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Why Christadelphians Believe in Creation and not Theistic Evolution: GOD’S METHOD OF CREATION IN THE BIBLE:

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 God-Directed Evolution, the Bible and the BASF 

Acceptance of God-Directed Evolutionary Views requires the Corruption of Christadelphian core doctrines with respect to

 Sin, Death, Human Nature and Christ’s Atoning work

 Download the .pdf here…

GDE_Bible_BASF_23June2016 1

Contents

Introduction. 2

  1. God’s Method of Creation in the Bible: The only source of knowledge of God and His purpose. 4
  2. The Creation of Adam: The first man of the human race. 7
  3. The Atonement: Necessitated by circumstances connected with the first man. 8
  4. Sin: Falling Short of the Glory of God. 10
  5. Death: An Enemy from God’s Perspective. 12
  6. Death: Only One Kind – Mortal and Corruptible. 14
  7. Human Nature: Suffering all the effects that came by Adam’s transgression. 19
  8. Jesus Christ: Bore Our Condemned Nature. 21

Conclusion. 24

Appendix 1 –  Relevant Clauses from the BASF. 25

Appendix 2 – Relevance of the BASF. 27

Appendix 3 – Non-theistic Evolution – The Only Explanation Modern Science Will Allow.. 28

Normal Operational Science Vs. Historic Science. 28

Non-theism and Naturalism – No Other Explanations Allowed. 29

Appendix 4 – “Death” in the Bible. 31

Old Testament Usage of Death. 31

New Testament Usage of Death. 32

Appendix 5 – The Impact of Sin on the Condition of Adam and Eve’s nature. 35

Appendix 6  –  The Impact of Sin on the Whole of Creation. 39

Appendix 7 – GDE Objections. 45

  1. A) God’s Method of Creation in the Bible. 45
  2. B) The Creation of Adam.. 49
  3. C) The Atonement 53
  4. D) Sin. 53
  5. E) Death – An Enemy From God’s perspective. 54
  6. F) Death – Only One Kind. 55
  7. G) Human Nature / The Impact of Sin on the Condition of Adam & Eve’s nature. 56
  8. H) Jesus Christ 56
  9. G) The Impact of Sin on the whole of Creation. 57

Appendix 8 – The Pioneers and Tolerating Different Views. 59

Appendix 9 – God Directed Evolution?. 62

 

 

Introduction

The theory of evolution asserts the evolution of human beings from animal origins.  Pure non-theistic evolution explains the means by which humans evolved upwards from lower simple animal organisms entirely by natural means and without appealing to any involvement from God.

Divinely guided or God-directed evolution is slightly different.  While there is little or no practical distinction on the mechanism, God-directed evolution asserts that God was somehow the hidden instigator behind the whole evolutionary process, and accordingly that God’s “mechanism” of creation was evolution.

In this document the term God-directed evolution (GDE) is used to refer to “Theistic Evolution” TE, “evolutionary creationism” EC and “creative evolution” CE and all variations of these that propose that God used a natural process of evolution over a long period of time to create human beings from animal origins.

The purpose of this document is to show that the acceptance of GDE demands the introduction of wrong first principle doctrines that are directly in conflict with “The One Faith” as revealed in the Bible and as described in the Christadelphian Birmingham Amended Statement of Faith (BASF) in at least the following areas:

  1. God’s Method of Creation in the Bible – The only source of knowledge of God and His purpose
  2. The Creation of Adam – The first man of the human race
  3. The Atonement – Necessitated by circumstances connected with the first man
  4. Sin – Falling Short of the Glory of God
  5. Death – An Enemy from God’s Perspective
  6. Death – Only one Kind – Mortal and Corruptible
  7. Human Nature – Suffering all the effects that came by Adam’s transgression
  8. Jesus Christ – Bore Our Condemned Nature

The reason GDE has not taken root in our community is because the notion of God evolving man from animals is simply not taught in the Bible.   On the contrary the Bible teaches that God created Adam from the dust in one step and that all people are descended from Adam.

It is quite telling that GDE view holders will acknowledge that they cannot find direct support in the Bible for their view that evolution was God’s mechanism of creation.  While GDE view holders will then try and assert that the Bible does not tell us anything about God’s “mechanism” of creation, this is not correct.   God has recorded for us in easily understandable and big picture terms that His method was miraculous creation in a very short period of time, including creating all creatures “after their kind” (i.e. the creatures did not evolve), creating Adam from the dust of the ground, and creating Eve from Adam’s rib.

GDE view holders are asking our community to live peaceably with their view that evolution, as promoted by today’s non-theistic scientific academies, was God’s mechanism of creation, and focus on the common belief that God is the creator of all life.  Unfortunately this is not an insignificant matter or uncertain detail that we can hold different opinions upon.  It undermines the authority of God’s word and has serious doctrinal ramifications.   They are effectively asking us to substantially corrupt our understanding of several first principal core doctrines as stated in at least 10 clauses of our Christadelphian Statement of Faith.

God’s method of salvation is based on a correct understanding of death and how it came into the world.  For if man was already subject to death before sin entered the world, as per the view of GDE, then our mortality is in no way a consequence of sin but simply the original condition of our nature from the very beginning. Such a view undermines God’s perspective of sin and death.  The Bible is clear that death entered the world because of Adam and Eve’s sin, and death is an “enemy” (1 Cor. 15:26) form God’s perspective. To understand the death of humans and animals as anything but a blight upon God’s “very good” creation is completely non-biblical.

It also undermines the representative nature of Christ’s death on the cross.  If mortality is not a consequence of Adam and Eve’s sin, then it would mean that the nature Jesus bore, while mortal, was unrelated to the consequences of sin and the diabolos could not be battled, crushed and conquered in his life and death. Accordingly it would mean that Christ is separated from us in the work he came to do;  he could not physically represent us, the diabolos was not part of his nature, and he died in a substitutionary sense to pay for our legal sentence of “eternal death”.

The BASF is the basis of fellowship for Christadelphian ecclesias worldwide.  While a man-made document, it concisely reflects what Christadelphians have always understood as the “core” teachings of the Bible as taught by the apostles in the first century, and is supported by numerous scriptural passages following each clause.   For over 100 years our community has accepted it as a true definition of the scriptures that we believe and teach.  It has served to unite and solidify our community even though each ecclesia is autonomous and we have no central authoritative body.  The constitution of many ecclesias reference the BASF as the definition of what they believe.  Moreover it is the basis upon which an ecclesia can welcome and fellowship a brother or sister from another ecclesia that they have never met before (See Appendix 2 – The Relevance of the BASF).

The GDE viewpoint is at loggerheads with the fundamental Christadelphian teaching on the scheme of the atonement that is taught in scripture, and defined in many clauses of the BASF (relevant clauses are included at the end of each main chapter, and see Appendix 1 for a full list).

 

 

 

1. God’s Method of Creation in the Bible: The only source of knowledge of God and His purpose

Those holding a God-Directed Evolutionary (GDE) viewpoint acknowledge that God is revealed in the Bible as the creator of all life.  However, at the same time they assert that the Bible does not reveal the mechanism by which God did this.  Hence GDE view holders reason that as the Bible does not explain how God created, it is valid to appeal to the consensus opinion of external “experts” who allege that a microbes-to-man evolutionary process is the proven mechanism of creation.

If by the “mechanism” or the “how” of creation one means a detailed scientific explanation complete with God’s formulas and engineering designs, then clearly the Bible does not reveal this.  Nor does the Bible reveal the “science” behind any other of the miracles recorded therein, including a detailed scientific explanation on how Christ rose from the dead and how his nature was changed to immortality.

However, if by the “mechanism” or the “how” of creation one means the overall “big picture” method or manner in which God created all life upon this earth as we know it, then the Bible does in fact reveal a substantial amount of information, as the following points detail:

  • In six literal days. A plain reading of Genesis 1 tells us that God created all life upon this earth in 6 literal days – “the evening and the morning were the first, second, third.. etc., day”). God has made it very clear that it was six literal 24 hour periods by emphasizing at the end of each day’s creative activity that each day contained an “evening and a morning”.
  • These six 24 hour days occurred consecutively, one after the other. This is clearly taught when God delivered the Law of the Sabbath to the Children of Israel  –  “For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it. (Ex 20:11; 30:17).  The Creation week formed the basis of the working week, with the Sabbath declared to be a day of rest just as God rested from his creative works on the seventh day.  (Genesis 1 and 2, Exodus 20:12, Exodus 31:17, Hebrews 4:4)
  • All vegetation and creatures were created “after their kind” (Gen. 1: 11-12, 21, 24-25), with the ability to reproduce “after their kind”. Hence, we know that all the creatures and plants did not “evolve” from lower forms into higher forms, because God has directly told us that He created them “after their kind”.
  • Adam was miraculously created the dust of the ground (Gen. 2:7) and Eve from Adam’s rib (Gen. 2:22). Moreover, they were created in the image and likeness of God from the outset (Gen. 1:26-27), and not after the image and likeness of lower animal forms.
  • In a manner that God himself 7x describes as “good” and “very good” (Genesis 1), which rules out the possibility of death and suffering over long protracted period or otherwise (cf. 1 Cor. 15:26 – death is an enemy from God’s perspective).
  • By his word – God commanded and it was done (Genesis 1; Psa. 33:6-9;  Psalm 148:3-5;  11:3). Each day of creation in Genesis 1 is introduced by “God said”, and concludes with the words “and it was so”.   God gave the command for something to be performed.  It was a deliberate action.  Normally when a mortal king gives a command for something to be done, His will is executed in a very short period of time.  God created by His Word – he commanded and it was immediately executed.   The Psalms confirms this to be the case: “By the word of the LORD were the heavens made, their starry host by the breath of his mouth……For he spake and it was done; he commanded and it stood fast.”  (Psalm 33:6-9);  “…for he commanded, and they were created.”  (Psa 148:3-5).
  • By his power, wisdom and intelligence (Psa. 104:24; 136:25; 10:12; 51:15; Isa. 40:28).  The same Hebrew words for “wisdom” and “intelligence” are used to explain how God endowed humans with the necessary skill and ability to design and create in a short period of time all the instruments and furnishing of the Tabernacle in the wilderness (Ex 28:3, 31:6; 35:5; 36:1-2) and Solomon’ s Temple (1 Kings 7:14).  So as part of the Big Picture of how God created, the Bible reveals that God did it by his power, by his wisdom and by his understanding or intelligence.  Although GDE view holders will often point out all the alleged flaws in God’s creation, his wisdom is clearly on display and has caused atheists like Richard Dawkins to write: “Living objects . . . look designed, they look overwhelmingly as though they’re designed. Biology is the study of complex things that appear to have been designed for a purpose; ”[1]
  • In a hands-on manner: like a potter who has power over the clay (Gen. 2:7; Zech 12:1), and therefore involves deliberate design, intent, and activity.
  • The Lord Jesus Christ confirms that both Adam and Eve were created at the beginning of creation” (Mark 10:6-9; Matt 19:4-6), not at the end of a long drawn out process over millions of years during which death reigned over the world. Moreover we can have great confidence from the way Christ quotes both Genesis 1 and 2 in answering the question on divorce, that the creation of “male and female” in Genesis 1 is the very same event as the creation of Adam and Eve in Genesis 2.
  • The apostle Paul understood that the events in Genesis were real historic events, that God created Adam first then made Eve from Adam’s rib (1 Cor. 11:8-9,11-12; 1 Tim 2:13). He taught that they were real people “And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression”. He taught that by one man sin and death entered into the world, and that man was the real historical Adam (Rom. 5:12-19; 1 Cor. 15:21-22).
  • Romans 1 describes creation as works of power and divinity which make the invisible God clearly visible to all humanity, such that even the unrighteous and the ungodly do not have an excuse: “For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse……who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator” (Rom. 1:20-25).  Hence the apostle Paul in Romans presents God as a directly involved creator, rather than a creator at a distance whose involvement in His own creation is not readily apparent. He describes God’s obvious involvement in creation as something we can see and appreciate with our own eyes, not something that is hidden.
  • John 1 describes the creative process as part of a grand and rational plan to bring Christ into being. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.…..And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth”. (John 1:1-3, 14). So God’s word was first and that caused the works.  This is in line with the language repeated throughout Genesis 1  “and God said….. and it was so”.  Accordingly the word has priority over the work as it is causal.  Every stage of God’s creation is rational and comprehensible.  It is the faith in this rationality of the universe that is the bedrock of true science. Evolution is a random, mindless, unguided aberration of this rationality.

If the Bible was silent on the matter of how God created, then GDE view holders may have a point – that we can’t be sure from reading the Bible as to how long creation took and how all life on this earth came into existence.  But the Bible is not silent on this matter.  The above scriptures clearly reveal that God’s mechanism of creation was powerful, miraculous, deliberate, full of wisdom and intelligence, that the creatures were created after their kinds (i.e. they did not evolve from one kind to another kind) and it all occurred in a very short period of time – six literal consecutive days.

Moreover, God has chosen to record His acts of creation in a plain manner so that everyone throughout all ages can easily understand.  Yes, the Bible is not a scientific textbook with explanatory maths, physics and chemical analysis.  However, when it does touch on scientific areas, particularly on historical matters regarding the manner in which life upon this earth was created, it speaks truthfully and authoritatively.

The creation record in Genesis 1-3 stands as God’s eyewitness account of what actually happened at the “beginning of creation” (Mark 10:6).  We don’t have to speculate, or try and interpret based on the limited evidence we have available today, what might or might not have happened when God performed his creative acts so long ago.  God has told us.  He has given us the video footage of what he did, to use a modern illustration, and he has recorded this for us in a manner that everyone can understand regardless of whether they have any intricate knowledge of “science” or otherwise.

Instead of God’s own recorded account in the Bible, GDE view holders are taking their cue on God’s mechanism of creation from the gatekeepers of modern evolutionary science who will not allow God’s creativity, intelligence or design to even be tabled as possible explanations. Moreover, the alleged “facts” declared by consensus evolutionary science to support the theory of microbes-to-man evolution fall well short of the certainty of the observable and repeatable “facts” produced in other operational branches of science including physics and chemistry.  Microbes-to-man evolution is an interpretation of history that cannot be repeated or observed via the normal scientific method. With no ability to repeat the process, nor any “eye-witness” evidence to rely on, the microbes-to-man evolutionary explanation is a tentative reconstruction of historical events requiring the input of many assumptions and pre-calibrations, which, in turn, are driven by the bias of the non-theistic gatekeepers of today’s scientific academies.  (For further discussion on this, refer to Appendix 3 – Non-theistic Evolution – The Only Explanation Modern Science Will Allow)

Accordingly, rather than a debate over “science”, the issue is more whose historical narrative are we going to rely on – God’s or man’s?  God’s own eyewitness account of how He actually created, as recorded in the scriptures, will always trump man’s fallible interpretation of history.    The language of Genesis is historical, chronological and intentional.  It focuses on the actual history of this world.  It presents a majestic, yet compact and straightforward eyewitness account of one-off, unobservable and unrepeatable events – the history of life upon this earth as we know it.

It is quite telling that GDE view holders agree that evolution is not found anywhere in the Bible. And this is truly the case. The Bible contains no reference, no inference, not even a metaphorical allegory – indeed, no hint of God directing an evolutionary development from simple to more complex life forms, no hint of Him directing a long drawn out process of trial and error by which one “kind” could evolve into another “kind”.

Relevant BASF Clauses:

The GDE viewpoint stands in direct contraction to what God himself directly tells us in the bible regarding his method of creation.  As God has plainly told us in the Bible that He created all life in engaged, powerful, intelligent and miraculous manner in a very short period of time, the GDE view of creation stands both outside of and in contradiction to the biblical paradigm, and hence in direct opposition to the Foundation Clause of our BASF.

THE FOUNDATION – That the book currently known as the Bible, consisting of the Scriptures of Moses, the prophets, and the apostles, is the only source of knowledge concerning God and His purposes at present extant or available in the earth, and that the same were wholly given by inspiration of God in the writers, and are consequently without error in all parts of them, except such as may be due to errors of transcription or translation. (This paragraph was added in 1886.)  2 Tim. 3:16; 1 Cor. 2:13; Heb. 1:1; 2 Pet. 1:21; 1 Cor. 14:37; Neh. 9:30; John 10:35.

BASF 1 That the only true God is He who was revealed to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, by angelic visitation and vision, and to Moses at the flaming bush (unconsumed) and at Sinai, and who manifested Himself in the Lord Jesus Christ, as the supreme self-existent Deity, the ONE FATHER, dwelling in unapproachable light, yet everywhere present by His Spirit, which is a unity with His person in heaven. He hath, out of His own underived energy, created heaven and earth, and all that in them is.

The Bible is truly the only reliable source of knowledge concerning God and His purpose.  The method by which God used to create all life upon the earth as we know it is NOT an exception to this.  We don’t have to look outside the Bible to find the method by which God created.

Christadelphians have always determined right from wrong by following the Berean approach of “searching the scriptures daily” (Acts 17:11). There should be no exception on this subject of how God created all life upon this earth.  We need to take our cue from the SCRITPURES, and not the fallible word of man.  “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them”  (Isaiah 8:20).

Unfortunately GDE view holders are relying on a source of knowledge external to the Bible to form their opinion about how God created all life upon this earth, and then seeking to impose this same worldview on the Bible.   However, the Bible is not silent on this specific matter, and it is wrong to elevate “non-theistic science” to the status of the 67th book of the bible and use the same to re-interpret Genesis in a manner that totally contradicts what is plainly written.

 

 2. The Creation of Adam: The first man of the human race

The Bible teaches that Adam was the first man and that man was a special creation, made in the image and likeness of God, formed from the dust of the ground, and created in one day;  therefore, not derived from animal origin.  (Genesis 1:27; Gen. 2:7;  Matt 19:4. Romans 5:12, 1Cor 15:20, 21, 45.)

These testimonies contradict and comprehensively rule out a God-directed evolutionary advent of humans from lower level animals over periods ranging from thousands to millions of years, as claimed by God-directed evolution adherents.  God tells us that He created man in his own “image and likeness” (Gen. 1:27-28), with intellectual and moral capabilities vastly superior to the rest of the creatures that he also created. Psalm 8:5 builds on this confirming that God made man “a little lower than the Angels”, modelling humans on Himself and the Angels.  This completely negates the possibility of a GDE scenario of creation where creatures evolved from lower forms of life over millions of years until finally man appeared in a state that was “a little higher than the animals”.

Adam and Eve are consistently, in both the Old and New Testament, presented to us as the first man and the first woman.  (Genesis 1: 26, 27, 1Cor 15:20, 21, 45, Matt: 19:2-6, Romans 5:12, Hebrews 4:4)

This is affirmed by the BASF Clauses 3 and 4 which both state that Adam was “the first man”, with Clause 4 adding “whom God created”.  The reference to Adam being the “first man” precludes the view that there were other humans or similar beings existing at the time of his creation.  (see also Genesis 2:5; 2:18; 3:20; Acts 17:25-26; 1 Corinthians 15:45, 47)

This understanding is consistent with the teaching of Christ and the apostles, all of whom endorsed a literal interpretation of the creation record in Genesis, and taught that Adam and Eve really were the first man and woman.  (Matt 19:4-5; Mark 10:6-7; 1 Corinthians 11:7-9; 2 Corinthians 4:6; 11:3; 1 Timothy 2:13-14; 2 Peter 3:5)

Accordingly the Bible teaches that Adam was the first created man and that all humans are descended from Adam and Eve.  This precludes the theory that God used evolution as a process to produce any man.

Moreover, clauses 3, 6, 12 and 30 of the BASF refer to the Human Race as a single human race, i.e. there is only one family of human beings all derived from a common ancestor, (e.g. “human race” – Clause 3; “Adam’s disobedient race” – Clause 12). These clauses clearly note that the first man of the human race was Adam (Clauses 3 & 4), that the whole race became disobedient because of Adam, and that the work of Christ was to restore this same race to the friendship of the Deity.  Accordingly, Christadelphians believe that the Human Race started with Adam and Eve, and this rules out the possibility of any other humans (or human-like hominids) existing before or contemporary with Adam and Eve.

Relevant BASF Clauses:

BASF 3— That the appearance of Jesus of Nazareth on the earth was necessitated by the position and state into which the human race had been brought by the circumstances connected with the first man.   —1 Corinthians 15:21, 22; Romans 5:12–19; Genesis 3:19; 2 Corinthians 5:19–21

BASF 4. That the first man was Adam ……

BASF 6.—That God, in His Kindness, conceived a plan of restoration which, without setting aside His just and necessary law of sin and death, should ultimately rescue the race from destruction, and people the earth with sinless immortals.— Revelation 21:4; John 3:16; 2 Timothy 1:10; 1 John2:25; 2 Timothy 1:1; Titus 1:2; Romans 3:26; John 1:29

 

BASF 12  —…. All who approach God through this crucified, but risen, representative of Adam’s disobedient race, are forgiven

 

BASF 30.—That the government will then be delivered up by Jesus to the Father, who will manifest Himself as the “all-in-all”; sin and death having been taken out of the way, and the race completely restored to the friendship of the Deity.— 1 Corinthians 15:28

 

3. The Atonement: Necessitated by circumstances connected with the first man

In seeking to harmonise an evolutionary scenario with the Bible, GDE viewholders introduce new concepts with respect to the origin and meaning of human nature, sin and death which results in a very different understanding of the atonement.   A correct understanding is fundamental to our beliefs.

GDE theory involves the presence of evolving hominid type people who were living and dying well before Adam and Eve’s sin.  In contrast, the Bible is clear that both sin and death entered into the world because of Adam and Eve’s sin.  We commonly believe that “death” in this context means both mortality and its fullness and finality, that is death.

  • “For in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die” (Gen 2:17)
  • “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree …By the sweat of your face you will eat bread, Till you return to the ground, Because from it you were taken; For you are dust, And to dust you shall return.” (Gen 3:17-19)
  • “As by one man sin entered the world and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned”(Rom 5:12)
  • “Many died by one man’s trespass (Rom 5:15)
  • “For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation” (Rom. 5:16)
  • “By one man’s offence death reigned by one” (Rom 5:17)
  • “One trespass led to condemnation for all men” (Rom. 5:18)
  • “By the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners” (Rom. 5:19)
  • “Since by man came death….. As in Adam all die….” (1 Cor 15:21-22)
  • “the sting of death is sin” (1 Cor 15:56).

 

These verses teach that man was not subject to sin and death when God created them.  Rather the entry of sin into the world brought death, and this was all due to “one man”.  In Romans 5 the apostle Paul is very clear in saying “by one man sin entered the world and death by sin” (v12)

Romans 5:12 contains four vital principles:

  1. That sin came by man, not God. Although “God made man upright” ( 7:29)—that is, not crooked. By adopting the serpent’s carnal logic man acted on an unlawful desire to what God forbade. As James puts it, “when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin” (James  1:15).
  2. The principle of cause and effect (“. . . and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death”). Man became a dying creature because of sin, and was not so before. “For the wages of sin is death” (Rom. 6:23).
  3. That death passed through to all Adam’s posterity. All mankind was now under a death sentence. “That which is born of flesh is flesh” (Jno. 3:6). Notice that Paul does not say that ‘sin passed through . . .’; he is not teaching ‘original sin’. “In Adam all die” because innocently we inherit his mortal nature. We are not guilty of Adam’s sin, but as all men and women come from the first pair we all feel the consequences of it.
  4. That all will not only certainly die, but will inevitably sin (see 3:23) because our nature is prone to sin. Paul says, “I am carnal, sold under sin” (7:14), demonstrating the effect impact sin had on man’s nature. Now Paul knows, “in my flesh . . . dwelleth no good thing” (Rom. 7:18).

