeon's published sermons and addresses?


15. What does this show as to his study of the Bible?


16. State briefly the result on human life and character of his Bible study and preaching.


17. What example of a Bible school have we in the Old Testament?


18. What good was accomplished by this school of the prophets?


19. What school in the New Testament?


20. From what classes generally does the Holy Spirit recruit his preachers?


21. What four significant facts does history declare?


22. What is Baptist polity with reference to educated and uneducated preachers?


23. How many Baptists in Texas?


24. What proportion of the Baptists of the world?


25. How many Baptist preachers in Texas?


26. About what number annually go abroad for theological education?


27. About how many annually seek literary advantages in Texas schools?


28. What proportion of these in Baylor University?


29. Is the course in the English Bible limited to preachers?


30. Why should Baptist laymen study the Bible?


31. What reasons led to the opening of this course?

 

 II

 

(Return to Contents)

 

INTRODUCTORY STUDIES – THE OLD TESTAMENT

 


There will be two chapters on the introduction to the Old Testament and to the book of Genesis. This is the first chapter. It is not designed at all, by these brief introductions, to take the place of the extensive work of biblical introduction, but only to give some general outlines of the relations of the book of Genesis.


I will commence with our English word "Bible." It has two derivations. The first derivation was from the Greek neuter plural Biblia, which means a library or collection of books. The word, "Holy," indicates the character of the books as distinguished from secular books, so that the words, "Holy Bible," mean sacred library. Later on, after all of the books were bound together into one volume, the word "Bible" was derived from the singular Greek word, Biblos, and is properly called “a” or "the book."

 

DIVISIONS OF THE CHRISTIAN WORLD AND THEIR ATTITUDE TOWARD THE BIBLE


In general terms, there are Romanists, Greeks, and Protestants. Only technically do Baptists belong to the Protestants; in a general way you may include them with the Protestants. The Romanists have an English Bible, the Douay Version, which, in the Old Testament, differs from our Bible by certain additions. I will state these differences: (1) Just after Nehemiah they insert two books, Tobit and Judith; (2) they add .to the book of Esther six and a half chapters; (3) just after Song of Solomon they insert two books, Wisdom and Ecclesiasticus; (4) just after Lamentations they insert a book, Baruch; (5) between Daniel 3:23, and 3:24, they insert 67 verses; (6) at the close of this book they add two chapters, The History of Susanna and The Story of Bel and the Dragon; (7) after Malachi they put two additional books, I and 2 Maccabees. These books and parts of books which they add are not found in the Hebrew Bible at all. They were never accepted by the Jews as a part of their sacred oracles. They are sometimes inserted between the Old Testament and New Testament as parts of what is called the Apocrypha, that is, the questioned books of the Old Testament.


The Romanists have the same New Testament that we have, but there is another quite important distinction between their English Bible and ours. Theirs is not a translation from the original languages at all, but it is a translation of a translation. It is a translation into English of what is called The Vulgate, or the Jerome Latin Bible, and while the whole of it is a fine piece of work, in the main, it is in itself but a translation from the faulty Greek version called the Septuagint. And in that respect it is very inferior to our Bible. Their English Bible is, therefore, different from ours in the renderings or translations. I will give you two samples out of many: In Genesis 3:15, where the promise is that the seed of the woman shall bruise the serpent's head, they render: "she shall bruise the serpent's head" – making a woman and not the Saviour the bruiser of the serpent's bead. Again, where our Bible says "repent," theirs says "do penance."


We next come to the Jewish Bible in English. I have a copy of it before me. It is a very modern translation; after the King James, and even after the Canterbury Revision, which I advise you to purchase when able. It is by Isaac Leeser, printed in 1891 at Chicago. The difference between this English Bible and our Old Testament is that this version was made so late that all those passages which ancient Jews counted as messianic, this version strains to so render as to weaken, if not destroy, any application to our Lord Jesus Christ. The original of the Jewish Bible has exactly the same matter as our Old Testament, and the same books; it is only a difference of translation.

 

DIVISIONS OF THE BIBLE


In our English Bible there are two grand divisions, called the Old Testament and the New Testament. The word "testament" is a very unfortunate translation of the original Greek word, dialheke, because our Bible is not a last will and testament. In only two verses in the New Testament ought diatheke to be translated "testament": Hebrews 9:16-17. Here, plainly, the reference is to the last will and testament of a man who, as testator, must die before his heirs can inherit. In every other place in the New Testament the Greek word diatheke should be translated "covenant," which is quite a different thing from a last will and testament. So we really should call these two great divisions "The Old and New Covenants," and Paul does so call them in his letter to the Hebrews. Now, the idea of the translation, "testament," was suggested by two passages of Scripture: Matthew 26:28ω"This is my blood of the new testament"; and the other passage is Hebrews 9:15, "And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament [and it ought to have been rendered "covenant"], that by means of death) for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance." While, therefore, there are points of analogy between a man's will and God's covenant, yet some hurtful interpretations have arisen by calling these two divisions of our Bible "Old and New Testaments." I refer particularly to a book of a certain sect looking upon the New Covenant as a testament or last will of Jesus Christ. He says that as under a will nobody can inherit until after the death of the testator, therefore no sins could be remitted, and there could be no children of God, until after Christ died, a failure to Dote the difference between the time of expiation and the time of remission. The true interpretation of this matter is set forth in the Philadelphia Confession of Faith, Art. VIII, Sec. 6, and in Art. XI, Sec. 6, which read:


Art. VIII, Sec. 6, Philadelphia Baptist Confession: Although the price of redemption was not actually paid by Christ till after His incarnation, yet the virtue, efficacy, and benefit thereof was communicated to the elect in all ages successively from the beginning of the world, in and by those promises, types, and sacrifices wherein He was revealed and signified to be the seed of the woman which should bruise the serpent's head, and the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world, being the same yesterday, today, and forever.


Art. XI, Sec. 6: The justification of believers under the Old Testament was, in all these respects, one and the same with the justification of believers tinder the New Testament.


So you are to understand that the translation, "testament," is not inspired; it is a human, misleading rendering of the Greek word, diatheke.

 

SOME OTHER DIVISIONS


The Jews divided their Bible into the following classifications: "The Law, The Prophets, and The Holy Writings." They understood by the Law the five books of Moses, the Pentateuch, and they divided their prophets into two classes: those who record history, as Joshua, Judges, Samuel, Kings, which are called the Earlier Prophets, not because they were prophecies, but because they were books which prophets wrote. Their second subdivision of the second division is the Later Prophets, and these they have divided into Greater and Lesser: Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and then the twelve minor prophets. To some it is a matter of surprise that their third main division contains Daniel – not that Daniel has no prophecy in it, but because Daniel's office was not prophetic. He was the prime minister of an earthly government, and, while there is much revelation in Daniel, yet there is very little prophecy directly uttered by him. He records marvelous revelations which God gives to him, and those revelations have much of the element of prophecy. For the same reason they include the psalms in their third division. David was not by office a prophet. By office he was a king, but incidentally he prophesied much in the psalms. Some people are greatly troubled at the thought that Joshua, Judges, Samuel, and Kings are classed among the prophets, and that Daniel's book is not classed among the prophets. You understand that there is no denial of the prophetic element in Daniel, but that his was not the prophetic office, and that there is no assertion that Joshua, Judges, Samuel, and Kings are prophecies, but that they were written by prophets.

 

BOOK DIVISIONS


Our Old Testament has thirty-nine books; twenty-seven in the New Testament – sixty-six books in all. The Romanist Old Testament has forty-six books, and their New Testament the same as ours. The Jewish translation in English has thirty-nine just. like ours, but they have two different enumerations of these books. The first is twenty-four, obtained in this way: combining I and 2 Samuel as one book, I and 2 Kings as one, I and 2 Chronicles as one, Ezra and Nehemiah as one, and then the twelve minor prophets as one book, making twenty-four in all, answering to the letters of the Greek alphabet. Then again they are divided into twenty-two books, as found in Josephus. According to this combination Ruth and Judges make one book, and Jeremiah and Lamentations make one, answering to the twenty-two letters of the Hebrew alphabet. The New Testament recognizes the threefold division of the Old Testament – The Law, The Prophets, and The Psalms. Our Lord himself so recognizes it in Luke 24:44: "All the things that are written concerning me in the law, the prophets and the psalms."

 

THE ORDER OF THE BOOKS


The order is not inspired, nor chronological, nor at all times logical. The Jewish Bible collates the books for liturgical purposes, i.e.) for readings in the Temple, the synagogue, or the home, so as to provide special lessons for each year, each week and each day. Now, if we had to put the books of the Bible down in the order of their history, we have it about right as far as the second book of Kings. If we should arrange them according to the date of the writing, then, in my opinion, Job should come first, both logically and chronologically. In the New Testament they are arranged according to a mixed method, more historically than chronologically. Perhaps the first book of the New Testament was James' letter; then would come Paul's letter to the Thessalonians; next, his letters to the Corinthians, then Galatians and the Romans; and the letters of his first Roman imprisonment – Philippians, Philemon, Colossians, Ephesians, and Hebrews. And then would follow Matthew, Mark, Luke, Acts, and the letters of Paul to Timothy and Titus. John's Gospel and letters come very much later than the others, with Revelation last of all. It is important for you to know that fact in order to know how much of the written New Testament each man had at the time he himself wrote.

 

DIVISION OF THE BIBLE INTO CHAPTERS AND VERSES


This is not inspired. The division into chapters took place about the middle of the thirteenth century, A.D., and the honor of making that division lies between Cardinal Hugo and the Archbishop of Canterbury, Stephen Langton. The object of the division was to make a concordance, and so about the middle of the thirteenth century the first concordance of the Bible was made. The division into verses took place in the sixteenth century A.D., by Robert Stephens, a printer in Paris, and that added very much to the facility in making concordances. While generally these chapter and verse divisions are fine, sometimes they break the connection and dislocate the thought most arbitrarily. For example: Genesis I should include the first three verses of the second chapter.

 

THE BIBLE AS A STANDARD


You ask a Catholic what is the supreme standard by which all conduct and creed and destiny are determined, and he will say: "The Bible, with the additions that we put in it, and in the translations that we give, and in the interpretations we give, together with tradition." To illustrate: Suppose you and a Roman Catholic were debating, and he should cite a proof text from Tobit, or Judith, or Baruch, or I or 2 Maccabees, or Wisdom, or Ecclesiasticus – e this would be authority to him, it would not be for you, but only uninspired Jewish literature. Then, he would want to quote either from the Vulgate Latin Version made by Jerome, or the Douay Version, which is but a translation of the Latin Version into English, and then he would want to confine you to the interpretations put upon it by the Church of Rome, and ultimately the dictum of the Pope, while you would naturally object to hia text, his renderings, and his interpretations; so you could not join in an issue. Your standard and his standard are not the same.

 

THE METHOD OF STUDY


Now, I want to say something about the method of studying the Bible in the Old Testament. The history of the Old Testament is really divided into two parts – just as distinct as it is possible for parts to be. The first part takes the history from Genesis to the close of 2 Kings, the destruction of the Jewish monarchy, with those prophets who prophesied in that period of time. Now, the other part of history commences with Chronicles, and instead of following the other order, it makes a new start from Adam. It commences with Adam and Eve, going back to the beginning. It does not recognize anything but the Davidic line. Now join with that Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, for history, and the post-Exile prophets, and the lines of thought are different. There is a pause where the Jewish monarchy dies. There is a new beginning after the return from the Exile. While we can and do use Chronicles in harmonic connection with Samuel and Kings, yet a part of I Chronicles does not synchronize with those books at all; but goes back to Adam. For this second part of the Old Testament history you need an entirely new viewpoint. You ought to commence the second part of the Old Testament with Chronicles, then Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, Daniel, and the post-Exile prophets: Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi. They form a later and distinct part of the Old Testament history. I call attention to another division of Old Testament history, very clearly indicated in the original by an initial word, which is just one small letter, sometimes rendered "and." This little word of connection and relation marks out the several related groups of books, i.e., Genesis heads the first group, followed by Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers – every one of the last three commences with "and." Deuteronomy commences the second group, followed by Joshua, Judges, I and 2 Samuel, I and 2 Kings – all of these connect with Deuteronomy by the same word "and," showing a continuity of history. I Chronicles commences the third group, followed by 2 Chronicles, Ezra. Nehemiah commences the fourth group and is followed by Esther. This quadruple division has been happily named thus:


1. The Books Before They Entered the Holy Land:


Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers.


2. The Books in the Holy Land:


Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, I and 2 Samuel, I and 2 Kings.


Deuteronomy heads this list because they are about to enter the land under a renewed covenant, and relates to that entrance.


3. The Books out of the Holy Land:


I and 2 Chronicles, Ezra.


4. The Books in the Dispersion:


Nehemiah and Esther.

 

A HELPFUL BOOK is the Syllabus for Old Testament Study, by Dr. Sampey, the professor of Hebrew and Old Testament English in the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. This syllabus itself gives an extensive and up-to-date bibliography, a great part of which the reader does not now need, because we are in English, not Hebrew, and because many of you are beginners, unprepared for many critical discussions. As we progress, however, I will mention the helpful books an English student needs in studying the English Old Testament. An exceptionally important part of Dr. Sampey's book is the chronological chart.

 

THE UNITY OF THE BIBLE


The next preliminary thing to note is the unity of the Bible, the whole of it. There are no other sixty-six books in the world that fit each other like these sixty-six books do. Genesis connects on to Exodus, and Exodus connects back with Genesis and on to Leviticus; Leviticus connects back with all these and forward to Joshua; and it is that way all through the Old Testament, and equally so with the New Testament. As Genesis commences with paradise lost, the New Testament closes with paradise regained.


Then, this book is a growth in a twofold way. I do not believe with the Negro who said that God Almighty handed down the Bible from heaven Just as we have it in the King James Version. It was a growth as to its books, book added to book, in a period of sixteen hundred years, with a gap of four hundred years between the Old Testament, and the New. That is, from 1500 B.C. to A.D. 100; 1,600. Then, it is certainly a growth in the unfolding of doctrine. Take the first verse in the Bible: "God created the heavens and the earth," and every other book in the Bible is evolved from that declaration. Take the promise: "The seed of the woman shall bruise the serpent's head," and everything touching Christ is evolved from that declaration. Likewise from the establishment of the throne of grace at the close of the third chapter of Genesis, clear on to the book of Revelation is a development of God's plan of salvation, from the first thought to its latest and highest expansion. It is a growth from "type" to "antitype," from symbol to the thing symbolized, from signs to things signified; and this is one of the highest proofs of its inspiration: that an author back yonder 1,500 years before Christ leaves behind several books, to which other authors in the several centuries following have added their contributions, and these all articulate, fitting into each other like the bones of one skeleton. This vast library, whose volumes were written at different times, and under different conditions, fragmentarily and multifariously, becomes a single book in its unity. We now come to…

 

THE CONTENTS OF THE BIBLE


These contents are very varied, and the styles of the different books vary. You have here poetry, prose, history, drama, law, prophecy, parables, proverbs, allegory, types – exceedingly varied. Now, the original languages in which this book was written: The Old Testament was written in Hebrew, except the following passages: Jeremiah 10:11; several chapters in Ezra, from 4:8 to 6:18, and 7:12-26; Daniel 2:4, to 7:28. All those exceptions were written in Chaldee or Aramaic. The New Testament was written i Greek. It may be that even the letter of James and the Gospel of Matthew were also written in Hebrew, but we know that the whole, of the New Testament was written in Greek.


Now, to get this Bible, originally written in these languages, into the mother tongue of each people is one of the most important things ever done. What was it that brought about the division into nations? It was first a division of the languages. God confused the speech. They were of one people and one tongue, and through the confusion of speech came the division of nations, not vice versa; not a division of nations and then different languages, but a division of nations resulting from a confusion of tongues. Now, the reverse of the confusion of the tongues at Babel is the gift of tongues at Pentecost. Why the gift of tongues? That these messengers of the cross might speak to every nation under heaven in the tongue in which they were born. Turning Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek into English is called (rightly) a version – that is, a turning of one language into another; or it is called a "translation," from the old compound Latin word, transfero-ferre-tuli-latum, meaning "to translate, transfer." Suppose a colored liquid here in an opaque pitcher, and suppose another pitcher not quite so opaque, but translucent, you can see through it just a little. Then suppose another pitcher perfectly transparent. I pick up the opaque pitcher that has the colored liquid in it and I transfer it, translate it, turn it into the translucent pitcher. You can see it, but not clearly. That is a bad translation. But suppose I turn it into the transparent pitcher, that you may see its contents clearly. That is a good translation or version. So a version is a translation. The Septuagint Version is the translation of the Hebrew into Greek, the Vulgate is a translation of the Septuagint into Latin, the Douay is a translation of the Vulgate into English.


Now, in another respect, what is the Bible? It is not a history of all nations. It is a history of the kingdom of God. Genesis is a race history down to the eleventh chapter, then it sidetracks all of the families but. one; when the Ishmaelites come it sidetracks them; when Esau comes he is sidetracked; when Lot's children come (the Moabites and Ammonites) it sidetracks them; but it follows a certain family until it becomes a nation, to which are committed the oracles of God, and touches the history of other nations where they bear upon the development of the kingdom of God in that one people.

 

RULES OF INTERPRETATION FOR THE BIBLE


The usage of common life determines the meaning of a word or phrase; not that of philosophy.


The usage of the time and place of the writer determines the meaning; not that of any other time; not modern usage.


If a word or phrase has several meanings, the context determines the meaning it bears in a given passage. The more common meaning of the writer's day is to be preferred, provided it suits the passage, not that more common in our day.


If the author has occasion to employ a new word, or an old word in a new signification, his own definition or his own usage must determine the meaning, not any other author's usage.


The direct or literal sense of a sentence is the meaning of the author, when no other is indicated, not any figurative, allegorical, or mystical meaning.


Passages bearing a direct, literal or fully ascertained sense go to determine what passages have another sense than the literal, and what that other sense is; not our opinions.


The Bible treats of God in relation to man. It is obvious that this circumstance will afford occasion for new words and phrases, and new applications of the old ones. It brings into view such peculiar figures of speech as are called anthropomorphism and anthropopathism. It gives a new expansion to all the previous rules.


A word, a phrase, or sentence belonging primarily to the things of man must be understood, when applied to the things of God, in a sense consistent with his essential nature; not in a sense contradictory to any known attribute of that nature.


There is a growth in the Bible in two respects: (1) There ig a growth in the adding of document to document for at least 1600 years. Hence the simple or primary part of speech will appear in the earlier documents; the more expanded and recondite may come out only in the later. (2) There is a growth also in adding fact to fact, and truth to truth, whereby doctrines that at first come out only in the bud are in the end expanded into full bloom. At its commencement the Bible chooses and points the all-sufficient root from which all doctrines may germinate. The root is God. In him inhere all the virtues that can create and uphold a world, and therefore in the knowledge of him are involved the doctrines that can instruct and edify the intelligent creature. Hence the elementary form of a doctrine will be found in the older parts of Scripture; the more developed form in the later books. This gives rise to two similar rules of interpretation.


The meaning of a word or phrase in a later book of Scripture is not to be transferred to an earlier book, unless required by the context.


The form of a doctrine in a subsequent part of the Bible must not be taken to be as fully developed in a preceding part without the warrant of usage and the context.


The Old Testament was composed in Hebrew, the New Testament in Greek. Each must be interpreted according to the genius of the language in which it was originally written. The interpreter must, therefore, be familiar with the grammar of each in which the particulars which constitute its genius are gathered into a system. The writers of the New Testament were, moreover, Hebrews by birth and habit, with the possible exception of Luke. Their Greek, therefore, bears a Hebrew stamp and their words and phrases are employed to express Hebrew things, qualities, customs, and doctrines. Hence they Must receive much of their elucidation from the Hebrew parts of speech of which they are the intended equivalents. Two rules of interpretation come under this head:


The sense of a sentence, and the relation of one sentence to another, must be determined according to the grammar of the language in which it is written.


The meaning of New Testament words and phrases must be determined in harmony with Old Testament usage; not by Greek against Hebrew usage.


The Bible is the word of God. All the other elements of our fundamental postulate are plain on the surface of things, and therefore unanimously admitted. This, however, some interpreters of the Bible do not accept, at least without reserve. But notwithstanding their rejection of this dogma such interpreters are bound to respect the claims of this book to be the word of God. This they can only do by applying to its interpretation such rules as are fairly deducible from such a characteristic. In doing so they put themselves to no disadvantage. They only give the claimants a fair stage, and put its high claim to a reasonable test. Now, God is a God of truth. Hence all Scripture must be consistent with truth and with itself. It contains no real contradiction. This gives rise to the following rules:


All Scripture is true historically and metaphysically; not mythical and fallible.


In verbally discordant passages that sense is to be adopted which will explain or obviate the discrepancy; not a sense that makes a contradiction. To explain it positively is to show the harmony of the passage; to obviate it negatively is to show that there is no contradiction.


Scripture explains Scripture. Hence the clear and plain passages elucidate the dark and abstruse; not anything foreign in Scripture to time, place or sentiment; not our philosophy. Of rules that cross one another, the higher sets aside or modifies the lower.


An inspired, illumined New Testament writer will give the true sense of an Old Testament passage.

 

QUESTIONS


1. What the derivation and present meaning of our English word “Bible," and the meaning of the word "Holy" in this connection?


2. In general terms, name the three grand divisions of the Christian world and state mainly the parts of the world occupied by them.


3. Do these agree on the books which constitute the collection known as the Bible?


4. State the Romanist additions to what we call the Old Testament, and show just where each addition is inserted.


5. On what grounds are these additions to be rejected?


6. Name another important distinction between their English Bible and ours.


7. What Jewish version commended, and what the difference between it and our Old Testament?


8. What two grand divisions in our Bible?


9. What is the meaning of "Testament"?


10. From what scriptures did men deduce the names, "Old Testament" and "New Testament"?


11. What name would have been better?


12. Cite a hurtful interpretation based upon the name, "Old and New Testaments."


13. Cite the true interpretation of this matter.


14. Cite the Jewish divisions of their Bible.


15. Cite, in order, the books of The Law.


16. The books of the division called The Prophets.


17. The books of the division called The Psalms.


18. What principle or reason governed in naming the second division "Prophets," and the third division "Holy Writings"?


19. Explain, according to this principle, why Joshua, Judges, Samuel and Kings appear on the "Prophet" list, and Daniel appears o n the "Holy Writings" list.


20. How many books in our Bible? In each grand division?


21. Show how the Jews made out their list of twenty-four books in the Old Testament, and why? Also their list of twenty-two books, and why?


22. Cite a New Testament recognition of the three divisions of the Old Testament.


23. Is the order in which the books of our present Bible are arranged inspired? What principle governed in their arrangement?


24. Is the present division into chapters and verses inspired?


25. Who divided the Bible into chapters? When and why?


26. When the first concordance?


27. Who divided the Bible into verses, and why?


28. What else besides the Bible is a standard of authority on revelation with Greeks and Romanists?


29. In what other way do Romanists widen the difference as to the standard between themselves and Protestants?


30. What suggestion made relative to the study of the Old Testament, and what quadruple division of Old Testament books in this connection?


31. What helpful book mentioned, and its peculiar merit?


32. Show the unity of the books of the Bible.


33. Show that the Bible is a growth in a twofold way.


34. What length of time from the writing of the first book to the last?


35. What are the contents of the Bible?


36. What are the original languages of the Bible?


37. What is a version of the Scripture? Name several.


38. What is the Bible as it relates to history?


39. What history of the English Bible commended? (Ans: Harwood Pattison's.)


40. Read carefully the rules of interpretation.


 
III

 

(Return to Contents)

 

INTRODUCTORY STUDIES – THE PENTATEUCH

 


In the preceding chapter on the Introduction to the Old Testament I said some things about the order of the books in the Old Testament, particularly calling your attention to the present order in the Jewish Bible. There is no question that the order of the historical books in our English Bible is the original order. It was the order in the Septuagint translation, say about 250 years before Christ, the oldest order of which we have any certain knowledge.


Now, in review, let me repeat that according to that order the historical books of the Old Testament are in four groups, "May clearly designated in the Hebrew, designated by the smallest word in the Hebrew language; just one letter and the smallest except one. The meaning of the word is "and." That word determines what books follow the first one in the group. For instance, Genesis is the beginning of the first group and Exodus commences with "and," showing that it follows right after and connects with Genesis, and so on with Leviticus and Numbers. This first group discusses the people of Israel outside the Promised Land, i.e., before they enter it. Deuteronomy, the initial book of the second group, treats of Israel inside the Promised Land. It is true that in Deuteronomy they have not crossed the river, but they were at the river, and Deuteronomy, with its renewed covenant, looks forward more than it looks backward. Following Deuteronomy, from Joshua to 2 Kings, every book in its order commences with "and"; and these books cover the stay in the Promised Land. The third group consists of three books, all written by Ezra: 1 Chronicles is the initial book, making an entirely new beginning from Adam, with the "and" and connecting 2 Chronicles and Ezra. These books treat of the return to the Land after the Babylonian exile. This group ignores the defection of the ten tribes following only the line: Adam, Noah, David. While its events may be harmonized with the first and second groups, where correspondent, the view is an entirely independent one and must be so considered in study. Now the last, the fourth, group consists of two books: Nehemiah and Esther. Nehemiah is the starting book, Esther follows with "and"; so that this group touches Israel that did not return, or Israel in dispersion. Keep these four thoughts in your mind:


4 books Inside the Land.


8 books Return to the Land.


3 books In the Dispersion.


2 books Outside the Land.


The other Old Testament books would arrange themselves about these four historical groups thus: Job connects with the first group; Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon, Obadiah, Joel, Jonah, Amos, Hosea, Isaiah, Micah, Nahum, Zephaniah, Jeremiah, and Habakkuk with the second group; Jeremiah being the bridge connecting with the third group; Ezekiel, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi, with the third group; Daniel would connect with the fourth group, preceding Esther in its history, but in its prophecies it is the connecting bridge with the New Testament. This line of thought is very ably elaborated in a recent and valuable series of books by John Urquhart, entitled "The Bible: Its Structure and Purpose."


Now, concerning the Pentateuch – the first five books. Who is the author? Moses – except the last and connecting chapter which records the death of Moses written by the author of the book of Joshua, Joshua himself. The argument for the Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch is: (1) Tradition. This tradition is unbroken absolutely from the time of Moses to the close of the New Testament canon. The Pentateuch is connected in tradition with no other name than the name of Moses. (2) The next evidence is the New Testament witnesses. Christ and His apostles repeatedly and positively ascribe the Pentateuch to Moses, and I have an abiding impression that Christ knew at least as much about it as modern critics. (3) The third argument for the authorship is the testimony of the books themselves, with the exception of Genesis, which is partly an introduction to the other four. All along they are attributed to Moses.


The second question is: What were the qualifications of Moses for writing these books? The book of Acts tells us that Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians. He was not only the most cultivated teacher of his age, and a thousand times more cultivated than some of the men that deny that he could have written these books, but he was the most influential man of affairs. His range of learning was immense. His conduct of public affairs was great. Dr. Harper says that Moses was too busy a man to have left any literary remains. Dr. Harper is wise above what is written. Now let us see what were his opportunities of leisure. He was forty years in Midian, given time for meditation. There doubtless he wrote the book of Genesis and, I think, first, the book of Job. In the next place, he was a whole year at Mount Sinai, and the record shows that at Mount Sinai the different parts of Exodus and nearly all of Leviticus and part of Numbers were written. Then he was thirty-eight years in the wilderness after the Israelites turned back from Kadesh-barnea, and in that time he certainly could have composed the rest of Leviticus and Numbers. He was about two weeks on the banks of the Jordan just where they crossed over into the Promised Land, and the book of Deuteronomy consists almost altogether of great addresses, and they were evidently carefully prepared addresses. Moses had time to write them there, and the record expressly states that he did. Dr. Harper himself was a very busy man, but it seems that he found time to write a great many books, and if he, being so busy, could write a great many books, why should he deny that Moses had time to write books? The age of Moses was an intensely literary age. It used to be said that there was no writing in the time of Moses, but very humbly have they apologized for any such foolish statements. It is now known that long before the time of Moses writing was a fine art. Cities of libraries were established, not only among the Egyptians, but among the Canaanites. Moses himself will give you an account of a Canaanite city that was called the book city, or the library city. The last thought in connection with the Mosaic authorship consists of testimonies all the way through the Pentateuch showing that when God gave a certain body of laws Moses wrote those laws at the time. That goes on all the way through. The memoranda of the book were at hand and continuously, not only like keeping a diary, but the very form was written at the time.


The question arises: Was there any pre-existing material for the book of Genesis? I want to say on that, that revelation from God commences with the creation of man. He revealed himself to Adam, to Noah, to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and so on. Undoubtedly many things touching the facts in Genesis were reduced to writing before the times of Moses. For instance, we have a record in Genesis of the first poets, the very words of the poets are cited and in the poetical form. That was before the flood. Then from Adam, who lived 930 years, to Noah, who closes up the first period of the world's history at the flood, there was one intervening man, Methuselah, who was a contemporary of Adam for many hundreds of years, and a contemporary of Noah for the 600 years; so that only one man) standing between Adam and Noah, could have handed down well-attested traditions of history up to that time. Then Shem, who was in the Ark with Noah, lived 400 years after the flood, and did touch time with Abraham. Some people erroneously claim that Melchisedek was Shem. He could have been Shem so far as the time was concerned. So that between Abraham and Noah one man touches both, and there were doubtless multitudes of various kinds of documents touching the facts of Genesis. Genesis, however, is not a book made up of fragments artificially pieced together. It is straight out, continuous, a narrative by one man, and with the most remarkable proofs of unity throughout of any book in the world's libraries today.


To further show the unity of the Pentateuch: Moses led the children of Israel to Mount Sinai; you find the account commencing in the nineteenth chapter of Exodus, and from Exodus 20 to the close of the twenty-third chapter you have an account of the threefold covenant. The elements of that covenant are: (1) The moral laws as given in Exodus 20; (2) the law of the altar, or the way of approach to God through grace; and (3) civil legislation, ending with the twenty-third chapter. Now, all the rest of Exodus, all of Leviticus, all of Numbers and all of Deuteronomy are developments of that threefold covenant: moral law, the grace law, or the way of approach to God through the altar, and the civil law. Because at that time Israel became a nation.


If we consider the time and the circumstances of the Pentateuch we take our stand in Midian, when Moses was in exile from Egypt, somewhere between 1431 and 1491 B.C. Now that last date you can keep in your mind – 1491 B.C. comes Mount Sinai, and A.D. 1492 comes the discovery of America by Columbus. There in Midian, when Moses was in solitude the keeper of the flock of Jethro, a great problem pressed on his heart. He had felt the call of God to deliver the Israelites, and with-out letting God pick the time, he picked it and the method of it, and after killing that Egyptian he fled. Stephen says that Moses supposed that the children of Israel would understand that God had appointed him to deliver them, but they did not understand. He was not accredited to them as the deliverer when they were suffering from oppression, and Moses himself was not prepared to deliver Israel; but he selected his own time and that exile followed as a consequence. Now, while in that exile, there came to his mind the following problems:. "My people are in the fiery furnace of affliction, and there seems to be no reason for it. Here is a bush burning and not consumed, representing the persistence of the life of these people in the midst of the most awful afflictions." And that is the problem of the book of Job. How do you account for the undeserved afflictions of the righteous? Where do they come from? While his mind was on that problem he comes in touch there with the land of Job and the history of its great hero, and there is ample opportunity to learn the history of the patriarch Job, who belonged to another branch of the Semitic family. In that history he writes in precisely the same language of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy – the same archaic expressions. Whoever carefully studies the style, the thought, the circumstances, in the book of Job, must put its composition about the time the Pentateuch was written. What, then, was the object of the book of Job? In order to understand the undeserved afflictions of the righteous. Job says: "Oh, that mine adversary had written a book I We have no Bible; I am here suffering under laws that I am not acquainted with. I don't understand. If I just had a plain book, telling me what is my relation to God, and to the universe and what is my duty, I would take that book on my shoulder and I would go to God with it face to face, and talk to him as a man talks to his .friend." The key to the book of Job is the call for a book of revelation. And the second idea in the key is: Here are the righteous, sinful by nature, subject to the evil influence of the devil. And next is: There is no daysman or mediator to stand between me and God; no one with one hand touches God and with the other hand touches me. And so there is a call for the revelation of a deliverer,. and the book of Job closes just that way. That book demands a revelation. Following that Moses composes, under the inspiration of God, the book of Genesis, which comes up to his. very time. Now, the circumstances of his writing Exodus you already know. He was at Mount Sinai a whole year. The circumstances of writing the rest of Leviticus and Numbers not written at Sinai were during that long period of thirty-eight years in the wilderness. The circumstances of writing Deuteronomy were these: The first great stage of history was ended and Israel had sinned against the covenant made at Mount Sinai. Now Deuteronomy, which literally means the second giving of the law, is not only a restatement of the old covenant, but it is a re-entrance into the covenant upon the part of Moses representing God, and the people representing themselves; and that is renewed, not with a view to anything in the past, but to the immediate entrance into the Promised Land of God. Hence it is classed with the inside books and not with the outside books.


The structure of the Pentateuch exhibits not only remarkable unity, but one author. There are varieties in the style corresponding to the subject matter. For example, the first chapter of Genesis is very abrupt – one mighty sententious statement after another. When he commences the second chapter, however, which correctly commences at v. 4, he gives details and elaborations of previous rugged statements, and the style is more flowing to correspond. Pope has said:


When Ajax strives some rock's vast weight to throw,


The line too labours, and the words move slow.


And the unity of the book of Genesis is shown by the following short analysis. I give it here, but the analysis you must bring in your answers will be an enlargement of this one. The short analysis consists of eleven divisions: I. Introduction:


1. Genesis 1:1 – The creation of the universe.


2. Genesis 1:2 – The chaotic state of the earth – matter..


3. Genesis 1:2-26 – The Holy Spirit's development of the earth matter from chaos to order, its correlation with the universe, the beginnings of life – vegetable, animal and human.


4. Genesis 1:26-31 – Nature of the dominion and commission of man.


5. Genesis 2:1-3 – Institution of the sabbath commemorating creation.


6. Genesis 2:4 to 4:26 – Generations of the heavens and the earth.


7. Genesis 5:1 to 6:8 – Generations of Adam.


8. Genesis 6:9 to 9:29 – Generations of Noah.


9. Genesis 10:1 to 11:9 – Generations of the sons of Noah.


10. Genesis 11:10-26 – Generations of Shem.


11. Genesis 11:27 to 25:11 – Generations of Terah.


12. Genesis 25:12-18 – Generations of Ishmael.


13. Genesis 25:19 to 35:29 – Generations of Isaac.


14. Genesis 36:1 to 37:1 – Generations of Esau.


15. Genesis 37:2 to 50:26 – Generations of Jacob.


The whole of the chapters on Genesis will be an elaboration of this short analysis.


What is the meaning of generation? When it says: "The generations of the heavens and the earth" in 2:4, does it mean to tell you how the heavens and the earth were produced? Unquestionably it means developments, not origin. For instance, when it says: "the generation of Noah," that does not mean how Noah commenced, but it means who descended from Noah. Generation means history, development, and not origin. I must call your attention to some of the characteristics of these several generations. Here is a singular one; there is no other like it in the Old Testament. As often as these genealogical tables are given in the Old Testament, this one is unique: "The book of the generations of Adam." You do not have the word, "book," any more. You have "the generations of," but not "the book of the generations of." Now that goes on down through all the Old Testament but the "book of the generations of Adam" occurs but once, and the New Testament commences (Matt. 1:1), "The book of the generation of Jesus Christ." First is the generation of the first Adam, and the second is the generation of the Second Adam – a very important thought. As all of the Bible is intended to be a book concerning the kingdom of God, a book concerning the reign of grace from the time that the throne of grace was established at the close of Genesis 3 until you get to the end of Revelation, and from the time that the first promise was made, "The seed of the woman shall bruise the serpent's head," on down, the Bible is a book of grace.


Now, another characteristic of these generations is, that they always commence with the bad line first, i.e., Genesis gives an account of Cain's descent before it takes up the descent of Seth.. It gives an account of the descent of the nations of the earth. When you get to the generations of the sons of Noah, it gives an account first of all of the nations of the earth, then it follows one nation through Shem. When you come to Isaac and Ishmael, Ishmael's genealogical table is put first, and then is sidetracked. When you come to Esau and Jacob, Esau's genealogy is given first, and then Jacob's. Esau is sidetracked. There are certain other lines in these genealogical tables which demand careful observation. One of these: What is said of Seth? "These are the generations of Seth." Every man Living in the world today is a descendant of Seth. Every man that has lived in the world this side of the flood is a descendant of Seth, and hence that commences with that particular remark that Adam begat a son in his likeness and according to his image. God made Adam in his image and according to his likeness, but after Adam fell, he begat a son in his fallen image and likeness. Now, note that Shem's genealogy really comes right. In giving the generations of the sons of Noah coming to Shem it gives all the Semitic nations including the line in which Abraham was called, but as he is not going to have any use for the rest of them, he commences anew with Shem and finishes it with the line of Terah, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.


Now, the time covered by the book of Genesis is much more than the time covered by all the other books in the Bible put together. Genesis covers-a history of 2,500 years. The other books of the Bible, all put together, cover a period of 1,600 years, as to their composition and history. What, then, is the book of Genesis? It is a book of origins and developments – more of developments than of origins. It will tell you the origin of the universe, and the origin of the earth as a part of the universe and the origin of vegetables and animal life. It will tell you of the first man, and it will go on telling you of the first things, but more of the book is devoted to the development than origins. Whenever you have the word "generation," that means development. These developments all through the Old Testament constantly descend from the general to the particular. "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth" – the whole universe. Now, the next verse descends to just one little part of the universe, the earth, and then it will descend to one particular family on this earth, and it will go on descending, descending, until you come to Christ, and then the rest of the Bible ascends from the particular to the general, and the end of the New Testament is as universal as the beginning of the Old Testament.


