"Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? Not one."—Job 14:4.
That the pre-existent Son of God "was made flesh and dwelt among us," is clearly stated in the Scriptures (John 1:14); that he was "holy," "undefiled," and "separate from sinners," is plainly stated (Heb. 7:26-28 and Luke 1:35); and that he knew no sin, while all other men are sinners, is also stated (2 Cor. 5:21; Rom. 5:18,19; and 1 Pet. 2:22). The Apostle's argument that he was able to, and did, give himself a ransom or corresponding price, for the forfeited life and rights of Adam (Rom. 5:17-19; 1 Tim. 2:6), proves the same. Because the first Adam was perfect until he sinned; hence one who could give a corresponding price or ransom must have been likewise perfect, without sin and free from its condemnation. The same thought is logically deduced from the statement that Jesus fulfilled all the requirements of the Law (Matt. 5:17; John 8:46); for we know that the Law of God was the full measure of a perfect man's ability. Hence the conclusion is irresistible that he must have been a perfect man when able to do what no imperfect man had done or could do.—Psa. 49:7; Heb. 1:3; 4:15; 9:28; 10:5-10; Isa. 53:9-12; John 1:29; 1 Pet. 1:19.
But notwithstanding the mass of Bible testimony as to his human perfection, some inquire, Can the possibility of this be scientifically shown? Others assert that it is an impossibility, and that the laws of nature are in direct opposition. They give unbounded weight to their imperfect understanding of nature's laws, and lightly cast aside the weight of Bible testimony.
The question, however, is well worthy of an examination from a scientific as well as from a scriptural standpoint, in order that the agreement of science and Scripture may be clearly seen. Science and Scripture always agree when properly understood. There is no law against our seeking evidence from every good source, but only egotism, or blindness, or both, will exalt human reasonings above the divine testimony.
We raise the query then: How came it that Jesus was perfect while his mother was imperfect?—who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? Seeking to answer this query, the church of Rome promulgated the doctrine of the "Immaculate Conception:" not the doctrine that Jesus was miraculously conceived by the holy power of God, as recorded by the Evangelists; but that Mary, the mother of Jesus, was miraculously conceived, and hence that she was pure, holy, and free from Adamic sin and imperfection. But the originators of this doctrine could not have been far-seeing, or they would have known that by the same reasoning it must be proved that Mary's mother was of immaculate conception, and so all the way back to Eve, "the mother of all living," whose fall into sin before she bore any children is clearly stated in the Bible. See Gen. 3 and 1 Tim. 2:14.
The Scriptures hold out the thought that all EXISTENCE, LIVING ENERGY, or BEING, comes from the father and not from the mother. The mother receives and nourishes the germ of being until it is able to maintain an independent existence; i.e., until it is able to appropriate to its maintenance the life-sustaining elements which the earth and air supply. The living organism which she nourishes came entirely from the father. The word father has the significance of life-giver.
In harmony with this principle, God was the "FATHER," or life-giver, while the earth was the Mother of Adam, and hence of the human race (Luke 3:38). In harmony with this principle, the children are spoken of, as of or from their fathers, and borne by their mothers. (Gen. 24:47.) Thus the children of Jacob, counted through his sons, were seventy when he came out of Egypt; but if he or the twelve Patriarchs had daughters, which we cannot doubt, the children of those daughters were not counted as Jacob's children, they being counted to their fathers. And all of these seventy souls or beings are expressly said to have come out of the loins of Jacob. (Gen. 46:26,27, and Exod. 1:5.) So of Solomon it is said, that he came out of the loins of David. (1 Kings 8:19, and 2 Chron. 6:9.) So also the Apostle Paul and Israelites in general claimed that they all came out of the loins of Abraham; and of Levi it is written that "he was yet in the loins of his father when Melchisedec met him."—Heb. 7:5,10.
Thus also the whole race was in and sprang from Adam their father, but were not from Eve. And thus it is written that in (through) ADAM all die, but not in (through) Eve. Because the race came of Adam, it was therefore tried in him.
This, which the Scriptures teach, is the latest deduction of science on this subject of Progeneration, as applied to life in all its forms. Scientists find abundant and conclusive proof in nature that life or being comes always from the male. The simplest form of illustration is a hen's egg: Of itself it contains no life; no living organism could under any circumstance come of it, unless it be impregnated with a living organism by the male. The egg consists of the proper elements, and in proper proportion, adapted to the minute organism received into it; and under proper conditions that organism develops. The yolk becomes wholly the bird, while the clear liquid albumen serves as its earliest nourishment until it breaks the shell and is able to sustain itself by appropriating cruder elements of nutrition. The principles here involved are the same in human and other animals.
In view of these testimonies of the Bible and science, it is a reasonable deduction that if the father be perfect, the child will be so: the perfect progeny would absorb and appropriate only such elements of nutrition as were suitable and beneficial to its perfect development, throwing off through the operation of its perfect organism any other elements. On the contrary, if the germ of being be imperfect, it will appropriate whatever qualities its mother furnishes—good or bad. Being imperfect, it would be unable to reject wholly the poisonous elements of disease. This is on the same principle that if two persons eat of strong food, the one with good digestive powers can appropriate its nutriment and pass off its unwholesome qualities, while the other with weak digestion could appropriate little nutriment from the same food and would be injured by its evil qualities.