Brother John Carter explained Romans 5:12 in the following words:

 “By one man” is a phrase governing every clause in verse 12. Through one man sin entered the world; through him came death; through him death passed unto all, for that ‘or’ because, all sinned as the result of his sin. Thus amplified, some of the difficulty which has occasioned much strife of words is removed. Adam sinned and was punished with death. His children inherit mortality and also a tendency to sin so inevitable in its sin-producing power that Paul can say that through Adam’s sin all sinned, and therefore all die through him.  Paul now turns aside to establish from the universal prevalence of death from Adam to Moses the fact of the unity of the race in its inheritance of a death-stricken nature from a transgressing head….” [2]

Bro. Carter’s explanation that the human race has inherited a death-stricken nature from a transgressing head is confirmed to be correct by the remainder of Romans 5, as the apostle Paul goes on to explain that “many died by one man’s trespass” (V15); that this “reign of death” came by “one” (v17).  Furthermore, Paul describes the death that came into the world as “the judgement following ONE trespass that brought condemnation” (v16), and most importantly, this is a “condemnation for ALL men” (v18).  This includes Christ, because it is this same condemnation to which Paul refers to when contrasting his state now that “death hath no more dominion over him” (Rom. 6:9)

Hence, Romans makes the link between death and the sin of a single historical man undeniable and 1 Corinthians 15:21-22 also makes this same link in an unmistakable manner  – “Since by man came death’ (v21), leaving us with no doubt that the man responsible was the real historical Adam  – “As in Adam all die” (v22).

 

Relevant BASF Clauses:

 

BASF 3— That the appearance of Jesus of Nazareth on the earth was necessitated by the position and state into which the human race had been brought by the circumstances connected with the first man.   —1 Corinthians 15:21, 22; Romans 5:12–19; Genesis 3:19; 2 Corinthians 5:19–21

 

 

 

4. Sin: Falling Short of the Glory of God

The Bible is very clear that the cause of sin is the desires of human nature  within all of us (1 John 2:15-17; Mark 7:20-23; James 1:14-15), or as Hebrews 2:14 describes it, “the diabolos”, or as Romans 8:3 describes it, “sin in the flesh”.  However, proponents of GDE insist that sin is only possible when one has knowledge of God’s laws, due to their view of the existence of evolved hominid people possessing human nature who were dying well before Adam’s sin without any knowledge of God’s laws.

While it is true that sin is disobedience of God’s laws (1 John 3:4), the Bible defines sin in a much wider sense as “falling short of the Glory of God” (Rom 3:23), so that “all unrighteousness is sin” (1 John 5:17), and includes acts of both omission and commission and applies to everyone including those who do not know God’s laws.  (Rom 2:12,  Rom 3:23; Rom 5:13;  Rom 14:23;  Jas 4:17;  Gal 3:22; 1 John 5:17).  In Romans 5 Paul plainly tells us that sin existed in the absence of law : “for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law” (Rom 5:13, ESV).  This verse does not say that there was no sin before the mosaic law was given.  Rather, it is telling us that sin indeed did exist, but for those unaware of God’s instruction or laws sin was not counted or “registered”.  The presence or knowledge of God’s laws makes us accountable to him, but the absence of the same doesn’t negate the fact that mortal people are still sinning and falling short of the Glory of God.

Even under the Law of Moses itself, a sin offering was required for sins of ignorance. “If a soul shall sin through ignorance against any of the commandments of the LORD …. then let him bring for his sin, which he hath sinned, a young bullock without blemish unto the LORD for a sin offering.”  (Lev. 4:2-3).  Hence the Law itself taught that a false position before God is still a false position whether known or not.  Ignorance could not be offered as an excuse that one had not sinned.  It was still displeasing to God, and once recognised a sin offering was required. This is all in harmony with the perfect wisdom and justice of God.  He considers sin to be sin, even though done unwittingly, but only holds the sinner responsible once the sin comes to the sinner’s knowledge and then God offers forgiveness by atonement.

And so Romans 5:14 explains that those people living before the law was given, were not only living in an environment where “death reigned”, but they were also sinning regardless of whether or not they knew that they were breaking a direct law of God like Adam.  “Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come.”  (Rom 5:14, ESV).  Before the Law of Moses was given, there are notable examples of those who sinned in ignorance of God’s laws but were still punished by God, including the wickedness of all mankind in the time of Noah (Genesis 6-7) and those living in Sodom and Gomorrah in the time of Lot (Gen. 19).

At the same time, there are numerous cases of faithful characters who “walked with God”, who were “upright”, who were priests of the Most High God, including Abel, Enoch, Noah, Job, Melchizedek and Abraham.  Their way of life establishes that they were aware of many of God’s laws well before the time of Moses.  They stood out as being completely different to their contemporaries who either disregarded God’s laws or lived in complete ignorance of them.   As time progressed and successive generations of people were born both before and after the flood, many would have lived in a state of complete ignorance of God’s laws.  Regardless they were still punished by God because of their wickedness, as per the case of “all flesh” being destroyed at the time of Noah’s flood because  “God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Gen. 6:5)

Hence God’s laws make us aware of the fact that we are sinners.   The full seriousness of our sins become visible and we are stripped of the ability to offer any excuse for our sins – “the strength of sin is the law (1 Cor. 15:56).  The law turned on the spotlight so that sin “might be seen in its true light as sin, in order that by means of the Commandment the unspeakable sinfulness of sin might be plainly shown.” (Romans 7:12; WNT).

A lack of knowledge of God’s laws does not mean that one is not sinning, or that one can live a life without sinning, or that God is indifferent when wrongdoing occurs.  Even on the cross, our Lord Jesus Christ asked God to forgive those who were in fact sinning unwittingly or in ignorance “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34).  Human nature or the “diabolos” within us all is the root cause of sin, and God’s laws serve to magnify or make us aware of the extent to which we are in fact sinning before God, and in turn to seek His method of forgiveness.

Relevant BASF Clauses:

BASF 8  That these promises had reference to Jesus Christ, who was to be raised up in the condemned line of Abraham and David, and who, though wearing their condemned nature, was to obtain a title to resurrection by perfect obedience, and, by dying, abrogate the law of condemnation for himself and all who should believe and obey him. 1 Corinthians 15:45; Hebrews 2:14–16; Romans 1:3; Hebrews 5:8, 9; 1:9; Romans 5:19–21; Galatians 4:4, 5; Romans 8:3, 4; Hebrews 2:14, 15; 9:26; Galatians 1:4; Hebrews 7:27; 5:3–7; 2:17; Romans 6:10; 6:9; ; Acts 13:34–37; Revelation 1:18; John 5:21, 22, 26, 27; 14:3; Revelation 2:7; 3:21; Matthew 25:21; Hebrews 5:9; Mark 16:16; Acts 13:38, 39; Romans 3:22; Psalm 2:6–9; Daniel 7:13, 14; Revelation 11:15; Jeremiah 23:5; Zechariah 14:9; Ephesians 1:9, 10.

BASF 9 That it was this mission that necessitated the miraculous begettal of Christ of a human mother, enabling him to bear our condemnation, and, at the same time, to be a sinless bearer thereof, and, therefore, one who could rise after suffering the death required by the righteousness of God.  Matthew 1:18–25; Luke 1:26–35; Galatians 4:4; Isaiah 7:14; Romans 1:3, 4; 8:3; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Hebrews 2:14–17; 4:15.

BASF 10. That being so begotten of God, and inhabited and used by God through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, Jesus was Emmanuel, God with us, God manifested in the flesh-yet was, during his natural life, of like nature with mortal man, being made of a woman of the house and lineage of David, and therefore a sufferer, in the days of his flesh, from all the effects that came by Adam’s transgression including the death that passed upon all men, which he shared by partaking of their physical nature. Matthew 1:23; 1 Timothy 3:16; Hebrews 2:14; Galatians 4:4; Hebrews 2:17.

BASF 12 That for delivering this message, he was put to death by the Jews and Romans, who were, however, but instruments in the hands of God, for the doing of that which He had determined before to be done, viz., the condemnation of sin the flesh, through the offering of the body of Jesus once for all, as propitiation to declare the righteousness of God, as a basis for the remission of sins. All who approach God through this crucified, but risen, representative of Adam’s disobedient race, are forgiven. Therefore, by a figure, his blood cleanseth from sin.  Luke 19:47; 20:1–16; John 11:45–53; Acts 10:38, 39; 13:26–29; 4:27, 28; Romans 8:3; Hebrews 10:10; Acts 13:38; 1 John 1:7; John 14:6; Acts 4:12; 1 Peter 3:18; 2:24; Hebrews 9:14; 7:27; 9:26–28; Galatians 1:4; Romans 3:25; 15:8; Galatians 3:21, 22; 2:21; 4:4, 5; Hebrews 9:15; Luke 22:20; 24:26, 46, 47; Matthew 26:28.

 

5. Death: An Enemy from God’s Perspective

The Bible makes it clear that death and mortality (deathfulness) is an “enemy” from God’s viewpoint that will ultimately be removed:

  • “the last enemy that shall be destroyed is death”  (1 Cor. 15:26)
  • “So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory” (1 Cor. 15:54) (note “death , “corruptible” and “mortal” are all used interchangeably in this verse to express the state of our nature which is the “last enemy to be destroyed”)
  • “But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel” (2 Tim. 1:10)
  • “And death and hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.”  (Rev. 20:14-15)

In a GDE scenario, death is not an enemy but the primary way God works to bring about evolutionary progress. Evolution requires millions of years of death, failure, struggling for existence, and survival of the fittest well before any humans like Adam and Eve could finally evolve, and well before the appearance of Adam and Eve themselves and their subsequent sin.

However, the death of humans is an enemy as far as God is concerned.  It is something God is not happy about, did not originally intend, wants to remove, and a victory over sin and death needs to be achieved in order to remove this problem.  This is plain from the apostle Paul’s teaching in 1 Corinthians 15 where we are told that “the last enemy that shall be destroyed is death” (v26), and that ultimately “death will be swallowed up in victory” (v54).    The Bible teaches that God’s purpose will culminate in a perfect new creation at the end of the millennial reign of Christ where sin and death will no longer exist.

Accordingly, the concept of a God who created by using an evolutionary process of countless experiments in trial and error, death and failure, is very different to the concept of a God who spontaneously created life upon this earth by His word (Psalm.33:6), power, wisdom and understanding, and in a manner that He himself describes as “very good” (Gen. 1:31).  Death was never a part of God’s original plan for His Creation.  The Bible teaches that death entered the world in response to Adam and Eve’s sin (Rom. 5:12)

This is the conundrum for those holding the GDE viewpoint. How can they rationalise why God used such a wasteful, cruel process to bring about His will? There is no possible way to make God the originator of death and suffering in nature without undermining His authority, power and wisdom (because we would be saying that he had no choice but to use such a wasteful process) or His benevolence (because we would be saying that He used a terrible means to bring about the desired ends).  How can such a process declare the glory of God?  Even if an evolutionary scenario could result in fully developed life upon this earth by the time of Adam and Eve, it could not glorify God and show His power. Why? Because if evolutionary history is true, God is not needed at any step or at any time. Evolution removes any need for God. This is why evolution is the poster child of the atheistic movement.

To view death as anything other than a negative consequence of Adam and Eve’s sin is to deflect the responsibility of sin and its effects back onto God.   To accept that death, suffering and evil were part of God’s “very good” creation undermines God’s perspective of sin.

Relevant BASF Clauses:

 

BASF 4That the first man was Adam, whom God created out of the dust of the ground as a living soul, or natural body of life, “very good” [Publisher’s Note: Gen. 1:31] in kind and condition, and placed him under a law through which the continuance of life was contingent on obedience.  Genesis 2:7; 18:27; Job 4:19; 33:6; 1 Corinthians 15:46-49; Genesis 2:17

BASF 5 —That Adam broke this law, and was adjudged unworthy of immortality, and sentenced to return to the ground from whence he was taken – a sentence which defiled and became a physical law of his being, and was transmitted to all his posterity. Gen. 3:15-19, 22-23; 2 Cor. 1:9; Rom. 7:24; 2 Cor. 5:2-4; Rom. 7:18-23; Gal. 5:16-17; Rom. 6:12; 7:21; John 3:6; Rom. 5:12; 1 Cor. 15:22; Psa. 51:5; Job 14:4.

BASF 30 —That the government will then be delivered up by Jesus to the Father, who will manifest Himself as the “all-in-all”; sin and death having been taken out of the way, and the race completely restored to the friendship of the Deity. 1 Corinthians 15:28

 

6. Death: Only One Kind – Mortal and Corruptible

GDE needs to introduce new kinds of death beyond the plain meaning of “death”.   This is because they accept the that there were countless mortal or dying creatures as part of the process of evolutionary process well before Adam and Eve’s sin.   Hence with respect to the Apostle Paul’s plain teaching in Rom. 5:12 that “by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin” they reason that the words “death” (Gk “Thanatos”) and “mortality” (Gk. “thnetos”) in the New Testament are two different Greek words, and that “eternal death” is what came in consequence of sin, whereas mortality was already in the world.[3]   In this way GDE attempts to explain that the condemnation Adam and Eve received was “spiritual” or “eternal” death (in the sense of estrangement from God), and that this is different to mortality.

A. Eternal Death Not Taught in the Bible

Firstly it is important to be clear that the phrase “eternal death” is not found in the Bible, making it hard to define or support scripturally.

The Old Testament does not teach the concept of spiritual or eternal death.  The Hebrew word for death (“mooth”) occurs 791 times in the Old Testament, and it always refers to a physical death, including that experienced by animals and unborn babies.

The New Testament likewise does not teach the concept of an eternal or spiritual death.  While it is true that the word “death” (Gk “thanatos”) is often used in a context describing the consequence of those who have knowledge of and disobey God’s laws (e.g. “for the wages of sin is death” (Rom. 6:23), this does not validate limiting the meaning of the word to only spiritual or eternal death – a physical death is still being referred to in every case. The word “death” is often used to refer to those who die without any knowledge of God’s laws (e.g. 2 Cor. 7:10; Rev. 6:8; 9:6; 13:3; 18:8).  On other many occasions it is clear from the context that “thantos” cannot be referring to the GDE view of “eternal death”, but simply physical death (e.g. John 21:19;  2 Cor. 11:23; Rev. 2:10; Rev. 9:6).  The book of Revelation contains the expression “second death (Thanatos)” referring to those will who die for a second time after being resurrected and judged unworthy of eternal life (Rev. 2:11; 20:6,14).  If “thanatos” means eternal death, how is it possible to die eternally twice?  And as will be discussed in this section, “thantos” is used to refer to the death that Jesus Christ himself was subject to, even though he was sinless.

Refer to Appendix 4 – Death in the Bible for a more detailed review of the usage of the word “death” in the Bible.

B. No Hint of The Concept Of “Eternal Death” When Adam and Eve Were Punished

If the GDE view is correct, that Adam and Eve were already mortal dying creatures and sin resulted in “eternal death”, then we should find evidence of this when God pronounced his punishments upon them in Genesis 3.  However, in Genesis 3 there is no mention of “eternal death” as something separate and distinct from “physical death.” Rather we are simply informed of God’s declaration that they would return to the dust  – “till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return” (Gen. 3:19).  From the beginning the punishment for sin was clearly a physical death.

It is true that the intimate “friendship” that Adam and Eve had with God before sin was no longer the case after they sinned. The record makes this plain when we read that they were driven out of the Garden, denied access the Tree of Life (Gen. 3:22-24),  and hence no longer able to enjoy the interaction they previously enjoyed with Elohim before they sinned, which in all likelihood was on a daily basis (cf. Gen. 3:8).    Nevertheless, the record is clear that the type of death pronounced upon them in consequence of sin was simply a physical death – that they would return to the dust.

C. Death (“Thanatos”) Reigns Irrespective of A Knowledge of God’s Laws

While it is correct to say that sin results in a “spiritual” estrangement from God, in the book of Romans the apostle Paul is nonetheless primarily talking about physical death, as can be seen from the context of Romans 5:  “Nevertheless death (Thanatos) reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come(Romans 5:14).  Paul is firstly teaching that death (Thanatos) reigned over everyone born between the time of Adam and the time of Moses.  Secondly he is teaching that all in this intervening period still sinned, even though their sin may not have been as bad as Adam’s deliberate breaking of God’s command –  “even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam” (ESV)  – i.e. they may not have been aware of breaking specific laws of God like Adam, but nevertheless they were still sinners.  They were still subject to death (Gk. “Thanatos”) even though many, if not most, had no knowledge of God’s laws.

Earlier in Romans the apostle Paul expounded that “ALL have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Rom 3:23), and as explained in more detail in Section 4 – Sin, the concept of sin cannot be restricted to disobedience by those who have a knowledge of God’s laws.  We live in a word where death (Thanatos) reigns over the entire human race, and this is all a consequence of Adam’s sin in the beginning.

D. Jesus Christ was Subject To Death (“Thanatos”)

The New Testament is clear that Jesus Christ himself was subject to “death” (Gk. thanatos):

  • “Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me.” (Matt. 26:38)
  • “For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.”  (Romans 5:10)
  • 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” (Heb. 2:9)
  • “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil” (Heb. 2:14)
  • See Appendix 4 – “Death” in the Bible for a more complete list.

Obviously the reason Jesus died was not because he disobeyed God’s law, as he was perfectly obedient in all things to his Father.  In fact, Christ’s “death” was an act of obedience to his Father’s will, the exact opposite of a punishment or consequence of disobedience – “… he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death (“thanatos”), even the death of the cross.” (Phil. 2:8).

In Romans 6 the Apostle Paul explains that Christ was under the dominion of death during his mortal life: “Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more, death (“thanatos”) hath no more dominion over him”. (Rom 6v9), Now if Paul is referring to “eternal death” in Romans, as suggested by GDE view holders, then how was it possible for Jesus to come under the dominion of “eternal death” during his mortal life given that he never sinned?

Hebrews 2 explains in an unequivocal manner that the death (“thanatos”) that Christ was subject to is exactly the same as those he came to save, and in so doing reveals the true connection between sin and death – even the diabolos (i.e. our sin prone nature) which has the “power of death”.  The death that came into the world by sin must have been borne by Christ so that in his death there was a victory over sin and death, while at the same time redemption and resurrection made possible for both the “captain” and “the children God has given him” (Heb 2:10-13).

The first two references to “death” are in v9, where we read “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 (Heb. 2:9).  As we know Christ did not sin, the word “thanatos” cannot have the meaning of eternal or spiritual death as a consequence of disobedience to God’s laws.  Christ himself suffered death.  He himself tasted (Gk “genuomai” = fully experienced) death, the same death that every man is subject to.   But if we were to insist that “death” (Thanatos) means eternal death “which is effected by letting people die and not raising them from the dead” (KG), then why did Christ rise? Should he not remain dead, eternally, if that is the death Paul is referring to when he states that Christ both suffered “thanatos” and fully experienced “thanatos” for every man?

The next two occurrences of death are in v14:  “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil (Heb. 2:14). This verse confirms that the “death” Jesus suffered or tasted for every man was not something that was transferred onto him in a substitutionary sense when he died, but rather came in consequence of his very nature, a condition that he himself was born with.  Further, in Hebrews 5 we learn that Christ prayed to his Father to be saved out of death (thanatos), which can only mean death in the physical sense and not the GDE concept of eternal death which comes in consequence of sin, as Christ was sinless: “Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared” (Heb 5:7)

Therefore, the death (thanatos) that Jesus experienced was exactly the same as the death experienced by every other person, and that is a physical death.  Jesus did not sin, he perfectly kept his Father’s laws, and yet he was still subject to the same “death” as everyone else.  The apostle Paul emphatically tells us in Heb. 2:14 that the reason Jesus was in the position of being subject to “death” is because he was born with exactly the same physical nature as us.  This completely negates the possibility of death (thanatos) referring to a spiritual or eternal death that comes after one “sins and knowingly spurns the offer of salvation” (KG).  When Christ died there was a great victory, because he destroyed that having the power of death (thanatos) within himself – even the diabolos or our sin-prone and death-stricken nature.

E. The Apostle Paul Uses “Death” and “Mortality” Interchangeably

GDE view holders often quote the Apostle Paul’s words in Rom. 6:23 “for the wages of sin is death” in an attempt to establish that “thanatos” is something that only applies as a consequence of actual sin.  However, a cursory review of the context of Romans 6 reveals that sin is not just limited to actual transgression, but is being personified as the governing principle of our nature (“body of sin” v.6; “consider yourself dead to sin” v11; “sin will have no dominion over you” v14; “slaves of sin” v20).

Moreover, sin as the master or governing principle of our nature is connected with mortality – “Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions” (Rom. 6:12).  Paul is asking believers to constrain the natural motions of sin which are enthroned in our mortal bodies as a “reigning” principle, to stop yielding to the inordinate passions of our mortal bodies which result in sin. This is because the default position of the mortal state is a body in which sin is enthroned as the ruler.  Hence Paul also refers to our mortal state as a “body of sin” (Rom. 6:6), ‘the motions of sin” (Rom. 7:5), “sin that dwelleth in me” (Rom. 7:17, 20), “the law of sin which is in my members” (Rom 7:23), and “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing” (Rom. 7:18).  Accordingly, Romans plainly identifies sin as a governing principle of our mortal or dying bodies, not just actual transgression. Actual transgression verifies that “king sin” does indeed reign over us and we deserve death.

In 1 Corinthians 15 the apostle Paul refers to “death” and “mortality” in an interchangeable sense to refer to the exact same concept of a body that is subject to physical death.  Firstly it is important to note his teaching that death (thanatos) came by one man, and that man was Adam: “For since by man came death (“thanatos”), by man came also the resurrection of the dead. (22) For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive” (1 Cor. 15:21-22)

Next, the apostle Paul tells us that “the last enemy to be destroyed is death (‘thanatos”) (v26).  Then towards the end of the chapter when contrasting the immortal state post resurrection, Paul refers to our current state as both CORRUPTIBLE (v50 & 53) and MORTAL (v53), and explains that once “this CORRUPTIBLE shall have put on incorruption, and this MORTAL shall have put on immortality” then “DEATH will be swallowed up in victory” (v54).

Hence 1 Corinthians 15 clearly informs us that a body that is mortal (thnetos) and corruptible (phthartos) is interchangeable with the concept of a body subject to death  (thanatos).  Yes from a dictionary perspective  “death”, “corruptible” and “mortal” are all different Greek words, but this does not mean they are referring to different concepts any more than the hope for those in Christ to be “made alive” (v22) or “quickened” (Gk. zoopoieo), is unrelated to the hope of incorruption (aphtharsia)  and immortality (athanasia).  In each case different but interchangeable Greek words are used to refer to the same concept (see also 2 Cor. 4:11)

Moreover, the phrase “DEATH will be swallowed up in victory” (v54) is echoed by a similar phrase in 2 Cor. 5:4  – “that MORTALITY might be swallowed up of life”.   In both cases the same Greek word “swallowed up” (Gk katapinō) is used, the overall meaning of a change in nature to immortality is the same, the only difference is 1 Cor. 15:54 has “death” (Gk. thanatos) whereas 2 Cor. 5:4 uses “mortality” (Gk. “thnetos”).  Once again, this proves that the two words – death and mortality – are interchangeable and refer to the same concept.