Now, I want to quote here some words on the importance of the book of Genesis. (1) I will quote from Dr. Conant:


The object of the book is to reveal to us the origin of the material universe; man's origin and relation to God the Creator, and the equality of all men before Him; the divinely constituted relation of the sexes; the divine institution of the Sabbath; the origin of moral and physical evil; the primeval history of the human race, and the origin of nations; the selection of one as the .depository of the sacred records, and the divine purpose and method for man's redemption; the history of its ancestral founders, and their relation to the subsequent history. Of these truths, to the knowledge of which we owe the present advancement in civilization, it is the object of the book to furnish a divinely accredited record. Its value is apparent on the face of the above statement, and is attested by the history of civilization; for without it no amount of intellectual culture, of refinement in taste, of progress in the sciences and arts, has ever been found sufficient to save a people from moral corruption, and ultimate decay and ruin. In these truths, and the divine attestation of them, lies the only basis of popular progress, and of permanent national prosperity; and on all these we should be in the profoundest ignorance, without the revelations contained in this book.


(2) Auberien, on the first eleven chapters, speaks also of the importance of this book:


If we had not the first eleven chapters of Genesis, if we had on the beginnings of the world and humanity, only the myths of the heathen, or the speculations of philosophers, or the observations of naturalists, we should be in the profoundest darkness concerning the origin and nature of the world and of man. It is with these chapters on the one side, as with the prophecies and Scripture on the other. There we get the true light on the first, here on the last things; there on the foundation principles, here on the ultimate tendencies of history; there on the first cause, here on the object of the world; without which a universal history, or a philosophy of history, is impossible. But prophecy itself also has its roots in these chapters, on which all later revelation plants itself. Happily, these primeval records of our race, far more widely than we are aware) have penetrated our whole mode of thinking, and sway even those who believe they must reject the historical character of these accounts. These chapters maintain the consciousness, in humanity, of its own God-related nature, of its original nobility, and its eternal destination.


lt amazes me to see the attempts of men that don't believe in the book of Genesis to write history. They don't know how to commence, they don't know where to end. They don't know how to interpret. They don't see the overruling hand of Divine Providence: blind as bats and moles, they detect no traces of the divine purpose and providence in the history of the world. But prophecy itself has its roots in these eleven chapters, on which all later revelation plants itself.


Now I close with some recommendations concerning books. I don't say for you to get these books right now, but as a general introduction to the Old Testament I recommend a set of books, that is, Urquhart's "Bible: Its Structure and Purpose." There are four volumes of it. On general introduction to the Old Testament I commend Greene – he is the great man of Princeton. On the unity of Genesis Greene's book was the most remarkable in the world until Urquhart's series came out, and he adds much to Greene's. Commentaries: (1) Conant's Genesis – he is the great Baptist scholar and translator. He is the author of the tersest, most remarkable book on Baptism ever written; has translated Genesis, and accompanied his translation with notes. I don't see how you can do without the book, after a while. (2) The next is Murphy, who gives his translation of Genesis, and then follows with his commentary. It is like a slaughter of the innocents when he gets hold of a radical critic. Then (3) I commend the Genesis part of Jamieson, Fausset and Brown's. Next (4) is one that is usually left out – McIntosh, a premillennialist, who, like the most of premillennialists, is sound in the faith regarding the higher criticism. They are all spiritual and McIntosh's book on the Pentateuch; while others fool with a thousand things, McIntosh takes you to the very heart of God and man, and the power of the Holy Spirit in teaching the word.

 

QUESTIONS


1. What evidence of the original order of the historical books of the Old Testament?


2. How many groups with reference to the Promised Land, and how determined?


3. How would the other Old Testament books arrange themselves about these four historical groups?


4. Who is the author of the Pentateuch, and what is the proof?


5. What were the qualifications of this author for writing these books?


6. How do you account for the last chapter of Deuteronomy?


7. Was there any pre-existing material for the book of Genesis?


8. Is Genesis .a book of fragments artificially pieced together?


9. Show the unity of the Pentateuch from the account of the Sinaitic covenant.


11. What great problem pressed on his heart there, and the result?


12. What are the arguments in favor of the Mosaic authorship of the book of Job?


13. Where did Moses write Genesis? Exodus? Leviticua? Numbers? Deuteronomy?


14. What is the structural evidence for one author of the Pentateuch?


15. Show the unity of Genesis by a short analysis.


16. What is the meaning of "generation"?


17. What are the characteristics of these generations: (1) Of "The book of ----"? (2) Of the bad line? (3) Of Seth? (4) Of Shem?


18. What is the time covered by the book of Genesis, and what was the method of revelation as begun here?


19. What is Conant's testimony on the importance of this book? Auberlen's?


20. What books recommended?

 

QUESTIONS FOR RESEARCH


1. What is the attitude of the Greek Church toward the Romanists' additions to our Bible?


2. Cite some New Testament names for the collection of books called the Old Testament.


3. Why is the third division of the Jewish Bible called the Psalms?


4. Distinguish between revelation, inspiration, and illumination.


5. How much time may intervene between a revelation and the inspired record of it?

 

 

IV

 

(Return to Contents)

 

CREATION – PART ONE

Genesis 1:1-25


Genesis is the book of origins and developments. It supplies its own outline or plan of treatment in twelve sections:


1. In one sublime sentence it gives the origin of the universe. Genesis 1:1.


2. In a few other equally sublime sentences it gives the origin of this earth – that part of the universe which is to become the arena of the Bible story, culminating with a general statement of the origin of man, as a race, appointed to occupy and subdue the earth. Genesis 1:2-31; 2:1-3.


A certain oft-recurring formula introduces every important stage of subsequent development, serving as a bond of unity between the several parts, and as a title to the ten other sections of the book:


3. "These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth" (Gen. 2:4).


4. "This is the book of the generations of Adam" (Gen. 5: 1).


5. "These are the generations of Noah" (Gen. 6:9).


6. "These are the generations of the sons of Noah" (Gen. 10:1). By whom the nations were divided after the flood (Gen. 10:32).


7. "These are the generations of Shem" (Gen. 11:10).


8. "These are the generations of Terah" (Gen. 11:27).


9. "These are the generations of Ishmael" (Gen. 25:12).


10. "These are the generations of Isaac" (Gen. 25:19).


11. "These are the generations of Esau" (Gen. 36:1).


12. "These are the generations of Jacob" (Gen. 37:2).

 

This framework of twelve sections is the designed skeleton of the whole book. We commence, therefore, with…

 

THE ORIGIN OF THE UNIVERSE


"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth" (Gen. 1:1). "Beginning" here means the commencement of time; and shows that the matter of the universe had a definite origin. Matter is not eternal.


"God" is the explanation of this origin. Matter did not start itself. God alone is eternal.


"Created" means brought into being without the use of preexisting material. This verb, having God for its subject, is generally used in the Bible when something, not before existing, is brought into existence by divine power, and is distinguished in this chapter and elsewhere from other verbs signifying to make, shape, or to form out of pre-existing material.


As there could be no human witness when the original foundations were laid, and as human science deals only with preexisting material, our knowledge of this origin of things cannot come by science, history, or tradition, but by revelation, and must be received by faith. Hence a subsequent scriptural statement: "By faith we understand that the worlds have been framed by the word of God, so that what is seen hath not been made out of things which appear" (Heb. 11:3; Psalm 103:7). "Heavens and earth" means the whole universe.

 

ORIGIN OF THE EARTH (Gen. I :2-31 ; 2: 1-3)


Quickening of inert, matter. "And the earth [i.e., the already created matter out of which the earth was to be formed] was waste and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep; and the Spirit of God brooded upon the face of the waters" (Gen. 1:2).


The story passes abruptly from the universe to that part of it which becomes the scene of the Bible history. The description of the earth matter is very vivid: waste, void, dark. The classical student cannot help recalling Ovid's description of Chaos, here freely rendered into English: Before the sea and land, and the heavens which cover all, Nature had one appearance in all the world Which men called Chaos a rude and unassimilated mass . . . because in one body Cold things fought with hot, wet things with dry, Soft things with hard, imponderable things with heavy.


The doctrine is that matter is inert of itself. It had no inherent potentiality. In itself has no capacity to become a world of order and beauty. The quickening of matter by the Holy Spirit was therefore the second creative activity. Given matter alone, and we have chaos alone; but given also an extraneous power, intelligent, beneficent, and omnipotent, to impart capacity to matter and to direct its movements, we will have a well-ordered and beautiful world.


ORIGIN OF LIGHT


"And God said, Let there be light: and there was light." Light is the first product of the Spirit's breeding power exercised on matter. As a primal subagent in the formation of other things its introduction was essential at this point. Well does it deserve Milton's apostrophe: "Hail, holy Light, offspring of heaven, first-born." It is the emblem of the divinity which created it: "God is light, and in him is no darkness at all." Jesus Christ is "the true light that lighteth every man that cometh into the world." His people, reflecting his image, are "the light of the world."


The creation, by the simple fiat of God, serves to illustrate a mightier creation, the conversion of the soul by the same Spirit: "God who commanded the light to shine out of .darkness hath shined into our hearts, giving the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ" (2 Cor. 4:6).


Atheistic philosophers vainly attempt to solve the mystery of light. Apart from Revelation, the Almighty's questions propounded to Job remain unanswered: "Where is the way to the dwelling of light? . . . By what way is the light parted?" (Job 38:19-24). The eye is made for it, and truly light is sweet; but what unaided wisdom can comprehend its mystery? Mysterious in origin, exquisitely beautiful in combination of colors, immaculate and incorruptible. It cannot be defiled by contact with impurity as can earth, air, or water.


This was not solar or stellar light, for there was yet no atmospheric medium through which the light of any previously formed part of the universe could reach and influence the inert mass of the earth. To call it cosmical light is to name it and not explain it. The only ultimate explanation is that it was a creative product resulting from the moving, brooding, quickening Spirit of God.


Some object to regarding earth light as a creative product because it now reaches us from second causes – the sun, moon, and stars. The objection perishes by pushing back the inquiry far enough. Some one of the existing words of the universe must have been fashioned first out of the originally created matter. In the case of this first one the origin of its light must be referred to the first cause, i.e., creative fiat, since there was no other world from which, as a second cause, its light could come. In the case of the earth, the only one whose history is revealed, external light at the beginning had no medium of approach.

 

ORIGIN OF ATMOSPHERE


"And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters." Firmament or expanse, i.e., what is outspread, is the visible result of the formation of the earth's atmosphere. This formation is the effect of supernatural power. The psalmist declares: "The firmament showeth his handiwork." Milton, in Paradise Lost, expresses the Bible thought:


The firmament, expanse of liquid, pure, Transparent, elemental air, diffused In circuit to the uttermost convex Of this great round.


The atmosphere is the outer sphere of air fluid enveloping the earth as the rind of an orange encloses the pulp. Its depth is supposed to be about forty-five miles. It would be out of place here to discuss in detail its manifold uses. We merely state in a general way that without it there could be no vegetable or animal life, nor transmission of sound, nor the conveyance, refraction, or decomposition of light. Its particular use specified in the text is to separate waters from waters. The power to do this lies in its specific gravity or weight. This weight, greatest at the sea level, gradually diminishes as it ascends, until, by extreme rarity, its upper boundary is lost in the higher enveloping sphere of ether. All waters expanded by heat into vapor or cloud rise above the air; all vapors condensed until heavier than atmosphere fall below it. You see clouds above clouds. The highest ones are the lightest. Whatever condenses them brings them lower until their weight, exceeding that of the atmosphere, precipitates them in the form of snow, sleet, hail, or rain.


The cloud, while seemingly only the natural result of light (or heat) and atmosphere, is really the product of divine power. "Hath the rain a father? Or whom hath begotten the drops of dew? Out of whose womb came the ice? And the hoary frost of heaven, who gendered it?" (Job 38:28-29).


He giveth snow like wool; He scatterest the hoar frost like ashes; He casteth forth his ice like morsels. Who can stand before his cold? He sendeth out his word and melteth them.– PSALM 147:16-18


"For he draweth up the drops of water, which distill in rain from his vapour, which the skies pour down and drop upon man abundantly. Yea, can any understand the spreading of the clouds, the thunderings of his pavilion?" (Job 36:27-29). "Dost thou know the balancings of the clouds, the wondrous works of him who is perfect in knowledge?" (Job 37:16).

 

ORIGIN OF THE DRY LAND


"And God said, Let the waters under the heavens be gathered unto one place, and let the dry land appear; and it was so" (Gen. 1:9). Chaos, meaning a commingling of elements, is now eliminated. There was first a separation of light from darkness; then a separation of waters by the intervening atmosphere; finally a separation of land and sea. This may have been brought about either by upheaval of some parts of the land through the action of subterranean fires, or by subsidence of the submerged crest of the land in other places through cooling and shrinking of the interior mass, or by the convulsions of mighty electric storms. It matters little what second causes were employed. The omnipotent energy of the brooding spirit was the first cause. "Who layeth the beams of his chambers in the waters, who maketh the clouds his chariot; who walketh upon the wings of the wind; who maketh winds his messengers; flames of fire his ministers; who laid the foundations of the earth, that it should not be moved forever. Thou coveredst it with the deep as with a vesture; the waters stood above the mountains. At thy rebuke they fled; at the voice of thy thunder they hastened away. [The mountains rose, the valleys sank down] unto the place which thou hadst founded for them. Thou hast set a bound that they may not pass over; that they turn not again to cover the earth" (Psalm 104:3-9). "Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? Declare, if thou hast understanding. Who determined the measures thereof, if thou knowest? Whereupon were the foundations thereof fastened? Or who laid the cornerstone thereof, when the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy? Or who shut up the sea with doors when it brake forth, as if it had issued out of the womb; when I made clouds the garments thereof, and the thick darkness a swaddling band for it, and marked out for it my bound, and set bars and doors, and said, Hitherto shalt thou come, but no further; and here shall thy proud waves be stayed" (Job 38: 4-11).

 

ORIGIN OF VEGETABLE LIFE


"And God said, Let the earth put forth grass, herbs yielding seed, and fruit-trees bearing fruit after their kind, wherein is the seed thereof, upon the earth: and it was so." We now come to consider the origin of life in its lowest form. Matter is organized and vitalized into vegetation. Three distinct classes of vegetable life are specified: the grass, the herb, and the fruit tree. The first is a simple organism, all blade, and propagated by division of its part; the second, complex, having a pithy stalk, and propagated by its seed; the third, more complex, having a stem of wood, so being able to rise above the ground, and bearing fruit which encloses the seed for propagation.


At this first appearance of life, human science must acknowledge God. All the research of the ages has never been able to prove even one case of spontaneous generation or a biogenesis; that is, an origination of living organisms from lifeless matter. Every living organism known to science proceeded from a parental living organism. Professor Huxley concedes that science sees no reason for believing that the evolution of living protoplasm from nonliving matter has yet been performed.


Between nothing and matter was an infinite chasm which omnipotent creative energy alone could span. Between the chaos of matter and order there was another infinite chasm which God alone can span. Between matter and life of the lowest order is yet another infinite chasm which God alone can span. We here consider also for the, first time the great law of reproduction and multiplication within the limit of species. Each divided root of grass produces grass only. Each herb, through its own seed, reproduces only its own kind. Each fruit tree, through its own seed, reproduces only its own kind. This law of reproduction of species applies, as will be seen later, to the higher animal life (Gen. 1:21, 25, 28), and is equally applicable to the highest order of animal life, man himself (Gen. 128-5:3).


There is indeed a scriptural law of evolution following from a previous involution. That is, there is development in everything according to its nature. All potentiality in the germ may be developed, but wholly along the lines of its own nature. "The earth beareth fruit of herself; first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear" (Mark 4:28). "By their fruits you shall know them. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?" (Matt. 7:16.) "Doth the fountain send forth from the same opening sweet water and bitter? Can a fig-tree, my brethren, yield olives, or a vine figs? Neither can salt water yield sweet" (James 3:11-12).


The plan of God's creation shows an ascending grade of life in all organisms. While one kind never produces another kind, it may produce indefinite varieties of its own kind. The margin between the several kinds is so slight that you may compare it to the morning twilight, in which it is difficult to say when night ceases and day begins. This narrowness of margin continues until we reach man, the highest organism, and in his case, as will be shown, the chasm is infinite.

 

ORIGIN OF THE LIGHT HOLDERS


"And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of heaven." The reader will observe that. in the first verse of Genesis we have a statement of the creation of the heavens. The reference, here, therefore, is not to the bringing into being of the heavenly bodies, for the verb to create is not used, but the appointment of them for offices or usefulness to the earth. The whole statement is from an earth viewpoint, and in reference to their relations to the earth. The earth atmosphere having been established, and chaos eliminated by the separation of the elements, to one on earth the heavenly bodies would seem to begin to be. Their service to the earth is threefold: first to divide the day from the night. That is, to continue and render permanent the separation and distinction which was effected on the first day. Second, for signs, seasons, days, and years. Third, as a permanent arrangement for the distribution of light upon the earth.


In many places in the Bible it is made clear that God is the maker of the heavenly bodies. Some of the references are unspeakably sublime and instructive. "That maketh the Bear, Orion, and Pleiades, and the chambers of the south" (Job 9: 9). "Canst thou bind the cluster of the Pleiades, or loose the bands of Orion? Canst thou lead forth the Mazzaroth in their season? Or canst thou guide the Bear with her train? Knowest thou the ordinances of the heavens? Canst thou establish the dominion thereof in the earth?" (Job 38:31-33). "When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; what is man, that thou art mindful of him, and the son of man that thou visitest him?" (Psalm 8:3-4). "The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament showeth his handiwork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night showeth knowledge. There is no speech nor language; their voice is not heard. Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them hath he set a. tabernacle for the sun, which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoiceth as a strong man to run his course. His going forth is from the end of the heavens, and his circuit unto the ends of it, and there is nothing hid from the heat thereof" (Psalm 19:1-6). "He appointed the moon for the seasons; the sun knoweth his the forest creep forth. The young lions roar after their prey and seek their food from God. The sun ariseth, they get them away, and lay them down in their dens. Man goeth forth unto his work and to labour until the evening. 0, Jehovah, how manifold are thy works I In wisdom hast thou made them all; the earth is full of thy riches" (Psalm 104:19-24). "That ye may be the sons of your Father who is in heaven; for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sendeth rain on the just and unjust" (Matt. 5:45). "And yet he left himself not without witness, in that he did good and gave you from heaven rains and fruitful seasons, filling your hearts with food and gladness" (Acts 14:17). "Because that which is known of God is manifest in them; for God manifested it unto them. For the invisible things of him since the creation of the world are clearly seen, being perceived through the things that are made even his everlasting power and divinity; that they may be without excuse" (Rom. 1:19-20).


The object of these lengthy quotations from the Word of God with reference to the creation and usefulness of the heavenly bodies is to show how clearly God's revelation establishes the fact of his creation and guards against the tendency in Man to worship the creature more than the Creator. The earliest and most persistent form of idolatry was the worship of the heavenly bodies; or of nature considered apart from God. The history of idolatries upon this point is full of interest, and all through the Bible story we see a conflict between the worship of the one true God and the creatures which he made. Paul, in his letter to the Romans, gives the grounds and process of-idolatry. "Because that, knowing God, they glorified him not as God, neither gave thanks; but became vain in their reasonings, and their senseless heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God for the likeness of an image of corruptible man, and of birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things" (Rom. 1:21-23). The Hebrew prophets were very earnest in their exhortations against these idolatries. "Hear ye the word which Jehovah speaketh unto you, 0 house of Israel: thus sayeth Jehovah, Learn not the ways of the nations, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the nations are dismayed at them" (Jer. 10:1-2). "Thou art wearied in the multitude of thy counsels: let not the astrologers, the star-gazers, the monthly prognosticators, stand up, and save thee from the things that shall come upon thee" (Isa. 47: 13).


In all literature there is nothing to compare in sublimity of thought and expression with Genesis I, Psalm 104, which is a hymn of creation, and the address of the Almighty to Job (Job 38-41). There can be no sound theology, no true conception of the material universe, of vegetable and animal life, of the nature, dignity and relations of man, without a revealed groundwork of creation. On this account so much attention, relatively, is given to the first chapter of Genesis.

 

ORIGIN OF MARINE ANIMALS AND FOWLS


"And God said, Let the waters swarm with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven" (Gen. 1:20). As in the case of vegetable life, animal life commences with the lowest forms: those developed from water. In his apostrophe to the ocean, Byron well says:


Even from out of thy slime the monsters of the deep arc made.


Again let the reader note that life comes from God'8 fiat, and not from any inherent power in water and air.. Both sea and sky are thick-peopled at his word:


Yonder is the sea, great and wide, Wherein are creeping things innumerable, Both small and great beasts. There go the ships: There is leviathan, whom thou hast formed to play therein. These wait all for thee, That thou mayest give them their food in due season. Thou givest unto them, they gather; Thou openest thy hand, they are satisfied with good. Thou bidest thy face, they are troubled; Thou takest away their breath, they die, And return to the dust. Thou sendest forth thy Spirit, they are created. – PSALM 104:25-30


 ORIGIN OF LAND ANIMALS


"And God said, Let the earth bring forth living creatures after their kind, cattle and creeping things, and beasts of the earth after their kind: and it was so" (Gen. 1:24). This language means: Let there be live beings of the substance of the earth. And now land, air, and sea are populous. The organs of movement are adapted to the element – fins for the sea, wings for the air and feet for the land. Some are amphibious – at home on land or sea, and some in air, or land, or sea. In wisdom God made them all.

 

QUESTIONS


1. Derivation of the English word, "Genesis"?


2. From what version of the Bible do we get the name?


3. What is Genesis?


4. State the twelve sections into which the book divides itself.


5. First origin?


6. Meaning of "beginning"?


7. What does the first verse show?


8. What one word is the explanation of the universe?


9. Meaning of "created"?


10. With God for its subject, how is this verb used in the Bible?


11. Do we obtain our knowledge of creation from tradition, history, science, or revelation?


12. What New Testament scripture expresses the fact?


13. The next origin set forth in the Bible story?


14. Give the Bible description of the earth matter.


15. What mighty agent is introduced to deal with matter?


16. What doctrine does this teach?


17. Given matter alone, what result?


18. Given matter and the Holy Spirit, what result?


19. First product of Spirit energy?


20. Of what is it the emblem?


21. What mightier creation does it illustrate?


22. Can atheistic philosophy account for light?


23. What questions concerning light does the Almighty propound to Job?


24. Was this first light either solar or stellar?


25. Why not?


26. What is the only ultimate explanation of light?


27. Have you read Milton's "Apostrophe to Light"?


28. Second product of Spirit energy?


29. What is the firmament?


30. What is atmosphere?


31. Mention some of its uses.


32. What special use in the text?


33. What property of atmosphere enables it to divide the waters?


34. Explain the process.


35. Of what natural agencies does the cloud appear to be the product?


36. What is the ultimate explanation?


37. Cite some scriptures attributing clouds, rain, snow, and hail to divine origin.


38. The third product of Spirit energy operating on matter?


39. How has chaos been eliminated?


40. What second causes may have been employed to make dry land appear?


41. Cite some scriptures showing that second causes were but the servants of the first cause.


42. Fourth product of Spirit energy?


43. What three classes of vegetable life are mentioned?


44. What word alone explains life?


45. What is abiogenesis?


46. Can human science prove even one instance of it?


47. What four infinite chasms which divine power alone can span appear in Genesis I? Ans.: (1) Between nothing and matter; (2) Between the chaos of matter and order; (3) Between matter, even when reduced to order, and the lowest form of life; (4) Between the highest order of brute life and man.


48. State the great law of reproduction and multiplication of original forms of life.


49. Is there any evidence that this law has been violated?


50. What is scriptural evolution?


51. What grade and margin in life organisms does God's plan of creation show?


52. In what one case is the margin infinitely wide?


53. Fifth product of the Spirit energy?


54. Does this mean that these heavenly bodies were then first created?


55. What does it mean?


56. What three offices of usefulness do the heavenly bodies render to the earth?


57. Cite some scriptures showing the fact that God did create the heavenly bodies.


58. Against what sin was the revelation designed to guard?


59. How does Paul state the ground and processes of idolatry?


60. What psalm is a hymn of creation?


61. What chapters of Job should be studied in connection with Genesis I?


62. Sixth product of Spirit energy?


63. Seventh product?


64. What organs of movement are adapted to the several elements, sea, air, land?


65. Mention an amphibious animal.


66. One at home in all three elements.



 
V

 

(Return to Contents)

 

CREATION – PART TWO
Origin of Man
Genesis 1:26 to 2:3

 


"And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness" (Gen. 1:26). The creation of man is the last and .highest stage in the production of organic life. Every step in creation so far is a prophecy of his coming and a preparation fee it. This wonderful world is purposed for a higher being than fish or fowl or beast. Not for them were accumulated the inexhaustible treasures of mineral and vegetable stores. What use have they for lignite, stone, coal, peat, iron, copper, oil, gas, gold, silver, pearls, and diamonds? They have no capacity to enjoy the beauty of the landscape, the glorious colorings of sea and sky. They cannot measure the distances to the stars nor read the signs of the sky. They cannot perceive the wisdom nor adore the goodness of the Creator. The earth as constituted and stored prophesied man, demanded man, and God said, "Let us make man." When he wanted vegetable life, he said, "Let the earth put forth shoots." When he wanted sea animals, he said, "Let the sea swarm." When he wanted land animals, he said, "Let the earth bring forth." But when the earth was prepared for its true lord and master, he said, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness." "Thou hast made him but little lower than God" (Psalm 8:5). (The Hebrew word here is Elohim, the same as in Genesis 1:1.)


When we contrast the language which introduces the being of man with that which introduces the beast, and consider the import of "image and likeness," and the dominion conferred on man, we are forced to the conviction than between man and the highest order of the beast there is an infinite and impassable chasm. And this view in confirmed by the divine demonstration that no beast could be man's consort (Gen. 2:18-20) ; and the divine law (Ex. 22:19).

 

THE IMAGE OF GOD


"God is a spirit." (John 4:24). "The father of spirits" (Heb. 12:9). "The Lord formeth the spirit of man within him" (Zech. 12:1). "The spirit of a man is the candle of the Lord" (Prov. 20:7). "And Jehovah God breathed into man's nostrils the breath of life: and man became a living soul" (Gen. 22:27). "The spirit retumeth to God who gave it" (Eccl. 12:7). We may say, then, in one word that the spirituality of man's nature is the image of God. Man is a rational, moral, spiritual being.


But this image of God involves and implies much more:


(a) Intuitive knowledge and reason. Colossians 3:10; Genesis 2:19-20.


(b) Uprightness and holiness. Ecclesiastes 7:29; Ephesians 4:24.


(c) Conscience. Romans 2:15.


(d) Will, or determinate choice, free moral agency.


(e) Worship of and communion with God.


(f) Dignity of presence. I Corinthians 11:7; Genesis 9:2.


(g) Immortality of soul, and provision for immortality of body by access to the tree of life. Genesis 3:22.


(h) Capacity for marriage, not like the consorting of beasts.


(i) Capacity for labor apart from the necessary struggle for existence.


(j) Speech, itself an infinite chasm between man and beast.


The dual nature of man will be considered in the next chapter on the second chapter of Genesis, which supplies details of man’s creation not given in this general statement.

 

UNITY OF THE RACE


"Male and female made he them." Multiply and fill the earth. There is one, and only one human race. The earth's population came from one pair. There was no pre-Adamite man. There has been no post-Adamite man, unless we except Jesus of Nazareth. The unity of the race is a vital and fundamental Bible doctrine. Its witness on this point is manifold, explicit, and unambiguous. (Gen. 9:19; 10:32; Acts 17:26.) The whole scheme of redemption is based on the unity of the race (Rom. 5:12-21). When we speak of the Caucasian, Mongolian, Malay, African, and North American Indian as different races, we employ both unscientific and unbiblical terms if we mean to imply different origins. There was no need for another race. This one pair could fill the earth by multiplication. There was no room for another race, for all authority of rule was vested in this one.

 

MAN'S COMMISSION


Multiply. Fill the earth. Subdue it. Man was to range over all zones and inhabit all zones. The sea was to be his home as well as the land. The habitat of each beast or bird or fish was of narrow limit.


Man was endowed with wisdom to adapt himself to all climates, protect himself from all dangers and surpass all barriers. There was given to him the spirit of intervention and exploration. He would climb mountains, descend into caves, navigate oceans, bridge rivers, cut canals through isthmuses. To subdue the earth was a vast commission which called out all of his reserve powers. Upon this point we cannot do better than quote the great Baptist scholar, Dr. Conant:


"If we look at the earth, as prepared for the occupancy of man, we find little that is made ready for use but boundless material which his own labour and skill can fit for it.


“The spontaneous fruits of the earth furnish a scanty and precarious subsistence, even to a few; but with skilful labour it is made to yield an abundant supply for the wants of every living thing."


On its surface, many natural obstacles are to be overcome. Forests must be leveled, rivers bridged over, roads and canals constructed, mountains graded and tunneled and seas and oceans navigated.


Its treasures of mineral wealth lie hidden beneath its surface; when discovered and brought to light they are valueless to man till his own labor subdues and fits them for his service. The various useful metals lie in the crude ore and must be passed through difficult and laborious processes before they can be applied to any valuable purpose. Iron, for example, the most necessary of all, how many protracted and delicate processes are required to separate it from impurities in the ore, to refine its texture, to convert it into steel before it can be wrought into the useful ax or knife, with the well-tempered edge!


What an education for the race has been this labor of subduing the earth! How it has developed reflection, stimulated invention and quickened the powers of combination, which would otherwise have lain dormant!


Nor are the collateral and remote less important than the direct and immediate results. He who takes a piece of timber from the common forest and forms it into a useful implement thereby makes it his own and it cannot rightfully be taken from him, since no one can justly appropriate to himself the product of another's skill and labor. So he who originally takes possession of an unappropriated field and by his labor prepares it for use thereby makes it his own and it cannot rightfully be taken from him. Hence arises the right of property, the origin and bond of civil society; and thus all the blessings of society, and of civilization and government, are due to the divinely implanted impulse, “fill the earth, and subdue it." Every institution of learning is but a means to this one great end.

 

THE DOMINION OF MAN


The dominion of man is as broad as his commission: "Have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth" (Gen. 1:28). For thou hast made him but little lower than God, And crownest him with glory and honour. Thou makest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; Thou hast put all things under his feet; All sheep and oxen, Yea, and the beasts of the field, The birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea, Whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas. 0, Jehovah, Our Lord, How excellent is thy name in all the earth. – PSALM 8:5-9


The exceeding great sweep of our dominion cannot be estimated until in the New Testament we study its exercise by the Second Adam, our Lord Jesus Christ (Heb. 2:5-11). The fullness of it is even yet future.

 

TITLE TO THE EARTH


And herein is man's title to the earth:


(a) He must populate it.


(b) He must develop its resources to support that population.


In God's law neither man nor nation can hold title to land or sea and let them remain undeveloped. This explains God's dealings with nations. The ignorant savage cannot hold large territories of fertile land merely for a hunting ground. When the developer comes he must retire. Spain's title to Cuba perished by 400 years of non-development. Mere priority of occupancy on a given territory cannot be a barrier to the progress of civilization. Wealth has no right to buy a county, or state, or continent and turn it into a deer park. The earth is man's. Wealth has no right to add house to house and land to land until there is no room for the people. "Woe unto them that join house to house, that lay field to field, till there be no room, and ye be made to dwell in the midst of the land" (Isa. 5:8).

 

THE PERIODS OF CREATION


The discussion of the days of creation has been designedly reserved until now, on account of their relation to the last creative institution. When the text says: "There was evening and there was morning, one day," or a second day, the language is that of the natural day as we now have it. But this does not necessarily mean that the earth was only 144 hours older than man. But it does imply:


That God chose to conduct his processes of earth formation by alternatings of activity and rest.


That he intended these periods of alternative activity and rest to constitute a prototype of time division for man not suggested by the revolution of the earth or any heavenly body. And that this division of time into a week should punctuate the institution of the sabbath, which was made for man, not for God, and that through it man's allegiance to God might be perpetuated.


We thus come to the crowning act of creation:


THE INSTITUTION OF THE SABBATH


"And the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God finished his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. And God blessed the seventh day and hallowed it; because that in it he rested from all his work which God had created and made" (Gen. 2:1-3). It has already been observed that the seven periods of creation called days, whatever their duration, were designed to be a prototype of a division of time not suggested by nature. Our natural day results from one revolution of the earth on its own axis; our month from the moon's revolution around the earth; our year from the earth's revolution around the sun. But the week is of divine appointment. A New Testament scripture goes to the root of the matter: "And he said unto them, The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath; so that the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath" (Mark 2:27-28).


God condescends to represent himself as man's archetype and exemplar. The sabbath was not made for God: "The Almighty fainteth not, neither is weary."


Among the reasons for the institution of the sabbath we may safely emphasize these:


Man's Mind Is Finite and His Memory Imperfect. Some means must be provided to stir up the finite mind of man to remember the significance of the mighty acts of creation. And what is the significance of creation? It is a declaration of these great truths: (1) That the material universe and all it contains had an origin. (2) That it was brought into being by the creative act of an intelligent, almighty, beneficent being. (3) That this being is God. (4) That he is the only rightful proprietor and sovereign of the universe. (5) That his will is the supreme law of its occupants. (6) That the knowledge of his will is by his revelation.


It is a negation of these great untruths: (1) It denies atheism by assuming the being of God. (2) It denies polytheism by the assertion of his unity. (3) It denies deism by making a revelation. (4) It denies materialism in distinguishing between matter and spirit, and in showing that matter is neither self-existent nor eternal. (5) It denies pantheism by placing God before matter and unconditioned by it. (6) It denies chance by showing that the universe in its present order is not, in whole or in part, the result of "a fortuitous concourse of atoms," or of the action of elementary principles of matter, but of an extraneous intelligent purpose. (7) It denies fatalism by asserting God's freedom to create when he would and to control how he would. (8) It denies blind force by its revelation of beneficence intelligently directing and adapting all things to good ends. (9) As a revelation it denies that man by searching can find out God, and denies that all the myths of the heathen, or the speculations of philosophy, or the observations of naturalists, can dissipate the profound darkness concerning the origin and nature and end of the world and of man.


Man's Body Is Mortal. Some means must be provided to guard its health and preserve its powers. His powers of endurance and of persistent application are limited. He cannot work unceasingly. He will need regular periods of rest for his body and mind. He must also have stated periods of enjoyment and worshiping God, that his soul may be fed and nourished. Man has a marvelous commission of labor, progress and development in subduing the earth. But five things must never be forgotten:


(1) Labor that is continuous will destroy both mind and body. Hence the necessity of regular periods of rest.


(2) The higher nature must not be subordinate to the lower. The soul must not wander too far from God. Communion with him is its nourishment and health. Man must not live by bread alone. God must be loved and adored.


(3) God is earth's proprietor and man's sovereign. His supreme jurisdiction must ever be acknowledged and accepted with complete submission.


(4) Man is social by the very constitution of his being. The unit of the family must not be broken. But there can be no permanent circle unless God is its center. And no tie will permanently bind unless it is sacred.


In subduing the earth, man has authority not only to lay under tribute the forces of nature which are without feeling, but to use the strength of the lower animals. These get weary. They cannot labor continuously. For their faithful service they need not only good food and shelter, but regular periods of rest.


(5) Not only animals need certain regular off-days, when they are to do no work, but all mechanical and scientific implements need it in order to reach maximum usefulness. It has been demonstrated that a steam engine, an ax, a hand-saw, will do more and better work in the long run with regular days of absolute rest.


Man's Spirit Finds Its Health in Communion with God. Some means must be provided that will keep up this communion regularly and thereby prevent alienation from God. All man's springs of joy are in God. Moreover, the creative week is a type of the earth's history and presupposes the fall and redemption of man. Therefore as one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, we may say:


The Sabbath Foreshadows the Millennium; of the thousand years of gospel triumph on the earth before the final judgment, and the final rest and glory of a completed redemption of both earth and man, greater than the original creation. The question then becomes momentous: What provision can a Heavenly Father make that will effectually secure these great ends? That will secure adequate rest for mind and body and soul? That will nourish and heal the spirit? That will tend to recognition of and submission to the divine sovereignty and proprietorship? That will make communities and nations cohere? That will provide mercy and rest for overtaxed machinery and beasts and children and women and slaves? That will prevent total departure from God? That will be a barrier against greed and avarice and tyranny?


O Lord God, our Redeemer, Maker, our Preserver, Thou hast answered in the text: "The sabbath was made for man." In the beginning thou didst ordain it, thou didst bless it and hallow it. It is one of the three holy things that man, though fallen and accursed, was permitted in mercy to bring with him from the lost bowers of Eden; majestic labor, the holy institution of marriage and the blessed and hallowed sabbath. Inestimable jewels! Time has never dimmed your luster, nor change nor circumstance depreciated your value. The experience of six thousand years bears witness to your divine origin. As types you have illumined time; as antitypes you will glorify eternity.


And throughout the world, wherever the sabbath in its purity has been disregarded, there marriage, in its true and holy sense) has been disregarded, and there idleness and cheating and fraud and gambling have taken the place of honest toil. There avarice and greed and tyranny have oppressed the poor, and there immorality and vice and polytheism and pantheism and deism and chance and fatalism and materialism and atheism have erected their standards. Yes, it is true in its ultimate and logical outcome: no sabbath, no God.