It follows, then, that had mother Eve alone sinned, the race would not have died. Had Adam remained perfect, his life unforfeited and unimpaired, his offspring would have been the same; the imperfections of Eve would not have affected them; being perfect, they would have appropriated good elements and have passed off naturally any elements of decay without injury. On the other hand, suppose that Adam had sinned and Eve had remained sinless, Adam's condemnation and death would have affected the entire posterity just the same; the most perfect nourishment given to imperfect and dying germs would never make of them perfect beings. Hence the appropriateness of the Scriptural statement, that "In Adam all die," and "By one man's disobedience...death passed upon all." (1 Cor. 15:22; Rom. 5:12,19.) How wonderful the correspondence here between the first and second Adams and their brides. As the death of the race depended not upon Eve but wholly upon Adam, and yet she shared in the bringing of it, so the restored life of the race redeemed depends not at all upon the bride of Christ, but upon Jesus, though by divine favor it is arranged that she shall share in the work of RESTITUTION of "that which was lost."
The fountain, Adam, having become contaminated by sin and death, none of his posterity can be free from contamination; for, "Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? Not one." The reference here must be understood as applying to the man, and not to the woman: none coming from or out of the contaminated fountain can be clean. Hence, "There is none righteous, no, not one;" none can redeem his own life, nor give to God a ransom for his brother.—Rom. 3:10; Psa. 49:7.
It follows, then, that the only obstacle to the generation of a perfect man is the lack of a perfect father to give a perfect life-germ; and hence the teaching of Scripture, that in the case of Jesus a perfect LIFE-GERM, transferred by divine power from a pre-existent condition to the embryo human condition, was born "holy" (pure and perfect), though of an imperfect mother (Luke 1:35). That he was uncontaminated with any imperfection—mental, moral or physical—which his mother in common with the entire human race shared, is entirely reasonable, and in perfect accord both with Scripture and with the latest scientific findings and deductions.
Another fact which scientists are demonstrating to themselves, which seems to concur with Scripture testimony, is, that though life or being comes from the father, form and nature come from the mother. The scientific proofs of this are more abstruse and less easily grasped by the ordinary mind; and this, because in wisdom God has not only separated the various kinds, or natures, but in great measure has limited them, so that they cannot mix or blend beyond certain limits.
The clearest illustration of this principle that kind or nature comes from the mother, scientists have yet to learn, is found in the Scriptures. They furnish the principal and clearest illustration of the effect or result of miscegenation, or the blending of distinct natures, and prove more conclusively than science has yet been able to do, that NATURE comes of the mother, though the father's characteristics attach. Take, as an illustration, the offspring of the improper union between "the daughters of men" and those angels who kept not their proper estate, but degraded their nature: the progeny had the vitality of the fathers, but the nature of the mothers—they were renowned MEN. [Superior to the then decaying race, it would have had hard masters in those Nephelim had not God in goodness not only swept away the new race (new, because not of the same father) in the Flood, but restrained "those angels" who caused this trouble, depriving them [R1232 : page 5] of their former liberties. See articles in issues of June and December, 1884, and January, 1885, treating of these.] So great was the renown of these, that it is to be found with more or less distinctness in heathen mythologies to this day, and hundreds of years after their destruction in the flood, the false report that some of these were yet alive caused a panic among the Israelites while flushed with the victory of recent battles.—See Num. 13:33.
But the chief illustration of this principle is found in the fact that Jehovah, himself of the divine nature, has begotten sons of the same as well as other natures. He is the father of those of the angelic nature (Job 2:1; 38:7; Heb. 2:9), and of the human nature (Luke 3:38), as well as of the "NEW CREATURES" who shall be made partakers of his own divine nature. (2 Pet. 1:4). The will or ENERGY of Jehovah operating upon spirit-substances produced and developed angels; operating upon earthly substances (Gen. 2:7; 1 Cor. 15:47), man was produced. And when he would give us a clear conception of the generation of the new creatures to the divine nature, he represents them as begotten of his in the womb of the Covenant which he made with Abraham, which he symbolizes by a woman, Sarah, telling us that as Isaac was the heir of Abraham and child of promise (by Sarah), so we, as or like Isaac, are children of God, being children of the promise, or Sarah covenant.—See Gal. 4:23-31; 1 Pet. 1:3,5,23; 2 Pet. 1:4.
The same principle is illustrated in the fact that in the typical dispensation, prior to the Christian age, a child inherited blessings and privileges of its father, according to the favor and standing of its mother, thus again declaring that the mother's nature, rights, privileges and liberties attached to the child, though not of necessity the father's. See Gen. 21:10; Ex. 21:4; Gal. 4:30.
Again, Jesus' birth of a woman proves the same thing. The "holy thing" born of a woman partook of the woman's nature, i.e., human nature—"of the earth earthy." Though retaining all the purity and perfection of the pre-existent (spirit) state, the transferred germ of being (in harmony with this law we are examining) partook of the nature of the mother and was "made flesh" by being "born of a woman." Yet the "clean thing" came not out of the unclean race, but "proceeded forth and came from God" and was merely nourished and developed in Mary.
It is yet further in harmony with this same principle that though Christ has been highly exalted to the divine nature, and is no longer human, yet it is declared of him that he shall be the life-giver or father of the whole human race, while it is also shown that his work for the race is to restore the perfection of human nature, which was lost for all through Adam's sin; thus showing that he, as father, will be on the divine plane, while the restored race, as children, will be on the human plane, born out of a covenant of restitution, illustrated by Keturah, Abraham's third wife.