Finally, the very phrase, “O death (Gk “thanatos”) where is thy STING” when referring to the victory achieved by Christ (twice v55, 56), is a clear reference to Genesis 3v15 and the enmity that God announced would exist between the seed of the serpent and the seed of the woman IN CONSEQUENC OF Adam and Eve’s sin – “And I will put enmity between you [serpent] and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he [the seed of the woman] will crush your head, and you [the serpent] will strike his heel(Gen 3:15, NIV).  This connects the corruption of our nature as the consequences of sin, and so connects Christ being born with our identical nature subject to “death” (thanatos) as a vital element in defeating “sin in the flesh” (Rom 8v3).

F. Eternal Death Contradicts GDE’s Own View Of Other Evolved Humans

If, as per the view of GDE, there was a race of humans already dying BEFORE Adam and Eve sinned, are they not now dead eternally?  Has not God allowed these evolved hominids to die in perpetuity, and has no intention at all of raising them from the dead?  Accordingly, was not “eternal death” in the world already, BEFORE Adam and Eve, BEFORE sin?

If “eternal death” only commenced as a punishment for sin from when Adam and Eve’s disobeyed God’s commands, why was there countless death (with no hope) before sin entered the world? Why does the Bible only focus on Adam’s race and is silent about all those other humans, as per the GDE view, who have also died eternally?

Relevant BASF Clauses:

Clause 10 of our BASF is very clear that the “death” that has passed upon ALL men, including Christ, was in direct consequence of Adam’s transgression.  Hence post Adam, “death” is not something that applies only to those who sin and spurn God’s offer of salvation. Yes we rightly deserve to die because of our sins.  But all are subject to death due to the physical nature we are born with, and this is because of Adam’s transgression in the first place.

Importantly, note also how this clause equates our mortal nature with i) our flesh; ii) all the effects that came by Adam’s transgression including death that passed upon all men; and iv) our physical nature.   Hence, the BASF clearly mentions mortality and death as characteristics of our physical nature, both of which came in consequence of Adam’s transgression.

BASF 10. That being so begotten of God, and inhabited and used by God through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, Jesus was Emmanuel, God with us, God manifested in the flesh-yet was, during his natural life, of like nature with mortal man, being made of a woman of the house and lineage of David, and therefore a sufferer, in the days of his flesh, from all the effects that came by Adam’s transgression including the death that passed upon all men, which he shared by partaking of their physical nature

Matthew 1:23; 1 Timothy 3:16; Hebrews 2:14; Galatians 4:4; Hebrews 2:17.

 

7. Human Nature: Suffering all the effects that came by Adam’s transgression

The Bible teaches that after Adam and Eve sinned, their death-stricken or condemned nature was transmitted or passed on to all of their posterity, including Jesus Christ who died as our representative that he might destroy the problem of sin and death at its source (Heb 2:14).  And this is what is plainly stated in Clauses 5, 8, 9 and 10 of our BASF.

The record of Genesis 3 details a number of significant changes that took place to the condition of Adam and Eve’s nature after they sinned.  These include being ashamed over their physical state of nakedness, enmity or conflict being introduced which did not exist before, the introduction of pain and sorrow that did not exist before, and the sentence of death that would result in corruption and decay.  Please refer to Appendix 5 – The Impact of Sin on the Condition of Adam and Eve’s nature – for a more detailed discussion.

In contrast to God’s own description of everything He created including Adam and Eve being “very good” prior to fall, the apostle Paul refers to our current mortal state as a “body of sin” (Rom. 6:6), ‘the motions of sin” (Rom. 7:5), “sin that dwelleth in me” (Rom. 7:17, 20), “the law of sin which is in my members” (Rom 7:23), and “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing (Rom. 7:18).  Simply put, in consequence of Adam and Eve’s sin, all of their posterity inherits a nature with the problem of the “diabolos” within, which is a tremendous force towards sin in the mind and the body, so strong that it distorts our intellect, emotions and decision-making.  The diabolos did not exist within Adam and Eve as part of God’s “very good” creation.  Rather the diabolos first came into existence when Eve, after taking on board the suggestion of the serpent, desired within herself to attain that which was expressly forbidden by God. “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.” (1 John 2:16); by one man sin entered into the world” (Rom. 5:12); “He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning(1 John 3:8).

BASF clause 5 states that the death sentence pronounced on Adam in consequence of sin was “a sentence which defiled and became a physical law of his being, AND WAS TRANSMITTED TO ALL HIS POSTERITY.”  Adam and Eve’s nature, newly prone-to-sin and condemned to death because of sin, was something that Jesus himself, being a descendent of Adam and Eve, was to be born with and suffer with.  BASF clause 10 states that Jesus was “therefore a sufferer, in the days of his flesh, from ALL the effects that came by Adam’s transgression including THE DEATH THAT PASSED UPON ALL MEN, which he shared by partaking of their physical nature”.

To be clear, Christadelphians do not believe in the doctrine of “original sin” or that “all of humanity is guilty because of Adam”.  However, what is rightly taught in the Bible is that “death PASSED to all mankind” (Rom. 5:12) because of Adam’s sin.  As  Bro. Thomas aptly stated in Elpis Israel, the fact that we are born with a “sinful nature” (a nature that is prone to sin and dying) in consequence of Adam’s sin is “our misfortune not our crime” (page 77).  “Children are born sinners or unclean, because they are born of the flesh; and “that which is born of the flesh is flesh” or sin.  This is a misfortune not a crime” [page 129].   And so BASF clause 10 is correctly stating the Bible truth that Christ HAD to come in our identical nature, to innocently bear the consequences of sin and death in order to be victorious over them.

Suffering was introduced as a consequence of sin in the first instance, but we are not born guilty of the sin of Adam and Eve. We inherit the nature, not the guilt.   Scripture invariably links disease and suffering to sin, to show the seriousness of sin. Sometimes Jesus when he healed someone would say that their sins were forgiven.

“For whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and walk? But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (then saith he to the sick of the palsy,) Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house.” (Matt 9:5-6)

“Afterward Jesus findeth him in the temple, and said unto him, Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee.”  (John 5:14)

During his ministry we know that Jesus healed lepers (Mark 1:40-45; Matt. 8:2-4; Luke 5:12-14). Leprosy was a disease which could only be removed by God’s power, and it was often God’s power that caused the disease in the first place (Ex. 4:7; Num 12:10-15;  2 Chron 26:9).  The only recorded case in the Old Testament of someone being cured of Leprosy was Naaman the Syrian (2 Kings 5:7-8)

The disease of leprosy, where the flesh visibly decomposes while the victim is alive, dramatically reminds us of the curse of mortality. Slowly but surely all the beauty and strength we may possess when we are young will be replaced by unattractiveness and weakness as we get old until we will surely die.  As mortality has come by sin, so this disease was given as a punishment in certain cases for sin (Num. 12:10; 2 Kings 5:7-; 2 Chron. 26:19). The sacrifices required for cleansing leprosy under the law of Moses foreshadowed the redemptive work of the Lord. The work Jesus did in healing lepers was to teach all that it is only through his great offering that we can be redeemed from our weak and dying nature and given eternal life

To disconnect human suffering from transgression and to attribute it as part and parcel of God’s creative acts in ‘the beginning’ is to misrepresent scripture.  Disease and suffering entered the world along with sin and death.  Although not God’s original intention, it is instructive and designed to make us hope for the time when the whole of creation will be delivered from its bondage to corruption. (Rom.8:20-21)

“And said, If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the Lord thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the Lord that healeth thee.” (Ex 15:26)

“For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.” (Rom 8:20-21)

See Appendix 6 – The Impact of Sin on the whole of Creation – for a further discussion on this.

 

Relevant BASF Clauses:

Clause 5 and 10 of the BASF confirms that Christadelphians believe the Bible teaches that there was a change in the physical condition of Adam and Eve’s nature after they sinned.

BASF 5. That Adam broke this law, and was adjudged unworthy of immortality, and sentenced to return to the ground from whence he was taken – a sentence which defiled and became a physical law of his being, and was transmitted to all his posterity. Gen. 3:15-19, 22-23; 2 Cor. 1:9; Rom. 7:24; 2 Cor. 5:2-4; Rom. 7:18-23; Gal. 5:16-17; Rom. 6:12; 7:21; John 3:6; Rom. 5:12; 1 Cor. 15:22; Psa. 51:5; Job 14:4.

BASF 10. That being so begotten of God, and inhabited and used by God through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, Jesus was Emmanuel, God with us, God manifested in the flesh-yet was, during his natural life, of like nature with mortal man, being made of a woman of the house and lineage of David, and therefore a sufferer, in the days of his flesh, from all the effects that came by Adam’s transgression including the death that passed upon all men, which he shared by partaking of their physical nature.  Matthew 1:23; 1 Timothy 3:16; Hebrews 2:14; Galatians 4:4; Hebrews 2:17.

 

8. Jesus Christ: Bore Our Condemned Nature

One of the most important aspects of the sacrifice of Christ was that he died to “declare the righteousness of God” (Rom 3v26).  This meant that God’s judgement on sin had to be demonstrated to the world as being right:  “That God might be just and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus”.  (Rom. 3:26)  Our justification (by forgiveness) is based on this.

But how can God be declared to be righteous or just in putting to death a perfectly righteous man?  This is why a recognition that Jesus did in fact come under the “dominion of death” (Rom 6:9) is so important.  It means that the problem of the “diabolos” that he destroyed when he died was part and parcel of his nature (Heb 2:14).  Like all of us, mortality was Jesus’ misfortune not his crime.  But Jesus, as a sinless bearer of our identical sin-prone nature, still had to go through the death that came by sin in order to “condemn sin in the flesh” (Rom. 8:3) and in so doing uphold his Father’s righteousness.  As our representative he came bearing the “condemnation that came upon men as a result of the one man’s offence”.  (Rom 5:18)  Such a connection is vital.  This is why God did not instruct Moses to lift up on a pole in the wilderness a lamb or a bull, but rather a serpent! “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life”. (John 3:14-15; Numbers 21:8).   The very problem that was causing the people to die in the wilderness was lifted up and destroyed, and faith in this divinely appointed means provided salvation.

Here lies the crux of the matter.  The death or mortality that came into the world was from God’s condemnation of Adam and Eve’s sin in the Garden of Eden.  This death reigned over all of Adam and Eve’s posterity.  It is this same death that had dominion over Jesus, as he was born of a woman and thus shared our identical sin-prone nature.  Accordingly, the sin-prone mortal nature that Jesus came to share with all of Adam’s descendants was connected to the condemnation that came into the world by Adam.  Only then, in this same sin prone mortal nature, could sin’s consequences be battled and conquered, showing to the world that “all flesh is grass”.  As such, God’s righteousness would then be declared in Jesus submitting to that death and a way of salvation provided for “his brethren” whom he represented.

Jesus was to crush the ‘serpent’ sin in the very place where it came to rule—in human nature. ‘God sent His own son in the likeness of sin’s flesh, and condemned sin, in the flesh’ (Rom. 8:3). Jesus was “made . . . sin for us who knew no sin” (2 Cor. 5:21) in the sense that he came in ‘sin’s flesh’ (Rom. 8:3). This did not mean that Jesus was a sinner, for he was sinless. It means simply that Jesus came in the same nature sin had ruled like a tyrant. However it never ruled Christ, so sin was dethroned, crushed and overcome. Christ overcome, “having abolished in his flesh the enmity” (Eph. 2:15). Here is the significance of Jesus coming in our nature, so much so that the apostle stresses it five times: “. . . he also himself likewise took part of the same . . . For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham” (Heb. 2:14,16).

We must not shy away from the importance of the fact that Jesus came under the effects of sin. Paul says “that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him” (Rom. 6:9). How could Jesus conquer sin and death if he did not come in the nature related to it?

This is the true significance of God’s sentence in Eden, and the promise of the ‘seed of the woman’ who would battle the serpent in himself. “For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil” (1 Jno. 3:8).  Again the apostle says “that through death he [destroyed] him that had the power of death, that is, the devil” (Heb. 2:14). This ‘devil’ with the power of death the Bible clearly identifies as sin: “the wages of sin is death” (Rom. 6:23); and “the sting of death is sin” (1 Cor. 15:56). Thus when Christ ‘destroyed the devil’, he destroyed sin: “he . . . put away sin by the sacrifice of himself” (Heb. 9:26).

Accordingly God’s method of salvation is based on a correct understanding of death and how it came into the world.  For if man was subject to death before sin entered the world, as per the view of GDE, then our mortality is in no way a consequence of sin but simply the original condition of our nature from the very beginning. Such a view completely undermines the representative nature of Christ’s death on the cross.

If our mortality is not a consequence of sin, but simply the original condition of our nature before sin, then:

  1. The nature Jesus bore, while mortal, is unrelated to the consequences of sin.
  2. Jesus did not bear the condemnation that came into the world by Adam.
  3. Jesus’ death was unrelated to the problem of sin and death in the world.
  4. It was unrighteous for him to die (as he was not under the dominion of the death that came into the world by sin).
  5. Jesus should have been rewarded with immortality without having to die (as per what would have been the case for Adam & Eve if they had not sinned).
  6. Jesus is separated from the work he came to do; he does not physically represent us, but died as a substitute (to pay for our legal sentence of eternal death).
  7. The problem of the diabolos was external to him, and accordingly could not be battled, crushed and conquered in his life and death.

So it is false to claim that Adam and Eve’s condemnation to die after they sinned was a legal sentence of “eternal death” that God gave to man who was already a dying creature.  Such an assertion not only confuses scripture but destroys the very essence of the Atonement.

Jesus Christ himself was subject to “death” (Gk. thanatos) (Matt. 26:38; John 12:32-33; Romans 5:10; Heb 2:9,14), and clearly the reason he died was not because he disobeyed God’s law, as he was perfectly obedient in all things to his Father.  In fact, Christ’s “death” was an act of obedience to his Father’s will, the exact opposite of a punishment or consequence of disobedience – “… he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” (Phil. 2:8)

Jesus was born into our condition, which was condemned to death as a result of sin in the beginning, and which passed through to all “in Adam” by physical descent. This link is vital. As the promised Saviour Jesus bore the responsibility of conquering sin and death, so it was essential that he should experience this same condition. So our High Priest can say that he is “touched with the feelings of our infirmities . . . in all points temped like as we are, yet without sin” (Heb. 4:15). Jesus voluntarily submitted “through death,” in order to uphold God’s truth. He died to represent all those who had sinned and so were unable to offer the perfect sacrifice required. As our representative he died a death of condemnation (Lk. 23:40), “being made a curse for us” (Gal. 3:13). Yet he was personally sinless, and not worthy of death since never once had he let sin rule over him. Rather he “loved righteousness, and hated iniquity” (Heb. 1:9). So “Christ . . . suffered for sins, the just for the unjust” (1 Pet 3v18).

Relevant BASF Clauses

It is fundamental to the truth that in declaring the righteousness of God, Jesus (even as a sinless man) should die without God’s righteousness being violated.  He must therefore be related to the divine arrangements regarding death from which he came to rescue mankind.  Clauses 8 and 9 of the BASF emphasise that Jesus “bore our condemned nature” and “by dying, abrogated the law of condemnation for himself and all who should believe and obey him”.

The crucifixion of Christ was “the doing of that which God had determined before to be done, namely, the condemnation of sin the flesh, through the offering of the body of Jesus once for all, as propitiation to declare the righteousness of God, as a basis for the remission of sins.  All who approach God through this crucified, but risen, representative of Adam’s disobedient race, are forgiven”  (BASF Clause 12).

BASF 8  That these promises had reference to Jesus Christ, who was to be raised up in the condemned line of Abraham and David, and who, though wearing their condemned nature, was to obtain a title to resurrection by perfect obedience, and, by dying, abrogate the law of condemnation for himself and all who should believe and obey him.  1 Corinthians 15:45; Hebrews 2:14–16; Romans 1:3; Hebrews 5:8, 9; 1:9; Romans 5:19–21; Galatians 4:4, 5; Romans 8:3, 4; Hebrews 2:14, 15; 9:26; Galatians 1:4; Hebrews 7:27; 5:3–7; 2:17; Romans 6:10; 6:9; ; Acts 13:34–37; Revelation 1:18; John 5:21, 22, 26, 27; 14:3; Revelation 2:7; 3:21; Matthew 25:21; Hebrews 5:9; Mark 16:16; Acts 13:38, 39; Romans 3:22; Psalm 2:6–9; Daniel 7:13, 14; Revelation 11:15; Jeremiah 23:5; Zechariah 14:9; Ephesians 1:9, 10.

BASF 9 That it was this mission that necessitated the miraculous begettal of Christ of a human mother, enabling him to bear our condemnation, and, at the same time, to be a sinless bearer thereof, and, therefore, one who could rise after suffering the death required by the righteousness of God.  Matthew 1:18–25; Luke 1:26–35; Galatians 4:4; Isaiah 7:14; Romans 1:3, 4; 8:3; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Hebrews 2:14–17; 4:15.

BASF 12 That for delivering this message, he was put to death by the Jews and Romans, who were, however, but instruments in the hands of God, for the doing of that which He had determined before to be done, viz., the condemnation of sin the flesh, through the offering of the body of Jesus once for all, as propitiation to declare the righteousness of God, as a basis for the remission of sins. All who approach God through this crucified, but risen, representative of Adam’s disobedient race, are forgiven. Therefore, by a figure, his blood cleanseth from sin  Luke 19:47; 20:1–16; John 11:45–53; Acts 10:38, 39; 13:26–29; 4:27, 28; Romans 8:3; Hebrews 10:10; Acts 13:38; 1 John 1:7; John 14:6; Acts 4:12; 1 Peter 3:18; 2:24; Hebrews 9:14; 7:27; 9:26–

 

 

Conclusion

It has been shown that the acceptance of GDE demands the redefinition of sin, death, mortality and human nature. Most importantly it requires the separation of Christ from those he came to save, as the mortality he bore was not related to the problem of sin and death which entered the world in consequence of Adam and Eve’s sin.  It has been shown that acceptance of GDE forces the introduction of wrong first principle doctrines that are directly in conflict with “The One Faith” as revealed in the Bible and as described in our statement of The Faith (BASF).

We appeal to those who have embraced GDE to refrain from stirring up strife and disrupting the peace in our community by trying to introduce or accommodate something that is clearly in conflict with our basis of fellowship as described in the BASF.  As we have shown, it is not just one clause of the BASF, but more than 10 clauses of our BASF need to be corrupted to accept the GDE understanding.   Those who persistently and without repentance, declare, promote, or teach first principle doctrines which place themselves at odds with “The One Faith” depart from our fellowship in departing from the “The One Faith”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Appendix 1 –  Relevant Clauses from the BASF

THE FOUNDATION – That the book currently known as the Bible, consisting of the Scriptures of Moses, the prophets, and the apostles, is the only source of knowledge concerning God and His purposes at present extant or available in the earth, and that the same were wholly given by inspiration of God in the writers, and are consequently without error in all parts of them, except such as may be due to errors of transcription or translation. (This paragraph was added in 1886.)

2 Tim. 3:16; 1 Cor. 2:13; Heb. 1:1; 2 Pet. 1:21; 1 Cor. 14:37; Neh. 9:30; John 10:35.

BASF 1 That the only true God is He who was revealed to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, by angelic visitation and vision, and to Moses at the flaming bush (unconsumed) and at Sinai, and who manifested Himself in the Lord Jesus Christ, as the supreme self-existent Deity, the ONE FATHER, dwelling in unapproachable light, yet everywhere present by His Spirit, which is a unity with His person in heaven. He hath, out of His own underived energy, created heaven and earth, and all that in them is.

Isaiah 40:13–25; 43:10–12; 44:6–8; 45:5; 46:9, 10; Job 38, 39 and 40; Deuteronomy 6:4; Mark 12:29–32; 1 Corinthians 8:4–6; Ephesians 4:6; 1 Timothy 2:5; Nehemiah 9:6; Job 26:13; Psalm 124:8; 146:6; 148:5; Isaiah 40:26, 27; Jeremiah 10:12, 13; 27:5; 32:17–19; 51:15; Acts 14:15; 17:24 1 Chronicles 29:11–14; Psalm 62:11; 145:3; Isaiah 26:4; 40:26; Job 9:4; 36:5; Psalm 92:5; 104:24; 147:4–5; Isaiah 28:29; Romans 16:27; 1 Timothy 1:17; 2 Chronicles 16:9; Job 28:24; 34:21; Psalm 33:13, 14; 44:21; 94:9; 139:7–12; Proverbs 15:3; Jeremiah 23:24; 32:19; Amos 9:2, 3; Acts 17:27, 28; Psalm 123:1; 1 Kings 8:30, 39, 43, 49; Matthew 6:9; 1 Timothy 6:15–16; 1:17.

BASF 3. That the appearance of Jesus of Nazareth on the earth was necessitated by the position and state into which the human race had been brought by the circumstances connected with the first man.

1 Corinthians 15:21, 22; Romans 5:12–19; Genesis 3:19; 2 Corinthians 5:19–21.

BASF 4. That the first man was Adam, whom God created out of the dust of the ground as a living soul, or natural body of life, “very good” [Publisher’s Note: Gen. 1:31] in kind and condition, and placed him under a law through which the continuance of life was contingent on obedience.

Genesis 2:7; 18:27; Job 4:19; 33:6; 1 Corinthians 15:46-49; Genesis 2:17

BASF 5. That Adam broke this law, and was adjudged unworthy of immortality, and sentenced to return to the ground from whence he was taken – a sentence which defiled and became a physical law of his being, and was transmitted to all his posterity. Gen. 3:15-19, 22-23; 2 Cor. 1:9; Rom. 7:24; 2 Cor. 5:2-4; Rom. 7:18-23; Gal. 5:16-17; Rom. 6:12; 7:21; John 3:6; Rom. 5:12; 1 Cor. 15:22; Psa. 51:5; Job 14:4.

BASF 6.—That God, in His Kindness, conceived a plan of restoration which, without setting aside His just and necessary law of sin and death, should ultimately rescue the race from destruction, and people the earth with sinless immortals.

Revelation 21:4; John 3:16; 2 Timothy 1:10; 1 John2:25; 2 Timothy 1:1; Titus 1:2; Romans 3:26; John 1:29

BASF 8  That these promises had reference to Jesus Christ, who was to be raised up in the condemned line of Abraham and David, and who, though wearing their condemned nature, was to obtain a title to resurrection by perfect obedience, and, by dying, abrogate the law of condemnation for himself and all who should believe and obey him.

1 Corinthians 15:45; Hebrews 2:14–16; Romans 1:3; Hebrews 5:8, 9; 1:9; Romans 5:19–21; Galatians 4:4, 5; Romans 8:3, 4; Hebrews 2:14, 15; 9:26; Galatians 1:4; Hebrews 7:27; 5:3–7; 2:17; Romans 6:10; 6:9; ; Acts 13:34–37; Revelation 1:18; John 5:21, 22, 26, 27; 14:3; Revelation 2:7; 3:21; Matthew 25:21; Hebrews 5:9; Mark 16:16; Acts 13:38, 39; Romans 3:22; Psalm 2:6–9; Daniel 7:13, 14; Revelation 11:15; Jeremiah 23:5; Zechariah 14:9; Ephesians 1:9, 10.

BASF 9 That it was this mission that necessitated the miraculous begettal of Christ of a human mother, enabling him to bear our condemnation, and, at the same time, to be a sinless bearer thereof, and, therefore, one who could rise after suffering the death required by the righteousness of God.

Matthew 1:18–25; Luke 1:26–35; Galatians 4:4; Isaiah 7:14; Romans 1:3, 4; 8:3; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Hebrews 2:14–17; 4:15.