The sabbath or atheism, which? Why try to narrow this question to Jewish boundaries? The sabbath was made for man; for man, as man; for all men. Was Adam a Jew? Was he a son of Judah, or of Heber, or of Abraham, or of Shem? The sabbath was made for the first man, the progenitor of all the nations, and for him even in paradise as a primal law of man's primal, normal nature.


Why talk of Mount Sinai and the tables of stone? The sabbath marked the fall of the manna, that type of Jesus, the bread from heaven, before Sinai ever smoked or trembled or thundered. Why talk of Moses? The sabbath was twenty-five centuries old when Moses was born. It is older than any record or monument of man. Before the flood it was more than an institution. It was a promise of redemption from the curse pronounced in Eden. Pious hearts looked daily for the coming of the rest that remaineth for the people of God. Hence Lamech named his son "Noah," which means rest, saying: “This same shall comforet us concerning our work and the toil of our hands, because of the ground which the Lord hath cursed."


The sabbath was here before sin ever mantled man's face with the flush of shame. The sabbath antedates all arts and sciences. It was here before Enoch built a city, or Jabal stretched a tent, or Jubal invented instruments of music, or Tubal-Cain became an artificer in brass and iron. It is older than murder. Cain walked away from its altars of worship to murder his brother Abel. Its sunlight flashed into the face of the first baby that ever cooed in its mother's arms. It was a companion in Eden of that tree of life whose fruit gave immortality to the body. And its glory enswathes the antitypical tree of life in the Paradise of God, as seen in the apocalyptic visions of John the revelator. Yes, it will survive the deluge of fire as it survived the deluge of water. When the heavens are rolled together as a scroll, and the material world shall be dissolved, the sabbath will remain. The thunders of the final judgment shall not shake its everlasting pillars. It came before death, and when death is dead it will be alive. The devil found it on his first visit to earth, and its sweet and everlasting rest will be shoreless and bottomless after he is cast, with other sabbath-breakers, into the lake of fire. Yea, as it commenced before man needed a mediator between himself and God, so it will be an eternal heritage of God's people when the mediatorial kingdom of Jesus Christ is surrendered to the Father, and God shall be all in all. Thou venerable and luminous institution of God! Time writes no wrinkle on thy sunlit brow, Such as creation's dawn beheld, thou shinest now.


It was made for man; man on earth, and man in heaven. And mark you: The sabbath was made for man, so that the Son of man is lord even of the sabbath. Mark the force of that "so." It is equivalent to therefore or wherefore. That is, since it was made for man, the Son of man, not of Abraham, the Son of man is its Lord. Because Jesus was more than a Jew, because of his touch with all humanity, Luke, writing not for Jews but for Greeks, never stops, like Matthew, at Abraham, but traces his descent from Adam, the first man.


And as, in his humanity, he was the ideal man who should be the ensign of rallying for all nations, Paul applies to him the glorious, prophetic psalm: "But one in a certain place testified, saying, What is man, that thou art mindful of him? or the son of man that thou visitest him? Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; thou crownest him with glory and honour, and didst set him over the works of thy hands: Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him. But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man." As the God-man he is the Lord of the sabbath. To his cross may be nailed a seventh day. But from his resurrection may come a first day. One in seven is essential – which one is as the Lord of the sabbath may direct.

 

GENERAL REFLECTIONS


The reader will observe the formula expressing the divine fiat which introduces each successive step in the progress of the earth's formation:


"And God said" – Genesis 1:3.


"And God said" – Genesis 1:6.


"And God said" – Genesis 1:9.


"And God said' – Genesis 1:11.


"And God said" – Genesis 1:14.


"And God said" – Genesis 1:20.


"And God said" – Genesis 1:24.


"And God said" – Genesis 1:26.


"And God said" – Genesis 1:28.


“And God said” – Genesis 1:29.


In simple and sublime language his will or decree is expressed and the result follows like an echo. He created the world by the word of his power. He spake and it stood fast. To the first word, light responds; to the second, atmosphere; to the third, dry land; to the fourth, vegetable life; to the fifth, light holders; to the sixth, animal life in sea and air; to the seventh, animal life on earth; to the eighth, human life; to the ninth, provision for life. Though the formula does not recur, the sabbath decree (Gen. 2:1-3) completes the ten words.


Primal institutions, (a) Marriage. "And he answered and said, Have ye no? read, that he who made them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh? So that they are no more two but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let no man put asunder. They say unto him, why then did Moses command to give a bill of divorcement, and to put her away? He saith unto them, Moses for your hardness of heart suffered you to put away your wives; but from the beginning it hath not been so. And I say unto you, whosoever shall put away his wife, except for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery; and be that marrieth her when she is put away, committeth adultery" (Matt. 19:4-9).


(b) Labor. "Subdue the earth."


(c) Sabbath for rest and worship.


(d) Dominion.


(e) Man's title to the earth on condition that he populate and subdue it.


There is no evidence that matter has received addition or loss since its original creation. Nor that any additions have been made to the species of life organisms, vegetable or animal.


There is no necessary discord between the Mosaic order of creation and the best settled teachings of natural science. In his Manual of Geology, Dana thus summarizes his understanding of the Mosaic account:


I. Inorganic era:


First Day – Light cosmical.


Second Day – The earth divided from the fluid around, or individualized.


Third Day – (1) Outlining of the land and water. (2) Creation of vegetation.


II. Organic era:


Fourth Day – Light from the sun.


Fifth Day – Creation of the lower order of animals.


Sixth Day – (1) Creation of mammals. (2) Creation of man.


Yet the Bible was given to teach religion, and not science.


Trinity in creation, (a) The Father. Genesis 1:1; Acts 17:24. (b) Holy Spirit. Quickening matter with the several results of light, order, life. Job 26:13; Psalm 10~30; Genesis 2:7; Zechariah 12:1; Hebrews 12:9; Proverbs 20:27; Ecclesiastes 12:7.


(c) The Son. Proverbs 8:22-31; John 1:1-3; I Corinthians 8:6; Ephesians 3:9; Colossians 1:16; Hebrews 1:8.


Theological definition of creation: "By creation we mean that free act of the Triune God by which in the beginning for his own glory he made, without the use of pre-existing materials, the whole visible and invisible universe." – A. H. Strong.


For whom was creation? Colossians 1:16.


For what? The divine glory.


Creation reveals what? Order, correlation, benevolent design: Genesis 1:14; 8:22; Job 38:1-33; Psalm 19:1-16; Matthew 5:45; Acts 14:17; Romans 1:19-20.


Addison's paraphrase of Psalm 19.

 

QUESTIONS


1. Eighth product of Spirit energy?


2. How did the creation prophesy man's coming?


3. In what does the image of God consist?


4. What does it involve and imply?


5. State the Bible teaching on the unity of the race.


6. Importance of the doctrine?


7. Into what five races did our old geographies divide men?


8. State man's commission.


9. State some details of the magnitude of this commission.


10. How did this lead to the rights of property?


11. How does it necessitate schools and promote arts, sciences, etc.?


12. What conditions man's title to the earth?


13. How does this explain God's dealings with the nations?


14. Apply the principle to the Indian tribes of America, and Spain's title to Cuba.


15. How does it limit the purchasing power of the wealthy?


16. What name was given to the periods of creation?


17. Does this language necessarily imply that the earth was only 144 hours older than man?


18. What three things does it imply?


19. The crowning institution of the creative week?


20. First reason for the sabbath?


21. Creation an affirmation of what truths?


22. Negation of what untruths?


23. Second reason?


24. Third reason?


25. Relation of sabbath to marriage, society, worship?


26. What formula introduces each degree of creation?


27. What were the great primal institutions?


28. Has there been any addition to matter since creation?


29. To the species of the life organisms?


30. Is there substantial accord between the Bible account of the order of creation and the teaching of science?


31. Cite Scripture proof of the Trinity in creation.


32. Cite Dr. Strong's theological definition of creation.


33. For whom was creation?


34. For what?


35. It reveals what?

 


 
VI

 

(Return to Contents)

 

MAN IN PARADISE
Genesis 2:4-25

 


We commence with the fourth verse which begins the new division of the analysis, to wit: "These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth," and that division extends to the close of Genesis 4, but our present chapter will discuss so much of it only as is found in the second chapter.


In reading this chapter one is impressed, even in the translation, by a marked difference in style between it and the first chapter of Genesis. How, then, do we account for this great difference in style? A sufficient and simple answer is that in every chapter the style corresponds to the subject matter. Some of you will recall a paragraph from Alexander Pope with this couplet:


When Ajax strives some rock's vast weight to throw, The line too labours, and the words move slow.


This essayist on style then goes on to show that in describing the nimble-footed Camilla there is no labor in the line, and no slow motion in the words. The first chapter of Genesis consists of terse, abrupt, sententious sentences, each as rugged as a granite mountain. The nature of the subject calls for that style. The second chapter, following the usual method of Genesis, takes up certain items tersely stated in the first chapter and enlarges or expounds the statement. This calls for a smoother and more flowing style.


A thinking reader will also note another change in the second chapter. The first chapter uniformly uses the word, "God," but the second chapter, "Jehovah God," and this change from the name of "God" to "Jehovah God" appears a number of times, not merely in Genesis, but in many succeeding books, and is just as marked in the psalms as it is in Genesis. The word "God" is employed when the Deity is spoken of in the abstract. The words, "Jehovah God," are employed when there is a revelation of the Deity spoken of in covenant relation. The name, "Jehovah," is always used when you want to show God's covenant relation with man, and you find both of these names, or titles, of God oftentimes in the same verse (see Genesis 7:16; I Samuel 17:46-47; 2 Chronicles 18:31). God in the abstract is Elohim, or just "God," but God in covenant relation is "Jehovah Elohim," or "Jehovah God."


As we look over this second chapter at first glance, there seems to be on the face of it another diversity from the first chapter in the order of creation. In the first chapter the chronological order is strictly followed, man coming last; in the second chapter the mind is fastened on the man who came last in the first chapter, first in dignity, and the other things and beings are discussed in their relation to him without intending to convey the idea that this is the chronological order of their creation. The radical critics have been accustomed to claim that these three marked changes between the first and second chapters indicate different authors and different documents. There is no convincing reason for accepting this explanation. The book of Genesis is not a patchwork of different documents by different authors crudely and artificially joined together; one purpose runs through the book. Whoever wrote one part of it wrote all the parts of it, from whatever source his materials were derived.


Just here it is important to call your attention to the uniform method of historic treatment in the book of Genesis. From the first sentence to the end of the book there is a designed descent from the general and comprehensive to the particular. For example, the first verse, in a few words, states that in the beginning God created the universe. The second verse descends to this particular: the condition of the created earth matter as being without form and void, and darkness over the face of the deep. The author does not attempt to state how much interval of time passed from the creation of the matter of the universe to this particular state of the chaos of the earth matter. Having thus shown what the chaotic state was he then shows the several steps by which this chaos, under the mighty energy of the Holy Spirit, is changed into order.


The first eleven chapters are a race history. Then there is a descent to a particular man and a family and a nation. Another uniform method of the book of Genesis is, that in tracing the kingdom of God all of the families of whom the elect line does not come are first given and then sidetracked. It gives the generations of Ishmael before it gives the generations of Isaac, and the generations of Esau before it gives the generations of Jacob.


In this second chapter, as has been said, following the methods of a descent from the general to the particular, the author takes up certain brief statements of the first chapter and sup- plies details that are not given in the first. Among the examples are these: In the first chapter, following a chronological; order, there is the bare statement that God commanded the earth to bring forth grass and the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit. But the second chapter supplies a detail that at first there was no rain but only a mist that went up from the earth and watered the face of the ground, and caused the seeds of things which had been created to germinate; then the first chapter states in general terms that God made man, male and female, without detail. This second chapter tells us how man's body was made from the dust of the ground, and how the spirit of man was communicated, and then it shows how the female was derived from the man. This is a detailed elaboration) or explanation, of the brief statement in the first chapter.


The second chapter then goes on to supply the detail of how God provided a garden for the man, and how he came under covenant law to God, and the stipulations of that covenant. This detailed information of the second chapter is very important as showing the dual nature of man, how that his body was formed from the dust of the earth. Here it is clear that the teaching is that man's body was not evolved from any lower form of animal life. There is an evolution clearly taught in the Bible, but it is an evolution of each seed according to its kind, and not the transformation of one kind into another kind. Whatever potentiality has been previously involved in any seed may be evolved out of that seed. From a seed of wheat there is first the blade and then the stalk and then the ear, and then the full or ripened ear, but barley is not evolved from a wheat seed. Each one is according to its own kind. No research of man has ever found an example of one kind being evolved from a different kind. It would destroy all law and take away from man the value of his reason in observing nature's course, or the course of the God of nature so as to profit by it. This second chapter is equally clear as to the origin of man's spirit. The spirit of the first man was not by any process of evolution derived from any spirit of beast or demon, but a direct creation of God, an impartation from God. Marcus Dods, in his book on Genesis, exceedingly lucid and brilliant, though many times tending to the theory of the radical critic, asks a question: "Was the first man a rude and ignorant savage or a highly civilized man?" You may rest assured that the first man was the highest and noblest of his kind, fresh from the hands of his Creator, created upright, in righteousness, knowledge and true holiness, wonderfully dowered and commissioned. He was superior not only to the rude and ignorant savage, but to the highest type of present civilization.


This leads to another thought, viz.: that the savage tribes to today are not merely ascending from a primeval degradation in the scale of beings, but are examples of a degeneration from a previous higher type. On this point the whole theory of Darwinian evolution is hopelessly at war with revelation and common sense, and also with all of the clearly proved facts gathered by man's research. This thought is further carried out by the fact that race memory has embodied in tribal and I national myths proofs that man has not ascended from a primeval cave dweller or a remote stone age to the present golden age of civilization, but that there has been, according to the teachings of history time and again, a descent from the primeval golden age to a silver, then a brazen, and then an iron and then a stone age. As an instance, take Ovid's "Metamorphoses" as embodying the classical idea of first a golden, then a silver, then a brazen and then an iron age, and this is in harmony with the myths and legends preserved among all people. By a kind of race memory they all look back to & higher and nobler position than that now occupied. This erroneous evolution theory goes a long way back and finds first, cave dwellers, or troglodytes, and an evolution from the cave dweller of the stone age to the present civilized time. But the Bible itself, as well as present history, shows that troglodytas or cave dwellers existed contemporaneously with higher types. The Horites mentioned in Genesis were troglodytes living in caves. This evolution theory begs the question and contradicts the facts as well, in demanding almost infinite periods of time between these several generations. Not long ago the phosphate beds of Ashley, South Carolina, were discovered, and in excavating for these phosphates there were found all mingled together the bones, skeletons of animals including man, that, under this theory, must have been separated in countless ages of time from each other.


We have in this second chapter a description of a garden, or paradise, in the district of Eden. I need not cite the words of this description, for you have the book before you. Captain Mayne Reid, in the Desert Home, describes a fertile, well watered valley, mountain locked on every side, full of flowers and fruits, that may convey to you some idea of paradise in a valley of the mountains. Or you may get some idea of paradise in a valley of the mountains from Johnson's Happy Valley of Rasselas. The record says that this park was fertilized by a river system, which, in leaving the garden, parted into fear beads that became mighty rivers. Two of these rivers -- the Euphrates and the Tigris – are easy to locate, and the other two may be easily inferred. In the Armenian mountains is yet to be seen a beautiful valley in which, from the same water system, four famous rivers rise, not far from each other. The springs of these rivers are not many miles apart. The Euphrates, leaving this valley, flows, in general terms, south, reaching the Indian Ocean through the Persian Gulf. The Tigris flows east and then south until it unites with the Euphrates before it reaches the sea. The Halys and the Araxes also rise in the same valley, one of them flowing northwest into the Black Sea, and the other, east into the Caspian Sea.


There were two remarkable trees in this garden, the tree of life and the tree of death. From what is said in the third chapter, and indicated by its own name, the object of the tree of life was to furnish the fruit that would ultimately eliminate the mortality of man's body so that long continuance in the use of this fruit would make his body as immortal as his soul. On the other hand, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil fruited unto death. Many of the commentaries have found in this story of the garden of Eden a mere allegory. All subsequent references to it in the Bible clearly prove that this account is strictly historical. By following out your marginal references abundant proof texts are to be found in both Testaments that the memory of this famous garden lingered long lathe minds of the race. In the New Testament, at the very close of it, paradise regained, with its water of life and the tree of life, is set forth as the antitype of the earthly garden of Eden. It is quite important to note that the man had duties in this garden. He was to tend the garden and, as in the commission stated in the first chapter of Genesis, he must subdue the earth. This shows that labor preceded sin and has in it a natural dignity not to be despised.


It is well to note that this man in this garden, without being at all startled, had direct communication with God; without fear or shame he met and communed with his Creator. The biblical account clearly shows that this man stood in covenant relations with his God. The very fact that some things are prescribed and other things proscribed is an evidence of a covenant relation, the Creator freely permitting some things, sharply prohibiting other things with severe penalties attached to disobedience. The prohibition not to eat of the tree of the fruit of knowledge of good and evil, except on a penalty of death, is a stipulation of this covenant. Some have questioned the propriety of such a moral test. But a test in this form is more excellent than one like an ordinary law of nature demonstrating its own consequences.


Men have had some difficulty in locating the garden of Eden from the description given in this second chapter, but their difficulties arise from supposing there has been no change since primeval times. For example, the Hiddekel, or Tigris, is said to compass all the land of Cush, and commentators, keeping in mind the territory of Cush in Africa, experience a difficulty in locating this river. They should notice that the descendants of Cush first occupied the very territory which the Tigris compasses, and later some of them settled in Arabia and others of them in Africa. A passage in Ezekiel, which the reader must find, tells us that the garden of Eden was destroyed. By which is meant not the annihilation of its mountains and its rivers, but such a change as, were you now to see the location, you could not identify it from the description given in Genesis. Several curious theories of the location of the garden of Eden have been inflicted upon the people. A Methodist bishop is quite sure that it was near where Charleston, South Carolina, now is. Another says that it was at the North Pole and that the aurora borealis is still a reflection of its pristine glory, and that there is an opening into the hollow of the earth at the North Pole and paradise went down into that hole, and only the aurora borealis outshines and that God had hedged it about with impassable ice. The discovery of the North Pole, if it was a discovery, clearly disproves the existence of such a stake as the north pole.


One of the most suggestive thoughts in this chapter is the way in which God made the man sensible of his need of a companion, and of the kind of a companion that he must have. The animals in pairs passed before the man and he noticing that they were all in pairs – a lion and a lioness, a tiger and a tigress, and so on – thus suggesting the thought to him that these lower creatures had mates, and he had none, but further suggesting that because of his difference in nature, he being in God's image and infinitely above any lower animal, he could not find a mate among them. Having thus prepared man's mind to see the necessity of a companion, God, by a spiritual anesthetic, brings man's body into a state of painless insensibility, and while in that state takes from him a part of himself near his heart, and out of that fashions man's companion.


Here arises an important question: "Was the spirit of Eve a direct creation like Adam's, or was her spirit derived from him as well as her body?" This brings up two theological theories, one called the theory of direct creation of spirits, and the other the theory of derivation by traduction. It has always seemed to the author that the common theory, that the souls of men are all of them, each in its turn, a direct creation of God, is utterly incompatible with biblical facts. It would disprove hereditary depravity or the necessity of regeneration. Education only would be needed. When the companion was presented to man, Adam said, Isha, which means woman, and woman means derived from man. When she was presented to him she was presented to him in her entirety --body and soul – and he called her woman – i.e., derived from man. So that Eve was as much a descendant of Adam as you are. In other words the man, when created was the whole race in potentiality, and every other human being, including Eve, was derived from him. A very important doctrine will be seen to be dependent upon this when we come to the next chapter, when we come to the fall of man. If Eve was a descendant of Adam, race responsibility did not rest upon her. Her sin might bring death to her but only to herself, but Adam's sin would bring it to all to be derived from him.


God himself married this first pair, and our Lord, in the nineteenth chapter of Matthew, indicated the ceremony by the words which he quotes. In looking upon this first pair, we come upon a somewhat startling statement prefaced by "therefore": "Therefore shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall cleave unto his wife." The usual idea seems to be that the right of the matter is that a man shall take her to his father's and mother's house, but the Bible says that a man shall leave his folk, and all the wives can understand why this is so. They cannot go to the father-in-law and mother-in-law and feel at home under the dominion of those who are practically strangers. She wants her home. She is willing enough to receive counsel in the home life from her mother, but not so well from his mother. So he should not always be telling her how well his mother could make biscuits and pies and coffee and desserts. Let her tell him how her mother used to do it. The truth is, when they marry, they had better go off to themselves.


In two of the finest passages of Milton's Paradise Lost is the poet's conception of the man's first consciousness after his creation and how Eve awoke and found herself. I once took the passage about Eve waking and finding herself, and made it the theme of an address before a college of young ladies. I suggest that every reader read these two passages.


When we come to the New Testament we find proof corroborating the Genesis account of the origin of the woman. It distinctly affirms that Adam was first formed, then Eve, and that the woman was made for the man and not the man for the woman, and that the man is the head of the family, from which are also derived some beautiful lessons about Christ the Second Adam, and the church derived from him; that as the first Adam slept while the woman was taken from his side so Christ died that from his death might come his companion, his spouse, his church; that Christ also loved the church and gave himself for it.

 

QUESTIONS


1. How do you account for the difference of style between the first and second chapters of Genesis?


2. What says Alexander Pope on the variation of style?


3. What is the style in the first chapter? The second?


4. What variation in the use of the names of God, and how do you account for it?


5. 1s this peculiar to the Pentateuch?


6. Why, in this section, is man's formation placed before vegetable and other animal life?


7. Does the first chapter or the second present the chronological order?


8. Is the second chapter an independent and conflicting account of creation?


9. What is the uniform method of historic treatment in the book of Genesis?


10. Of what do the first eleven chapters of Genesis consist?


11. What details are supplied in the second chapter not found in the first chapter?


12. Give an account of the origin of the first man's dual nature.


13. Was he, either in body or soul, developed from lower animals?


14. Was the first man a rude and ignorant savage, or the highest type of his kind?


15. Are the savage tribes of today merely ascending from primeval degradation in the scale of being, or are they examples of a degeneration from an original higher type?


16. Does race memory, as embodied in the tribal and national myths, indicate that man has ascended from cave dwellers of a remote stone age, or has descended from a primeval golden age to silver, brass, iron, and stone conditions?


17. Give a classic myth on this point.


18. Give Bible proof that troglodytes (cave dwellers) were not separated in incalculable periods of time from. highly developed and civilized types, but were contemporaries.


19. What bearing have the phosphate beds of Ashley, South Carolina on the theory that immensely long periods of time separated the several forms of lower animal life from each other and from man?


20. What ideal homes in fiction may possibly represent how the garden of Eden was enclosed and safeguarded?


21. Locate and describe it. What curious theories about it?


22. How was this park fertilized?


23. What two remarkable trees were there?


24. The use or purpose of the tree of life?


25. Of the tree of death?


26. Is this garden story allegory or history?


27. Cite Old Testament proofs that the memory of this real garden lingered long in the minds of the race. (See Gen. 13:10; Isa. 51:3; Ezek. 28:13; 36:35; Joel 2:3.).


28. Cite scripture proving its destruction. (See Ezek. 31:9, 16, 18.)


29. Man's duties in the garden?


30. Nature of his communion with God?


31. Scripture proof of Adam's covenant relations with God? (Hos. 6:7.)


32. Was it a covenant of grace or of works?


33. What prohibition expressed its stipulation on man's part?


34. What is the excellency of this moral test?


35. How did God make man sensible of his need of a companion?


36. Origin of the woman's body?


37. Was her soul a direct creation as Adam's, or was it derived from Adam?


38. Who married the first pair, and what New Testament scripture indicates the ceremony?


39. The deep sleep that fell upon Adam and the woman's derivation from him therein were typical of what? New Testament proof?


40. If either be done, why should the man leave his folk for his wife rather than the wife her folk for the husband?


41. In their antitype show that both leave their folks.


42. Where in Paradise Lost do you find Milton's conceptions of how the man first consciously found himself and the woman herself? Sir Egerton Bridges Edition, pp. 297-8 and 205-6.


43. Cite New Testament corroboration of the Genesis account of the origin of woman.

 
VII

 

(Return to Contents)

 

THE ANGELS


We have seen in the second chapter of Genesis the happy estate of the man and woman in paradise. We learn in the third chapter about the fall of man and his expulsion from that garden. No more fundamental subject can be considered by a Bible student, and we are not going to leave it until you are thoroughly grounded in the significance of the fall of man. But we are not prepared to commence the study of the fall until we consider somewhat the origin, nature, office, and history of another very distinct class of created beings called angels, through one of whom man was seduced to sin against God. So you see that the subject of this chapter is the creation of the angels, their relation to God and to man and the use of the serpent as an instrument in the temptation. Many Bible words of general signification take on by special usage a particular and official meaning; for example, the words, "apostle," "deacon," "church," or "angel." Primarily "apostle" means one sent. In this original meaning one sent by another is an apostle. Jesus was an apostle; so was Barnabas. But by special use the term is restricted to the highest office in the earthly church, and confined to the twelve apostles and to Paul. So "deacon" means primarily a servant. In this original sense any one who serves is a deacon. Jesus was a deacon. But by usage the term is restricted to a particular office in the apostolic church. The Greek New Testament term rendered "church" means primarily an official assembly called out for the transaction of secular business, but later designates a particular congregation of Christians. In like manner "angel" primarily means a messenger of any kind. Any one bearing a message from another is in this original sense an angel. Many passages in the Old Testament use the phrase, "angel of Jehovah," to designate a preliminary manifestation of the Son of God before his incarnation. In this original sense the pastors of the seven churches in Asia are called the angels of the churches. Yet this general term "angel" by abundant usage, designates a special class of created beings, neither human nor divine – above the one, below the other – appointed unto a distinctive office. These constitute the hosts of the heavens.


When, then, were they created? There was but one creative period, and that period is set forth in the first chapter of Genesis and in the second chapter down to the third verse. In that time were finished not only the heavens and the earth, but "all the hosts of them" (Gen. 2:1). Now the hosts of the earth are the created beings that inhabit the earth. The hosts of the heavens are the angels. The order in which the earth's hosts – that is, the animals of sea, air, and land, culminating in man – were brought into being, has been set forth in previous chapters. But a consideration of the origin of "the hosts of the heavens" has been deferred until their contact with man brings them prominently into the earth history.


In the Psalm 148 all the creation, including the angelic hosts, are invoked to praise Jehovah, their Creator:


Praise ye him, all his angels:


Praise ye him, all his hosts. . . .


For be commanded, and they were created.


Here the creation of the angels is associated in time with the rest of creation. Even more particularly in this association set forth and attributed to Jesus Christ in Colossians 1:16: "In him were all things created, in the heavens and upon the earth, things visible and things invisible, whether thrones or dominions, or principalities or powers; all things have been created through him and unto him." It is true that the Son of God, by his incarnation, was subsequently made a little lower than the angels whom he created (Heb. 2:7), but after his resurrection and ascension he was again exalted above them: "Who is on the right hand of God, having gone into heaven; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him" (2 Peter 3:22).


The hosts of heaven met Jacob at a later day (Gen. 32:1) and are an innumerable company. "The Lord came from the myriads of holy ones" (Deut. 33:2). "The chariots of God are twenty thousand, even thousands upon thousands" (Psalm 68:17). "Thousands of thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him" (Dan. 7:10). "Innumerable hosts of angels" (Heb. 12:22). "I heard the voice of many angels) . . . and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand and thousands of thousands" (Rev. 5:11).


The creation of the angels preceded that of the universe matter, and of course, that of man. In other words, the first creation was when the angels were made. We know this to be the case, because in the Psalm 104:4-5, these angels were employed in bringing the chaotic earth matter into order. From the passage, Job 38:7, we are told that the sons of God watched it, had participated in it, and when it was completed shouted for Joy over the world when it was created. They rejoiced over the beautiful consummation.


By nature the angels were incorporeal, i.e., pure spirit (Psalm 104:4; Heb. 1:14; Eph. 6:12), and sexless (Matt. 22:30), and immortal (Luke 20:36), possessed of superhuman and yet finite wisdom and power (2 Sam. 14:20; 2 Peter 2:11; Matt. 24:36; I Peter 1:12; Eph. 3:10). Angels are not a family, but a company. They are without ancestry or posterity. Each stands or falls in his own individuality. As they could not fall through a progenitor, nor become corrupt through hereditary law, they cannot, when fallen, become subjects of redemption through a second federal head (Heb. 2:16). Of angels, therefore, we may say: They are created and therefore finite beings; by origin they are called the sons of God (Job 1:6; 2:7); by nature they are spirits (Psalm 104:4) ; by character they are called "holy ones" or "saints" (Job 5:1; Psalm 89:5-7; Dan. 8:13; Jude 14). Later we shall find them ministrators of the law (Gal. 3:19), heralds of the gospel (Luke 2:9-13), and servants of Christ's people (Heb. 1:14).

 

ORIGIN OF SIN


Now we come to the origin of sin. From the most. ancient times the origin of evil has baffled the inquisition of proud human philosophy. The Bible account of it is both simple and satisfactory. It originated with the angels. These angels were created free, moral agents, under law, on probation, with power to determinate choice, hence liable to fall. The greater number of them stood the test. In I Timothy 5:21, those who stood the test are called the elect angels. But many fell from their state of innocence. See 2 Peter 2:4, and Jude 6: "The angels which kept not their first estate." The leader and chief among them was Satan, who "stood not in the truth" (John 8:44), falling through pride (I Tim. 3:6). He was first called Lucifer, which means "son of the morning." He loses that name and takes the name Satan. This chief of the fallen angels has many Bible names. As expressive of his primacy and supremacy over other evil spirits he is called Beelzebub. As indicative of his hostility to man he is called Satan, which means adversary. As descriptive of his methods of malignity against man his name is devil. In this word is the idea of one who sets at variance. Those whom he seeks to set at variance are God and man. When he approaches man he slanders God; when he approaches God he accuses man. Hence, in his work of variance he is both an accuser and a slanderer. When he approaches Eve he slanders God. When he approaches God he accuses Job. In view of the result of his work he is called Apollyon, the destroyer. He is never a constructionist, but eminently a destructionist. He does not build; he demolishes. Because of the form he assumed in the temptation of man, he is called the Serpent, the Dragon. Very sinuous, tortuous, slimy, and subtle are his ways. On account of his rage and predatory character he is compared to a roaring lion. He is called the tempter because he incites to evil. He is called the receiver because he tempts by lies. That he may deceive he comes as an angel of light, and that he may trap the unwary he sets cunning traps as a fowler who ensnares birds. But all the time he is a liar and a murderer, and the father of lies and murders. He is the father of all false religions. He uses the lusts of the flesh, the pride of life, and the course of the world in turning men away from God. He first blinds, then binds and then stupefies, and so he keeps his goods in peace. He is an awful and hideous reality, apart from God the most stupendous factor in the universe. He is limited in power and in the time allotted him to work his evil deeds. Now, as I stated, the angels, like man, were on probation. The best statement of that case that I have ever seen is in Milton's Paradise Lost, fifth book, commencing at the 520th line: Raphael said to Adam:

 

“Son of heaven and earth, Attend: that thou art happy, owe to God; That thou continuest such, owe to thyself, That is, to thy obedience; therein stand. This was that caution given thee; be advised. God made thee perfect, not immutable; And good he made thee; but to persevere He left it in thy power; ordained thy will By nature free, not over-ruled by fate Inextricable, or strict necessity: Our voluntary service he requires, Not our necessitated; such with Him Finds no acceptance, nor can find; for how Can hearts, not free, be tried whether they serve Willing or not, who will but what they must By destiny, and can no other choose? Myself, and all the angelic host, that stand In sight of God, enthroned, our happy state Hold, as you yours, while our obedience holds; On other surety none: freely we serve, Because we freely love, as in our will To love or not; in this we stand or fall.”


Now comes a much more serious question. What was the occasion that led the devil to sin? God did not make a devil; he created him a good angel, but created him free to act, to stand or fall. Now, the devil sinned, and we find his sin to be pride or ambition, but we have not yet found the occasion for that sin. If you are familiar with Paradise Lost you will see that Milton says the occasion was this: That God introduced his Son to the angels, and announced that from that time he was to be king of the angels and that they were to serve him. Milton bases his statement on the passage in the first chapter of Hebrews, "When he bringeth his only Begotten into the world again he said, Let all the angels of God worship him." Now, Milton makes that take place before there was any universe. A fair interpretation of that scripture is that when Jesus died and rose again – that was bringing his Begotten into the world again – God said, "Let all the angels worship him." That is the true explanation, that they were to worship not the Son of God in original divinity, but the Son of God in raised humanity. So Milton was mistaken about the occasion. Jesus Christ made the angels, all of them. He made the one that became the devil, and I don't suppose that the devil's pride or ambition would ever have led him to rebel against the one who created him through any desire to succeed him. The question is, What was the occasion that excited the pride of the devil? Now, the Bible does not say, but I am going to give you my own opinion, and you can take it as an opinion. My opinion is that, in one of those meetings in heaven like that described in Job at which all the angels at stated times come up into the presence of God, he announced to them that he was going to create this world and make man in his image and likeness, and that this man through obedience, – if he observed the commandments of God and should eat of the tree of life, – would become immortal and be lifted up above the angels, and that it should be the office of the angels to serve this man. Now I think there is where the devil protested. He was willing enough for God to be over him, but he was unwilling for a creature, made originally lower. than himself, to have a destiny that would one day put any being above him. Every saved soul will be far above any angel. That is my opinion. If I had time I believe I could show you inferentially, of course not specifically, for I would then have to give you scriptures.


Now, in the second book of Paradise Lost Milton tracks the Bible out much more clearly about how sin originated. When the devil, after being cast out of heaven, is leaving hell to go back to find on earth this people that were to be created below him and one day were to be above him, he meets at the gate of hell Sin and Death, both horrible. And Just as he and Death are about to fight, Sin intervenes. Sin is a beautiful woman from the waist up, and a snake from the waist down. She says to Satan: "Death is thy son. I am Death's mother. I am not only Death's mother, but I am thy daughter. Don't you remember that time in heaven when your pride was excited, that fearful pain came in your head and it was opened and out I leaped full grown like a beautiful woman? And every angel said, 'Sin, Sin, Sin.' But, looking at my beauty, they became enamoured of me, and especially thou, and thy espousal to Sin produced the progeny, Death, and Death's espousal to Sin produced the progeny of the hellhounds of remorse." That is Milton's idea, powerfully set forth, marvelous. That coincides with what we were discussing in the New Testament about sin. There is first enticement, then desire, then will, then sin) and sin when it is full grown bringeth forth death. That part of Milton's work is true.


We are now compelled by the facts of the Bible story about to be considered to take some note of a great mystery. And that is the power of spirit over matter and over less powerful organisms of life. "Unquestionably, when permitted, Satan can stir up a cyclone, or electric storm that leaves death in its path (Job 1:16-19); or incite to robbery and murder (Job 1:15-17 and I John 3:12). He can hypnotize inferior animals (Matt. 8:30-32), and make them obey his will. He can, by consent of the subject, take possession of man's mind and make it his servant. Hence, the demoniacal possessions of the New Testament. One of the clearest revelations of Scripture is the immediate influence of spirit over matter and the immediate impact of spirit on spirit. We could not otherwise understand Genesis 1:2; 2:7; Psalm 104: 30; I Peter 1:21; John 3:3; Luke 1:55; John 8:27; Acts 5:3, and many other passages. The formation of the earth, the communication of man's soul, the incarnation of our Lord, the quickening of regeneration, the resurrection, inspiration, demoniacal possession, the preparation of dying infants for heaven, the stampeding of cattle, panics in armies, mesmerism, hypnotism and a thousand other mysteries find their only explanation in the doctrine of immediate impact of spirit on matter or on another spirit.


The account of Genesis speaks of the serpent, the instrument, only. But fairly interpreted it implies what is elsewhere so forcibly taught, that the serpent was merely the instrument of a mighty spiritual power in the temptation of Eve. That grandest of all epics, Paradise Lost, reveals throughout a profound study of the whole Bible. It thus sets forth a possible method of the entrance of Satan into the serpent:


So saying, through each thicket dank and dry, Like a black mist low creeping, he held on His midnight search, where soonest he might find The serpent: him, fast sleeping soon he found In. labyrinth of many a round self-rolled, His head the midst, well stored with subtle wiles: Not yet in horrid shade or dismal den, Nor nocent yet; but, on the grassy herb, Fearless unfeared he slept: in at his mouth The devil entered; and his brutal sense, In heart and head, possessing, soon inspired With act intelligential; but his sleep Disturbed not, waiting close the approach of morn.


Just as the devil can take possession of a man and make him demoniac, so the devil took possession of the serpent. The use of the serpent as a means, and the most suitable means, arises out of his power and his cunning. I will quote what Richard Owen says about the serpent: "He out climbs the monkey, out swims the fish, out leaps the zebra, outwrestles the athlete, and crushes the tiger." In Ruskin's "Queen of the Air" we find: "There are myriads lower than the serpent, and more loathsome in the scale of being . . . but it is the strength of the base element that is so dreadful in the serpent; it is the very omnipotence of the earth. . . . It is a divine hieroglyph of the demoniac power of the earth, of the entirely earthly nature. As the bird is the clothed power of the air, so this is the clothed power of the dust; as the bird is the symbol of the spirit of life, so this is the grasp and sting of death."


