"Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? Not one.—Job 14:4.
THAT the preexistent 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 right 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 "the man Christ Jesus" was perfect, holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, while his mother was imperfect; a partaker of the weaknesses of the fallen and condemned race?—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, and hence was immaculate or spotless; 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 Scriptures.—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 the sperm or seed of life from the father, furnishes it a cell-nucleus out of which a form or body is produced, 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—then it is born.
The word father has the significance of life-giver. Accordingly, God was the "FATHER," or life-giver, while the earth was the mother of Adam, and hence of the human race. (Luke 3:38.) Adam's form or organism was of and from earth (which therefore served as a mother); but his spark of life which constituted [R2108 : page 53] him a man came from God (who thus was his Father or life-giver): and in the male has since resided the power to communicate that spark of life or living seed to progeny.
In harmony with this principle, all children are spoken of as being 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 down to Egypt. (But if Jacob or the twelve patriarchs had daughters, which we cannot doubt, the children of those daughters were not counted as Jacob's children; such children were counted to their own fathers.) All of those 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 not from Eve. And thus it is written that all in ADAM die, but not all in Eve. Because the race came of Adam, it was tried in his trial, condemned in his failure and included under his sentence.
This, which the Scriptures teach, is the latest deduction of science on this subject of Progeneration, as applied to humanity and to all mammalia. 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 originally contains no life; but is merely a cell-germ ready to produce an organism as soon as vivified or fecundated or impregnated with the life-germ or life-seed by the male bird.
The egg contains not only the germ-cell but also the proper elements of nutrition and in proper proportion, adapted to the minute organism begotten in it by the sperm or life seed; and under proper conditions that organism develops. The yolk becomes wholly absorbed into the body, while the clear liquid albumen serves as its later 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 harmonious testimonies of the Bible and science, it is a reasonable deduction that if the father were perfect, the child would be so. Under even moderately favorable conditions a perfect sperm or life-seed in uniting with the female germ-cell would produce a living germ so vigorous and healthy as to be capable of appropriating the proper elements of nutrition and avoiding, throwing off or neutralizing the unfit; and thus would develop a perfect being; continually throwing off without self-injury, through its perfect functions, all elements not beneficial. On the contrary, if the sperm or life-seed be imperfect, the living germ will be proportionately weak and unable to overcome the unfavorable conditions of its environment, it will appropriate whatever its mother furnishes—good or bad—and will be the prey of disease. Being imperfect, it will 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. And even had death sentence passed upon mother Eve, bringing imperfections, these would not have impaired her offspring; being perfect, they would have appropriated good elements and have passed off naturally any unwholesome elements 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; however perfect the germ-cells and nourishment provided by mother Eve, only imperfect dying beings could be produced from diseased sperm of life-seed from Adam. Hence the appropriateness of the Scriptural statement that "All in Adam 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 his bride shall share in the 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-sperm; and hence the teaching of Scripture, that in the case of Jesus a perfect life-sperm (not of or from the Adamic fountain) was transferred by divine power from a preexistent 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, as we have just seen, in perfect accord not only with Scripture but also 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 without losing all fecundity. A common illustration of this is the mule.
The old idea that form and nature came from the male is abandoned by modern students of nature, who now agree that the female furnishes organism as well as sustenance—in fact all except the life-seed or sperm, which comes from the father or life-giver. Take as a Scriptural illustration of the foregoing claims, the improper union between "the daughters of men" and those angels which kept not their proper estate or condition. (Gen. 6:2,4; Jude 6; 2 Pet. 2:4.) The angels, when they assumed human form being perfect in vitality begat children far superior to the then greatly fallen race of Adam in mental acumen as well as in physical powers, so that the record is—"the same were men of renown." These wonderful men, let us remember, were born of imperfect, dying mothers, but were begotten by vigorous, unimpaired fathers.
The dying race of Adam would have had hard masters in those superior Nephilim (Hebrew, fallen ones) which had not been recognized by God either by a trial for life, nor by a condemnation to death. It was a mercy indeed which, not having authorized their existence, blotted them from existence in the flood and spared only Noah and his family with the comment—"Now Noah was perfect in his generation," which almost implies that the remainder of Adam's race had become more or less a new race by association with the angels in human form and powers. We say a new race because of their new life and vigor coming from new fathers.
So great was the renown of these "Nephilim," 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; 14:36,37.) No doubt there were some large men in Canaan, as other Scriptures show, but never except in this "evil report" are they called Nephilim.—See our issue of July 15, '94, "Sons of God and Daughters of Men."
Another illustration of this principle that life comes from the father and nature from the mother is found in the fact that Jehovah, himself of the divine nature, has begotten sons of various natures. He is the father or life-giver 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 spirit 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 word of promise in the womb of the Covenant which he made with Abraham, which he symbolized 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. 1:3,23; 2 Pet. 1:4.
The same principle is illustrated in the fact that in the typical Jewish 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.
The foregoing arguments are clinched by the fact that our Lord Jesus was born of a woman. 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 preexistent (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 developed and nourished 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 [R2108 : page 55] 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, while their "father" or life-giver will be on the divine plane, the children will be on the human plane, born out of a covenant of restitution, illustrated by Keturah, Abraham's third wife.