BASF 10. That being so begotten of God, and inhabited and used by God through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, Jesus was Emmanuel, God with us, God manifested in the flesh-yet was, during his natural life, of like nature with mortal man, being made of a woman of the house and lineage of David, and therefore a sufferer, in the days of his flesh, from all the effects that came by Adam’s transgression including the death that passed upon all men, which he shared by partaking of their physical nature

Matthew 1:23; 1 Timothy 3:16; Hebrews 2:14; Galatians 4:4; Hebrews 2:17.

BASF 12 That for delivering this message, he was put to death by the Jews and Romans, who were, however, but instruments in the hands of God, for the doing of that which He had determined before to be done, viz., the condemnation of sin the flesh, through the offering of the body of Jesus once for all, as propitiation to declare the righteousness of God, as a basis for the remission of sins. All who approach God through this crucified, but risen, representative of Adam’s disobedient race, are forgiven. Therefore, by a figure, his blood cleanseth from sin

Luke 19:47; 20:1–16; John 11:45–53; Acts 10:38, 39; 13:26–29; 4:27, 28; Romans 8:3; Hebrews 10:10; Acts 13:38; 1 John 1:7; John 14:6; Acts 4:12; 1 Peter 3:18; 2:24; Hebrews 9:14; 7:27; 9:26–28; Galatians 1:4; Romans 3:25; 15:8; Galatians 3:21, 22; 2:21; 4:4, 5; Hebrews 9:15; Luke 22:20; 24:26, 46, 47; Matthew 26:28.

BASF 30.—That the government will then be delivered up by Jesus to the Father, who will manifest Himself as the “all-in-all”; sin and death having been taken out of the way, and the race completely restored to the friendship of the Deity.

1 Corinthians 15:28

 

Appendix 2 – Relevance of the BASF

GDE view holders often reason that the BASF should not be used as a “weapon”, and that the Bible should be our only guide to determining what is right and wrong (a somewhat ironic twist given that they are simultaneously insisting we should be prepared to accept a different interpretation of the Bible that contradicts what is plainly written in light of what non-theistic science is alleging regarding God’ mechanism of creation).

While we all agree that God’s inspired word is the ultimate authority, what do we do when we have different opinions on what the word of God means?  How do we determine if it is a fundamental difference or not?   It is not enough to say that our core doctrines rest on what the Bible says, and that should be the basis of fellowship.   Millions of people belonging to other religions, including Baptists, Seven Day Adventists, Jehovah’s Witnesses, etc., will agree that the Bible is the only authority, but we know that their interpretation of the Bible is completely different to what Christadelphians believe, and we can in no wise accept them into fellowship.

What is plain is that to be a Christadelphian Ecclesia, one’s definition of the Christadelphian faith must be answerable to that of Christadelphian ecclesias everywhere.  There must be an accepted definition of what the core teachings of the Bible are, that we accept, and upon which we are prepared to fellowship each other.   It is not good enough to simply say that one believes in the authority of the scriptures, and this should be the only basis of fellowship.

As Brethren Cater and Cooper stated in the Unity Booklet:

“A Statement of the Faith is essential for any community of believers to define their beliefs to ensure harmonious working together and consistent testimony to those without.  To decry a Statement as man-made and to speak of the Bible as alone sufficient reveals a marked failure to perceive the problems of ecclesial life and its duties…..’”

“‘All the sects of Christendom claim to base their beliefs on the Bible, a fact which in itself demonstrates the need for a Statement of what we understand to be the teaching of the Bible.”

The BASF is the document which has defined the unique Faith “The One Faith” of the Christadelphian fellowship for over 100 years since Bro. Roberts made the last amendment to it 1898.  To be a member of the Christadelphian fellowship, all members agree to abide by and adhere to the first principle doctrines and teachings of the “The One Faith”.

Yes it is clear that the BASF is not an inspired document, as only God’s word is the inspired authority. Nevertheless it is the accepted definition of what Christadelphians all over the world believe God’s inspired word is teaching, and accordingly is the basis upon which we can extend fellowship to each other and, importantly, live in peace so that we can get on with the positive work of preaching the gospel and building up our ecclesias.

 

Appendix 3 – Non-theistic Evolution – The Only Explanation Modern Science Will Allow

One of the biggest stumbling blocks preventing GDE view holders from accepting God’s own eyewitness record in Genesis as an accurate historic account is their unquestioning acceptance of what non-theistic evolutionary scientists are alleging as “facts” or “demonstrable scientific truths” regarding the evolution of man from lower animal forms.

The purpose of this Appendix is not to “debate” science, but rather to highlight two important characteristics underpinning modern evolutionary science that make it markedly different to other operational areas of science we trust and rely on every day.

  1. That evolution is a “historical” science, meaning that the process of microbes-to-man evolution cannot be repeated, tested or observed in the normal scientific way, but rather involves many assumptions and extrapolations to explain events that have already taken place; and
  2. That the gatekeepers of today’s scientific academies will only allow non-theistic and naturalistic assumptions to be tabled as possible explanation of origins. That is, the data they consider may only be understood with the presuppositions of the evolutionary paradigm itself.

Normal Operational Science Vs. Historic Science

The study of microbes-to-man evolution is a “historic” form of science that is very different to normal “operational” science[4] which is done in the present and involves observation, experimentation and can be repeated.  Man’s achievements in the operational scientific fields gives us confidence to board an aeroplane, or undertake a MRI scan to see what maybe wrong with us.  Thousands if not millions of people have done it before, and everyone has confidence that the science works because we can all witness it happening over and over again with our own eyes.

But historic science – what happened so long ago when no one was around to observe, test and repeat – is a completely different type of science. The problem for microbes-to-man evolution evolution (along with cosmic, chemical, stellar and organic evolution) is that there is no way that anyone today can do an experiment, let alone a repeatable one, to prove microbes-to-man evolution, because we cannot directly observe the past, nor can we repeat it (as an experiment would require).    Assumptions and interpretations always have to be made based on the limited evidence available (e.g. the fossil record), and consequently there is room for a significant amount of doubt.  If the input assumptions are wrong then the derived conclusions will be wrong.

Ernst Mayr, one of the 20th century’s leading evolutionary biologists fully acknowledged that Darwin introduced “historic” science and it follows a very different approach to normal operational sciences such as physics and chemistry.

“DARWIN INTRODUCED HISTORICITY into science. EVOLUTIONARY BIOLOGY, in contrast with physics and chemistry, IS A HISTORIC SCIENCE—the evolutionist attempts to explain events and processes that have already taken place. Laws and experiments are inappropriate techniques for the explication of such events and processes. Instead one constructs a historical narrative, consisting of a tentative reconstruction of the particular scenario that led to the events one is trying to explain.”[5]

Historic science is akin to forensic science, where, as per the case of a crime scene investigation, an eyewitness account or a video recording of what actually happened will always trump the way the limited evidence of a dead body, a knife and a few fingerprints by themselves can be interpreted and extrapolated.  God has given us his eyewitness account in the Bible.  He was there when creation happened.  It makes most sense to accept his version of history as recorded in the Bible.

Therefore, the issue is not about “facts for evolution” vs “facts for creation”, but rather how we interpret the limited set of facts that we can observe today to construct a historical narrative.  The consensus microbes-to-man evolutionary view being taught in our education system today is not a “scientific fact” that is as certain as water boiling at 100 degrees Celsius or known observable laws like gravity, photosynthesis and thermodynamics.   Rather, evolutionary science observes certain facts in the present, and then tentatively reconstructs a historical narrative, based on many assumptions and extrapolations, to postulate on what might have happened in the past.

Accordingly objections like “the Bible is not a scientific text book” miss the point.  The bible is an accurate version of what happened historically, recorded by the Eternal Father himself.   Genesis presents a majestic, straightforward and compact eyewitness account of one-off, unobservable and unrepeatable events – the history of all life upon this earth, as we know it.   Evolution is an alternative suggestion about history.  It proposes a different set of one-off, unobserved and unrepeatable events to explain how all life upon this earth as we know it came to be.  As Evolutionary scientists cannot refer to any eyewitness accounts to confirm their version of history (no one has ever observed an information-increasing genetic change of one type of organism to another, let alone the whole process of microbes-to-man evolution over millions of years), the basis for their interpretation of history is guided by their world-view and limited to their own educated guesses.   In the end it comes down to “beliefs” about the past, and accordingly whose version of history are we going to accept  – God’s or man’s?

It is possible to describe the function, dimension and purpose of a pot and NEVER appeal to a potter. But it is impossible to describe the origins of a pot without appealing to a potter. This is the error of assumption made when GDE view holders appeal to the success of operational science but then fail to realize the fundamental limitations of non-theism and naturalism when explaining origins or historic science.

The wisdom of expert we are relying on is good only to the extent that their worldview is based on the real truth – the real events of history and the true explanation for life upon this earth as we know it. This is why the Bible is the best source of knowledge about what about happened historically, and why the Foundation Clause of our BASF is correct.

The Bible is God’s eyewitness account of what He actually did, and how he created the heavens and the earth and all life therein.  It is an infallible source of truth and expertise.  The Bible trumps all other “historic science” experts and gives us the big picture about how God created. Even when it comes to more specific details of creation, if our worldview is based upon the rock-solid foundation of the Bible, then we will have “more understanding than all of our teachers” (Psalm 119:99).

Non-theism and Naturalism – No Other Explanations Allowed

Consensus evolutionary science will never appeal to intelligence, design or purpose to explain how life developed upon this earth, even though such a hypothesis is entirely rational given the astounding witness of creation.  They will never propose or investigate anything other than natural, unguided origins. This is the consequence of non-theism and naturalism.  There is little or no practical difference between non-theism and atheism. Atheism is therefore an imposition of modem science and evolution is the product of this position.

The controversy over creation and evolution stems from the fact that the gatekeepers of most scientific academies and journals today are biased to ensure that their non-theistic version of history – microbes-to-man evolution – is presented as the only show in town.  The vast majority of evolutionary scientists are pure Neo-Darwinian evolutionists, and their academic positions and ability to publish papers in the top scientific journals is assured so long as the rationale driving their conclusions remains entirely naturalistic and non-theistic.   Even though a number of evolutionary scientists are Christian, for all practical intents and purposes no scientist is allowed to appeal to a creative agent when discussing origins.

There are numerous cases of well-reputed scientists being discriminated against and loosing their academic positions because they publically doubted the teachings of Neo-Darwanism.[6] GDE view holders often counter that rigorous debate does take place in the scientific academies, including disputes and discussion over the different possible mechanism of macro-evolution.  However, while debate and controversy does occur over the “how” of evolution, no debate is allowed to occur over the “whether” of evolution.

If creation is created and manifests evidence of power and divinity science will never draw such a conclusion. While it may be true that science has not “ruled” out the possibility of miraculous creation, the problem is that it will not acknowledge creation.  It will not allow it a place on the table of consideration as the following citations from leading evolutionists makes plain:

“If there is one rule, one criterion that makes an idea scientific, it is that it must invoke naturalistic explanations for phenomena … it’s simply a matter of definition—of what is science, and what is not.” (Eldredge, Niles, 1982, The Monkey Business: A Scientist Looks at Creationism, Washington Square Press)

“any statement concerning the existence, nonexistence, or nature of a creator or creators is not science by definition and has no place in scientific discussion.”
(Pine, R.H., 1984, “But Some of Them Are Scientists, Aren’t They?” Creation/Evolution, Issue XIV, pp. 6-18)

“Even if all the data point to an intelligent designer, such an hypothesis is excluded from science because it is not naturalistic.” (Scott C. Todd, “A view from Kansas on that evolution debate,” Nature, Vol. 401:423 (Sept. 30, 1999).

“Darwinism rejects all supernatural phenomena and causations. The theory of evolution by natural selection explains the adaptedness and diversity of the world solely materialistically. It no longer requires God as creator or designer (although one is certainly still free to believe in God even if one accepts evolution).  Eliminating God from science made room for strictly scientific explanations of all natural phenomena; it gave rise to positivism; it produced a powerful intellectual and spiritual revolution, the effects of which have lasted to this day.”(“Darwin’s Influence on Modern Thought” Ernst Mayr [evolutionist scientist], Scientific American, pg. 82-83, (July 2000))

Accordingly, only natural and non-theistic factors can be discussed by scientists working in all areas to do with the origin and development of life upon this earth.  Anything that might lead to a conclusion on origins other than that life upon this earth evolved by itself “has no place in the scientific discussion”.   This is completely contrary with what most people might think  – that evolutionary science is an honest and genuine search for truth.

Hence it is very concerning that GDE view holders within our community are consenting, with very little reservation, to the conclusions of today’s leading evolutionary scientists and their interpretation of history, instead of trusting God’s own eyewitness account of history as plainly stated in the Bible.  It is both ironic and tragic that they are taking their cue on God’s own mechanism of creation, not from God himself, but from the gatekeepers of modern evolutionary science who will not allow God’s creativity, intelligence or design to even be tabled as possible explanations.  This should ring alarm bells with those who tremble at the authority of God’s word.

” …. who are you that you are afraid of man who dies, of the son of man who is made like grass, and have forgotten the LORD, your Maker, who stretched out the heavens and laid the foundations of the earth” (Isa. 51:21-13; ESV)

“All these things my hand has made, and so all these things came to be, declares the Lord. But this is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word.” (Isa. 66:2; ESV)

Appendix 4 – “Death” in the Bible

Old Testament Usage of Death

If the GDE concept of eternal death, as opposed to mortality, is something that comes as a result of disobedience to God’s laws, then surely this concept should be taught in the Old Testament, and particularly in relation to the “death” that Adam and Eve would be subject to if they disobeyed God’s laws.

In Genesis 2, we read of the Law that God gave Adam:  “And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat:   But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die” Gen 2:16-17.

The word “die” is the Hebrew word “mooth”, and is the same word used when Eve reiterated her understanding of what would happen if they disobeyed God “God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die” (Gen. 3:3), and it is the same word used by the serpent when he claimed “Ye shall not surely die” (Gen 3:4).   Following this, it is fitting that the next occurrence of the word in the Old Testament is the actual record of Adam’s death “And all the days that Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty years: and he died.” (Gen 5:5)

While the initial occurrences of “mooth” in Genesis 2 & 3 clearly occur in the context of those who had knowledge of God’s laws, it is not the case for many of the 835 times the word occurs in the old testament.  The word “mooth” is a primitive root verb which simply means to die.  The word is translated in the KJV as die (424x), dead (130x), slay (100x), death (83x), surely (50x), kill (31x), dead man (3x), dead body (2x), in no wise (2x), and misc (10x). Gesenius (Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon to the Old Testament) states that the word “is used of death, whether of men or of beasts (Ex. 11:5; Ecc. 9:4), whether natural (Gen. 5:8, 11, 14, 17, 20, 27, 31, and so very frequently) or violent (Ex. 21:12, 15; Deut 13:10; 19:11,12; 21:21; Job1:19).”

Accordingly, “mooth” is the common word for “die” or “death” in the Old Testament simply means physical death.   We are reliant on the context as to the manner of physical death the word is referring to – whether natural or violent, whether animals or human, whether in response to disobeying God’s laws or dying in ignorance of the same.   Importantly, this word does not convey the sense of “eternal death” in response to disobedience to God’s command, as distinct from ordinary death or mortality.  It is simply the ordinary Hebrew verb used to convey all manner of actual physical death including animal death.

Here are some examples of the verb “mooth” being used in the same QAL (simple) form as found In God’s warning to Adam and Eve in Genesis 2 & 3, and note that in these cases the examples of death or dying are not limited to those who have knowledge of God’s laws

  • And it came to pass in process of time, that the king of Egypt died (Exo 2:23)
  • And the fish that is in the river shall die (Exo 7:18)
  • And the frogs died out of the houses, out of the villages, and out of the fields. (Exo 8:13)
  • And all the cattle of Egypt died: but of the cattle of the children of Israel died not one. (Exo 9:6)
  • If these men die the common death of all men (Num 16:29)
  • Why died I not from the womb? why did I not give up the ghost when I came out of the belly? (Job 3:11)
  • They are destroyed from morning to evening: they perish for ever without any regarding Doth not their excellency which is in them go away? they die, even without wisdom (Job 4:20-21)
  • But man dieth, and wasteth away: yea, man giveth up the ghost, and where is he? (Job 14:10)
  • One dieth in his full strength, being wholly at ease and quiet. His breasts are full of milk, and his bones are moistened with marrow. And another dieth in the bitterness of his soul, and never eateth with pleasure. They shall lie down alike in the dust, and the worms shall cover them.  (Job 21:23-26)
  • For he seeth that wise men die, likewise the fool and the brutish person perish, and leave their wealth to others. Their inward thought is, that their houses shall continue for ever, and their dwelling places to all generations; they call their lands after their own names. Nevertheless man being in honour abideth not: he is like the beasts that perish.  (Psalm 49:10-12)
  • For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten. (Ecc. 9:5)
  • And behold joy and gladness, slaying oxen, and killing sheep, eating flesh, and drinking wine: let us eat and drink; for to morrow we shall die. (Isa. 22:13)
  • I, even I, am he that comforteth you: who art thou, that thou shouldest be afraid of a man that shall die, and of the son of man which shall be made as grass (Isa. 51:12)

 

While it is true that sin separates us from God, the concept of a spiritual or eternal death as a punishment for sin, as opposed to the ordinary physical death associated with mortality, is not taught in the old testament.  If the GDE view is correct, that Adam and Eve were already mortal dying creatures and sin resulted in “eternal death”, then we should find evidence of this when God pronounced his punishments upon them in Genesis 3.

However, in Genesis 3 there is no mention of “eternal death”, rather we are simply informed of God’s declaration that they would return to the dust  – “till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return” (Gen. 3:19). If Adam was already mortal, and hence going to grow old and return to the dust in any case, then the pronouncement after they sinned that he would return to dust was nothing new, and accordingly by itself could not be considered as a punishment.  However, all of the punishments related by God to Adam and Eve in the immediately preceding verses of Genesis 3 involved a dramatic negative change that they were not familiar with (“enmity” v15, “multiply sorrow and conception” v16, “cursed is the ground” v17, “in sorrow shalt thou eat of it” v17, “thorns and thistles” v18, “in the sweat of thy face” v19). It logically follows that God’s pronouncement in v19 that they would “return unto the ground…for dust thou art and unto dust shalt thou return” likewise involved a dramatic negative change that they were not familiar with, something that would have come as tragic news for them.  Hence, the declared punishment of death in consequence of sin was all about a physical death, not a spiritual or eternal death.

It is true that the intimate “friendship” that Adam and Eve had with God before sin was no longer the case after they sinned. The record makes this plain when we read that they were driven out of the Garden, denied access the Tree of Life (Gen. 3:22-24),  and hence no longer able to enjoy the interaction they previously enjoyed with the Elohim before they sinned, which in all likelihood was on a daily basis (cf. Gen. 3:8).    Nevertheless, the record is clear that the type of death that was pronounced upon them in consequence of sin was simply a physical death – that they would return to the dust.

New Testament Usage of Death

While it is true that the NT word “death” (Gk “thanatos”) is often used in a context describing the consequence of sin (e.g. “for the wages of sin is death” (Rom. 6:23)),  the word “death” is not exclusively used in this manner:

  1. i) We have two/three occasions in the new testament where both words “death” (Gk “thantos”) and “mortal” (Gk “thnaytos”) are used in the same context as interchangeable words to describe the same concept:
  • “So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.” (1 Cor. 15:54)
  • “For we which live are always delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.” (2 Cor. 4:11)
  • “For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life.” (2 Cor. 5:4) (Note: interchangeable phrase with 1 Cor. 15:54 “Death is swallowed up in victory”)
  1. ii) The word “death” (Gk “Thanatos”) often appears in context describing those who die without any knowledge of God’s laws:
  • “Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come” (Romans 5:14)
  • “For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.” (2 Cor. 7:10)
  • “And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth” (Rev. 6:8)
  • “And in those days shall men seek death, and shall not find it; and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them.” (Rev. 9:6)
  • “And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast.” (Rev. 13:3)
  • “Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire: for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her.” (Rev.18:8)

iii) Jesus Christ himself was subject to “death” (Gk “thanatos), and clearly the reason he died was not because he disobeyed God’s law, as he was perfectly obedient in all things to his Father.  In fact, Christ’s “death” was actually an act of obedience to his Father’s will, the exact opposite of a punishment or consequence of disobedience.

  • “Behold, we go up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man shall be betrayed unto the chief priests and unto the scribes, and they shall condemn him to death” (Matt. 20:18)
  • “Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me.” (Matt. 26:38)
  • “ And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. This he said, signifying what death he should die.” (John 12:32-33)
  • “That the saying of Jesus might be fulfilled, which he spake, signifying what death he should die” (John 18:32)
  • “Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it” (Acts 2:24)
  • “For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.” (Romans 5:10)
  • “Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God.” (Romans 6:9-10)
  • 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” (Heb. 2:9)
  • “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil” (Heb. 2:14)
  • “Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared” (Heb 5:7)
  • “And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” (Phil. 2:8)
  1. iv) The context of the following occasions where the Greek word “Thanatos” appear further demonstrate that GDE meaning of those who are judged and sentenced to eternal death because they “sin and knowingly spurn the offer of salvation” (KG), cannot be imposed upon the meaning of the word.
  • “Behold, we go up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man shall be betrayed unto the chief priests and unto the scribes, and they shall condemn him to death” (Matt. 20:18). How is it possible for the Jewish leaders to condemn anyone, let alone Jesus Christ, to eternal death?
  • “And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he [Simeon] should not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.” (Luke 2:26).  Why would Simeon not see the punishment of eternal death until he had seen the Lord’s Christ?  This implies that he would receive the punishment of eternal death after he has seen Jesus, which would be the very opposite result of why Christ came into the world and what he was waiting for.  The meaning of the word is simply death in a physical sense.
  • “And he [Peter] said unto him, Lord, I am ready to go with thee, both into prison, and to death.” (Luke 22:33). Why would Peter be willing to go together with Jesus to eternal death?   Why would he think Christ is going to eternal death in the first place?
  • “This spake he, signifying by what death he [Peter] should glorify God.” (John 21:19). How could Peter’s eternal death glorify God?
  • “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? .” (Romans 7:24)  Why would the Apostle Paul refer to his body, as a body of eternal death?
  • “Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more; in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths” (2 Cor. 11:23). How could the apostle Paul experience eternal death”, or be close to “eternal death”, repeatedly?
  • “be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life”. (Rev 2:10). How is it possible for Christ to encourage us to be faithful unto “eternal death”, i.e. to be faithful unto a death that comes because we sin and knowingly spurn God’s offer of salvation?
  • “He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death” (Rev. 2:11); “Blessed and holy are those who share in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years.” (Rev. 20:6,14) The expression “second death (Thanatos)” refers to those who will die for a second time after being resurrected and judged unworthy of eternal life.  If “thanatos” means eternal death, how is it possible to die eternally twice?
  • “And in those days shall men seek death, and shall not find it; and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them.” (Rev. 9:6). How can men seek for eternal death, and yet not be able to be find it?  Moreover how is it possible for someone to desire eternal death but see it escape from them?
  • “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death” (Rev 12:11). The faithful believers referred to in Revelation 12 were prepared to suffer a cruel physical death rather than renounce key doctrines that they believed essential for their ultimate salvation. But if “death” means eternal death due to disobeying God’s laws, does this mean they were prepared to suffer a cruel eternal death with no hope of being raised?  Such would be exactly the opposite of what this verse is conveying – that they were prepared to suffer a cruel physical death in order to obtain eternal life.