You will notice that after the curse was pronounced upon him, because of what he had done, the serpent was condemned to crawl, evidently implying that he had not crawled before. In two or three books of the Bible we have an account of fiery, flying serpents, and beyond all question the particular serpent that tempted Eve was a flying serpent. That only shows that his power was greater then than it has been since. He was condemned to crawl and clipped off his wings. Nataerialists will tell you that there were serpents with wings, and all tradition represents the dragon with wings. So that the Bible, nature and tradition agree in the representation that the serpent employed for the temptation of Eve was winged so that he had power in the air as well as power on the land. EP After the curse was pronounced upon him he must crawl and ' pick his food up from the ground as I have seen them do. I have seen a rattlesnake swallow a mule-eared rabbit. He licks him all over and covers him with saliva, rolls him over in the sand and then swallows him whole with the dust that is on him. That is how the serpent eats dust.

 

SUMMARY


We have seen the creation of the angels. We have seen that a part of these angels kept not their first estate. We have seen the sin which they committed, pride, and we have seen that Satan is the chief of the fallen spirits that were cast out. We have seen why he came to earth, to slander God and accuse man, to make them sin, to keep them from attaining to the position that they would be above him and bring them to the position that they would be under him. But, "Know ye not," says Paul, "that the saints shall Judge angels?"

 

QUESTIONS


1. Why defer to this connection the account of the angels?


2. Illustrate the special or official meaning of the several Bible words of general signification.


3. What the literal or etymological meaning of the term "angel"?


4. What the special meaning?


5. Scriptural proof of their creation and by whom?


6. Before or after man's creation?


7. Why the Bible account of their creation less particular than that of man's?


8. What can you say of their number?


9. What their work in the creation of the earth?


10. The nature of the angels as distinguished from man?


11. Why may not sinning angels have a savior?


12. Give statement of these beings from the following viewpoints:


(1) As to creation;


(2) As to origin.;


(3) As to nature;


(4) As to character;


(5) As to service.


13. With what beings did sin originate?


14. With which one of the angels did sin originate?


15. According to the New Testament, what was his particular sin?


16. Give several names of this chief of the fallen angels, and their meanings.


17. What Milton's misconception of the occasion of sin?


18. What probably the real occasion?


19. What Milton's conception of the origin of sin?


20. Give Bible proof of the impact of spirit on spirit, and the influence of spirit over matter.


21. What was the instrument of the temptation, and Milton s description of the entrance of Satan into it?


22. What was the state of the serpent at first, and what the change in that state in the curse?


23. New Testament proof of the nature and extent of their punishment?


24 Why delay the final punishment of the angels!


25. Scripture proof that the angels good and bad must report then work regularly to God?


 
VIII

 

(Return to Contents)

 

THE FALL OF MAN
Genesis 3


Now we come to the third chapter of Genesis, which gives us an account of the first man on earth, the fall of man, his expulsion from the garden, and all of the fearful consequences that followed that sin. We must regard this third chapter of Genesis as history in every particular. It is true that the tree of life and the tree of knowledge of good and evil, while actually trees in that garden, do symbolize things, but everything in this chapter is literal history and not allegory. The other books of the Bible, both Old and New Testament, are rooted in this third chapter of Genesis and built upon it. This chapter explains the necessity for redemption, and gives the first promise of redemption.


Some years ago in San Angelo I was the guest of a cultivated gentleman who, by the way, was an avowed infidel. He evidently wanted to involve me in a discussion of infidel points. I saw on his mantle Tom Paine's Age of Reason. I picked up the book and said, "Sir, this is the book that first led me to distrust infidelity." I showed him in the first volume of that book, which was written in a French prison when he had no Bible before him, and then in the second volume of the book, which was written after he escaped from the prison and had a Bible before him, the same declaration to this effect: "If the account of Genesis about the Garden of Eden, and the talking serpent, and Adam and Eve, and the flood are to be regarded as history, why is it no other Old Testament book even so much as alludes to these things as facts?" I read that statement to my host. He said, "How did that cause you to distrust infidelity?" I said, "I would not have distrusted it so much if I had found it in the first volume only, when he had no Bible, but when I found it in the second book, which was written when he had a Bible, it made me know that there was no accuracy or reliability in any statement that he might make." My host said, "Do you question that statement?" I said, "I can find four hundred allusions in the Old Testament books to what Tom Paine says there is no shadow of an allusion."


In analyzing the. third chapter and making an elaborate outline, this would be our outline: 1. The tempter 2. The tempted 3. The temptation 4. The woman's sin 5. The man's sin 6. The threefold immediate results:


(1) The awakening of conscience;


(2) Shame;


(3) Hiding. 7. The trial 8. The judgment 9. The woman's new name 10. The expulsion and the intervention of grace:


(a) The promise, protevangelium, that the seed of the woman shall bruise the serpent's head;


(b) The clothing of Adam and Eve in skins;


(c) The establishment of the throne of grace at the east of the garden.


Let us take up that analysis in order.

 

THE TEMPTER


So far as Genesis shows, except by implication, the tempter was an actual serpent. Dr. Adam Clarke, in his commentary on Genesis, Bays the tempter was an ape. But I have never found even a Methodist that followed him. He has an immense discussion on it. As a curious thing in commentaries, just read what he says about an ape being the tempter. While the New Testament refers to the tempter, Paul says the serpent beguiled Eve, yet in other places in the New Testament and particularly in John's Gospel, letters and Revelation, the agent back of the instrument is given as Satan, the devil, that old serpent.


This instrument employed in tempting man, as I have already told you, was before the temptation a flying serpent. If you read the book of Isaiah you will see a reference to fiery, flying serpents. This is to be inferred from the penalty put on the serpent, that after he committed this offense he was to crawl, implying that before that time he had not been reduced to that necessity, and to eat dirt with his food. The agent of this temptation is thus referred to in the eighth chapter of John. The promise says that enmity shall be put between the woman's seed and the serpent's seed. Christ says to wicked men, "Ye are of your father, the devil, and the lusts of your father it is your will to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and standeth not in the truth because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie he speaketh of his own, for he is a liar and the father of lies."


When death came to Adam and Eve, so far as Satan was concerned, it was a murder that he had committed. Just as in the next chapter he incites Cain to murder. Cain was of the wicked one. You must look on the downfall of Adam and Eve as a murder committed by the devil. They sinned, but when Satan is put on judgment, he is put on judgment as a murderer. He brought about their ruin by lies.


The next question is: What credentials did the serpent bring to accredit him to Eve and thereby deceive her? He is represented as coming as an angel of light. Eve certainly did not suppose that she was listening to the devil. She thought in her heart that the one who was telling her these things had given evidence that he was from God. What were the credentials? There was one miracle, and that was, talk. A serpent talked. Eve knew that no beast or reptile had ever talked before. Here comes this beautiful, flying, shining serpent, and talking. Just like one miracle was a sign to the Ninevites and accredited Jonah to them, so this one miracle accredited the serpent to Eve. So when we come to the New Testament we find that in the last great attempt to seduce the human race, when that man of sin comes that we read about in 2 Thessalonians, he will come with signs and wonders so as to almost deceive the very elect. You must then look upon this woman's case as a case of deception. In the New Testament it is expressly stated that the woman was deceived. I know of but one other instance in the Bible of a brute talking, and that was the ass that Balaam rode which, under the power of God's Spirit, talked, and that was a sign to Balaam that the angel of the Lord was there. The next thing is…

 

THE TEMPTED


Whom did he tempt? He did not tempt Adam. He tempted the woman. He is trying to get Adam, but he is too sharp to approach the man himself. He does not believe that he can impose on Adam. But the woman being the weaker vessel, he believes that he can deceive her, and that through her he will get the man. That is the plot. It is expressly stated that Adam was not deceived. The tempted, then, was the woman.

 

THE TEMPTATION


Suppose we commence reading the chapter and as we find a point on the temptation, you notice. "And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of any tree of the garden?" There is a reflection upon the word of God. So at the present time, I come before a man with the Bible and I say, "You ought to do this." He says, "Yea, hath God said that? How do I know that God said that?" And he suggests and injects into my head a doubt as to whether we have any word of God. This particular temptation Satan could never have brought before Adam because Adam knew God said it. God gave that law to Adam before Eve was made. Eve gets her version of it from Adam. You now see why Satan goes to the woman. Satan comes the same way to you and me. He would not go to Paul and say, "Did the Lord Jesus Christ give that gospel to you that you might preach?" But he will come to you and me and say, "Did the Lord Jesus Christ give that gospel to Paul?" You see we get our evidence of it second-hand. The first element of the temptation, then, is to suggest a doubt as to whether God had issued a law.

 

THE WOMAN'S SIN


The second suggestion to Eve: He calls her attention to the only limitation in the law and not to the broad permission in the law. "Yea, hath God said, Thou shall not eat of any of these trees?" He did not say, "0 woman, how good God is I He gave you permission to eat of the ten thousand trees." But he points out just one tree forbidden. You recall the old "Bluebeard" story. He has married a woman and brings her to his castle with its three hundred rooms and gives her the keys to every room in the castle. And over the door of one room he writes, "Thou shalt not unlock this door and enter." A friend coming, would say, "Are you, a wife, shut out from a room here? Now why? He gave you this key to hold you and you are perfectly free to open it." You see how subtle that suggestion is. Just so, Satan comes to a boy at the present time to whom his father has given a wide margin: "Now, my son, all the woods pasture you may range over; and all that prairie land you may range over, and you may get all the hickory nuts in the woods, and the berries and the fruits in the garden, everything that you need. But there is one hole down yonder in the creek. Don't you go swimming in that hole." The boy will go and look at that place and say, "Why can't I go swimming in here? It doesn't look very different from the holes below here and above here. What on earth did my father mean by telling me not to go swimming in this place?" You can see how the tempter can make that boy feel very bad; can make him take no pleasure in the broad permission all around, if there is just one forbidden place.


That suggestion has another evil in it: "In limiting you this way is God good? Now if he loved you, why did he not say, You can eat the fruit of any of these trees?" That is very subtle, and would catch the women and boys and the men and the girls now, and does it all along.


Notice the second part of the temptation. When the woman answers the question by defending God she says, "He has given us permission to eat of every tree in this garden but one, and that one he has commanded us not to eat of lest we die." There is a penalty attached. Now comes the temptation: "Ye shall not die" – that is just a scarecrow, just a make-believe, a bugaboo. There is where Satan commenced his big lying. He is the father of lies. He knew if they took of that tree death would ensue, and yet he boldly affirms they would not die. At the present day he does that way. Men are seduced to sin in the hope that they will escape its penalties, and because sentence against an evil deed is not speedily executed; says God's prophet, "The hearts of the children of men are fully set in them to do evil." If the sinners down on the streets of our cities in their hearts believed in the certainty and awfulness of the entirety of hell, it would have a tremendous influence by way of restraint, but they have heard the devil say, "You shall not die."


He enlarges that temptation. He said, "God knows that if you eat of that. tree your eyes shall be opened. God knows that ye shall be as gods, discerning good and evil." You see that suggestion is twofold. First, it is an appeal to the desire for knowledge, and an appeal to the ambition, "Ye shall be as gods." You now know why I quoted those three passages about the king of Babylon and the prince of Tyre, and the man of sin who exalted himself above everything that is called God, setting forth himself as God (Isa. 14; Ezek. 28; 2 Thess. 2). There was an element of both truth and falsehood. Unmixed falsehood never makes a good tempting bait. "In vain is the snare spread in the sight of the bird." You have to fool the bird. Here is the element of truth: The record distinctly says that when they ate that fruit their eyes were opened, so that what the devil said was true, and yet it was false. While knowledge came to them of good, it was of good lost. While knowledge came to them of evil, it was knowledge of evil by experience and without the power to shun it. As an old writer has said, "Their eyes were opened to know good without the power to do it) and to know evil without the power to shun it." While on the surface it was a truth, in the heart of it was a lie, and Eve was deceived.


In a certain sense they did become as God, and God admits it in the close of the chapter: "And Jehovah God said, Behold, the man has become as one of us, to know good and evil." But he did not know good and evil like God knows good and evil. God does not know evil experimentally. "Their eyes were opened and they saw their nakedness, and the sight brought them shame." Cardinal Newman says that the conscience was born right there. I don't agree with him, but I do believe it was awakened there. Dr. Strong also seems to think that conscience was born there, but man started with a conscience. There had been no exercise of the conscience until sin had been committed, and then conscience shuddered against it.


The woman yielded. Let us see what was the form of her yielding. "And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food" – that is an appeal to the appetite – "and that it was a delight to the eye" – that is the lust of the eye, and the other was the lust of the flesh – "and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise" – that is the pride of life Just as John enumerates them in his letter. You see then, the temptation came through her ear, her eye, then through her fleshly appetite, and ambition and pride. When she saw that, "she took of the fruit and did eat." That was her sin.


But she did not stop at that. I never saw a woman willing to stand entirely alone. So she passed the fruit over to Adam. Now, who tempted Adam? Nobody but the woman. "The woman gave to Adam and he did eat." The serpent did not tempt him. We need here that passage from Milton describing man's reason for sinning. I heard a distinguished scholar say that Milton's statement of Adam's reason for sinning, namely, to stand by his wife even if she went to hell, was the sublimest thing even in Milton's Paradise Lost. Over in France, when some great man who has been loved, trusted and honored suddenly falls, the first question they ask is, "Who was the woman?"

 

THE MAN'S SIN


Let us look at Adam's sin in contradistinction from Eve's sin. To use a common phrase, "Nobody pulled the wool over Adam's eyes." He was not deceived. He knew God had said what the devil suggested to Eve that he had not said. He believed that if he ate of that fruit it meant death. He never doubted God's word. But he deliberately ate of that fruit because the woman asked him. Unquestionably Adam's sin was greater than the sin of Eve, and the death that has reigned over this world has not come because Eve sinned; don't you think that. It came because Adam sinned. The human race did not fall in Eve. They are recovered in Eve through the Saviour who is her seed, but not the man's. We fell in Adam. He had DO excuse in the world. He preferred the woman to God; that was his excuse. Many a man has done that. The next point is:

 

THE THREEFOLD IMMEDIATE RESULTS


First, the awakening of conscience. Conscience is that inward monitor that passes judgment on the rightfulness, of our actions. Before God said a thing conscience had pronounced judgment, and hence John said, "If our hearts condemn us, how much more will God, who is greater than our hearts, condemn us?" Their consciences within them convicted them. Hence at the final judgment, when God pronounces the last doom on any of the lost, they won't say a word because inside of themselves that same judgment has already been pronounced. Paul, referring to this, said of the heathen who had never had the Word of God that yet they have a law, not a revealed law of God in a Bible, but they have a revelation in nature and in the constitution of their being, "their consciences meanwhile accusing or excusing them." The second thing was that they saw their nakedness, not merely physical, but spiritual nakedness in the sight of God, and shame followed and fear followed. "The wicked flee when no man pursueth." Now comes…

 

THE TRIAL


God is going to hold the trial himself. He is represented as going into the garden in the cool of the evening, and who can hide away from him? Jeremiah says, "No man can hide from God." The prophet Amos says, "There is no place where the guilty can hide from God." Psalm 139 says, "If I should take the wings of the morning and fly to the uttermost part of the sea, even there thine eye would see me and thy right hand would hold me." The theme of this psalm is the omniscience of God, showing that we cannot escape from it. We cannot hide even in hell from it. They ran into the bushes. You know an ostrich thinks if it sticks its head in the sand it is hid. Sinners take to the brush just as soon as conscience speaks. They begin to adopt disguises and masks and hide, trying to cover up their transgressions. If they get a letter they are afraid to open it for fear they will have bad news. If there is a sudden sound they think somebody has come after them. The night is peopled with phantoms, chimeras, and hobgoblins.


Now, the sinners are hid and God comes to make inquisition. One of the psalms says, "When he maketh inquisition for blood, he will remember." A murder has been committed. Two immortal beings have been murdered. His inquisition is in this fashion: "Adam, where art thou?" You used to come to meet me. You had no fear at all. You were always glad to meet God. Where are you now? What a question! How far that question can go! One of the mightiest sermons I ever heard in my life was preached on that text. That penetrating question went out into that audience, making people take their latitude and longitude, making them discover their whereabouts, making them see how much they had drifted. Where are you as compared with yesterday, or last year? And so God forces an answer, and the answer is a very candid one. Adam says, "I heard thy voice and I was afraid because I were naked." God says, "Who told you that you were naked? How did you find that out?" It was conscience that told him. That representative of God on the inside ia the one that gave that information, and so God, even if he had not been omniscient, would have known that sin had been committed. And hence he says, "Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?" There is no dodging that question. A man may lie in a human court. A man may plead not guilty and swear to his innocence when he knows he is guilty. But when that question of God comes to him he has to answer according to the truth. Adam tells the truth. He says, "The woman that thou gavest to be with me, she tempted me and I did eat." You often hear that discussed m sermons as if Adam were putting the blame on somebody else. He is telling the naked truth; that is exactly what happened. God did give him that woman, and that woman did tempt him and he did eat because she tempted him. He does not justify himself. Now suppose Adam had resisted that temptation. Eve would have been lost, but the human race would not have been lost, for God could have made another woman. The race did not stand in Eve; it stood in Adam.


Now God turns to the woman, "What hast thou done?" and she tells the truth. "The serpent beguiled me and I did eat." Every word of that is true. She was deceived. She did not lay this blame on Adam because he was not to blame for what she did except in one particular, which I will tell you about after awhile. She told the simple truth: "I was deceived. I thought an angel of light came, and he came accredited by a miracle. After I had committed the sin and my conscience woke up, I knew I was wrong. I was beguiled and the serpent was the one that did it." Adam was culpable for Eve's sin because being present he did not restrain her, nor warn her. The record says she gave to the man who "was with her." It is poetic license in Milton when he represents the woman alone in her temptation.

 

THE JUDGMENT


God does not ask the serpent any questions. He pronounces judgment. The judgment commences on the serpent. First, a curse, and this curse, so far as expressed here, is on the instrument. "Cursed shalt thou be above all the beasts of the field. Thou shalt hereafter crawl; thou shalt eat dirt. Thou shalt have thy head crushed by the seed of the woman." It is fulfilled in a snake. But those of you who remember the sermon on "The Three Hours of Darkness" may recall how in that last conflict with the devil Christ put his heel on the 'serpent's head, and though the serpent bit the heel he crushed its head.

 

THE JUDGMENT


The judgment on the woman is severe. "I will multiply thy sorrow and thy conception, thy child-bearing shall be with pain. Thou shalt be subject to the man and he will rule over thee." When the man is good, a Christian man, forgiven of his sin, and his wife has been forgiven of her sin, their relation is like it was before, the woman is next to his heart, and the rule is not the rule of a lord and master, but the two walk together in mutual love and support each other. But if he is a bad man, see how he rules over the woman. Look at India, China, Africa: there the women are slaves, goods and chattels. Let one of these heathen get into straits and he will sell his wife. Look at the Indians. One of the most eloquent things I ever heard was by Dr. Winkler in an address on foreign missions. He said, "I stepped into an art gallery and saw the picture of an Indian chief. He seemed to have the very strength of an angel, and by his side was an Indian maiden, and how beautiful she was." Here Dr. Broadus intervened with: "Stop describing that girl before all these young men fall in love with her" – but Dr. Winkler went on – "But who is that crouched behind the man and the girl? It is a wretched old hag. Who is she? She is the Indian's wife. She hoes his corn and cooks his venison and carries his burden and is his slave. And as she is, so will this beautiful daughter be when she marries." Now turn to the curse on the man. "Cursed be the ground for thy sake." The whole creation was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but because it was man's home and a curse was put upon the earth where man lived.


The next item of the outline is:

 

THE WOMAN'S NEW NAME


In the second chapter of Genesis Adam calls her woman, that is, derived from the man. After this promise is made that the seed of the woman shall bruise the serpent's head, he changes her name to Eve, signifying the mother of all the living. I am sure that there is some recognition of the promise in the giving of this name – that she was to be the mother through whom all who would live forever would obtain their life. There is a great significance in that change of name. Just like there was in the change of Abram's name to Abraham; in Sarai's name to Sarah.


The last item of the outline is:

 

THE EXPULSION AND THE INTERVENTION OF GRACE


The intervention of grace consists of three things: first, a distinct promise that the seed of the woman would bruise the serpent's head. That is called the protevangelium. That is the first ray of light concerning the coming Redeemer, that he was to be the seed of the woman. When the Messiah came we find that a woman was his mother but no man was his father. Through the man, therefore, death came into the world; through the woman the Saviour came into the world. The second idea of the plan of redemption is that consciousness of nakedness led these people to the vain attempt to clothe themselves. But grace intervenes with a better clothing of the skins of animals. Every intelligent student of the Old Testament has found at least a suggestion in this that no man can ever cover his spiritual nakedness in the sight of God by his own works, and that if he be covered it must be with the righteousness which God provides. But the principal thing in the intervention of grace is in this last verse which I quote: "So he drove out the man, and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden the Cherubim and the flaming sword which turned every way to keep the way to the tree of life." Now, I am no Hebraist, and I have no issue to make with those who are really Hebrew scholars, but I will cite three distinguished Hebraista who give a somewhat different rendering to this passage. Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown, in their commentary on Genesis, make that read this way: "And he [i.e., God] dwelt at the east of the garden of Eden between the Cherubim, and a Shekinah [a fire-tongue, or fire-sword] to keep open the way to the tree of life." The same thought is presented more clearly in the Jerusalem Targum, or Jewish commentary on the Old Testament. Dr. Gill, the great Baptist Hebraist of England, presents the same thought. Whatever may be the grammatical construction of this passage in the Hebrew, it means this: that having expelled man from the garden, God established a throne of grace and furnished the means to recover from the death which had been pronounced. There was the mercy scat and there were the Cherubim, and there was the symbol of divine presence in that fire tongue or sword, and whoever worshiped God after man sinned must come to the mercy seat to worship and he must approach God through a sacrifice. In no other way than through an atonement could one attain to the tree of life. All passages that refer to the Cherubim connect them with grace and the mercy seat, not as ministers of divine vengeance, but as symbols of divine mercy. Moses, in Exodus 25, constructs the ark of the tabernacle exactly like the one here used in the garden of Eden. He has a covering or mercy seat, with two Cherubim with a flame between the Cherubim. That was the throne of grace, or mercy seat, and sinners came to that through the blood of a sacrifice. So we may be certain that Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown, and the Jerusalem Targum, and Dr. Gill have given the spiritual interpretation of this passage. It is true that the object was to bar out man except through the intervention of the mercy seat, and it is true that the purpose of the mercy seat was to keep open the way to the tree of life. "Blessed are they who have washed their robes that they may have a right to the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God."


Let us understand that immediately after the fall of man grace intervened. First, with a promise of a Redeemer who would destroy the works of the devil. Second, with clothing symbolizing the righteousness of Christ. Third, with a mercy seat indicating the method by which God could be savingly approached. From this time on until the flood that mercy seat is at the east of the garden and whoever would partake of the tree of life and live forever must come to God where he dwells between the Cherubim, where the Shekinah is the symbol of his presence, and that we can only come to him in the blood of an atonement. You have only to commence the next chapter to see how worshipers came before the Lord with an offering. Where was the Lord? There was a particular place, just as the ark of the covenant was in a place. They came before the Lord, where he dwelt between the Cherubim, with their sacrifices. Cain refused to offer the sacrifice that God's law required, having no faith in salvation by a Redeemer, and he went away from the presence of the Lord there at the mercy seat, and all his descendants went away from the presence and lived without God and without hope in the world. Every Bible student ought to fasten the mind and the heart on this last verse of the third chapter of Genesis as the establishment of the throne of grace.

 

QUESTIONS


1. What: is the subject of the third chapter of Genesis?


2. What caused Dr. Carroll to first distrust infidelity?


3. In this temptation, who was the tempter?


4. What was his object?


5. Who was tempted, and why?


6. What was his instruments?


7. How did Satan accredit his instrument to Eve?


8. Why did he so accredit the serpent?


9. How does this show that he came in the guise of an angel of light?


10. To what solitary point does the temptation by the serpent so accredited address itself?


11. How did Eve obtain her knowledge of the divine prohibition?


12. Was this second-hand knowledge to her accredited by any miracles?


13. Cite New Testament proof that she was really deceived, honestly supposing that he was obeying God.


14. Was Milton right in supposing Eve to be alone when she was tempted, or was the man with her?

15. Did the serpent's credentials beguile him?


16. Why, standing by and not deceived, did he not interpose to disabuse his wife of her mistake?


17. Being not deceived himself, knowing that disobedience was wilful and deliberate rebellion against God and meant death, why did he eat?


18. New Testament proof that the fall of man came by one transgression?


19. Was this transgression the woman's or the man's?


20. Show why death did not come to the human race by the woman.


21. Can you discern in this a reason that redemption should come from the seed of the woman and not from the seed of the man?


22. What was the nature and extent of the death penalty attached to the violation of the law?


23. Was this penalty then enforced?


24. What intervened to suspend it?


25. Yet what consequences of sin did follow the violation of the law?


26. How did Adam's fall affect his posterity? New Testament proof?


27. In order to any man's restoration to godlikeness what works of the Holy Spirit does this depravity necessitate?


28. In order to his justification, what work of Christ?


29. How was this the first race probation?


30. Under what new covenant did the intervention of love and mercy place the fallen man?


31. Expressed in what Edenic promise?


32. In what way must man now (at that time) approach God?


33. Cite and correctly render the scripture showing that God did keep open a way to the tree of life in that garden from which man was expelled.


34, Were the judgments pronounced in Genesis 3:16-19, intended as a complete fulfilment of the penalty threatened in Genesis 2:17, or where they more in the way of necessary consequences of sin whose supreme penalty was suspended by the intervention of grace?

 


 
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SIN

 


Our study of the third chapter of Genesis revealed the first sin on earth, its trial and judgment; the consequent expulsion of man from the garden of Eden, and intervention of grace introducing a plan of redemption. Before proceeding in the history of fallen man we need to dip somewhat into systematic theology in order to fix in our minds some fundamental doctrines concerning both sin and grace.

 

SIN – WORDS USED


We are not prepared to give even a definition of sin until we consider the several words which name it, or are its synonyms. We give the words in both Greek and English: Hamartia – "Missing the mark," Matthew 1:21; Romans 7:7; Hebrews 9:26. Anomia – "Lawlessness," I John 3:4; Romans 7:8. Asebeia – "Unlikeness to God," Titus 2:12. Adikia – "Iniquity, perversion from righteousness," Acts 8:23. Apostasia – "Apostasy, or falling away, or departure," i.e., from God or the faith, 2 Thessalonians 2:3; I Timothy 4:1; Hebrews 3:12. Echthra – "Enmity," i.e., toward God, Romans 8:7. Epithumia – "Cupidity, covetousness, lust," Romans 1:24. Kakia – "Wickedness," Acts 2:25. Poneria – "Wickedness," Luke 11:39. Sarx; – "The flesh," Romans 8:2-7; I Corinthians 5:26; Galatians 5:16-21; I Peter 3:21. Plane – "Error, false opinion," I John 4:6.


Even a glance at these words in the connections cited shows conclusively:


That sin implies a law or standard of righteousness, prescribing the right and proscribing the wrong, and law implies a lawgiver to whom the subjects of law are related. That law is not law which does not provide judgment and penalty. That sin cannot be limited to external, overt acts but must also be a disposition or state of the heart or mind. This will the more appear by comparing Matthew 15:19-20, with Romans 1:28-32. Other scriptures also show that as moral law does not arise from its publication but inheres in our relations and in the very constitution or nature of our being, it must be a fixed, universal, and unalterable standard and not a sliding scale that adapts itself to our varying knowledge or circumstances. See the atonement provided for sins of ignorance (Lev. 4:14, 20, 31) and of omission (5:5-6); and the prayer to be cleansed from secret faults (Psalm l&: 12) and the consciousness of past sins awakened by the knowledge of the law (Rom. 7:9-10) and the penalty assessed on the servant who knew not the will of the master (Luke 11:48). With these and like scriptures in mind we consider next:

 

SIN – FALSE DEFINITIONS OF


Sin is weakness or finiteness.


Sin is in the body, or matter; when the soul escapes from the body it will be sinless.


Sin is the voluntary transgression of a known law.


Sin is a necessary discipline.


"Sin is a fall upward."


The first definition ignores the fact that the worst sinners are the strongest in mind and body. It makes God the author of sin and contradicts conscience.


The second definition restricts sin to matter, cannot account for fallen angels who have no bodies, nor the suffering of the disembodied rich man in our Saviour's parable (Luke 16), and ignores many scriptures which make envy, ambition, pride, covetousness, anger, the gravest sins. It also ignores the fact that the body is only the servant or instrument of the soul. We might as well say that the gun with which a man is killed is guilty of murder.


The third definition limits sin to an overt act when it may consist in not doing, and limits to transgression when it may consist in merely falling short and makes the law a sliding scale adjusting itself to the varying degrees of knowledge, when oftentimes not to know is a sin.


The fourth definition takes away all demerit from sin and even encourages evil as a means of education. This was the essence of the serpent's suggestion to Eve to acquire knowledge of evil by experience.

 

SIN – TRUE DEFINITION OF


Sin is lack of conformity to the moral law of God, either in act, disposition, or state. The essence of sin is selfishness, that is, putting self in God's place. Dr. Strong says


It is not merely a negative thing or absence of love to God. It is a fundamental and positive choice or preference of self instead of God, as the object of affection and the supreme end of being. Instead of making God the centre of his life, surrendering himself unconditionally to God and possessing himself only in subordination to God's will, the sinner makes self the centre of his life, sets himself directly against God and constitutes his own interest the supreme motive and his own will the supreme rule. While sin as a state is unlikeness to God, as a principle is opposition to God, as an act is transgression of God's laws, the essence of it always and everywhere is selfishness. – A. H. Strong in "Systematic Theology."


Dr. Strong also quotes from Harris: "Sin is essentially egoism or selfishness, putting self in God's place. It has four principal characteristics or manifestations: (1) Self-sufficiency instead of faith; (2) Self-will instead of submission; (3) Self-seeking instead of benevolence; (4) Self-righteousness instead of humility and reverence."


All this further appears from a glance at four persons:


The sinless Saviour, who sought not his own will but the Father's (John 5:30; Matt. 26:39); spake not from himself (John 7:16; 7:14); sought not his own glory (John 7:18); pleased not himself (Rom. 15:3); exalted not himself (Phil. 2:5-6).


The Man of Sin, 2 Thessalonians 2:4, "Who opposeth and exalteth himself against all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he sitteth in the temple of God, setting himself forth as God."


Saul of Tarsus, who was the chief of sinners because the most self-righteous (Phil. 2:4-5; I Tim. 1:15-16).


Satan, the first sinner (I Tim. 3:6) compared with his great followers, the king of Babylon (Isa. 14:13-14) and the prince of Tyre (Ezk. 28:2-6).

 

SIN – ITS RESULT AND PENALTY


John 3:3 – "Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily I say unto thee, Except one be born anew, he cannot see the kingdom of God."


Colossians 3:9-10 – "Lie not to one another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his doings, and have put on the new man, that is being renewed unto knowledge after the image of him that created him."


Ephesians 4:23-24 – "And that ye be renewed in the spirit of your mind and put on the new man, that after God hath been created in righteousness and holiness of truth."


Loss of godlikeness, i.e., righteousness and holiness. Alienation of mind and heart. Corruption of the whole moral nature in all its fountains. Hence moral inability to keep God's law. The incurring of guilt and subjection to the penalty of the divine law. This appears from the necessity and nature of regeneration.

 

WHAT IS THE PENALTY?


Death physical and spiritual. Separation of soul from God, separation of soul from body. Did the race sin and fall in Adam? Romans 5:12-21: "Through one man sin entered into the world and death through sin; and so death passed unto all men, for that all sinned. . . . By the trespass of the one the many died . . . the judgment came of the one unto condemntion . . . So then through one trespass the judgment came unto all men unto condemnation . . . Through one man's disobeydance the many were made sinners . . . Sin reigned in death."


Does this apply to infants who never reach personal accountability? Romans 5:14: "Death reigned from Adam until Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the likeness of Adam's transgression." "The wages of sin is death; but eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord is the gift of God" (6:23). David says (Psalm 51:5), "Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me." There has been but one child of woman born holy (Luke 1:35), "And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Spirit shall come upon thee, and the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee; wherefore also the holy thing which is begotten shall be called the Son of God."


What is meant by total depravity? The depravity of a man refers to his fallen nature derived from Adam. Ephesians 2:3: "We are by nature [i.e., by birth] children of wrath." The word "total" refers to all the parts-of his nature. That is, the depravity extends to all the fountains and faculties of being, but does not refer to degrees or intensity of particular sins. It does not mean that a sinner cannot progress in sin, waxing worse and worse. Simply that there is no part of man holy, and no part that can originate holiness.


It is evident from the foregoing that apart from grace all men come into the world sinful by nature and become sinners by practice. Such is the testimony of Scripture. There is no good tree that bringeth forth corrupt fruit. That which is born of the flesh is flesh (I Kings 8:46; Eccl. 7:20; Rom. 3:1012, 23; Gal. 3:22; James 3:2; I John 1:8), hence the necessity of both regeneration, sanctification, and atonement to save men. "By grace are ye saved."

 

QUESTIONS


1. Give eleven Greek words for sin and their English rendering.


2. From these words setting forth what sin. is, what does sin imply?


3. What does law imply?


4. What must law provide in order to be law?


5. Is sin limited to overt acts, or does it apply to a disposition or state of heart or mind? Give Scripture proof.


6. From what does moral law arise?


7. Prove that law is not a sliding scale that adapts itself to our varying knowledge or circumstances.


8. Cite five false definitions of sin.


9. Expose the error of the first.


10. Of the second.


11. Of the third.


12. Of the fourth.


13. Of the fifth.


14. What is the true definition of sin?


15. What is the essence of sin?


16. What is the substance of Dr. Strong's definition?


17. Cite four characteristics or manifestations of sin as selfishness.


18. Compare on these points the sinless Saviour, giving Scripture on each point.


19. On the same points compare the opposite of the Saviour, the man of sin in 2 Thessalonians 2:4.


20. Show wherein Saul of Tarsus was the chief of sinners.


21. Cite scriptures showing the same characteristics of Satan himself.


22. What loss in his nature did man suffer from sin?


23. How does this appear from the necessity and nature of regeneration? (Three scriptures.)


24. What the penalty of sin?


25. Cite clear New Testament proof that the race did sin and die in one act of Adam.


26. Give Scripture proof that this applies to dying infants who never reach accountability.


27. Quote Coleridge epitaph of four infants in St. Andrew, England.


28. What is meant by total depravity?


29. Proof from Scripture that apart from grace all men come into the world sinful by nature and become sinners by practice.


30. What works of grace necessary to save men?



 
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CAIN AND ABEL
Genesis 4

 


We now commence with the fourth chapter of the book of Genesis. We have an account in this fourth chapter of a number of "first" things: The first birth, the first man born of Adam and Eve; the first recorded act of worship under the reign of grace as set forth in the third chapter and last verse. We have here the first system of theology apart from expiation of sin by sacrifice and apart from regeneration by the Holy Spirit, known in the New Testament as "the way of Cain." Paul talks about the way of salvation in the New Testament as "this way." Now here we have a distinct parting of the ways. Cain is the author of one way, and that way is to deny the guilt of man, to deny that he needs a Saviour, to refuse to seek God through a bloody, sacrificial offering. It is further manifested by hatred of the true religious spirit and, as John says, it originated with the devil. He says the devil was the father of Cain. We have here the first murder. In this same chapter we have the first account of a pastoral or nomadic life, that of dwelling in tents. We have the first account of the building of cities; the first account of the manufacture of tools – edged tools from iron or brass. We have the first case of bigamy, man taking more than one wife. We have the first case of one man killing another on account of an insult committed against a female member of the family. We have the first poem, which we will consider more particularly when we get to it. So there are many first things in this fourth chapter. No man can understand the fourth chapter of Genesis who does not interpret the last verse of the third chapter to mean that God dwelt between the Cherubim at the east of the garden of Eden, under the visible symbol of the sword flame, or Shekinah, and with a view to keep open the way to the tree of life.


This record states that it came to pass at the end of days, or after a time, that Gain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering to Jehovah. That expression, "the end of days," suggests a proper time in which to worship God, the sabbath day as the appointed time in which to appear before God. Cain and Abel came before God; came to him where he resided, visibly in the symbol of the Shekinah, at the east of the garden of Eden. This is supported by the language of Gain when he says that he was driven forth from the presence of God; and he went away from the presence of God. He went away from the place where God was; he went away from the manifestation of God at that place; he went away from the means of approach to God at that place. It also clearly follows from this language that there was not only a place where God could be approached but that appointed means of approach had been established for sacrifice. Neither Gain nor Abel would have known anything about sacrifices unless sacrifices had been appointed. God would have otherwise said, "Who hath required this at your hand?" So that the children of Adam and Eve unquestionably were instructed that there was a place to find God, that there was a time in which to come before him, and that there were means through which to approach him. They were unquestionably instructed in these things.


We also learn from this text that there were two kinds of offerings at least; one was a bloody offering and the other a thank offering. The bloody offering consisted of the offering of the firstling of the flock, and the unbloody, or thank offering, was the offering of the fruits of the field. Both of these are later incorporated into the Mosaic law established upon Mount Sinai – both the thank offering and the bloody offering, – but it is clearly taught in the subsequent history, and suggested in this history, that the very thank offering to God which disregards the bloody offering and is dissociated from it, is void of value in coming before God. The record states that Abel not only brought of the firstlings of his flock, but also of their fat. Now we know from the subsequent legislation that this proves that there was an altar established there in the presence of God, an altar upon which the victim should be offered, upon which the fat should be burned. You will find this in the Mosaic law in Numbers.