Overlaying the GDE definition of Eternal Death to “Thanatos” in these verses illustrates the absurdity of their new teaching that they are seeking to introduce.  “Thanatos” simply means physical death, and applies to all mortal creatures regardless of whether or not they have the knowledge of God’s laws.

 

Appendix 5 – The Impact of Sin on the Condition of Adam and Eve’s nature

Adherents to GDE believe that the introduction of sin had no impact on the condition of Adam and Eve’s physical nature.  Such a belief is driven out of necessity from their view that there were evolving hominid type of people, living and dying well before Adam and Eve’s sin, and Cain and other descendants of Adam and Eve were able to intermarry with them.  Accordingly GDE believe that the condition of Adam and Eve’s physical nature remained identical with that of the evolved hominids outside the Garden of Eden who were contemporary with them.

However, Genesis 3 makes it clear that after Adam and Eve’s sin the condition of their nature was no longer the same, and moreover that Adam and Eve themselves were acutely aware of some of these physical changes even before God pronounced His punishment upon them.

Here are some of the key changes described in Genesis 3:  

1)        “The eyes of them both were opened” (Gen. 3:7)  They had acquired by experience “the knowledge of good and evil”.

2)        Ashamed of their nakedness“and they knew that they were naked” (Gen. 3:7); “Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?” (Gen. 3:11)

How did Adam and Eve know immediately after sinning that being in a physical state of nakedness was wrong?  Prior to their sin this was not the case – “and they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed” (Gen. 2:25). And importantly what is the connection between disobeying God’s law by eating of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil and then feeling ashamed about a physical state of nakedness?    If Sin is only transgression of God’s laws, as those with GDE views insist on, then why was it now wrong for them to be naked when it was perfectly fine before they partook of the forbidden fruit, and how did they suddenly develop shame over the naked state of their bodies?

The fact that God asked them “who told thee that thou was naked? Has thou eat of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?” is more than sufficient to establish that

  1. God had not told them that it is wrong to be naked
  2. Sin resulted in a physical change, not just a moral change – more than a sense of regret, they were embarrassed about the physical state of their naked bodies. Something was also triggered physically inside of them, resulting in an acute sense of embarrassment over the naked state of their bodies, which was not the case before sin.

We can understand that Adam and Eve would have deeply regretted the fact that they had broken God’s law, but why did this extend to a sense of “shame” about their naked bodies?  When we realise that we have sinned by, for example, saying something inappropriate to our brother or sister, we feel a strong sense of moral shame or regret, but this doesn’t extend to being ashamed about the physical condition of some part of our bodies.  In Adam and Eve’s case, clearly what occurred after they sinned was more than just a “moral” reaction.  Something physically was triggered inside of them in consequence of sinning, which gave them a completely new and acute sense of shame over the naked state of their bodies.

3)        Clothing from Animal Skins became necessary – “The LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife, and clothed them” (Gen. 3:21).

The fact that God specifically made garments of skin to clothe Adam and Eve’s naked bodies is teaching two very important truths:  Firstly it provides further evidence that the condition of their physical nature changed after they sinned.  We know that God originally created Adam and Eve in a state of nakedness (Gen. 2:25). But post the introduction of sin into the world, God deemed it necessary to “clothe” their bodies, not only for the sake of modesty, but for protection from exposure.  Secondly the fact that their divinely appointed clothing was made from animal “skins” is the very first indication in the Bible of the death of animals.  In the symbolic sense, we know this has reference to Jesus Christ, who would die to cover the sins of the world.  However, just as God literally created Adam and Eve in a state of nakedness, God now literally killed animals to provide Adam and Eve with literal clothing, and hence Adam and Eve would have been acutely aware that their sin resulted in the death of animals.

4)        Enmity or conflict was introduced that did not exist before“And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel”  (Gen. 3:15).

God’s judgements in Eden showed the man and woman not only the individual punishment for their sin but also the consequences for their posterity, that “enmity” would now exist between the woman and the serpent, and also between their respective seeds.

Genesis 3:15 is ultimately a prophecy of Jesus Christ and the great conflict and victory that occurred within himself –  how he overcame the temptation to sin, choosing to do God’s will and rejecting the will of the flesh throughout his whole life, and hence he was able to destroy the diabolos when he died on the cross (Heb. 2:14).   But this internal conflict –  of fleshly thinking seeking to usurp itself above spiritual thinking  – is something we are all born with and struggle unsuccessfully with as the apostle Paul expressed: “I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me.  For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members” (Romans 7:21-23).

In Romans 8 when describing the struggle between the mind of the spirit and the mind of the flesh, the apostle Paul expressed that “the carnal mind is enmity against God” (Rom. 8:3).  Such a state of enmity would not be consistent with a state of creation that God himself, from his own perspective, describes as “very good” creation (Gen. 1:31).  Genesis 3:15 tells us that this state of “enmity”, or the conflict we all experience daily between the mind of the flesh and the mind of the spirit – came in consequence of Adam and Eve’s sin.

Hence the condition of Adam and Eve’s nature post-fall changed to be sin-prone: “man is born unto trouble, as the sparks fly upwards” (Job 5:7); “the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked” (Jer. 17:9)   This is different from how God originally intended his creation to be:  “Lo, this only have I found, that God hath made man upright; but they have sought out many inventions” (Ecc. 7:29);  “For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope” (Rom. 8:20, ESV).

5)        A level of pain or sorrow was I introduced that did not exist beforeI will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children” (Gen. 3:16); “In sorrow shalt thou [Adam] eat of it all the days of thy life” (Gen 3:17).

6)        Pain in childbirth was introduced: “I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children” (Gen. 3:16).

This pain in childbirth has come upon all mothers who are descended from Eve.  The Hebrew literally says “multiplying, I will multiply”.  This indicates that Eve’s body and genetic structure underwent a physical alteration at some level.  Note that the reference to the woman’s pain “multiplying” or “increasing” does not necessarily mean that the process of childbirth was somewhat painful to begin with.  We know this because Eve had not yet given birth.

The fact that two different but related Hebrew words are used in v16 to express the “pain” that Eve would experience, is emphasising the intensity of the pain that the woman would henceforth experience.[7]

7)        The woman’s desire or longing would now be toward her husband “thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee” (Gen. 3:16).

Eve’s relationship with her husband, and consequently their marital relationship, was also changed and distorted from what God had originally intended.   The NET version translates “desire” as “control” – “You will want to control your husband, but he will dominate you”.  Hence, instead of a harmonious relationship based on mutual love and respect, the woman will always want to control her husband, but he will dominate her.

8)        The Ground was cursed and man would have to work hard and in so doing “sweat”“In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread” (Gen. 3:19).

Adam’s sin resulted in the ground – which he subsequently had to work – being cursed. Instead of being able to effortlessly enjoy the fruits of the Garden, now only after much frustration, backbreaking work, and a great deal of stress, will he produce enough to eat.   Moreover, the punishment pronounced upon him condemned him work like this, “in the sweat of his face” until he died.  They were made “subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of Him who hath subjected the same in hope” (Rom. 8:20).

9)        They were sentenced to death – a process of corruption and decay that would result in them returning to the dust  – “till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return” (Gen. 3:19).

In Genesis 2 God’s law had stated, “. . . in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” (Gen. 2:17)  In Genesis 3 we read plainly that  “Because thou hast done this . . .” (vv. 14,17) “…. dust thou art, and unto dust thou shalt return” (v19).  God condemned Adam and Eve to return to the dust because they disobeyed His law. Gen. 3:19 is God’s own commentary on 2:17. His law said that they would die, and the curse showed how. There is no mention of them returning to the dust until God sentenced them for disobedience to His law. Only now did God’s sentence make death a certainty, because it made man mortal (Biblically speaking, subject to death) “in the day that [they ate]”. The phrase “. . . till thou return to the ground” shows that God was condemning them to certain death, but by a process that became “a physical law of [their] being” (BASF, clause 5).  The wisdom of such a sentence is that it would not only uphold God’s law, but also provide the means by which God would bring hope.

The sentence to return to the dust of the ground is firstly referring to the natural decay and weakening of our mortal bodies as we get past our prime while we are alive.  The human body is in a state of degradation, subject to a vast array of diseases, infections and injuries.  Then, after death, decay continues in the grave, until only (at most) the bones remain. Job speaks of this inevitable process in Job 17:14-16, and David similarly in Psalm 30:9 (AV: “go down to the pit” = “corrupt”).  As this process of decay and returning to the dust was pronounced in consequence of sin, it is obvious that this was not an associated condition of the nature which God created Adam and Eve with in the first place.

The apostle Peter speaks of “the corruption that is in the world through lust (desire)” (2 Pet 1:4). This confirms that the process of corruption (which has both spiritual and physical aspects) was introduced through the desire Eve had for the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Gen 3:6). Her mind was first corrupted by the deception of the serpent (2 Cor 11:3).  As a result, she believed she could be like God as the serpent had said, but in the wrong way, and she acted on that false belief. Adam was not deceived, but he ate also. In consequence, Adam and Eve were condemned to return to the dust. By contrast Jesus, while being born with a corruptible mortal body, was not corrupted spiritually because he overcame the will of the flesh and always did His Father’s will.  Consequently, His Father did not allow him to corrupt physically in the grave. (Psalm 16:10; Acts 2:31; Acts 13:35-37)

God had created man to “have dominion” (Gen. 1:28) over creation; but sin had had dominion over him, and death now ruled “by the offence of one” (Rom. 5:18). Sin had drastic effects on all God’s creation but especially on mankind. Once he was called “good” and “very good”, but now Scripture was to testify that in him “dwelleth no good thing” (Rom. 7:18). By sin, lust was aroused in man, and became a tremendous force in the mind and the body, so strong that it distorted his intellect, emotions and decision-making. These propensities became a “law of sin in [his] members” (Rom. 7:23), being themselves termed “sin” (by metonymy) because they came into force by sin and because this proneness to sin continued to distort man towards sin.

Now what ruled was “the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life,” which are “not of the Father, but . . . of the world” (1 Jno. 2:16). Adam and Eve’s sin had resulted in a physiological change in the function of their bodies. The passions and motions toward sin were now alive and powerful in their flesh (see Rom. 7:5). The source of temptation to sin was now strong within (see Jas. 1:14,15), as his “heart was only evil continually” (Gen 6:5).

Importantly, the fact that Adam and Eve were sentenced to return to the dust in consequence of their sin, precludes the possibility of God directing an evolutionary process as his method of creation.  The Bible says that death and corruption/decay came in consequence of sin.  In contradiction to this, a God-directed evolutionary scenario says that death and corruption/decay was already occurring, thousands and millions of years before Adam and Eve’s sin.

Relevant BASF Clauses:

Clause 5 and 10 of the BASF confirms that Christadelphians believe the Bible teaches that there was a change in the physical condition of Adam and Eve’s nature after they sinned.

BASF 5. That Adam broke this law, and was adjudged unworthy of immortality, and sentenced to return to the ground from whence he was taken – a sentence which defiled and became a physical law of his being, and was transmitted to all his posterity. Gen. 3:15-19, 22-23; 2 Cor. 1:9; Rom. 7:24; 2 Cor. 5:2-4; Rom. 7:18-23; Gal. 5:16-17; Rom. 6:12; 7:21; John 3:6; Rom. 5:12; 1 Cor. 15:22; Psa. 51:5; Job 14:4.

BASF 10. That being so begotten of God, and inhabited and used by God through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, Jesus was Emmanuel, God with us, God manifested in the flesh-yet was, during his natural life, of like nature with mortal man, being made of a woman of the house and lineage of David, and therefore a sufferer, in the days of his flesh, from all the effects that came by Adam’s transgression including the death that passed upon all men, which he shared by partaking of their physical nature.  Matthew 1:23; 1 Timothy 3:16; Hebrews 2:14; Galatians 4:4; Hebrews 2:17.

 

 

 

Appendix 6  –  The Impact of Sin on the Whole of Creation

  1. The whole of Creation was cursed:

 “Cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life” (Gen. 3;17)  “Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee” (Gen. 3:18)

Adam’s sin resulted in the ground – which he subsequently had to work – being cursed. It would never again regularly and effortlessly produce a bountiful harvest.  Much of man’s toil will be fruitless since it will only produce useless thorns and thistles, which now would grow wild.

Confirmation that animals, along with the rest of God’s creation, came under God’s curse (subsequent to Adam and Eve’s sin) is confirmed in Romans 8:18-30.   Specifically in verse 20 we are told that creation was  “subjected to futility” (or “frustration”), and that it is under “bondage to corruption” (v21) and groans like a woman in labour (v22).

(18) For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. (19) For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God.  (20)  For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope  (21)  that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.  (22)  For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now.  (23) And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. (Romans 8:18-23 ESV) 

  • The word “creation” / “creature” (G2937, κτίσις ktisis) used in this passage is not limited to humans, but is used elsewhere to refer to the whole of creation (Mk. 10:6; Rom. 1:19-20, 25; 2 Pet. 3:4).
  • The word “vanity” “futility” or “frustration” (G3153, ματαιότης, mataiotēs) is appropriately translated in English. Thayer explains mataiotēs as “1) that which is devoid of truth and appropriateness, 2) perverseness, depravity; and 3) fraility, want of vigour”. The two other NT occurences of this word are in Eph4:17 and 2 Pet 2:18, both in reference to the vanity or futility of fleshly thinking.
  • The word “corruption” in Rom. 8:21 (G5356, φθορά phthora), that creation has been under bondage to, is used to refer to the death of humans in 1 Cor. 14:42 and Col. 2:22, and to the death of animals in 2 Pet. 2:12 – “But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed”. We know that animals are subject corruption when they die as much as humans are.  But how did this come about? Gen 3:19 tells us that man became subject to corruption as a result of sin – “dust thou art, and unto dust thou shalt return”

Romans 8:21 tells us that the whole of creation is under bondage to corruption, something God originally did not intend, clarifying that the consequence of Adam and Eve’s sin not only resulted in a change of the condition of their nature, but also negatively impacted the whole of creation including the animals.

As the table below portrays, the apostle Paul is basing his exposition in Romans 8 on the punishments pronounced by God in Genesis 3:14-19 after Adam and Eve sinned.   Romans 8:20 informs us that creation was “not willingly” subject to futility. In other words, the “futility” had nothing to do with God’s original creation, something that God himself, from his own perspective, declared to be “very good” (Gen. 1:31) .  There is no room to equate or harmonise God’s very good creation with a creation that had become “futile” or devoid of appropriateness, perverse, depraved etc.  Clearly something happened to change God’s “very good” creation, and that something was the introduction of sin by Adam and Eve, and the resultant curses or punishments pronounced by God.

 

 

 

 

Before Sin: Genesis 1 After Sin:
Genesis 3
Now

Romans 8:18-23

Future
Romans 8:18-23 1 Corinthians 15 Revelation
“And God saw everything that he had made, and behold,
it was
very good” (v31)
“I will surely multiply your [Eve’s] pain ” (v16);
“In pain you[Adam] shall eat of it all the days of thy life” (v17)“By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread” (v19)
“the sufferings of this present time …” (v18)

“For the creation waits with eager longing….” (v19)

“… are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed.”  (v18)
“… for the revealing of the sons of God” (v19)
“For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:

 

“Death is swallowed up in victory.”

“O death, where is your victory?

O death, where is your sting?” (v53-55)

 

 

“The last enemy to be destroyed is death.” (v26)

 

When all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to him who put all things in subjection under him, that God may be all in all.” (v28)

 

 

“To the one who conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God” (Rev. 2:3)

 

“ …and the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur … Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire.” Rev. 20:10,14)

 

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” (Rev 21:3-4).

 

And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him (Rev 22: 3; KJV)

I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel”  (v15).

“Cursed is the ground because of you” (v17)

“Thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you” (v18)

“For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly….” (v20) “….but because of him who subjected it, in hope” (v20)
“till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust,   and to dust you shall return” (v 19). Under “bondage to corruption” (v21) “the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God” (v21)
“I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children.” (v16) “the whole creation has been groaning together in the pangs of childbirth.  And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly….” (v22-23) “… as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.” (v23)

 

The Bible teaches that prior to the fall, both mankind and the creatures, all that had the “the breath of life”,  ate only plants (Gen. 1:29-30).  Hence God originally created man and animals in a state that was not carnivorous.  After the flood in the time of Noah, God permitted mankind to hunt and kill any living creature for food (Gen. 9:2-3).  This contrasts with the future millennial reign of Christ, where the Bible informs us that many aspects of God’s creation will be restored to the way God originally intended before sin, the curse and the flood, with mankind and animals living in harmony (Isaiah 11: 6-9; 65:25 and Acts 3:21).  Ultimately there will be no more sin, death and curse at the end of the millennium when God is “all in all” (1 Cor. 15:26-28,53-55; Rev. 20:10,11; 21:3-4; 22:3)

 

So Genesis 1-2 not only describes the creation, but also the goal of redemption to which humanity and all of creation will return when Jesus reigns on the earth.  With this in mind the possibility of death before the fall (even animal death) is completely ruled out.   If God originally intended death to be an integral part of His creation, then God should allow death to continue into eternity.  But we know that death is “the last enemy” that will be destroyed at the end of the millennium.

 

Not only did Adam and Eve’s sin result in the curse of death upon them and their descendants, but also upon the animal kingdom.  The harmony of creation was shattered.

 

God’s punishments during the time of the flood provide additional confirmation of how man’s sin negatively impacts the whole of creation.  The record in Genesis 6 clearly places the blame with mankind:

  • “My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years (Gen. 6:3)
  • “And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart (Gen. 6:5-6)

However, as a result of man’s sin, God declared that all of the beasts, creeping things and fowls of the air (save those that entered in the Ark) were to be destroyed along with mankind:

  • “And the Lord said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them.” (Gen. 6:7)
  • The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth. (Gen. 6:13)
  • “Behold, I, even I, do bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein is the breath of life, from under heaven; and every thing that is in the earth shall die.” (Gen. 6:17)
  • And every living substance was destroyed which was upon the face of the ground, both man, and cattle, and the creeping things, and the fowl of the heaven; and they were destroyed from the earth: and Noah only remained alive, and they that were with him in the ark. (Gen. 7:23)

Hence, the scriptures present an undeniable connection between man’s sin and the negative impact of the same on the whole of God’s creation.

  1. Diet of Humans Changed:

In Genesis 1 God originally provided all seed bearing herbs and fruit as food for mankind, indicating that they were vegetarians. It was not God’s original intention for them to kill animals for food:

“And God said, Behold, I have given you EVERY herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and EVERY tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.”  (Gen 1:29)

But today we cannot eat every seed bearing herb or fruit – many are now poisonous or indigestible.  So it is obvious that something changed to negatively impact the plant life upon the earth and/or resulted in a breakdown or degradation of the human digestive and immune system after the fall.  All of creation was placed under a curse, and it is entirely likely that many of the plants which were originally fine to eat, became inedible, toxic or poisonous to human beings.  One suggestion is that the capacity of the human digestive system may have been reduced so it could no longer process or tolerate certain plants.  Such a reduced capacity may have been brought about by genetic deterioration within the human body, or within the plant itself. [8]

  1. Diet of animals changed & the death of animals introduced:

In addition to God creating humans in a state where they relied solely on vegetation for food, likewise God’s original intention was that the animals should not kill other animals for food, but rather that they too were to be vegetarians:

“And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so.” (Gen. 1:30)

But post Adam and Eve’s sin, we know that animals became subject to disease and death, and they began to kill other created creatures for food.     Moreover, God eventually permitted mankind to hunt and kill any living creature for food:

“And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth, and upon every fowl of the air, upon all that moveth upon the earth, and upon all the fishes of the sea; into your hand are they delivered. Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things.”  (Genesis 9:2-3)

The bible contains prophecies about the state of the animal Kingdom during the millennial reign of Christ upon the earth.  These passages confirm that the animals will no longer engage in carnivorous behaviour, but rather live in harmony with “the lion eating straw like the ox”.

“The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice’ den. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.”  (Isa 11:6-9)

“The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like the bullock: and dust shall be the serpent’s meat. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, saith the LORD.”  (Isa 65:25)

These verses provide a small but accurate picture of what the animal kingdom would have been like originally before sin and death entered into the world, when God’s own assessment of what he created was “very good”.   God bringing all the creatures and birds to Adam, and an Adam naming them, is another strong indication that there was perfect harmony between mankind and the animals from the beginning of creation:  “Out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast and every fowl of the air, and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof.  And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field” (Gen 2:19-20).

The reference to children playing with Asps/Cockatrices (or Snakes/Vipers) in Isaiah 11:8 during the millennial age is not only a picture of the harmony between mankind and the animals that will exist, but also presents the literal reversal of what happened in Genesis 3:15 when God placed “enmity between the woman and her seed”.   Of course Genesis 3:15 has very important spiritual overlays of the conflict that would then exist between the Woman’s thinking (or Godly thinking) and the serpent’s way of thinking (fleshly thinking), and particularly how this would ultimately be fulfilled via Christ’s work of defeating the problem of the diabolos (sin and death) within himself.  But nevertheless, we know that a conflict or enmity between man and most types of snakes really does exist, and Isaiah is prophesying of the time when this will no longer be the case.  Yes it is certainly possible to apply spiritual overtones to Isaiah’s prophecies of what will literally be the case curing the millennium.  For example the “child” playing with snakes/vipers, could be applied to the effectual rulership of Christ and the Saints (the “seed” of the woman) as they exercise complete control over the thinking of the serpent/Devil.  The mortals during the millennium will not be hurt by the poison of false teachers, nor by the force of violent persecutors.  But the spiritual overlay does not negate the fact that it is first and foremost a prophecy of what will literally be the case during the millennial reign of Christ.

  1. Adam lost the Dominion over creation that God originally gave him:

Originally God intended man to subdue[9] the earth and exercise dominion[10] over the rest of creation, and this dominion was intended to be exhaustive over all fish, birds, cattle, over all the earth, and over everything that crawls upon the earth.

“And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. (27)  So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. (28) And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.tion that God had first entrusted him with (Gen. 1:26-28 28)

It is firstly important to note that man’s dominion did not extend to other humans.  And this is precisely because humans, unlike animals, are made in God’s image and likeness, and so are never to be treated as objects.  This is another reason why GDE scenario of humans evolving from animals is non-biblical.  God gave man the express charge of exercising dominion over all other creatures, and every other creature was not created in God’s image and likeness.

After man sinned everything changed.  Adam (and his descendants) were cursed to live and die like the beasts of the field, now subject to all the uncertainties of natural life.  Even the beasts of the field would fear man, and kill him.  Hence, rather than exercising full dominion over the natural world – in the three main indicated areas of the sea, air and land – we know today that humans increasingly have to fight against nature.    Crops fail due to drought or flooding and fruit and vegetables easily become infected with disease.  Natural disasters, beyond man’s control, cause death and destruction.

Psalm 8:4-8 refers to the original dominion that God gave Adam, and is also a prophecy of the one to come who will exercise dominion over all – the last Adam.

 

“What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?  For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour.  Thou madest 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 fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas.” (Psalm 8:4-8)

Although the word “dominion” in Psalm 8:6 is a different Hebrew word (mâshal: H4910), its meaning of “to govern, to rule, to reign”, is nonetheless similar (or interchangeable) with “dominion” (“râdâh”) and “subdue” (“kâbash”) in Gen. 1:26-28).  Moreover, is it clear from the context of Psalm 8 that the Psalm is in fact drawing from the language of Genesis 1:

  1. The expression “For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels” (Psalm 8:5) is drawing from Genesis 1:26-27 “God created man in his own image”
  2. In Psalm 8 the “dominion” and “the all things under his feet” is defined to be over the three areas of “the beasts of the field (earth), the fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea”, exactly the same three areas specified in Genesis 1:26 & 28

This important concept is picked up in Heb.2:5-11 where we are told that Jesus is the one referred to in Psalm 8:6, and hence will be successful in exercising the dominion over God’s creation as God originally intended Adam to do in Gen. 1:28.