The record states that Jehovah regarded, or received, or approved, first of Abel himself, and second of his offering. It is a prevalent Jewish tradition that the way in which God signified his approval was by sending fire down from heaven to burn up the offering which Abel placed upon the altar. There are many things in the subsequent history that justify this interpretation, that by fire God bore witness to Abel and his offering. He bore witness by fire. When Elijah offered his bullocks upon the altar he asked God to signify his approval by fire from heaven, and fire did come down from heaven and burn up the offering of Elijah. So that answers one of the questions propounded to you: In what way did God bear testimony to Abel's faith?


The record also states that, when God signified no approval of Cain, nor of his offering, Cain became angry exceedingly, and that his countenance fell; he became very mad. We will see the fruit of that anger after a little, the falling of his countenance and the anger in his heart at being rejected because of the fault in himself. This made him an enemy of his brother whom God did approve, and from that time to this those who reject the vicarious system of expiation hate those who embrace it. There is nothing more evident in the world today than the hatred in the natural heart against the method of approach to God through a sacrifice, through the expiatory or substitutionary victim; and that which is the heart of the gospel they hate far more than they hate the devil. The devil is the author of their system of religion, if it may be called a religion at all. Dr. Eliot, ex president of Harvard, hates the doctrine that he has dissented from and commends the way of Cain. He abhors the thought that man is lost without the regeneration of the Holy Spirit and the substitution and expiation of Jesus Christ. And hence he avows that "the new religion" will have no such dogmas. He has gone in the "way of Cain."


"Why art thou angry? Why is thy countenance fallen? Is there not, if thou doest well, a lifting up of that fallen countenance?" God is convicting him upon this subject: that his anger is unjustifiable; that there is no good reason for it, that there is no good reason for that fallen countenance; and that if he would do well (and to do well according to the law required that an expiatory victim should be offered) – that if he would do well his countenance would be lifted up. Then God explains: "And if thou doest not well, sin is crouching at the door; and toward thee is his desire; and do thou rule over him." – Conant. That latter part of the seventh verse is exceedingly difficult to interpret. I will repeat it: "And if thou doest not well, sin is crouching at the door; and toward thee is his desire; and do thou rule over him." Now I will tell you what two interpretations have been given. They are both by as distinguished names as there are in the world. After I have given you these interpretations I will let you accept either one, but I will give you my opinion as to which is the better one. Understand that in a matter that is so intricately difficult it does not become a teacher to be too dogmatic and affirm that his view is the right one. I will read and show you where the difficulty comes in: "And if thou doest not well, sin is crouching at the door." The difficulty here is as to what sin means. One line of interpreters says that it means sin in the usual acceptation of the term. Another line of interpreters says that it means sin offering. The Hebrew use of both meanings is abundant in the Bible, both Old and New Testaments. Now, if we translate that "sin-offering," this would be the idea: "And if thou doest not well, there is a sin-offering at the door. Go and offer it. It is not too late. Your sacrifice was rejected because you did not present the sin-offering. Now you are angered. Are you doing right to be angered? There is a way in which that downcast countenance can be lifted up. There is a way in which you, condemned, may be accepted, justified. There is a sin-offering ready at hand, if you will just offer it." But if it means sin in the common sense of the word, then this is the meaning: "If you do not well, sin, like a wild beast, crouches at your door ready to spring on you and destroy you." Dr. Alexander Maclaren, who is said to be the prince of expositors, gives that view. Dr. Conant, who is in great favor with me as a Hebrew scholar and in biblical interpretation, also gives that idea, that if a man does not do right sin is at his door like a wild beast waiting to destroy him. The Jews give that interpretation, and you may see that is Luther's interpretation and the interpretation of most of the German scholars. My own opinion is that the first view given is right; that sin means a sin offering. That is my judgment. I am sure that the Septuagint necessitates that interpretation. I am sure that most of the early fathers gave it that meaning; and, I am sure that most of the English commentators give it that meaning; I am also sure that is the only way to interpret the rest of the verse, "And toward thee is his desire and do thou rule over him." Now, whoever says that sin means something like a wild beast crouching at the door to destroy a man interprets the rest of the sentence this way: "Sin's desire is toward thee, but do thou rule over it." The trouble about it is that the pronouns are masculine. You cannot say without straining it that sin has a desire toward a man. It breaks the sense to say that a man is to rule over that wild beast. Hence our translators of nearly all versions make these pronouns masculine, not referring to sin. Then to whom do they refer? Now I will give you my opinion of that. "And toward thee is his desire." Whose desire? Abel's, and thou shall rule over him, Abel. Cain is the first-born. He has the right of primogeniture. Now see the sensibleness of that interpretation. These two men came to make an offering. The older brother's offering is rejected; the younger brother's offering is accepted. The older brother begins to infer from that that the younger brother is to be his ruler; that there is to be a change in the law of primogeniture. Hence his hatred and he is ready to kill Abel rather than submit to him. God says, "Why art thou angry and thy countenance fallen? Is there not, if thou doest well, an excellency for thee, a primogeniture to thee? And if thou doest not well, there is a sacrifice ready to offer. Then the desire of Abel shall be to you and you shall rule over him." That is my idea of the meaning of it. Cain wants to be first and he does not want to admit that he needs a Saviour. He does not want to make a sacrifice looking to his atonement. He does not come before God as a sinner. He is perfectly willing to come before God as a tenant. "You made me and gave me my strength and power and made this earth I am cultivating, and I am willing to give a tenant's recognition by giving the firstfruits of the soil. But if you add that I am to come as a lost sinner and seek the salvation of my soul through an atonement, I won't do it. And if you condition my being the head of this family on my making this sacrifice, I will defeat it in another way. I will kill this man Abel that is to take my place."


The first murder was committed through the spirit of persecution on account of religion, and since that time in every land streams of blood have flowed from the persecuting spirit. The thought is this: Whoever does right; whoever obeys God, has accepted God and received the witness of God, by those very facts condemns the one who does wrong. He is a standing condemnation, just as Jesus said the Ninevites and the queen. of Sheba would condemn the unbelieving Galileans at the judgment, and if you live a clean life, if you hold things sacred you do not commend yourselves to sinners. Sinners hate you, as Jesus said of his disciples: "As they have hated me, so they will hate you." As a wolf, or an owl, or a bat hates the light because its deeds are evil, so men living in darkness love darkness rather than light because their deeds are evil. And if this be true with reference to the light that comes from the sun, moon and stars, how much more is it true with reference to the light which comes from God I "This is the condemnation," says Jesus, "that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil." The light exposes their deeds. Your light shining before men by contrast exposes the darkness that is in the man who rejects your God, and the dark places of the earth are the habitations of cruelty. John gives us the real origin of murder. He says that it was the devil, and that Cain in committing murder – in being angry against God and in committing murder – was acting under the promptings of the devil. "Cain was of the wicked one," says John, "and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his deeds were evil, and his brother's were righteous."


We now come to the point of inquisition on the part of God. "And Jehovah said to Cain, Where is thy brother? Cain said, I know not." There is another sin – a lie. He did know. And here is another sin that followed when he said to God, "Am I my brother's keeper?" "Why do you come to me in this inquisition about Abel? Go to Abel himself, or go to Adam and Eve, the father and mother of Abel. What do you come to me for?" Here arose a widely prevalent doctrine among sinners that in no sense is one man another's keeper; that there is no responsibility on one man for the well-being of another. When Moses came to enact a law on this subject he said, "If a man be found slain in the field, and it is not known who killed him, you shall measure the distance from that dead body to the cities around, and the city which is nearest to that dead man shall be held responsible, and the rulers of that city shall come and make an oath before God that this murder came through no fault of theirs." If they were negligent in the administration of Justice, if they had any customs, if they licensed any evil business that tended to murder, then there was responsibility on them for that dead man. When that officer was killed in Fort Worth, Texas, I stated in a sermon this law, quoted that passage in the Mosaic law and referred to the ancient customs on this subject, and then said that the authorities of that city which fostered the saloon whose saloonkeeper committed the murder, in a measure were responsible for that murder. There arose in the Middle Ages a trial of this kind; Sir Walter Scott tells about it in "The Fair Maid of Perth." One of the burghers of the city had been killed, a certain household was suspected, and they were required to come, from the head of that house to the lowest menial in the service, where the dead body lay. They must touch the dead body wrapped in white linen and swear that they had nothing to do with it; and the tradition was that if the murderer came and touched the dead body blood would flow afresh from the wound. And therefore, according to Sir Walter Scott, the murderer would not stand the test; he was afraid and preferred a trial by combat. It is said of Lorenzo Dow that he was an expert in detecting a guilty man through the working of conscience. He stopped one night at a house and during the night some chickens were stolen. The man of the house asked him if he could find out which one of the Negroes had stolen that chicken. "Yes," he said. "Bring them here before me." Whereupon he said to the Negroes: "I have put here a pot – just a common cooking pot – turned upside down. Now you darkies do not know what is under that pot; Just bear in mind now this thought: that maybe a stolen chicken is under this pot, and when the guilty man touches it that chicken will crow." And when they all passed around and touched the pot he made them exhibit their fingers. One Negro had only seemed to touch it, and hence no soot was found on his finger at all. "You stole that chicken," says Dow; "you made out that you touched the pot but did not, because you were afraid. You are the thief and must confess it." The psalmist says, "When thou makest inquisition for blood, thou rememberest." When man makes inquisition for blood many witnesses conveniently forget the facts. But when God makes inquisition for blood He remembers, he knows. At an association I was once asked to preach a sermon that would tend to convict men of sin, and I took that text: "When thou makest inquisition for blood, thou rememberest." It was a singular fact that about a hundred people in the audience were convicted of sin. God's method of inquiry into a cause is perfect. The darkness can hide nothing from him. He reads the very thoughts of the human heart, and so now he is making inquisition for Abel's blood: "Where is thy brother?" And when Cain lied God said, "What hast thou done? The voice of thy brother's blood crieth unto me from the ground." What a doctrine is here! The voice of blood – teaching that the earth which swallows up blood, the earth which drinks up the blood of the slain man, cries out to heaven for vengeance, and the murderer goes away saying, "Who knows I did it, if I just say that I do not know and if I deny that I am responsible for it? Am I my brother's keeper? Then whence will come any testimony to convict me? We were out there by ourselves and no man witnessed it." But God tells Cain about a witness; that the earth would not conspire with crime; that blood had a voice, and that blood cries to heaven. Spurgeon preached on the passage in Hebrews, "And to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaketh better than that of Abel." It was a great sermon. He contrasts Abel's shed blood with the voice of Christ's blood. He describes the soul of Abel expelled from the body by bloody murder, and rushing up to heaven in the presence of God crying out, "Avenge my murder." But he says the blood of Jesus comes into the presence of God and says, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do."


Now notice the curse: "And now cursed art thou from the ground, which hath opened its mouth to receive thy brother's blood from thy hand; when thou tillest the ground, it shall not henceforth yield unto thee its strength." No matter where he should go in the world the ground would be against him, the ground that. held the blood of his brother, the blood of his victim, and he could not stay long at a place. The thought of this murder would pursue him. It is said that Daniel Webster in prosecuting a murderer (and his speech is reckoned among the classics) described the workings of the conscience of a murderer; what a coward it made of him; how his crime was always before him; how he would turn at any sudden sound, as if expecting a pursuer, crying out at night in his dreams, because the avenger of blood was on his track. "When thou tillest the ground it shall no more yield to thee its strength, a fugitive and a wanderer thou shalt be in the earth." A man kills another in England; he flees to the United States. Every policeman, he thinks, has had the news telegraphed to him about that murder over there. He goes over to Canada, he is still restless. He goes across the ocean into the islands of the sea. Wherever he goes there is the apprehension in his heart that he may be held up by the officers of the law, held to account for his brother's blood.


Now, let us see what Cain said to that sentence: "My iniquity is greater than I can bear." To bear iniquities is to endure the penalty of the iniquities. That is the meaning all through the Bible. So it is just the same as if he had said, "My penalty is greater than I can bear," i.e., it is unendurable. Then he sums it up by saying, "Thou hast driven me out this day from the face of the earth; and from thy face shall I be hid; and I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond in the earth, and it shall come to pass that every one that findeth me shall slay me." This is the first point: "And from thy face must I hide myself." In v. 16 we have the record: "And Cain went away from the presence of Jehovah, and dwelt in the land of Nod." "Nod" means wandering. He went from that place where God's presence dwelt, at the east of the garden of Eden. "And I shall be a fugitive and a wanderer in the earth." Now here he speaks his apprehension: "And it shall come to pass that every one who finds me shall slay me." Jehovah gives him this assurance: "Whoever slayeth Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold." That is, man shall not be judge) no individual can take into his own hands the right of vengeance. You cannot justify yourself in shooting down a murderer; God is the judge, not you. We will come later, in the Mosaic legislation, to study the law of the avenger of blood, but this is not before us now, nor does it oppose the meaning here.


"And God appointed a sign for Cain, lest any finding him should smite him." But, as the thought prevails among the Negroes, God put a mark on Cain that everybody could see. I heard a lawyer once say, standing over a man on trial for murder, "Sir, the mark of Cain is on your face; you carry with you the handwriting of God on your countenance." It is questionable that this is the mark. God set a sign for Cain to give him assurance that he would at least be free from individual or human vengeance. As yet there was no organization of civic society. After a while we will come to that and show that at least after Noah left the ark God provided capital punishment. Society might punish a murderer but no individual could do it.


Cain builded a city; Lamech was a bigamist; one of his children was the father of those who dwell in tents and with cattle, and another was the father of all who handle the harp and the pipe, which stands for the representation of stringed instruments, the flute representing the wind instruments. Is there anything in this suggestion? Does the restlessness of sinners promote intervention of musical instruments as a means to soothe sorrow? Does the restlessness of sin in the heart tend to promote invention of stringed instruments? Strange that Cain's descendants were the first city builders, the first inventors of musical instruments and the first inventors of manufactured implements from iron and brass. Take that thought for what it is worth and try to answer the question for yourselves.


Verse 22 closes with the fact that the sister of Tubal-Cain was Naamah, and the only reason I can see for inserting that statement is that she is the one through whom Lamech received his wound, and on account of which he killed a young man; that because of a wrong to this kinswoman, his own daughter, Lamech killed a young man. The Southern people know all about that. There has been a rule with them that every man is justified in taking the life of another who brings shame on his family. So Lamech composes a poem. There is a parallelism in these lines:


Adah and Zillah, hear my voice;


Ye wives of Lamech, hearken unto my speech:


For I have slain a man for wounding me,


And a young man for bruising me;


If Cain shall be avenged sevenfold,


Truly Lamech seventy and sevenfold.


That is, if God would punish an individual who would kill Cain, because Cain murdered his own brother, he would avenge on the individual who would kill Lamech seventy and sevenfold, because Lamech claims that he was more justified than Cain.


Now, the chapter closes thus: "And Eve bare a son and called his name Seth; for God hath appointed me another seed in the place of Abel; for Cain slew him. And to Seth, to him also there was born a son; and he called his name Enosh. Then began men to call upon the name of Jehovah." We have had in the latter part of the chapter the sidetracking of the Cainites. We will come to them again later. We have had the generations of Cain; now we come to the new name, "Seth," and the Sethites. In the days of the sons of Seth, and in those of Enosh, men began to call upon the name of the Lord. Thus religious worship of the true kind was revived. Some have interpreted it: "Then men began to be called by the name of Jehovah," i.e., sons of God. Now we have gotten through with another (third) division of the book of Genesis, an important one.

 

QUESTIONS


1. Give the "first" things of Genesis, the fourth chapter.


2. What hope was inspired in Eve's heart by the birth of Cain?


3. Show the analogy between the expectation of Christ's first coming and his second coming.


4. State the system of theology embodied and implied in each of these offerings,


5. What name does the New Testament give to Cain's theology?


6. Who are the followers of his way now?


7. There was a radical difference between Cain and Abel. In which of the following particulars did it consist:


(1) Human parentage;


(2) Hereditary nature;


(3) Occupation;


(4) Intrinsic value of their offerings;


(5) Or spiritual parentage?


8. Give New Testament account of Cain's parentage.


9, What bearing on this fourth chapter has the interpretation of the last verse of the third chapter?


10. What may be fairly inferred as to previous appointment of sacrifices together with the time, place and object of their being offered by the fact that Cain and Abel did, "at the end of days," come before the Lord with their offerings?


II. What was the bearing of this fact on the salvation of Adam and Eve?


12. What two kinds of offerings are indicated in this chapter and what is the evidence of the establishment of the altar of sacrifice?


13. What is meant by Jehovah having respect for one offering and disrespect for the other offering? 14. In what respect was Abel's offering better than Gain's?


15. In what way did God bear testimony to Abel's faith? Give proof.


16. Cite New Testament proof that Abel secured even earthly immortality.


17. What effect did God's approval of Abel's offering have on Cain and how evidenced?


18. What is the attitude of the natural heart toward a substitutionary sacrifice? Illustrate.


19. How does God convict Cain?


20. Give the author's interpretation, of Genesis 4:7.


21. On what ground was the first murder committed and what is the attitude of sinners toward God's children generally?


22. What inquisition did God make and what the Mosaic law on this point?


23. Give three illustrations. – Fort Worth, Texas, Sir Walter Scott, and Lorenzo Dow.


24. What was the psalmist's testimony on this point and what use was made of the text by the author?


25. What is the meaning of "the voice of thy brother's blood crieth unto me from the ground"?

26. What is meant by the voice of the blood of Abel in Hebrews 12:24; that is, does it mean Abel's own blood shed by Cain (Genesis 4:10) or the blood of sacrifice shed by Abel (Genesis 4:4)?


27. In either case show how the sprinkling or application of Christ's blood speaketh better things than Abel's blood.


28. What was the curse pronounced upon Cain?


29. Illustrate the effect of this murder on Cain's conscience?


30. What was Cain's response and the meaning of "bearing iniquity"?


31. What idea of locality is involved in Cain's going away from the presence of the Lord?


32. Show wherein Cain committed the unpardonable sin.


33. What purpose was served in exempting Cain from human vengeance and in the visible mark, or sign, which protected him?


34. What was the mark placed upon Cain?


35. Who was Cain's wife?


36. Cite the achievements wrought by Cain's several descendants, and show what things originated with them.


37. What is the meaning of…


If Cain shall be avenged sevenfold,


Truly Lamech seventy and sevenfold?


38. Who was appointed unto Eve as another seed in the place of Abel?


39. What doctrines set forth in this appointment?


40. Should the last clause of Genesis (fourth chapter) be rendered "began to call upon the name of the Lord," or "be called by the name of Jehovah"?

 

 XI

 

(Return to Contents)

 

CHRONOLOGY FROM ADAM TO NOAH
Genesis 5

 


In the fourth chapter of Genesis we have seen the race of Adam following two distinct lines of worship through Cain and Abel, Abel approaching God where he dwelt as a Shekinah and oracle between the Cherubim, at the east of the garden of Eden, under a grace covenant and through a vicarious expiation apprehended by faith; Cain approaching God at the same place, but ignoring the double fact that he was depraved in nature by descent from the fallen Adam and a sinner by choice and deed; therefore rejecting the vicarious expiation prescribed by grace and tendering only a thank: offering as a land tenant.


Cain thus denying sin denies the need of a Saviour. And denying depravity denies the need of regeneration. And turning from the Holy Spirit remains a subject of the evil spirit. And denying the authority of God in religion he remains under the authority of the devil, the prince of this world by usurpation. "Cain was of the wicked one." The New Testament calls the devil religion "the way of Cain." And it must mightily amuse the devil to hear a president emeritus of Harvard, nearly six thousand years later, call "the way of Cain" a "new religion."


We have seen the anger and hate of the subject of the devil religion toward the subject of the God religion culminate in murder, lying, and denial of social responsibility. We have seen him, under the curse of God, go away from the presence of God and while under spiritual unrest he and his descendants build cities or become nomads, invent stringed and wind instruments of music, establish factories for cutting implements of brass and iron, and in literature attain a low form of poetry, yet they also develop bigamy, seduction, and lawless slaying of the seducer.


Having thus traced the godless line of Cain to the seventh generation the chapter closes with an account of the birth of Seth, the appointed successor of Abel, and with the statement that this line resumed the worship of Jehovah interrupted by the death of Abel. So the section of Genesis, commencing 2:4, "These are the generations [or developments] of the heavens and the earth," leaves the world under two opposing lines of worship, God worship and devil worship, contending for earth supremacy, the kingdom of God warring against the kingdom of Satan.


The fifth chapter opens a new section: "This is the book of the generations of Adam." The unique phraseology, "This is the book of the generations," occurs here only in the Old Testament and only once in the New Testament (Matt. 1:1). It is designedly limited to the two Adams – the natural man and the Lord from heaven.


One cannot escape deep conviction of the unity of the Bible when he compares Genesis 5:1, with Matthew 1:1. Place them side by side thus:


"This is the book of the generations of Adam."


"This is the book of the generations of Jesus Christ." With this parallel before you, read Romans 5:12-21.


The next two sentences of this section constitute another amazing parallel. Put them also side by side, thus:


"In the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made he him."


"And Adam begat a son in his likeness, after his image."


This parallel is far from meaning that Adam perpetuated, in his son, Seth, the likeness and image of God which he himself had received in creation (Gen. 1:26). By sin Adam lost the image of God and became corrupt in his nature. This is evident by what regeneration and sanctification must accomplish in a son of Adam. "Ye have put off the old man with his doings, and have put on the new man, that is being renewed unto knowledge after the image of him that created him" (Col. 3:9-10). "Put ye away, as concerning your former manner of life, the old man, that waxeth corrupt after the lusts of deceit; and be ye renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new man, that after God hath been created in righteousness and holiness of truth" (Eph. 5:22-24).


This fallen father could not transmit what he had loaf. Seth was born in the image of a corrupt father. The first Adam, by creation, was in the image of God. The Second Adam, by eternal subsistence, was the effulgence of God's glory and the very image of his substance (Heb. 1:3). Hence Paul says, "And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul. The last man Adam was made a quickening spirit. Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. The first man Is of the earth, earthy; the second man is the Lord from heaven. And as is the earthy, such ore they also that are earthy; and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly" (I Cor. 15:45-49).


Another important matter to note is that the generations of Adam in this section are limited to the line of Seth. This is because all descendants of Cain perished in the deluge. While millions on earth today follow in "the way of Cain" no man on earth is lineally descended from Cain. The population of the whole earth today are lineal descendants of Seth and consist of two classes only: (1) the regenerate, spiritual descendants of the Second Adam, and (2) the unregenerate descendants in flesh and spirit of the first Adam.


According to the invariable method of Genesis the generations of the evil line are first given, as in the fourth chapter, and then the generations of the good line, as in this chapter. The line of generation in this chapter is Seth, Enosh, Kenan, Mehalaleel, Jared, Enoch, Methuselah, Lamech, Noah.

 

CHRONOLOGY


We get at the age of the human race when the flood came by adding to the age of Adam when Seth was born the age of each father named when his son was born and then adding the age of Noah when the flood came. The figures are: 130 plus 105, plus 90, plus 70, plus 65, plus 162, plus 65, plus 187, plus 182, plus 600; total 1656ωmore than 161/2 centuries. Another remarkable fact is the longevity of the antediluvians. Adam, Seth, Enosh, Kenan, Jared, and Methuselah all lived over 900 years. By the overlapping we see how Methuselah was a contemporary of both Adam and Noahω243 years with Adam and 600 years with Noah. Indeed Adam lived 56 years as a contemporary of Lamech) the father of Noah, and only 126 years intervened between Adam's death and Noah's birth. In this way all the revelations of God to man up to the flood required for transmission, by tradition, only one intermediary between Adam and Noah.


On this remarkable longevity Dr. Gonant says, "The great age of man previous to the Flood, gradually diminishing for some generations after, till it reached its present usual limit, has been the subject of much discussion. Some have attempted to account for the change in the duration of human life by physical causes, namely, changes in the physical temperament of our world, in modes of living, etc. Others have maintained, that the age of man did not then greatly exceed that to which men are known to have attained in later times; some supposing that each name represents several generations; others, that the 'year' was not a solar year as subsequently, but some equally defined period, as a lunar month, or a period of six months between the solstices or equinoxes, or a season of three months marked by the passage of the sun between the equinoctial and solstitial points, or (according to the ancient division of the year into spring, summer and winter) a season of four months.


"But this assumed meaning of the word year, making it a twelfth, or a half, or a third, or a fourth of the solar year, has no historical support; there being no evidence that such portions of time were ever made the unit of measure for long periods, such as the duration of human life, or were ever used for any other purpose than as fractions of the solar year. "It fails, moreover, in its application. For though it might explain the cases occurring in this chapter, it fails when applied to 11:10f, where some are mentioned as having sons at the age of thirty, and as living to the age of four or five hundred years.


"The term of life in man, as in all other animals, is God's ordinance. The progress of a human being from infancy, through childhood, youth and manhood, to old age, is a law of his constitution ordained by his Maker; and the length of time assigned for each, together with the secondary causes on which it depends, is also his appointment. Our belief that it was ever otherwise than at present, depends on our confidence in the record which asserts it. It is not an unphilosophical supposition, that man was originally so constituted, that his term of life should go on diminishing till it reached its minimum, and there remain stationary."


It may be accounted for in a simpler way. The fruit of the tree of life was designed to eliminate the mortality of the body. Adam and Eve partook of this fruit in the garden. It is quite possible that many centuries would elapse before the effects of this eating would be altogether eliminated from the bodies of Adam's descendants. The last four names of the list, Enoch, Methuselah, Lamech, and Noah, call for special comment.

 

ENOCH


Concerning Enoch we note four things:


1. He walked with God.


2. The occasion of his commencing to walk with God, the birth of his son.


3. His remarkable prophecy (Jude 14-15).


4. The manner of his exit from the world.


As a comment on three of these four particulars I here attach a sermon, preached by the author, January, 1894.


"'And Enoch walked with God; and he was not; for God took him' (Gen. 5:24). I think it quite probable that to supply the ellipsis this should read: 'and he was not found; for God took him.' To show the reasonableness of thus supplying the ellipsis we have only to read the collateral passage describing the translation of Elijah in 2 Kings 2:5-18. Now applying that narrative, I will read over again: 'And Enoch walked with God; and he was not [i.e., he was not found]; for God took him to himself.'


"The subject which I have selected tonight is one to me of very great interest. 'Walking* in the sense used in this text never applies to doctrine; it applies to conduct, to life; as when it is said of Zacharias, the father of John the Baptist, that he and his wife, Elisabeth, walked in the commandments of God. In both the Old and New Testaments, the word has that signification. For instance, when God said to Solomon, If you will walk in my ways as thy father David didst walk in my ways,' evidently referring .o the life, to the conduct. Before one's life can be such as is e-pressed by this text, there is something implied; something presupposed. The prophet Amos asks a question in the third chapter and third verse of the book attributed to him: 'How can two walk together except they be agreed?' So that if it be affirmed that two walked together, it is implied that the two are at agreement. And it also follows from the nature of the case that one of the two had been at enmity with the other and that there had been a reconciliation. So that when we say of any man that he walks with God, it implies that he has been reconciled to God. It does not mean that God has conformed to him, but that he has conformed to God. It does not mean that the Lord has lowered his standard to suit the man, but that the man's way has been subordinated to God's way, and his life to God's rules. It never implies any kind of change on the part of God, but always on the part of man. So when it is affirmed of Enoch that he walked with God, it implies that there had been a time when Enoch and God had not been at agreement, but that something had occurred to put them at agreement, and that after this agreement they had then walked together. This brings up the question: 'Does the Bible show anywhere when this agreement took place between God and Enoch?' I think so. A careful study of the passage shows that Enoch commenced to walk with God when he was sixty-five years old. It is affirmed that he lived 365 years, and it is affirmed that 300 years he walked with God. Then he commenced to walk with God when he was sixty-five years old. The mind becomes a little curious to know what it was that brought about this agreement between God and Enoch; what occasion brought the two together. I think the Bible tells us what the occasion was. It evidently connects the subject with the birth of Enoch's son, the birth of his baby boy. Up to the time that Methuselah was born Enoch did not walk with God, but a child is born unto him, and from the day that child is born as long as he lived upon the earth, he walked with God. So we find the occasion in the birth of this boy – the first-born child. I do not know why it is so – one may speculate a great deal upon it – but the fact will not be questioned that with children there comes a change in this world to the parents. There is something in paternity and maternity that casts a different atmosphere about all the things of this life; the medium of vision is entirely different. The coloring is all changed. A boy has his ambitious dreams, his selfish thoughts of distinction, his ideas of success to which everything must bend, and it is an astonishing thing to him, the cast of mind evidently manifested by his father and his mother. He cannot understand it. But after a while he grows up himself and marries, and still after he marries it is a good deal like the prolongation of youth. But a child comes to that family and with the first wail of that voice, with the first uplifting of the eyes of that new-born soul, there has come a radical and fundamental change in that house. Life will never be the same again. The world will never appear to be the same any more. Here has come a responsibility that could not even be conceived of before. Here has come a joy that without the experience of it, the heart could not even take hold of it. The objects of life are instantly changed. With his first-born child instantly the whole course of the father's life is changed. He Bays, 'I stand by myself and for myself no more. I am not now living for myself. I must live for this child. I must live so that this pledge of God's affection, this being which is bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh, shall be properly reared; shall take his proper place in the world.' So much in general.


"But you ask me why I ever fell upon the thought that this change in Enoch's attitude toward God was brought about by the birth of this child? I do not know all that occurred. I cannot conceive of it even. It is conjectural; but I gather that something occurred in this communion with God at this point, and that, too, by a revelation, a revelation that made the birth of that child the most important thing to him in his life. And what was it? With the coming of that child was the announcement from heaven: 'Do you see that baby? The world will last as long as he lives, and no longer. When that child dies the judgment of God is coming upon the earth. The windows of heaven are going to be opened. The fountains of the great deep are going to be broken up. That chaos will return, as described in the second verse of the first chapter of Genesis, when the earth was first made; it was empty and void, a waste of water. In the process of his divine work God separated the waters below from the waters above. The expanse of the heaven was spread out. There was a separation of the waters above and below. Then a separation of the waters below, the dry land from the water. Now God says, 'When that child dies, I will restore the world to its chaotic state as it was before the expanse was created that separates the waters above and below. I will open the windows of heaven. That is, I will remove the expanse. I will put my finger upon the law which keeps the waters above in the clouds and restore it to what it was. And if I do that, the waters that are up yonder will come down. And then I will take this earth that is now dry land and sea, and will break up the foundations of the great deep, so that it shall be water, and water only, again.' That, probably, is what he said to this father. You ask me why I suppose this, since the record is silent. To me, the record does not seem to be altogether silent. The record itself, and that alone, suggests the thought. Consider the name given to the child – Methuselah. That name signifies that with his departure comes this flood. In all probability a divine revelation is memorialized in the name. Now then, let us look for a moment upon the methods by which such a great revelation of God operated upon the mind of Enoch to bring about a radical change in him. It makes no difference how careless you are tonight about religious matters; it makes no difference how absorbed you may be in the things of this world, you may realize the cause of the change in Enoch. Suppose that it should be made known to you, and is a way that you could not question the veracity of God, that this world would last only as long as the life of some little child in your house. Maybe there is a little girl at your house. What if it should be creditably conveyed to you that this world would last just as long as that little girl would live, and no longer. Perhaps you have a little boy at your house, and the message comes to you, 'That child's life is the life of the world. When that child dies the world will come to an end.' Now, as you could have no knowledge of how long or how short that life might be, there would instantly come before you the possibility of the cessation of the existence of the earth at any time. It might be next week; it might be next year; but always staring you in the face, every time you look upon the baby, or upon the boy, upon the girl running around; every time you look; every time that child is a little sick; every time fever comes or a slight chill, or any eruption on the skin, or any apparent decline in health it would seem to you as the shadow of the doom of the world. That being so, if you believed it; if it had been made credible to you, you would begin to say within yourself, If this is the last of it; if the world can last only as long as this child lives; how ought I to live?' Now to show you how naturally and rationally that thought would come into your mind, let me read to you again the passage of Scripture which prefaced this sermon, the use of which you did not then probably anticipate. Peter says, In the last days there shall come scoffers walking after their own lusts, and saying, Where is the promise of his coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation. But the Lord is not slack concerning his promise as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to usward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, looking for and hastening unto the day of the coming of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?' You seethe practical effect of faith in that scripture; that if men believe that the day of God is near at hand, the time of judgment, the hour when we are to stand before him and answer for the deeds done in the body, and how things that engage our attention here and absorb our minds and call out our energies, that these things are evanescent; that not only is 'passing away' written upon them, but the day of their departure is fixed already in the mind of God. I say, with this conviction in the heart, that there is to be such a speedy termination of this world's existence, as a natural, indeed, an inevitable consequence, there is forced upon the man's mind that believes, this thought: 'What ought my life to be?' It is furthermore manifest from the fact that all men whose lives are and continue to be irreligious, are the men who by some method have closed their eyes to the thought of a day of trial, of a windup of the affairs of this world. The judgment of God and the speed with which it is coming have become inoperative in wholesome effects upon their minds, from the fact that they do not believe. The conviction does not seize upon them. But our text supposes that this conviction did seize upon the mind of Enoch; that it seized upon him in such a manner that he named his child in reference to it, and from the birth of that child until he passed away he walked with God. He walked with him as a familiar friend and lived with reference to a speedy responsibility. A careful study of this passage shows that from the birth of that child the attractiveness of this world had lost all its power over the mind and heart of Enoch. The things which men covet most; the honors which they esteem to be the highest, and the glories that are the most entrancing to their views, were in his esteem, after this revelation from God – after this conviction took possession of his heart – as if they did not exist. The two were no longer polarized. I mean that there was no conductor of influence. They did not come in touch. The earth magnet no longer up high enough to look over it and see how near was the end moved Enoch. He had seen an end of it. God had taken him of all earthly things. Seeing that and knowing how little worth there was in it, he then began to say, 'As I find within myself the stirrings of immortality, as I am conscious of a deathless spirit; as I feel myself related to eternity; therefore, as this world is to pass away so speedily upon which I have my temporary home, what should be my preparation for the other world to which I hasten, and how shall I so live that when I pass from this world I may go to one whose skies are never flecked with clouds, and whose stability is such that neither floods nor fires shall interrupt the continuity of their being?' It was in this way probably that his mind acted. As a proof of it – and it is one of the most notable things in history, account for it as you like – whenever and wherever in any age of the world any number of persons have become possessed with a conviction of the sublunary nature of things here and of the speedy approach of dissolution; of the nearness of their contact with the hitherto invisible things of eternity; that as that conviction at any period of the world has touched one man, or two, or a thousand; to the extent of the touch, to that extent you find revivals in religion; you find men realizing in their hearts that they want something more than this world; that they want something more enduring than it can offer; they want something to satisfy the cravings of the aroused and immortal spirit; they are no longer willing simply to live and toil for bread and clothing, but rather that the spirit may be fed, and that the spirit may be clothed and made happy forever.


"Another thought: This man having had such a revelation of the speedy dissolution of the world in which he lived, what must, I ask you, have been the workings of his mind as he studied the health of that child? Looking back, the oldest man living was not yet dead. Adam was yet alive. He was over 700 years old. Some men had died. Some had died early. Some had not lived to be 100. And after a while Adam died, and here was the limit of his life. And Enoch would look at him and say, 'What are the probabilities concerning this child of mine, Methuselah?' 18 it not a curious and suggestive thing that the man whose life was to terminate with the world itself was permitted to live longer than anybody else ever did live? Is it not an exhibition of God's mercy? As this is the child who is to live until the time comes for the world to be swept away by a flood, and as during this interval the word of God is to be preached to lead men to salvation, shall not the mercy of God prolong that day? Shall he not live longer than any man ever did live? Shall he not live longer than any other man will live? Shall not his age be unique, standing out from the age of any other, because that from the hour of his birth the decree had gone forth, 'When the breath leaves his body the throes of dissolution shall commence. When he departs the clouds gather and the earth sickens and the seas are uprooted in their foundations. Let him live and live and live, that space may be given for men to repent'? But long before this man died, whose life was to be co-equal with the world's existence, the one to whom the announcement was made had left the earth; and there is something about that worth consideration. He was a notable character. In all the mythologies of the heathen nations they have preserved some kind of a tradition with regard to him. The most of these traditions, of course, are far-fetched. But it shows that the impress of this strange man was never effaced from the world. To him has been attributed the first acquaintance with astronomy. To this man have been given the name and fame of originating a written language. With all of which traditions I have nothing to do and care but little about. I merely introduce these thoughts to show that he impressed his age and subsequent ages, and that he so lived while here upon the earth that he caused men to think about him and talk about him, and conjecture about him thousands of years after he had passed away. (This sermon continued in next chapter.)

 

QUESTIONS


1. In brief statement give review of chapter 4.


2. What parallel between Genesis 5:1, and Matthew 1:1, and the bearing on. the unity of the whole Bible?


3. What amazing parallel in 5:1-3, the meaning of "begat a son in his own likeness, after his image," Genesis 5:3, and what doctrines involved when compared with Genesis 1:26?


4. What are the two classes of earth's population today?


5. How long from Adam to the flood and how ascertained?


6. Do you accept the extraordinary longevity as historically true?


7. What purpose was served by the long life of the early Christians?


8. Can you cite any case of long life among the Cainites, or among unbelievers after the flood? If not, why this distinction?


9. How does Dr. Conant account for this longevity?


10. How does the author account for it?


11. Who was the last recorded example of extraordinary longevity and why was it not necessary after that?


12. What man. was for a long time a contemporary of both Adam and Noah?


13. Which man, before the flood, never died?


14. Meaning of "walked with God"?


15. What is presupposed by it?


16. How old was he when. be began to walk with God and what event caused it?


17. Generally, what is the effect of paternity and maternity on people?


18. What revelation does the author think Enoch received at the birth of Methuselah and upon what does he base his conviction?


19. How would such a revelation naturally affect Enoch's life?


20. What New Testament parallel serves as an admonition to every passing generation?


21. What curious and suggestive thing in the fact that Methuselah lived longer than any one else in the world?


22. What shows Enoch’s impress upon the world?

 

 

XII

 

(Return to Contents)

 

ENOCH – HIS TRANSLATION

Genesis 5 (Continued)

 


"Enoch's taking off was the marvellous thing, inasmuch as so much attention had been attracted to him. Let us imagine ourselves living in that time when people would commence to say: 'Where is Enoch? Has anybody seen Enoch to-day?' And inquiries are made at his home: 'Where is your father?' 1 do not know.' Perhaps you ask the wife: 'Where is your husband?' 1 do not know; he is gone.' 'Where is Enoch?' And a search is installed. The places he frequented are all carefully searched, and at last, as the investigators return, the question is passed back and forth: 'Where is he?' And he was not found. When had any one ever gone so before? Never. Here was a mysterious disappearance. Here was something that fixed the attention of that age more than a thunderclap ten thousand times louder than an ordinary peal – the disappearance of Enoch. Did he die? No. Was he sick? No. Well, when other people died we buried them. Here are their graves. We cannot bury him, for we cannot find him. Where is his body? What has become of his body? And how that thought would flash upon the people. He cannot be found. Up to a certain time the observers saw him. One would say: 1 saw him here last week.' Another, 'I saw him there the day after, but where is he now?' Was it witchcraft? Compare the scenes recorded in the second book of Kings, where fifty sons of the prophets unto whom God had made the revelation that Elijah would be called up away from the earth without dying, determined to witness his departure, and they watched Elijah and Elisha. And they say to Elisha: 'Do you know that today Elijah is going to be taken away from you?' 'Yes, I know it.' And those two walk off together. And Elijah says to Elisha, 'You stop here.' And they go to another place: 'Then, stop here.' 1 will not stop; as my soul liveth, I am going to hold on to you. I want to know how you go. There is the record of a man's disappearance once before, and where he went and how he went no one can tell. This time I will see.' And Elijah says to him, 'What would you ask of me?' 'Give me thy spirit. Let the double of thy spirit, the equivalent of it, let that come upon me. That is, when you leave, let an equal power of the spirit now on you be upon me that the world shall not be deprived of the like of your example.' Ah, if someone had but thought of that in Enoch's time! If someone had clung to him and said, 'As I live and as the Lord liveth, I will cling to you and follow you and when you leave let an equivalent of your spirit be given unto me.' Nobody thought of it. But now, mark you, Elijah said, If you can see me when I go, then you shall have the equivalent of the spiritual power that is on me.' That test is not an arbitrary one; it is required by the nature of the case, that no man could have the spirit or the power that rested on Elijah unless his faith was so sublimated and etherealized that he could look through the grossness of earth and see the outshining of heaven and a higher and purer spiritual life. Hence, he says, If you can see me, it will be so.' And Elisha saw him, and as he went up he shouted: 'My Father! My Father! The chariot of God and the horsemen thereof!' And he picked up the prophet's falling mantle and smote with it the waters of the Jordan as Elijah had done, and called upon the name of the God of Elijah to see if the spirit rested upon him that had rested upon his master, and the waters were divided. The disappearance in this case was located. Here was one witness; he saw it. These were adumbrations – they were shadows ahead. They point to what will take place when Jesus comes. What is it? Paul says: 'Brethren, I will show you a mystery. We shall not all die. There will be a large number of them living when Jesus comes, and all the Christians living when he comes shall be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump. There shall occur a spiritual sanctification. There shall occur a bodily glorification. Mortality shall put on immortality without passing through the throes of death, and corruption shall put on incorruption without decay or dissolution, without being led down in the loathsome charnel house.' Many – perhaps thousands and tens of thousands, will be alive when Jesus comes. In the twinkling of an eye they shall be translated and glorified and caught up to heaven, soul and body. Paul says that Enoch was not, i.e., not found, for God translated him. This is an old Latin word, an irregular verb, and it simply means carried over or carried across. God carried him across. Across what? Across death. Death is the river that divides this world from the world to come, and here was a man that never did go through the river at all. When he got there God carried him across. God transferred him; translated him; God picked him up and carried him over and put him on the other shore. And walking along here in time and communing with God by faith, in an instant he was communing with God by sight in another world. Faith, oh, precious faith! .Faith had turned to sight, and hope had turned to fruition in a single moment. Enoch was translated. God took him. And it made an impression on that day, on this day, and on every day. There are only two instances.


"Now I want to make an application of this subject. What, under the circumstances, detailed in the life of Enoch and under the circumstances of the statements made by the apostle Peter, are the things that keep people from soberly reflecting? What are the things that stand in the way of preparation? What are the things which, if removed, thousands would be convicted in an instant? It is unbelief with reference to spiritual things; with reference to the coming of the Son of God; with reference to the fact that the world in which we live is the threshold only of the grand building of the world to come. Now, when you sit down by one of your acquaintances and try to engage him in serious conversation, what obstacles do you encounter? The power of this world, the pride of life, the lust of the flesh. The whole vision is filled. And you try to edge in or wedge in a word about personal responsibility to God. 'Oh, there will be no judgment; things are moving on today like they did last year, a hundred years ago. They will move on that way another thousand years.' Will they mov~ that way to you a thousand years? Will it last fifty for you? Are you right sure that it will last twenty-five for you? Even if the world should last another thousand years, what is that to the individual? You will not last that long. Your death fifty years hence will be a more momentous thing than God's announcement to Enoch, that 'when this child dies the end will come,' because that child lived 969 years. With all that tremendous effect on the mind of Enoch, it was nearly a thousand years off. But is yours that far off? Is it not nearer to each one of us here than it was to him? Is it not many hundreds of years nearer to any of us than it was to him? Now why cannot we be induced) as he was induced, to think about walking with God? Seeing that these things are to be dissolved, so far as we are concerned, in a very short time, what manner of persons ought we to be? What if you die within one year? What if your friends come and ask about you and say, 'Where is he? Can anybody tell me where he is gone?' He is gone from the world, never to come back. 'Gone where; where and to what?' Oh, if I could by the Spirit's power bring down upon your hearts tonight some conviction resulting from the manifest brevity of your life! It is not only short, but its thread is brittle, and may snap in a moment. Shall not Enoch's case profit you at all? Fix your mind on it. He looks out 969 years into the future, and sees the end of the world. He stands and looks at itω969 years off, but it is the end of the world. How does it affect him? How does he apply the knowledge? ‘Henceforward I will walk with God.' Now. here you are: how far is it to the world's end with you? How much do you say? None of you will say a hundred years; perhaps fifty; perhaps twenty-five; perhaps ten; perhaps one. Maybe only a month. Why, then, can't you feel it like he felt it? Why does not the. conviction come to you like it came to him? It is because the. God of this world hath blinded the eyes of them who believe , not. He has put a bandage, impenetrable and inscrutable, upon the eyes of the people that they cannot see the nearness and the certainty of the approach of death and of being ushered out of the world for ever and into another world for ever. Now, that is why I took this subject tonight, January, 1894. In all human probability one-fifth of us here in this house tonight will never see 1900. That is only six years off. Some of you will certainly never see that. Oh, believe it! The crape will be hanging on some of your door knobs before 1895. Some homes now happy will be desolate before summer comes. There will be empty cradles and vacant chairs. I speak of probabilities, judging from what is occurring all along. And yet, how strange! We carelessly move along and say, 'Where is the promise of his coming?' No preparation to meet God; no living with reference to eternity! God help you tonight to see that and feel that. Is it wrong? Is it contrary to what you think is best? Is it expedient, feeling about this as I do feel about it, do you think it would be best for me to stop right here and make no effort to lead some soul here now to the thought of preparation for God? Who can tell? It may be that God, in his infinite mercy, has made this night the occasion of the turning point of salvation to some immortal spirit, as he made the birth of that child the turning point in the life of Enoch. Some of your have children. Their responsibility is on you. They catch their cue from you. They walk the way you walk. They imbibe your spirit; your shadow is on your boy, on your girl, on your home. Oh, father, mother, when you think of your child, had you not better prepare to meet your God? What is life to young people? What know they of its anguish; what of its responsibilities? They hear the song of the siren; their eye is dimmed with the glare of earth's tinsel; they are swept away on the tidal wave of youth's buoyant feeling. But, oh, grown men and women, fathers and mothers, to whom God has committed children, how can you put your hand upon the face of a sleeping child one night and not prepare to meet God? Sometimes, even in the thoughtlessness of youth, through a rift in the clouds, the divine benediction falls like a halo of light, and some little Samuel hears the voice of God, and says, 'Lord, here am 1.' Some Timothy, reading the Scriptures and hearing his mother or his grandmother expound them, says, 'Lord, here am I.' Young man, will you not turn tonight? Oh, see the line of demarcation. Who crosses next? Maiden, is it you? Shall we very soon sadly inquire, 'Where is she?' 'She is not.' 'Not found.' In that grave, there, the coffin holds its ashes, her soul is not there.' 'Where is she?' 0, eternity, eternity, eternity I beg you now, right now, take a step in the direction of heaven. I plead with you in view of the brittle thread of life; in view of its brevity, in view of the judgment, in view of the eternity of being, which must come when we pass out of this state of existence, I entreat you to begin now to walk with God. Who walks not with him here shall never walk with him yonder in white. Be reconciled to him tonight that you may begin to walk with him tomorrow. Who is not reconciled here is irreconciled forever. Be a child – a spiritual child of God, learning to walk on the King's highway – stepping heavenward. Oh, take a step tonight, thou fearful, trembling one. God holds out his hands; walk into his arms of love." In this sermon of the important things in connection with the life of Enoch there are three, and now one more remains. There is a passage in the book of Jude to the effect that, "To these also Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied, saying, Behold, the Lord came with ten thousands of his holy ones, to execute judgment upon all, and to convict all the ungodly of all their works of ungodliness which they have ungodly wrought, and of all the hard things which ungodly sinners have spoken against him." That translation is awful, as to the tense, saying, "Behold, the Lord came." The idiom of the language does not require such a tense. It ought to be, "The Lord will come." Concerning this statement in the book of Jude there has been much controversy. Not a great while ago a manuscript was found purporting to be the full text of the book of Enoch. In it there is language quite similar to Jude's statement, not exactly like it, but similar to it. It is evidently not a verbal quotation from Jude; nor are the words in Jude quoted from it. Now it has been contended by many that this book of Enoch was written – at least some of it – before Christ came, and that Jude quotes from this Apocryphal book. That is the contention. On the other hand, many scholars believe that what is called the book of Enoch was written by a Christian after Jude's day, and that the passage to which I referred is an elaboration of Jude's statement. I am quite sure that no man can be safely confident as to the exact date of that book of Enoch. Personally, I do not at all believe that it antedates the book of Jude. The question then arises: From what source did Jude get this information about the prophecy of Enoch? And you might ask, From what source did Peter get his information that Noah was a preacher of righteousness? And you might also ask, From what source does Paul get the names of the magicians who withstood Moses – Jannes and Jambres? To all of which inquiries it is the easiest thing to say, and the most rational, "They got it by inspiration of God."


Then comes up this point: Enoch in his lifetime having prophesied that the Lord would come with myriads of his holy ones – angels – when is this coming? Did he refer exclusively to the coming of the Lord in judgment of the world by the flood, or even if this be his primary intent, did he also look far beyond the flood to the final advent of our Lord? In answer to this question, we may say that the prophets frequently had a primary reference to things near their own times, and yet the deepest significance of their words looks to the times of our Lord. It is easy to see this in David's prophecy concerning Solomon; it starts off apparently with Solomon in view, but expands into a vision of the King wiser and greater than Solomon, whose dominion is the whole world. So it may well be that Enoch, profoundly impressed with the impiety of his day, might speak in stern denunciation of the corruption that was then in the world and of the impending judgment of God, but its use in the New Testament shows that he was looking forward to a final world judgment which the flood prefigured. (See 2 Peter 3:5-12.)


Some people make out that the Old Testament saints had no clear ideas of the future world, that they did not see beyond the grave. The translation of Enoch is an everlasting refutation of that contention, and his prophecy concerning the final judgment of God upon men is as conclusive as his translation. Indeed, as we intelligently study the Old Testament we must revise the judgment of little light before the flood, as will be shown in the next chapter. The theme of that chapter is: "The Light Possessed by the Antediluvians."


In the preceding chapter I told you how to find the age of the world since man occupied it till the coming of the flood, according to the Hebrew text of the Old Testament, namely, by a simple addition to the age of Adam when Seth was born, the age of Seth when his son was born, and so on till you come to Noah, and then add 600 years, the age of Noah when the flood came. By adding these figures you obtain 1,656 years, or more than sixteen and a half centuries, as the age of man's occupancy of the world at the time of the flood. That is according to the Hebrew text. There is extant a very faulty text of the Old Testament, called the Samaritan Pentateuch. According to the Samaritan Pentateuch it was 1.307 years from the creation of Adam to the flood, and this result is gained by taking away from the age figures in the Hebrew enough to make the difference. Then we have the Septuagint, or the Greek translation of the Old Testament, no part of which is older than 250 B.C. Now the Septuagint differs from the figures which I have given by adding 100 years in the following cases:


100 years to Adam before Seth was born;


100 years to Seth before his son was born;


100 years to Enoch before his son was born;


100 years to Kenan before his son was born;


100 years to Mahalaleel before his son was born; in like manner


100 years to Enoch, and then adding


Six years to Lamech. That gives a total, according to the Septuagint, of 2,262 years from the creation of Adam to the flood. We have still a different account of it in the book of Josephus. Josephus agrees with the Septuagint in adding those hundreds, but agrees with the Hebrew when it comes to the age of Lamech; and so there is only six years difference between Josephus' account and the Septuagint account, that is to say, Josephus has 2,256 years.


This brings up an old question: The antiquity of the human race upon the earth. Now if we take the figures in the Hebrew text, 1,656 to the flood, the 367 to the call of Abraham, the 430 from the call of Abraham to the Exodus and the time given variously from the Exodus to the coming of Christ, we have 4,004 years in all. Now add that to 1913, our present A.D. time, and you get, according to the Bible, the antiquity of man, 5,917 years. That is the Bible statement of the antiquity of man. But over against this come the' various and contradictory contentions of men arguing from their own conclusions in the several departments of science to which they have given special attention. From geology comes a contention based on fossil remains and the computed time in the formation of the several strata of the earth, that man must have lived on the earth anywhere from 100,000 to 1,000,000 years. All of which is mere conjecture since no two of them will give the same date, though they are studying the same matter. Not very long ago a very able scientist laughed at all of these extravagant assertions of man's antiquity, based upon anything that is to be found in history, geology, paleontology. Mark Twain was so much amused by reading the different calculations made on insufficient data by geological experts he took a hand him- self on this fashion. He mentions a date on which the length of the Mississippi River between Cairo and New Orleans was definitely known to be so much. Then he gave subsequent well known dates when the river each time shortened its course by a cutoff. These were his facts. Now followed his conclusions that if the length of the river was shortened so much in a given time the date was not remote when Memphis and New Orleans would be brought in touch and put under one municipal government, and by the same token just a million years ago next November it was then sticking out over the Gulf of Mexico like a fishing pole.


Take another example: John Fiske, who was one of the greatest historical lecturers, and the most interesting that I have ever read after, when he comes to consider the settlement of Jamestown, Virginia, finds himself unable, with the data before him, to fix the precise date. But the same John Fiske, when speaking as an evolutionist, can give you the exact date of the formation of the strata and the dates of the ages of all the fossils to a fraction, and he consequently can prove to you that man has been living on the earth one million years. In other words, when discussing facts near the present time, where there are abundant contemporaneous data, he is very modest in claiming an exact date for a well-known event. But when he leaps out into the vagaries of evolutionary speculations he becomes confidently assertive and knows better than the Almighty himself when things took place, millions of years ago. Consequently my advice to you is to possess your souls with patience until these infallible experts get at least within a million years of each other, and go on believing what the Bible says about the antiquity of man.


Two well-known historical events will aid you somewhat in moderating your awe of those very learned men:


A clear-cut section of the deposit on the buried cities of Herculaneum and Pompeii cut straight down from the surface to the streets will exhibit layers, or strata, bearing the marks of incalculable periods of time, and yet all of it resulted from one eruption of Versuvius.


The phosphate beds of South Carolina contain the mingled bones of animals, including man's, which, according to these same infallible gentlemen, were separated from each other by cycles of ages in the time of their existence on earth.


Moreover, if we accept the Bible account of the flood, how much that puzzles the geologist will be explained. In Genesis 1:2-10, we learn how chaos was eliminated, particularly the part played by atmosphere. The flood in a large measure reversed this process and restored chaos. I say that much of chaos was eliminated by atmosphere. The weight of the atmosphere separated the waters below from the waters above; and then the separation of the waters below from the land below was brought about by a subsidence at one place and a raising of the earth at other places. Now, if the flood reverses that process which eliminated chaos and brings chaos back again, who can tell what changes were wrought in the time of the flood on deposits of strata that we now geologically examine? We know much to be historically true: that in one night an island of magnitude, through volcanic eruptions, can rise up out of the sea; we also know that in one night land that is high sinks down by a sudden subsidence into the waters, and the ocean rolls over it forever. So that until we get surer scientific light, you may rest yourselves content with what the Bible says about the antiquity of man. It is questionable whether geology has as yet attained to a science. It teaches some things you may rely on, but the huge conclusions deduced from a minimum of facts are enough to make any man distrust the teachings of his textbooks on geology, on psychology, on biology, and on zoology.


The next point that I want to bring out is: We find that Lamech, a descendant of Cain, a bigamist and a murderer, got off a piece of poetry, and this is the poetry:


Adah and Zillah, hear my voice:


Ye wives of Lamech, hearken unto my speech;


For I have slain a man for wounding me,


And a young man for bruising me:


If Cain shall be avenged sevenfold,


Truly Lamech seventy and sevenfold.

 

That is poetic in form; you can tell that, even in the translation. Now, when we come to a Lamech who is a descendant of Seth we find a sweeter poem. You see these poems come from two Lamechs, one a Cainite, the other a Sethite. When Noah was born, Lamech, his father, says:


This one will comfort us


From our labour,


And from the toil of our hands,


From the ground,


Which Jehovah cursed.

 

That is also poetical in form. But how shall we interpret the prophecy of the latter poem? We saw that Enoch obtained a revelation at the time that his son, Methuselah, was born and that he prophetically named him to signify that the end of the world would come with the death of this child, and it is a fact that the year in which Methuselah died the flood came. Now, as to the prophecy! The word, "Noah," means "rest." So he says, "He [this baby of ours] shall comfort us, or rest us, from our labour, and from the toil of our hands, because of the ground which Jehovah hath cursed." Now, to my astonishment, so accurate an interpreter, and usually so sound an interpreter as Thomas J. Conant, whose translation I have just read, says in a note, "There appears to be no reference to Noah's subsequent history as given in the sacred records. They seem rather to express the pious and grateful feelings of poor, time-worn parents on the birth of a son from whom they hope for relief in the labours to which sin has subjected mankind." If that interpretation is correct, then the words are divested of all prophetic idea and of the hope of the weary parents. I am glad to say that the best of the interpreters do not favor Dr. Conant. He says, "there appears to be' no reference to Noah's subsequent history." But let us prove a reference. Lamech speaks of the ground which God had cursed and of his son bringing rest. Now, if we turn to Noah's sacrifice after leaving the ark we find these words: "And the Lord smelled a sweet savour, and the Lord said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground for man's sake; for the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every living thing, as I have done. While the earth remaineth, seed time and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night, shall not cease" (Gen. 8:21-22). So that evidently this old father, Lamech, saw that in the days of his son Noah the ground which God had cursed would be delivered from one part of that curse. It is evidently, therefore, a prophecy, and I could easily show, if I chose to take the time, that far beyond Noah personally, it looks to Shiloh, the rest that remains for the people of God. It looks to one greater than Noah, even to our Lord Jesus Christ, who will redeem the earth at last, absolutely, from the curse which sin entailed upon it, when Adam committed his offense against himself and versus all his seed.

 

QUESTIONS


1. What the meaning of "God took him"? Cite New Testament proof.


2. What other Old Testament case of translation?


3. When, according to the New Testament, will there be other cases?


4. What is the New Testament description of the process which takes place?


5. What are the things that keep people from soberly reflecting?


6. Give briefly the application of the sermon on Enoch.


7. What prophecy of Enoch preserved in the New Testament?


8. What controversy about this passage?


9. From what source did Jude get his information about the prophecy of Enoch?


10. What did Enoch mean by the coming of the Lord with his holy ones?


11. What evidence that Old Testament saints had clear ideas of the future world?


12. How long from the creation of Adam to the flood, according to the Samaritan Pentateuch? The Septuagint? Josephus?


13. According to our Bible what is the antiquity of the human race?


14. What is the testimony of some scientists and the value of their testimony?


15. What was Mark Twain's illustration?


16. What was John Fiske's position and what was the fallacy of it?


17. What two historical events in point and what do they prove?


18. What is the bearing of the process of the flood and the rising and subsiding of islands in a short time, on the position of some geologists?


19. Contrast the poetry of the two Lamechs. Which is the better?


20. Is this later poem a prophecy, and, if so, to what does it immediately refer?


21. What is Dr. Conant's interpretation of it?


22. To what remote event does the author refer this prophecy?


 
XIII

 

(Return to Contents)

 

CAUSES OF THE DELUGE
Genesis 6:1-22

 


1. Nature and grounds of man's race title to the earth.


2. Light and help for maintaining title.


3. Limit at which title lapses.


4. Gradual approach to the limit (Gen. 4-5).


5. Limit passed by worldwide race corruption (Gen. 6:1-6, 11-12).


6. Worldwide race destruction announced (Gen. 6:7, 13).


7. Respite of mercy or space for repentance (Gen. 6:3; I Peter 3:19-20).


8. Means for preservation of race remnant for new beginning (Gen. 6:14-22).


In the study of Genesis 1:26-28, we have already considered, somewhat, man's race title to the earth. In Genesis 3, we have considered man's forfeiture of this title by violation of its conditions, but also learned how that by intervention of grace forfeiture was not declared, but held in abeyance under the conditions of a new probation.


Now in view of the impending race catastrophe set forth in this lesson, resulting from another lapse of title by violation of the new grace conditions, it is fitting to carefully restate the first item of the outline, viz.:

 

NATURE AND GROUNDS OF MAN'S RACE TITLE TO THE EARTH


It was never an absolute title arising from man's sovereignty, but always in subordination to God. His title was that of tenant or steward of a divine Sovereign. In the garden of Eden he was a tenant of his Creator-landlord, under a covenant of works whose conditions of forfeiture of title were expressed in the law concerning the tree of knowledge of good and evil. By the intervention of grace after his fall he became the tenant of a Saviour-landlord under a covenant of grace expressed by the law of propitiatory sacrifices then and there appointed. So that we may summarize the conditions of his race title under these heads:


(1) He holds as steward or tenant of God. When the tenant disregards his relations toward God the title is vitiated and he may be evicted by summary process at the will of the real owner.


(2) He must multiply and fill the earth, yet within the divine laws of multiplication. Multiplication by illegal methods is not obedience to this condition.


(3) He must subdue the earth and develop its resources, yet in lawful ways and with lawful ends in view. The building of cities by Cain's descendants, or their construction of tents, or invention of musical instruments, or implements of industry, etc., these are innocent per se, but if perverted to ends of alienation from God, this is not obedience to the condition.


In entering upon the study of the sixth chapter of Genesis, we must, therefore, bear in mind two things: First, that we are not considering the individual but the race title to the earth. Second, that this title is now held not under the conditions of Adam's original probation, but under the conditions of grace probation, which intervened to suspend lapse of title by Adam's disobedience. The divine relations are now expressed in expiatory laws. Keeping these essential points in mind, we are prepared to advance to the second division of the outline:

 

LIGHT AND HELP FOR MAINTAINING TITLE


It has always been an interesting inquiry, What gospel light had the world before the flood? The briefness of the narrative has led many to underestimate the degree of this light. By so much as this light is underestimated, by that much is the mind inclined to revolt at the wholesale and stupendous catastrophe and to impugn the divine goodness. But a fair comparison of this brief record with later scriptures makes it evident that this light was very great and well understood by the antediluvians. They did not fall through ignorance, but by willful, deliberate, and persistent transgression. It is conceded on all hands that they had the external light of nature (Psalm 19:1-6; Rom. 1:18-20; Acts 14:17), and its internal light of conscience (Rom. 2:15). But this is not gospel light and could not avail to salvation after the fall. So the question recurs, What gospel light had they? In briefest outline this light consisted in:


(1) The promise of a Redeemer (Gen. 3:15) who would save them from the defilement, guilt, and penalty of sin. Adam understood the promise, for he called his wife Eve, that is, mother of life (Gen. 3:20). That Eve understood is indicated by her expression at the birth of her first-born (Gen. 4:1).


(2) A throne of mercy was established at a definite place where sinful man might approach God by a new and living" way to the tree of life (Gen. 3:24). "God dwelt between the Cherubim at the east of the garden of Eden, as a Shekinah, to keep open the way to the tree of life."


(3) He instituted expiatory sacrifices as a means of approach to this throne (Gen. 3:21; 4:3-4). Adam and Eve must have thoroughly understood, for we find their children instructed in regard to sacrifices, and that God in a perfectly intelligible way signified his approval or disapproval of their worship (Gen. 4:4-5; Heb. 11:4). When Cain willfully misunderstood, Jehovah from his throne of grace patiently expostulated, and re-explained (Gen. 4:6-7). Cain understood God as well as you understand now in a face to face conversation with your earthly parents.


(4) The mark or sign of Cain, whatever it was, had to be conspicuous and instantly recognizable in order to avail in protecting Cain from the summary vengeance of all who met him. But such a sign would be a perpetual and visible memorial of his sin and a mighty preacher to warn against its repetition. It would be the most talked about thing in the world, more striking and comment-inspiring than the Pyramids of Egypt.


(5) Sabbath privileges, or a set time of worship (Gen. 2: 1-3; 4:3).


(6) The brightest and surest light of tradition the world has ever known. It was best and surest because of the longevity of the early Christians and because the whole race was close together, not yet having been dispersed over a wide area. Only two lives were sufficient to reach the deluge, Adam, and Methuselah. For 930 years the first man, the head of the race, was living and approachable, able to tell, as doubtless he did a thousand times, of his wonderful history and more wonderful relations with God. Then this longevity provided for verification of testimony by the long overlapping of lives of great contemporaries. The power of this tradition in the testimony of the first man may be inferred from the fact that the rapid and awful approaches to the race doom were after his death. The brightness and accuracy of the tradition is further evident from the fact that Lamech, the fifth generation from Cain, remembered and cited the Almighty's exemption of Cain from the punishment of man.


(7) The ministry and example of associated godly people (Gen. 4:26).


(8) Revelations and warnings through specially commissioned prophets like Enoch (Jude 14:15).


(9) The supernal light of Enoch's translation (Gen. 5:24; Heb. 11:5).


(10) Preachers of righteousness like Noah (2 Peter 2:5; I Peter 4:6).


(11) The ministry of the Holy Spirit (Gen. 6 3; I Peter 3:19).


(12) Special space for repentance after announcement of destruction (Gen. 6:3; I Peter 3:20).


Here are twelve distinct elements of external, gospel light.

 

LIMIT AT WHICH RACE TITLE TO THE EARTH LAPSES


Here the light of subsequent revelations helps greatly to illumine the brief statements of our lesson. From a vast number of these later scriptures it is necessary to cite only a few as examples to guide us safely in determining the limit, under the grace probation, at which the race title to the earth is forfeited.


Our Saviour declares that his people are the salt of the earth and adds: "But if the salt hath lost its savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out and trodden under foot of men" (Matt. 5:13).


Ten righteous men could have saved Sodom and Gomorrah, but there was only one (Gen. 18:32).


Says Jehovah to the prophet Ezekiel, "Son of man, when a land sinneth against me by committing a trespass, and I stretch out my hand upon it, and break the staff of the bread thereof, and send famine upon it, and cut off from it man and beast; though these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, they should deliver but their own souls by their righteousness, saith the Lord Jehovah" (Ezek. 14:13-14). And said the Lord to Jeremiah, "Then said Jehovah unto me, Though Moses and Samuel stood before me, yet my mind would not be toward this people: cast them out. of my sight, and let them go forth. And it shall come to pass, when they shall say unto thee Whither shall we go forth? then thou shall tell them, Thus saith Jehovah: Such as are for death, to death; and such as are for the sword, to the sword; and such as are for the famine, to the famine; and such as are for captivity, to captivity. And I will appoint over them four kinds, saith Jehovah: the sword to slay, the dogs to tear, and the birds of the heavens, and the beasts of the earth, to devour and to destroy" (Jer. 15:1-3).


And our context: "And Jehovah said, My spirit shall not strive with man for ever, for that he also is flesh" (Gen. 6:3).


From these and kindred passages three things are evident:


(1) That God made his spiritual seed the conservators of the world. To the Jehovah worshippers he has committed the ministry of reconciling and preserving the earth.


(2) The efficacy of this reconciling and preserving power is vested in the Holy Spirit, who blesses their life and ministry by applying through regeneration and sanctification the benefits of the expiatory sacrifice.


(3) Whenever, therefore, and from whatever causes, there is brought about a reduction in the number of his people to such a minimum as to destroy the saving power of this ministry, and whenever and from whatever causes the world's persistent despising of the Spirit's grace brings about the withdrawal of the Holy One, then we may know that the measure of iniquity is full, and the race must perish from off the face of the earth.


So we may easily understand the limit: It is just where the salt of world preservation has so lost its quality of saltness, or become so reduced in quantity as to be powerless to affect so great a mass of corruption, or, leaving figures of speech and coming to plain words, it is just where God's people become so worldly-minded as to nullify the force of their testimony, or so few in numbers that the sound of their testimony is lost in the World's uproar of noises and the grieved and insulted Spirit is withdrawn.

 

GRADUAL APPROACH TO THE LIMIT


Before considering the final causes of the destruction of the race as set forth in our lesson, let us briefly revert to the approximate causes developed in Genesis 4-5. As a double basis for race deterioration there was first, a nature depraved by the fall of Adam, and second, the activity, craftiness, and malignity of Satan as a tempter. From these were developed in practice:


The infidelity of Cain, that is, his rejection of the whole plan of the atonement, as if his nature was unfallen and he stood where Adam had stood in the garden of Eden, under a covenant of works, admitting indeed that he was a tenant of the Creator, but denying that he was a tenant under grace. Under the promptings of Satan he opened a way for all later infidels who deny that they need a Saviour, or that they need regeneration, or sanctification by the Holy Spirit, and consequently refuse to approach God through the expiation of a substitute.


By the murder of Abel, his brother, and the time which elapsed until Seth became a Christian, Cain's descendants got much the start in numbers.


By his going away from the presence of Jehovah at the place of worship his descendants were separated from the means of grace, and so waxed worse and worse, willfully being without God, without a worship, and without a sabbath.


Through Lamech, one of his descendants, bigamy was introduced, violating the law of marriage. This precedent deepened and widened social corruption (Gen. 4:19) and bigamy led to murder again (Gen. 4:23), and as hinted later, to polygamy and a horde of murders (Gen. 6:2-4). And so the way of Cain led ever downward with accumulated velocity into the deeper darkness.

 

LIMIT PASSED BY WORLDWIDE RACE CORRUPTION (Genesis 6:1-5)


"And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them, that the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all they chose. And Jehovah said, My spirit shall not strive with man for ever, for that he also is flesh; yet shall his days be one hundred and twenty years. The Nephilim were in the earth in those days, and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them; the same were the mighty men that were of old, the men of renown" (Gen. 6:1-4).


The final causes of the deluge are here portrayed in vivid flashes of sublime brevity. We see how nearly all the salt lost its quality of saltness; how the quantity that retained its saltness was too small to overcome such a mass of corruption; how the grieved and insulted Spirit ceased his striving. Just here I must turn aside for a moment and dispose of some poisonous interpretations.


This paragraph has been made the occasion of the wildest vagaries of exposition ever generated by unbridled fancy and speculative criticism. Many books have been published in support of one or the other of two heretical theories. If you young preachers ever dip much into general reading you are sure to meet some of these books, advocating one of these theories. It is more than probable that agents for books advocating these theories may canvass your own communities and poison the minds of many of your congregations by the circulation of their evil literature. In such case you might be disposed to censure your Bible teacher if his silence left you without warning and without antidote for the poison. Somewhat hesitatingly therefore I venture to clear away the brush of these false interpretations before submitting what I conceive to be the true exposition. I say hesitatingly, for ofttimes it is best not to advertise evil by notice of it, but to trust rather to preoccupation of the ground by the good and true. So we now take up…

 

First Evil Theory


That the sin which provoked the flood was miscegenation between the Adamites made in God's image, and pre-Adamites, who were a soulless generation of beasts though in human form, the highest connecting link between the man of Genesis 1:26, and the lower animals.


According to this theory the "sons of God" in our text were the Adamites and the "daughters of men" were female Negroes. This theory denies that any but the white race are children of Adam and proper subjects of gospel address, and so it vitally and practically affects the foreign mission enterprise. Just before and during the War Between the States it had many advocates both North and South. The belief was the product of a political exigency. Van Evrie, in the New York Day Book, a paper widely circulated in the South, published a series of articles to show, on scientific and historical grounds, that whites and blacks could not have a common race origin. Drs. Nott and Gliddon of Mobile advocated a similar theory, with labored argument, in a book entitled the Types of Mankind. Other books of like purport were written and published in Texas resting on the additional ground of scriptural argument.


This theory, so far as it. is based on scientific grounds, that is, anatomy, physiology, and history, has been utterly abandoned. The danger now from teachers of science comes from the opposite extreme. They now not only concede that all men of whatever race or color had a common origin, but affirm that all life, whether vegetable, beast or man, had a common origin.


This complete somersault in scientific teaching within the memory of living men admonishes us to waste no time in trying to reconcile the Bible with the human science of today, lest tomorrow, when science changes again, we should be obliged to make another adjustment, and so on ad infinitum. go far as the theory is based on Bible argument, it. is opposed to the text and the whole trend of Scripture teaching relative to the unity of the races. The word translated "men" in our text means Adamites. The "daughters of men" means the daughters of Adamite. More plausible is the…


Second Evil Theory


That the sin which provoked the flood was miscegenation between the angels and women. According to this theory "sons of God" means angels who intermarried with the daughters of men. The scriptural arguments on which this theory rests are:


Angels are often called the sons of God.


Some manuscripts of the Septuagint have "angels" in the text instead of "sons of God."


Verses 6 and 7 of Jude are cited to show that the sin of the angels was giving themselves over to strange flesh like the Sodomites.


The giants, Nephilim, of Genesis 4:4, are angels.


The monstrous character of the offspring from this unnatural cohabitation is cited in support of the theory (Gen. 4:4), latter clause. See a recent work of fiction, Man or Seraph. Reply…


It is conceded that in the Scriptures angels are called sons of God, but never in Genesis.


The presence of "angels" instead of "sons of God" in some Septuagint manuscripts is not a translation of the Hebrew, but an Alexandrian interpretation substituted for the original.


The whole argument in Jude is based upon the assumption that the pronounn "these" in v 7 has for its antecedent the noun "angels" in v. 6, whereas a nearer antecedent may be found in v. 7, namely, "Sodom and Gomorrah." With this nearer antecedent Jude would read: "Even as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities about them, with these," i.e., with Sodom and Gomorrah, not with the angels. Moreover the offense in Jude 7 is not the offense in Genesis 6:2. The latter is marriage, legal in itself.


"Nephilim," or giants, neither here nor in Numbers 13 -33, means "angels." This would be to have another offense of the angels after the flood.


The offspring of the ill-assorted marriage in Genesis 6:2-4, are not monsters in the sense of prodigies resulting from cross of species, but "mighty men," men of renown.


"Sons of God" means the Sethites, or Christians, men indeed by natural generation, but also sons of God by regeneration. In Genesis 4:26, directly connected with this lesson, we have the origin of the name: "Then began men to be called by the name of the Lord." This designation of Christians is common in both Testaments. I cite particularly Paalia82:6-7, where we have precisely the same contrast between the regenerate and the unregenerate as in our lesson: "All of you are sons of the Most High. Nevertheless, ye shall die like men."


The inviolable law of reproduction within the limits of species – "after their kind" – forbids the unnatural interpretation of this second theory.


According to our Lord himself the angels are sexless, without human passion, neither marrying nor giving in marriage (Luke 20:35).


With this disposition of the two evil theories, we resume the interrupted exposition. The offenses which so largely provoked the deluge are these:


Ill-assorted marriages of believers with infidels whereby their testimony for God was hampered and clouded. So the gait lost its savour. All through both Testaments the inexpediency of such marriages is reprobated. See the evil consequences avoided by Abraham in Isaac's case (Gen. 24:3-4) and by Isaac in Jacob's case (Gen. 28:1), and the evil consequences entailed in the cases of Ishmael and Esau. Compare Ezra 10, and Nehemiah 13, with the law in Exodus 34:15-16, and Deuteronomy 7:3. When we come to study the later history of Israel in Kings and Chronicles the examples of these evil marriages will be found to multiply. In the New Testament we need to cite only 2 Corinthians 6:14-17: "Be not unequally yoked with unbelievers; for what fellowship have righteousness and iniquity? or what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? Or what portion hath a believer with an unbeliever? And what agreement hath a temple of God with idols? for we are a temple of the living God; even as God said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore, Come ye out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; and I will receive you."


With this passage, compare latter clause of I Corinthians 7:39.


The sins of the sons of God consisted in entering the sacred marriage relation under the promptings of mere desire for beauty, regardless of the effect on their holy mission as world preservers.