“For unto the angels hath he not put in subjection the world to come, whereof we speak. (6) 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? (7) Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; thou crownedst him with glory and honour, and didst set him over the works of thy hands; (8) 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. (9)  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.”  (Heb. 2:5-9)

But this is not yet completed. As verse 8 says:  “But now we see not yet all things put under him” (Heb. 2:8) – hence this is a prophecy to be fulfilled in the age to come. After being raised to sit on the Father’s right hand, he is to come again to completely exercise this dominion over all, for he has now “sat down on the right hand of God; From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool.” (Heb. 10:12-13) In other words, all things, including his enemies, will be put under his feet, with the last enemy being death itself, which was the consequence of Adam’s sin (1.Cor. 15:25-26).

During his ministry Christ had power over all illness (Mark.1:27) and over nature itself, even the winds and waves obeyed him (Matt.8:27, Mk.4:41, Lk.8:25; Mat.14:25-26, John.6:19). This was to show his dominion over all, even the dominion that Adam lost. This is why he had power to forgive sins and judge (Matt. 9:6, Jn. 5:27), because sin is connected to the curse that mankind lives under. We get sick, we die because of sin, not necessarily our immediate sins, but because of sins dominion over mankind – which came as a consequence of Adam’s sin. Jesus’ power over sickness was a token of his dominion and lordship over all God’s works, as the one who would complete the purpose declared in Gen. 1:26-28.

Jesus gave to the Apostles signs or tokens of this dominion that they in the future will fully be able to exercise when they are granted immortality and reign with him. Specifically Jesus gave his apostles authority over all demons and sicknesses (Luke 9:1), gave them the ability to tread on serpents and scorpions as in indication that they would have power over the enemy (Luke 10:19, Mark 16:18).

Relevant BASF Clauses:

BASF 30.—That the government will then be delivered up by Jesus to the Father, who will manifest Himself as the “all-in-all”; sin and death having been taken out of the way, and the race completely restored to the friendship of the Deity.  1 Corinthians 15:28

 

 

Appendix 7 – GDE Objections

A) God’s Method of Creation in the Bible

GDE Objection #1:  Given God can do anything, it is wrong to rule out the possibility that He designed and controlled (however one understands ‘design’ and ‘control’) a process of evolution.  Furthermore, as God was, and is, the designer and driving force of all of creation, then whatever method he used to achieve it can be described in the biblical terms of “created”, “made”, “formed”, etc.

 

The problem with this reasoning is that it is attempting to overlay on the biblical words “create”, “make” and “form” a meaning of God’s creative acts that is not taught in the Bible, and directly contradicted by what is actually taught in the Bible.

GDE Objection #2:  There would no point for God to explain in the Bible the detailed “science” of what he actually did, as most people throughout history would not be able to understand it.[11]

 

The problem with this logic is that if a GDE scenario is the truth, God wouldn’t have had to explain it in a complex manner. If God really directed an evolutionary process, he could have described it simply in non-scientific terms, and not allowed de-mythologised ANE “fables” of creation to become part of His inspired word.  For example, God could have simply said that He “created life in the oceans, too small to see and over long periods of time they grew larger and more complex and changed until eventually they developed into plants, then animals, then man and woman….and it was good”.  That would be the big picture of GDE, perfectly understandable by all cultures throughout history, it would be all that is necessary for the Bible to say, and then we would all accept GDE as the method by which God created man.  The problem is a GDE scenario is not how God told us he created everything.

It is true that the Bible does not explain all the scientific detail behind God’s creative works. For example, when we read in Genesis chapter 1 about the creation of the sun on day 4, God didn’t relate it in terms that would match our understanding of science today – that He created a 1.4 million km wide yellow dwarf star comprised of hot gases containing hydrogen, helium, calcium, sodium, magnesium and iron which burns at temperatures of 11,000 degrees fahrenheit at the surface to 25 million degrees at the core,  and is suspended 150 million km from Earth in one of the arms of the Milky Way galaxy.

No, all God has left on record for us is the big picture of both what and how he did it: “God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also ….and the evening and the morning were the fourth day”. (Gen 1:16-19).  And actually, if God were to relate it in His own scientific terms, which is way above man’s knowledge today, we simply would have no hope of understanding it (but that’s something to look forward to if by God’s grace we are granted immortality!).

 

 

GDE Objection #3:  The concept of life evolving via a natural process over millions of years was not something that people were aware of or could understand in the time of Christ and the Apostles, and therefore it was still way too early for the New Testament to plainly teach that God’s mechanism of creation was evolution.

 

Not True.  It is interesting to note that as early as BC 600 the Greeks and other cultures were advancing ideas that life came about by natural means:

  • Thales of Miletus (640–546 BC) was evidently the first “Greek Philosopher” to advance the idea that life first originated in water.[12]
  • The fragments of Anaximander (c. 610–546 BC) taught that ‘humans originally resembled another type of animal, namely fish”[13]
  • Democritus (c.460–370BC) taught that primitive people began to speak with ‘confused’ and ‘unintelligible’ sounds but ‘gradually they articulated words.’[14]
  • Aristotle (384–322 BC) claimed that humans are the highest point of one long, continuous ‘ascent with modification’ of life.[15]
  • Epicurus (341–270BC) taught that there was no need of a God or gods, for the Universe came about by a chance movement of atoms.[16]
  • The Greek philosopher Empedocles (493–435 BC), often called the father of evolutionary naturalism, argued that chance alone ‘was responsible for the entire process’ of the evolution of simple matter into modern humankind.[17] Empedocles concluded that spontaneous generation fully explained the origin of life, and he also taught that all living organism types gradually evolved by the process of trial-and-error recombinations of animal parts. He also believed that natural selection was the primary mechanism of evolution, the fittest being more likely to survive to pass their traits on to their offspring.[18]
  • The Roman naturalist Pliny the Elder (AD23–79) said, ‘ … we are so subject to chance that Chance herself takes the place of God; she proves that God is uncertain.[19]
  • 2nd Century Christian Theophilus wrote the following words to Autolycus opposing the teachings of the Greek philosphers: “‘For my purpose is not to furnish mere matter of much talk, but to throw light upon the number of years from the foundation of the world, and to condemn the empty labour and trifling of these authors, because there have neither been twenty thousand times ten thousand years from the flood to the present time, as Plato said, affirming that there had been so many years; nor yet 15 times 10,375 years, as we have already mentioned Apollonius the Egyptian gave out; nor is the world uncreated, nor is there a spontaneous production of all things, as Pythagoras and the rest dreamed; but, being indeed created, it is also governed by the providence of God, who made all things; and the whole course of time and the years are made plain to those who wish to obey the truth.’[20]
  • In the Hindu Bhagavad Gita (circa BC 500 to 200) the god Krishna says, ‘I am the source from which all creatures evolve.’[21] Hindu belief was that Brahman (the Universe) spontaneously evolved by itself like a seed, which expanded and formed all that exists about 4.3 billion years ago. Hindus believed in an eternal Universe that had cycles of rebirth, destruction and dormancy, known as ‘kalpas’, rather like oscillating big bang theories.[22]
  • The religion of the Mayan culture (about 600 BC) taught that the rain-god constructed humans by adding to (and thereby modifying) his previous creations. This rain-god first made rivers, then fish, next serpents and, last, humans.[23]
  • Many ancient cultures believed in Totemism (that tribes evolved from different animals), including the indigenous peoples of the Americas and certain cultures in Africa, Arabia, Asia, Australia, Europe and the Artic. “The luck attributed to a rabbit’s foot stems from a belief rooted in ancient totemism, the claim, predating Darwinism by thousands of years, that humankind descended from animals. Differing from Darwinism, however, totemism held that every tribe of people evolved from a separate species of animal. A tribe worshiped and refrained from killing its ancestral animal and employed parts of that animal as amulets, called totems.”[24]

Hence the idea of life evolving by natural means from lower animal forms over a long protracted period of trial-and-error was well in vogue during the time of Christ and Paul. The examples cited above demonstrate that the concept of man evolving from animals is not difficult and in fact was expressed and understood by ancient cultures.

Accordingly, if GDE was indeed the method God used to create, why did he cause Genesis to be written in a manner that he never intended to be understood in a plain historical sense?  It would not have been difficult for God to describe an evolutionary process for the creation of life in simple non-scientific terms, and the fact that many ancient cultures came to understand the concept of life evolving from lower animal forms by themselves strongly suggests that it would have been easy enough to understand.  Moreover, why did Christ and Paul not correct the balance in the New Testament since the concept of life arising via natural means was well and truly being taught by the learned scholars in their days?

The above quotations illustrate that concept of man evolving from lower animal forms, as taught in relatively modern times from around the time of Charles Darwin onwards, is not new.  Modern science has not replaced old superstitions about origins, but rather has embellished them thanks to multi-thousands of dedicated non-theistic researchers who are expressly prohibited from considering the possibility of a creator and design in their analysis, and access to billions of dollars provided by governments to build a case for an ancient theory that is in line with their non-theistic world view of naturalism.

The above quotations also represent a likely explanation as to what the Apostle Paul was referring to when warning Timothy to avoid the oppositions of science (knowledge) falsely so called: “O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called” (1 Tm. 6:20)

GDE Objection #4:  God has given us two books or two different spheres of revelation  – the book of God’s word, and the Book of Nature.   Accordingly, it is valid to look to the book of nature and what the relevant experts are telling us for information on How God created life upon this earth.

 

Firstly, this point assumes that the Bible is silent on how God created and therefore we can take our cue from studying nature, but the bible is not silent on how God created (refer to section 1).  Any additional information on God’s workings that can be observed from nature, must be interpreted in a manner that is consistent with God’s own eyewitness record of what he actually did as plainly declared in the Bible.

John 1 is quite clear that God’s word was first and that caused the works. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. (John 1:1-3)  This is in line with the language repeated throughout Genesis 1  “and God said….. and it was so”.  Accordingly the word has priority over the work as it is causal.

GDE view holders often quote early writings of Bro. Thomas where he referred to God’s “book of nature” as alleged support for taking their cue from what the “expert” scientists are telling us.  However, it is abundantly clear from Bro. Thomas’ writings that he considered the word of God as taking priority over, and must be the overall framework for how one interprets, any information obtained from nature.

  • “But, in turning to the Bible, which we regard as the only reliable source of information concerning God,” (John Thomas Phanerosis)
  • More quotes from JT

The second problem, is that GDE viewholders are relying on a version of God’s book of nature, as interpreted by consensus “non-theistic” science (which denies His involvement), and insisting that this should be accepted as factual information on how God created.

The truth is that God designed his works, or his “book of nature”, to prick our conscience and drive us to seek out what He has said in His inspired word. His word tells us in plain and direct manner that the method God used to create all life upon this earth was indeed a miraculous creation over a short period of time.

The apostle Paul in Romans 1 tells us that creation makes the invisible God clearly seen through the things He has made. “For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse” (Rom. 1:20). The emphasis in Romans is on sight. Creation impresses us with the power and divinity of the creator which in turn compels us to seek out this creator in His word. God’s word confirms what anyone with eyes can see, that we live in world that was specifically and deliberately created and it declares the glory of God. Science, with its insistence on non-theism and naturalism can never reveal the creative origins of Gods works any more than one could find the origins of a pot without appealing to a potter.  Importantly just like a potter actually creates pots in a direct hands-on manner in short period of time (and not just the conditions by which pots can emerge), so God actually has created all life upon this earth as we know it in a direct hands-on manner over a very short period of time (and not just the background conditions for man to evolve from lower animal forms).

GDE Objection #5:  Much of Genesis is couched in language that God never intended to be factual.  God allowed His word to be expressed in a way that could be comprehended by the people in the time of Moses who were brought up with Ancient Near Eastern (ANE) explanations for the history of this earth and life upon it.   For example if one understands the word “firmament” in a literal sense, then one would be believing in the nonsensical “dome” theory. The spiritual lessons contained in Genesis are what we should be focusing on rather than a plain ordinary reading of the early Genesis text, which we know cannot be a factual account from what consensus science tells us.

 

This answer needs more work/development

It is true that Genesis 1 (and perhaps every other chapter in the Bible) contains figurative language, as does our everyday language. But that language is detectable, discernible, and decipherable—and does not imply that the overall message being conveyed is not to be taken literally. Just read through Genesis chapter 1 and notice how many terms are used that have an obvious, undisputable literal import, including “earth,” “darkness,” “Spirit of God,” “waters,” “light,” “day,” “night,” “evening,” “morning,” “first,” “seas,” “grass,” “herb,” “seed,” “fruit,” “tree,” “seasons,” “years,” “stars,” “fowl,” “fish,” “cattle,” etc.

Moreover, God’s creative activity is precisely described using the verbs “created”, “made”, “said”, “called”, “set”, “formed”, “caused”, “took”, “planted” and “blessed”.   These activities are described from start to finish, and spread out over a period of six days.

Distinguishing between figurative and literal language is not that difficult.  A plain reading of Genesis 1 does not convey to the reader that the narrative is symbolic or poetic account.  Rather it conveys to the reader that it is a historical account of events that actually occurred.   Furthermore, Hebrew experts who analysed the text of Genesis 1:1 – 2:3 in detail concluded that it was statistically classified as narrative with a probability of 0.9999[25].    In other words, the passage is as literal as any passage in the Bible can possibly be.

B) The Creation of Adam

GDE Objection #6:  The concept of God forming Adam “from the dust of the ground” in Gen. 2:7 can be understood as a metaphor for the lower level of animals from which man evolved, or the whole process of microbes-to-man evolution. 

 

However, in Gen. 3:19 the punishment pronounced upon Adam for sinning is that he would “return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return”.   If GDE view holders are correct that being created from “the dust of the ground” is a metaphor for the process of evolution, then it logically follows that returning to the dust of the ground means that we should revert to being an ape-like ancestor when we die, or the whole process of evolution should work in reverse – that the entry of sin into the world should result in mankind de-evolving back into ape-like creatures.  However, such is absurd, and illustrates how changing the plain intended meaning of scripture to fit with an evolutionary viewpoint ends up creating far more problems than it solves.

GDE Objection #7:  In Gen. 2:7 (“the LORD God formed man from the dust of the ground”), the word “formed” is the Hebrew word “Yatsar”, and the same word is used in Isaiah (29:16; 45:9; 64:8) and Jeremiah (18-19) to describe how God is the potter who formed the nation of Israel.  As we know that God works indirectly and behind the scenes to develop and bring about his purpose with the nation of Israel over a long period of time, God’s formation of Adam from the dust of the ground in Gen. 2:7 can likewise be understood as a process that took place over a long period of time with God’s work not being directly obvious.

 

Not True. The very fact that God has used the analogy of the potter and the clay to the “House of Israel” negates GDE attempts to equate their view of God’s non-obvious evolutionary creative process with His work in developing and guiding the nation Israel.  Once we have a potter exercising power over the clay, then unguided natural processes are not taking place.  It is a direct and “hands-on” process, and in the nation of Israel’s case this is seen via God’s direct involvement with them via Angels, the prophets, judges, miracles and signs.  God actively, specifically and intentionally formed Israel, like a potter exercising power over the clay, and His created artifact (the nation of Israel) was always on display, and remains on display, to prove His existence.  God did not let the House of Israel develop in a “hands-off” manner, such that His involvement was hidden apart from those able to exercise the “eye of faith”.   God set forth the nation of Israel as His witness to all other nations (Isa. 43:9-11), to prove that there is no other God besides himself.    One did not have to become a proselyte Jew first before one could realize this.  Gods hand was visible in his mighty acts and miracles.  It was obvious to Rahab that the God of Israel was the true and only God.  God shaped and guided Israel in a way that became very obvious to the Egyptians, the Canaanites, the Gibeonites, and many other nations.  Even today, Israel remains God’s witness to the nations

The Hebrew word Yatsar, translated as “formed” in Gen. 2:7 means to mould as a potter moulds the clay.  It in addition to the references God being the potter who formed Israel and has power of the work of his hands in Isaiah and Jeremiah, the same Hebrew word is also used to describe God’s creation or formation of the spirit of man within him (Zech 12:1); every beast and fowl of the air (Gen 2:19); the seasons – summer and winter (Psalm 74:17); light (Isa 45:7); the eye (Psalm 94:9); dry land (Psalm 95:5); the earth (Isa 45:18; Jer 33:2); the mountains (Amos 4:13); the Leviathan (Psalm 104:26); conception of a baby in the womb (Psalm 139:16; Isa 44:24; 49:5 ); pools or springs of water (Isa. 22:11); trees, rivers and waters (Isa. 37:26); and how He formed the all-inclusive “all things” (Jer 10:16; 51:19).   Of course, it also used in cases to describe how man sculptures idols or graven images (Isa. 44:9, 10; Hab 2:18), and importantly it doesn’t take man millions of years to sculpture an idol.

The account of man’s creation in Genesis 1:27 says that God created (Heb. “bara”] man. Man was created, but also moulded and fashioned. Bara is a word used in the Bible only for the creative activity of God. It implies something new has been brought into existence by divine command. But the Hebrew word “yatsar” (formed) tells us that God directly and deliberately formed and sculpted man (Adam/Eve). Man as created by God is the highest of all of God’s artistic works, as conveyed in Genesis 1:26 which tells us that God made man in his own image and likeness.  The fact that the word Yatsar is used to describe God’s creation of man from the dust of the ground and the breathing of life into him in Genesis 2:7 and Zech 12:1 tells us that what God did was very much a “hands-on” process.

When a potter selects a lump of clay and starts spinning the wheel, he has an end product in mind, a vessel that will be useful to its final owner and a credit to the potter’s craftsmanship and experience. The potter labors over the clay in a “hands-on” manner, forming and shaping it until the final product is realized. The pot then can be fired and decorated – but if it cracks or turns out distorted, it is no big deal for the potter to discard it altogether.

It is impossible to reconcile GDE views with the Bible’s description of God creating like a potter who has power over the clay.  How is it possible to say that God, the greatest potter ever, “formed” or sculptured the earth, Adam and Eve and all things, via a process that was very much hands-off and He sat back and largely allowed natural unguided forces to shape them over billions of years?  How is this like the Potters described in Isaiah, Jeremiah and even our own day,  who proactively apply themselves to shape the clay, who are very much “hands-on” as  they deliberately plan, design, and sculpture the magnificent and beautiful artefacts?  Is it possible for the shape of the vessel to be formed without the constant direct involvement of the potter? Can God, for example, just place the lump of clay on the turntable, start the wheel spinning, and then allow natural unguided factors over millions of years to somehow change the lump of clay into a particular type and size of vessel with perfect symmetry and intricate details? Moreover, if the Potter’s work is full of flaws, then he will reject and smash it as per what we are told in Isaiah and Jeremiah.  Would the most skilful potter ever allow vessels that are full flaws and imperfections to be displayed and declare them to be “very good?”  Certainly not.  But the GDE view holds that God was not hands-on via His creative mechanism of evolution, and allowed a creative process full of imperfections and flaws (death and suffering, trial, error, failure) to take place.

GDE Objection #8:  The lack of a definite article before “man” in 1 Cor 15v21 shows that this cannot be referring to a specific historic individual.

 

However, Adam is specifically named in 1 Cor. 15:22 (Ἀδάμ, a proper noun, as opposed to ἄνθρωπος, anthrōpos in V21 which is the generic term for ‘man’) as the individual man who has brought death to all people.  Further the second part of V21 refers to another “man” (also without the definite article) who is responsible for the resurrection, and we know this is referring to a specific historic individual – our Lord Jesus Christ – without even having to confirm this from what is then plainly stated in v22 “even so in Christ shall all be made alive”.  Adam is the man who brought death to all who descended from him, and Christ is the man who brings life to all “in” him.

GDE Objection #9:  In 1 Cor. 15:45 Adam is described as “the first man”, and Jesus is contrasted as the “last Adam”.  

Thus it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit. (1 Cor. 15:45)

This cannot be understood in a literal sense because Jesus is not literally the “last Adam” as in the “last human of all time”.  Paul must be writing here of Jesus in that metaphorical sense. He is the ‘uttermost’ human, the endpoint, the goal of God’s purpose. Of course, Jesus is also the first of the new creation, the “firstfruits” (vv20,23), the prototype – and that is a statement related (at least partly) to chronology and time. But in v45 Jesus is the archetype of the ultimate human, one who is “a life-giving spirit” (v45), “spiritual” (v46), “from heaven” (v47), “the image of the heavenly” (v49), “incorruptible” (v52)

We must therefore acknowledge that in v45, Paul is also writing about “The first man Adam” in a metaphorical, archetypical sense – otherwise his comparison between the two would be a bit inconsistent. Paul is contrasting Jesus – the ultimate, incorruptible, spiritual, heavenly form of mankind – with every other human since Adam who has ever, and will ever, live.  While v45 might be a description of the literal, chronological, first man, it is primarily a description of us all.  Paul’s primary message here is one related to our nature and not our physical origin: it is about our carnal ‘old man of the flesh’, compared with the nature of Jesus now – in which by grace we are promised to share – the ‘new man of the spirit’.

 

Our interpretation of exactly what “the first man Adam” and “the last Adam” are in 1 Cor. 15:45 must be governed by what Paul has already established in context.  Specifically in verses 21 and 22 Paul has already made it clear that he is referring to a real Adam and a real Christ:

“For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.  For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” (1 Cor. 15:21-22)

If you take one GDE view that Adam and Eve were real, but there were thousands of other hominids alive and evolving outside of the Garden at the time, then how is it that all the hominids came to be dying creatures? 1 Cor 15:21-22 is clear that “death” came by one man, and that man is Adam. It is because of Adam that ALL die. If all the hominids outside the Garden were not “IN ADAM”, then why should they die, particularly given that, according to the EC view, God created them as well?

Alternatively if you take another GDE view that “Adam” in v22 can be a “metaphorical Adam” then:

  1. a) To be consistent you should also be saying that Christ is metaphorical as well. You have already concluded that the “last Adam” in v45 is metaphorical, and a consistent application can only mean that the “man” who made possible the resurrection of the dead, even the “Christ” through whom we have hope of eternal life (v21-22) must be metaphorical as well. Such would be absurd.
  2. b) How is it possible for a “metaphorical Adam” to bring death into the world? And why is it that all “IN” this metaphorical Adam now die? Does it simply means that when everyone sins they became part of this metaphorical Adam? If so does this mean that Jesus was not “in Adam”, because he never sinned?
  3. c) What was it that this “metaphorical” Adam did, that brought death into the world? “For since by man came death” (v21)?; “For as in Adam all die” (v22)? Again, with respect to Christ, does this mean he was not a dying human being like everyone else?

The expression “first man Adam” in 1 Cor. 15:45 is used because Adam was a special creation of God, the beginning of a race, a family head whose actions had consequences to the many that were “in him”.  This Adam brought death, for “in Adam all die” (v21). This makes the apostle Paul’s whole argument about the reality of the resurrection in this chapter relevant (“even so in Christ shall all be made alive”), because we are talking about the “real” Adam who is the reason why everyone literally dies, and contrasting this with the real “Christ”, as the reason why those in him will be literally brought out of the grave!