The expression, "all that they chose," seems to imply the sin of polygamy. The bigamy of Lamech had thus become polygamy with the sons of Seth.


The result was that the offspring took after the mother instead of the father, full of worldly ambition, becoming "Mighty men, men of renown." Military glory and worldly fame was their god. In this way every source of gaining recruits to the Christian army was cut off. When the old Christians died there were no young ones to take their place. So the salt diminished in quantity until Noah was left alone.


In the meantime some of the sons of Cain had become Nephilim, or giants, that is, men of unbridled violence and lawlessness. Human life and property were no longer safe from these murderers and freebooters. Cain's murder had generated a brood of vipers.


The idea in Nephilim, or giants, means putting physical developments foremost in education. The product is the prize fighter, or the man of violence. The body is on top. Might is right. Gibborim, i.e., "men of fame or ambition," means putting intellectual development foremost in education. It is a higher and worthier education than mere physical development. It is like saying: "There were John L. Sullivans and Captain Kidds and Jesse Jameses in those days; and after the ill-assorted marriages there were Voltaires and Humes and Ingersolls and Bonapartes," but no Washingtons or Gladstones or Spurgeons or Edmond Paysons, except Noah alone. Dr. Conant thus disposes of the whole statement: "The meaning of the passage may be stated thus: The descendants of Cain were an irreligious race, and some were distinguished for personal prowess and the oppressive use of it. Descendants of Seth intermarried with women of this race; and from this union sprang men distinguished for like character and conduct. Thus the whole race of man becomes corrupt."

 

The Withdrawal of the Grieved and Insulted Spirit


This was prefigured in the case of Cain, who, having committed the unpardonable sin, was never again wooed by the Holy Spirit. Now the withdrawal is general. The influence of the Spirit is both mediate and immediate. Mediately he works through the ministry and the word of God. Immediately in convicting of sin and in disposing the sinner's heart to accept the gospel preached. This immediate influence ceases when the whole spiritual nature is so debauched as to become "past feeling," so as our text puts it "for that he is flesh" meaning altogether carnal. Flesh in this sense is not limited to the body, but includes the moral and intellectual man as in Romans 8:5-8; Galatians 5:19-23; 6:8.


We can also readily understand the withdrawal of the Spirit's immediate influence from the ministry of the backslidden Sethites, leaving it powerless, and even from the ministry of faithful Noah when that is persistently and insultingly rejected (compare Matt. 10:13-15).


The calamity has come to any sinner when God says to his Spirit: "Let him alone," while also saying to his praying people interceding for the sinner: "Let me alone." This is the fatal conjunction: "Let him. alone – Let me alone." What Jehovah Saw


"And Jehovah saw that the wickedness of the man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually" (Gen. 6:5). This statement is sweeping in its totality: (a) Every device of the thoughts of his heart; (b) in its depravity, only evil; (c) in its continuity, all the day. There can be no mistake about it, for it was not as man saw it, but as Jehovah saw it. And what a sight for the pure eyes of the infinitely Holy One!

 

How the Sight Affected Jehovah


"And it repented Jehovah that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart" (Gen. 6:8).


Just here we confront two difficulties: (a) The doctrine of our creed that God is impassive; (b) the emphatic statement of other scriptures that God cannot repent (I Sam. 15:29). How may we surmount these difficulties?


I think we can let the creed part take care of itself. We set out not to study human creeds, but the Bible, and we agreed to let the Bible interpret itself and mean what it wants to mean. Our text says, "It grieved him at the heart." Dr. Conant says, "We cannot presume to fathom the depth of meaning of such language, when spoken of the infinite and all-perfect God. How the divine nature is affected by the guilt and folly of sin is unknown to us; but this language is designed to bring it as near our conception as is possible for our finite and imperfect nature." It seems to me that the doctor is too guarded. For while indeed the finite cannot comprehend the infinite, we can accept what the Infinite One reveals concerning himself. Jesus Christ reveals the very heart of the Father. He came for that very purpose. The grief of Jesus will reveal the grief of the Father. Suppose, therefore, we allow as exposition of this difficulty Luke 19:41-44: "And when he drew nigh, he saw the city and wept over it, saying, If thou hadst known in this day, even thou, the things which belong unto peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes. For the days shall come upon thee, when thine enemies shall cast up a bank about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side, and shall dash thee to the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation."


The other difficulty is not a very troublesome one. When it is said: "God is not a man that he should repent," it means, as men repent. A man may change his mind when he gets more light on a subject, or he may change his mind from mere instability of character. The Almighty never changes his mind from either of these considerations. His very unchangeableness of nature, however, necessitates a change of mind and con duct toward a creature who has changed moral positions toward him. To illustrate, we may say at night, "The sun has hidden his face," and in the morning, "He returns to smile upon us." Yet it was the earth that changed faces toward the sun. The sun kept steadily shining.

 

WORLDWIDE RACE DESTRUCTION ANNOUNCED


"And Jehovah said, I will destroy man whom I created from the face of the ground; both man and beast, and creeping things, and birds of the heavens; for it repenteth me that I have made them."


"And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh has come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth."


"And I, behold, I do bring the flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein is the breath of life, from under heaven; everything that is in the earth shall die."


This judgment is both sweeping and inclusive:


(a) As to man, literally: I will wipe man from the face of the earth, (b) All living creatures of the land; from man to cattle, to reptile and to the fowls of heaven. "All flesh wherein is the breath of life, from under the heavens. All that is upon the earth shall expire." These perish with man, for they were made for him. (c) The earth itself. "I will destroy them with the earth." It too was made for man. There is no need for an empty house or a desert land. The earth was cursed for man's sake and must share his fate in woe (2 Peter 3:5-7) and in weal (Rom. 8:22-23; 2 Peter 3:13).

 

Means of Destruction


"And I, behold, I do bring the flood of waters upon the earth." We cannot help going back to Genesis 1:8-10, and noting how the earth was formed. It was all water, then God, by atmosphere, separated the waters above from the waters below. Then he separated sea and land. Now in the flood he does two things: (a) opens the windows of heaven and lets down all the water above; (b) opens the fountains of the deep by convulsions below; so again overwhelms all the land and makes a shoreless ocean. He who separates can unite again.

 

RESPITE OF MERCY OR SPACE FOB REPENTANCE


"His days shall be one hundred and twenty years." This does not refer to the average limit of human life in the future in contrast with previous longevity, but the race limit until the flood. Compare the message of Jonah: "Yet forty days and Nineveh shall be destroyed." In like manner here: Yet 120 years may the Spirit strive before the world is destroyed. This is the space for repentance. The threatened doom may be a verdict by repentance, as in the case of Nineveh. Compare the case of the fig tree in Luke 8:6-9; and of Jezebel in Revelation 2:21; and of Jerusalem's day of visitation in Luke 20:42. In this time of 120 years Jesus preached to them in the Spirit by Noah (I Peter 3:19-20; 2 Peter 2:5).

 

MEANS FOR PRESERVATION OF RACE REMNANT FOR NEW BEGINNING


"Make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make in the ark, and shalt pitch it within and without with pitch; and this is how thou shalt make it: the length of the ark three hundred cubits, the breadth of it fifty cubits, and the height of it thirty cubits. A light shalt thou make to the ark, and to a cubit shalt thou finish it upward; and the door of the ark shalt thou set in the side thereof; with lower, second, and third stories shalt thou make it" (Gen. 6:14-16).


This wonderful vessel occupies a large space in the Bible story and thought. The same Hebrew word, Tebah, is employed to designate the vessel in which the infant Moses was preserved (Ex. 2:3). It was the prototype of the ark of the covenant (Hebrew word, Aron) (Deut. 10:1), Jehovah saying to Moses as to Noah: "Make thee an ark." In the New Testament the same Greek word, kibotos, designates both these vessels (Heb. 9:4:11:7). Its material was the durable gopher wood, probably cypress. It was made waterproof within and without by a coating of pitch. It was not designed for steering or sailing, merely to float. Its shape was the best possible for this purpose and for tonnage or carrying capacity. Reckoning the unit of measure, the cubit, at 22 inches, nearly, we may compare its dimensions with the Great Eastern's:


Ark – 547 1/5 ft. long, 91 1/5 ft. wide, 54 18/25 ft. high. Great Eastern – 680 ft. long, 821/2 feet wide, 58 ft. high.


This furnishes ample room space for all its occupants and their food for the time needed. While varieties of species of land animals in our time are numerous, the number of species is not very great. Its arrangement in stories and rooms was the best possible for the purpose. Its provision for light was suitable and adequate.

 

Its Occupants


"But I will establish my covenant with thee; and thou shalt come into the ark, thou, and thy sons, and thy wife, and thy sons' wives with thee. And of every living thing of all flesh, two of every sort shalt thou bring into the ark, to keep them alive with thee; they shall be male and female. Of the birds after their kind, and of the cattle after their kind, of every creeping thing of the ground after its kind, two of every sort shall come unto thee, to keep them alive" (Gen. 6:18-20).


"Of every clean beast thou shalt take to thee seven and seven, the male and his female; and of the beasts that are not clean two, the male and his female; of the birds also of the heavens, seven and seven, male and female, to keep seed alive upon the face of all the earth" (Gen. 7:2-3).


This is the first direct reference to the distinction between clean and unclean animals, which, however, originated at the appointment of animal sacrifices just after the fall of man. The reference here assumes that the distinction is well understood, too long established and common to call for explanation.


With these was food for all: "And take thou unto thee of all food that is eaten, and gather it to thee; and it shall be for food for thee, and for them" (Gen. 6:21).

 

Its Builder


Noah was remarkable in character, life, and faith. He was a just man and perfect in his generation. Like Enoch he walked with God. His faith was marvelous: "By faith Noah, being warned of God concerning things not seen as yet, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; through which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith" (Heb. 11:7). See Andrew Fuller's great sermon on this text.

 

The Time of the Building


Common opinion takes the "one hundred and twenty years" of Genesis 6:3, equal to Peter's phrase, "While the ark was preparing" (I Peter 3:21). There is a serious difficulty in accepting this view. Noah was 600 years old when the flood came (7:11). He was 500 years old when Japheth was born (5:32). Yet his sons are grown and married when, as it seems, the directions for building the ark were given (6:18). It is not impossible to remove this difficulty thus:


(a) The date of the statement in 6:3, is not given. It may have been twenty years before the birth of Japheth.


(b) What is said in 6:18, may have been just after the ark was completed.


(c) There is no date given for the order, "Make thee an ark" (6:14). So it is not impossible that the preparing of the ark was 120 years.


In a subsequent chapter will be considered the great lessons connected with the building of the ark and the flood.

 

QUESTIONS


1. State the nature and ground of man's race title to the earth.


2. Give twelve elements of gospel light possessed by the antediluvians.


3. At what limit would the race title to the earth lapse?


4. What double base was there for race deterioration?


5. What four facts of evil practice were the remote causes of the deluge?


6. By what last disastrous sin was race corruption brought about and world destruction necessitated?


7. State the first evil theory of this sin and reply to it.


8. The second evil theory and its alleged scriptural basis?


9. How do you answer it?


10. Show how the ill-assorted marriages of believers and unbelievers brought about this race corruption.


11. What was the awful result as Jehovah saw it?


12. How did this sight affect him?


13. How do you harmonize the statement of Jehovah's grief with the doctrine of the creed that God is impassive?


14. What fact of Christ's life illustrates the grief of God?


15. How do you explain the phrase, "It repented Jehovah that he had made man," when compared with I Samuel 15:29?


16. What judgment did God pronounce?


17. Show how sweeping and inclusive was this judgment.


18. What means were appointed to bring it about?


19. What creative act did this reverse?


20. What respite of mercy and space for repentance was granted?


21. Does this 120 years refer to the future limit of the individual human life, or the race limit until the flood?


22. What other Old Testament case similarly shows a. space for repentance?


23. What New Testament cases?


24. Explain I Peter 3:19-20, in connection with Genesis 6:3.


25. What means of preservation, for the race remnant spared, appointed?


26. Of what was the ark a prototype?


27. Of what an antitype?


28. Show this by explanation of Acts 10:11-15.


29. Reckoning the cubit at twenty-two inches nearly, show relative dimensions of the ark and the Great Eastern.


30. For what occupants with a year's supply of food must room space be provided?

 

 XIV

 

(Return to Contents)

 

LESSONS OF THE FLOOD
Genesis 7

 


Before we go on I wish to impress very solemnly on your minds certain great lessons connected with the deluge.


The first question is: Is this history, this account of the destruction of the world by a flood? My answer is: In all the rest of the Bible the back references to it treat it as plain matter of fact; no allegory about it.


The next question is: What was the extent of the deluge? Your record says that the water prevailed fifteen cubits, or twenty-eight feet, over all the mountains under the whole heavens. The natural impression made upon the mind by reading this account is that it was intended to be a complete destruction of the world that then was; that the world was to make a new start. When we come to the New Testament it will tell about the second deluge that is coming which will be a deluge of fire; certainly that will be universal. A great many people, who imagine that what they call science is always true and what we call the Bible is never true unless science vouches for it, seem to think it impossible that the deluge covered the whole world. But notice how slight the elevation of the land is over the sea, that in a body 8,000 miles thick and 25,000 miles around, the difference between the water level and the highest mountain is so slight that in a globe representing the earth the height of the mountain would not be any more than the rind of an orange, or not so much as that, hardly as much as a coat of paint. There would have to be only a very slight elevation of the bottom of the sea, or a very slight subsidence of the land in order for the water to cover the whole thing. We know that at one time the water did cover it all. Listen to this account in the first chapter of Genesis: "And the earth was waste and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep." It was all liquid. It was only later that the waters were separated from the land. We study bow that separation took place by the creation of the atmosphere so as to take above a great deal of the water and a subsidence of the land so as to provide sea beds for the rest of the water. Now, just reverse that process and the earth is covered with water again. The windows of the heavens are opened and the water up there is let down. The fountains of the great deep are broken up. There you have the storm above and the upheaval below that will bring about the prevalence of the water over the whole globe. It seems that it would be just as easy for God to cover the whole earth with water again as it was to take it from a state where it was covered with water and to bring the land up. He can do one wonder just as easily as the other. A great many of them try to make out that the deluge covered only a small part of the earth, the Tigris and Euphrates valleys, touching the Black, Caspian, and Mediterranean seas. In order to test that, Mount Ararat is 17,260 feet high. Now, add twenty-eight feet to that, for the water stood above Mount Ararat. Yet the water did not go beyond the Caspian and Black seas. That is a greater miracle than the other, a great bulk of water there does not fall down and does not obey the law of gravitation. I have always had less difficulty in believing just what the Bible says about this flood than in trying to believe it less than the Bible says.


The second thing is the style of this account. I have been reading history all my life. I commenced at four years old. I never read a piece of history that is more vivid in its eyewitness style than this account of the flood. Nothing is as circumstantial as that. Take the history of the conflagration of Rome written by an eyewitness. It is not nearly so definite and particular in all its parts as this is. Take the accounts of the earthquake in San Francisco. The style in which that account is written by any of the men who have tried to describe it does not approach this in clearness of the statements and minute exactness.


Notice, for one thing, the dates. He evidently wants to he understood that this occurred at a particular time. I will read you some of the statements about dates. "And Noah was six hundred years old when the flood of water came upon the earth." That gives you the year. In v. II it says, "In the six hundredth year of Noah's life, in the second month, and on the seventeenth day of the month the same day were all the fountains of the great abyss broken up and the windows of heaven opened." It says that the rain fell forty days and nights, but it does not mean to say that no rain fell after that. Dr. Conant's translation says, "And the heavy rain was upon the earth forty days and forty nights."


Listen to the description as to how these waters gradually rose and gradually fell; see if you can remember anything in literature more vivid. "And the heavy rain was forty days upon the earth, and the waters increased and bore up the ark. It rose up from the earth. And the waters prevailed and increased mightily upon the earth and the ark went upon the face of the waters." First it floated, then it moved. "The waters prevailed mightily upon the earth and all the high mountains that were under the whole heavens were covered. Fifteen cubits upward did the waters prevail and the mountains were covered." That tells you how it rose. "And the waters prevailed upon the earth an hundred and fifty days." Notice this circumstantial account. He is going to describe now how they began to fall. "And God caused a wind to pass over the earth and the waters subsided." The fountains of the abyss and the windows of the heavens were closed. The heavy rains from the heavens were restrained, the waters returned to the earth continually, and the waters abated from the end of one hundred and fifty days, and the ark rested in the seventh month on the seventeenth day of the month on the mount of Ararat. And the waters were continually abating until the tenth month. On the tenth month and on the first day of the month the tops of the mountains were seen. It came to pass at the end of forty days Noah opened the window of the ark and sent forth a raven. And he went, going forth and returning, but he never came back into the ark, just going to and fro. He sent forth a dove to see if the waters were lightened and he waited "another seven days." Notice again that I am just calling dates. "It came to pass in the six hundred and first year, in the first month, the first of the month, the waters were dried up." No man living could be more particular about every specification. "In the second month, on the seven and twentieth day of the month, was the earth dry." There is the full account of the year divided into its parts. I have never read anything that impressed me as this I have just quoted. One of my examination questions will likely be: What have you to say about the graphic description of the gradual rising of the waters and the gradual subsidence of the waters? The literary style is perfect.


Now I have another question I am going to give as a general question. Those of you that have been about farm yards have noticed that hogs begin to run around and pick up straws to make a bed, and you just know that cold weather is coming. You see flights of the birds as winter approaches, going south. Rats leave a ship before it begins to sink. Now the question: Was it instinct that got these animals into the ark? These were wild animals, elephants, lions, tigers, snakes, birds: were they warned by instinct of the approaching storm, and knew that the ark was the only safe place? And if not, how do you account for their getting there? You don't suppose that Noah could go out and drive up those wild beasts. There is an answer that is absolutely correct, but I will pass it for the present.


The lessons concerning this deluge to which I call your attention, first, gather around the name of Noah, one of the most remarkable names of the times. As Adam's name stands out as the head of the human race, so this man's name stands out as the second head of the human race. The Adam world is all gone. This man is going to start on a new earth and make a new beginning for the human race. There were only this man and his wife, his three sons and their wives – eight people. What is said about the character of this man? The Scripture testimony is that he walked with God and was perfect in his generation. What is said about his faith? I will read you what is said. Hebrews 11:7, "By faith Noah, being warned of God concerning things not seen as yet, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his house; through which he condemned the world, and became the heir of the righteousness which is according to faith." The chapter commences by saying, "Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen." Now, no man could foresee that flood. God said it would come in 120 years. The first time he limited it, he said it should come at the death of Methuselah. The next time he limits it, he says 120 years. The next time he says, "yet seven days." There was not a sign in the sky above nor in the earth beneath to warn anybody. But God told Noah that it was coming, and, moved with godly fear, taking hold of the invisible things that had been made known to him, by faith he built that ark. You think that was a small undertaking. Well, suppose one man and his three boys, and as many people as he could hire, should start out to build a ship as big as the Great Eastern. It cost an immense amount of money. Those people who did not believe that the flood was coming would not contribute anything to it. Noah had to put his own money into it. That faith means a tremendous financial sacrifice on his part, to put everything in the world he had in it. It meant to put the labor of his hands. The people who were working for him would laugh at him and call him a crazy old fool. Of course, they would take his money, as carpenters want work, but they had no faith in it. I call the attention of the class to a sermon by Dr. Andrew Fuller of England, "The Faith of Noah in Building the Ark," as one of the finest sermons ever preached on faith in all homiletics. Faith does not stop at a mere intellectual perception of a truth, or the assent of the heart to a truth. Faith steps out and works and does everything in the world that is necessary to be done.


Notice the strength of Noah's faith in this. He stood alone against the judgment of the entire world. He is the only man that believes that the flood will come. One of you start out today in any community and let nobody in that community believe in what you are doing. Let them laugh at you and make fun of your work. How long would you hold your faith? It is one of the most sublime demonstrations in all the Word of God; that he would stand as Elijah did later against the whole world and maintain that what God said was true and work to it.


What is said about his preaching? All the time he was work ing he was also preaching. In 2 Peter 2:5, he is called a preacher of righteousness, that is, he preached that men should do right and do what God tells them to do. I Peter 3:21, says that Christ by the Spirit went and preached to the antediluvians in the days of Noah. That is, Christ, not in person, but in the Spirit through Noah, preached 120 years. Noah did the preaching as Christ's representative, the Holy Spirit bearing witness to the truth of it. I Peter 4:6, has this strange expression – if you want to see commentators stalled consult them on this scripture: "For unto this end was the gospel preached even to the dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the Spirit." In other words, as Paul says, this means that the gospel has been preached all over the world and they have not heard. "Their line has gone out to the ends of the earth." "Jesus Christ lighteth every man that cometh into the world." There is a sense in which the truth of God in some form has reached every heart and conscience that there is in the world. Why was the gospel sent to these people that are now dead and lost? God had in view when it was preached to them that they might be judged in the flesh and live according to the spirit, but rejecting it they were lost in both body and spirit. You must get fixed on your mind that old man's faith, standing there by himself and continually pleading with his neighbors and telling them that 120 years from now, 119 years from now, 100 years from now, fifty years, ten years and the end comes. All that was the space for repentance, and at last when you come down to seven days the ministry stops. The Lord says, "Noah, you move in," and he moves in and the door is shut. Then, "Where is Noah?" "He is inside." "Where is the rain?" It has not come and another day passes. "Where is your rain? Hallo, old man, where is that storm you were talking about?" No rain. Yet seven days, and the day of grace is ended. No chance for anybody to be saved in that seven days because the door is shut. God shut him in. He is shut up; they are shut out. A whole week passes just that way. It is one of the most suggestive and impressive lessons that I know of.


Such was the man's preaching. There is a reference to him in Ezekiel 14:14, where he speaks about a certain wicked city, and he says, "Though Noah, Job and Daniel were in this city they could save only themselves by their righteousness." Whenever the number of righteous men gets so small that the salt cannot preserve the world, or whenever the testimony of the righteous becomes so low that it ceases to conserve, then doom comes and that doom is irretrievable.


Let us see what the lessons are about the flood itself. In 2 Peter 3:4-7, we have: "Where is the promise of his coming? for, from the day that the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. For this they willfully forget, that there were heavens from of old, and an earth compacted out of water and amidst water, by the word of God; by which means the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: but the heavens that now are, and the earth, by the same word have been stored up for fire, being reserved against the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men." Just as certain as the flood came and swept away the first world – it came by the word of God, though the crowd did not believe it – just so certain the world that now is will be destroyed by fire. Peter goes on to describe that fire in this same connection. "The day will come that the earth also, and the works that are therein, shall be burned up." If God could destroy the first world by a flood of water, and according to his Word that first destruction did come, we have the same Word of God to assure us that the world next time will be destroyed by fire.


The second lesson is Matthew 24:37-39, and Luke 17:26. Jesus is talking: "And as were the days of Noah, so shall be the coming of the Son of man. For as in those days which were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and they knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall be the coming of the Son of man." That is, its suddenness and their unpreparedness for it. It comes like a thief in the night when they are not looking for it. When Jesus comes again there will be some people at the ballroom, just like Byron describes it:


There was a sound of revelry by night


And Belgium's capital had gathered then


Her beauty and her chivalry and bright


The lamps shone o'er fair women and brave men.


Soft eyes looked love to eyes which spake again


And all went merry as a marriage bell.


But hush.  Hark! A deep sound strikes like a rising knell.


"What is that sound?" "It is the cannon's opening roar." And the Battle of Waterloo snatched those gay dancers from their partners and hurried them to the feast of death. They will be dancing just that way when the lightning flashes from one end of the heavens to the other when Jesus comes. There will be two fellows quarreling over the price of a mutton chop, others quarreling over taxes. There will be men building pigpens; boys going in swimming in the creeks. And the judgment of the Lord Jesus Christ will come like a flash of lightning. That is a very solemn lesson. Those people right up to the time when heaven's windows opened and the fountains of the great deep burst up, in utter disbelief of any end of the world, so it found them and they went down…


With a bubbling groan,


Unwept, unhonoured, and unknown.


The next lesson is found in 2 Peter 3, describing why the second coming of Christ is deferred. Some people say, "He made us suspect that he is coming soon and he has not come." Peter says that Christ is not slack about his promises. That if he has not come his object is that his long-suffering might lead men to repentance. Just like through that period of 120 years and throughout the whole life of Methuselah. Why didn't that boy die at five years of age, etc.? It is God suspending the judgment. God is holding that awful penalty hair-swung, nothing but the breath of the Almighty to send it down in a moment, in order that man might have space to repent.


The next lesson is Isaiah 54:9. This is not so dark a picture. I will commence at v. 7: "For a small moment have I forsaken thee, but with great mercies will I gather thee. In overflowing wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment, but with everlasting love and kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith Jehovah, my Redeemer. For this is as the waters of Noah unto me; for as I have sworn that the waters of Noah should no more go over the earth, so have I sworn that I would not be wroth with thee, nor rebuke thee." God has said to his people that he will never destroy the earth by another flood. "I swear to thee that though thou hast forsaken me many a time, that I will never, no never, destroy thee." It is one of the greatest doctrines on the final perseverance of the saints in the Bible. A very sweet lesson. That is all I have to say about the lessons of the flood. Let us look at

 

THE LESSONS OF THE ARK


The first lesson about the ark is that it was intended for a perfectly sure means of escape from that doom, pitched within and without, water-tight, perfectly safe, everybody and everything within it was safe. No matter how it rained. No matter how high the water stood; that the mountains disappeared. That ark represents Christ. If we get in Christ, shut in Christ, as Paul puts it, "I am dead and my life is hid with Christ in God," then let the storms come.


Notice that to get into that ark there was only one door. Noah did not have a door put at the top for the birds to come in, and a little hole under the floor for the snakes to crawl under, and a great big gate for the elephants to get in. No matter whether you are a big beast or a little beast, you have to go in at the same place. You could not exhibit any pride about it. The eagle swooping from his eyrie on the top of the mountain had to come in at that door, the very door through which the snail crawled. That is a point for you in your preaching. Christ says: "I am the door. I am the way. I am the truth and I am the life, and there is no other way known under heaven or among men."


In the next place, that ark of Noah's is reproduced in the covenant at Mount Sinai. As the first ark was made of cypress wood, this ark is made of acacia, that is, an indestructible and long-lasting wood. This ark has the mercy seat and the Shekinah. This ark has the throne of grace and the only way to get into paradise is to come to that place.


We come to the last lesson on the ark in Acts 10. Without reading I will tell it to you. Peter was just as narrow as the edge of a knife in his Jewish prejudices, and he held the key that would open the door of the kingdom of heaven to the Gentile world, and he was letting it get rusty in his girdle. On the day of Pentecost he opened the door and let in three thousand Jews at a jump, but not a Gentile. God brought him to Joppa where he could look out from the housetop upon that sea whose waters washed the shores of the Gentile world, alien, without God, and without hope in the world. Peter fell into a trance and God let down an ark. You can call it a great white sheet held up at the four corners, if you want to. But it was an ark, just as curious a sight as Noah's old ark, and in this ark was every manner of beast and bird and creeping thing, clean and unclean. The world had almost forgotten about that ark into which hawks and doves and tigers and lambs and snakes and men went in together. God shows Peter that sight again and says, "Arise, Peter, kill and eat." Peter says, "I have never eaten anything unclean." God says, "What I have cleansed do not thou call common or unclean. I want to teach you the lesson of the ark, the symbolism of that ark in the days of Noah." The entrance of those birds and animals into the ark was a foreshadow of the reception of all people and all nations, tribes and kindred into Jesus Christ.


I have only to present the sabbath, and I am through with the special lessons about the ark. The sabbath day runs all through, as "another seven days," showing that long before Moses put into the Ten Commandments "Remember the sabbath day to keep it holy," the seventh day was an institution that began when God created the world and for man as man.

 

QUESTIONS


1. Is the Genesis account of the flood history?


2. What was the extent of the flood, upward and outward?


3. What was the process of the flood?


4. How high above the sea level are the loftiest mountain peaks of Armenia where the ark rested?


5. What is the theory of the critics and what is the scientific difficulty in accepting it?


6. What evidence from the style of the account in general?


7. What in particular from the dates mentioned?


8. What of the description of the rising and falling of the waters?


9. How did Noah get the animals into the ark? Give reasons for your answer,


10. What four lessons from Noah's life?


11. What is said about the character of this man?


12. What is said of his faith?


13. What shows the strength of his faith?


14. What is said about his preaching?


15. With whom does the prophet Ezekiel rank Noah and on what characteristic?


16. What four lessons for the flood itself?


17. What four lessons from the ark?


18. What lesson here on the question of the sabbath?

 

QUESTIONS FOR THOUGHT AND RESEARCH (Inferential and otherwise.)


19. What double test of faith did God prove Noah by?


20. What New Testament proof of his meeting the test and what great Baptist preacher has a sermon on the text?


21. What was the financial difficulty to be overcome by Noah's faith?


22. What scientific difficulty?


23. What social difficulty?


24. What labor difficulty?


25. What waiting difficulty?


26. What several time divisions are found in the account of the deluge?


27. Who else in the world besides Noah's family ever saw such an assemblage of animals as were in the ark?


28. Why did not this strange gathering change the wicked?


29. Cite Isaiah's comparison of man's stupidity with the intelligence of the beasts.


30. Cite Job's description of the absorption of the wicked in worldly pleasures till death suddenly smites them.


31. The significance of one door to the ark and a type of what?


32. The meaning of "Jehovah shut him in"?


33. According to the New Testament, who is vested with power to open and shut?


34. How long did the heavy rain continue?


35. What the extent of the destruction?


36. Cite three great proofs that the deluge was universal.

 

 XV

 

(Return to Contents)

 

GOD'S COVENANT WITH NOAH
Genesis 8-9

 


I want to put a general question: How long was Noah in the ark? In answering that question you may consult 7:1-11, and 8:14. I call your attention in the next place to a suggestion in the Speaker's Commentary on Genesis 8:4, which tells us that the ark rested on Mount Ararat, and gives the date. According to the Jewish year observed in this account, the ark rested on the seventeenth day of the seventh month. On that. very day later, the Israelites crossed the Red Sea, and on that day later Christ rose from the dead. We might investigate any connection between the resting of that ark, the passage of the Red Sea and the resurrection of Christ.


The next thought presented is with reference to the raven. Dr. Fuller of England, in his exposition of Genesis, compares the sending out of the raven to a man's getting out of the church who was never a Christian. He never wants to go back. He pictures that raven flying around, resting on some dead body floating on the top of the water, and never desiring to return to the ark of the covenant. On account of the naming in this chapter of the raven, the dove, the olive branch, and the rainbow, these four names have gone into all languages and all literature as indicating certain things. The raven is regarded as a croaker and a bird of ill omen; the dove is regarded as the symbol of innocence; the olive branch as the symbol of peace; and the rainbow as the symbol of hope. I was once asked the question where that dove got ' the olive branch, since the whole earth had been flooded with water. The olive tree lives under water. In the lakes of the Black Forest you can see olive trees growing under the water and never blossoming until in dry weather when the lakes sink down and the tops of the trees come up and immediately the tree blossoms. Pliny in his Natural History said that the olive tree grew under water in the Red Sea; that it grows in salt water. It is a very hardy plant. So it is not a miracle that the dove found an olive branch, but quite in accordance with the nature of this particular plant that it could live and retain its vitality many months under water, and when the waters subsided go to flowering and blooming.


We now come to the most significant thing in this part of Genesis, and that is the covenant between God and the second head of the human race, Noah. I will give this general question: What is the meaning of "covenant" based on the Greek word? In very general terms a covenant is an agreement or compact between two or more parties having its stipulation binding on both parties. There is said here to be a covenant between God upon the first part and Noah on the second part representing himself and the whole animal world. So Noah stands there representing all earth life.


We want to note in the next place what was the basis of the covenant, the meritorious ground of agreement. I will read that to you from the eighth chapter and twentieth verse: "And Noah builded an altar unto Jehovah, and took of every clean beast, and every clean bird, and offered burnt-offerings on the altar. And Jehovah smelled the sweet savour; and Jehovah said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man's sake." Now that was the meritorious ground or basis of the covenant. In other words, Noah comes before God as a sinner, making an offering. In the letter to the Hebrews we are told that wherever there is a covenant there is a shedding of blood. There must be a death. The basis of this covenant which God himself appointed is that animal sacrifice typifying a greater sacrifice to come, which shall be sacrificed on an altar. It must be complete.
The next thing is that the word "altar" appears here in the Bible for the first time. I will give a general question: From what language is the word "altar" derived and what is its literal meaning? I am calling your attention to these new names in the Bible. The stipulation that God requires of man is that he shall come before him and be justified through an atonement, and the man's faith in that atonement constitutes the ground of God's entering into covenant with him.


Let us notice some of the other stipulations of this covenant: 9:1, "And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, “Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth." There you see is a renewal of the covenant with Adam when he said, "Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth." You must not only come before God as a sinner, but your obligation is to go out and subdue this earth and fill it up with inhabitants. "And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth, and upon every bird of the heavens; with all wherewith the ground teemeth, and all the fishes of the sea, into your hands are they delivered." This is a renewal of the dominion of man as given originally in Adam.


We now come to an enlargement of the Adamic covenant, Genesis 1:29: "And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb yielding seed; to you it shall be for food; and to every beast of the earth, and to every bird of the heavens, and to everything that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for food; and it was so." Now, let us see the enlargement on that, Genesis 9:3: "Every moving thing that liveth shall be food for you; and the green herbs have I given you all." God now gives animal food in addition to the vegetable. The animal food embraces any animal creature whatsoever. When we get to the Mosaic covenant we will see that this food will be restricted to clean animals, to those that divide the hoof and chew the cud. I want. you to notice that Noah stands as the head of the human race like Adam stood and that he has a larger privilege than Adam had as to animal food added, where before there was only vegetable. When we come to the New Testament we will hear Paul arguing for the broadness of the privilege of the covenant of Noah when he says, "Every creature of God is good and to be received with thanksgiving." The covenantwith Noah is very much broader than the covenant with Moses, because that covenant was with a single nation only, and this was with the whole human race.


We notice now another thing entirely new: "But flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat." You may eat an animal, but you must not eat him with the blood in him. When we come to Exodus, Moses renews that law that a thing that is strangled, merely choked to death, cannot be eaten because the blood is in him, and anything that merely dies cannot be eaten. In Acts 15 you will find that James insists that that restriction be put upon the Gentile Christians. Somehow I have always sympathized with this restriction. I knew a man once, and held him in considerable esteem until one day he told me that his favorite dish was blood pudding. I never did like him as much afterward because that seems to me to be such a horrid dish. People who eat blood are brutal and ferocious. Caesar said that the Belgians, the bravest of men, lived on milk, showing that animal food itself is not necessary. But the English believe that their superiority over all nations in fighting arises from the great quantity of beef that they eat. God gives permission to eat any animal creature, and I have known people who would eat rattlesnakes and polecats and snails, and with some people bird's nests are regarded as a delicacy. Savage nations show you the highest compliment when they offer you a dish of grub worms. An African woman who wanted to show a kindness to one of our missionaries who had been kind to her went out and got him a dish of grub worms. There is no law against it except taste. I would not prefer, for my part, the grub worms, nor the snails, nor the polecats.


We now come to a new prohibition: "And surely your blood, the blood of your lives, will I require; at the hand of every beast will I require it; at the hand of man, even at the hand of every man's brother, will I require the life of man. Whoso sheddest man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed; for in the image of God made he man." Here is something we have not fallen in with before. You remember when Cain killed his brother he was afraid that whoever found him would kill him. God protected him from death by human hands. Now, on this side of the flood God here instituted civil government and makes murder punishable with death and makes it right for man in the capacity of a civil government to take the life of a murderer. This is a very old law. It goes back of the Mosaic law. This is not a Jewish law; it is a race law.


Upon this point I want to call your attention to the teaching of the Jewish synagogues. The Jewish synagogue which was established just after the Babylonian captivity has held that there were seven ordinances of Noah. They call them the primal ordinances. I am going to give you these seven as the synagogue gave them and see how many we can find here:


Abstinence from blood


Prohibition of murder


Recognition of civil authority


Idolatry forbidden


Blasphemy forbidden


Incest forbidden


Theft forbidden


The first three we find in this chapter. Idolatry and blasphemy are implied in the offering. But I do not know where those Jews got the other two, incest and theft.