It’s important not to lose sight of the fact that Paul’s PRIMARY message in 1 Cor. 15 is the reality of the resurrection!   Adam and Christ are inextricably linked in the apostle Paul’s argument. They both have to be real.  If one is not real (only metaphorical), then the other cannot be real.  The literal Adam is the real reason why we are all born dying creatures and hence desperately in need the hope of the resurrection.  The literal Christ is the real means by which we can be resurrected.  The legacy or the consequences of the first Adam is the problem of death and the grave for all (“as in Adam all die”).   The legacy of what Christ did is to defeat this problem of the death and grave and provide all the hope of the resurrection and eternal life (“Even so in Christ shall all be made alive”).  One must therefore also ask, what does it mean to be “in Adam”? To see the importance of this connection and question we should therefore ask, ‘Was Christ “in Adam”’?

The legacy of what Adam did and how it resulted in all of his posterity being born dying creatures are the literal facts upon which Paul builds his connection to Christ, to not only show the parallels between them,  but also to emphasise how one reversed the effects of the other. If Adam is just a metaphor then Paul’s point is destroyed…because the work of Jesus would just be a fable too!

Jesus is called the “last Adam” because he, like Adam was a special creation and was destined to become the beginning of a new race, and be the head of a new family of all those “in him” who would share the consequences of his actions.  In Adam; all mankind inherit the problem of sin and death (1 Cor. 15:22:  “In Adam all die.”).  In Jesus, they are delivered from both (Eph. 1:7: “In whom (Christ) we have redemption through his blood.”) without any subversion of the law that condemned them in Adam (Rom 3:26:  “That he might be just and the justifier of him that believeth in Jesus.”).  Jesus was the “Last Adam” because he put an end to the cycle of sin and death (eg Rom 5) that the “first Adam” brought into the world.

It doesn’t mean he was the last human ever.   Note carefully the way “the first man Adam” and the “last Adam” are expressed by the apostle Paul.  Firstly we have “the first man Adam” – not just the “first man”, or the “first Adam”.  The language is emphasising that Adam was in fact the very first man.   But when it comes to “the last Adam”, the word “man” is missing” – it’s not “the last man Adam” that is being contrasted with “the first man Adam” but rather “the last Adam”.   So Paul does not say that the last Adam is the last “man” ever, and hence a literal reading of “the last Adam” in no wise infers that Christ would have to be the last human living ever.

Jesus was the last of Adam’s legacy…because by breaking and crushing the consequences of the “first man Adam”, having come under the “dominion of death” (Rom 6:9) like all of Adam’s descendants, he could then defeat it and bring an END to the reign of death (Rom 5v14) that came into the world by “one man” (Rom 5:12). By so doing it could then be said “As in Adam all die, so in Christ shall all be made alive”.

The sin of the first man Adam brought death to all those descended from him. (Rom 5:12 “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin”;  Rom 5:15.17 “For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many. … For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.”).  The righteousness of the Last Adam brings justification and eventual eternal life for all those who believe “in” him and are baptized into “his” name,  and thus become “one in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3:27). It is precisely because of this “one-ness” that we can acheive in Him, that he is termed “the last Adam”.

The old creation began with one real man, even Adam, who brought sin and death into the world.  He was the father of countless millions like himself, bearing a death-stricken mortal nature that will eventually cease to exist.  The new creation has begun with one real man, even our Lord Jesus Christ;  and a great, innumerable multitude are to be made like him, in possession of immortal nature. He was truly the founder of a new race, but he was not in the days of his flesh a specimen of that new race;  for then he was still “in Adam”,  weak and mortal;  whereas the new race are to bear the glorious image of the immortal state in which he now exists.

And so in 1 Cor. 15:56-47 Paul goes on to make an important point:

“Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual.  47 The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven.  (1 Cor. 15:56-47)

That which was natural was first, as Paul explains, and the first man was “of the earth” – a direct reference to Genesis 2:7, but not only in the sense of being made out of the dust of the ground, but also because he was sentenced to return to the dust of the ground in consequence of his sin (Gen 3:19).    In contrast the second man is “the Lord from Heaven”, firstly because he was God’s only BEGOTTEN son, and secondly because God raised him from the dead and gave him eternal life.  By this means Jesus became the second man, or the Last Adam, the head of a new creation and order of sinless immortal beings, who are to be given the dominion over all the earth, a dominion which Adam failed to attain (Gen. 1:26).   God desired Adam to exercise dominion over all of his creation.  He failed.  The second or Last Adam did not fail, and hence Christ and those “in him” will fulfil this ultimately at the end of His millennial reign “the last enemy to be destroyed is death”.   Everything about the first man was real and literally happened.   Likewise everything about the second man / Last Adam was/is real and did/will literally happen.  If Paul is not basing his argument of real literal events, then using the example of Adam would be irrelevant at best, but even misleading. Why bring Adam into the conversation…why not Abraham or Moses or David?

Hence by way of summary, the Apostle Paul’s reference to Jesus as the “Last Adam”, informs us:

1)   That Christ really was “in Adam” – otherwise why call him any type of “Adam”? – he was a descendent of Adam and born with the consequences of Adam’s sin (death and a sin prone nature – tempted in all points like we are), which was his misfortune and not his crime.

2)   That Christ, like the first real Adam, was also a special creation.  Although born of a woman and hence “in Adam”, God was His real Father – his paternity was divine.  Moreover, he was destined to become the head of a new race of all those who would share his legacy – the hope of the resurrection and eternal life.  There are only two people in the Bible who can claim to be real literal Sons of God – Adam and Christ.  Luke 3:38 “ the son of Enos, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God”;   Rom 8:3  “For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh”

3)   That Christ is described as the “LAST” Adam tells us emphatically that there is now no further need for God to produce any other Son via miraculous means for his purpose to be achieved.   Christ has gained the victory, and defeated the problem of sin and death that entered into the world due to the first Adam (Rom 5:12, 15-17).  Hence, there is no need for a “third” Adam, or a third special creation of another man.   Christ is the second and LAST Adam.    Rom 7:24-25 “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

We are all “in” the first man Adam by nature and birth.  We can be “in” the Last Adam by the grace of God, who has provided for the forgiveness of sins, and who has given to Christ the authority and power to give eternal life to the approved.

 

C)  The Atonement

GDE Objections????

 

 

 

D) Sin

GDE Objections????

E) Death – An Enemy From God’s perspective

GDE Objection #10:  The death of plants, insects and bacteria would have necessarily occurred before the fall, and therefore doesn’t this prove that death already existed? 

 

The death of plants, insects and bacteria is a misrepresentation of what scripture means by death.  The Bible defines things that live and die as living creatures (Heb. Nephesh) – creatures that breathe of have the breath of life (cf. Gen. 1:30; 2:7).   Plants on the other hand, ‘wither’ and ‘pass away” rather than die. (cf. Isaiah 40:6-8; James 1:10-11).

GDE Objection #11:  How could Adam & Eve have understood God’s warning that they would die  if they had not seen any animal death?  Death, particularly animal death, must have been something Adam and Eve were familiar with, as it is only on this basis that God’s warning that they would surely die (if they ate of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil) could have any meaning.[26]  Foster and Marston write: “Indeed, if physical death had not been familiar to Adam, then it is hard to see what meaning at all God’s warning could have had to him.  We understand the concept of a second or spiritual death only by analogy to the physical one with which we are familiar” [27].

 

This line of reasoning does not follow.  For example a young child of 5 years old can understand and accept that he and his brothers and sisters came from their mother’s body without actually seeing a physical birth (and nor do they have to see a pregnant woman to accept this).

There are countless things that we believe in a justifiable and rational manner without proof or evidence. We believe in the existence of other minds; we believe that the world continues to exist even when we are not perceiving it.   Almost everyone understands the concept of an atmosphere even though we can’t see the different kinds of gas molecules floating in the air around us.

In Adam and Eve’s case, they were created with the ability to communicate with each other and God from day 1 – they didn’t have to learn a language over many years – the vocabulary they needed, including the word “death”, was miraculously impressed upon their brains by God when He created them.

The Gospels record the amazing miracles Jesus performed upon people who were “deaf” (and hence no ability to learn a language naturally) and “mute”, and how Jesus in curing them immediately gave them the ability to “speak plainly” to the absolute amazement of the crowds  “And the man’s ears were opened, and his tongue became untied, and he began to speak perfectly” (Mark 7:32-35 WNT; see also Matt. 9:32-33).   Similar points about God’s ability to miraculously impress a new language including the vocabulary necessary to communicate is seen from how God divided the nations with different languages in Genesis 11, and how God opened the mouth of Balaam’s Ass and gave it the ability to communicate with Balaam (Gen. 22:28)

The vocabulary we use to communicate with each other is based on words that we understand – words we don’t understand are not part of the vocabulary that we use.   Accordingly, as God miraculously impressed Adam and Eve with a vocabulary from the day he created them, it is entirely possible that they understood the concept of death without ever seeing a dead animal.

Adam certainly knew what life was, and he could understand that death would be the cessation of that life he experienced.  But more importantly, Adam simply believed and trusted in God.  We often believe what we afterwards find out to be false; but while belief continues, we consider it to be true.  When we find out that a particular belief is in fact false, we no longer believe it.

Hence when God warned them that to eat of this tree would result in death, Adam and Eve both initially believed and accepted what God had stated was true.   They did not have to have evidence of animal death around them, to accept and understand the meaning of God’s warning. God was asking them to believe and accept what he said as Truth – to place their faith in him.

In contrast the Serpent used an “evidence” based approach to deceive Eve

  • “You won’t die – you will be like the “Elohim” – no doubt appealing to the fact that the Angels were not prohibited from eating the fruit, and they were immortal. Moreover, it is entirely possible that the animals were not prohibited from eating from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil (perhaps including the serpent himself).
  • “knowing good and evil” – this was a half-truth based on the serpents limited comprehension of the Elohim –  as after Adam and Eve sinned, this is exactly what the Elohim said concerning Adam and Eve.   “behold, the man has become like one of us, to know good and evil…”.

 

F) Death – Only One Kind

GDE Objection #12:  The apostle Paul’s teaching of those “in Adam” in 1 Corinthians 15  has nothing to do with being physically descended from Adam. The contrast of being “in Christ” establishes this, as no one is physically descended from Christ.  Hence being “in Adam” refers to those who follow his example of disobedience to God’s laws and hence become subject to “eternal” or “spiritual” death. 

 

However, the fact that Paul is referring to physical death, not just “eternal death” is obvious from the context of 1 Corinthians 15.  The apostle is writing about people who have already physically died (v 15,16, 18).  He is writing about Christ’s physical death and physical resurrection.  The entire chapter emphasises the futility of hope in Christ if he did not physically rise.  If the “death” being talked about in these verses is not physical death or mortality, but “eternal” death (or a spiritual death in the sense of estrangement from God), then to be consistent the death and resurrection of Christ referred to need not be an actual physical resurrection either, but rather some type of “spiritual” resurrection that results in an “eternal” connection or closeness with his father.  However, Paul is clearly contrasting the physical death of Adam with the physical resurrection of Christ, and that all in Adam will physically die, whereas all in Christ will physically be resurrected.

Moreover it is important to note that the “all” who will be made alive “in Christ” (v22) is defined in the next verse as “they that are Christ’s at his coming” (v23).  Ultimately those “in Christ” will become physically one with Christ by sharing in divine nature.   So our starting point in Adam and our ending point in Christ are both referring to physical relationships.  All start by being born physically one with Adam’s condemned nature.  If we are baptised  “into Christ”, and try our best to be “spiritually” one with him now, then by God’s grace will be granted the joy of becoming physically one with him when he returns.  So those in Christ will physically become part of his posterity when he clothes them with divine nature, and hence the Apostle Paul’s argument is in fact ultimately contrasting two physical relationships.

The very choice of words used in 1 Corinthians 15 establishes that death or mortality had its origin in Adam’s sin back in Eden, and hence death or mortality was not part of God’s creative process as per the GDE theory over millions of years.   Paul tells us that death came by a man “For since by man came death” (v21) and that man was Adam: “As in Adam ALL die” (v22).   It is impossible to read into this that only those who have knowledge of God’s laws will be subject to death, and that this death is referring to “eternal” or “spiritual” death.  Rather ALL DIE who are in Adam, or who are the posterity of Adam.  We ‘all’ die because we are ‘all’ mortal. And the actions of a man called Adam brought that about. So the ‘ALL’ here is truly ‘ALL’ because ‘ALL’ are physically descended from Adam. There is no choice in this predicament.  However, it is clear that the ‘ALL’ in Christ – “Even so in Christ shall all be made alive” (v22) are ‘all’ they who have a spiritual association with him, by faith, and by way of life. This is a choice.

The fact that ALL have no choice in death, but a choice in life can be explained by the case of the fiery serpents in the wilderness (Numbers 21:5-9), which Jesus himself taught was pointing forward to the salvation that would be achieved when he died on the cross (John 3:14-15).  In the wilderness, ALL of those bitten by the fiery serpents were going to die in a very short period of time.  There was no aspect of choice as to whether they were bitten or not, and there were no exceptions to the fact that they would die once they were bitten.  We know this is the case as well before God instructed Moses to set the brazen serpent upon the pole the record states that “much people of Israel died” (Num. 21:6) .  However, once Moses lifted up the brazen serpent upon the pole, then all those who looked upon the serpent in faith were saved from certain death.   So everyone bitten in the wilderness were not saved.  Many died before Moses erected the Brazen serpent on the pole, and even after it was erected the clear implication is that if they didn’t look upon the brazen serpent (in faith) then they would have died.

Jesus Christ in John 3 confirms that this incident in the wilderness was actually pointing forward to the reality that would be achieved when Christ was lifted up on the cross.  In Numbers 21 ALL bitten by the serpent were dying – it was not a matter of choice and there were no exceptions to the outcome of death once bitten.  Likewise in 1 Corinthians 15 the apostle Paul explains “For since by man came death…As in Adam ALL die” – we are all “in Adam” because we are his posterity, we do not have a choice in the matter, there are no exceptions to the rule that because of Adam and Eve’s sin we are all mortal or dying creatures.  However, as per the case in the wilderness, where ALL of those who had the opportunity to and then chose to look upon the brazen serpent in faith could be saved, the apostle Paul explains that “Even so IN CHRIST shall all be made alive”.  We know that the way to become “In Christ” is to exercise faith in him and be baptised into his saving name (Galatians 3:24-29).   Hence, unlike our certain relationship to death , salvation is a matter of being aware of the solution and then making a decision – one first has to be aware of God’s method of salvation, and then voluntarily choose to exercise faith and be “in Christ”.  ALL who choose to do so have the hope of eternal life, and they physically will become part of Christ’s posterity when He transforms their nature to be like his glorious nature.  (Phil. 3:20-21)

 

G)  Human Nature / The Impact of Sin on the Condition of Adam & Eve’s nature

GDE Objections????

H) Jesus Christ

GDE Objections????

 

 

G) The Impact of Sin on the whole of Creation

GDE Objection #20:  Many animals have sharp teeth and large claws, and therefore that this must mean that they were designed to be predators and meat eaters rather than vegetarians 

 

However, with the exception of rodents, rabbits, and pikas, nearly all mammals have canine teeth. In fact, several herbivores have ferocious canine teeth, and including the Hippopotamus which is a true herbivore and has the largest canine teeth of any land animal. Sharp teeth are needed for eating certain fruits and vegetables with tough skin or hard shells, and large claws are needed for climbing. Another example is the Giant Panda which some of the sharpest teeth in the animal kingdom, yet their diet contains no meat at all.   In addition, reptiles, canines, bears and lions (carnivorous animals) can and do survive on a vegetarian diet.

GDE Objection #21:  Even though God suggested a vegetarian diet to both mankind and the animals in Genesis 1:29-30, this does not rule out the possibility and likelihood of them eating other animals (i.e. a carnivorous diet). Moreover, since elsewhere in the Old Testament it states that Lions, ravens and eagles receive their food (meat) from God (Job 38:39-41; 39:27-30; Psa. 104:21), this confirms that Gen. 1:29-30 cannot be understood as teaching that all animals were initially vegetarian. Rather God extols them in this predator-pray relationship as part of His wisdom.

The young lions roar after their prey, and seek their meat from God. (Psa 104:21)

Wilt thou hunt the prey for the lion? or fill the appetite of the young lions, When they couch in their dens, and abide in the covert to lie in wait?  Who provideth for the raven his food? when his young ones cry unto God, they wander for lack of meat. (Job 38:39 -41)

Doth the eagle mount up at thy command, and make her nest on high? She dwelleth and abideth on the rock, upon the crag of the rock, and the strong place. From thence she seeketh the prey, and her eyes behold afar off. Her young ones also suck up blood: and where the slain are, there is she.  (Job 39:27-30)

 

These verses simply confirm God’s continuing providence – even after the fall.   They do not imply (contrary to Gen. 1:29-30) that it was God’s original intention for any animal to be carnivorous. Unfortunately GDE view holders are taking their cue regarding the development of life on this earth from what non-theistic evolutionary scientists assume to be true, which involves death, disease, suffering, and carnivorous eating activities well before Adam and Eve.

In Psalm 104, only verses 2-9 refer specifically to creation events, while the rest of the Psalm focuses on God’s ongoing providence over his creation.  Likewise, Job 38-41 also concerns God’s providence over His cursed creation.   The references to carnivorous feeding habits relates to God’s continued provision even after the fall.   God has cursed creation, but He has not abandoned it.

Because God declared each of his own creative acts to be “good”, and His completed pristine creation as “very good” (Gen. 1:31), understanding the death of animals as part and parcel of God’s original intention is to view death as something inherently “good” and pleasing to God.  Yet the Bible consistently presents death in a negative light.  Death is always the result of evil actions (e.g. Cain killing Abel in Gen. 4:5-8), the consequence of disobedience (Achan in Josh. 7:10-25; Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5:1-10), the result of God’s judgments (the 10 plagues in Egypt, particularly the last plague of the death of all the firstborn), or simply the inevitable fate of all born with Adam’s condemned nature (e.g. the family line of Adam in Genesis 5 constantly makes reference to the death of each individual:  “… and he died”.)   We know that from God’s perspective death is “the last enemy” (1 Cor. 15:26), and accordingly to understand the death of humans and animals as anything but a blight upon God’s creation is completely non-biblical.

That physical change to creation is part of the curse God introduced in Genesis 3 in consequence of Adam and Eve’s sin – :  “Cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life” (Gen. 3;17)  “Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee” (Gen. 3:18)

GDE Objection #22:  The references in Isaiah 11 and 65 to the Lion, the Wolf, the Lamb and other animals living together in harmony cannot be taken literally because Isaiah 35, when referring to the “the Highway” or the “Way of Holiness” (v8) that will exist when Christ reigns upon the earth, says that “No lion shall be there, nor any ravenous beast shall go up thereon, it shall not be found there; but the redeemed shall walk there” (Isa. 35:9).

 

This line of reasoning is self-contradictory.   On the one hand they are accepting that Isaiah 35 is speaking literally when describing the fact that “no lion will be there”, but then using this literal explanation in an attempt to conclude the non-literalness of the events described in Isaiah 11 and 65.  In any case, the context of Isaiah 35:8-9  is focusing on  “the Highway” or the “way of Holiness”, the particular road or path that leads to Zion (where the temple and Christ will be), and explaining that no lion will be on this Highway.   It does not say that there will be no lions anywhere in the world during the millennial age.

 

 

Appendix 8 – The Pioneers and Tolerating Different Views

GDE Objection #30:  Pioneer writings show they respected science to a far greater extent than many contemporary Christadelphians. Most importantly, they believed it was valid to interpret the Bible in the light of demonstrable scientific truths. For example, Bro.Thomas accepted that the earth existed long before the work of the first day based on the scientific evidence:

“The duration of the earth’s revolutions round the sun previous to the work of the first day is not revealed: but the evidences produced by the strata of our globe show that the period was long continued.”,  John Thomas, ‘Elpis Israel’, p. 10 (1983 ed.).

“Fragments, however, of the wreck of this pre-Adamic world have been brought to light by geological research, to the records of which we refer the reader, for a detailed account of its discoveries, with this remark, that its organic remains, coal fields, and strata, belong to the ages before the formation of man, rather than to the era of the creation, or the Noachic flood.” John Thomas, ‘Elpis Israel’, p. 11 (1983 ed.).

 

Bro. Thomas along with many other Christadelphians believe that the earth existed without any life as we know it – i.e. plants, trees, fish, birds, animals etc  (without form and void)  –  before the miraculous events of the six literal days of creation commenced.  In 1848 in Elpis Israel Bro. Thomas suggested the possibility of a pre-adamic creation on this earth, to explain the origin of the Angels  – i.e. that they came from an entirely different miraculous creation that existed at some unspecified time period well before Adam and Eve.    However, later in 1869 in Phanerosis he expressed with respect to the Angels that “there existed many Sons of Power before the earth was fashioned”, and “to what orb or planet of the universe they are indigenous, is not revealed.”

But the vital point is that Bro. Thomas clearly taught in Elpis Israel that all life as we know it today on the earth came from God’s creative acts during the creation week –

“the earth became “without form and empty; and darkness overspread the deep waters”.  Its mountains, hills, valleys, plains, seas, rivers, and fountains of waters, which gave diversity of “form” to the surface of our globe, all disappeared; and it became “void”, or empty,  no living creatures, angels, quadrupeds, birds, or fishes, being found any more upon it”.  John Thomas, ‘Elpis Israel’, p. 11 (1983 ed.).

So this outright excludes the possibility that he could have ever accepted the notion of microbes-to-man evolution as a plausible explanation for life upon the earth as we know it today, and this clearly negates the false assumption or stretch of logic that his belief in an old earth means therefore that he would accept the theory of evolution if he were around today.

Moreover, it is interesting to note that in the same section, Chapter 2 of Elpis Israel, within the space of just a few paragraphs, we have a stark contrast between when brother Thomas agreed with the “geologists” of his day (as already cited above), and another case where he clearly disagreed with the geologists of his day:

 “GEOLOGISTS have endeavoured to extend the six days into six thousand years. ….. The six days of Genesis were unquestionably six diurnal revolutions of the earth upon its axis. This is clear from the tenor of the sabbath law. “Six days shalt thou labour (O Israel) and do all thy work; but the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work: for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.” …..Would any Israelite or Gentile, unspoiled by vain philosophy, come to the conclusion of THE GEOLOGISTS by reading the sabbath law? We believe not. Six days of ordinary length were ample time for Omnipotence, with all the power of the universe at command, to re-form the earth, and to place the few animals upon it necessary for the beginning of a new order of things upon the globe.” John Thomas, ‘Elpis Israel’, pgs. 11-12 (1983 ed.).

So importantly, here we have a case in point where Bro. Thomas DID NOT agree with the “geologists” of his day. When it was obvious to him that their conclusions where directly opposed to what God has plainly stated in His word, he rejected their views outright.

And so we can ask the same question today.  Could any honest believer, unspoiled by vain philosophy, come to the conclusion of the non-theistic evolutionists that life on this earth evolved over a process of trial and error, random mutation, death and suffering, over billions of years, particularly after reading what God has plainly stated in His sabbath law?  To add on a “theistic” touch, by saying that God must have somehow directed such an evolutionary process over billions of years, even though he has plainly told us that He created all life upon the earth in six consecutive and literal 24-hour period days?  We believe not.

GDE Objection #31:  Brethren in the past have held different views on creation, and no fellowship issues were ever raised over any of their interpretations.  GDE is just another view on creation.