We were discussing the stipulations that God required upon man's part. First, he must come as a sinner with a sacrifice. Second, he must eat no blood. Third, he must do no murder. Fourth, civil government should have charge of the murderer and punish him with death. That far it is very clear as to the stipulations that God requires of man. Another was that he was to replenish the earth and exercise dominion over the beasts. Now, let us see what God's part was. God blessed Noah. That means that he graciously accepts him in that sacrifice that he offers, forgiving his sins if he through faith can see to what that atonement points. The great blessing is the blessing of forgiveness of sins through the atonement offering. Second, God promises that there shall never be another flood of water. Third, that the laws of nature shall be uniform, 8:22: "While the earth remaineth, seed time and harvest and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease." How necessary it is that there should be a uniformity of law in nature. Some of you have read the piece in the old third reader about a man living in the world of chance. That man lost his wife and children because they unthoughtedly ate poison and died. There was an inflexible law. In his despair he wished that he lived in a world without law. He fell asleep and dreamed that he was in a world of chance, where there was no uniformity. You could not tell what time of the year winter would come, nor how long it would stay, nor what time of the year summer would come. A man might have Just one eye and that on the top of his head. His hands might be growing out from under his arms. His ox might have wool like a sheep. When he had a toothache he put some coffee on to boil, thinking that would help his tooth, but by chance it turned into ice instead of boiling, and when the ice hit that bounding tooth, how it must have hurt! Are you clear now about the things that God promised? (1) He will graciously accept man through the offering. (2) He promised not to send another flood. (3) He will give regularity of seasons. When a man goes to plant a crop he may know what to expect.
We now look at the extent of this covenant. It is said to be a perpetual covenant. Just as long as this dispensation lasts that will be true, and the last thing is the token of that covenant. What indicates that a covenant has been made between God and man? The rainbow is selected as a token. The people who had passed through the flood, or had recently heard about such a big rain, would be very much frightened every time they saw a cloud coming. Now, when you see a cloud, when you are at a certain angle you will also see a rainbow and that is a sign to you that God will never allow this earth to be destroyed by water, and when God looks on it he will remember what he has promised. I here give a quotation from Murphy on Genesis:


For perpetual ages this stability of sea and land is to last, during the remainder of the human race. What is to happen when the race of man is completed is not the question. At present God’s covenant is the well-known and still-remembered compact formed with man when the command was issued in the garden of Eden. So God's bow is the primaeval arch, coexistent with the rays of light and the drops of rain. It is caused by the rays of the sun on the falling raindrops at a particular angle. A beautiful arch of reflected and refracted light is in this way formed for every eye. The rainbow is thus an index that the sky is not wholly overcast since the sun is shining through the shower and thereby demonstrating its partial extent. There could not, therefore, be a more beautiful or more fitting token that there shall be no more a flood to sweep away all flesh and destroy the land. It comes through its mild radiance only when the cloud condenses into a shower. It consists of heavenly light variegated in hue, mellowed in lustre, filling the beholder with an. involuntary pleasure. It forms a perfect arch. It connects heaven and earth and spans the horizon. In these respects it is a beautiful emblem of mercy rejoicing against judgment, of light from heaven irradiating and beautifying the soul, of grace always sufficient for the needy, of the reunion of earth and heaven, of all the universality of the offer of salvation.


In Revelation 4:3, the rainbow about the throne of mercy, and in Revelation 10:1, the angel with a rainbow about his head, we have again the New Testament symbolism of the rainbow. In Science Made Easy for All are some of the most beautiful illustrations of the rainbow that I have ever seen. Three years ago I was in Comanche, Texas. The sun had gone down, the full moon was shining. We were sitting down at the supper table and somebody called out, "Run out here and look at the moon." And there was a complete rainbow, a perfect circle around the moon, a lunar rainbow, of course, fainter than a solar rainbow, not so Conspicuous, and yet anybody could see it. I have seen two others since.


I have one other observation to give you. I was on the train going from McGregor down the Sante Fe toward Galdwell and talking with a man who saw no evidence of God's loving care anywhere. "Why," I said, "if you will just look out of the car window you will see one that keeps up with us." And there was a rainbow keeping right up with the train, made from the sun shining on the steam from the engine. It kept along with us about fifty miles. Wherever water falls and the sun shines, and you are at the right angle of vision you can see a token of God's infinite mercy. I said, "Now if you cannot see any of these things, it is because of your angle of vision." As Paul puts it, "If our gospel is veiled, it is veiled in them that perish: in whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of the unbelieving, that the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should not dawn upon them" (2 Cor. 4:3).


We now take up the prophecy concerning Noah's sons. Some of it is very difficult, not so much for me to' tell as for you to remember. The closing paragraph in the ninth chapter is not only the connecting link between what goes before and what comes after, but all the future references throughout the Bible connect with this passage that is inserted here.


I will read and comment. "And the sons of Noah, that went forth from the ark, were Shem, and Ham, and Japheth." I call attention to the relative ages of these sons, and why their names do not appear in relative order. Japheth was the oldest and Ham the youngest. "And Ham is the father of Canaan." That expression is put in out of its proper connection in order to explain something that will appear immediately after. "These three were the sons of Noah: and of these was the whole earth overspread. And Noah began to be an husbandman and planted a vineyard and drank of the wine and was drunken." The word here used for wine contains the idea of fermentation. "And he was uncovered within his tent. And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brethren without. And Shem and Japheth took a garment upon both their shoulders and went backward and covered the nakedness of their father, and their faces were backward, and they saw not their father's nakedness."


We have just commenced the new race probation after the flood. How long it had been after the flood we do not know exactly, but some years, because no children were born to Shem, Ham, and Japheth until after the flood, and at this time Canaan, the son of Ham) is grown. We see the great man that was perfect in his generation, just and walked with God, this. new head of the race that had such faith, a preacher of righteousness, as he falls into sin, the sin of drunkenness. This teaches that no man) however exalted in character or position, is absolutely safe from a fall. I don't mean that a Christian may fall away and be forever lost, but I do say that the most exalted Christian in the world must exercise watchfulness and prudence, or he will bring shame upon the name of religion. We have had some most remarkable cases of this kind besides the case of Noah.


This sin of Noah acted as a revelation, that is, it brought out the character of his three children. When the youngest one looked upon the shame of his father's drunkenness, he was inspired with no such feelings as those which animated Shem and Japheth. He not only scorned his father, but went and published it to the others. We sometimes find children who have not been well raised, who go around to the neighbors and tell the little troubles that occur in the family. It is always an indication of a bad heart and an untrained character. The world has never had much respect for the taleteller and the gadabout. They may listen to what you say, and may make use of it, but they will not respect you for it. The filial piety and reverence of Shem and Japheth is one of the most impressive lessons in history, and their action, walking backward and holding the mantle on their shoulders so that when they got to their father they could cover him without seeing him, originated the proverb: "Charity covereth a multitude of sins." That means that love is not disposed to point out the sins of others and talk about them. Love is more disposed to cover them up.


"And Noah awoke from his wine, and he knew what his youngest son had done unto him." How he found out I don't know. Perhaps it was told unto him. Now we come to the first recorded prophecy, so far as the Old Testament is concerned, that was ever spoken by man, though the New Testament tells us of a prophecy that preceded this, the Lord himself having given a prophecy in the third chapter of Genesis that "the seed of the woman shall bruise the serpent's head." That was God's prophecy, and Enoch, the seventh from Adam, made a prophecy, but it was not given in the Old Testament. This remarkable prophecy of Noah consists of two divisions. First, the curse, and then the blessing. "And he said, Cursed be Canaan, a servant of servants shall he be to his brethren." The question naturally arises whether that curse extends to the other children of Ham, and if so, why Canaan alone is specified. My opinion is that the curse extends to the whole of the descendants of Ham from the fact that there was no blessing pronounced on him or any of his children in the whole prophecy, and I think that Canaan was specified instead of the others because Canaan is the one with which God's people will have to do when they go to the Promised Land. They will have to rescue it from the Canaanites, the descendants of Ham. That curse can be traced in history. The Canaanites when they were conquered by Joshua and by David and by Solomon were either destroyed or enslaved. They became the servants of their conquerors, and it is certainly true that the other descendants of Ham became largely the slaves of the world.


Let us look at the blessing: "And he said, Blessed be Jehovah, the God of Shem, and let Canaan be his servant." Or, as Jamieson translates it: "Blessed of Jehovah, my God, be Shem." That seems to make the better reading, that Jehovah shall be the God of Shem, and Shem shall have religious preeminence. In the line of Shem come all the oracles of God during the Old Testament times, and in the New Testament times all of the Bible we have, with the possible exception of one book, comes from the descendants of Shem. The Semitic races seem to have taken the lead in religious matters, whether for good or bad.


Notice the blessing on Japheth: "God enlarge Japheth." That part has been fulfilled to the letter, as we will see later, that the children of Japheth occupy the greater part of the world. Not only have they been enlarged as to the territory that God allotted to them, but as leaders in intellectual development and inventions, and in the government of the world. The second blessing is: "And let him dwell in the tents of Shem." That means that Japheth will get his religion from Shem. We are Gentiles, the children of Japheth. Isaiah 60:9, says, "Surely the isles shall wait for me, and the ships of Tarshish first, to bring thy sons from afar, their silver and their gold with them, for the name of Jehovah thy God, and for the Holy One of Israel, because he hath glorified thee." That shows the coming of the Gentiles. This prophecy shows that the distinction among men or peoples is not accidental, but that the world was divided among the descendants of three men. It shows how far-reaching on the children is the consequence of a father's action. It is always best for a man, if he is going to be a bad man, to remain a bachelor and not throw a shadow over his descendants. The iniquities of the fathers are visited upon the children as consequences.


Noah lived after the flood 350 years. That would bring him to Abraham's time, so that Abraham could talk with the man who had witnessed the overthrow of the old world, and who himself had only one man between himself and the first Adam, who was Methuselah. Adam could talk to Methuselah, and Methuselah to Noah, and Noah to Abraham, and so you see how easily tradition could be handed down.

 

QUESTIONS


1. How long was Noah in the ark?


2. What suggestion from the Speaker's Commentary, and what connection between the resting of the ark, the passage of the Red Sea and the resurrection of Christ?


3. What do the raven, dove, olive branch, and rainbow symbolize? What their impress on subsequent literature?


4. Was the dove's finding an olive branch a miracle? Explain.


5. What is the most significant thing in this part of Genesis?


6. What is the meaning of "covenant," and what does Noah represent in this covenant?


7. What was the meritorious ground of this covenant and New Testament testimony on this point?


8. What is the first Bible use of the word "altar" and the etymology of the word?


9. What covenant renewal do we find here?


10. What enlargement of the Adamic covenant?


11. How does this covenant with Noah compare with the one later with Moses and why?


12. What one food restriction?


13. Cite the first establishment of civil government and criminal law.


14. What seven ordinances does the synagogue derive from the Noachic legislation and how many of these do you find in the text?


15. What were the terms of the covenant with Noah on man's part?


16. On God's part?


17. What was the extent of this covenant?


18. What the token of the covenant?


19. What New Testament references to the rainbow and what its symbolism?


20. What the importance of the closing paragraph of the ninth chapter of Genesis?


21. What the relative ages of the sons of Noah, and why the expression, "And Ham is the father of Canaan," out of its proper connection?


22. What is the first case of vine culture and drunkenness?


23. What the lesson, of Noah's drunkenness?


23. What the lesson of Noah’s drunkenness?


24. What the distinction of filial piety and reverence in the sona of Noah?


25. What proverb seems to be based on Shem's and Japheth's covering the nakedness of their father?


26. Was Ham's sin the cause or the occasion of Noah's curse? Ana.: The occasion.


27. Was the curse from God or Noah?


28. Was it punitive on the person or consequential on his descendants?


29. Show historic fulfillment of the curse.


30. What was the meaning and historic fulfillment of the blessing on Shem?


31. What was the meaning and historic fulfillment of "God enlarge Japheth"?


32. What was the meaning and historic fulfillment of Japheth dwelling in the tents of Shem? 33. What was the significance of Noah's long life after the flood?

 

 XVI

 

(Return to Contents)

 

ORIGIN OF NATIONS AND LANGUAGES

Genesis 10:1 to 11:9

 


Genesis, section six: "These are the generations of the sons of Noah."


1. Unity of stock and speech.


2. Attempt at centralization.


3. Confusion of tongues.


4. Consequent grouping into nations.


5. Assignment of their respective territories.


6. Dispersion to allotted homes.


The tenth chapter of Genesis, with the first nine verses of the eleventh chapter, constitutes our sixth division of the book, under the title: These are the generations of the sons of Noah. This section closes the Bible history of man as a race. Next to the account of the creation, and the fall of man, and of the flood, it is the most valuable gem of literature. Indeed the most forcible writers fall short of the reality in attempting to express the significance and value of this record. Some of them say that it is the most ancient and reliable account of the origin of nations. But this language implies that there are in the world's literature parallel histories, though later and less reliable. But there is no other account. This history has no parallel. It is unique, without a model and without a shadow. It is both ancient and solitary. Moreover, to call it the ancient and solitary history of merely the origin of nations falls far below the facts. It not only cites the sires from whom all peoples have descended, but also tells us by whom, where, why, how, and when the people of one stock and tongue were parted into separate nations and divers tongues, and by whom and in what lifetime came the allotment, of their respective territories. It is therefore the foundation of ethnology, philology, and geography; the root of history, prophecy, and religion.

 

UNITY OF STOCK AND SPEECH


The whole of the tenth chapter, with the first nine verses of the eleventh, should be treated as one section. The tenth chapter cannot be understood without this paragraph of the eleventh chapter. The table of the nations comes first, and then follows the explanation of the division into nations. So that in order of time the nine verses of the eleventh chapter precede nearly all of the tenth chapter. We therefore take as our starting point a clause of the sixth verse of the eleventh chapter: "And Jehovah said, Behold, they are one people, and they have all one language." Their oneness of speech is expressed by two discriminating words: "And the whole land was of one lip, and one stock of words." "Stock of words" means the materials of languages. "Lip," one of the organs of articulation, denotes manner of speaking, or the use of the material. Family ties and common speech hold them together. Hence as they multiplied and began to move out for homes, the trend of the movement was in one direction only. A proverb of our day is, "Westward the march of Empire takes its way." It was not so in the beginning. The movement was toward the rising, not the setting sun. As the years roll by and the population rapidly increases, this eastward tide of emigration becomes as a mighty river in volume. But all migrations of men fall under some leadership. The most daring, capable and dominant spirit, by sheer force of character and qualities, naturally forges to the front and directs and controls the movement, and as power increases, his ambition soars. He begins to scheme and plan toward selfish ends. Our record names the man. Not without adequate design does the author in giving his tables of nations turn aside to sketch an episode when he comes to a certain man. "Ham begat Cush, and Gush begat Nimrod; and he began to be a mighty one in the earth. He was a mighty hunter before Jehovah: . . . And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel, and Erech, and Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar. Out of that land he went forth into Assyria, and builded Nineveh and Calah (the same is the great city)." This descendant of Ham becomes a leader. His name signifies "The Rebel," or "we shall rebel." He makes himself a king. The beginning of his kingdom was Babel in the land of Shinar.


This episode of the tenth chapter connects with the migration eastward in the eleventh chapter: "And it came to pass, as they journeyed east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar; and they dwelt there. And they said to one another, Come, let us make brick, and burn them thoroughly. And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for mortar. And they said, Come, let us build us a city" (Gen. 11:2-4). In v. II we find that the city was Babel. Here, then, we find the man, the leader. He was a mighty hunter, this mighty man, as later (I Sam. 24:11; Jer. 16:16), a hunter of men. The expression, "before the Lord," evidently means that he pushed his designs of whatever kind in open and brazen defiance of God's sight and rule.

 

ATTEMPT AT CENTRALIZATION


There now comes into his mind this ambitious scheme, the establishment of a world empire. To accomplish this there must be a center of unity, a city, and to insure stability and to hedge against the natural and disintegrating fear of another deluge there must be a refuge. To induce submission on the part of his following they must be supplied with a motive: "let us make a name." This brings the situation into similarity with the conditions that preceded and necessitated the deluge as set forth in Genesis 6:4, the days of the giants and the mighty men, men of renown. This inordinate thirst for fame is idolatrv It is the most cruel of the passions. Everything beautiful, good, holy, and true goes down before it. As an illustration consider the ambition attributed to an ancient painter: "Parrhasius, a painter of Athens, among the Olythian captives Philip of Macedonia brought home to sell, bought one very old man. And when he had him at his house put him to death with extreme torture and torment, the better, by his example, to express the pains and passions of his Prometheus whom he was then about to paint."

 

On this excerpt N. P. Willis writes his famous poem, "Parrhasius." According to the poet when the tortured victim asks for pity the painter replies:


I'd rack thee though I knew a thousand lives were perishing in thine


What were ten thousand to a fame like mine


Again, when the dying captive threatens him with the hereafter, the painter mocks him by denial of future existence:


Yet there's a deathless name!


A spirit that the smouldering vault shall spurn,


And like a steadfast planet mount and burn –


And though its crown of flame


Consume my brain to ashes as it shone


By all the fiery stars I I'd bind it on!


Aye – though it bid me rifle


My heart's last fount for its insatiate thirst –


Though every life-strung nerve be maddened first –


Though it should bid me stifle


The yearning in my throat for my sweet child,


And taunt its mother till my brain went wild –


All – I would do it all – Sooner than. die, like a dull worm, to rot –


Thrust foully unto earth to be forgot!


Upon which the poet concludes:


How like a mounting devil in the heart


Rules the unreined ambition! Let it once


But play the monarch, and its haughty brow


Glows with beauty that bewilders thought


And unthrones peace forever. Putting on


The very pomp of Lucifer, it turns


The heart to ashes, and with not a spring


Left in the bosom for the spirit's lip,


We look upon our splendour and forget


The thirst of which we perish!


We are thus prepared to understand the history: "And they said, Come, let us build a city, and a tower whose top may reach unto heaven, and let us make a name; lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth" (Gen. 11:4).


All popular movements of this kind are directed by leaders who suggest the watchwords and crystallize the agitation into forms of their own choosing. The sin of the movement was manifold. It meant rebellion against God and ruin to the race. The divine plan was diffusion, and the command was to push out in all directions, not one; to occupy and subdue all the earth. But Nimrod's plan was to keep the people all together under his leadership to serve his ends. The object is thus expressed: "Lest we be scattered." To this day tyrants pursue the same plan and put embargoes on outward movements. And to this day God's providence has thwarted them by bringing about some discovery or attraction that draws out and diffuses population, relieving the congestion at, the crowded centers of life. A very interesting lesson of history is the study of the ways of Providence in sending out migrations of men to colonize the unoccupied parts of the earth. More wonderful and interesting is the way of that Providence in dispersing Christians that they may carry the gospel to all the world. The one thing that made Nimrod's plan of centralization possible was the one language of the people. The audacity and rebellion of the plan provoked divine inquisition and judgment. To allow its successful execution would defeat every purpose of God concerning world occupation and bring about a corruption of the race equal to that of the antediluvians. A world crisis had arrived. The case called for heroic treatment and instant relief. What was the divine remedy?

 

CONFUSION OF TONGUES


"Come, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another's speech. So Jehovah scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth; and they left off building the city. Therefore was the name of it called Babel; because Jehovah did there confound the language of all the earth; and from thence did Jehovah scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth" (Gen. 11:7-9).


This is one of the mightiest and most far-reaching miracles of history. It transcends in importance all the plagues of Egypt. Indeed it finds no counterpart until the descent of the Spirit on the day of Pentecost. Dr. Conant thus quotes from Schelling's Philosophy of Mythology:


Humanity cannot have left that condition, in. which there was no distinction of peoples, but only of races, without a spiritual crisis, which must have been of the deepest significance, must have taken place in the basis of human consciousness itself. . . . For we cannot conceive of different peoples without different languages; and language is something spiritual. If difference of peoples is not something that was not from the first, but is something that has arisen, then must this also hold true of the different languages. . . . Here we fall in with the oldest account of the human race, the Mosaic writings; toward which so many are disinclined, only because they know not what to do with it, can neither understand nor use it. Genesis puts the rise of peoples in connection with the rise of different languages; but in such a way, that the confounding of the language is the cause, the rise of the peoples the effect.


To evade the significance of this miracle the higher critics resort to their usual refuge, the document hypothesis. They magnify the tenth chapter and disparage the first nine verses of the eleventh. The former, an Elohist document, is credible; the latter, a Jehovah document, is incredible. They claim that chapter 10 leaves us to suppose that the nations were distributed upon the face of the earth in obedience to the natural laws which govern colonization and migration, and that the present striking varieties in human languages are wholly the natural result of the dispersion of the nations. The tenth chapter does not leave us to any such suppositions, the episode of Nimrod, the references to Peleg, and the three verses, 5, 20, 31, summing up respectively the families of Japheth, Ham, and Shem, demand the explanation in the next chapter. When asked to account naturally for these striking and irreconcilable varieties in the few great parent languages, they reply: Philology has as yet nothing very definite to say as to the possibility of reducing to one the larger families of human speech. In fact, their oracle, philology, is not merely dubious – it is dumb. Dr. Conant well sums up all that philology can do with this problem:


The diversities in the languages of the earth present a problem which philosophy has in vain laboured to solve. Comparative philology has shown, however, that many different languages are grouped together by common affinities, as branches of the same family, all having the same original language for their common parent. Notwithstanding the great number and diversity of languages, they may all be traced to a very few original parent tongues. The difficulty lies in the essential and irreconcilable diversity between those several parent tongues, not the remotest affinities existing to indicate a common origin, or any historical relation; a problem for which speculative philosophy can find no solution.


They cannot account for it naturally, but deny the supernatural account, passing the matter by with a sneer, "Oh. that account is found only in the Jehovah document." Or if they wish to be a little more respectful, they say, "The fact is that here, as elsewhere, the Jehovist aims not so much at presenting historical information as showing the ethical and religious significance of the leading points in history and the chief changes in man's condition." How happens it that they have such an infallible knowledge of the aim of the Jehovist, and how can there be an ethical and religious significance of history, which is not history but falsehood? If the historical element of the first nine verses of the eleventh chapter be eliminated there is nothing of any kind left, out of which to construct ethics or religion. If the aim of the writer is not history, then words are not signs of ideas. It would be far manlier and more consistent to follow the more destructive higher critics and expunge what they call the Jehovistic record as spurious and unworthy, than to weakly hold on to it and discredit it. The following maxims of literary composition have long obtained:


Never introduce a god into the story unless there be an occasion for a god.


When introduced, let his speech and deeds be worthy of a god.


Let the result of his intervention be worthy of a god. Here was a worthy occasion. Race ruin was imminent and unavoidable by human means. Here was speech and deed worthy of divinity, and results too grand and far-reaching and beneficial to admit of human conception or execution. The author of the book follows his own appropriate method in the use of the divine means. When the divine being, invisible and unapproachable and unknowable, is the subject, the name is Elohim. Whenever it is God manifested particularly by interventions of mercy, it is Jehovah and Jehovah God.

 

CONSEQUENT GROUPINGS INTO NATIONS


The first effect of the confusion of tongues is the stopping of the work, from inability to comprehend each other. The consciousness that a supernatural power had intervened would necessarily fill them with dread, lest a greater evil befall them if they persisted in disobedience. Those who could best understand each other would naturally group themselves and form the nucleus of a separate nation. And this grouping also was naturally according to family origin, whether of Shem, Ham, or Japheth, thus accounting for the three great root languages whose barriers philology cannot pass. This harmonized also with…

 

ASSIGNMENT OF THEIR RESPECTIVE TERRITORIES


The proof of this divine allotment of territory is abundant in the lesson and elsewhere. In summing up the histories of the sons of Japheth the record says, "Of these were the isles of the nations divided in their lands, every one after his tongue, after their families, in their nations." Similarly of Ham: "These are the sons of Ham, after their families, after their tongues, in their lands, in their nations." And of Shem: "These are the sons of Shem, after their families, after their tongues, in their lands, after their nations." More particular is the testimony in 10:25: "And unto Eber were born two sons: the name of the one was Peleg; for in his days was the earth divided; and his brother's name was Joktan." This evidence not only establishes the fact of the division of territory, but shows that the event was so extraordinary and impressive as to give a name to a child born at the time, namely, Peleg, i.e., Division. It is not probable that they could agree among themselves as to the partition of territory. This question could be settled only by supreme authority. And to this fact testify the Scriptures. Paul said at Athens, "And he made of one every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed seasons, and the bounds of their habitation" (Acts 17:26). But the author of Genesis in another book puts the matter beyond controversy:


When the Most High gave to the nations their inheritance, When he separated the children of men, He set the bounds of the peoples According to the number of the children of Israel. – Deuteronomy 32:8


This allotment of territory, after the confusion of tongues was followed by an irresistible divine impulse that brought about…


DISPERSION TO ALLOTTED HOMES


They had said, "Lest we be scattered." When God acts the record says, "So Jehovah scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off building the city. Therefore was the name of it called Babel; because Jehovah did there confound the language of all the earth; and from thence did Jehovah scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth" (Gen. 11:8-9). It has been objected that the division of the land which gave rise to the naming of Peleg, came too early to be connected with the dispersion following the confusion of tongues. The objection is ill advised. The division and assignment of territory long preceded the dispersion. The very sin of the attempt at centralization consisted in its deliberate rebellion against this prior division. In the order of our chapter we have considered the division after the confusion of tongues, not because it was then ordained, but because it was then enforced. We are now prepared to take up chapter 10, and consider specially the parts of the earth occupied by the descendants of the several sons of Noah, which, however, is reserved for another chapter.

 

QUESTIONS


1. What can you Bay of the value of the tenth chapter of Genesis, (1) as literature; (2) as history; (3) as instruction?


2. In order of time, which comes first. Genesis 11:1-9, or the tenth chapter, and why this order?


3. What, then, was the starting point and what held the people together at this time?


4. As they multiplied, what was the trend of their movement and what modern proverb to the contrary?


5. Who became their leader, what was the meaning of his name, what great cities did he build and where?


6. What was the meaning of "a mighty hunter" and "before the Lord"?


7. What was his ambitious scheme, the essentials to its accomplishment and what was its motive?


8. Give an illustration of cruel, unbridled ambition.


9. What was the manifold sin of this movement and the divine remedy for it?


10. What was God's plan of defeating such movements in modern times?


11. What was the counterpart of this mighty miracle?


12. What is Dr. Conant's explanation of the rise of the different peoples?


13. How do the critics try to evade the significance of this miracle and what is this expositor's reply?


14. According to Dr. Conant what has comparative philology shown with respect to the many different languages?


15. What is the position of the more respectful (mediating) critics and this expositor's reply?


16. What three maxims of literary composition obtain and their application to the matter in hand?


17. What was the first effect of the confusion of tongues and how account for the three great root languages?


18. What is the Scripture proof of the divine allotment?


19. What brought about the dispersion, and how?


20. What objection is sometimes urged with respect to the dispersion, and the reply thereto?

 

 

XVII

 

(Return to Contents)

 

DISTRIBUTION AND TERRITORIES OF THE NATIONS

Genesis 10:1 to 11:9; 1 Chronicles 1:5-84

 


1. Resume of previous chapter


2. Some necessary statements


3. The Japheth nations: which and where


4. The Ham nations: which and where


5. The Shem nations: which and where…

 

RESUME OF PREVIOUS CHAPTER


In our last chapter it was shown that Genesis 10, and to the ninth verse of the eleventh, constitute a distinct section of the book, and that while the first part gives a table of the nations we must rely on the second part to explain how they became separate nations with diverse languages. Hence in order of time much of the second part precedes much of the first part. It was shown that, instead of these two parts being independent, unrelated, and contradictory documents as claimed by destructive higher critics, each part fits into the other with dovetailed exactness and demands the other in order to a complete account of the most marvelous origins in the annals of time since the creation.


Following a chronological order, except in one point, that chapter arranged for discussion the scriptures of the two parts thus:


(1) One stock and one language (Gen. ll:6;ll:l).


(2) One trend of migration (11:2-3).


(3) The leader of the migration and settlement (10:8-10).


(4) His attempt at centralization (11:4).


(5) The defeat of the movement by confusion of tongues (11:6-7).


(6) The consequent groupings into nations according to tongues and family ties (10:5, 20, 31-32).


(7) The prior divine partition of the earth territory among these nations (10:5, 20, 25, 31-32; Deut. 32:8; Acts 17:26).


(8) Their dispersion (11:9) to their respective allotted territories (10:2-5; 10:6-20; 10:21-32).


(9) The secular object of the dispersion was to carry out the divine mandate, fill the earth and subdue it (Gen. 1:28; 11:1). And the religious object to seek and find God (Acts 17: 26-27).


It was also shown that this account is not merely the most ancient, but the only extant history of the origin of nations and languages, and that it furnishes the only solution of the irreconcilable differences in the few great parent languages, a problem before which human philology is not only dubious, but dumb. Therefore this one bit of inspired record is the only sure foundation of the human sciences, ethnology and philology; and the root of history, prophecy, and religion.


That chapter closed with the announcement that this chapter would consider more particularly the dispersion of the nation groups to their respective territories as set forth in the tenth chapter. This resume of the preceding chapter must be kept in mind in order to a proper understanding of the present one.


A higher critic thus testifies concerning the tenth chapter of Genesis: "This ethnographical table is not only the most ancient and reliable description of the various nations and peoples, but it has no parallel in it? attempt to exhibit all the races of the earth as related to one another. The ancients universally considered the various races of man to be divided from one another by some impassable interval. The idea that all were of one blood was unfamiliar and unaccountable to them. And it is only in recent times that science has set itself to the task of tracing the relationship which exists between each race and every other, a task which, with all the aids of philology and anthropology available in modern times, cannot be said yet to be independent of this ancient record." Will it ever be independent?


And now before entering into the details of this nation distribution let us settle and fix in our minds:

 

CERTAIN NECESSARY STATEMENTS


This lesson roots in the prophecy of Noah concerning his children and fruits in the book of Chronicles. The book of Chronicles gives a summary of world history from Adam to Cyrus which is continued in Ezra, Nehemiah, Daniel, and Esther to the times of Ahasuerus. Hence in I Chronicles 1: 5-24, this genealogy of nations is repeated, with variations in some names, helpful to an understanding of our text, and must, therefore, be studied in connection with it.


The time period is ten generations from Shem to Abraham and in round numbers about 300 years. There might well be a population of 30,000,000 on the earth at the call of Abraham. So far as this record is a genealogy of individuals, not all, but only the most illustrious names are given, or when less illustrious, only those bearing prominently on subsequent Bible history.


When the record says that Cush, a son of Ham, begat Nimrod, it does not necessarily follow that Nimrod was a grandson of Ham in our sense of the word, but a descendant of Ham through the Cush line. Compare genealogical tables in Matthew and Luke.


This record is not merely or mainly a genealogy of individuals, but of peoples. For example we find: (a) the dual form of names: as, Mizraim; (b) the plural form: as, Ludim, Ananim, Lobahim, Naphthalim, Pathruaim, Cashhuhim, Caphtorim, Zebaim; (c) tribal or Gentile forms: as, Jebusite, Amorite, Girgashite, Hivite, Arkite, Sinite, Arvadite, Zemarite, Hamathite; (d) forms for groups of tribes: as, Canaanites; (e) forms for nations: as, Gomer, Magog, and Madai.


The record is not merely an ethnological table, but geographical as well. We not only have such expressions as "the isles of the Gentiles," "their countries," "their lands," with border lines occasionally marked out, but even the names of some of the peoples, which either were originally or soon came to be geographical expressions; as, the dual name, Mizraim, certainly meaning, later, upper, and lower Egypt. To these may be added Kittim, Donanim, and Philistim, which are names of countries. Rawlinson's contention that the record is wholly ethnological is as untenable as the opposite contention of Professor Sayce, that it is wholly geographical. We may take our stand on this broad ground: Some of this record is the genealogy of individuals; more of it is genealogy of families, tribes, and nations; much of it is a table of countries embracing all the geographical world then known.


When the Almighty originally assigned these specific territories, with then well understood metes and bounds, the assignment was subject to certain modifications: (a) He reserved to himself the times and seasons and instrumentalities of a change of ownership in a given territory (Acts 17:26), nations as units being as responsible to him as individuals are. See in general all subsequent Bible history, but particularly the "burdens" of the prophets; as, Jeremiah 18:7-10; (b) some peoples would rebel against the authority of the assignment and encroach on the territories of others. Thus in the very record we find overlapping. A particular and notable illustration is the land of Palestine assigned originally to a branch of Shem's family, but preoccupied by Canaanites, the descendants of Ham. This territory was subsequently restored by divine intervention in Joshua's time to the descendants of the original owners.


It is impossible now, so great the lapse of time, and so many the changes in names and nations, to trace accurately on a map all the details of this original allotment of territory and the distribution of peoples. Yet it is marvelous, notwithstanding time and changes, how much and how well we can trace from this ancient record the principal nations and the countries settled by them. In general terms we may say that the north was assigned to Japheth, the south to Ham, and the middle territory to Shem. This assignment of an intermediate place to Shem was from religious reasons, as the revelation from God, both as to the Bible and the incarnation, was to come through the Shem line and could thus more speedily and effectively reach the other branches of the human family. The middle portion of Shem, in general terms, would reach from the southern part of Armenia to the Persian Gulf, and its western border would be the Mediterranean and the Red Seas. North of this, including Europe and the greater part of Asia, would be Japheth's territory. South of this would be all of Africa, Ham's territory. But from the causes previously cited, namely, God's government of nations and the rebellion of some nations through unwillingness to confine themselves to their allotted territory, there was and has been much overlapping, with some intermingling and complicating so as to cause endless and insoluble perplexities. Notwithstanding these perplexities this record, even in its minutest details, is found to be exact so far as modern knowledge can verify it.


Philology, an infant and imperfect science, has discovered three parent groups of languages and peoples: Aryan, Semitic, and Turanian, corresponding to Japheth, Shem, and Ham. But the highest authorities differ about the origin of the Turanian peoples and tongues, some confidently affirming Japhethic origin, others with equal confidence the Hamitic. We will now consider the record in order.

 

THE JAPHETH NATIONS: WHICH AND WHERE


The generations of Japheth include seven sons and seven grandsons who became heads of nations. As we trace up their territory and subsequent history we are reminded of Noah's prophecy, "God will enlarge Japheth and he will dwell in the tents of Shem, and Canaan will be the servants of them." All Europe and the greater part of Asia are settled by Japhethic nations. From him are derived both the Indo-European, and, according to many ethnologists and philologists, the Turanian races. Other ethnologists are just as confident that the nations of the Turanian languages are descended from Ham. From Gomer is the Cimmerian race, which located in Crimea around the Sea of Azov and spreads westward and reappears in the Welsh Cymry, in Cambria and Cumberland. He is the father of the Celts, whether in Gaul as found by Caesar, or in Ireland. Through his sons Ashkenaz, Riphath and Togarmah, he peopled much of Armenia and the Carpathian Mountains. Concerning them the prophets say: "Gomer, and all his hordes; the house of Togarmah in the uttermost parts of the north, and all his hordes; even many peoples with thee" (Ezek. 39:6). "They of the house of Togarmah traded for thy wares with horses and war-horses and mules" (Ezek. 27: 14). "Set ye up a standard in the land, blow the trumpets among the nations, prepare the nations against her, call together against her the kingdoms of Ararat, Minni and Ashkenaz: appoint a marshal against her; cause the horses to come up as the canker-worm" (Jer. 51:27).


Through Magog are the Scythians in Caucasus and the Russians. Ezekiel 38 should be studied in connection with the lesson in locating the nations of Japheth descended from Gomer, Magog, Tubal, and Meshech. From one of these sons apparently come the Turanian race, including the Turks, the dwellers in the Steppes of Asia, the Hungarians, the Finns and many others; the first inhabitants of Hindustan and the Mongolians. From Madai, another son of Japheth, come the Medes; from Javan, the lonians and Greeks; from Turas, the Thracians; Javan's sons occupy Cyprus, Rhodes and other islands and coasts of the Mediterranean Sea, and the coast of Spain. According to the record: "Of these were the isles of the nations divided in their lands, every one after his tongue, after their families, in their nations" (Gen. 10:5).


Greeks, Romans, Celts, Germans, Scandinavians, Russians, Scythians, Finns, indeed all of what are now called the IndoEuropean, and perhaps the Turanian races, are descended from Japheth.

 

HAM NATIONS: WHICH AND WHERE


According to the psalmist, the land of Ham is Africa, or more particular, Egypt: Israel also came into Egypt;


And Jacob sojourned in the land of Ham.,


And he increased his people greatly,


And made them stronger than their adversaries.


He turned their heart to hate his people,


To deal subtly with his servants.


He sent Moses his servant,


And Aaron whom he had chosen.


They set among them his signs,


And wonders in the land of Ham.


Wondrous works in the land of Ham,


And terrible things by the Red Sea.


– PSALM 105:23-27; 106:22


His descendants, however, were the first to leave the territory assigned them. His sons were Gush, Mizraim, Phut, and Canaan. Cush in many Old Testament references is translated Ethiopia; later, Abyssinia. But commencing with Nimrod, the Cushites began to occupy the Semitic territory, and have left their impress from Nineveh all the way down the Tigris and Euphrates, and in Eastern and Southern Arabia. Mizraim is Egypt, upper and lower. His sons occupied all the Nile regions and Libya. From them came the Philistines who migrated to and occupied the lower part of the Mediterranean coast belonging to Shem. The name means "emigrants." This migration was one of the earliest and most important in history. It is mentioned in Deuteronomy 2:23; Jeremiah 47:4; Amos 9:7. From Jeremiah 46:9, we may infer that Phut also settled in Africa. Canaan, the youngest son of Ham, on whom rested the curse of Noah, disobeyed the divine assignment of territory from the beginning and altogether. Only two sons of Canaan are specified, Sidon and Heth. The first seized upon the upper part of the Mediterranean shore, which was a lowland coast. This coast, Sidon and Tyre, through which cities the name, Phenicia, came, exercised a wide influence on the affairs of the world's later history. From Tyre, Carthage, the ancient rival of Rome, was colonized. The great epic of Virgil assigns the beginning of the animosity between Rome and Carthage to the unhappy outcome of Dido's love for Aeneas. Though Ham's descendants first occupied Phenicia, they must have early lost their hold on the land, for the Phenicians of history are Semitic in language. Ham and Shem are blended in the Phenicians. Heth was the father of the Hittite, a powerful nation, who, in Abraham's time, occupied Hebron in Palestine. (See Genesis 23:4-19; 24:3-4; 28:1-2.) The other descendants of Canaan, referred to only by tribal names, we find from the later Bible story thus distributed:


Jebusites, around Jerusalem


Amorites, coasts of the Dead Sea and lower Jordan


Girgashites, westward from the Jordan (Josh. 24:11)


Hivites, base of Mount Hermon and valleys of Lebanon, and at Shechem (Gen. 34:2; Josh. 9:7-17; 11:19)


Arkites and Sinites, near Mount Lebanon


Arvadites, on the Phenician Island, Aradus (Ezek. 27:8-11)