 

It is true that Christadelphians hold different views on the age of the heavens and earth.  Many like Bro. Thomas and Bro. Roberts believe in Old Earth New Creation, that the earth already existed for an unspecified period prior to day one of creation in Genesis 1, but nevertheless strongly taught that the origin all life on the earth as we know it today is explained by what happened over the six literal creation days are recorded in Genesis 1.  Some Christadelphians accept a young earth creation (YEC) view, being guided by passages such as Exodus 20:11 which states that earth itself was also created as part of the six literal days of creation.   Other views include Bro Hayward’s belief in six literal days for God’s fiats but ages between those fiats to allow for a longer period for creation, and Bro Norris believed the six days were six days of visions given to Moses.

None of these different view holders have been disfellowshipped for their views, so where do we draw the line in the sand if these views have been tolerated?  The one thing that all of the above viewpoints have in common is that they reject microbes-to-man evolution. Why? Because if evolution is our fixed point, it is impossible to reconcile evolution with the doctrinal position that the Bible and Christadelphians have always taught as saving truth.

The reason why Old Earth New Creation (OENC) and Young Earth Creation (YEC) can live in complete harmony and peace is because neither doctrine or the overall approach to reading the Genesis narrative has to be changed to accommodate either one, whereas in the case of GDE both doctrine and our basic understanding of the narrative has to be changed.   Whether you read the scriptures as teaching that the earth was part of God’s six day creation, or the earth was already there before the six days of creation, does not present any major doctrinal or statement of faith (BASF) difference because both views accept all life as we know it on the earth today came from God’s creative acts during the six literal days (or “diurnal revolutions of the earth upon its axis”).  OENC and YEC are in complete harmony doctrinally because they do not change the meaning of “death”, nor the meaning of the “first man”, nor change the meaning of “created” to incorporate what is a non-theistic viewpoint of life championed in modern times by the likes of Richard Dawkins – i.e. an evolutionary process involving countless suffering, death and failure that, thanks to naturalistic processes, somehow resulted in all life upon the earth as we know it today.

However if you believe there was human death and suffering in this creation prior to Adam and Eve, and/or that Adam and Eve were not literal people miraculously created by God, then this presents a major conflict with our understanding of the scriptural record and of the atonement as defined in the BASF.   Unless the events of the first chapters of Genesis are true history, the Apostle Paul’s explanations of the atonement in Romans 5 and in 1 Corinthians 15 have no meaning.  They must be established in fact for his argument to be rational and believable.

The truth is that Christadelphians have always believed that God created all life on this earth as we know it today by direct miraculous intervention. That Adam was created from the dust of the earth and Eve from his side within the space of a single day. That ALL mankind are descended from Adam and Eve. That what Adam introduced into the world through his sin is to be removed by Christ. All mankind are mortal because they are descended from Adam and all who are in Christ will have the opportunity to be resurrected by divine miraculous intervention.

There are, of course, other vital doctrines that need to be held to maintain fellowship but at least 10 clauses in our statement of faith are subtly corrupted by saying that there were ‘men’ in this creation before, and contemporary with Adam; or that Adam was from a branch of the hominids; or that death preceded Adam; or that Genesis is myth which logically then means that Christ suffered, died and rose again to reverse something that never actually happened.

Hence, the GDE viewpoint is at loggerheads with the fundamental Christadelphian teaching on the scheme of the atonement that is taught in scripture, and defined in many clauses of the BASF

Insert one or two para’s explaining Watford Ecclesia and Bro. Lovelock’s withdrawal.

 

 

 

Appendix 9 – God Directed Evolution?

Pure non-theistic evolution explains the means by which humans evolved upwards from lower simple animal organisms entirely by natural means and without appealing to any involvement from God.

Divinely guided or God-directed evolution is slightly different.  While there is little or no practical distinction on the mechanism, God-directed evolution asserts that God was somehow the hidden instigator behind the whole evolutionary process, and accordingly that God’s “mechanism” of creation was evolution.

Various versions of GDE have been adopted by a minority in the Christadelphian community.   The most common variants include “Theistic Evolution” (TE) and “evolutionary creationism” (EC).  All variations of GDE that propose that God used a natural process of evolution over a long period of time to create human beings from animal origins.

To what extent was God involved in the Evolutionary process?

While GDE view holders unanimously agree that God is the creator of all life, and hence behind the evolutionary process, they seem very reluctant to clarify to any further extent how God was involved and directed the evolutionary process.

One famous evolutionary creationist by the name of Francis Collins describes his belief as the position that “evolution is real, but that it was set in motion by God” [28]. He believes that it is the existence of God that explains certain aspects of humanity, such as self-sacrificing morality, as well as the fine-tuning of the fundamental constants that allow life to exist[29].    A similar definition by Anthropologist  Claude E. Stipe characterises it as accepting “that evolution occurred as biologists describe it, but under the direction of God”[30]

The most informative explanation we have been able to find from those within our community is the following statement by Ken Gilmore:  “we can see a Divine hand at work in natural history, intervening at key times to nudge evolution in the right direction to bring out the evolution of the human race”.[31]

So while GDE view holders claim that the evolutionary process is a form of creation which testifies to the glory of God, their understanding of the evolutionary mechanism itself is practically the same as that promoted by the pure non-theistic Neo-Darwinian evolutionists.  They simply add the overlay of “God did it” or “God was in control” onto the non-theistic evolutionary explanation.

 

 

 

[1] Dawkins, R., The Blind Watchmaker, W.W. Norton & Company, New York, USA, p. 1, 1986.

[2] Romans, by John Carter (Pg.61); On Rom.5:12-13

[3] For example, the following is view of Evolutionary Creationists Bro. Ken Gilmore:

“I’m already mortal, not because of Adam’s sin, not because of my own but because I am a flesh and blood creature. However, if I sin and remain unrepentant, then I will suffer eternal death as a punishment for that sin.”   http://christadelphianevolution.blogspot.com.au/2013/09/evolution-does-not-threaten-fundamental.html#more

“…The first point that needs to be stressed is that death, not mortality is the consequence of Adam’s sin. I do not die because I sin. I die because I am made of corruptible material. I remain dead as a punishment for sin if I choose to reject the offer of salvation, and that is the point Paul is making here – death as a punishment for sin was introduced into the world when the first sin was committed. Prior to Adam’s sin, humans lived and died as the ‘beasts that perish’ but as God’s law was unknown, sin as a concept did not exist and therefore death as a punishment for sin simply did not apply.”

 “What came though human action was the introduction of eternal death as a punishment for sin, which is effected by letting people die, and not raising them from the dead.”
http://christadelphianevolution.blogspot.com.au/2013/11/new-testament-references-to-adam-and.html

 “What the verse [Rom. 6:23] does not say is “the wages of sin is mortality’. I die because I am an organic creature with a finite lifespan. If I sin and knowingly spurn the offer of salvation, then I will be judged and sentenced to eternal death”

http://christadelphianevolution.blogspot.com.au/2015/12/the-christadelphian-magazine-and_18.html

[4] Science is the systematic knowledge of the physical or material world gained through OBSERVATION and EXPERIMENTATION”.  (Dictionary.com)

[5] Ernst Mayr, “Darwin’s Influence on Modern Thought”, Scientific American, 24 November 2009 www.scientificamerican.com/article/darwins-influence-on-modern-thought/

[6] Dr. Jerry Bergman, “Slaughter of the Dissidents”, 2nd Edition, Leafcutter Press; 2011

[7] In Gen. 3:16-17 there two words related words used for “sorrow” or pain , and in the case of Eve in v16 both words are used. The first occurrence of sorrow/pain in verse 16 (applying to Eve), along with the word in verse 17 (referring to the punishment pronounced upon Adam), is the Hebrew word “‛itstsâbôn (H6093) and refers to pain, labour, hardship, sorrow, toil (BDB).  Hard labour in tilling the ground was going to be very painful for Adam.  This word also occurs in Gen. 5:29 where Lamach (the father of Noah) also expresses the painful “toil” associated with working with the ground that Yahweh has cursed.  The second word for “sorrow”/pain in v16 and applying to Eve is the word ‛etseb (H6089) with a similar meaning.  Both related words are used in Eve’s case, as an emphatic device that is  common in biblical Hebrew, and serves to  underline the extent of the pain that Eve would now experience compared to what was the case before sin.

 

[8] See Jerry Bergman, “Understanding Poisons from a Creationist Perspective”, Journal of Creation 11/3 (1997), 353-360.

[9] In Gen. 1:28  God told man to “subdue” the earth.  In the Hebrew this is the root verb “kâbash” (H3533), which means “to subject, subdue, force, keep under, bring into bondage” (BDB).  It occurs 14x,  and often refers to the conquest of the land and its people (e.g. Numbers 32:29; Josh 18:1; 1 Chron. 22:18), for making people into servants (Jer. 34:11, 16), and to God’s great work of salvation in subduing the problem of all of our iniquities:  “He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.” (Micah 7:19)

[10] The phrase “have dominion” in Gen. 1: in the Hebrew is the root verb “râdâh” (H7287) which means to tread down, to subjugate.  It occurs 27x and is often associated with the reign of a King, and is used prophetically in the Psalms for the reign of the Lord Jesus Christ:  “He shall have dominion also from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of the earth” (Psalm 72:8); “The LORD shall send the rod of thy strength out of Zion: rule thou in the midst of thine enemies.” (Psalm 110:2)

[11] GDE believe that God allowed the Genesis account to be recorded in a manner that was understandable to the cultural environment at the time, but it was never God’s intention for it to be understood as plain straight forward account of history.   They reason that God allowed Genesis to be written as a de-mythologised polemic (or a radical response) against false Canaanite and Babylonian theology,  keeping many of the false ANE viewpoints on the origin of life in tact (as they reason that the ancients wouldn’t have been able to understand it otherwise), but with the purpose of declaring the God of Israel to be the only true God, and ensuring that all the theologically important lessons were written in the text.

 

[12] Birdsell, J.B., Human Evolution, Rand McNally, Chicago, p. 22, 1972

[13] Barnes, J., Early Greek Philosophy, Penguin Books, London, England, p. 72, 1987.

[14] Cartledge, P., Democritus, Phoenix, London, England, pp. 20–21, 1998

[15] Osborn, H.F., From the Greeks to Darwin, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, p. 54, 1929

[16] The Epicurus Reader: Selected Writings and Testimonia, translated and edited by Brad Inwood and L.P. Gerson, Hackett Publishing Company, 1994.

[17] Thompson, B., The History of Evolutionary Thought, Star Bible & Tract Corp., Fort Worth, p. 31, 1981.

[18] Osborn, H.F., From the Greeks to Darwin, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, p. 4, 52-54, 1929.

[19] Pliny the Elder, Natural history, translated with an introduction and notes by John F. Healy, Penguin Books, London, England, p. 13, 1991.

[20] Theophilus, To Autolycus 3:26, Contrast between Hebrew and Greek Writings, AD 181, www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf02.iv.ii.iii.xxvi.html

[21] The Bhagavad Gita, translation and introduction by Eknath Easwaran, Penguin, Arkana, p. 142, 1985

[22] From The Mundaka Upanishad, Understanding Hinduism, pp. 5–9, <www.hinduism.co.za/creation.htm>

[23] Encyclopaedia Britannica, The Werner Co., New York, Vol. 23, p. 467, 1898.

[24] Panati, C., Extraordinary Origins of Everyday Things, Harper and Row, New York, p. 3, 1987

[25] Boyd, Stephen (2005), “A Proper Reading of Genesis 1:1-2:3,” quoted in Don DeYoung, Thousands…Not Billions (Green Forest, AR: Master Books). By counting each of the four finite Hebrew verb forms (preterite, imperfect, perfect and waw-perfect) in Gen 1:1-2:3 and 96 other texts spread throughout the OT (including 47 narrative and 49 poetic texts), Boyd demonstrated that preterite verb forms clearly dominate the narrative texts, while perfect and imperfect verb forms clearly dominate poetic texts.   Using logistic regression – a technique commonly used to make predictions when two choices are involved – Boyd was able to classify each of the texts as narrative or poetry depending on its distribution of preterites.    In the case of Genesis 1:1 – 2:3, it was statistically classified as narrative with a probability of 0.9999.    In other words, the passage is as literal as any passage in the Bible can possibly be.   He concluded “The biblical creation account clearly is not poetry, but instead is a literal description in real time of supernatural events”.

 

 

[26] Alan Hayward, Creation and Evolution (London, Triangle, 1985), 182;

[27]  Forster and Martson, Reason, Science and Faith, 258

[28] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theistic_evolution
Collins, Francis; (2006) The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief ISBN 0-7432-8639-1

[29] Collins, Francis (2006) “Building Bridges”, Nature, 442, 110

[30] Stipe, Claude E. (March 1985) “Scientific Creationism and Evangelical Christianity”, American Anthropologist, ns Vol 87, No. 1, 149.

[31] Ken Gilmore, “Issues in Genesis 1-11”, September 2011, page 13

 

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Why Christadelphians Believe in Creation and not Theistic Evolution: Evolution or Design?

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Why Christadelphians Believe in Creation and not Theistic Evolution: Evolution or Design?

Evolution or design DMP FINAL

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THEISTIC EVOLUTION

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Turkey’s Jet Shoot-Down Part of Long War With Russia

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Dear Brethren and Sisters

The geopolitical dynamics of the world changed dramatically this week when Turkey shot down a Russian jet that was carrying out operations to get rid of ISIS in Syria, allegedly because it crossed into Turkish territory for 17 seconds, which Russia denies. Vladimir Putin has called Tayyip Erdogan, the President of Turkey, a backstabber and proceeded to accuse Turkey of flying the black flag of ISIS and funding the Islamic State cause by facilitating the sale of illegal crude. And so we now have a global stand off that could quickly escalate into a major war based on “he says that, and they say to the contrary”,
Rather than being taken in by the media spin on either side, it’s important to understand that geopolitics of the situation in Syria is, and has always been, about the control of resources (oil and gas).  Russia, Syria and Iran are aligned because they do not want Saudi Arabia and Qatar (backed by the US) building a pipeline through Syria and Turkey to export gas to Europe and thus compete with Russia’s supply of energy to Europe.   Hence, the US over the past 12 months have not done much to remove the problem of ISIS, because they, along with Saudi Arabia and Qatar, are content to let ISIS place pressure on the Assad government and hope that the civil war in Syria results in a regime change that is more favorable for their economic interests.
At the same time we have reports, as per Putin’s allegations, that powerful elements in Turkey are funding ISIS by buying oil from them at discounted prices and making a huge profit by on-selling it at market prices. Hence these elements in Turkey would not be happy with what Russia is doing in Syria at the moment. In this regard, I’m copying in below the full text of an interesting article from the Daily Bell, which brings together some of the important geopolitical and economic rationale behind what is going on.
But most importantly from a prophetic perspective, these events are telling us that there is no doubt that we are living the last days before the return of Christ to the earth.  Since September we have seen Russia move into Syria and start occupying the territory necessary for it to qualify as the latter day “King of the North” (Dan. 11:40), and is co-operating with not only Syria, but other major countries that are included in the territory occupied by the Selucid Empire in 323-60 BC, including Iraq and Iran.
We can be reasonably confident that Turkey also will be aligned with Russia.  Firstly the ancient territory of the Selucid Empire (King of the North) included the eastern part of Turkey.  Secondly, Ezekiel 38 tells us that Persia will be aligned with Gog, the Prince of Rosh, Meshech and Tubal who will descend from the “uttermost parts” of the north. Not long after Ezekiel recorded his inspired prophecy, in circa BC500 the Persian Empire extended from the western side of Turkey (i.e all of Turkey), and covered a massive amount of area all the way down to the Indus river in Pakistan (hence covering what we know today as Turkey, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan and most of Pakistan).  Also historians tell us that “Gomer” in Ezekiel 38 is the ancient name for the area of Cappadocia in center of Turkey today.
So the Bible tells us that the current stand-off between Turkey and Russia will ultimately be  resolved with Turkey (willingly or by force) coming on the side of Russia.   This may be as simple as a change in government in Turkey (which obviously Russia would back), or alternatively occur more dramatically via a Russian invasion.

One of the biggest barriers to this happening right now is the US-backed NATO Influence and their military bases that are not only in Turkey, but also in many other European countries that border with Russia, with nuclear war-heads pointed at Russia.  As the article points out below, US-backed NATO continues to “provoke” Russia in many areas across Europe that are right on Russia’s doorstep.  The “Big Picture” of Ezekiel 38 tells us that most of Europe will in fact be aligned with Russia, so the NATO influence across Europe that is provoking Russia will have to cease one way or another.  Certainly a global economic collapse, and loss of confidence in the US dollar as the global reserve currency, would be a serious blow to the US’s ability to continue influencing Europe the way it does today, and pave the way for Russia to take over.   Of course there are other possible events that could contribute as well, for example a major earthquake in the US could force the US to retreat from its role as “global policeman” to focus on domestic issues, and thus allow Russia and Europe to align unhindered.
I think from an economic perspective, what the US would currently fear most is the potential alignment of Russian, Europe and China in trade and finance, trading outside of the US dollar system particularly for oil and other key commodities (i.e. between themselves directly in their own currencies).  In order to preserve the US dollar’s status as the global reserve currency (which means, as per the situation for the last 50 years, that they can print money and get away with it), those in control of the US will do everything they can to stop Europe aligning with Russia and China in this manner.  Understanding this provides an essential context to explain many of the geopolitical events that are occurring in the world today.  On November 30th the IMF is set to vote on adding the Chinese Yuan to their “SDR” basket of currencies (US dollar, Euro, British Pound, Japanese Yen) which is their unit of account, and this will potentially have significant ramifications for global banks and Investors as they will likely increase their holdings of Chinese Yuan and reduce their holdings of US dollars going forward.   It will be interesting to see if the US is able to block this or not.
As we witness these events that clearly confirm that God is bringing the nations to a state that is in line with what He has foretold to us in the Bible, we can be confident that our Lord and master will soon appear.   Economically speaking, the world is living on the threshold of a major collapse and is only being propped up by rigged financial markets with unprecedented low interest rates and money printing by global central banks.  How long this can continue is really in the hands of the Angels, but clearly Daniel’s prophesied “time of trouble such as never was since their was a nation”  is just around the corner. This means it is almost time for Michael the Prince (Jesus Christ) to stand up, for the resurrection to take place, and for those that are wise to be rewarded and commence shining like the starts for ever and ever.
Warm regards in Christ
Matt Jamieson
Turkey’s Jet Shoot-Down Part of Long War With Russia
By Daily Bell Staff – November 25, 2015

NATO urges calm after Turkey downs Russian jet … NATO and UN urge a de-escalation in tensions between Ankara and Moscow after Turkish planes shot down Russian jet. … NATO has called on Turkey and Russia to show restraint as tensions rise in the wake of the downing of a Russian jet near the Turkey-Syria border. The Russian warplane was shot down for violating Turkish airspace on Tuesday morning, Turkish officials said, angering Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, who likened the incident to being “stabbed in the back”. According to Russia Today, Russia’s defence ministry has announced that it is suspending its military cooperation with Turkey following the incident. – Al Jazeera

Dominant Social Theme: Let cooler heads prevail.

Free-Market Analysis: It’s nice that NATO is concerned about world peace. Russia seems angrier. Following Turkey’s downing of a Russian jet near the Syrian-Turkey border, Vladimir Putin called Turkey’s actions a “stab in the back.”

What Putin meant by this was that Russia was removing ISIS from Syria, presumably a goal shared with NATO. Yet Turkey, a NATO country, shot down a Russian jet involved in fighting a common enemy.

According to Al Jazeera, NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg said Tuesday night that NATO supports Turkey but urged calm for both sides.

“As we have repeatedly made clear, we stand in solidarity with Turkey and support the territorial integrity of our NATO ally, Turkey,” Stoltenberg reportedly said after an emergency meeting of NATO. “I look forward to further contacts between Ankara and Moscow and call for calm and de-escalation. Diplomacy and de-escalation are important to resolve this situation,” he said.

Putin was a good deal blunter. “Today’s loss is linked to a stab in the back delivered to us by accomplices of terrorists,” he is reported as saying. “I cannot qualify what happened today as anything else. Our plane was shot down over the territory of Syria by an air-to-air missile from a Turkish F-16 jet. It fell in Syrian territory four kilometres from the border with Turkey. Our pilots and our plane did not in any way threaten Turkey.”

Of course, really Putin cannot be blamed for feeling this way. NATO and the Anglospheregenerally have been pushing Putin relentlessly. First there was the standoff with Georgia, and then when that was resolved, the West went after Ukraine. Now the West is in Syria, trying to consolidate that country’s alliances as it pushes out the Assad regime.

Syria is the last domino. After that, there is only Russia itself. Of course, Russia is not Libya, Iraq or even Syria. Russia is a big country with a motivated population and advanced weapons. What the West wants, then, is at the very least a military standoff with Russia.

Presumably this is necessary because the West’s economic system is in shambles. Central banking can only create a faux expansion for so long before economies collapse. Bubble economies inevitably give way to recessions and depressions. And that’s where war comes in.

We can see this played out before World War II, when nothing the West tried to do worked.Keynesian remedies were no more utile than any other kind. The only thing that can be done is to let bankrupt firms collapse.

But in this case, such a collapse would mean the end of the current economic system. And that is not feasible from the point of view of those who run it. And thus, there is a need for war and when it comes to Russia, at least significant military tensions.

Paul Craig Roberts, whose work we follow, is more cognizant than most when it comes to this particular militaristic paradigm. His recent article, “Turkey Has Destroyed Russia’s Hope Of Western Cooperation,” deals with the reality of what’s actually taking place rather than the rhetoric.

Turkey’s unprovoked shoot-down of a Russian military aircraft over Syria raises interesting questions. It seems unlikely that the Turkish government would commit an act of war against a much more powerful neighbor unless Washington had cleared the attack.

Turkey’s government is not very competent, but even the incompetent know better than to put themselves into a position of facing Russia alone. If the attack was cleared with Washington, was Obama bypassed by the neocons who control his government, or is Obama himself complicit?

Roberts is speculating here on why Turkey shot down the Russian jet. He doesn’t believe for a moment that Turkey was merely defending its borders.

This is because Roberts sees the Middle East wars in totality. He implies that the disparate military gambits are really part of one effort, writing, “Throughout the entire Washington orchestrated conflicts in the Middle East, Africa, and Ukraine, the Russian government has spoken reasonably and responded in a diplomatic manner to the many provocations.”

Notice the word “provocations.” Just as we do, Roberts sees Russia as the ultimate prize. For one reason or another, the US wants to grapple directly with Russia. He is hopeful that the downing of the Russian jet shall finally disabuse Putin of the idea that he should cooperate with the West, and the Pentagon in particular.

He writes that the “silver lining” of the shoot-down may be to “save” the Russian government from making a mistake by joining a coalition with the West against ISIS.

“Diplomacy has now proven to be a dead-end,” he writes. “If Russia does not join the real game and begin to play its strong cards, Russia will be defeated.”

This is his bluntest statement, acknowledging that the West’s various provocations are really part of the long war against Russia itself, and perhaps even China if the West pushes Russia too hard.

More and more this is an Orwellian-looking strategy that divides the world into three warring entities in order keep the military-industrial complex in business and free markets– and freedom generally – at bay.

It is certainly not clear that the West wants a thermonuclear war but there are forces in the West that obviously would be pleased to exist in a perpetual state of military tension with other great powers.

Conclusion:As we’ve pointed out, existing within this paradigm is not a very pleasant prospect. We urge all those who can to seek the kind of lifestyle insurance that provides them with alternative approaches and a maximum degree of independence.

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